This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, February 9, 2005
Are your friends worthless? Sure, they make you laugh and drive you to the airport, but think of all the things you could be doing instead of hanging out with them week in and week out. In the Realms of the Unreal is Jessica Yu's cinematic tribute to art-world favorite Henry Darger, whose creepily reclusive life was spent making paintings and an enormous book that were discovered after his death. Screw Friendster -- you could indulge your every obsessive-compulsive urge and become famous and loved after your demise, like Darger. His work focuses on a band of little girls, heroes with butterfly wings who triumph over evil men. The film uses animation techniques to immerse the viewer in Darger's artistic world, which is gorgeous, sometimes disturbing, and made with glowing watercolors and careful pencil drawings. Screenings begin at 5:15 tonight and tomorrow at the Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $4-8; call 863-1087 or visit www.roxie.com.

Thursday, February 10, 2005
Michael Wolf's dramatic images, in his exhibition "Architecture of Density," display the intensely vertical, repetitive patterns of Tokyo's skyscrapers and apartment complexes, configured to show neither earth nor sky. Humans are specks, and individual lives seem a moot point from this perspective, within this world of icy greens and grays. Is this the real-life Matrix, in which humans have become all but irrelevant? Or is Wolf's work, at least in part, a tribute to traditional landscape paintings, which exalt the beauty of mountains and other huge natural features while tiny peasants toil somewhere in the remote distance? Especially in the case of Wolf's apartment buildings, the images might remind the viewer of those unseen people: Each minute cell is probably someone's happy home. In any case, the show is powerful and beautiful, and up through Feb. 26 at the Robert Koch Gallery, 49 Geary (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is free; call 421-0122 or visit www.kochgallery.com.

Friday, February 11, 2005
Some ardent lovers express their adoration with flowers, some with extravagant dinners out, some with a mushy greeting card. But for a segment of adventurous San Franciscans, nothing says "You're my snuggly honeybear" like a length of stout rope and a good, solid square knot. Rope-play enthusiasts can learn a few new tricks tonight at "Bondage & Bon Bons," a happily perverse party with BDSM experts demonstrating restraint tactics on live models and a small army of submissives offering refreshments (including at least one lovely lad or lass whose body will serve as a platter for a selection of desserts). Mingle with fellow gleeful degenerates at 8 at the Center for Sex & Culture, 398 11th St. (at Harrison), S.F. Admission is free (but donations are gratefully accepted); call 255-1155 or visit www.pervercity.org.

Saturday, February 12, 2005
Who would have thought that getting one's belongings stolen would be the making of an artist? For musician/ designer/filmmaker Roxy Saint, getting ripped off may have been the best thing that ever happened to her. While on a European tour Saint's customized vintage/thrift store apparel was stolen, and since she couldn't afford to buy new stuff the enterprising couturier used a supply of plastic trash bags to craft sassy new frocks. Surprise! Her slashed, duct-taped, hand-painted "Trash Couture" creations were such a hit that she now sells them online. Fans of creative clothing can get a live peek tonight at "Code Red," a fashion show (local SuicideGirls serve as runway models) with art installations and live electronica from DJ Gravy Train that starts at 9 at the 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 974-1719 or visit www.111minnagallery.com.

Sunday, February 13, 2005
We've often wondered why boutiques don't typically try to get people drunk before enticing them to overspend -- why, many's the time we've neglected to buy because of a low blood-alcohol level. But that doesn't mean anyone should put together a clothing extravaganza with 20-some designers inside a cool bar and offer food as well! The "Shopping, Cocktails, and Food, Oh My!! Trunk Show" is on the loose today, so we urge you to exercise extreme caution. "Why shop at the mall when you can shop at the bar?" the ruthless organizers want to know. We have no answer -- and no willpower. Give in at 1 p.m. at 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 970-9777 or visit www.12galaxies.com.

Monday, February 14, 2005
Many things important to people inside a relationship are hard to appreciate from the outside. Vacation videos, wedding pictures, breakup/ reunion stories: These can be torture. But somehow the account of a pair's first encounter is often a lot of fun to relive, even if it involves people you don't know. Such is the premise of How We First Met, a long-running, internationally popular theatrical production. In it a crack team of improvisational actors calls on members of the audience to tell their tales; the troupe then re-enacts the events onstage in word and song. The curtain rises on your own love story at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Building D, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $25; call 348-6280 or visit www.howwefirstmet.com.

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