Ishiro Honda didn't realize what he was unleashing when he directed Godzilla, King of the Monsters in 1954. The tale of the giant atomic-powered fire-breathing lizard crystallized the fears of an irradiated Japanese population. Blockbuster business ensued. And a new generation of humongous monster movies was born, with Godzilla returning again and again to take on inflated creatures like Mothra, Rodan, and Gamera, while studios across the world raced to produce their own knockoffs.
The Shooting Gallery pays tribute to these massive monsters -- and the heroes who battled them, such as Ultra Man -- with the "Tokyo Monster Show," a group exhibition that offers a cockeyed take on the genre. Like Tom Thewes' Girrrl Power, a Japan-versus-America metaphor that depicts a uniformed Japanese schoolgirl kicking the Hulk's ass, or Jim Winters' Dawn After Destruction, a somber portrayal of a post-monster-attack Tokyo. But our favorite is Mick Sheldon's Godzillella vs AlQueda Bombers, a large woodcut the artist created by driving over Godzillella repeatedly with his van. Now that's some badass art. "Tokyo Monster" runs through June 5 at the Shooting Gallery, 839 Larkin (at O'Farrell), S.F. Admission is free; call 931-8035 or visit www.shootinggallerysf.com.
-- Joyce Slaton
Bloodsucking fiction rises anew
Can there ever be too much vampire erotica? The genre certainly seems as immortal as the creatures of the night themselves. But these days there are too many such novels, leaving the style as stale as day-old plasma (please spare me from having to use yet more strained bodily fluid metaphors). Patrick Califia's dark new book, Mortal Companion, promises to change all that with its wicked plot: When former pagan warrior Ulric takes a mortal lover, his sister Adulfa sees the perfect opportunity to wreak her long-awaited revenge. Seems these two have a bad case of sibling rivalry that whets their savage appetites. It's been four years since Califia released a book of fiction (under the better-known byline "Pat Califia"), and fans have been savoring the wait. His readings, too, are few and far between, so be sure to catch the book release party at 2 p.m. at Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia (at 19th Street), S.F. Admission is free, and so is the celebratory cake; call 824-8203 or visit www.borderlands-books.com.
-- Lori Selke
Dress That Impresses
Rare wearables at "Particles"
Megan Thyme Walker is praying that her Chia Pet clothing sprouts on time. "I planted it yesterday," says the landscape designer/fashionista, "and now I'm hovering over it, saying, 'Please grow! Please grow!'" Ready or not, her flora-festooned gowns -- and a trove of other loopy clothing -- will be on display at "Particles: Articles of Party Art," a group fashion show and sample sale featuring the imaginative work of some 20 designers from the Cloud Factory Design Collective. Throw on your feathers and fur and take a peek at the Burning Man-compliant glad rags starting at 9 p.m. at Historic Sweet's Ballroom, 1933 Broadway (at 19th Street), Oakland. Admission (21 and over only) is $12-20; call 281-9432 or visit www.cfdesign.net.
-- Joyce Slaton
This Is Not a Recording
Do you ever feel ... less than whole? Robert Karimi does -- he's a self-described "suburban Iranian-Guatemalan hip hop/disco/deep house punk rockero boy." Now he's used his experiences and musical preferences to create the one-man show Self (The Remix). Describing his "sampled consciousness," Karimi utilizes sound to express his confusion over subcultures, language, and identity one track at a time. The Remix starts at 8 p.m. at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck (at Prince), Berkeley. Admission is $5-10; call (510) 849-2568 or visit www.lapena.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser