I get tired of the arts scene in our hard-to-categorize city always being divvied up into neat slots. If you feel the same, prepare your ears and eyes for something a little different, as the innovative theater company La Vache Enragée presents three short plays interspersed with silent films, in turn accompanied by live -- and lively -- original orchestrations, for the production "Safe Words - Loud Silences: The Shorts Project." Though the genres are triply pleasing, the show floats on one common theme: people coming together in the face of a world coming apart. From Steve Martin's The Zig-Zag Woman (about a waitress who takes drastic measures in search of a cure for loneliness) to Tennessee Williams' The Case of the Crushed Petunias (which finds a socially secluded woman forced to confront the man who destroyed her treasured flower garden), the dramas and the movies all touch on the natural urge humans have to communicate, despite the worldly forces that attempt to stop us.
"Safe Words" opens at 8 p.m. on Friday (and continues through Dec. 18) at the Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. Admission is $17-20; call 503-0437 or visit www.lveproductions.com.
-- Karen Macklin
Foreskin rips worshippers
It's not Jesus Christ Superstar, but it does deal with the son of God. Or at least it deals with the little bit of him reportedly removed in a religious ritual held on the eighth day of his life. We're talking about his foreskin, the star of a new musical aptly titled The Foreskin of Christ. A fabulously blasphemous production, the satiric piece catapults us into the year 2044, during which power-hungry U.S. President Augie Victor Douglas leads the nation to doom while a bankrupt Catholic Church sells all of its relics on eBay -- except one very small piece of holy skin, which contains the DNA of the savior.
Examining religion, biotechnology, corruption, and downright absurdity, Foreskin opens at 8 p.m. on Thursday (and continues through Dec. 17) at the Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth Street), S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 759-1047 or visit www.dadayama.com/ pullover.
-- Karen Macklin
Smarter than your average puppet
After Lunatique Fantastique's family holiday show last year, seven of us -- all adults -- lurched out of the theater weak from having laughed so much. The found-object puppet company's director, Liebe Wetzel, is brilliant: Everything she touches turns to funny, and she's quite grabby. In other words, fear not the words "family holiday show," because this year's production, Nutcracker Nutz & Boltz, is a good bet to leave you looking at mousetraps, rusted hammers, and possibly your own sweater a little differently, no matter how old you are.
The show starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday (and continues through Dec. 30) at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 826-5750 or visit www.themarsh.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
The idea of the World AIDS Day Benefit, "An Evening of Remembrance and Hope," might give you a lump in your throat, but the entertainment ought to cheer you up. Jazz smoothie Spencer Day and the much-adored S.F. Gay Men's Chorus perform, and the dough goes to the Breakthrough Foundation, at 7 p.m. at the UCSF Mission Bay Community Center, 1675 Owens (at Sixth Street), S.F. Admission is $25-100; call 597-4650 or visit www.tinpanalley.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
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