Spring Fling Whether you're a green thumb or a black thumb who still appreciates plant life, the 1996 San Francisco Landscape Garden Show has something to offer. Landscape and interior designers collaborate on interpretations of this year's theme, “Window on the Garden,” with vignettes combining native and exotic plants, painting, sculpture, and windows. Outdoor amenities ranging from rakes to orchids will be sold, and gardening experts will conduct talks and workshops. Plant societies and nurseries bring their best buds, and a children's garden and garden-related activities keep the kids busy. The Garden Show runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (also on Thursday and Sunday; 10 a.m to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday) at Fort Mason Center Pavilions in S.F. — an unusual plant auction is held Friday at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $8-10, free to kids 12 and under; call 750-5108.
Cuckoo for Tutus Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, international favorites on the men-in-tights circuit, are back after a three-year hiatus. Balletomanes and dance novices alike have long enjoyed the Trocks, who have parodied modern and classic works since 1974. Don't be fooled by the full drag and hairy armpits: These guys are professional dancers, right down to their oversized pointe shoes, and their effectiveness lies in solid technique and a thorough understanding of the repertoire. Company members include Raisa Legupski, Nina Enimenimynimova, and, well, you get the idea. Les Ballets Trockadero makes its only Northern California appearances at 8 p.m. (also Friday) in the Palace of Fine Arts, Bay & Lyon, S.F. Admission is $30.50; call 567-6642.
Sound and Vision The Alloy Orchestra returns to the Bay Area to play its score for Dziga Vertov's silent film Man With a Movie Camera, which screens as part of the International Film Festival. Vertov, the Soviet director dubbed “the father of cinema verite” by his disciples, used a variety of special effects — superimposed images, variable speeds, split screens — to capture the pace and mood of 1920s Soviet life. But after the film premiered in 1929, Vertov's detailed instructions for a score to accompany the film were placed in a vault and forgotten for several years. Film scholar and translator Uri Tsabian helped Alloy create a score true to Vertov's idea of “noise” music, with electronics, junk metal, found objects, and homemade instruments. This isn't the three-man orchestra's first film score: They also did Nosferatu and Metropolis, among others. Alloy accompanies Man With a Movie Camera live at 7 p.m. at the Castro Theater, 429 Castro, S.F. Admission is $10-12; call 621-6120.
In Your Breast Interest Grass-roots group Breast Cancer Action presents “Breast Cancer: What We Know and What We Don't,” a forum on the genetics of the disease (according to the Northern California Cancer Center, the Bay Area has the highest recorded rate of breast cancer in the world). Dr. Mary-Claire King, a researcher in the discovery of BRCA-1, the “breast cancer gene,” speaks on her recent findings, who is at risk, and the implications of these discoveries on new research and treatment. In connection with Dr. King's speech, Breast Cancer Action presents its position on genetic testing for the disease. The forum is held at 6:30 p.m. at Fort Mason Center Building A. Admission is $15 and up; call 243-9301. Meanwhile, Michael DeGregorio, author of Tamoxifen and Breast Cancer, speaks on “Everything You Wanted to Know About Tamoxifen and Breast Cancer” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Marin General Hospital's Main Conference Center, 250 Bon Air, Greenbrae. The event is free; call 458-3200.
Picture This Two years ago, local reporter Gerry Mullins uncovered photos of Ireland that Bay Area legend Dorothea Lange took back in 1954. Mullins culled the images — which numbered 2,400 and detailed rural life, mostly in County Clare — into the recently released book Dorothea Lange's Ireland. Mullins presents a slide show and discussion of Lange's work and his own research at 7:30 p.m. at New College, 777 Valencia, S.F. Admission is free-$3; call 241-1302 ext. 427.
Glad Tidings The buzz surrounding the Fourth Annual High Tides Festival comes from bees, it turns out: At this four-day new-music event, koto artist Miya Masaoka amplifies and remixes beehive noise, while bluesman Paul Pena demonstrates the fine art of Tuvan throat singing. Tim White opens the festival with a program of sitar, piano, percussion, feedback, and flute compositions, and Elyzabeth Meade closes it with “Specific Stranger,” a piece combining performance poetry, electronics, violin, and keyboard. The festival begins at 8 p.m. at Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $10 per concert; call 626-3311.
Shange Speaks Playwright Ntozake Shange is best known for her best-selling book and Broadway hit For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. But Shange hasn't rested on the success of that decades-old work, and with her other plays, poems, and novels, she has earned a reputation for lyric artistry, weaving music and dance into her literature. Speak Out! and UC Berkeley's Graduate Minority Students Project present “An Evening With Ntozake Shange,” a benefit for Action for Democratic Education, a group working to uphold affirmative action in higher education. The reading is at 7:30 p.m. at King Middle School Auditorium, 1720 Rose, Berkeley. Admission is $10-12; call (510) 601-0182.
Feed Your Ears Food Not Bombs celebrates 16 years of delicious nonviolent subversion by serving up “Soupstock,” a free outdoor concert. As if the no-cost eats, art show, and information tables weren't enticement enough, “Soupstock” features sets by the Coup; the Steve Miller-Van Morrison band-veteran project Just in Tyme; Flower SF; Screaming Bloody Marys; the White Trash Debutantes; klezmer artist Di Ganivim; and Eric Core. Diamond Dave and Phillip Steir of Consolidated act as MCs. The concert is noon to 6 p.m. at the band shell in Golden Gate Park. Call 985-7087.
Sounds of Liberty Actor Peter Coyote plays master of ceremonies at the “Concert for a Free Tibet,” which includes performances by pianist/composer Philip Glass, Beausoleil's David Doucet, Tibetan Dance and Opera Company Chaksam-pa, the Mark Isham Band, and Tibetan contemporary flutist Nawang Khechog. Proceeds benefit the International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet, a nonprofit group advocating environmental protection, human rights, and peaceful resolution to Tibetan unrest. Show time is 8 p.m. at the Berkeley Community Theater, 1930 Allston, Berkeley. Admission is $30-100 ($100 includes gala reception); call (510) 433-7324.
One Man, Many Voices Solo performer Kevin Reilly, who played political assassin Dan White in the PBS film The People vs. Dan White, takes poetic license with Welshman Dylan Thomas in Voices From a Further Room. In the show's first half, Reilly interprets the poetry of Thomas Hardy, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Robert Burns, and Edgar Allan Poe; in the second half, he portrays Thomas at a fictitious 1950s poetry reading set in San Francisco. Voices plays at 3 p.m. (Saturdays and Sundays through May 19) at 450 Geary Studio Theater, 450 Geary, S.F. Admission is $10-12; call 673-1172.
Let's Get Ready to Rumba Kids get their own Carnaval party, sans naked ladies, as artist-in-residence Bobi Cespedes leads a daylong tour through traditional Caribbean arts and culture, including performances by Cuban ensemble Siguaralla and the dance company Petit La Croix. Kids can take part in art projects and a group rumba, and watch their peers from the Manzanita Child Development Center perform in a Carnaval procession. The party is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, 557 East Fort Baker, Sausalito. Free; call 487-4398.
Just Folk In conjunction with the exhibit “Mingei: Two Centuries of Japanese Folk Art,” the Asian Art Museum offers a variety of Japanese art programs. “The Impact of the Japanese Folk Art Movement on 20th-Century American Ceramics,” a daylong symposium, features a panel discussion with scholars and potters. Dancer Tomoko Makishi and her students perform in a concert of classical Okinawan dance, which uses subtle gestures to convey situations, characters, and emotions. Japanese folk tale story sessions are held Saturdays at 11 a.m. and artists demonstrations run Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4:40 p.m. through the exhibit's end, in August. The panel is held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; the concert is held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Asian Art Museum, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Most programs are free with museum admission; call 387-5675 for panel ticket/reservation information.
Otherworldly Ambient label City of Tribes kicks off a new “Fourth World” music series with a concert titled “ChartaChroma.” This first outing doubles as a record release party for The Event Horizon “psi” Compilation and features performances by Aether (with harpists Barbara Imhoff and Diana Stork), folk-fusion trio Geist, and Kalonica McQuesten. The concert begins at 8 p.m. at the ODC Performance Gallery, 3153 17th St., S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 863-9834.
This Is Your Life Spalding Gray departs from his usual format, the monologue, in Interviewing the Audience. Using two chairs and a microphone, he creates something of an anomaly: a smart and intentionally funny talk show. Gray is adept at making the ordinary entertaining: With Monster in a Box, he described wrestling with a thick manuscript, while in Swimming to Cambodia he recalled his experiences as an actor. Here, Gray invites people onstage to be interviewed, and demonstrates that those with relatively ordinary lives are as fascinating as pregnant teen call girls with coke habits. Gray makes his only Bay Area appearance at 8 p.m. at Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 North San Pedro, San Rafael. Admission is $16-18; call 479-2000.
Jane Says Author Jane Smiley won a Pulitzer in 1992 for her novel A Thousand Acres, which one reviewer called “a family portrait that is also a near-epic investigation into the broad landscape, the thousand dark acres, of the human heart.” She has trod a fairly different set of acres in her new novel, MOO, a comic look at Midwestern college life. With several other novels to her credit, including The Age of Grief and Ordinary Love and Good Will, Smiley offers readers a kaleidoscopic view of human nature. She reads from her work and speaks onstage with Ellen Greenblatt as part of the City Arts and Lectures series at 8 p.m. in the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $15; call 392-4400.
We Salute You There's rock for the hell of it, and then there's Rock for Choice, a group created by L7 and the Feminist Majority to benefit agencies serving and protecting reproductive rights. The stellar lineup features local heroes Pansy Division, 7 Year Bitch (who have also worked on the women's self-defense project Home Alive), Jawbreaker, and Ween. The fabulous Foo Fighters headline the show, which begins at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) at the Warfield, 982 Market, S.F. Admission is $17.50; call 775-7722.