The opening scene of Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 masterpiece Vertigo, in which James Stewart chases a fugitive across a building, slips, and is left dangling precariously from a rain gutter, portrayed the fear of heights so accurately that even those of us who've never experienced an inkling of dizziness were left reeling. Generally considered one of Hitch's best, the film is also one of the finest cinematic depictions of this city in movie history. At SFMOMA's gala fund-raiser "Vertigo," photographic interpretations of the movie and of the condition (all taken by celebrities) will be on display. Margaret Cho, Dave Eggers, Kim Novak, Yoko Ono, Robin Wright Penn, and Robin Williams are among the many big-name stars who've agreed to capture what the title means to them using disposable cameras. Ever wonder what gives pro skater Tony Hawk vertigo? What about 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia? (It's not surprising that Garcia's snapshots are job-related: His blurred action shot of a team "huddle" as seen from the viewpoint of a fast-approaching player anticipates a painful collision.)
The photos are up for grabs during a silent auction at the elaborate fete, described by organizers as an "evening of new perspectives and surprising revelations." At $75 to $120, admission to see those perspectives and revelations ain't cheap, but in return you get celebrity sightings, entertainment, drinks, and good eats from restaurants like Ana Mandara and Sushi Groove South. "Vertigo" takes place from 8 p.m. to midnight at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St. (at Mission); call 357-4086 or visit www.sfmomacx.org.
-- Lisa Hom
The Freshest Films
Creativity is the name of the game at the Hip Hop Film Festival -- not money, organizers say, nor the "'bling bling' and 'bang bang' of the corporate music video world." For fest co-founder Kevin Epps, it's much more about bringing positive change to his community. The kids in Hunters Point, he says, don't have too many opportunities for education or self-expression. Epps bucked tradition, though, and has become a respected, articulate, award-winning filmmaker. His Straight Outta Hunters Point is the center of gravity of this traveling festival, but the other pictures are getting noticed, too. It all begins at 6 p.m. at the Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $4-8; call 863-1087 or visit www.roxie.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Judy Garland lives!
Ever since the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt heralded Judy Garland as an inspiration for his 1999 opus 69 Love Songs, her legacy has taken a step out of the Barbra Streisand-ish camp of camp, making her more accessible to younger, indie-cred-obsessed audiences. Although Garland has been dead for more than 30 years, San Francisco has the next best thing: Connie Champagne. Onstage, Miss Champagne seems to possess the astonishing voice of the legend. She sings Garland's standards -- plus some standards the icon might have sung, from songwriters like Freddie Mercury and Kurt Cobain. Forget what you know about the rainbow and Oz; this is post-'60s Judy. So don your favorite pants suit, down your prescribed barbiturates, and order only the top-shelf booze -- Connie goes on at 8 p.m. at the Plush Room, 940 Sutter, S.F. Admission is $25; call 885-2115 or visit www.plushroom.com.
-- Brock Keeling
A dream team of post-punk acoustic manly-men? A K Records supergroup? A rare chance to hear some really fine musicians? Survey says: all of the above, with Calvin Johnson & the Sons of the Soil. Underground superstar Johnson is famous for a lot of good work: bringing Shonen Knife to the United States, putting out Beck's early stuff, and fronting several stellar bands himself. Now he's on the road with some of the most talented folks on the K roster: Yume Bitsu's Adam Forkner, Jason Anderson (aka Wolf Colonel), and Kyle Field of Little Wings. Most of these guys usually play solo, so this should be a standout show -- you may never again hear these songs performed with a full band. The brilliant Rebecca Pearcy opens at 7 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $7; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Erika Gessin is tired of the city's laid-back fashion sense, and she's out to change it with "Catwalk." The monthly fashion show is different from typical runway displays: Its festivities are as much about mixing and mingling as they are a showcase of international and local designers. This month's edition, "FCUKiki Beach," is perfectly timed for the first day of summer: Tonight's lineup by French Connection UK is inspired by the surfer-chick trend that's been seen all over the glossies. Take advantage of a sample sale or get a free makeover starting at 8 p.m. at 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 974-1719.
-- Lisa Hom