Two weeks ago, the Dog Bites column ran a series of threats from random people who insisted they'd leave the country if Bush keeps his spot in the Oval Office. It looked like Australia and New Zealand were popular potential destinations, along with the occasional Cuba and South America. At the "Speak Up! Election Night Blast," unapologetically political author/bartender/rabble-rouser Alan Black takes them all at their word. He's been coordinating with various embassies so that he can have official information ready for those defectors (OK, deserters) should the tide not turn. We hope he got in touch with the right places to burn your passport and beg for asylum. And we're glad the activist/mixologist is helping us carefully consider our options.
Black has also lined up the inaugural meeting of the California Secession Party, a candidates'-faces-as-bull's-eyes darts tourney, and, perhaps best of all, an open mike "where the public can drown, frown and yell obscenities anytime they want!," as Black e-mailed us recently. "Pack your bags? Or wild celebration?" the event announcement asks; either way, there are beer specials "all night long," beginning at 5 at the Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary (at Larkin), S.F. Admission is free; call 885-4074 or visit www.castlenews.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Chocolate + turkey = tradition
Day of the Dead activities have long appealed to those with ghoulish sensibilities. Who can deny the thrill of gathering at the family burial plot for headstone cleaning, tequila-fueled singalongs, and big-bang fireworks?
But as with all traditional get-togethers, gastronomic rituals play a big part in this Mexican holiday. The natural cycle of life and death is celebrated with such edible goodies as sugar skulls, pan de muerto, and elaborately decorated altars loaded with the deceased's favorite foods. This year, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts updates this fine custom with a mole contest. The chocolate-laced competition has two categories -- professional chef and "people's chef" -- and people's choice winners are selected by the public. Play food critic at the first annual Dia de Los Muertos Mole Competition at 6 p.m. at the MCCLA, 2868 Mission (at 25th Street), S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 821-1155 or visit www.missionculturalcenter.org.
-- Jane Tunks
Creepy fables from the East
OK, so we've all heard the one about the vanishing hitchhiker (turns out she's a ghost -- big surprise), but unless you grew up at the feet of a legend-spewing Japanese grandma, you probably haven't heard the one about the girl who was cursed forever after munching on the flesh of a mermaid. Storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki and composer Mark Izu bring these and other sagas to life in Ghost Festival IV: Mermaid Meat and Other Japanese Ghost Stories, an unsettling presentation of folk tales starting at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $25; call 978-2787 or visit www.ybca.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
The line between fine art and commercial art is often thick. Most current advertisements, we're guessing, aren't headed for the museums of the future. But artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha made that line disappear. See how at the weekend-long International Vintage Poster Fair, which starts Friday at 5 p.m. at Fort Mason, Building A, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $10; call (800) 856-8069 or visit www.posterfair.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser