Dutch Treat To wring the most pleasure from Tulipmania, an annual waterfront display of over 35,000 tulips, we suggest the following: Bring a ukulele and serenade fellow viewers with "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," in honor of the late Tiny Tim (everyone will love it). Wear clogs. Buy, borrow, or steal a copy of Anna Pavord's pulse-quickening historical horticultural tome The Tulip: The Story of a Flower That Has Made Men Mad. Loudly announce, to nobody in particular, that tulips are a member of the lily family. And don't forget your fork -- tulip petals are edible. This riotous display of color, a harbinger of spring and a guaranteed antidote to the cabin fever brought on by late-winter drear, features 65 tulip types from the U.S. and Holland, including the parrot and fringed varieties. The display opens with a guided tour at 10 a.m. (and will be blooming through March 7) at Pier 39, Embarcadero & Beach, S.F. Admission is free; call 705-5500.
Chile Reception After former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in England last October on a warrant from Spain, an international debate over human rights and international law sprang from the question of whether he should be extradited to Spain and tried for his alleged involvement in the deaths of thousands of Chilean and Spanish nationals. Chilean author Ariel Dorfman is arguing favor of a trial, and this time, as they say, it's personal. Dorfman, a poet and playwright whose thriller Death and the Maiden was adapted to film, was a cultural adviser to Salvador Allende before General Pinochet's 1973 coup toppled that government and installed a 17-year dictatorship. After a series of harrowing escapes, Dorfman spent several years in exile, shuttling between the U.S. and South America, an experience he chronicles in his new book Heading South, Looking North. He'll discuss the significance of a trial to international democratic movements at "Bringing Pinochet to Justice," an address marking the 62nd anniversary of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the volunteer force that fought the Spanish dictator Franco. The program begins at 2 p.m. at the Calvin Simmons Theater, Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, 10 10th St., Oakland. Admission is $15; call 468-5870.
Motley Crew Ed Holmes usually gets the bad-guy roles in San Francisco Mime Troupe productions, where he is called upon to bellow and swagger and display a certain amount of bombast to rile up the crowd. It should be fun, then, to see Holmes on "bells, whistles, and vocals," his designated role in the theatrical music band The Series (formerly known as the Channel Serfs). Holmes' compatriots in this improvisational endeavor include Oaktown Blues Machine singer/bassist Andy Dinsmore, poet G.P. Skratz, and actor Geoffrey Pond (Subterranean Shakespeare/Shotgun Players, on vocals and percussion). Bob Ernst of the Blake Street Hawkeyes lays down percussion and blues harp as the band creates a folky spoken-word musical jam. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and continues on the first and third Mondays of the month through the millennium) at La Val's Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid (at Hearst), Berkeley. Admission is $5; call (510) 237-7415.
The Call of the Wighat Since musicals already require a certain suspension of disbelief, what with people bursting into song and all, Stephen Trask figured that a rock musical about an East German transsexual who moves to a Kansas trailer park after a botched sex-change operation would be as reasonable a premise as any. And so the off-Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch was born, with Trask's music and lyrics and a bewigged John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig, ne Hansel Schmidt -- the "angry inch" refers to what was left behind when surgery went awry. The show became a surprise hit, due in no small part to its glam-packed soundtrack, which combines the trashy camp of Rocky Horror with the operatic earnestness of Queen, salted with musical and lyrical references to Iggy Pop. Though the musical would be a perfect fit for San Francisco, there are no immediate plans to bring it here: the closest we can hope to come for now is a CD release party and Hedwig look-alike contest at "Trannyshack." Everyone who attends will receive a single of the show's opening number, "Tear Me Down," perhaps the first rock anthem to mention the Berlin Wall, and everyone who dresses as Hedwig will receive a CD soundtrack, T-shirt, and poster -- video footage of the show will screen throughout the evening, and look-alike contest winners receive an official Hedwig wig from the show's designer, Michael Potter. The contest begins at 10 p.m. at the Stud, Ninth Street & Harrison, S.F. Admission is $4; call 863-6623.