Spelling was once nerdy. Until recently, those overly concerned with orthography were, let's face it, not the ones wearing black leather jackets. For some spelling fanatics, that's still true. But then, rock 'n' rollers have always been strange: Hell, at this juncture, they're into knitting, tea, and medicinal herbs.
Is it any wonder, then, that a rowdy Mission District hipster joint is throwing a Rock 'n' Roll Spelling Bee? Everyone knows that musicians and their ilk live to make fools of themselves, so no surprise there. Touted as a highly competitive grudge match, this bee includes some contestants who are members of local bands and others who are members of the local music press. Full disclosure: SF Weeklycontributor Dan Strachota is participating, to be tortured by challenges like "bourbon" and "zeppelin." Brian Perkins of comedy group Killing My Lobster plays game show-type host, while bands Revenge, Snowday, Citizens Here & Abroad, and Excuses for Skipping perform between rounds. Watch your language starting at 8 p.m. at El Rio, 3158 Mission (at Cesar Chavez), S.F. Admission is $6-20; call 282-3325 or visit www.elriosf.com. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
Speed Dating for the Movies
At the risk of sounding like the Enquirer, we must report that Martin Scorsese allegedly filmed New York, New York while flying high on lines of cocaine. In the end, the movie flopped. The point? During the 48 Hour Film Project -- in which an entire movie is baked from scratch in two short days -- we hope the teams will sip coffee or tea instead. For one sleepless weekend, filmmakers write, shoot, score, and edit a picture, vying to win "Best 48 Hour Film in San Francisco," or maybe "Best 48 Hour Film" (chosen from the winners in the 11 other participating cities). To breed creativity, participants draw genres -- such as musical, horror, noir, and comedy -- at random. And in a city of I-can-make-a-better-movie-than-this-garbage theatergoers, this proactive project offers the opportunity to doit rather than just talk about it. See the results at screenings beginning at 7 p.m. Monday at the Roxie, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $4-8; call 863-1087 or visit www.48hourfilm.com. -- Brock Keeling
Sex in Space Where do you do it?
If someone were to do a survey of the general public that asked various folks to cite what they felt were the most erotic places in the world, the responses would probably vary greatly. Barring obvious examples like strip clubs or the Folsom Street Fair, sexy places are often defined more by who's in them than by the color of the carpeting or the choice of wall hangings. So where, exactly, is sexy? Who better to tackle that seductive question than photographers, that focused breed of visual artists whose work depends entirely upon the environments they find or create?
Digging their lenses into the spatial galaxies of eroticism, exhibitionism, and fantasy, nine photo artists investigate the whereabouts of love and lust in a new group show called "Locating Intimacy: The (Space) Between." The images in this voyeuristic treat reveal spaces that are empty and occupied, obvious and obscure. Here you can go behind closed doors to experience recently vacated sites of passion or view pornographic stills in a new context. If the idea of substituting humans with other, more pliable, partners appeals, you'll get a kick out of Elena Dorfman's Real Dolls series, which zooms in on people's relationships with their life-size, anatomically correct dolls (some of which could give Penélope Cruz a run for her money). Elsewhere, Bill Durgin's cinematic photos look at scenes of domestic naughtiness, which are rendered all the more excitingly incongruent by their homey charm. Locate your own intimacy in a crowd full of strangers at the opening reception, starting at 5 p.m. at SF Camerawork, 1246 Folsom (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-1001 or visit www.sfcamerawork.org. -- Karen Macklin
Resourceful action-adventure hero MacGyver may have been mocked in media from The Simpsons to Mad Magazine, but can you name another guy who can ignite a bomb with a cold capsule, or stop a sulfuric acid leak with a candy bar? We can. Author Cy Tymony demonstrates astonishing tricks -- such as making a survival kit that fits inside a watch -- from his book Top Secret: Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things starting at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 2352 Shattuck (at Durant), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 644-0861. -- Joyce Slaton
Before television there existed an oddity known as "radio." Instead of watching reality TV, folks listened to mystery and sci-fi radio series. At the "Old Time Radio Night," classics like X Minus One and Quiet Please will tingle your spine as they did your grandparents' years ago. The suspense starts at 7 p.m. at Samovar Tea Lounge, 498 Sanchez, S.F. Admission is free; call 626-4700 or visit www.samovartea.com. -- Brock Keeling