The Entertainer If you ever muffed Moonlight Sonata during recital-night hell, or snuck in a few sensitive bars of The Young and the Restless theme at the Steinway showroom, performance artist Brenda Hutchinson has a show that may interest you. Hutchinson, a former composer-in-residence at Mills and a contributor to the Liquid Sky soundtrack, has been lugging a piano across the country for her project How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? She's parked in Midwestern shopping malls and small-town general stores to videotape locals playing piano and sharing piano-related memories and anecdotes. San Francisco marks the last leg of the tour before Hutchinson sits down with all her recorded material to create an original score, which professional pianists will play in venues across America during the '97-98 concert season, culminating in a final performance in New York. Hutchinson engages the public in playing music and telling piano tales at 1 p.m. at the Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon, S.F. Admission is $2.50-9; call 563-7337.
Ghosts and Gizmos A man is haunted by shadowy figures from his past and futuristic mechanical characters in Theater Concrete's re-extended musical theater and video spectacle Feeding Frenzy. Human players are joined by Goboy the robot beggar, Plowgirl the robot junkie, Humper the robot prostitute, and Godfella the robot street preacher in this surreal urban vehicle, which begins at 8:30 p.m. (also Saturday) at Theater Concrete, 550 Natoma, S.F. Admission is $8; call 621-4068.
Is This Thing On? The "Alternative Comedy Club" moves funny business from the bottle-clinking hecklefest of clubs to the less distracting and obnoxious atmosphere of the theater. The plan is to allow the performers to develop and present subtler material. Club regulars, veterans of late-night and workshop performances at the Marsh, range from Michael Anderson to Liz White, with sketches by Segueway and rotating guest comics like Sherry Sly and Kevin Guthrie. The club gets under way at 8:30 p.m. (and continues Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 24) at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $8-12; call 641-0235 for reservations.
Dueling Heels Theater Flamenco celebrates its 30th anniversary with the concert "Recuerdos de Espana" and two Spanish guest artists: Sevillian singer/dancer/choreographer Jose Galvan and his 16-year-old daughter, Pastora, a dancer schooled in Andalusian technique. This Californian company of singers, dancers, and musicians presents a program of popular repertory works like Misa Flamenca, a piece based on the Spanish Roman Catholic Mass. The performance begins at 8 p.m. (and continues Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.) at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Admission is $15-30; call 392-4400.
Road Rash One man's promise to his street-preacher brother evolves into a road trip and sideshow in Teddi Dean Bennet's comedy A Holy Promise, which features local music types like sound man Bobby Mac and Flower S.F. singer Storm in key roles, and a soundtrack by Morphine's Dana Colley. Bennet is the wandering sibling, a hitchhiker whose journey through Northern California and Nevada is colored by a slew of unusual characters. The film screens at 8 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890.
Are You Lonesome Tonight? The older, fatter, druggier Elvis gets another moment in the spotlight in the 1970 documentary Elvis: That's the Way It Is. Airing on the 19th anniversary of his death at age 42, the film is the cinematic equivalent of a backstage pass, with footage of the mutton-chopped, polyester-wearin' King rehearsing his hits and bantering with his band as they prepare for a big Las Vegas show at the International Hotel. The film also follows concert promotion and behind-the-scenes preparation, zooms in on the fans who describe what made them fall in love with their main man, and ends with a puffy-faced head case fumbling the words to "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and, finally, redeeming himself with an epic "My Way." Elvis: That's the Way It Is airs at 9 p.m. on KQED Ch. 9.
Delicious and Delovely Italy's knack for design extends beyond its world-famous textiles to its decorative breads, as demonstrated in the exhibit "Pani & Fili: Breads and Threads From Italy." This collection of specialty loaves, laces, embroideries, and weavings shows obvious stylistic parallels between edibles and wearables and provides cultural clues to each of the country's 20 regions. The exhibit opens at noon (and continues through Oct. 27) at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Landmark Building A, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Admission is $2-3 (free the first Wednesday of every month); call 775-0990.
Fine Feathered Fiesta Arthur the Dexter steer celebrates his third birthday with an alfalfa- and hay-flavored cake, and his young guests are treated to free cookies at this year's San Francisco Children's Zoo barnyard birthday bash. Entertainment includes live acoustic tunes sung by local band Beyond Redemption and a puppet show, but the real excitement lies in the Livestock Stampede: goats, donkeys, sheep, and other four-legged critters come barreling out of the back stalls and then screech to a stop at the front of the yard, where kids get to feed them. The celebration coincides with the announcement that Antoine the white alligator will extend his stay through Dec. 1. The party begins at 10:30 a.m. with the Animal Brunch at the San Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo, S.F. Free with zoo admission (free-$7); call 753-7080.