Jews who survived the Holocaust were left with emotional agony; that pain turned Esther Nisenthal Krinitz to the needle. No, Krinitz did not fall prey to drug addiction, but to fabric art, producing pieces that are as amazing for their vivid colors and details as for the dire tales they relate.
Each work includes embroidered scraps of fabric that form elaborate images pulled from Krinitz's past, with an explanation of the scene stitched below. For example, No. 23 Depths of the Forest pictures Krinitz and her sister sitting beside a woodsy pond under a canopy of autumn leaves. At first glance all seems cheerful and lovely -- until you read the legend, which explains that the siblings are hiding in the forest to escape Polish villagers intent on exposing them to the Nazis.
Celebrate the late artist through photographs, original works, video, and reminiscences from her two daughters at "An Evening of Story and Remembrance: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz,"starting at 7:30 p.m. at St. Gregory's Church, 500 De Haro (at Mariposa), S.F. Admission is $8-12; call 255-8100 or visit www.godsfriends.org. -- Joyce Slaton
"Take me down to blinky winky chinky Chinatown/ Where the lights are burning when the sun goes down/ Down where dreamy dreamers dream sweet dreams/ In that land of gladness picking little poppies there among the hoppies."
Few second-guessed the 1915 musical hit "Blinky Winky Chinky Chinatown." After all, it was a time when racial stereotypes abounded: Al Jolson was famous worldwide for his blackface act, and the black-baiting "coon song" fad produced such immortal tunes as "All Coons Look Alike to Me."
Of course, these days such racist throwbacks are deeply offensive -- or educational for those who don't realize just how far we've come. Get an eye- and earful at "Singing the 'Oriental': Stereotypes of Chinese in Popular Music," an exhibition of 19th- and 20th-century sheet music and ephemera, with associated listening stations. The opening reception begins at 5 p.m. at SFSU's Cesar Chavez Student Center Gallery, 1650 Holloway (at 19th Avenue), S.F. The show runs through May 12, and admission is free; call 338-2580. -- Joyce Slaton
She's Good, Man Amy's new book
With her legions of fans who love her fearless reportage and near-complete lack of respect for authority -- Bill Clinton called her hostile, combative, and, you guessed it, disrespectful -- Amy Goodman, co-host of syndicated left-wing political radio show Democracy Now!, is no stranger to the spotlight. But it may surprise folks that she found the time to write a book, The Exception to the Rulers. It won't be shocking to discover that Exception "challenges the corporate and political hypocrisy that has silenced America," though, will it? The author reads at 7 p.m. at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), S.F. Admission is free; call 441-6670 or visit www.bookstore.com. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
Powerful Painterly Politics
Ancient Aztec papers miraculously saved from Spanish marauders, trashy pulp comic-book art, and an eye for big questions all make their way into Enrique Chagoya's compelling paintings. Harnessing the rage/hope combo that keeps political artists going, the Stanford art professor will offer words, rather than images, when he lectures, under the auspices of the Wattis Institute, at 7 p.m. at Timken Lecture Hall, CCA, 1111 Eighth St. (at Hooper), S.F. Admission is free; call 551-9210. -- Hiya Swanhuyser