Ever since I was a wee lass, my bra-burning mother told me I could be anything I wanted to be. As long as I promised to graduate from college, she encouraged me to beat the boys at handball, run for class president, and break all the hearts in the fifth grade. So I've always known I was destined to be the next Queen Latifah, Mia Hamm, or Dolores Huerta. But in between deadbeat boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and battered bank accounts, I've somehow never managed to live up to my full potential.
Luckily, sassy sirens like me can get inspired at "POW! Powerful Outrageous Women," a day of workshops and panel discussions at which the divas of tomorrow can learn from the successful women of today. From money awareness talks like "Invest for Life" to philanthropy-driven workshops such as "Change the World," the event includes more than a dozen seminars to choose from. The goings-on also include plenty of fodder for budding small-business owners, such as "Nonprofits Every Businesswoman Should Know" and "Measure Your Entrepreneurial Spirit."
But even some empowered, independent women fall in love and get married. So "POW!" ends the day with an alternabridal fashion show curated by Carolyn Gerin, the co-author (with Stephanie Rosenbaum) of Anti-Bride Guide, a wedding planner for the nontraditional lady. The display of local designers' wares reflects my feeling, and mom's, that walking down the aisle doesn't mean giving anything up, not even style.
Big Fish, Small Pond
There's at least one in every neighborhood (it may even be you) -- that gender-bending person who struts down the street looking like a million bucks in thrift-store finery. She may not have money, honey, but in her little world she's got style, power, and fame all rolled into one. The Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center gives these divine creatures the limelight at "Fabulous Nobodies," a reception for and exhibition of artist Jim Winters' portraits of tranny "sub-lebrities," who've gained local renown just by being their own spectacular selves. See if you recognize some familiar faces among Winters' Day-Glo luminaries at 6 p.m. at the Shooting Gallery, 839 Larkin (at O'Farrell), S.F. Suggested donation is $10; call 931-8035 or visit www.tarcsf.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Get the publishing bug
Back in the mid-'80s, V. Vale's RE/Search books were my lifeline to freak culture. In my small, insular Pennsylvania town, a place so unhip that I had to mail-order Doc Martens from England, volumes like the Industrial Culture Handbook and Pranks! introduced me to the strange subcultures that simmered in urban areas and let me know I wasn't the only weirdo looking for community. More importantly, Vale's success created a brand-new market for alternative reading material, and even paved the way for other counterculture presses. Tonight, Vale discusses his career high and low points with Gayle Romasanta, founder and editor of the California College of the Arts' buzz-worthy new arts journal, Eleven Eleven, in the literary salon "Journal Genesis: Publishing Culture & Counterculture," starting at 7 at the Chinese Culture Center, 750 Kearny (at Washington), S.F. Suggested donation is $5; call 503-0520 or visit www.kearnystreet.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Grease and Guts
How does a toaster toast?
Some people say that modern humans are alienated from their surroundings to an alarming degree. Can you believe that? Just because we don't know where milk comes from, what's under our cars' hoods, or what that "electoral college" thing is, that doesn't mean we're dangerous! But you curious types who insist on asking pesky questions about your environment ("What's in my drinking water?" blah, blah, blah) might want to hoof it over to "Take-It-Apart Day" to investigate the mysteries of the household appliance. Toasters, vacuum cleaners, and the like are provided, along with tools and advice on how to dismantle them. It may not be revolutionary, but if you can figure out a blender, who knows what else you're capable of?
Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
At about the same time the recognition she'd garnered as sassy secretary Carol on The Bob Newhart Show was beginning to fade, Marcia Wallacescored a fantastic gig as the voice of cranky fourth-grade teacher Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons. What began as simple voice-over work became a career-making turn that has endured for almost 15 years. The prolific performer recalls her notable roles -- and her crappy childhood, nervous breakdown, weight problems, and other disasters -- as she reads from her memoir, Don't Look Back, We're Not Going That Way, 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.
-- Joyce Slaton