The editors of Found Magazine are known for collecting and preserving ephemera -- photos, notes, and the like -- so when Houston microcinema curator Andrea Grover decided to look for castoff bits of video, she knew where to turn for help. The result, Found Magazine's Found Video Festival, is an absurd grab bag of discarded tidbits, including outmoded instructional tapes, video diaries, and TV commercial outtakes.
One of Grover's favorites is Farrah: Amateur Music Video, which captures a young girl badly lip-syncing a Dolly Parton song in a "make your own music video" booth, but, as Grover puts it, "the '80s video effects make up for it -- washes and fades and yes, a star wipe!" Yuks aplenty! Other priceless treats include January Jubilee 2000, a performance by a group of middle-school students who apparently learned their dance moves from bump-and-grind rap videos, and Deposition of Mrs. X, a courtroom document that shows a divorcing wife squirming uncomfortably in front of the camera while her ex's lawyers enumerate her failings. Giggle at the wackiness of it all at 8:30 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890 or visit www.othercinema.com.
-- Joyce Slaton
Artists on childhood
She looks at you through a haze of arrogance and cry-for-help eye makeup that makes you think of Courtney Love, but her cottony hair and huggable body are jarringly cute. You want to hold her even though you know she'd just pick your pockets. She is Jenny Bird Alcantara's Heroin Doll, one of the brigade of questionable characters in "Misfit Toys," someone's fantastically twisted idea of a holiday art show.
Alcantara's fucked-up frill joins other pieces that shouldn't come near children: Kal Spelletich's art, for example, tends to feature randomly slashing blades, fast-moving hammers, and other unsafe mechanical contraptions, and it'll be interesting to see his idea of a plaything. Additional contributors include steel-and-glass queen Bella Hagen, trash-revival master Al Honig, and painter/bartender Jack Yaghubian. The show runs through Jan. 8 at Varnish, 77 Natoma (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 222-6131 or visit www.varnishfineart.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Travelers gone wild
What is it about being away from home that makes even demure explorers reckless? In Cleis Press' third collection of naughty travelogues, Foreign Affairs: Erotic Travel Tales, writers reflect on the excesses of journeys past. In Donna George Storey's "Ukiyo," an exhausted professor finds comfort in Kyoto's red-light district; in Linda Jaivin's "Peking Duck," a photographer goes sightseeing around the body of a circus acrobat; and elsewhere, authors reminisce about sensual pleasures they found in spots as varied as a Dubai perfume counter and a men's bathhouse in Brussels. Local contributors read at 7:30 p.m. at the Easy Going Travel Shop & Bookstore, 1385 Shattuck (at Rose), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 843-3533 or visit www.easygoing.com.
-- Joyce Slaton
Unapologetic sleaze-lover John Waters continues his trashy streak with A John Waters Christmas, a collection of holiday songs that range from kitschy (Tiny Tim's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer") to deliciously tasteless ("Santa Claus Is a Black Man"). Meet the maestro as he signs CDs at 2 p.m. at Amoeba Music, 1855 Haight (at Stanyan), S.F. Admission is free; call 831-1200 or visit www.amoebamusic.com.
-- Joyce Slaton