Consider the 10-gallon hat. Those who wear it call to mind iconography as old as the Old West. The image that goes with the chapeau -- a dusty figure straddling a horse, for whom fear and weakness are citified luxuries -- is dangerously alluring. Yet this person with the wide brim isn't usually a bastion of tolerance.
But just try to keep the gay and lesbian community away from a sex symbol or out of a cute outfit. Here to reclaim the cowboy hat and the two-stepping that goes with it is the Sundance Stompede. Festival organizers have planned three nights of country-and-western romping that cater, the event's press materials say, "to lesbian and gay participants, [but] all open-minded country-western dance enthusiasts are encouraged to attend." PFLAG Grandma and Grandpa, this means you. The biggest event of the weekend promises to be "Hoedown 2003," with its apparently very popular dance performances, and perhaps also the unveiling of the 2004 South of Market Bare Chest Calendar. Say, "Howdy, stranger!" starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday (and continuing through Sunday at various venues) at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 1231 Market (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is $8-40; call 820-1403 or visit www.stompede.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
A Line on a Map
Films cross the Frontera
Ever wonder why we don't see more Mexican films here in California? I mean, why's it taken so long for talented actors like Gael García Bernal to get across the dang border? Are there more at home like him?
Matinee idols notwithstanding, the art produced next door doesn't make it here often enough. That's why the Borderland Film Festival sounds so cool. The four-day event strives to illuminate the cultural and political realities that surround border areas by presenting movies, art, and music produced on both sides. The best-known piece is Lourdes Portillo's Señorita Extraviada, but it's the other offerings -- work not screened elsewhere -- that are the real pull. Catch New World Border, Journey Into American Society, or Luchas en Familia starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Galería de la Raza, 2857 24th St. (at Bryant), S.F. (The festival continues through Sunday at various locations.) Admission is free; call 826-8009 or visit www.galeriadelaraza.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Gavin's new set of balls
Sister Betty, the impresario behind the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's monthly bingo match, "Ba-da-Bingo," has been taking some heat for inviting right-wing darling/mayoral candidate Gavin Newsom to man the game board this time out. But Newsom's appearance merely continues the Sisters' string of local celeb hosts of all political persuasions, which over the past four years has included Mark Leno and Bevan Dufty. Betty promises her moderator won't escape unscathed, what with the sure-to-be-uproarious Gavin Newsom look-alike contest, live music from Skye Girls, and pervert-friendly antics, including frequent and playfully severe spankings. The balls start spinning at 7 p.m. at the Metropolitan Community Church, 150 Eureka (at 18th Street), S.F. Admission is $12; visit www.sisterbetty.org/badabingo.
-- Joyce Slaton
We Love the Nightlife
Who says you have to leave just because it's closing time? The Asian Art Museum throws one of the hippest parties in town with "Art After Hours: Art and Seoul," featuring Korean pop music and videos, cocktails made with the rice wine soju, and a dance floor surrounded by Korean art starting at 8 p.m. at 200 Larkin (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $15-25; call 581-3500 or visit www.asianart.org.
-- Joyce Slaton