Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot Pyromaniacs aren't bad people; they just need an outlet, like ... welding. At the Fire Arts Festival, hosted by nonprofit foundry the Crucible, local artists will demonstrate how arsonist tendencies can be parlayed into marketable skills. This is the place to watch and learn about industrial arts like blacksmithing, glass working, bronze casting, and sculpture; exercise caution around creations like the fire bra, a vest equipped with a propane system that exhales flames at chest level. Ultra Gypsy and Firefly eat, breathe, juggle, and twirl fire, accompanied by bands and DJs. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Crucible, 1035 Murray (at San Pablo), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 843-5511.
Get Your Fil Our local street fairs are nothing if not multicultural, which is basically the only way to explain how former New Kid on the Block Jordan Knight wound up headlining Fiesta Filipina '99, a celebration of the Philippines' independence from Spain over 100 years ago. But with the exception of Knight, who has hit the comeback trail with a brand-new pop release, most Fiesta entertainment has Filipino roots, like the percussion ensemble Ating Tao, hip-hop crew Pandemonium, and the 32-member dance/music company Sinig Kumintang Ng Batangas. Modern meets traditional throughout the two-day block party, with appearances from Filipino TV stars and a fashion show of barong Tagalog formalwear reworked in vivid dyed silk organdies and Muslim weaves. The fiesta begins at 10 a.m. (also Sunday) at Civic Center Plaza, Polk & McAllister, S.F. Admission is free-$5; call (650) 757-4803.
And All That Jazz Besides cheap lap dances, Beach Blanket Babylon, and Eurotrash, North Beach is known for the beat poetry movement, which began here four decades ago and sees a renaissance every year at the North Beach Festival. Shades of the neighborhood's colorful history emerge, as priests from the towering Saints Peter and Paul Church bless people's pets in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, and artists ornament city sidewalks with great sprawling scenes rendered in colored chalk. Poet Ruth Weiss, a veteran of the beat scene, performs with saxophonist George Long on the Poet's Stage, which also hosts a kind of free-form extended jam with performance poet Genny Lim, Francisco X. Alarcón, and the Marcus Shelby Trio with spoken-word artist Marcus Poston. The festival begins at 10 a.m. (also Sunday) in Washington Square Park, the 1200-1500 block of Grant and the 500 block of Green, S.F. Admission is free; call 989-2220.
Get in the Grove When the fog lifts from the avenues and the sun glints through the fragrant stands of eucalyptus, when the crowd isn't so dense and there's room to spread out a picnic and see the performers clearly from the hill, taking in a show at the Stern Grove Festival ranks high among the lazy pleasures of summer. And there's plenty to recommend this season of free shows, beginning with today's "From Cuba to the Congo" program, which features Latin jazz from the Chucho Valdees Quintet and the Congolese-Caribbean hybrid from Richard Lemvo and Makina Loca. Along with return guests the San Francisco Symphony (June 27) and Ballet (August 1), and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band doing their 30th Father's Day Grove show, the series also offers intriguing bills like "Women of Spirit," where folk singer Janis Ian and Celtic percussionist Mary Jane Lamond meet Mali superstar Oumou Sangare (July 18). The series begins at 2 p.m. at Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Avenue & Sloat, S.F. Admission is free; call 252-6252.
That Ain't the Way to Have Fun, Son "Joy to the World," which sold 12 million copies, was just one of the 21 Billboard Top 40 hits that Three Dog Night racked up between 1969 and 1975, but as far as singer Chuck Negron is concerned, the band's signature song could have been "Mama Told Me Not to Come." By the time the group broke up in 1975, Negron was joylessly wallowing in the excesses of success, with a $2,000-a-day drug habit and so much subsequent rock-star degradation that it almost seems like a joke, or at least a VH1 "Behind the Music" special. He pawned his 12 gold records for drug money; he slept with so many women and abused so many substances he had to be hospitalized over 100 times; he went from living in a Hollywood Hills mansion to the streets of L.A. There were suicide attempts, dramatic arrests, three dozen rehab stays, and so on, all chronicled in Negron's new book, Three Dog Nightmare, which he'll discuss at 7 p.m. at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-8688.
Q Ball Tom Orr has some pretty queer notions of what's entertaining, which makes him a good guest for "Queer for a Year: The Q Cabaret One-Year Anniversary Show." Orr, via video and accompanied live by Trauma Flintstone, reprises some of the memorably twisted ditties that made his musical satires Sweet Parody! and Dirty Little Showtunes! so popular, like "How Do You Solve Your Problem Gonorrhea?" (sung to the tune of the Sound of Music's "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?"). He'll be joined by one-time Ricki Lake show guest the Swamp Lady (doing drag comedy), stand-up comic Dan Rothenberg, and acoustic rockers Sparrow's Point, among others. The show begins at 8 p.m. (also Wednesday) at Venue 9, 252 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $6-10; call 289-2000. For more queer entertainment, see our Pride Guide insert, after Page 52.