Coming Out Under Fire Broadcasting by the people for the people? Well, no programs about African-American history were on PBS's national schedule during Black History Month. Now, in June, PBS is offering only one (albeit patriotic) gay and lesbian show: S.F. filmmaker Arthur Dong's Coming Out Under Fire, a probe of sexual-orientation discrimination in the military. Spanning 50 years, Dong's documentary shows how World War II was instrumental in the formation of the gay community and how "don't ask, don't tell" is just the latest in a long series of civil rights violations. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on KQED; call 864-2000.
The Pirouette Principle How apropos: Britain's Royal Ballet will make its first S.F. appearance in 16 years in the presence of royalty: HRH Princess Margaret will be in the audience. Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov's classic setting of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake begins the famed company's four-day, six-performance engagement, which also includes a mixed program choreographed to music by Chopin (A Month in the Country) and Ravel (La Valse). Dress up and show up at 7 p.m. at the War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $20-300; call 565-3241.
Dance Like the Wind An annual festival for independent Bay Area choreographers, "Summerfest" celebrates its fourth birthday this year, and it's getting bigger as it gets older. This year's program spreads works by 37 artists over five weeks; Remy Charlip (whose performing career spans 50 years), Laura Elaine Ellis, Eric Hoisington, Joan Lazarus, Emily Keeler, Frank Shawl, Mercy Sidbery, and Mel Wong are the featured performers at the opening gala. The dancing begins at 8 p.m. at the Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Tickets are $20-100 for the premiere, which includes a post-performance reception; call 337-4160.
Hey Batter Batter In keeping with baseball's use of the number (nine innings, nine players), Hitting for the Cycle offers nine short works about America's (supposed) favorite pastime. The show's team of playwrights -- Gary Leon Hill, Arthur Kopit, Howard Korder, Quincy Long, Eduardo Machado, Wendy MacLeod, Heather McDonald, Eric Overmyer, and Y. York -- uses sports to touch on larger issues like labor, media, and race. Presented by Bay Package Productions and the San Francisco Giants, this premiere benefits the Young California Writers Project. The curtains part and the games start at 8:30 p.m. at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, S.F., continuing through July 30. Tickets are $50-250 for the premiere, $15-18 for regular performances; call 255-2254.
TV Party Tonight Whoever invented cable public-access television probably didn't think political radicals, sex workers, and drag queens would use it. But cable is currently a prime battle site for issues of censorship and free speech. The sociological and legal aspects of ongoing fights and the relationship between creativity and commerce are just some of the tricky issues addressed by "Off the Wire," a monthly series of free screenings presented by Artists' Television Access. A video program titled Who Gets Easy Access? and a panel discussion featuring Viacom dissident Mike Freeman start things off; the showing and telling begin at 8:30 p.m. at 992 Valencia, S.F. Call 824-3890.
Night of a Thousand Boops Attention boys and girls, tonight's the night to put your spit curls, helium giggles, and flapper gear to the test. The occasion: A "Boop-A-Like" contest, in conjunction with the premiere of Betty Boop Confidential, an evening of surreal short cartoons by the Fleischer brothers. Connie Champagne hosts the competition, which focuses on appearance and "boopability"; the panel of judges includes Joan Jett Blakk (who may appear as Black Betty) and Examiner film critic Barbara Shulgasser. A $500 donation in the winner's name will go to Project Open Hand. Do the Boop at 6:15 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, Castro and Market, S.F. Tickets for the film are $7; call 621-6120.
Unsafe, Unsuited Though the film version of Frisk is -- by most accounts -- a disaster, visual interpretations of Dennis Cooper's writings are possible: New York choreographer Ishmael Houston-Jones has collaborated with Cooper frequently and successfully. Houston-Jones' latest work, however, involves dancers: Keith Hennessey of San Francisco and Patrick Scully of Minneapolis. Unsafe, Unsuited is the piece's title -- that's shorthand for naked gay contact improvisation. One of the more radical offerings of this year's "Bay Area Dance Series," it recently received a full page of praise from the Village Voice. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland. Tickets are $10-15; call (510) 889-9550.
All That Jazz (and Art) A combination jazz festival and street fair honoring 60 years of music in the area, "Jazz and All That Art on Fillmore" offers jewelry, paintings, photographs, crafts, booze, and food. Oh yeah, and it offers jazz, too. Singer and lyricist Joe Hendricks will receive a lifetime achievement award; performers include Hendricks, the Magnolia Jazz Band, the Jazz Iguanas, Kenny Goldberg, the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Mike Greensill Trio, the Joyce Cooling Group, and SF Weekly cover boy Mal Sharpe with Big Money in Dixieland. The fun lasts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on Fillmore between California and Post. Call 346-4561.
Goodbye to Love Billboard once compared the Loved Ones to the Blasters and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Like those bands, the Oakland-based foursome mixes rock with rhythm and blues, but they look and dress a hell of a lot better. Unfortunately, after four years of fun, they're calling it quits. Say goodbye to a Bay Area band that shouldn't break up. Show starts at 9 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Tickets are $9-10; call 885-0750.
Kill Veruca Salt Roald Dahl wrote the kind of children's stories that give kids nightmares, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of his most fiendish. Starring Gene Wilder, the film version alters Dahl's title -- to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- but stays true to his crabby spirit. In one scene, a piggish boy dives into a chocolate moat and is sucked into oblivion by a giant straw. In another, a greedy girl turns into a giant blueberry. Witness these and other surreal episodes of brat torture through Monday at the Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight, S.F. Weekend showtimes are 2, 4, 7:15, and 9:15 p.m. $4.50-5.50; call 668-8999.
Ultra Nate In 1991, Ultra Nate put out "Is It Love?" and "Scandal," discofied dramas that match Donna Summer's best moments. Sadly, while both songs hit big in clubs, neither matched the crossover success of fellow deep-house diva and Basement Boys collaborator Crystal Waters. And though an impressive list of producers and writers (Nellee Hooper, Boy George, and Ten City) contributes to her most recent LP, One Woman's Insanity, Ultra is still -- like the truly amazing Billie Ray Martin -- a star waiting for a big hit. Pay tribute to her and dance to DJs Page Hodel and Pete Avila at Club Universe, 177 Townsend, S.F. Doors open at 9:30 p.m.; tickets are $10. Call 985-5256.
I Know It When I See It News flash: Though men say they buy Playboy for the writing, it contains photographic works as well. "Evocative Images," a new exhibition at the Circle Gallery, features some of the most famous. They range from the historical (Marilyn Monroe in the first issue) to the aesthetically stunning (Russian model Veruschka and her body-painting landscape poses), from the campy (Joan Collins in red lam) to the tacky and yukky (Jerry Seinfeld and Anna Nicole Smith, respectively). High art meets the raincoat brigade (not for the first time) Sun-Thurs 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri-Sat 10 a.m.-9 p.m. at Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point, S.F. Call 776-2370.
Marin County Fair "Health and Fitness Day" at the Marin County Fair features a handful of strenuous -- some might say dangerous -- activities. They include: rock climbing, trampoline jumping, water-balloon tossing, and root beer drinking. Exhibits, entertainment, fireworks, carnival rides, and blues bands are on hand for those who aren't athletically inclined. The action lasts from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. through July 4 at the Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Tickets are $6-8, kids under 4 free; call 499-6400.
Jazz and Funk 101 Q: Where can you learn samba, hip hop, blues, jazz, and numerous languages (African, Haitian, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban) for 10 bucks a pop? A: At the Third Wave Dance House, and nowhere else. The space's "Mantro Do Carnaval" summer program offers classes every evening of the week, with single-session and package deals available. Monday night's programs start at 6 and 7:30 p.m. at 3316 24th St, S.F. Call 282-4020 for more information.
Red Jazz and Blue Ring in Independence Day with five different Bay Area jazz purveyors: vocalist Ledisi with guitarist Liberty; San Jose's acid-jazz collective Congo Square; thrash-funksters Pothole; the bass-heavy Jungle Biskit; and Los Angelitos, an 11-piece Latin group. Doors open at 9 p.m. at the DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, S.F. Tickets are $12; call 267-5975.
Speak No Evil The S.F. Mime Troupe marks its 33rd season of free shows in area parks with Coast City Confidential, a musical look at a port town where budgets are slashed to nothing, parks and streets are trash heaps, public services are near collapse, beggars sleep in downtown doorways, and, worst of all, alternative newsweeklies are sold to out-of-town chains who employ jaded, done-it-all, seen-it-all twentysomething editors. (Hmm, sounds familiar.) Check it out at 2 p.m. at Dolores Park, 19th and Dolores, S.F. Free (through Sept. 4 at various parks); call 285-1717.
On the Waterfront This year's Waterfront Festival features fireworks galore and music on three stages: performers include Big Brother and the Holding Company, Harvey Mandel and the Electric Snake Band, and Zydeco Flames. The music starts at 1 p.m. and the loud popping noises begin at 9:15 p.m. at Aquatic Park, Pier 39, and Fisherman's Wharf and Taylor. Free; call 777-8498.