San Franciscans can usually spot Marinites -- those limousine-loving liberals who long ago traded in ecological activism for gas-guzzling monstrosities -- from a mile away. And perhaps Marin's most visible über-lib is 12-year-strong U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. But this leftist has actually earned her stripes, fighting for abortion rights, gay marriage, and the environment. Since her overwhelming re-election to a third term last year, Boxer, an articulate opponent of the current administration, has intensified her efforts to ruffle Republican feathers. The good senator has not only helped block conservative appointments, but has also made headlines for attacking now-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's tall tales of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the hysterics of which were parodied by a "Dr. Condo-lies-a lies-a-lot!" skit on Saturday Night Live.
Watch Boxer, an outspoken critic of the invasion of Iraq, slice 'em and dice 'em as she discusses the need for an exit-strategy resolution that calls on the Bush administration to set a time frame for achieving its military objectives and withdrawing troops from Iraq. The senator takes the podium at noon at the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, 55 Cyril Magnin (at Eddy), S.F. Admission is $18-50; call 597-6700 or visit www.commonwealthclub.org.
-- Josh Rotter
Installation Is Free
Two to walk through
"Installation art" is such a broad term that it can easily be a misnomer, but not in this case. Jacob Hartman's "Psyche Wall" and Jarrett Mitchell and Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough's "Django Chapel" are perfect examples of what installation art actually is: the former uses a movie-set blue screen to involve viewers' own images in the pieces, and the latter threads together a constantly looping spaghetti western, spotlights, and religious imagery. To "see" either, you have to actually go to the gallery, since these art forms cannot be replicated. Walk through, be reflected, and listen carefully.
The artists lead a walk-through on Wednesday at 7 p.m., and the opening reception is Thursday at 6 p.m. (the exhibits continue through Aug. 6), at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 626-5416 or visit www.newlangtonarts.org.
Get Fired Up
The Crucible burns bright
Fire artists learn their secrets all year long at the Crucible, Oakland's industrial-art education center, and they're showing it off at the six-day 2005 Fire Arts Festival. Days will be given over to classes (blacksmithing, neon twisting, welding, etc.), but nights belong to the gods of hellfire, with shooting flame from iron, aluminum, and bronze pours; a bolt of lightning from a giant tesla coil; and other heavily flammable acts, including the performance finale on Saturday consisting of a simultaneous fire-and-light explosion from all of the art installations. The festival starts at 9 a.m. on Tuesday at the Crucible, 1260 Seventh St. (at Union), Oakland. Admission is $25-100; call (510) 444-0919 or visit www.thecrucible.org.
Art of Togetherness
We're always in favor of more artistic cross-pollination. At "Braided Lives," visual artists and spoken-wordsmiths collaborate in an exhibit featuring both types of art, produced by 30-some contributors. The opening reception starts Thursday at 5:30 p.m. (with spoken word performances Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.) at the SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-1414 or visit www.somarts.org.