Back in the days when Ozzie and Harriet were the coolest parents around and Kukla, Fran & Ollie was the ultimate in children's entertainment, Noel Neillwas television's first hottie. Her turn as Lois Lane in 78 episodes of The Adventures of Superman, reprising the role she'd created in the first Supermanmovie in 1948, gave lusty pre-pubescents something to pant over. Since then, Neill has been elusive: Despite all the attention paid to actors, writers, artists, and directors associated with the popular comic book characters, she almost never responded to interview requests seeking the inside scoop on Superman. Until now.
The new book Truth, Justice, & the American Way: The Life and Times of Noel Neill, the Original Lois Lane ("as told to" Larry Thomas Ward) explores Neill's fascinating life, from her early days as a reporter for Women's Wear Daily through her contract starlet period on the Paramount lot and her lucky break starring in Supermandramatizations on the small and silver screens. Given that she made some 88 films over four decades, expect anecdotes galore. Neill reads at 7:30 p.m. at Books Inc., 2275 Market (at 16th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 864-6777 or visit www.booksinc.net.
-- Joyce Slaton
Art that loves to love
The popular image of a rabid fan isn't flattering: a sycophantic, pathetic fool, squandering other interests in favor of the blind worship of band, team, or actor. But we're a country full of fans, so much so that some people (Pamela Des Barres comes to mind) are fans who have fans of their fandom. Still, sometimes we seem ashamed to love anything so much that we'll paint our faces or stand in days-long lines for it.
Here to school us in fan-love is "I'm Your #1 Fan!," a heartfelt exhibition presenting the work of two artists and their adoration for people and things. (One piece in the show is dedicated to braids.) Albert Reyes' and Aiyana Udesen's images of celebrities, friends, pets, and themselves are on display starting at 6 p.m. at the Show Cave Night Gallery, 1232 Pacific (at Jones), S.F. Admission is free; call (510) 414-9495 or go to www.showcave.biz.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Al Franken's S.F. stop
Merely penning his anti-conservative book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right would likely have made satirist Al Franken a liberal hero. But thinking up a title so incendiary that it caused Fox News to sue (unsuccessfully) over his use of "fair and balanced" made the man a lefty legend. With chapter titles such as "Bill O'Reilly: Lying Splotchy Bully," "Ann Coulter: Nutcase," and "You Know Who I Don't Like? Ann Coulter," Franken takes the right-wing media to task with humor. Hear him speak at noon at the Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason (at California), S.F. Admission is $15-30; call 597-6700 or visit www.commonwealthclub.org.
-- Sunny Andersen
A Natural High
Victor LaValle claims to have written his new novel, The Ecstatic, as "a tribute to my fat self," but this publication, the follow-up to his short-story collection Slapboxing With Jesus, is about crisis, salvation, and a deeply irritating family. It sounds like it honors us all, the voluptuous and the stringy alike. LaValle appears at 7:30 p.m. at Modern Times Bookstore, 888 Valencia (at 20th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 282-9246 or visit www.mtbs.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser