This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Monday, November 3, 2003
Almost 40 years after its release, Stanley Kubrick's cutting political satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb has reached icon status. Some of its strongest images -- Slim Pickens gleefully riding a nuclear missile through the sky, Sterling Hayden's Gen. Ripper stroking his phallic cigar while ordering a nuclear strike against Russia -- are so familiar that those who haven't seen the film lately may have forgotten how shocking the scenes are beneath their veneer of good humor. Considering Dr. Strangelove as a series of gags misses the central point. This is a movie about mass destruction and the unreliable men who hold the power to order it, and any laughs the director managed to wring out of that grim premise were intended merely to disguise a polemic as acceptably lighthearted farce. See it all over again at 7 and 9 p.m. (also tomorrow night) at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (near Market), S.F. Admission is $5-8; call 621-6120 or visit www.castrotheatre.com.

Tuesday, November 4, 2003
Though the notion of updating traditional fairy tales is a sound one (Angela Carter won our eternal adoration with her feminist revision of "Little Red Riding Hood," the short story that became Neil Jordan's movie The Company of Wolves), we have to confess we didn't much like author Gregory Maguire's Wicked, which visited Oz to tell the Wicked Witch of the West's life story, or his Cinderella takeoff, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Maguire's newest book, Mirror Mirror, delves still further into his signature gimmick, but this time he draws in threads from history that immeasurably improve the plot and pace. The sinister Lucrezia Borgia, it turns out, is the wicked-stepmother equivalent of Snow White's doppelgänger, Bianca Nevada. Maguire reads an excerpt starting 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.

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