Blind Date Singles will be searching for answers to the big questions at a premiere party for the second season of HBO's comedy Sex and the City. To wit: What constitutes cheating? Is it OK to fake it? And isn't there some way to meet people that doesn't involve getting drunk and watching TV? Based on the New York Observer columns and subsequent book by Candace Bushnell, the series approaches singledom and sexual ethics from the mostly female perspective of the columnist herself (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) and some of her thirtysomething women friends. A post-screening raffle benefits the San Francisco Sex Information Hotline. The screening begins at 8 p.m. at Martuni's Lounge, 4 Valencia (at Market), S.F. Admission is free; call 989-SFSI.
Goode Times "Who are you?" the Joe Goode Performance Group continues to ask in its very theatrical dances, "and why are you here?" Last year's Deeply There (Stories of a Neighborhood) used a narrative-driven tale about a man whose lover is dying to pose questions about identity and community. Like Deeply There, this year's collection of dances explores those issues from a decidedly queer perspective, weaving spoken text and live song into the movement. With 1989's Doris in a Dustbowl, Goode reprises his role as Rock Hudson to Liz Burritt's Doris Day, adding snippets of dialogue from such films as Pillow Talk to a deconstruction of Hollywood archetypes. For his new work Gender Heroes -- Part I Goode interviewed a broad range of local residents about who shaped their ideas of what a man or woman should be, turning their answers into a dance. Goode's comedic solo 29 Effeminate Gestures is a more personal variation on that theme. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through Sunday) at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $18-25; call 978-ARTS.
Arrrr! Before they were captured and sentenced to be hung, the pirate trio of Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and "Calico" Jack Rackham was sailing around Jamaica and the Bahamas, foraging for food and loot. In researching violent female historical characters for a past production, Central Works Theater Ensemble came across Bonny and Read, two female pirates whose colorful shared pasts anchor Central Works' new 1700s-era drama Pyrate Story. As legend has it, Bonny was an Irish-born hell-raiser whose marriage to pirate informant James Bonny essentially dissolved when she met Rackham, with whom she stole a sloop and ran away. Historical conjecture offers varied accounts of their relationship with each other, and with Read (some say Bonny had a thing for Read, who passed herself off as a man but eventually revealed herself as a woman); in this very theatrical production, however, Bonny and Read settle their differences with sword fights in fine swashbuckling tradition. The show, written by Gary Graves, opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through July 3) in Jack London Square, 427 Water (at Broadway), Oakland. Admission is $10-13; call (510) 558-1381.
Song of Themselves Walt Whitman's America wasn't all homespun heroes and glorious, wide-open spaces; some of it was the seedy world of newspapering, which Whitman entered as a teenage typesetter. It was there, just before the Civil War, that the budding poet met Fanny Fern, a thrice-married columnist and novelist who chafed against women's prescribed role by championing women's equality in print and prowling New York dressed in men's clothing; her disregard for convention apparently appealed to Whitman, and they became fast friends. Fern, best known for penning the phrase "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach," promoted Whitman's poetry and lent him money, but the friendship apparently fell apart after Leaves of Grass was published, when Fern demanded repayment for the loan. Jewel Seehaus' play Fanny and Walt looks into the fluid gender roles and shared literary ambitions that helped mold this unusual friendship. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through June 26) at Venue 9, 252 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 289-2000.
A Yen for Zen The road to inner peace begins at the intersection of JFK Drive and Stow Lake, which eventually leads to "Change Your Mind Day," an outdoor celebration of Buddhist tradition. Blocking out the noise and pandemonium of modern urban life might be hard, but it's not impossible: New York is staging its sixth such event in Central Park today. Here in our main park, you can dig deeper into the essence of dharma with local teachers or settle into a Zen-like serenity with poetry, movement, and music performances. Try to find compassion for your fellow man as you share meditation space, and reconcile yourself to the impermanent nature of life when everyone packs up and leaves at 5:30 p.m. The event begins at 12:30 p.m. in Pioneer Meadow, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free; call 364-1404.
Talking Heads Sylvia Plath's "Witch Burning" inspires a fiery treatment from Berkeley videomaker Antero Alli in a four-minute video by the same name, while Czech filmmaker Robert Ellmann finds poetry in the clash between old silent films and modern commercially driven media in his 10-minute work Tenis Match. Both are among the selections at the touring Nomad VideoFilm Festival, an international collection of videopoems combining text with media. The screening (which comes to S.F.'s Venue 9 June 30 and July 1) begins at 11 p.m. at the Fine Arts Cinema, 2451 Shattuck, Berkeley. Admission is $6; call (510) 464-4640.
In the Swim Dark Side of the Pool isn't exactly the synchronized glissandos of Esther Williams and her aquatic ballet corps peeling into the pool, but it is water ballet, updated with a laser light show and sing-along, performed by the Black Rock Synchronized Swimmers at the "Burning Man/Flambe Lounge Swim Whim." This post-Beach Burn, pre-Radio Free Burning Man benefit is something like a practice run for the Labor Day weekend blowout at Black Rock; would-be campers should swing by the Paint-A-Tent campground and the Burning Man video room to prepare themselves. Pepe Ozan will debut the sculptural set for his voodoo-inspired opera, while the Parking Meter Art Car Gallery offers a preview of this year's desert conveyances. Guests in aqua-inspired costumes dip into the pool before and after the performances, and DJs Sparky and Scott McKeown keep the ballroom humming with dance and cocktail music at the event, which begins at 9 p.m. at the International Ballroom and Deco Pool, 50 Oak (at Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 550-3080.
What's New, Pussycat? Sloppy kissers are actually part of the attraction at the Animal Wingding '99, a street fair that, like every other street fair in the city, contains its share of pissing matches and embarrassing, unsolicited overtures. The potential for hilarity is pretty high here, what with the kinetic dog sculpture and the Parade of Life, a procession of pets and owners wearing outfits ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Compare stupid pet tricks at the Star Search for Pets with stupid human tricks at the Animal Forum stage, where pet owners tell jokes and stories to indulgent audiences. And don't forget to visit Maddie's Pet Adoption Center, where homeless animals will do their best to melt your heart. The East Bay Banjo Club gets the party started at 10 a.m. at the SF/SPCA, 2500 16th St. (at Florida), S.F. Admission is free; call 554-3058.
Soul Salvation Kosovar refugees are getting an unlikely boost tonight from Billie Holiday and George Gershwin, as channeled by jazz chanteuse Jacqui Naylor at her benefit concert for the American Red Cross. At the concert, also a record release for her self-titled debut album, Naylor will be singing standards like "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and the Holiday/Nina Simone vehicle "Tell Me More and More and Then Some," along with originals like the bossa nova-flavored "Nocturne," written by guitarist Tony Kaye. Naylor, a former member of Oakland's Sacred Heart gospel choir, will donate all ticket proceeds to the Red Cross efforts in Kosovo, along with $3 from each CD sold. The evening begins at 7 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, followed by the concert at 8 p.m. at Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. Admission is $30; call (510) 238-9200.
Two Irishmen Go Into a Bar ... Marie Jones' comic drama Stones in His Pocket was such a hit at the recent Irish Women Playwrights Festival that the Magic has decided to stage an encore, in place of the originally scheduled Quills, which opens next season instead. In a plot that almost sounds like a setup, two down-on-their-luck Irishmen working as extras in a Hollywood movie filmed in Ireland decide to write their own film about Irish life when they see how wrong the American version has got it. Local actors Mark Phillips and Kurt Reinhardt play multiple roles in the show, which opens at 8:30 p.m. (and runs through July 3) at the Magic Theater, Building D, Fort Mason Center, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $18-32; call 441-8822.
Midlife Crisis While Israelis and their neighbors become better acquainted with newly elected Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Californians will be getting to know Tekumah: Rebirth, a film series that sparked national debates when it aired on Israeli state television last year. Issues that shaped the 51-year-old nation's recent election are dissected in the series, beginning with the first episode, "Ingathering of the Exiles -- 1948-1958," which takes a long, hard look at Israel's many ethnic and cultural fissures. Turbulent relations with the Arab world ("The Opti-Pessimist," June 10) and the internal conflicts between Orthodox Judaism and modern secularism ("From Mt. Herzl to the Western Wall," June 9) are addressed in subsequent episodes, and run an hour each. The series begins at 7 p.m. tonight with a screening at Congregation Sherith Israel, 2266 California (at Webster), S.F. Admission is free; call 928-1114.