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Surreal Life 

Another take on Frida Kahlo

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THURS-SUN 5/8-11

Frida Kahlo's startling self-portraits depicted her gorgeous mustached self writhing in hospital beds, bleeding in the bathtub, or sometimes just posing for the paintbrush while clad in vibrant Mexican garb. Despite what seems like a cursed existence -- childhood polio, a crippling tram accident, and husband Diego Rivera's masterful infidelity -- Kahlo always lived and painted in full technicolor, making her the perfect subject for a new play by French-Canadian actress Sophie Faucher. Based on Kahlo's journals and directed by the famed Robert Lepage, La Casa Azul takes an unforgettable poetic journey into the life of the brilliant Mexican surrealist.

La Casa celebrates Kahlo's ability to transform her lifelong suffering into transcendent beauty. The artist's life was filled with ugly things, says Faucher during a recent telephone conversation, but she "became beautiful because of her style." Faucher, who also plays Kahlo, says this biographical piece is not just an homage to Kahlo, but a fiesta thrown in her honor. Performances take place at the Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $36-52; call (510) 642-9988 or visit www.calperfs.berkeley.edu. -- Karen Macklin

In Memoriam

WED 5/7

Kathy Acker was known to many as the "next generation's Burroughs," a label that suited the postmodern novelist not only because she appropriated the primarily male literary technique of the cut-up, but also because she did so with a perversion and eroticism that would have left many a bad-boy beatnik awe-struck. Putting her own stamp on classics like Don Quixote and Great Expectations, Acker had a knack for turning life's hard knocks into riveting prose. She died in 1997 of breast cancer, but her devotees are still singing her praises. Tonight, Amy Scholder, co-editor of Essential Acker: A Tribute to the Life & Writings of Kathy Acker, hosts a performative reading of Acker's greatest hits. Diamanda Galas, Kate Braverman, and Dodie Bellamy, among others, fete the late, great "literary pirate" at 7 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus (at Broadway), S.F. Admission is free; call 362-8193 or visit www.citylights.com. -- Lisa Hom

Party Hearty
Dance Music for the Immature

WED 5/7

"When we first started, we played three shows in three days, and we thought modern dance music wouldn't be able to continue after that. But it did, so we had to come back," says DJ Noel Harmonson. It's only been a few months since those exciting, early days of DJ Shitbird and the Ultimate Party Machine, but already there's a 3-inch, Party Bomb. Hear Harmonson, Eric Bauer, and Kristy Geschwandtner, who is apparently 8 -- almost 9 -- years old, with Viki at 7 p.m. at the Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk (at Post), S.F. Admission is free; call 923-0923. -- Hiya Swanhuyser

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