No other comedy troupe in history has engendered the kind of cringe-worthy line-reciting fanaticism that Monty Python's Flying Circus has. And since it's the group's own damn fault for dishing out an irresistible blend of slapstick, dark comedy, and topical satire, fans should forgive Eric Idle and his crew of new-generation players for capitalizing on this venerable glory with the Greedy Bastard Tour. We have all had enough of Python nerds referencing dialogue from the damn "Spanish Inquisition" sketches, and crooning lyrics from "Every Sperm Is Sacred," so we'll thank them to finally get it out of their systems. If you're one of those nerds, you're hereby ordered to line up for Idle's set of classic skits, new and old parodic songs (Idle was Python's main music man), and general reminiscences on growing up in post-World War II England and the birth of the Flying Circus. In fact, go for both nights, just to make sure. The chortling begins at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $30-50; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com.
-- Ron Nachmann
In the audience at dirt track races rookie spectators are easy to spot: They're the ones with vulnerable beer. Innocently gaping through chain link as beat-up Camaros take corners sideways, the uninitiated eventually learn to cover their beverages with one hand, protecting against the inevitability of clod attack. Once they look down at their 2 inches of beer mud, they know. Folks, this is only the beginning of the steep learning curve that is demolition derby. To get the inside scoop the easy way, listen to Jesse Moss, director of the documentary Speedo. He discusses his several seasons following Ed "Speedo" Jager, a man who apparently knows everything about the derby circuit, but not everything about his own marriage. The screening and talk begin at 7 p.m. at the Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth St. (at A), San Rafael. Admission is $5.75-9; call 454-1222 or visit www.cafilm.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Beanie Baby Big House
When Plushies Go to the Pokey
The sight of an orphaned stuffed animal is, for some, poignant. That fluffy bunny, once the object of passionate childish love, is now friendless, desolate, adrift in a gutter. Mariette Marinus feels differently, preferring to capture castoff plushies and display them as art in barren boxes. Squashed flat in their plastic prisons, the faces of these polyester-fill familiars stare pleadingly out at us, creating a vision that's at once unsettling, amusing, and cuddly-cute. Marinus' exhibition, "Trapped and Found,"is up through Feb. 7 at Glama-Rama, 417 South Van Ness (at 15th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 577-0019.
-- Joyce Slaton