Night & Day

May 19
Their Eyes Were Watching Zora With an ear for the cadences of black American English and a storyteller's gift for making fiction sing, Zora Neale Hurston became, and remains, one of the most popular writers to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance. The Florida-born Hurston's specialty was the richly colorful vernacular of the American South, where (in books like Their Eyes Were Watching God) some of her best-known characters wrangled with racism and poverty, love and death. The Black Repertory Group stages the Broadway adaptation of two short Hurston works with Sweat and Spunk, which opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through June 12) at the BRG Theater, 3201 Adeline, Berkeley. Admission is $2-12; call (510) 652-2120.

May 20
Large and in Charge Camryn Manheim won last year's Emmy Award for best supporting actress, but her work in The Practice was eclipsed by her acceptance speech, when she declared, "This is for all the fat girls!" to an international audience and an auditorium full of TV stars -- including Calista Flockhart. In case people missed her point the first time, Manheim has written a book called Wake Up, I'm Fat!, which traces the trials and triumphs of a fat kid who grew up, sorted things out, and scored a job in an industry that insists on thinness. Manheim discusses her book with KRON-TV film critic and plus-sized model Jan Wahl at noon at Stacey's Bookstore, 581 Market (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 421-4687.

May 21
Cuba Cabana Clear, rippling tones distinguish Las Perlas del Son from the average Cuban son band -- that, and the fact that this septet is comprised entirely of women. Breaking into Cuba's male-dominated world of guaracha, bolero, and son was trickier than bassist Rosa Lopez had anticipated, but once she found a bongo player and classical guitarist Zulema Rivas, one of the few well-known female musicians to have mastered tres guitar and its three sets of metal strings, it got easier. Like their Cuban brethren, Las Perlas make adroit style and tempo changes, shifting from infectious dance rhythms to pensive balladeering. This is their first trip to the States -- they'll play at 9 p.m. at the 7th Note Showclub, 915 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is $18-20; call (510) 849-2568.

May 22
How Does Your Garden Grow? They'll be hanging out with goats and sheep in the Mission, worm composting in the Bayview, tending flowers near a Noe Valley library, and whipping up garden snacks at Berkeley's Edible Schoolyard on Open Garden Day, a free annual celebration of Bay Area community gardens. Over 100 neighborhood and school gardens will open up to bus, bike, and pedestrian tours today, guided by gardeners of all ages. Gardens will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call 981-3004 or visit for free maps and more information on what's growing in your neighborhood. And in keeping with the garden theme, the 1999 San Francisco Garden Tour will throw open the gates to 10 private residential gardens here in the city. The self-guided tour, a benefit for the Stop AIDS Project, includes a champagne reception at the historically significant Coates Garden, where the treaty with Japan ending World War II was signed on a two-tiered patio graced with handmade tiles and antique fountains, shaded by olive trees. The tour begins at 11 a.m. Sunday. Admission is $40-75; call 864-8523 or visit for location information.

Going to the Mountain Living in the shadow of Mount Everest can't be easy, but Himalayan mountain people have managed to withstand everything from unforgiving climates and Chinese military action to Hollywood film crews and international hordes of mountain-climbing fanatics. The 16th annual Himalayan Fair salutes the hardy cultures of Nepal, India, Tibet, Bhutan, and Mustang with dance and music performances and authentic Himalayan delicacies like grilled yak meat; the Nyingma Institute will keep crowds calm with a demonstration of the Tibetan yoga and relaxation technique kum nye. Proceeds benefit Himalayan humanitarian projects. The fair begins at 10 a.m. (also Sunday) at Live Oak Park, 1300 Shattuck (at Berryman), Berkeley. Admission is $5; call (510) 869-3995.

Pop of the Tops The Pirates of PissAnt Boat Ride, one of many questionable attractions at this year's Big Top 23, isn't for children who frighten easily; it probably shouldn't be for children at all, and adults might want to think twice before they let a bunch of costumed carny pranksters ferry them across the brackish waters of Islais Creek. The circus (incidentally, a benefit for the drug rehab programs at Walden House) will be held in the heart of the industrial warehouse wasteland where many punk shows and a slew of Cacophony Society events have taken place. The daytime half of the circus is theoretically suitable for the whole family, from the boat ride to Cyclecide's Heavy Pedal-Powered Midway of Mayhem, where the Bucking Bike and the Spanking Bike dare riders not to cry. Meanwhile, Doc Molotov's New Millennium Medicine Show offers sideshow entertainment, and kids can win "quality prizes" at the many games of chance and skill. After the sun goes down, the big tent fills with Velocity Circus aerialists, Cantankerous Lollies cancan dancers, Exploding Puppet Theater, and live music by Valley Fever. The daytime show begins at 3 p.m. and costs $5 for 10 attraction tickets; the evening show begins at 9 p.m. and costs $7. Both are held at Cyclone Warehouse, 1842 Illinois, S.F.; call 647-2449.

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