Live Dancing Boys Gary Palmer brings guest artists from El Ballet Nacional del Peru into this year's mix at Men Dancing XV, a showcase that gives male dancers from the Bay Area and beyond a night off from lifting girls. Palmer, whose original idea of a men's mixed-repertory dance exhibition has been copied in other cities since he came up with it 16 years ago, contributes a ballet premiere danced by Enrique Olaechea and Never Navarro Aguilar, who return to the area after having danced Palmer's Blue Lizard Highway last year. They'll be joined at the showcase by modern dance bright-lights Robert Moses and Stephen Pelton, who dances The Hurdy-Gurdy Man, a mesmerizing solo crafted around the movement of Hitler, which he drew from the films of Leni Riefenstahl; Brazil Dance Revue's Marcelo Pereira demonstrating the acrobatic martial arts-dance discipline capoeira (as seen in the recent Carnaval parade); Hawaiian hula master Patrick Makuakane; and Smuin Ballets/SF dancer Michael Kruzich. The show begins at 8 p.m. (also Friday and Saturday) at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $10-27; call 441-3687.
Turn to the Left! That first, and most likely only, chance to strut down the catwalk arrives with On the Rocks, a makeover party and fashion show starring you, you, you! Urban Decay paints the faces and nails of willing audience members, boys and girls, in shades such as Bruise; while Vain, the Seattle creator of punk-inspired styling aids like Dirty Boy/Dirty Girl Gel, sculpts new 'dos. The Independent Style Merchants, a collection of small local design firms like Phobos & Deimos (whose specialty is a line of vegan clothing), are putting on the show and clothing the models, some of whom will be actual professionals. DJs and a '30s Berlin-style cabaret show by Ascent keep the crowd entertained between the tucking and teasing. Experience the giddy thrill of it all beginning at 8 p.m. at the Velvet Lounge, 493 Broadway (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is $8; call 440-9030. And speaking of giddy, Examiner nightlife columnist Lord Martine puts his pen aside to choreograph the action on the runway at the North Beach Fashion Show, where local designers like the North Beach Collective and So Hip It Hurts line 'em up and send 'em out. What It Is, Monk, and the Jas Syndicate perform live, and DJs hold sway in the cocktail lounge. The show, a benefit for the North Beach Jazz Festival, throws open its doors at 8 p.m. Saturday at Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is $20-25; call 621-9711.
Look On Up at the Bottom When people hit bottom, their options are pretty limited. They can stay there, they can pull themselves back up, or in the case of contributors to "Bottoms Up!" they can create art. It remains to be seen which option was best until after the show opens, but the good news is that the artists themselves didn't wallow in the dregs of shame so much as they investigated how other people did. Interpretations of "bottom" vary widely, of course: For Didi Dunphy and Scott Hewicker, the lowest low manifests itself in the cringe-worthy art like Naugahyde sculptures, needlepoint Mondrians, and papier-mache icebergs. Some artists, like Peter Mitchell Dayton and Michelle Rollman, used "bottom" in its literal physical sense, while others, like John Lindell and his stained bedsheet, took the original despondency theme and ran with it. The show opens with a reception at 6 p.m. (and runs through July 3) at the Lab, 2948 16th St. (at Capp), S.F. Admission is free; call 864-8855.
Prom Queens The connection between disaster movies and proms seems obvious now, but it took Klubstitute's PROMstitute '98: "That Sinking Feeling" to make it so. This simultaneous parody of high school ritual and unmitigated calamity, led by prom mascot Korky the Klam, is open to "bivalves, monovalves, homovalves, heterovalves, and transvalves" 18 and over. The Lice Girls and Here Are the Facts You Requested play live, and DJ Wacks Master Jamez spins dance music; a wet prom dress competition and king and queen coronation provide comic relief. Carrie Whore Church hosts a make-out room, but a PTA committee will be chaperoning the proceedings and discouraging untoward behavior like the delivery of illegitimate babies in the restroom. Dig out the formal wear and plan to be out the door sometime after 8 p.m., when the prom begins at the S.S. Klubstitutanic, 2050 Bryant (at 18th Street), S.F. Admission is $4.98-19.98; call 331-1500, ext. DIET. Free shuttle service to the prom leaves from Harvey's at 18th Street & Castro between 8 and 10 p.m.
Everybody Must Get Stoned, Et Cetera Dennis Peron bounces back from his unsuccessful bid for governor and the most recent raid on his Cannabis Buyers' Club with a public lecture on medicinal marijuana at the Global Drug Peace Rally, an afternoon of information booths and speakers addressing various aspects of the drug war. Peron shares the podium with DA Terence Hallinan, who addresses alternatives to incarceration; Summer of Love Council Chair Chet Helms, who speaks about the lessons of the '60s (and perhaps, the chilly dawn of the '90s); and state Sen. John Vasconcellos, who speaks on the political aspects of the drug war. Surf band the Del Mars head up the live music list, and DJs will spin tunes for a psychedelic trance- dance celebration, which ought to be good and crowded by the day's end. The rally begins at 1 p.m. in the Civic Center Plaza, Polk & Grove, S.F. Admission is free; call 971-3573.
Make Mine to Go Former Buffalo Springfield guest artist William David "Charlie" Chin, whose own band, Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys, put out an album produced by Jimi Hendrix, draws on his long career as a roaming folk singer and sometime restaurant employee in his solo performance piece Eat In, Take Out. Often called "the Chinese Pete Seeger," Chin has compiled the stories of the busboys, bartenders, waiters, and cooks with whom he has worked into a tale of what really happens in America's restaurant kitchens. The show begins at 8 p.m. at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Media Screening Room, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $8; call 440-5545.
Meow Meow Meow Meow, Meow Meow Meow Meow Hugo, a portly and exceedingly handsome speckled basset hound, is a hearing dog by trade, but his bellowing rendition of "Happy Birthday" has made him the odds-on favorite among nine musical canine contestants to win the "Advantage Search for North America's Best Singing Pet," held at this year's SF/SPCA Animal Wingding '98. All pets, musical or otherwise, will have the opportunity to make their mark at this daylong celebration of birds and beasties, beginning at 11 a.m. with the Parade of Life, a costumed promenade for pets and their owners. Soccer dogs and Frisbee dogs will show off their sporting prowess, and the Friskees cat team will demonstrate that at least some felines are trainable. The day's other talent contest, the Pet Star Search, broadens the competitive scope with categories like "Best Pet Who Does Nothing at All," although pets who do unusual tricks or exhibit outstanding training will be acknowledged (last year's star search launched the careers of a white kitty named Polar, and Jazz, a Jack Russell terrier who models for Mervyn's now). The Wingding begins at 9 a.m. at the SF/SPCA, 2500 16th St. (at Florida), S.F. Admission is free; call 554-3000.
Take Me to Your White Trash Party Every Monday night for the last two months or so, "Speedy's Wig City" hosts DX and Abe have been transforming the jazzbo environs of the Elbo Room into a white trash garage, tacking up license plates and hubcaps and hanging pictures of Elvis. The decorations and the "trailer trash" refreshment table -- loaded down with pork rinds, hot dogs, tater tots, watermelon, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches -- provide atmosphere for the weekly American roots music evenings, which spotlight local bands that parse roots into garage, surf, and country (and when DX says country, he doesn't mean Garth Brooks, he means bands like Bob Wills or outfits with a skewed take on traditional country, like the Kuntry Kunts, who played "Speedy's" recently). Rockabilly is another big draw here, and the Smokejumpers will show audiences how they do it beginning at 10 p.m. at the Elbo Room, 647 Valencia (at 18th Street), S.F. Admission is $4; call 552-7788.
Absinthe and Peppermints Nashville trio Today Is the Day veer closer to death metal than goth, but that doesn't mean we can't take this opportunity to mention that the original members of Bauhaus are playing reunion shows July 10 and 11 at L.A.'s Palladium Theater, 15 years after their farewell show in London. The band, credited with spawning the goth movement, isn't planning to play locally, however, even though the Bay Area is said to have the highest goth population per capita of any U.S. city, and bumper stickers with slogans like "We feed on the flesh of the living ... and we vote!" are just part of our regular scenery. Which brings us back to Today Is the Day, who share with goth bands a fascination with evil and the Dark Side -- the band's album Temple of the Morning Star is named for a satanic church in Denver. Singer Steve Austin (no relation to the Six Million Dollar Man) grew up in America's country music capital and has crafted a kind of anti-country built on speed, aggression, and crushing feedback, the kind favored by the Amphetamine Reptile label, with whom the band recorded before switching to Relapse. More hints: They've toured with Helmet, and their repertoire includes a cover of Black Sabbath's "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath." They'll play an all-ages show with Converge beginning at 8:30 p.m. at the Cocodrie, 1024 Kearny (at Broadway), S.F. Admission is $6; call 986-6678.