Our critics weigh in on local exhibits

Varnish Fine Art. "Yoohoo and Donuts": A show dedicated to Martha Stewart, including Jonathan Wayshak's Francis Bacon-inspired pen-and-ink drawings and Alex Pardee's twisted watercolors. Though the art isn't exactly reminiscent of the domestic diva, the exhibit is definitely, as Martha would say, "a good thing." Through April 30. free. 222-6131. 77 Natoma (at Second St.), 222-6131,

Weinstein Gallery/Geary Street. "The Great Spaces of the Mind": Solo exhibtion of paintings by Gordon Onslow Ford. Daily. 383 Geary (at Mason), 362-8151.

Museums African American Museum and Library at Oakland. "Trouble Man": In Soul Salon 10's show, 14 visual artists consider the legacy of the much-loved singer. Through May 28. Free. (510) 637-0200. 659 14th St. (at Landers), Oakland, 510-637-0200,

Asian Art Museum. "In a New Light: The Asian Art Museum Collection": A display of more than 2,500 objects from the museum's permanent collection explores the major cultures of Asia. Daily. Free with museum admission, free-$10. "Shadows, Masks and Music: Aspects of the Performing Arts in Asia": The museum displays a diverse collection of musical instruments, set designs, costumes, and masks that are used in Asian performances. Tuesdays-Sundays. free-$10. Gallery Tours: Trained museum docents offer both general introductions to the museum's collections as well as tours that highlight special exhibitions. Tuesdays-Sundays, 11, 11:30 a.m., 1 & 2 p.m. Free with museum admission, free-$10. Architectural Tours: Learn about the transformation of the old San Francisco main public library into the Asian Art Museum's new quarters with this regular tour. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays-Sundays, 12 & 2:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 12, 2:30 & 6:30 p.m. Free with museum admission, free-$10. "AsiaAlive: Classical Arts of Thailand": Watch traditional Thai painting techniques demonstrated, make your own Thai-inspired jewelry, and see Thai performing arts videos at this supplement to "The Kingdom of Siam." Thursdays-Sundays, noon. Continues through May 1. "Arts of Asia Spring 2005": Learn about the arts of Southeast Asia and the Himalayas in 15 weeks of lectures. Fridays, 10 a.m. Continues through April 29. $100-125 for series; $10 per lecture. Asian Art Museum Storytelling: Each weekend the museum leads a family-oriented tour through a particular exhibit, followed up by a retelling of stories related to the exhibits. Sundays, 1 p.m.; First Saturday of every month, 1 p.m. Free with museum admission, free-$10. "Family Art Encounter": Drop in to make arts and crafts pieces related to the museum's current exhibits. First Saturday of every month, 1 p.m.; First Tuesday of every month, 11 a.m. Free. Target Tuesday Family Program: Each month this special family program presents an activity connected with Asian art and customs. First Tuesday of every month, 11 a.m. Free with museum admission, free-$10. 200 Larkin (at McAllister), 581-3500,

Berkeley Art Museum. "Blind at the Museum": An exhibition that investigates the nature of blindness, optical phenomena, and enjoying the visual arts despite vision problems. Through July 24. Free-$8. "Drawn by the Brush: Oil Sketches by Peter Paul Rubens": The traveling exhibition spotlights Rubens' tremendous output of oil sketches with 35 sketches from the 17th century. Through May 15. Free-$10. First Impressions: Free First Thursdays: Check out a world of art and film with free entry to the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive each month. Thursdays, 11 a.m. Free. 2626 Bancroft (at Telegraph), Berkeley, 510-642-0808.

Cable Car Museum. Permanent Exhibit: Located in a historic cable car powerhouse, the museum displays a variety of cable car gear, historic photographs, installations explaining how the cars work, and several antique vehicles. Daily. Free. 1201 Mason (at Washington), 474-1887.

California Academy of Sciences. "Astrobiology: Life in the Extreme": A permanent exhibition that explores the types of environments in the universe that could support life. Daily. 875 Howard (at Fifth St.), 750-7145,

California State Building Auditorium. "Sacred Lands, Sacred Traditions: The Arts of Southeast Asia and the Himalayas": Discover the vibrant arts of Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Himalayas in this lecture series with the Asian Art Museum's curator. Fridays, 10 a.m. Continues through April 29. $100-125 for series; $11 per lecture. 350 McAllister (at Larkin), 581-3701.

Cartoon Art Museum. "Small Press Spotlight Featuring Graham Annable": Voted Best Unknown Local Cartoonist by SF Weekly, the self-published comic's exhibit includes his Grickle booklets. Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through July 24. free-$6. "Contemporary Literary Comics: Selections From McSweeney's #13": An exhibition of comics work from 25 artists whose illustrations have appeared in the pages of the quarterly. Through May 22. Monthly Cartooning Classes for Adults: An intensive monthly workshop for aspiring comic artists, writers, and fans of the medium, taught by a professional cartoonist focusing on an area of his or her expertise. Fourth Saturday of every month, 1 p.m. $40-50. Cartooning Workshop with Jon "Bean" Hastings: The mastermind behind Smith Brown Jones: Alien Accountant teaches "Design 101," which includes instruction on character, layout, and printing prep for comic books. Sat., April 30, 1 p.m. $40-$50. 655 Mission (at New Montgomery), 227-8666,

Chabot Space & Science Center. "Astronomy in California 1850-1950: Telescope Makers, Telescopes, and Artifacts": Take a look at California's rich history in astronomy with this display of telescopes, astronomy history documents, and other ephemera. Daily. Free with museum admission, $9-13. "Skywise -- Astronomy Cartoon Exhibit": Help your child understand that vastness and majesty of space with this exhibit of astronomy comic strips. Daily. Free with museum admission, $9-13. "Mirror Mirror": Thirty-plus interactive exhibits from the Swiss science museum Technorama explore the properties of the looking glass. Through June 6. Free with museum admission, $9-13. "Destination Universe": Take a virtual journey from the sun to the end of the cosmos with exhibits on nebulae, space travel, black holes, and moving galaxies. Daily. Free with museum admission, $9-13. "Mars Encounter": The National Aeuronautics and Space Administration sponsors this exhibit on travel to Mars, which includes data on current and past missions, a giant tactile Mars globe, and martian meteorites. Daily. Free with museum admission, $9-13. "One Giant Leap: A Moon Odyssey": Take a simulated moon-walk, try on a space helmet, climb into a space capsule, and virtually land a lunar module in this exhibit. Daily. Free with museum admission, $9-13. 10000 Skyline (at Joaquin Miller) (Joaquin Miller Park), Oakland, 510-336-7300.

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