Life is sprinkled with heartbreaking events -- the death of a loved one, the bitter breakup, and last but not always least, the tragic demise of a favorite TV program. This past Tuesday marks the end of what some would call one of the most intriguing, interesting, and intelligent shows ever to grace our sets, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Fortunately, the void may be partially filled when San Francisco Buffy fanatics get the opportunity to witness James Marsters -- whose devilishly delightful portrayal of the British vampire Spike thrilled fans season after season -- in the role of rock star when his band Ghost of the Robot takes the stage at the Great American Music Hall.
Marsters, who's neither British nor a vampire, lends his vocal and guitar-playing talents to this alternative rock quartet. Sure, most of the predominantly female audience will be there just to ogle the gaunt, platinum-haired superstar, but Ghost of the Robot mightbe more worthwhile than other celebrity music efforts, like Dogstar (Keanu Reeves) and 30 Odd Foot of Grunts (Russell Crowe). Find out at 8 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 0'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $20; call 885-0750 or visit www.ghostoftherobot.com. -- Sunny Andersen
You don't have to be a cabaret fan to get a kick out of the Fitzcock Follies. This music and dance extravaganza features the standard hodgepodge of vaudeville acts, but is organized by members of some of the city's most illustrious and infamous groups, like junkyard noisemakers Rube Waddell, the Extra Action Marching Band, and spoken word rebels Attaboy and Burke. "Our clothes will stay on. We will light nothing on fire. There isn't even a theremin," explains the Rube's Freddi Price, who directed the show's musical lineup, a mix of gypsy brass wedding songs, Screamin' Jay Hawkins tunes, and French tango. Kelek, one of Extra Action's scantily clad flag girls (also known for her gigantic Tesla coil shows at Burning Man), directs the stage show, and what a show it is, featuring disembodied tap dancing, a bombshell wooden marionette, and the Can't Can't Girls, who perform the Can-Can -- duh -- and a Grand Guignolpiece. Show time is 10 p.m. at the Odeon Bar, 3223 Mission (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $10; call 550-6994 or visit www.odeonbar.com. -- Lisa Hom
More girls at Exit's theater fest
Christina Augello of Exit Theatre has a sign over her desk that reads, "Art is one of the few things left worth doing." That explains a lot about the co-director of S.F.'s long-running Fringe Festival. She's cementing her place as drama-queen-in-residence with the second-annual DIVAfest, a run of plays, cabaret, solo performances, and comedy celebrating the "female persuasion." Why divas? Why now? Augello wants to take up the slack left by the demise of the Working Woman Theater Festival in 2000 and provide a space for gal-focused stage shows. "I want to give women a place to spotlight their talents and work collectively, which is very diva-esque," says Augello.
DIVAfest's top-billed show is Executive Order 1066, a look at the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans, which sounds pretty tame until you hear that the main character is a female teacup. The whole "she-bang" is put on by Liebe Wetzel and Lunatique Fantastique -- the troupe that uses offbeat found objects to form expressive makeshift puppets, which, as Augello puts it, "are funny even when they're saying something serious." Equally anticipated is Toasted, a creepy, comic tour de force (and true story) in which comedienne Elisa DeCarlo is hurled into an ethical dilemma when she checks her e-mail to find that a fellow member of an online alcoholic's group has confessed to his daughter's murder. DIVAfest opens May 22 and takes place Thursdays through Saturdays (through May 31) at the Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (between Taylor and Mason), S.F. Admission is $10-20; an all-fest pass is $55. Call 673-3847 or visit www.sffringe.org. -- Joyce Slaton
Some secrets just won't keep: Wattstax, aka the black Woodstock, was a huge, seven-hour concert held in L.A. in 1972. Who knew? The documentary about same is an award-winning chronicle of an interesting time and place, with music footage interspersed with Richard Pryor stand-up and interviews with audience members. Musical performers include the Bar-Kays, Albert King, Isaac Hayes, and Rufus Thomas. Show time is 7 p.m. at the UA Galaxy theater, 1285 Sutter (at Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $15; call 771-9271 or visit www.urbanevents.com. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
Ulrika Andersson wears her heart on her sleeve. A self-described "pop music fanatic," the Swedish artist is fond of the genre's cheesy lyrics and shameless articulation of emotions. Her new series, "Power and Affection,"translates pop's melodrama into eye-catching drawings and murals. Sing her praises at the opening reception (5:30-8 p.m.), at the S.F. Arts Commission Gallery, 401 Van Ness. Call 554-6080. -- Lisa Hom