Night + Day

Wednesday
March 31
Navel Gazing The Aztec language Nahuatal is a tricky thing for native English speakers to wrap their tongues around, but to Francisco X. Alarcon, it sounds like poetry. Alarcon already writes in English and Spanish, crafting whimsical, moving verse from the natural world in books like his bilingual children's collection Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems, in which first rains cool the landscape and tortillas applaud the sun. Alarcon writes for adults, too, and in the 10 years since he began studying Nahuatal, his poetry has been colored by that third language. His collection Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation is guided by Aztec spells, and his new work, From The Bellybutton of the Moon is inspired by Aztec descriptions of the Mexican countryside. Kash Killion, a veteran of Sun Ra's futuristic jazz orchestra and musical improv whiz who's been dividing his time between cello and Indian sarangi, will help Alarcon find a rhythm to his verse at a live musical spoken-word session hosted by Don Paul's Open Door series. They'll be aided by Paul on percussion, Chaka Khan tourmate Richard Howell on sax, and Broun Fellinis alum Kevin Carnes on trap drums. Sets begin at 10 p.m. and midnight at the Black Cat Cafe, 501 Broadway (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is $5; call 981-2233.

Thursday
April 1
May I Have This Dunce? Today you will not be told that the customer is always right. You will not be expected to act like a team player, to know your party's extension, or to dial it now. Put the collating down: Today is the 21st Annual and Next to Last St. Stupid's Day Parade, an April Fool's Day celebration that hops, skips, and giggles its way through the Financial District, having well-deserved fun at the expense of every stupid business convention it can think of, plus some nonbusiness nonsense as well. (Last year was the last parade, so it follows that this year is the next to last -- make sense? No? Well, never mind.) You and a gaggle of fellow morons, ideally wielding noisemakers and wearing silly costumes, should expect to join in the leap of faith and the sock exchange, a trading floor that posts faster, albeit smellier, gains than the NASDAQ. The parade begins at noon at the Vallincourt Fountain, Justin Herman Plaza, Market & Embarcadero, S.F. Admission is free; call (510) 841-1898.

Portrait of the Artists as Women Poverty and crime riddled two of Ireland's most recent cinematic imports, I Went Down and The General; expect some of that at the Magic Theater's Festival of Irish Women Playwrights as well, along with work that spoofs American moviemaking in Ireland. Bloody skirmishes and grim economics are a big part of the Irish landscape and culture, of course; so are foreign stereotypes of Ireland, and the five participating playwrights address all of these candidly in workshop productions and staged readings. Northern Ireland's Marie Jones is well known in the U.K. as both actress and playwright (American audiences may remember her as Daniel Day Lewis' mother from In the Name of the Father); her experiences with Hollywood crews in Ireland led her to write Stones in His Pocket about two hard-luck Irishmen who take parts as extras, then create their own perfect Irish film, which better reflects their lives than the movie they're working on. Paula Meehan's Mrs. Sweeney, a look at ghetto life in Dublin's rough subsidized housing complexes, draws on Celtic legend and Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock. Meanwhile, a Protestant perspective emerges in BBC Radio 3 writer Christina Reid's drama The Belle of Belfast City. Works by Marina Carr and Emma Donoghue round out the first-time festival, which organizers say was inspired by the resurgent American interest in Irish drama and the lack of women's work being staged here. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. with Carr's By the Bog of Cats (and runs through April 11) at the Magic Theater, Building D, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free-$15; call 441-8822.

Friday
April 2
Flesh for Fantasy Good Friday and the crucifixion of Christ will be observed internationally today with fasting and reconstructed stations of the cross. Except here, where we tend to do things differently from the rest of the world. Feast II feeds into the city's apparently insatiable appetite for fleshy spectacle with a party that tweaks Good Friday rituals almost beyond recognition. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence get their big weekend off to a flaming start (see Sunday) by lighting the candles on their 20th anniversary cake; from there, in stations-of-the-cross fashion, guests travel to the Dungeon, where Modern Primitives Master Santiago and his crew demonstrate rope bondage and hot wax (what, no stigmata?) as DJ Trava spins industrial-strength trance music. The Stop AIDS Project and the Sisters will hold a Condom Savior Mass at midnight, and that's about the only remnant of a religious ritual to be found in a night that also features performances by Flynn DeMarco and Patty O'Furniture in the Tranny Cabaret, a slave auction, and a procession led by the Dr. Pump Drummers and All-Girl Twirling Brigade, culminating in a procession by the Seminal Tribe Fire and Drum Circle Players. Whore Church features dancing with live snakes and scorpions as the night, and perhaps the world, comes to an end. Doors open at 9 p.m. at 74 Otis (near Mission and South Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 332-7848.

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