He Took Manhattan Fiorello La Guardia, the colorful three-term mayor who saw New York through the stock market crash and the Great Depression, is the star of the musical Fiorello! As part of its "Lost Musicals" series, 42nd Street Moon is reviving the show, which ran for two years on Broadway after its 1959 debut and won six Tonys (including a tie with The Sound of Music for best musical), although it's been produced infrequently ever since. Jerry Bock's music and Sheldon Harnick's lyrics trace La Guardia's bumpy ascent from Greenwich Village lawyer to congressman to World War I soldier, followed by his botched mayoral run and concurrent widowing. Eventually, of course, La Guardia won people over so thoroughly that they wound up naming an airport after him; his hard-fought battles inspired songs like "Politics & Poker." Fiorello! previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through April 4) at the New Conservatory Theater, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Admission is $12-22; call 861-8972.
Three Steps Over the Line At last year's interactive performance installation The Mexterminator Project, viewers strolled wide-eyed past an exhibit of multiculti "characters" (El Paramilitary Samurai, La Cultural Transvestite) hemmed in by anthropologic clutter (weapons, liquor, animal skulls, votive candles, and computer games). Performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Pena, aided by collaborator Roberto Sifuentes and Contraband choreographer Sara Shelton-Mann, originally launched this assault on identity, politics, and the senses with The Dangerous Border Game. The "Spanglish lounge operetta" BORDERscape 2000, the third installment in the trilogy, merges opera, rap, and multimedia to imagine a tumultuous future in which technology expands and borders fall. The show previews at 8:30 p.m. (and runs through March 26) at the Magic Theater, Building D, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $10-25; call 441-8822.
Sucking in the '90s Seattle will have its revenge on San Francisco with a triple bill that makes our city sound, well, wimpy. The Murder City Devils mess up big, dumb, amped punk rock with Farfisa organ: Watch and enjoy as bespectacled, short-haired singer Spencer Moody leads a drunken crowd through the raunchy sing-along "Boom Swagger Boom." Epitaph band Zeke, whose knobs were also twisted by Northwest engineering legend Jack Endino, echoes the sonic roar of Motsrhead and the obnoxious punk screech of the Didjits, flogs the Kiss anthem "Shout It Out Loud," and careens through songs like the Seattle-specific beer salute "Schmidt Value Pack" with the recklessness of a meth-addled truck driver. And that still leaves the Supersuckers, manly men with beer guts and greasy forelocks who proudly mix white-trash arena rock with infectious dirty blues, played at top volume. High Karate opens the show at 7 p.m. at the Maritime Hall, 450 Harrison (at First Street), S.F. Admission is $10; call 974-0634.
Ad It Up You could go crazy thinking about all the meaningless, patronizing, downright stupid advertisements you've been exposed to in your lifetime, or you could fight back. People do, in their own small way: Someone suggested Hitler as the subject of Apple's "Think Different" campaign, and guerrilla graphics outfit Hocus Focus took the joke further by tweaking the actual message on Apple billboards to stress the dead-icon part of the sales pitch. Their work will be shown at "The Art of Midnight Editing: Two Decades of Culture Jamming and Drive-By Advertising Improvement." This tribute to vigilante revisionism, which targets the inescapable medium of billboards, includes the Billboard Liberation Front's treatment of corporate giants like Levi's, Exxon, and R.J. Reynolds (the BLF claims to have been formed 22 years ago after pre-Cacophony Society prankster group the San Francisco Suicide Club kidnapped its founders and forced them, along with a bunch of ad copywriters, to alter billboards). Art prankster Ron English has been painting his own designs over existing ads since '82, while Survival Research Laboratories machine artist Mark Pauline got his start in drive-by media 20 years ago. These and other participating artists will talk about "fauxvertising" at 8 p.m. Sunday ($4-6), and Negativland will play the closing party April 1 ($8-25). The exhibit opens tonight with a reception at 6 p.m. at the Lab, 2948 16th St. (at Capp), S.F. Admission is free; call 864-8855.
Smile on Your Brother Synanon, the commune that brought us the damning phrase "Today is the first day of the rest of your life," also brings us Deborah Swisher's off-Broadway show Hundreds of Sisters and One Big Brother, if inadvertently. Swisher, the daughter of a Jewish schoolteacher and an African-American drummer, spent a hippie childhood in Berkeley until her mother divorced her father and moved Swisher and her sister into the 2,000-member commune, which began as a drug treatment center and morphed into a cult. As the child of an interracial divorced hippie couple, Swisher already had material, but Synanon, which existed on tax-free religious status, drug treatment grants, and donated food, was a veritable gold mine. In Swisher's one-woman show, comedy and horror play equal roles in her upbringing: Kids were separated from their parents to prevent excessive familial attachment, and commune members were supposed to learn to deal with conflict in "The Game," a free-for-all venting session that would degenerate into verbal attacks. This unusual coming-of-age story opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through March 28) at Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St. (at York), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 647-2822.