Prophet for Profit Because people continue to be duped by religious chicanery, there will always be an audience for Moliere's 17th-century satire Tartuffe. Deemed an offense to religion and banned by Louis XIV when it premiered at Versailles, it became the playwright's most popular and enduring work. Director Charles Randolph-Wright (who staged last season's Insurrection: Holding History at ACT and brings back some of its cast members for this production) is one of many directors to put Moliere's mockery of religious hypocrites and blind faith in a modern context. This version, its language intact from Richard Wilbur's classic translation, unfolds in 1950s-era Durham, N.C., where Tartuffe is a charismatic Bible-thumper who cons a well-off black family (Randolph-Wright posits that Durham's long-standing black upper class, isolated from both black and white communities at large, might be more susceptible to an outsider's charms). The show opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through July 18) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $14-55; call 749-2228.
Hit the Ceiling Project Bandaloop will be privately filming an IMAX movie in Yosemite this summer, 2,500 feet up on El Capitan, so its performance in the Mission this weekend ought to be a cakewalk by comparison. The company's 10 cross-trained rock climbers and dancers specialize in what director Amelia Rudolph calls "vertical dances," a gravity-defying aerial blend of climbing and modern dance techniques performed in rigging at dizzying heights. Besides an earlier pass on El Capitan for Sierra Dances, Bandaloop has been spotted on the outside walls of the city's Main Library, where it performed the mesmerizing Peregrine Dreams. The company's new work, Luminescent Flights and Flaring Shadows, is built on the same fluid, wide-ranging motion and thrilling disregard for conventional boundaries; it opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through Sunday) at Dance Mission, 3316 24th St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call (510) 654-4728, ext. 2.
Urban Bloom From the noisy and overcrowded vantage point of Highway 101, Melting Point's "Garden de Vivre" should seem especially strange and inviting. Photographer Jocelyn Konarski will project images of exotic flora onto the 100-foot silo tower of the building, which used to be the Hamms Brewery and now houses the gallery along with a machine shop. The vividly colored images, inspired by Konarski's recent trip to Bali, will light up the outdoor sculpture garden, glinting off dangling patinaed flowers, a water fountain, and Tammy Bickel's kinetic steel Venus' flytrap. Inside the gallery, Tyrome Tripoli's large blown-glass and metal pods will hang from the ceiling, dripping scented oils, and Lumin will play ethno-ambient drum 'n' bass with Middle Eastern live instruments. The exhibit opens with a reception at 6 p.m. (and runs through Oct. 18) at Melting Point Art and Design Gallery, 1340 Bryant (at Division), S.F. Admission is free; call 861-0580.
Yeeeeaahh! Oof! That's the sound of the 1999 X Games, an international extreme sports competition held on specially constructed courses around the city for the next week. All the events, which are free and open to the viewing public, should afford some choice "Ooh, that had to hurt" moments, as predominantly young athletes, many still in their teens and many of them Californians, vie for gold. Four hundred or so contenders will be testing their strength and agility in relatively new sports like skateboarding, in-line skating, stunt bike riding, sport climbing, snowboarding, and freestyle motocross. Inspirational stories we can expect to hear from ESPN, which sponsors and will broadcast the annual games, include that of pro snowboarder Barrett Christy, who broke her tailbone the first time she ever hit the slopes. The games begin at 10 a.m. (and run through July 3) at Piers 30-32 on the Embarcadero, Point Lobos & the Great Highway, and Treasure Island, S.F. Admission is free; call 392-9830. Also, see the X Games program after Page 56.
Super Confusing If you can get past the headachey high-pitched noodling of the first track, there's fun to be had with Super ae, the latest from Japan's Boredoms, who sloughed off their punk skins and began experimenting with electronics. Soak in the cresting and crashing waves of guitar noise à la Sonic Youth on the hypnotic "Super Going"; be bowled over by funk breaks gone dirgy on "Super Are You"; or lose your mind to the electrified, jazz-laced outer-space opus "Super Good," which (maybe due to a careless Japanese-to-English translation) credits "synthesizer, bongo, handcrap." Songs average 10 minutes each, but the very patient, not to mention the heavily sedated, will find their reward when Hovercraft opens for the Boredoms at 9 p.m. tonight and Saturday at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $15-16; call 522-0333.
Take the E Train Though more and more cash-strapped dance companies are doing without it, live music was key to the Savage Jazz Dance Company's latest venture, "An Ellington Celebration." Some of the Duke's most lustrous creations -- "The Swingers Jump," "Sophisticated Lady," and "C Jam Blues" among them -- inspired choreographer Reginald Ray-Savage's ebullient new dances, which deserve better than canned jazz. In honor of what would have been Ellington's 100th birthday, Savage, a former Dunham dancer, collaborated with jazz composer Marcus Shelby, whose seven-member ensemble accompanies the performances. The show begins at 8 p.m. (also Saturday) at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $14-18; call 441-FMTS.
Pop and Circumstance I Want You for the U.S. Army, James Montgomery Flagg's 1917 illustration of Uncle Sam with pointer finger extended, is a prime example of art used to further social causes; that poster, commissioned by the government during World War I and considered so effective it was recycled for World War II, is one of 86 memorable pieces culled for the traveling exhibit "Posters American Style." The "Patriots and Protestors" section of the show contains the bulk of the socially minded graphics; besides Flagg, look for Xavier Viramontes' Aztec warrior squeezing "blood" from grapes in the 1973 poster Boycott Grapes: Support the United Farm Workers Union. The "American Events and Entertainment" section offers posters that became as popular as the events they promoted, from the psychedelic 1966 bill for Captain Beefheart at the Fillmore to Frank Kozik's vibrant comic-book graphics. Other posters, particularly in "Designed to Sell," were chosen simply for the fresh way they pitched products, like You Don't Have to Be Jewish to Love Levy's, a 1967 campaign featuring a Native American spokesman admiring a loaf of rye. The exhibit opens at 10 a.m. (and runs through Aug. 29) at the Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak (at 10th Street), Oakland. Admission is free-$6; call (888) OAK-MUSE.
Where's the Party? Longtime parade watchers might say that the best part of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Parade and Celebration is the massive spectacle of Dykes on Bikes (followed this year by Mikes on Bikes), but the city's last gay parade of the century features a face that old-timers will really love: Grand Marshal Harry Hay, founder of '40s-era gay social-support group the Mattachine Society. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. and roars up Market Street from Beale to Eighth Street, S.F. The celebration, with a Stand Against Hate rally, dance stages, and live performances from the likes of Joan Baez, the cast of Rent, and the Julio Bravo Orquesta, runs Saturday and Sunday at noon at Civic Center, between Market, Leavenworth, Turk, and Van Ness (free-donations). Call 864-3733 for more information, and see the Pride Guide, Page 36, for a list of pre- and post-parade happenings.
Plan Your Day Accordioningly What are you doing for National Accordion Awareness Month? Nothing? Nonsense! After all it's done for French street performers, German beer gardens, and Jewish weddings, the accordion should be celebrated with a party, like the one they're having at "Day of the Accordion." Tom Torriglia (of All Things Accordion, an outlet for "accordion-related products and services") has rounded up over a dozen accordionists, including the DiMaggio Duo, the Valerie Morris Quartet, and Dominic Palmisano, to demonstrate the surprising range of an instrument made ostensibly from bellows. Besides the inevitable polkas they'll play blues, jazz, ethnic, and pop music from all over the world beginning at noon at the Cannery, 2801 Leavenworth (at Columbus), S.F. Admission is free; call 771-3112.
Film Fete Artists' Television Access, one of the better places in the Mission to find the comic, the underground, and the just plain bizarre, gets a little help from its pals at the "A. T. Aid" benefit party. Radio Valencia's DJ the Now Sound spins tunes, videomaker Anne McGuire shares perversely entertaining industrial shorts and commercials, Rainbow Grocery sets out free eats and cheap beer, and local businesses donate prizes to a raffle, including CDs and artwork. The party begins at 2 p.m., and the Roofies play live at 6 p.m., at ATA, 992 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is $5-50; call 824-3890.
Devil Date The Cheerleader, the Catholic Schoolgirl, the Tumbler, the Temptress, and the Giggler want to go to the Las Vegas Grind, and they're prepared to show whoever helps them a good time. They're all members of the rock 'n' roll cancan troupe the Devil-Ettes, see, and they're supposed to perform at the Grind, a Halloween party in Vegas featuring a trashy '60s go-go theme and some of its best purveyors, like Saturn V and the Dukes of Hambourg. The Devil-Ettes belong squarely in the middle of the Grind's burlesque excesses, which is where the "Devil-Ettes Prom Party" comes in. It's a fund-raiser for the Vegas trip, and for a modest fee, promgoers get to play interactive dance games, sing along with the Amazing Embarrassonics human karaoke machine, and dance to music of the '50s through the '80s with DJ Otto, of Tiki News fame. The punch will be spiked, but prom chaperones will be slapping bad guests with demerits, so behave. The fun begins at 8 p.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $5; call 861-5016.
Evening the Score Images fly fast in "Films Made to Music: The Golden Art Film Project," to fits and starts of experimental jazz: a delirious color negative sequence of a man chasing and biting the feathers off a chicken, an animated blitz of spirographic swirls, an odd rural encounter between a girl with a bike and a naked man with a shotgun, an elegiac black-and-white funeral short in which somber children float their dead Raggedy Ann doll down a creek in a wooden box. Eighteen Austin-based filmmakers created 26 short films for this 71-minute collection, which accompanies each track on Graham Reynolds' Golden Arm Trio debut album. It's kind of like payback, since the pianist/percussionist/composer has scored films for the Austin Film Society. Most of the scenes are only tangentially related to the score, although Reynolds briefly appears in a cityscape, accompanying himself on a plastic bucket. The Project, followed on July 6 by Reynolds performing the original score to Bed and Sofa live, screens at 8:30 p.m., with an "omnivore barbecue" at 7 p.m., at El Rio, 3158 Mission (at Precita), S.F. Admission is $5; call 282-3325.