You Are There Remember the shot of Boris Yeltsin trying to shake a leg with a pair of go-go dancers? How about that photo of the screaming Vietnamese girl fleeing a U.S. napalm attack? Or the one with the Hindenburg zeppelin crashing to the ground in flames? Scores of historical images, spanning decades of tragedy, heroism, upheaval, and everyday life from every part of the world, have been compiled into the photo retrospective "Flash! The Associated Press Covers the World." The AP started in the mid-1800s as a co-op venture among six New York papers and grew into a huge international newsgathering agency, and in that time, Associated Press photographers have shot some of the world's most arresting scenes. Get a closer look at interactive news museum the Freedom Forum. The show opens at 7 a.m. (and runs through Nov. 20) at One Market, Embarcadero & Market, S.F. Admission is free; call 281-0900.
Maus in the House Although his children's book Open Me ... I'm a Dog! charms with a wagging pop-up tail and soft, furry panels, Art Spiegelman isn't really a kids cartoonist. Ever since his '60s-era editorship at Raw, an anthology of cutting-edge comics and graphic design, Spiegelman has uncovered for his mostly adult audience the overlooked history and surprising potential of illustration. His graphic novel series Maus told the serious tale of his strained relationship with his father, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, and was one of the rare creations of its kind to win a Pulitzer. His experimental bent also emerges in his editorship of Exquisite Corpse, a surreal chain story created by comic-strippers including Matt Groening, Robert Crumb, and Peter Bagge, who were only allowed to look at the three preceding panels before adding their own to the story. Spiegelman's illustrated lecture tonight will probably address the controversies of his career as well, including a certain Easter-tax time New Yorker cover depicting a crucified bunny, and Tijuana Bibles: America's Forbidden Funnies 1930s-1950s, his illustrated history of the once-popular pornographic comic pamphlets. Spiegelman speaks at 8 p.m. at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $17; call 392-4400.
Brave New Worlds Two of the dance world's better companies play with narrative thread -- and the lack of same -- in two evening-length works running locally this week. The last time we saw the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company was in Still/Here, a piece based on tales of survival from people with AIDS, cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses (the same piece prompted a fiery cultural debate after The New Yorker's Arlene Croce categorized it as "victim art"). Now, Jones has created We Set Out Early ... Visibility Was Poor, which isn't overtly "about" anything, but is meant to invoke the communal experience of witness. The show begins at 8 p.m. (also Friday and Saturday) at Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $18-36; call (510) 642-9988. Meanwhile, Montreal's dynamic and theatrical O Vertigo company offers more narrative than is its custom with La Béte (The Beast Within). Here, a dour Victorian-type lady writer is suddenly corralled by some very wild characters; we're left to sort out whether they're her literary creations, or incarnations of her (and our) inner demons. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and continues through Sunday) at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $18-28; call 392-4400.
Would You Buy a Used Car From These People? Forget the witches and monsters and ghouls from the haunted houses of your youth, and imagine instead that you've been cornered by a pack of mustachioed slimeballs. They're wearing polyester leisure suits. They have very bad breath. They smile and call you "little lady," and they won't let you go until you plunk down your money for a beat-up Olds with a busted transmission. Eeek! That's the sort of horror awaiting guests at the "Haunted Used Car Lot," an art installation and costume party where guests show up wearing the most tasteless outfits they can muster and proceed to spend the evening torturing one another until the "Creepy Used Car Salesman Costume Contest" is over and two of them have been crowned king and queen of the lot. Illustrator David Fremont, whose recognizable public work has included rock posters for Beck and Guided by Voices, collaborated with Flower Frankenstein, proprietor of the art gallery Kitty Katty's (formerly Scairy Hairy Toys) to create the "cars," which are smallish paper constructions with soft, squeaky animal-toy heads. Guests can pick up a fake mustache at the door and wander through the shiny pink confines of the lot beginning at 8 p.m. at Kitty Katty's, 3804 17th St. (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is free; call 864-6543.
Good to Go The Lorraine Hansberry Theater's '98-99 season opener marks the first time August Wilson's Jitney has been produced on the West Coast, but not the first time the company has performed his work -- past seasons have seen Joe Turner's Come and Gone and the Pulitzer-winning Fences. Jitney is the seventh chapter in Wilson's decade-by-decade, 10-play cycle chronicling 100 years of African-American history and culture. Because the Hansberry primarily stages work by black playwrights, this production also adds a kind of footnote to Wilson's battle last year with the New Republic's Robert Brustein over the divide between black and white theater. In this installment, set in Wilson's hometown of Pittsburgh in the '70s, a group of gypsy cab drivers has carved out a business in the black neighborhoods spurned by established companies; when their business falters, the drivers are forced to consider their options. Jitney previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through Nov. 22) at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater, 620 Sutter (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $22-26; call 474-8800.