Fair Play Signs that Pistahan '99 is in full swing: former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz smiling and waving at onlookers, and hordes of screaming preteen girls mobbing singer Billy Crawford, who performs "Urgently in Love" for a second time this week, after opening for N'Sync at Shoreline. The Pistahan Outdoor Fair and the Pearl of the Orient Parade, in which floats snake up Market Street's lower half, comprise the Filipino American Arts Exposition, a two-day cultural celebration that opens with 23 Filipino priests blessing the proceedings and ends with Crawford showing off his best MTV moves. Filipino food, arts, and performances are sandwiched in between. The fair begins at 11 a.m. (also Sunday) at Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission & Third Street, S.F. Admission is free (the Crawford concert is $12-50); call 436-9711. The parade begins at noon on Sunday and travels from Market & Embarcadero to Yerba Buena.
Lucky Seven After a two-year wait, L7 aficionados have been rewarded with Slap-Happy, a new album that channels all the elements fans expect through a handful of dizzying effects: the whipsaw buzz of Suzi Gardner's guitar, Dee Plakas pounding the bejesus out her drum kit, and Donita Sparks inveighing against poseurs, scams, violence, stupidity, nightlife, and other hazards of L.A. living. But there are changes afoot; the band launched this sixth effort on its own label, Wax Tadpole, in conjunction with Bong Load Records, and has taken a new bass player on tour following Gail Greenwood's departure -- Janis Tanaka, formerly of San Francisco hometown favorites Stone Fox. L7 opens for Ministry, which returns from its Jello Biafra/Lard hiatus with songs from last month's release Dark Side of the Spoon. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Warfield, 982 Market (at Sixth Street), S.F. Admission is $25; call 776-1999.
Everything Old Is New Again The criticism once lobbed at Oakland -- that there was no "there" there -- predated the city's thriving art scene, which has produced techno cosmic raves and studio tours, swing jazz and swamp boogie. Porcelain painters, quilters, weavers, potters, lace-makers, and other artisans dressed in period costume will be plying their trades at the Enduring Arts Festival, but the most attractive part of the fest is its bargain-rate sampler of the city's classical performing arts. The Oakland Ballet, fine guardians of the Tudor and Nijinska legacies, offers the pas de deux from Ronn Guidi's The Secret Garden, while Dance Through Time whirls through social dances of the Romantic and Victorian eras. The Oakland East Bay Symphony's Brass Quintet revisits various eras as well, with works by Handel, Joplin, and Ellington. The Oakland Lyric Opera and Opera Piccola also perform at the festival, which begins at noon at Dunsmuir Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks, Oakland. Admission is free-$12; call (510) 615-5555. The BRAVA Youth Arts Festival, produced by and starring local youth, is another good performing arts deal. Teatro Armonia, a BRAVA summer youth program, stages Mariposa: The Journey Home, a drama about a Mission District family. The daylong event also features performances by the excellent dance and percussion ensemble Loco Bloco, acrobatic martial arts/dance troupe Omulu Capoeira, and Youth Speaks readers. Special guest Mayor Willie Brown takes a crack at the pinata at the festival, which begins at 1 p.m. on 24th Street, between Hampshire & York, S.F. Admission is free; call 641-7657.
No, Thank You Unlike her namesake, the Carthage queen who incinerated herself over a bad love affair, British singer/songwriter Dido is only metaphorically on fire. Her foray into soul, "Thank You," made the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle Sliding Doors, and her album No Angel, produced in part by brother Rollo, cracked the twenty-/thirtysomething market with a combination of breathy acoustics and light dub, winning her comparisons to Sinead O'Connor. A former child prodigy of sorts, Dido was playing piano, violin, and recorder at London's Guildhall School of Music by age 10; by her teen years, she was making off with Rollo's Gregory Isaacs albums and singing in his band Faithless, which was, as they say, huge in Europe. Dido and her band play at 9 p.m. at Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is $10; call 474-0365.
It's Big and It's Easy New Orleans, with its sybaritic flamboyance, its hot, swampy climate, and its voodoo tradition, must have cast a spell on us, because we can't seem to get enough of New Orleans-themed parties. Along with "Swamp Boogie" at Eli's in Oakland and "New Orleans Boogie Night" at Nickie's, Ashkenaz hosts periodic Louisiana-style music nights with the California Cajun Orchestra, the Zydeco Flames, and Gator Beat, which plays zydeco swing and Cajun funk after Cheryl McBride teaches the Cajun two-step. The fun begins at 8 p.m. tonight at Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo (at Gilman), Berkeley. Admission is $7; call (510) 525-5099. Would-be dancers can sneak in a little practice the weekend before the show at the 10th annual Farmers' Market Cajun Festival, where Pattie Whitehurst teaches free dance lessons and students practice to live sets from Motor Dude Zydeco, Zydeco Mama, and the Creole Belles. Catered Cajun food and microbrews will be served at this neighborhood street fair, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Berkeley Farmers' Market, Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, Center & MLK, Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 548-3333.