North Beach Memoir Every time another postcard shop creeps up Columbus from Fisherman's Wharf, North Beach loses a little more of its character. But with North Beach in the '50s and '60s, photographer Jerry Stoll reclaims some turf for the aging neighborhood. Unlike his celebrity portraiture, which includes the giants of trad jazz, Stoll's snapshots from his years as a North Beach resident are not about people in the spotlight. Rather, they're the diary of a marvelous, mishmash community. Stoll captured the espresso bohos — right there alongside the sausage makers and stoop-sweeping matrons. North Beach in the '50s and '60s runs through May 13, Tues-Sat, 10 am-7 pm, at Vision North Gallery, 2300 Polk, S.F. Call 474-4581. (James Sullivan)

Legend of Jazz Lounge chanteuse, swing-band thrush, bebop vocalist, free-jazz experimenter, Hollywood actress — Abbey Lincoln has lived most of the possible jazz-singer lives in her 64 years. Lincoln's vocal styles remain in every song, but in a deepened fashion: She has dropped the clichŽs of jazz singing and distilled 40 years of work into one of the most assured voices in jazz history. Abbey Lincoln performs Wed-Sun, 8 & 10 pm, at Yoshi's, 6030 Claremont, Oakland (through March 19). Tickets are $15-18. Call (510) 652-9200. (Ira Steingroot)

march 16
Dirty Dancing New York choreographer Stephen Petronio described his hyperpunk aesthetic in a 1992 interview as “hard — it's fast and looks very violent.” No kidding. But Petronio has a way of tackling the contemporary issues of control, manipulation and aggression without giving in to resignation. His company last visited San Francisco in 1988 (although some may remember his erotic male duet Surrender II from the 1993 “Men Dancers: The Ted Shawn Legacy” tour). Now Petronio's latest work, The King Is Dead, premieres in the Bay Area, complete with Cindy Sherman's eerie slides of bandaged heads and family portraits. The program also includes Lareigne and MiddleSex Gorge, and runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm (through March 19), at Center for the Arts Theatre, 700 Howard, S.F. Tickets are $12-20; call 398-6449. (Katia Noyes)

march 17
Behind the Camera Beneath even the cruelest fatherland, as German novelist GYnter Grass laid bare in The Flounder, lies the mercy of Mother Earth, a spirit whose infinite patience calms the recklessness of menfolk with her fleshy embrace. Of course, fellas have always romanticized feminine wiles. A different picture emerges with a woman behind the camera, as chronicled Fri-Mon, March 17-20, at the second annual Bay Area Women's Film Festival. This four-day international showcase of female-directed films kicks off with Dorothea Lange: A Visual Life, by local documentarian Meg Partridge (Portrait of Imogen), and closes with Traps, Australian Pauline Chan's portrayal of Vietnam in the '50s. In between come marquee attractions like Dallas Doll, starring Sandra Bernhard as a libidinous linkster from the Lone Star State, and Six Days, Six Nights, a tender film by Diane Kurys (Entre Nous) starring La Femme Nikita's Anne Parillaud, plus “smaller” pictures such as Loretta Todd's Hands of History, an intimate look at four Native artists. It unspools at Berkeley's U.C. Theatre, 2036 University. Tickets are $4-6.50 ($22 five-program discount card admits two people); call (510) 464-1000 for festival info, (510) 843-6267 for times. (William O. Goggins)

march 18
Wedding Bells Mission Cultural Center and La Raza Graphics are getting married, and everyone is invited to the merger of these Mission District arts organizations. The wedding-day celebration — 11 am to 1 am — will encourage all comers to participate with the center's various groups showing off their stuff: all-day theater, film and poetry presentations; tango demonstrations; art shows and classes; children's entertainment; and an evening dance pachanga. It happens at the Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission, S.F. Dance admission is $10; call 821-1155. (Marta S‡nchez-Beswick)

march 19
Camille Don't miss Theater Rhinoceros' presentation of Camille, a wild parody of the 1936 Greta Garbo classic. Written by Charles Ludlam, founder of the New York-based Theater of the Ridiculous, the play features a camelia-loving drag queen bored by the 1840s Parisian high society she entertains. Rife with pie-throwing physical gags, Ludlam's pice de rŽsistance is a gender-bending political satire. Camille plays Wed-Sat 8 pm, Sun 3 & 7 pm (through April 8), at Theater Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St, S.F. Tickets are $12-18; call 861-5079. (Ashley Craddock)

march 20
Songs for Survivors Looking to have a good time and change the world all on a Monday night? Join the Screaming Divas and Kitka at an entertainment extravaganza to celebrate women living with HIV and benefit WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases), an organization that relies on the volunteer efforts of primarily HIV-positive women to address health-care issues in more than 70 countries. The benefit starts at 6:30 pm with a catered buffet and will be rounded out by a 9 pm dance. Proceeds benefit WORLD; the festivities take place at the Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Tickets are $75; call 392-4400. (A.C.)

march 21
Macnas The Irish theater company Macnas will close out the Festival of Irish Arts with a two-week blast of bacchanalia in its presentation of Sweeney, the story of a sixth-century Irish king cursed by an abbot to spend his life wandering Ireland in a haze of madness. The troupe, whose name translates into English as “joyful exuberant abandon,” previews Sweeney at 8 pm for only $12.50. Other shows run Tues-Fri 8 pm, Sat 2 & 8 pm, Sun 7 pm (through April 2), at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, S.F. Tickets are $14.50-20. Call 392-4400. (

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