Screw those bottle-twirling cretins from Cocktail; the best bartender can muddle a minty Mojito with one hand, draw a Guinness with the other, and call a taxi for a designated drinker by pushing buttons with his tongue. S.F.'s barkeeps proved their mettle last year at Daddy's Bar in the Castro, with a cheering crowd watching as 10 talented mixologists answered quiz showlike questions on alcoholic concoctions and liquor trivia.
Now The Weakest Drink: San Francisco Bartenders Competition Benefit is on again, with another battle among some of the Bay Area's best tipple traffickers. Contestants are tested on their knowledge of firewater rites, then timed as they shake up boozy brews, the more arcane and complex the better. The fastest and cleverest will proudly wear the title of San Francisco Master Mixologist, while the losers can content themselves with the fact that the evening's proceeds go to gay men's health center Magnet. The night includes a raffle and an audience quiz with door prizes. It all starts at 5 p.m. at the Edge, 4149 18th St. (at Collingwood), S.F. Admission is free; call 292-9808, ext. 2. -- Joyce Slaton
Stick 'Em Up
When the Founding Fathers included the right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights, they had no idea what they'd started. The Second Amendment's become a political flash point that has created decades of caustic controversy between those who favor guns for hunting and protection and those who view weapons as the tools of death. Consider both sides at "The Gun Show," a monthlong exhibit with provocative paintings, photos, sculptures, and other works from artists with something to say on heavy hardware. The public reception for the showing starts at 8 tonight (the exhibit runs through Sept. 6) at the appropriately named Shooting Gallery, 839 Larkin (at O'Farrell), S.F. Admission is free; call 931-8035 or visit www.shootinggallerysf.com. -- Joyce Slaton
Art That Rocks When music meets design
We realize that CDs beat out vinyl records with a combination of exquisite sound fidelity and unprecedented durability. But as an art object the CD sucks, reducing the designs once writ so large on album covers to a teensy square.
Those who remember -- or simply appreciate -- the golden age of influential sleeve art can see the products of one of the medium's masters this weekend with "Stanley Mouse at the Avalon Ballroom."The show features the original paintings, sketches, and prints that became some of rock's most recognizable images on posters and discs from acts like the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, and the Steve Miller Band. The exhibit opens at 6 p.m. on Friday at the swanky Avalon Ballroom, 1268 Sutter (at Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $5; call 302-8353 or visit www.mousestudios.com. -- Joyce Slaton