"A World of Influence," an exhibit by the Los Angeles art group Workhorse Collective, focuses on "urban art." Some people would undoubtedly call it "graffiti" or worse, but, clearly, the show's spray-can styles, stencil work, and gritty imagery are in the legitimate art world to stay. This particular show features artists from around the globe, including San Francisco's own Empty Eyes, whose photography of elaborately tagged walls might raise the ire of classicists. The rough drawings and spray paintings on cardboard of PISA CTink from Germany and Ephameron from Belgium probably wouldn't be welcome in the Louvre, either. But we think you'll like them.
Our very favorite items are from Lesley Reppetaux of Los Angeles, whose oil paintings, while more or less traditional in form, draw on influences from Edward Gorey to Bil Keane to the insect world. Her The Nightmare Sisters shows a forlorn figure wearing a gothy get-up that involves two giant orange bird heads, while Ashcroft features a green bug drinking a fine little cup of tea. "A World of Influence"'s opening reception begins at 6 p.m. (and the exhibit continues through April 30) at Urbis Artium Gallery, 140 Second St. (at Minna), S.F. Admission is free; call 369-9404 or visit www.urbis-artium.com. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
Bhangra Blowout From India with love
Seduced by insistent rhythms, a few years back I decided to hit El Rio for its then-weekly salsa night. The music was throbbing, the dance floor was packed -- and there I was stranded in a corner, realizing that I hadn't the first clue how to participate in this partnered dance. If only I'd found "Non-Stop Bhangra" instead. The folks behind this regular event realize that though Indian-influenced house and breakbeats are hugely popular in Western nightclubs, many fans haven't yet absorbed the movement styles that traditionally accompany Indian music. And thus a club night was born, with dance lessons and performances accompanied by live drumming, followed by free-for-all practice sessions presided over by Desi-loving DJs. Fall into a new groove at 9 p.m. at the Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell (at Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $10; call 861-2011 or visit www.dholrhythms.com. -- Joyce Slaton
Fire Down Below Baby needs a new flamethrower
Sassy, smart, and able to build large-scale fire sculptures to melt the heart of even the most jaded witness, the Flaming Lotus Girls have been blessing Black Rock City with their propane-powered art since 2000. The gifted group of mostly female fire artists is celebrating this weekend at "Flaming Lotus Girls: Flames, Fun and Fundraising," an art and photography benefit to pay for enough "fuel, steel and lipstick" for FLG's next fire-spurting project. Friday night's entertainment includes DJs Mobutta and Majitope and the revolutionary vocal music of Samsara. The sexy sirens will also be hawking their steamy calendar. The fun starts at 5 p.m. (with an Open Studio Saturday from noon to 4) at Dogpatch Studios, 991 Tennessee (at 20th Street), S.F. Admission is free (art is $10 and up); visit www.flaminglotus.com. -- Jane Tunks
Director Elizabeth Nord spent months in Israel filming Jericho's Echo, a documentary aptly subtitled "Punk rock in the Holy Land." She found a small but tenacious punk scene, screaming its guts out in a hostile environment. A question-and-answer session with Nord follows the world-premiere screening at 8 p.m. at the Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $10; call 863-7576 or visit www.victoriatheatre.org. -- Hiya Swanhuyser