Say what you will about mass anti-war demonstrations, they bring out the best in creative signage. The many inventive messages displayed in last year's protests against the war in Iraq gave artist Art Hazlewood an idea: He's inviting the public to bring T-shirts, banners, and other types of signs to "Hubris Corpulentus," his exhibit of anti-war prints. He'll ask people to talk about what they've made, and in so doing honor the folk-art explosion that included messages ranging from clever ("I'd Rather Be Weeding My Garden Than Fighting a Bush") to oddly pedantic ("Magazine Editors Against Misspellings on Antiwar Signs") to delightfully freaky-deaky (on a drag queen: "I am the bomb").
But is it art? Plenty of the recycled cardboard duct-taped to reused broomsticks doesn't deserve any name besides "protest sign." But the form has undeniable charm and showcases a brand of American ingenuity; witness the horde of Rosie the Riveters spotted in the Civic Center with speech balloons asserting, "We Can Do It! But We Shouldn't." "Artists Show Their Wares: From Rags to Posters" begins at 2 p.m. at the Meridian Gallery, 545 Sutter, S.F. Admission is free; call ahead to participate at 398-7229 or visit www.meridiangallery.org. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
Right to Bear Armenia Diverse crew for new film fest
Invasion, occupation, diaspora, and genocide: Armenians the world over have struggled to maintain their cultural identity and existence. Reflecting this reality, the New York-born Armenian Film Festival unites the works of auteurs hailing from eight countries.
Running the gamut from experimental shorts to narrative features, the featured films seem tempered by the extraordinary political forces the people of the Armenian culture have faced. Highlights include an early short, Open House, by Oscar-nominated Canadian writer/director Atom Egoyan as well as a feature debut, Aram, from French director Robert Kechichian. The three-day festival begins at 7 p.m. Friday at the Delancey Street Theater, 600 Embarcadero (at Brannan), S.F. Admission is $10 per screening or $60 for a festival pass; call 586-5693 or visit www.armenianfilmfestival.org for a complete schedule. -- William Simmons
Going APE Comics convention deluxe
Comics: not just for geeks anymore. This seems to be the reality of what has gained the highfalutin moniker "sequential art," and nowhere is it more in evidence than at the Alternative Press Expo. Of course, pale, furtive types still abound, but so do savvy underground publishers with fingers on the pulse of youth culture. Which is which? Decide for yourself. Special guests include Dykes to Watch Out For creator Alison Bechdel, Slave Labor Graphics' Aaron A., and comix big shot Charles Burns. Personal fave: Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame.
Locals avoid Fisherman's Wharf because of the tourists, but you'll want to befriend the latest European visitors -- the 39,000 tulips displayed at Tulipmania, a flower show spread across the Pier 39 area. See the vibrant colors solo or led by professional landscapers; tours leave at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. starting today (and continuing through Feb. 29) at Beach & Embarcadero, S.F. Admission and tours are free; call 705-5500 or visit www.pier39.com. -- Jack Karp