Over the years, the 1954 shocker Creature From the Black Lagoon has lost its freakout factor; its simple plot (creature wants girl) and lack of gore are no match for today's high-octane horror flicks. But the film still works as an unsettling comedy. You may not be awakened in a cold sweat by nightmares about the amphibious monster, but you should still enjoy period details like actress Julie Adams' perfect pin curls and "racy" bathing costumes. And certain scenes -- such as the moment when the Gill Man methodically dams up a river to strand his quarry -- remain surprisingly atmospheric and effective.
One little-known tidbit is that Creature originally debuted as the world's "first underwater 3-D" movie, a fact that makes sense of its odd head-on camera angles. Since the Red Vic is screening it in its original 3-D, you'll get to see the creature bulging from the screen in a way you never could on late-night TV. It's coming at you at 7:30 and 9:20 p.m. on Friday, and at 2, 4, 7:30, and 9:20 p.m. on Saturday, at the Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 668-3994 or visit www.redvicmoviehouse.com.
-- Tamara Palmer
Could be indie rock
Ten-plus musicians wielding instruments that include an oboe, a trombone, and a musical saw take the stage. They gaze patiently at the charismatic bandleader, waiting for his signal. When Gabe Saucedo gives them the nod, Red Pony Clock begins to play. Looking at the group, audience members may expect some misfit chamber music, yet wonder, "What's a banjo doing in there?" As sweet-faced drummer Lizeth Santos brings in the beat, the confusion clears up: The instrumentation may be a cross between classical, marching band, and hillbilly, but the music is brilliant, herky-jerky indie rock. Or some kind of mutant pop offspring of Jonathan Richman and Daniel Johnston. Or cheerfully odd post-rock. Decide for yourself when the Icicles and Adam Verona open at 9 p.m. at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $6; call 647-2888 or visit www.makeoutroom.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Dame Darcy's dilemma
What drives a woman to write Victorian bluegrass murder ballads? What makes an otherwise normal lady habitually don ripped lace outfits finished with pirate stockings? Her hair is mad, her ukulele's out for your soul, and her mighty pen knows no bounds. We may never know what happened to Dame Darcy -- accomplished cartoonist and musician and mastermind of the beloved zine Meatcake -- but we can appreciate her finely honed aesthetic, personified in characters like Strega Pez and the rest of the coterie attending the Bat Institute of Technology. Darcy signs the latest issue of Meatcakeat 5 p.m. at Comic Relief, 2026 Shattuck (at University), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 843-5002.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Avenging Disco Godfather
He dressed like Bootsy Collins, had a falsetto sweeter than Roy Orbison's, and made some of the hottest disco around (big hit: "You Make Me Feel [Mighty Real]"). Celebrate a homegrown legend at the Sylvester Day party, with music, reminiscences, the author of the new biography The Fabulous Sylvester, and vintage video footage at 5:30 p.m. at the Center, 1800 Market (at Octavia), S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 865-5664.
-- Joyce Slaton