Sick & Twisted We all knew suburbia wasn't as clean, neat and cheery as our parents cracked it up to be -- that's why we live here, right? With their presentation of The Stepford Wives, a chilling comedy-thriller based loosely on the novel by Ira Levin, Sick and Twisted Players are back to reconfirm the worst nightmares about the white-bread past you keep buried in your closet. Discover Stepford's evil secret and let director Tony Vaguely and the cast make you feel good about the choices you've made. The Stepford Wives previews Thurs-Fri 8 pm, opens Sat and plays Thurs-Sat 8 pm through April 29 at the New Conservatory Theatre, 25 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $8-15; call 861-4914.
Dancing for Health Take a few hours out of your weekend to battle breast cancer while watching Bay Area dancers, writers and musicians whirl, spin, intone and strum their hearts out in a benefit for two grassroots groups committed to halting the disease's spread. Dancers include members of the Medea Project along with Anna Halprin, Naomi Newman, Shakiri, Liz Ozol and others. Spoken word and music takes place at Luna Sea and features Rashida Oji, Katia Noyes, Jo Kreiter, Jules Mann, Eva Festa and 32B or Not 2B. The event benefits Breast Cancer Action and the Women's Cancer Resource Center and starts with a dance performance Thurs 8:30 pm at the New Performance Gallery, 3153 17th St, S.F. Spoken-word and music performances take place Sat 2 pm at Luna Sea, 2940 16th St, S.F.; the dance performance will be reprised Sat at 8:30 pm at the New Performance Gallery. Tickets are $10-100; call New Performance at 863-9834 or Luna Sea at 863-2989.
Expand Your Mind With the opening of the Yerba Buena Center, San Francisco became a powerful magnet for multicultural art and music from around the world. With Other Minds Festival II, the center displays the power of its pull with a roster of international composers and performers who are descending on Yerba Buena's grassy knoll for a series of lectures, performances and demonstrations. Kicking off the festival are the Kronos Quartet, performing Alvin Singleton's Secret Desire to Be Black, guitarist David Tanenbaum playing Terry Riley's Ascension and the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio in Lou Harrison's Varied Trio. Also appearing are violinist Mari Kimura and pianist Muhal Richard Abrams in the world premieres of their own compositions. Performances start at 8 pm at the Center for the Arts Theatre, 700 Howard, S.F. Tickets are $16-18; call 978-2787. The festival continues at different locations throughout the city through Sat; see Calendar for details.
Midday Mozart To cure the workday blues, head over to Hayes Valley and check out Star Classics' lunchtime presentation by the Piano Quintet featuring musicians from the Pacific Conservatory of Music. The free concert starts at 12:15 pm at Star Classics Recital Hall, 425 Hayes. All donations go to performers; call 552-1110.
Rough Hewn Ever wondered how a finished performance got so polished? With Taking Shape '95 you can sneak a glimpse of a series of works still being fashioned by a diverse group of female theater artists. This year's series, now in the second of three weeks, offers performances, as well as an opportunity to share criticism, praise and insight with participants. Over the last seven years, moderators of post-show discussions have included such luminaries as Anna Deavere Smith and Ellen Sebastian. Taking Shape is presented by BRAVA! for Women in the Arts, a S.F. theater group with a strong reputation as a cutting-edge producer and presenter of new works by women: In 1992, BRAVA!'s world premiere of Cherre Moraga's Heroes and Saints won the Will Glickman, PEN West, L.A. Dramalogue and S.F. Critic's Circle awards for best original play. Don't miss your chance to be there at the beginning of something big. This week's performances include Bridgitt Antoinette Evans' The Moonshot Tape and Helen Stoltzfus' The Woman Who Married a Bear. Next week's highlights include the Asian Pacific Islander Women Writers Group. Shows start at 8 pm Fri-Sat, 2 & 7 pm Sun at Brava! Studio, 2180 Bryant, S.F. Tickets are $8-12; call 487-5401.
Take Back the Streets Up for a little Friday evening rabble-rousing? Peddle down to Market and Embarcadero for some assertive cycling with Critical Mass. Don't forget your helmet -- riding starts at 5:30 pm.
Devil's Tunnel With all the controversy over Devil's Slide, here's a chance to check out the damage firsthand by hiking along the proposed site of the Devil's Slide bypass and tunnel with members of the Devil's Slide Campaign. Organized in association with the Sierra Club, the Montara Mountain hike includes an examination of the environmental impact the contested bypass may have on McNee Ranch State Park. Meet at 10:30 am at McNee Ranch State Park, just north of Montara State Beach on Highway 1 (take 280 to 92, then take 92 toward Half Moon Bay, head eight miles north on Highway 1 and park at the barricades). Call 728-0468.
A Piaf for the Millennium Hear Gershwin, Sondheim, Bernstein and other American favorites sung with an international flair when Russian singer Tamara Gverdtsiteli, described by the French media as "this generation's Edith Piaf," makes her U.S. debut before continuing on a national tour that will end with an appearance at Carnegie Hall. One of Russia's most adored singers, the native Georgian will perform with the seven-piece Russian orchestra Arsenal. The concert starts at 8 pm at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, Bay & Lyon, S.F. Tickets are $12-30; call 392-4400 or BASS.
Tsunami Heroes to a nation of do-it-yourselfers since they published a manual on how to make your own record albums or start your own label, D.C.-based Tsunami sweeps through town with the Mommyheads in tow. Both bands offer the best in melodic guitar-laced cacophony starting 9:30 pm at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St, S.F. Soak in the sound for only $5; call 621-4455.
Wag Your Tail Feathers Carnaval San Francisco hosts its annual Carnaval King & Queen Contest. Judges will decide which of the most outrageously costumed contestants will preside over Carnaval '95 (parade and all) in May. Dancing to samba and world beat follows the coronation. Bring your dancing shoes to the Caribee Dance Center, 1408 Webster, Oakland. Admission is $5; call 826-1401.
Culture Wars The Pacific Film Archive plays a double feature offering a troubling glimpse of clashing American cultures. Sandra Johnson Osawa's 1994 Lighting the Seventh Fire profiles the Ojibwas (Chippewas) of Northern Wisconsin, who have continued spear fishing, angering the surrounding community. Osawa's documentary offers a disturbing glimpse of the raw hostility roiling just beneath the surface of pastoral America. Director Robert Hillman's Fire on the Water explores the confrontation between Texas fishermen and the Vietnamese refugees who have moved into their fishing territory. The characters he captures -- a shrimp wholesaler who attempts to help out the Vietnamese; a Vietnamese family caught up in the imbroglio; and a Native American who labels himself a "radical racist Christian" -- helped garner Hillman a 1982 Emmy nomination. The films start at 7 pm at the Pacific Film Archive, 2625 Durant, Berkeley; call (510) 642-1412.
World Domination Low Pop Suicide and Latimer both made it intact out of Austin's South by Southwest record-industry, slap-each-other-on-the-back-and-feel-good fest, so maybe both bands will live up to their record label's name and actually achieve world domination. Or maybe they'd settle for widespread recognition. Low Pop Suicide, reincarnated after former Gang of Four member Dave Allen's departure and drummer Jeff Ward's death last year, is back on the road after a long hiatus to support their most recent album, The Death of Excellence. Four-man Philadelphia band Latimer is supporting its debut EP, World's Portable. This is the type of jangly indie guitar music (with a dash of violin thrown in for good measure) that goes down best loud and live. Compulsion adds to the ruckus at the DNA Lounge, 626 11th St, S.F. Doors open at 9 pm. Tickets are $5; call 626-1409.
Women of Vision Last year, fewer than 5 percent of all television programs were directed by women. Women of Vision, a six-week series produced by Joanne Kelly and airing on KCSM-TV (channel 60), showcases 11 Bay Area women who made this year's cut. The series kicks off with the world premiere of Writing Women's Lives. Directed by Santa Cruz' Melissa Sanders-Self, the program examines women and the creative process via interviews with such luminaries as Isabel Allende, Gloria Steinem and Amy Tan. Other series directors include Oscar-nominated Susan Blaustein Munoz, Erica Marcus, Judy Irving, Chris Beaver, Martha Nicoloff, Peg Jordan, Nicole Atkinson and Joyce Lee. The series airs at 8 pm Tues and 10 pm Fri; call 574-6586.