Q: Why are all blonde jokes one-liners?
A: So men can understand 'em! [drum crash]
With any luck, the jokes heard at one of San Francisco's favorite traditions, Free Comedy Day in Golden Gate Park, will be a little better than the one above. Founder Jose Simon and a legion of other organizers have certainly done well in years past: Big-name performers have included Garofalo, Cho, Izzard, Chapelle, and about a million more household names (Goldthwait, DeGeneres, Carvey -- you get the picture), all for free. This year features Will Durst, Brian Copeland, and Diane Amos, the Pine Sol Lady. Oh, and some Ammiano character, a local, supposed to be quite humorous. Speaking of politics, would-be gubernatorial candidate Father Guido Sarducci also appears, to accept the Stand-Up Legend award from Ronnie Schell, last year's legend.
Apparently, rumors of Robin Williams' plans to show up have been greatly exaggerated, so if you see anyone who looks like him, mock him and try to pull his sunglasses off. Laugh till you shoot frozen lemonade out of your nose, starting at 1 p.m. at Sharon Meadow, Kezar & John F. Kennedy, S.F. Admission is free; call 820-1570 or visit www.comedyday.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Esprit de Corp.
No matter how we feel about corporations, they're everywhere, their plastic logos glaring and their lawyers ablaze with lust for the big bottom line. It's nearly impossible to avoid big companies, since they're in our clothes, on our food, and in control of practically everything we read, see, and hear. So it's worth trying to figure out who they are.
Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy does just that. In his new book, author Ted Nace traces the legal history of how business entities came to have many of the same rights as human beings, starting before the American Revolution and leading up to their present ubiquity. Our contemporary situation, Nace points out, isn't new at all: Although some corporations currently have the power to threaten entire nations, Britain's East India Co. once held an army twice the size of the king's. Find out more when Nace reads at 7:30 p.m. at Modern Times Bookstore, 888 Valencia (at 20th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 282-9246 or visit www.mtbs.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Sail back in time
Alaska's annual salmon runs were once nothing more than an easy temporary food supply for the locals. But as the 20th century dawned, many minds turned to profit, and a bustling cannery business arose seemingly overnight. Who to staff this smelly, harsh fledgling industry? Cheap Chinese immigrant labor, of course. The "Chinese Cannery Workers" tour brings to life the challenges faced by these workers, as it takes place aboard a ship that once ferried them across the 2,500 miles that separated Asian-American San Franciscans from their backbreaking new jobs up north. The virtual voyage begins at 3 p.m. on the Balclutha at the Hyde Street Pier, Hyde & Jefferson, S.F. Admission is free-$5; call 556-3002.
-- Joyce Slaton
There'll be a lot of wet noses, pleading eyes, and wagging tails when the annual Doggone Fun Run scampers into town today. A 5K benefit run is the event's centerpiece, but Fido fiends should also check out the pooch agility obstacle course trials, live music, and canine competitions, including Stupid Pet Tricks. The fun begins at 9 a.m. in Golden Gate Park's Lindley Meadow, JFK & 30th Avenue, S.F. Admission is free; call 563-6702 or visit www.pawssf.org.
-- Joyce Slaton