OK, so maybe Mel Gibson turned out to be something of a disappointment. And most teenage boys last longer than Kylie Minogue's career did. But the land down under can still boast of a few things: Men at Work, Foster's Lager, and that damned fine damsel Dame Edna. Ablaze with sequins, rhinestones, and 1950s-era cat-eye specs, she's a drag queen deluxe and almost too regal to be legal. A self-proclaimed investigative journalist, social anthropologist, and Australian-bred housewife, this middle-aged pink-haired gossip diva and famed talk show host -- created and personified by actor Barry Humphries -- won a 1999 Tony Award for her first live solo show, Dame Edna: The Royal Tour, and is gracing the big stage once again with her new act, Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance.
What can one expect at Edna's latest coming-out party? Marriage counseling, psychic readings, and a brand-new wardrobe to die for (never before has a one-woman show brought with it enough clothing to fill all of the dressing rooms at the Curran Theatre.) Of course, Edna does more than philosophize on the current state of world affairs and her unsurpassed state of glamour -- she sings like a banshee. In this pre-Broadway engagement, she'll be joined by the Ednaettes (her personal backup singers), the Ednarones (her personal Backstreet Boys), and the dashing Wayne Barker, master of musical ceremonies. Dedicated lovingly to all the Dame's adoring "possums," the show starts tonight at 8 (and continues through Oct. 10) at the Curran, 445 Geary (at Mason), S.F. Tickets are $40-72; call 512-7770 or visit www.bestofbroadway-sf.com.
Skate 'n' Sing
Someone had a vision. A magnificent, decadent vision of twirling bodies, soaring voices, and a place where your drink would never get warm. Whoever it was also had determination, because that vision, friends, has now become a reality. "OneVoice: A Cabaret on Ice" features 30 ice dancers, 10 fabulous cabaret singers, and a stage right on the ice, complete with piano. Heck, you can even sit out there. Shaynee Rainbolt, Barry Lloyd, and Broadway star Jason Graae join other crooners in serenading a cast of skaters that ranges from local novices to Canadian champ Emanuel Sandu. One night only, starting at 8 at the Yerba Buena Ice Center, 750 Folsom (between Third and Fourth streets), S.F. Admission is $20-50; visit www.skateout.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Droning and buzzing and bleeping, oh my
We used our super-secret network of underground contacts to get in touch with the mysterious KROB, mastermind noise-provider for the "Ask Dr. Hal" show. It was dangerous, but we had to bring you information about the Brutal Sound Effects Festival, no matter what it might cost us in personal safety.
When we finally tracked the obscurantist to his virtual lair, here's what he told us: Randy Yau, the "no other radio network" guy on KPFA, is good; Ma++ Ingalls "makes some cool drones and buzzes"; and, "For me, I'll be in my demon costume playing Kiss covers for chicken wings." We could tell you exactly what that means, but then we'd have to kill you. Suffice to say, the whole thing's going to be fucking loud. Earwicker joins the madness at 9:30 p.m. at Kimo's, 1351 Polk (at Bush), S.F. Admission is free; call 885-4535.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Look for Less
Smuin tiptoes through the tulips, gratis
There's a reason why the Smuin Ballet has been one of NorCal's top dance troupes for a decade, and it's not just because director/founder Michael Smuin's pretty (though we dig that Roman nose, Mr. Smuin! Ha-cha-cha!). The vibrant, innovative company is known for putting a witty spin on classical techniques, creating new works that make the audience giggle as it goggles.
Today you can get a free taste of this artistry as company members perform two of their most notable works at the ongoing Yerba Buena Gardens Festival: the smoldering, homoerotic Tango Palace, and Come Dance Me a Song, a sly tribute to Elton John's power-pop ballads, with movements set to classics like "Tiny Dancer" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Hum along as the performance begins at 2 p.m. in Yerba Buena Gardens, Fourth & Mission streets, S.F. Admission is free; call 543-1718 or visit www.ybgf.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Once a year they gather their satin capes, cards, wands, and beautiful assistants and meet for an all-out rumble. And we sure wouldn't want to be an errant rabbit anywhere in the vicinity of the San Francisco Stage Magic Competition, the annual battle for bragging rights amongst local conjurers, tricksters, and Houdinis. This iteration boasts the cunning illusions of Peter Winch, the comic stylings of Mr. Mystic, mind reading from the all-knowing (and youthful!) CyZzie Brothers, and something called "dove manipulation" from avian wrangler Ceasar Ocampo. Get ready to ooh and aah as the show begins at 7:30 p.m. in the James Lick School Auditorium, 1220 Noe (at Clipper), S.F. Admission is $15-20; call 566-2180 or visit www.misdirections.com.
-- Joyce Slaton