"If you want to be free, be free" and other plangent Cat Stevens strains waft through the Haight starting today, as the Red Vic Movie House marks its 24th birthday with a four-day screening of 1971's Harold and Maude. Hal Ashby's dark comedy/intergenerational romance (Harold is 19, Maude 79) is perfect fare for the Red Vic, and a great example of why repertory theaters should continue to exist: It's a cult favorite, discovered by its audience rather than forced down viewers' gullets like so many blockbusters today.
Worker-owned and -operated since 1980, the theater maintains a stubbornly independent, hippie (in a good way) ambience. In addition to rotating rep favorites old and new, it's a home for hard-to-find, hard-to-classify movies -- political documentaries, surfing films, French anime (like Kaena, making its San Francisco debut on Aug. 5). Best of all are the wonderful couches, where viewers can lounge with friends while enjoying their bowls of popped-on-the-spot corn. Harold and Maude screens nightly at 7:15 and 9:15, with matinees Sunday and Wednesday at 2 and 4 p.m., at the Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 668-3994 or visit www.redvicmoviehouse.com.
-- Gregg Rickman
DJs gone wild at 111 Minna
In high school, punk rock boys pulled skateboard tricks in empty parking garages while the girls sat and watched. In college, guys formed crappy little garage bands while their female friends cheered them on from the audience. Even in San Francisco, this strange city where anything is possible, dance floor action is invariably directed by a male turntablist, who sits behind his decks and looks cool as the girls shimmy along. If it weren't for DJ Polywog we'd have no hope at all.
Known for mixing snippets of classic rock and soul (Nina Simone, Jimi Hendrix) into move-worthy electronic pastiches, the headphoned princess is the great chick hope for many a budding mixmaster. Soak up her eclectic grooves and urban coolness at "Summer Joint," XLR8R Magazine's danceable feast of DJ delights, which also includes sets from the boys -- TophOne, J.Boogie, and Gavin Hardkiss -- starting at 9 p.m. at 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 974-1719 or visit www.111minnagallery.com.
-- Joyce Slaton
Steamy writing to warp your morals
I once knew a woman who worked for both a psychic hotline and a phone-sex outfit. She was usually able to keep her roles separate -- except for the time she accidentally started describing her 38DDs to a confused customer who'd called to ask when he'd get married. Such carnal cutups reign at tonight's "Lit at the Canvas: Sex Work and Office Work," with readings from unashamed call girl Scarlot Harlot, sex-chat worker Lady Monster, former SoCal hetero rent boy David Henry Sterry, and other authorial gadabouts starting at 7 p.m. at the Canvas Cafe and Gallery, 1200 Ninth Ave. (at Lincoln), S.F. Admission is free; call 504-0060 or visit www.thecanvasgallery.com.
-- Joyce Slaton
To Good Effect
What is a visual effects supervisor, exactly? The title appears in the credits of most eye-poppin' blockbusters, but it's enigmatic. Ellen Poon knows -- she worked on effects for Star Wars: Episode I and Shrek 2, among others. At "HEROic Visions," she discusses the industry and shows clips from Zhang Yimou's Hero (also hers) at 6:30 p.m. at the Ninth Street Independent Film Center, 145 Ninth St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $6-8; call 863-0814 ext. 117 or visit www.naatanet.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser