Painted Ladies

Antique ads from old Shanghai

THURS 1/29

Sex sells, and it was no different in early 1900s Shanghai, when artists painted lovely Chinese ladies to advertise soap, cigarettes, fabric, and other commodities. Dressed in elegant cheongsams, cradling consumer goods, and often showing a teeny bit of skin, the attractive subjects of these posters (or yuefenpai) were a tangible symbol of China's new focus on Western-style commerce and marketing. As such, they were a target for Cultural Revolution reformers, who destroyed nearly all the "decadent" lithographs in the '60s and '70s. Though reproductions are common, original yuefenpai are even rarer than warm San Francisco evenings. Which makes the exhibition "Beautiful Ladies: Vintage Shanghai Deco Poster Art" all the more special. More than 80 antique pinups are divided into two categories: One set depicts the Four Beauties of Ancient China (a quartet of legendary lovelies who lived from the 7th century B.C. to the 8th century A.D.); the other spotlights 20th-century knockouts such as cross-dressing male Beijing Opera star Mei Lanfang and actress Butterfly Wu. The exhibit opens with a reception at 6 p.m. (and runs through May 15) at the Chinese Culture Center, 750 Kearny (at Washington), S.F. Admission is free; call 986-1822 or visit
-- Joyce Slaton

Wit and Wisdom
Lady poet kicks boring's butt

WED 1/28

She's wild, no doubt about that. Kim Addonizio is famous not only for co-editing Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos, but also for a situation involving her underwear, a swimming pool, uniformed sailors, and a lot of people watching. But she's no child: No green kid could quote fellow poets with the insight she shows in interviews, let alone write the line "Now that you're finally happy/ you notice how sad your friends are." Tonight, Addonizio reads from her fourth book of poetry, What Is This Thing Called Love? Since only wild people who are not children should take on the subject of love, especially in poetry, we have high hopes. The reading begins at 7 p.m. at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Turk), S.F. Admission is free; call 441-6670 or visit
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Look Upward
The life of a Mission

ONGOING 1/28-2/7

Humans often fixate on questions like "What was it really like back then?" People are forever making paintings or movies about such things, but this is the first time we've heard of someone projecting archival images onto a historic church dome to get an answer. During this innovative installation, the Mission San Francisco de Asíscelebrates the arrival of Andrew Galvan as the Mission's curator, with artist Ben Woodprojecting three centuries' worth of imagery onto the inside of the church's soaring dome.

The exhibit continues at 2 p.m. (through Feb. 7) at the Mission Dolores Basilica, 3321 16th St. (at Dolores), S.F. Admission is free; call 621-8203.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Come. Sit. Stay.

SAT-SUN 1/31-2/1

The wet noses and wagging tails of more than 135 breeds of canines from affenpinschers to Yorkshire terriers are on display at the Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show, with almost 2,000 pooches vying for the coveted "Best In Show" title. Bring the biscuits starting at 9 a.m. at the Cow Palace, Geneva & Santos, S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 404-4111 or visit
-- Joyce Slaton

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