This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, August 20, 2003
All-American boy Kirk Read tells his amazing story of growing up and coming out young in Lexington, Va. -- home of the Virginia Military Institute and Pat Robertson -- in his memoir How I Learned to Snap. He's now a San Franciscan and a gay role model of sorts: Though his book addresses the positive aspects of "intergenerational sex," aka statutory rape, it's still been ordered by high schools. In fact, Read is outspoken about the need for reform of laws that criminalize teenage sexuality. An article on the author's Web site has news for us all -- "If we're going to make a dent in this problem, we have to boldly go where this movement is most terrified of going: into elementary schools. We have to recruit kids to be kind to one another." Read reads at 7 p.m. at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Turk), S.F. Admission is free; call 441-6670 or visit www.bookstore.com.

Thursday, August 21, 2003
We see it all the time, driving around the Mission: a stencil art covered VW Bug (a real one, not a new one). We never get a chance to look at it up close, but we will tonight. "Stencils: The Art of Negative Spaces," an exhibit of international stencil art, displays Scott Williams' Bug plus the work of a slew of others, including local Steve Lambert, Scout and Stain from New York, and Minnesota's Ministry of Art Collective. The opening also features a DIY "put-up wall," so visitors can contribute to the show; a panel discussion with some of the artists; and a stencil-crafting table. The organizers point out in their press release that every day we walk past innumerable small works of art -- on sidewalks, buildings, and other undecorated spaces -- and they hope their exhibit will remind us to appreciate such creativity. The reception begins at 6 p.m. (and the show continues through Sept. 6) at the Cell Space Crucible Steel Gallery, 2050 Bryant (at 18th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 643-1411 or visit www.budgetgallery.org.

Friday, August 22, 2003
You may not be able to please all of the people all of the time, but we're betting you can get close with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, screening at Oakland's fanciest theater. Kids will like it: It's a classic children's flick, with wacky characters, a wacky plot, and a wacky flying jalopy. The teen-to-30 crowd will love it, because it's so bad it's good. (As proof, we offer the memory of San Francisco's own surfy lounge group Shitty Shitty Band Band. If that's not love, we don't know what is.) For everyone else, there's Dick Van Dyke, good clean fun, and did we mention the flying jalopy? Show time is 8 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway (at 20th Street), Oakland. Admission is $5; call (510) 465-6400 or visit www.paramounttheatre.com.

Saturday, August 23, 2003
Though the proles rubbernecking Broadway's strip-bar eye candy wouldn't know it today, North Beach was once the queerest neighborhood in town. In the '30s and '40s, when gay bars were busted for same-sex dancing, tavern owners in North Beach were some of the few in the city with the clout -- and the payola -- to keep cops at bay. Homo boys and tourists preferred to ogle the drag queens at Finocchio's, but for skirt-chasing ladies Mona's 440 was the 'hood's main attraction. There, butches and femmes could schmooze, cruise, and dance the night away to tunes from cross-dressing chanteuses like Gladys Bentley. Tonight the ghost of Mona's rises once more when Mystery Girl Productions presents "Girl's Night Out," a femme-friendly event featuring an all-gal DJ lineup spinning hip hop and house. The girlie goodness starts at 9 p.m. at ChiChi, 440 Broadway (at Montgomery), S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 310-8546 or visit www.chichisf.com.

Sunday, August 24, 2003
Post-jam, neo-experimental, and pseudo-psychedelic are music styles that don't yet exist: We made 'em up. But those genres might well spring to life before, during, or after the San Francisco Guerilla Music Festival, whose organizers have their fingers in established musical forms such as lo-fi psych-pop and jam-rock. What reason do we have to think such spontaneous combustion is likely? Consider this description of one of the acts, the Spider Compass Good Crime Band, from the Web site of the Shimmer Kids Underpop Association (another band scheduled to perform today): "vulture-circus-electroskronk." Cool! Strange music for all ages including sounds by Charmless, Mushroom, and the Jim Yoshii Pile-Up begins at 1 p.m. at Warm Water Cove Park, 23rd Street & Illinois, S.F. Admission is free; call 647-8598 or visit www.underpop.org.

Monday, August 25, 2003
For most customers, obtaining fast food is just that -- fast. Customers move in and out swiftly without a moment's thought for the humans whose hands cooked, wrapped, and proffered their food. Even a second look might not provide much of a read; a counter clerk's cheery smile is designed to be an opaque interface that won't distract from the grub. But Oakland artist Nancy Mizuno Elliott sees more. May I Take Your Order?, her series of posters immortalizing the employees at Market Street fast-food joints, includes a personal statement from each subject. Thus we learn that thissalad-bar jockey races model cars and thatfamiliar uniformed cashier majored in computer science, information that adds substance to our impersonal everyday encounters with food servers. Elliott's posters are displayed in kiosks on Market between Van Ness and the Embarcadero until Nov. 13; for more information, call 252-2590.

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