Do you believe in ghosts? Stories about spirits of the dead wind through cultures all over the world, but science hasn't proven anything yet. The lack of hard evidence about phantoms doesn't seem to stop anyone from telling eerie tales, though, and the artists included in the exhibition "Haunted" are no exception.
"I wanted to get a wide range of cultural responses to haunting," says painter and curator America Meredith during a recent phone interview. She notes that about half the show's contributors are Native American. The result? "It's hilarious how colorful it is," she laughs, sounding as surprised as anyone. "Somehow, turquoise and pale orange are the color[s] of 'Haunted'!" Meredith also came to the serious realization that "art is ideally suited to communicating about unseen or undocumentable things." We agree: It's probably far more interesting to see these paintings, drawings, photos, and other objects on the subject of spirits, memories, and intuition than it would be to prove that ghosts exist. Meet the artists at a reception at 7 p.m. on Thursday (the exhibit continues through Monday) at the Crucible Steel Gallery, 2050 Bryant (at 19th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 648-7562 or visit www.cellspace.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
A theatrical exploration of road rage
How many times have we contemplated murder after getting a parking ticket for a minor offense such as having our bumper a mere inch into the red? By issuing more than 2 million citations last year, meter maids have continued to earn the ire of every car owner in town. One-time traffic court judge Jerry Levitin presided over 200,000 citation protests in six years on the bench and draws upon his experiences for his uproarious play I'd Kill for a Parking Space. The whodunit's setup is familiar: A novice gumshoe asks one too many questions about a string of homicides, and the expert he enlists to help may just be the killer. The show starts Friday at 8 p.m. (and continues through May 8) at the Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. Admission is $15-20, and you can bring proof of any ticket received within the last 12 months for a $5 discount; call 820-3203 or visit www.sheltontheater.com.
-- Jane Tunks
Starfuckers, come hither
San Francisco has never been a prime hunting ground for celebrity stalkers. Though we've heard dubious tales of Robin Williams and Danny Glover sightings, the best we've achieved is a glimpse of a disheveled Matt Gonzalez riding the 22 Fillmore. Tonight starfuckers can finally put their attention-getting red-carpet antics into action at "San Francisco Notables," a benefit featuring an exhibit of local luminaries' portraits by the artists from Creativity Explored. Everyone from politicos like Gavin Newsom and Barbara Boxer to only-in-S.F. icons like Mr. San Francisco Leather and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is represented. The party begins at 7 p.m. at 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is $40; call 863-2108 or go to www.creativityexplored.org.
-- Jane Tunks
Be a Square
Plenty of people think of progressive political stances as newfangled, but not these pickers. The Stairwell Sisters, the Squirrelly String Band, and a bunch of their pals are throwing the "Old-Time Anti-War Square Dance" to benefit Iraq Veterans Against the War. An introduction to square dancing kicks things off at 6 p.m. at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, 953 De Haro (at Southern Heights), S.F. Admission is $5-30; call (510) 601-8000 or visit www.bayarea.notinourname.net.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser