We've had friends who were completely stencil-mad. They kept special clothes (dark, covered with paint) and distinctive cases for their creations, their heads full of new ideas for ever sharper designs. They layered cutout over cutout, made fancy multicolored images, and developed complex theories about why they did what they did -- because it was illegal, existing in the semilawless world of freeway underpasses and train throughways. Such spots are good for attending to creative urges, but not so hot for attracting appreciative audiences.
Those kids would have loved the "Stencil Art Show," a production of Stencilarchive.org, an obsessive group whose members post pictures of stenciled graffiti to the site at an amazing rate. The exhibit is designed to be the best of both worlds: the particular joys of negative-space designs against gritty urban backgrounds, but displayed indoors, completely legally. Last year, the event also featured a "put-up wall," so art-makers could be legal, too. Here's hoping there will be another one this year to encourage the form. The show opens at 10 a.m. (and continues through Oct. 27) in Cell Space's Crucible Steel Gallery, 2050 Bryant (at 18th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 648-7562. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
Fowl Play Thrill to Bogey's best
There are those who positively can't stand noir movies, and in many respects their reaction is understandable. It's often true that the plots are incomprehensible, the views of women misogynistic, and the cinematography murky and indistinct. But even people who revile noir can't get enough of The Maltese Falcon, the 1941 film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 1930 novel of the same name. Considered by many to be the flick that spawned the noir genre, the movie counts among its charms a breathless plot, some crackling dialogue, the suave, wisecracking Humphrey Bogart as detective Sam Spade, and creepy Peter Lorre as a lowlife (yet delightfully fruity) con man. Eddie Muller, local author and director of the Castro's yearly "Noir City" film fest, puts the picture in its proper context in a talk at the Danger & Despair Knitting Circle's screening at 8 p.m. at a South of Market location in San Francisco; call 552-1533 or e-mail email@example.com for directions. Admission is free, but donations are accepted; visit www.noirfilm.com. -- Joyce Slaton
Sugar Is Salty This singer's pretty sweet
You like Bo Diddley, right? And the saucy sexpot style of Etta James? Well, you might want to add a little Sugar to your bowl. Sugar Pie DeSanto was the only woman on the big-name American Folk Blues Festival that toured Europe in 1964, and her legendary hotsy-totsy stage show apparently hasn't slowed down since then. One of this city's talented native daughters, the gravelly-voiced singer has a sure-fire crowd-pleaser up her tight sleeve: a big hit called "Hello, San Francisco." She performs at the San Francisco Blues Festival with fellow blues diva Gail "Mojo" Muldrow at 12:40 p.m. in Fort Mason's Great Meadow, Marina & Laguna, S.F. Admission is $25-70; call 421-8497 or visit www.sfblues.com. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
Up All Night
The foxy, lantern-jawed Bruce Campbell (of the Evil Dead series) as a geriatric avenging Elvis? An escaped Egyptian mummy clad in a 10-gallon hat and cowboy boots? Surely Bubba Ho-Tep was made for late-night screenings, and this weekend it finds its milieu at "The Filth," the Lumiere Theatre's ode to sleepytime cinema. The undead walk at midnight on Friday and Saturday at 1572 California (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $8; call 267-4893 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. -- Joyce Slaton