Everyone knows that Jack and Jill went up the hill. But who was Jack, really? Apparently, he was also nimble, hung out on the beanstalk, and used aliases like Horner and Sprat. In an attempt to shed light on this mystery, Ann Berman of the book-inspired dance company Bibliodance presents Jack Tales, a mischievous premiere about this elusive fairy-tale Everyman. Jack Tales is part of "Squish," an evening of dance by two local emerging companies. Also in the mix is work by Sean McMahon and Sarah Sass' peck peck dance ensemble, including Sass' 2005 duet j and a -- a dance/video piece that uses masking tape as a prop to create confining squares on the floor as well as lines on dancers' clothing. McMahon presents a piece called turn/flip out, based on artwork by Yoshitomo Nara, which finds two performers carving and slashing their way through the high weeds and winds of a relationship. In all, there are seven pieces "Squish"ed together. The show starts at 8 p.m. on Friday (and continues through Sunday) at Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 273-4633 or visit www.mission17.com.
-- Karen Macklin
We need Fischerspooner
If you want a real journey through sight and sound, trade in your Star Wars experience for Fischerspooner's spectacle, with its elaborate costumes, dance, music, and high-tech visuals.
Three years after their arty, 1980s-inspired debut, #1 (featuring the computerized classic "Emerge"), spearheaded the electro movement, performance art pioneers Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner return to San Francisco to tour their warmer, more expressive sophomore outing, Odyssey. Inspired by psych rock and collaborations with producers Tony Hoffer (Beck, Air) and Mirwais (Madonna), songwriter Linda Perry, and author Susan Sontag (whose lyrics to "We Need a War" are featured on the LP), Odyssey relies heavily on analog accents and live instrumentation, as evidenced by the guitar-infused "Just Let Go." But just because Fischerspooner's music sounds more substantial, that doesn't mean its live show will be any less flashy. Witness the effects for yourself at 9 p.m. at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $22.50; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com.
-- Josh Rotter
A sensory-surround art experience
Thirty people, each dressed entirely in white and carrying a white suitcase, emerge from the 24th Street BART station. The mob walks half a block down Mission Street, enters a 4,600-square-foot room covered in white paper, and performs an elaborate ritual honoring the elements. No, this isn't some sort of cult initiation; it's "Illusion 3," an avant-garde art happening that brings together painters and poets to fill the empty space with their work while dancers and musicians romp hither and yon. The audience is asked to dress in black for the event, which starts as the artists arrive at 6 p.m. at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission (at 25th Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 821-1155 or visit www.missionculturalcenter.org.
-- Jane Tunks
If Art Could Kill
The been-there-done-that crowd may think it's seen everything, but even the most jaded hepcat would be jarred by a suicide art movement. Thanatics: A Rock Opera tells the story of the SoMa Seven, a fictional group of San Francisco artistes who off themselves one by one in the name of high art. Thanatics begins at 8 p.m. on Friday (and continues through June 25) at the Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), S.F. Admission is $15-18; call 673-3847 or visit www.sffringe.org.
-- Jane Tunks