Everyone in America has been affected by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Yet today's children, who are growing up in a far better world as a result of his work, know more about celebrities and sports stars than the man whose zeal and humanity changed our society so radically. Now these kids can learn about King's life (and celebrate his birthday) at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth and Family Day.
The event includes films about King, readings by winners of a youth essay contest, spoken-word performances on race and activism, and music from the Potrero Hill Neighborhood Youth Choir. When the tykes have had their fill of freedom and hope, they can go back to regular old harum-scarum fun with free carousel rides, no-charge admission to Zeum and the Metreon's attractions, and discounts on bowling and skating. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. in Yerba Buena Gardens, Third & Mission streets, S.F. Admission is free; call (510) 839-3777 or visit www.norcalmlk.org.
-- Jack Karp
A farm boy gets fast-talked out of his currency in the big city: a classic tale, indeed. But in Jack & the Beanstalk, the young man makes the best of his misfortune -- if only Jack's bizarre good luck with legumes were more common in real life. In this Young Performers Theatre production, costumed kids and funny puppets share the stage to tell the story of enchanted beans, a terrible giant, and a castle in the clouds. As the only all-children's theater school and company in the city, YPT is certainly a place to know if you've got ankle biters in the house: The talented 9-and-up players put on dependable classics like Winnie-the-Pooh as well as new works by local writers. Jackopens at 1 p.m. (and continues through Feb. 8) at Fort Mason, Building C, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $5-8; call 346-5550 or visit www.ypt.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Go Ask Alice
Classic Kids' Book Really Sings
Though Alice in Wonderland is known as a children's book, in many ways its rampant double-entendres and sly word games make it more appropriate for adults than young ones. Many musical stage versions soften the story's eccentricities, retaining only Lewis Carroll's whimsy and his imaginative characters -- and this one's no exception. The all-female Children's Theatre Association of San Francisco takes on Alice Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (through Feb. 14) at the Palace of the Legion of Honor's Florence Gould Theater, 34th Avenue & Clement, S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 248-2677 or visit www.ctasf.com.
-- Joyce Slaton