For a city obsessed with movie fests, it's hard to believe that the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival is a mere 2 years old; you'd think we'd have come up with it ages ago. Topics of this year's lineup run the aquatic gamut, from ecological films about global warming and the scourge of plastic refuse to documentaries on the surreal habitat beneath Antarctic ice, the 16,000-mile Gulf Stream, El Niño, and tsunamis. Plus, there are plenty of gorgeous single-species profiles with typically giddy nature-program titles: The Monster From the Shallows (about starfish), Vampire From the Abyss (squid), and Blackie the Wonder Horse (a swimming horse). The wet wonders begin with an opening reception on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Maritime Museum, Fisherman's Wharf, Hyde & Bay, S.F. Screenings begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $6-10 (the reception is $50); call 310-5259 or visit www.oceanfilmfest.org.
— Michael Leaverton
Top Dogs Face Off
Will I ever be able to see a dog show again without flashing on the movie Best in Show? Will watching an owner groom a stately hound bring back memories of Parker Posey going over her Weimaraner with nail scissors? Will commentators' banter make me long for Fred Willard's innuendo? No matter: Thousands of pooches being groped by discerning judges is its own brilliant entertainment. The Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show starts at 8:30 a.m. both days at the Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva (at Santos), S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 404-4111 or visit www.cowpalace.com.
— Joyce Slaton
After a baseball season full of scandal and disappointment, it's fitting that SBC Park's diamond will soon be buried under a thick layer of dirt, courtesy of the THQ World Supercross events. Three-time series winner Ricky Carmichael, defending champion Chad Reed, 19-year-old phenom James Stewart, and newly un-retired Jeremy McGrath certainly won't give a hoot as they tackle the tabletops and triple jumps of the redesigned field. Though you may know nothing about these folks, know this: Supercross is like a motorcycle race in a phone booth, and it's an absolute charge to watch. The roar of the two-strokes, the leaps over 60-foot gaps, the smell of spent fuel, the desecrated infield — it's a sensory kick. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. at SBC Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza (at Third and King streets), S.F. Admission is $15-47; call 972-2000 or visit www.sfgiants.com.
— Michael Leaverton