Take Me to the River The warmth generated by Yaelisa & Solera Flamenco Dance and the salsa band Charanson is enough to suggest Spain in summertime, if only fleetingly. Not since last summer's "Caminos Flamencos" concert, when Yaelisa brought in Sevillian Gypsy artists for an all-star jam honoring her late mother, have local flamenco fans been offered such a flurry of bodies, music, and motion. The Emmy-winning choreographer will take her company onto the El Rio patio for an intimate outdoor performance, preceded by an informal dance class and followed by a salsa dance party. Lessons begin at 7:30 p.m. at El Rio, 3158 Mission (at Cesar Chavez), S.F. Admission is $6; call 282-3325.
Walk That Walk There's something for every taste at "Introductions/A Summer Evening Art Walk," from trompe l'oeil paintings and shadowy black-and-white photographic landscapes to oversized steel sculptures and intricate glassworks. (Local restaurants and wineries will provide toothsome delicacies as well, but never mind.) As they crawl from one downtown gallery to the next, browsers will find work by established types like Robert Motherwell and Roy Lichtenstein (at Meyerovich Gallery) along with the emerging artists of this month's "Introductions" series -- look for the next Enrique Chagoya, who debuted through the series. The free walk takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. at various San Francisco galleries, although organizers suggest beginning at City Hall's Lower Level Gallery for the San Francisco Art Dealers Association group show; call 512-0335 for a map of participating venues.
Fight for Your Right to Plie Dance took a big hit locally when building subleaser Keli Norton Fine raised the rent by so many thousands of dollars that an architecture firm has displaced the former tenants at Brady Street Dance Center, a practice and performance space home to hundreds of dancers from local companies. After that recent debacle, it's heartening to find that Summerfest/Dance 1999 is a) still happening, and b) now being staged under the auspices of a nonprofit group. The three-week festival, a tonic to the dry days of post-season dance, has presented more than 100 choreographers since it began in 1992, and will present more than two dozen more, soloists and companies, doing ballet, tap, jazz, contact improv, and experimental modern to anything from baroque music to new commissioned live scores. The festival opens at 8 p.m. with performances by Janice Garrett, Mercy Sidbury, Charles Moulton, and others (and continues through July 25 with various performers) at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 441-3687.
Children By the Million ... wait for Alex Chilton, as the Replacements put it in their gem of a tribute song, which did justice to Chilton's own admirable, if neglected, catalog. The kids these days could be forgiven for never having heard of Chilton at all -- it's been a long time since Big Star's '70s implosion, and longer still since Chilton was the Tennessean teen prodigy of the Box Tops. Despite a swipe at rockabilly with Panther Burns, and the Rhino rereleases of Big Star's best ("September Girls," "Big Black Car") and then some, Chilton is still laboring in semiobscurity, sharing his sunny pop songs, bittersweet ballads, and the rollicking blue-eyed soul of later releases like A Man Called Destruction with modest but adoring crowds. Adam Elk opens for Chilton at 9 p.m. (and Blue Sky Roadster opens at 9 p.m. Friday) at Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is $20; call 474-0365.
Top Brass South African trumpeter/composer Hugh Masekela helped craft the 1985 anti-apartheid musical Sarafina! to protest the violence roiling in his country, but a musical about Masekela's own life has yet to be made. It could be a good one, too, with a soundtrack something like Masekela's most recent album, Black to the Future, and its soulful confluence of jazz, African roots music, and South African mbaqanga. Masekela's playing echoes the days he toured with the cast of King Kong and the terrible night he was ordered to keep blowing his horn at a farewell dinner as gangsters staged a murderous revenge attack on 17 Soweto men. His playing was shaped by American jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie, who helped him resettle in the States; by pop-star collaborators Fela Kuti and Paul Simon, and his former bride, singer Miriam Makeba; and by the 100,000 African fans who once turned out to see the banished musician and outspoken opponent of apartheid play a Christmas Day concert. Masekela plays at 8 and 10 p.m. (also Saturday) at Yoshi's, Jack London Square, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. Admission is $21; call (510) 238-9200.
If It's Saturday, This Must Be Berkeley Taking a cue from Prairie Home Companion, comedian Johnny Steele has devised an old-fashioned traveling cabaret that departs from the big-city comedy scene and plays to the suburbs. Steele, a veteran stand-up comic and the former host of Live 105's morning show, found in his travels that suburban audiences, though less disposed to the edgy stuff, seem more enthusiastic just to have a show. With that in mind, The Big Mook Summer Variety Road Show will scout out local celebrities (authors, athletes, actors) from each town to interview onstage, and test attendees' knowledge of their community's lore in a comic game-show quiz. Steele hosts the show, which includes sketch comedy group Meehan, Myself, and I, live music by house band the Coovers, and sidekick shtick from Steele's former radio co-host, Ray Casey, whose new job is producing Darian O'Toole since he and Steele were replaced by Howard Stern in a CBS takeover of Live 105. Big Mook begins at 8:30 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College, Berkeley. Admission is $10-12; call (510) 540-7457.