Arts and Entertainment
Stage listings are compiled by Cheryl Eddy. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Sima Belmar, Rita Felciano, and Brad Rosenstein. Theater intern is Lara Shalson. See 8 Days a Week for information on how to submit items to the listings.
Blithe Spirit Geary Theater, 415 Geary; 749-2228. $15-61. Opens Wed/27, 8pm. Runs Tues-Sat, 8pm (Tues/5, show at 7pm; also Wed and Sat, 2pm, except Wed/27 and March 13); Sun, 2pm. Through March 24. See 8 Days a Week, page 46.
Peer Gynt Zeum Theater, Yerba Buena Gardens, 221 Fourth St; 749-2228. $7.50-15. Previews Wed/27, 8pm. Opens Thurs/28, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun/10 and March 16, 2pm. Through March 16. The American Conservatory Theater's MFA program presents the Henrik Ibsen classic.
Riverdance The Show Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market; 512-7770, www.ticketmaster.com. $34-73.50. Opens Tues/5, 8pm. Runs Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat-Sun, 2pm). Through March 17. The Irish music and dance extravaganza returns to town.
After the Fall Speakeasy Theatre, 2016 Seventh St, Berk; (510) 841-4100, www.ticketweb.com. $8-20. Previews Fri/1, 8pm. Opens Sat/2, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm (no show March 16); Sun/10, March 17, 24, 2pm. Through April 6. Speakeasy Theatre performs Arthur Miller's play about a man struggling with his personal demons in the wake of World War II.
Impact Briefs 5: The East Bay Hit La Val's Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid, Berk.; (510) 464-4468. $7-12. Previews Thurs/28, 8pm (pay what you can). Opens Fri/1, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through March 30. Impact Theatre offers up seven comedic works in one evening as part of its fifth annual festival of short plays.
The All Night Strut New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. $15-35. Thurs/28-Sat/2, 8pm; Sun/3, 2pm. The New Conservatory Theatre Center continues its "In Concert" series with this musical celebration of the 1930s and '40s.
Are We Almost There? Shelton Theatre, 533 Sutter; 345-7575. $19-23. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 30. The musical comedy revue about traveling returns to the Shelton Theatre.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Golden Gate Theater, 1 Taylor; 512-7770. $34-77. Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat-Sun, 2pm). Through Sun/10. Ann-Margret stars in this musical comedy.
'Classic Absurdity Theatre Festival' Venues: Exit Theatre, Exit Stage Left, and Exit Cafe, 156 Eddy; Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor; 673-3847, www.sffringe.org. Main-stage plays: $12-20. Wed/27-Sat/2, 8:30pm. Main-stage plays: Ubu Roi, by Alfred Jarry (Exit Theatre), The Bald Soprano, by Eugene Ionesco (Exit Stage Left), and The Condemned Man's Bicycle, by Fernando Arrabal (Exit on Taylor). Other festival events: "Absurd Night Live," sketch comedy (Fri/1-Sat/2, 10pm, Exit Cafe; $10); staged readings of Resounding Tinkle (Exit Theatre), and Picnic on the Battlefield (Exit Stage Left), both Sat/2, 7pm, donation requested. One of the choices at the Classic Absurdity Theatre Festival is Ubu Roi. The play's opening line, "merdre," is famous for having instigated a riot when it was first uttered on the Paris stage in 1896. Today, the scat jokes are less likely to offend than remind us of the schoolboy humor of Beavis and Butthead a juvenility that makes sense given that Alfred Jarry was a mere 15 when he first conceived of this piece that would retrospectively come to be considered the first surrealist play. The play's critique of greed and power is simplistic but not irrelevant to our present circumstances a parallel that director Rebecca Novick attempts to draw out in her staging, though to varying degrees of success. The play is a sprawling blend of farce and violence. Set on a bare and antirealist stage (making often wonderful use of minimalist props), it gets its punch above all from the actors' relentless energy. (Shalson)
*Don't Make Me Look Too Psychotic Bannam Place Theater, 50 Bannam Place; 986-4607. $15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 23. Violently unhealthy relationships are the driving force behind Bruce Pachtman's hilarious solo show. Pachtman developed this autobiographical piece after dating a particularly incendiary woman. Psychotic is gut-bustingly funny, which is no small feat considering the seriousness of the material. (Joshua Medsker)
Euphor!um Bldg 920, Mason St, Presidio (enter from Marina Blvd through Crissy Field gate); 332-9454. $15. Thurs, 6-10pm; Fri-Sat, 7-11:30pm; Sun, 3-7pm. Extended through March 24. Antenna presents its interactive journey through Samuel Taylor Coleridge's opium-inspired poem "Kubla Khan."
The Eviction Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822. $10-37. Wed/27-Sat/2, 8:30pm; Sun/3, 2:30 and 7:30pm. In Victor Lodato's timely new play the central character, the Man (David Gunderman), is on the verge of being evicted from his apartment, soon to find himself a denizen of the streets. He is clearly on shaky mental ground, conducting extended stream-of-consciousness monologues with himself. Presiding over the Man's increasing agitation is the Reader (Howard Swain), a nearly omniscient presence who narrates the Man's experiences as they happen or perhaps as he causes them to happen. In his aching loneliness and desperation, the Man calls for lifelines and receives no reassuring responses you can see him slipping further into oblivion with each conversation. Despite Lodato's clear facility with language and such theatrical gambits as puppetry built into the script, the result is frequently static and tedious. The play owes much to Beckett but never comes close to achieving his resonance; its everyman characters shrink into particulars rather than stretch into universals. (Rosenstein)
*Five Flights Thick House, 1695 18th St; 401-8081. $15-20. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Extended through Sun/10. Five Flights is a fable of faiths in collision, each of its characters desperately looking for something or someone to believe in. Kent Nicholson crafts a gem of presentational staging in perfect sync with playwright Adam Bock's self-conscious structure. Unfortunately, the play loses steam as it strains toward a conclusion of difficult grace. Still, Bock remains a tremendously exciting talent, and you couldn't ask for a better production than this one by the Encore Theatre Company. (Rosenstein)
*Frank Olivier's Twisted Cabaret and Pandemonium Vaudeville Show Mason Street Theatre, 340 Mason; 982-5463. $30-42. Thurs, 8pm; Fri, 8:30pm; Sat, 5:30 and 9pm; Sun, 3:30pm. Open-ended. Jugglers don't come much better or stranger than Frank Olivier, a one-man reincarnation of vaudeville with a decided edge. Frank Olivier's Twisted Cabaret and Pandemonium Vaudeville Show features the performer as more than a dozen showbiz characters, including a pointedly inept magician and an emotionally distraught knife thrower. There are hits and misses, but when Olivier is juggling, no one can touch him, not just for his mind-bending skill but also for his perfectly honed awkward-guy appeal, which gets an audience roaring. (Rosenstein)
Kiss Me Kate Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market; 512-7770. $34-76. Wed/27-Sat/2, 8pm (also Wed/27 and Sat/2-Sun/3, 2pm). It's hard to believe anyone could make a ho-hum evening out of one of the all-time great musicals, but the touring production of Kiss Me, Kate at the Orpheum Theatre is sadly less than stellar. While director Michael Blakemore's Broadway revival took home a crate of Tonys, this road show suffers from some critical deficits. Chief among them is Rex Smith in the lead; he simply seems inadequate for the role's demands. Rachel York does fine if uneven work as Lilli, but without a partner of equal chops, neither she nor the show can fly the way they should. Jenny Hill as Lois is alone in consistently hitting the mark. (Rosenstein)
Legion New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. $18-35. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun/10, March 24, 31, 2pm. Through April 6. In Hal Corley's play, premiering at New Conservatory Theatre Center, the seemingly happily married Jonah (Randel Hart) and his married-with-children acquaintance Sylvester (Jeff Castle) secretively pursue an affair. Over the course of the play's 13-year span, we meet a number of other men who are similarly tormented by their double lives. The play begins well, immersing us in Sylvester and Jonah's awkward negotiations and vulnerabilities, but soon their relationship is over, and the focus shifts to other "members of the club," like the wildly promiscuous Burton (Markham Miller), who is out to everyone but his wife. Corley is a talented writer who knows how to get dramatic sparks flying, but the evening is dominated by the flamboyantly funny Burton, who rushes into the vacuum of the Sylvester-Jonah relationship and takes over the play. (Rosenstein)
Love's Fire and Talk to Me like the Rain and Let Me Listen New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom; 731-6027. $15. Thurs/28-Sun/3, 8pm. La Vache Enragée presents a program of one-acts inspired by Shakespeare's sonnets, preceded by Tennessee Williams's Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen. Following an uneven, largely pallid rendering of the Williams play, Marsha Norman's 140, a Sonnet 140 as lovers' merry-go-round, proves even less rewarding. To the rescue comes Tony Kushner's comedy Terminating, about an ambivalent analysand and his suicidal shrink. Kushner's brilliant volubility soars thanks to Brian Katz's sure direction and spot-on performances by Morris Naish and Wendy Taylor. Other highlights include Ntozake Shange's "choreo-poem" Hydraulics Phat like Mean and Eric Bogosian's Bitter Sauce, a farcical love triangle after Sonnet 118. (Avila)
Mission Indians Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia; 626-3311. $9-15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (special actor's benefit Mon/11, 8pm). Through Mon/11. Campo Santo + Intersection present the world premiere of Greg Sarris's play about three generations of mixed-race California Indians.
Nu? Vaudeville: A Jewish Comedy Revue A Traveling Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida; 399-1809. $12.50-25 (Thurs, pay what you can). Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun/3 and Sun/10, 2 and 7pm; March 17 and 24, 4pm. Through March 24. Moshe Cohen, Sara Felder, Jeanette Lewicki, Karen Quest, and Dalia Vidor star in this show.
The Piano Lesson Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter; 474-8800. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through March 17. The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre performs August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play about an African American family in the 1930s.
*The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe Theatre on the Square, 450 Post; 433-9500. $35-50. Wed-Thurs, 8pm (no show Thurs/28); Fri-Sat (no show Fri/1), 8:30pm; Sat-Sun, 3pm (also Sun, 7:30pm). Extended through March 31. Sixteen years after her play's first appearance, Jane Wagner's script still ranks among the most brilliant theater writing of recent decades. Its 13-character universe still crackles with the breadth of its thought, humor, and compassion. Lily Tomlin remains a spot-on powerhouse, etching seamless worlds with the vocal and gestural versatility of a master. (Rosenstein)
Serial Murderess: A Play in Three Axe Venue 9, 252 Ninth St; 289-2000. $12-15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Mon/4, 8pm; Sun/10, 3pm). Through March 30. Amanda Moody's popular show about three bloodthirsty women returns for its third run at Venue 9.
The Yoga of Moby-Dick The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 826-5750, www.ticketweb.com. $9-18. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through March 16. Writer-performer Mark Kenward's solo show sets out to reconcile the raging American soul of Captain Ahab with the teachings of hatha yoga. It's a recipe for the bends. Yoga enthusiasts, New Ageists, and frequenters of the Learning Annex may get the most from Kenward's occasionally funny monologue, which for the most part comes across like a motivational seminar crossed with a UC extension course in American lit. At the center of this exercise is an autobiographical tale of a childhood trauma suffered after Kenward and his family moved from Normal, Ill., to Nantucket Island. The mixture of New Age self-help and good old-fashioned eastern-seaboard angst, told in a series of loose characterizations from Moby Dick and real life, brings to mind Spalding Gray, but the comparison leaves Kenward coming up short because, among other things, you sense he has his answers already. Unlike Gray, or Ishmael for that matter, he's a landlubber. That may be why the piece, despite its Buddhist bromides, never really sets sail. (Avila)
*Culture Clash in AmeriCCa Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. $10-54. Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Extended through Sun/10. Bringing together material from the group's various site-specific shows, such as Radio Mambo: Culture Clash Invades Miami and Nuyorican Stories, Culture Clash's new show is an inspired transnational quilt that delivers a razor-sharp satirical picture of la vida loca we're all living now. The piece also shows an affecting understanding of what America can be, intercutting the clear-sighted ruminations of an exiled Marine with the naturalization of two immigrants. In AmeriCCa concludes with new material on Berkeley, including a haunted encounter in People's Park that achieves a darker, richer, more complex tone than any of Culture Clash's work to date. (Rosenstein)
The Golden State Transparent Theater, 1901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 883-0305. $20 (Sun, pay what you can). Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through March 24. Transparent Theater performs Tom Clyde's play that imagines a meeting between depressed Beach Boy Brian Wilson and the royal family of an underwater kingdom.
The Memory of Water Oakland YWCA, 1515 Webster, Oakl; (510) 436-5085. $5-19. Thurs, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sun/10. TheatreFIRST performs Shelagh Stephenson's comedy about three grown-up sisters who are reunited at their mother's funeral.
Rhinoceros Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. $16-42. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs/28, Sat/9, 2pm); Sun and Wed, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through Sun/10. Eugène Ionesco's most famous play gets a major remounting at Berkeley Rep. You'd think this absurdist diatribe against conformity would be remarkably resonant in a time when the herd mentality seems to rule, but unfortunately this production, employing a bland translation-adaptation of the play by Allen Kuharski and Georges Moskos, never takes off. (Rosenstein)
Run Perfectly Still Mills College, Lisser Hall, 5000 MacArthur, Oakl; (510) 534-9529. $12-15. Thurs/28-Sat/2, 8pm; Sun/3, 2pm. In honor of Black History Month, Oakland Public Theater presents the world premiere of Wendy Belden's Civil War-era play about the strange relationship between a plantation mistress and her slave.
'Dancing Downtown 2002' Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission; 978-2787. Feb 21-March 10. Program one features Brenda Way's Raking Light and Spectral Evidence, KT Nelson's Walk before Talk, and live music by the Cypress String Quartet (Sat/9, 8pm; Sun/10, 7pm; $15-38); program two features Kimi Okada's Sauce for the Goose, Nelson's Running into Open Doors, and Way's 24 Exposures (Fri/1-Sat/2, 8pm; $15-38); program three features Way's Part of a Longer Story, After the Ten O'Clock News, and Weird Weather, and Nelson's On the Loose (Sun/3, 2pm; Thurs/7-Fri/8, 8pm, $15-38); and "Family Matinee" features Sauce for the Goose, After the Ten O'Clock News, On the Loose, and an ODC dance jam (Sat/2, 2pm, $10-15). For full schedule go to www.odcdance.org.
'San Francisco Ballet 2002 Repertory Season' War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness; 865-2000. Program three: Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat-Sun, 2pm). $10-120. Program three is a full-length production of Othello.
Strong Current Dance Company ODC Theater, 3153 17th St; 863-9834. Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sun/10, 8pm). Through Sun/10. $13-16 (no one turned away for lack of funds). The company performs Kirstin E. Williams's Lockdown, a look at incarcerated women through modern and hip-hop dance, spoken word, and music.
'Undressed and Adrift' Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission; 554-0402. Fri, 8pm. $5-10 (no one turned away for lack of funds). Choreographer Eric Kupers and dancer-collaborators Deborah Anderson, Manuelito Biag, Hilary Bryan, Dawn Frank, Kristin Heavey, Debby Kajiyama, Edmer Lazaro, Anne-Lise Reusswig, Frankie Sadarling, Stacz Sadowski, Manfred Schaectle, Nol Simonse, Oscar Trujillo, and Irene Yung embark on the second showing of their AIRspace residency at Jon Sims.
Zeltzman and Colburn Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St; 273-4633. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. $10-15. See Critic's Choice.
Kusum Africa Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph, Berk; (510) 642-9988. Fri-Sat, 8pm. $18-30. See 8 Days a Week, page 46.
'DragPie' Marlena's, 488 Hayes; 864-6672. Fri, 10:30pm and midnight. Free. A cast of drag performers including Cockatelia, Gypsy Calabrese, Sonfondaboyz, Manley Lennox, and Karen Kill performs; this week's theme is "British Invasion."
'East Coast West Coast: Vietnamese American Writers, Poets, and Performers' San Francisco State University, Cesar Chavez Student Center, Second flr, 1600 Holloway; www.alike.com/firehorse. Sat, 6:30-10pm. $5. Vietnamese American artists, including Andrew X. Pham, Mong-Lan, Kien Nguyen, Nguyen Qui Duc, and others, read and perform together at this event.
'First Contact A Showcase of Young Emerging Artists' Buriel Clay Theater, 762 Fulton; 292-1850. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $10-15. See "The Great Divide," page 34.
'Frida, un retablo' Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission; 821-1155. Sat, 8pm. $10-12. See 8 Days a Week, page 46.
'The F-Word Project' Various Bay Area venues; 263-8760 or www.f-wordproject.org. March 3-9. See 8 Days a Week, page 46.
'Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales on Broadway, A Musical Theater Revue' Eureka Theater, 215 Jackson; 551-7990. Fri, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm. Free. (Gala benefit performance Sat, 8pm, $50). San Francisco Arts Education Project's Event Players composed of kids ages 9 to 14 perform their latest show.
'Silence within the Darkness: The Life of Joaquin Roderigo' City College of San Francisco, Diego Rivera Theatre, 50 Phelan; 239-3132. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. $5-10. Cecelia Gaerlan's play explores the life of blind Spanish composer-guitarist Joaquin Roderigo.
'Space Between' SomArts, 934 Brannan; 332-2362. Fri-Sat, 8pm. $15-20. Lynn Augstein presents an interactive performance-exhibit that guides the audience through waves of color and sound.
'Women's Work' Venue 9, 252 Ninth St; 289-2000. Tues, 8pm. $8-10. This week's lineup: Juror No. 7, by Phyllis Dantzler; Jump, by Nena St. Louis; and Blurred Boundaries, by Jeanne Disney.
'The Divine Comedy: The Dante Project (A Sacred Poem)' Zellerbach Playhouse, Bancroft at Dana, UC Berkeley, Berk; (510) 642-9925. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sun/10. $6-12. UC Berkeley theater students perform a comic twist on Dante's poem.
'J. Eric Cook's Vagina Project' Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; (707) 537-1664. Mon, 8pm. Through Mon/11. $10-15. Cook performs a comedic show that asks, "What's in a vagina?"
'Talking with Angels, a True Story' Black Box, 1928 Telegraph, Oakl; (415) 389-8975. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Sun/10. $20. Shelley Mitchell performs a solo show that draws upon the experiences of Jewish Hungarian women during World War II.
Art's Coffee Shop 138 Church; 951-2448. Wed, 8pm: "Castro Comedy," with host "Crippled Comic" Bob Douglas, donations accepted (no one turned away for lack of funds).
Bayfront Theater Fort Mason Center, Building B, Third fl, Marina at Laguna; 474-8935. Thurs, 8pm: "The Belfry: Triple Play," $7. Fri, 8pm: "Ill-Fated Romance: The Musical," $12. Sat, 8pm: "3 x 3 Improv Tournament," $12. Sun, 8pm: "Micetro," $6.
848 Community Space 848 Divisadero; 643-8118, ext 2. Hyena Comedy All-Stars perform, 8:30pm, $8 (includes beer).
McKenna Theatre San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway; 405-0556. Fri-Sat, 8pm: "Veterans of Comedy Wars: A North Beach Reunion," benefit for the SFSU athletic endowment fund starring Merv Griffin, Pat Morita, Brett Butler, and other comedians, $40-75.
One World Cafe 1799 McAllister; 776-9358. Fri, 7:30pm: open mic with host Corrine Petteys, free.
Rasselas 1534 Fillmore; 921-2051. Sat, 7pm: "All Black Comedy Showcase," with Yayne Abeba, Tony Sparks, and others, free.
El Rio 3158 Mission; 282-3325. Wed, 8pm: "Benefit for the Creative Arts Charter School Kindergarten Class," with comedians Howard Stone, Stevie Boyd, and others, $10-20.
Spanganga 3376 19th St; 821-1102. Thurs, 10pm: "Spiegelmania," stand-up comedy show hosted by Mike Spiegelman and featuring Jeremy Beth Michaels and Connor Cellicut, $5. Fri, 8pm: "Please Leave the Bronx in Hearbeard II: Revenge of the Razor," sketch comedy, $7 (through March 29).
Stud Bar 399 Ninth St; 250-2009. Wed, 7pm: "Stood Up!," stand-up show hosted by Pippi Lovestocking, $5.
Black Box 1928 Telegraph, Oakl; (510) 595-5597. Thurs, 8pm: The Oakland Playhouse improv troupe performs improv comedy, $5.
Open mics take place almost every night in cafés throughout the Bay Area. If you want to perform, show up about half an hour before start time to put your name on the list. A day-by-day guide to word events and featured readers:
Wednesday: Mama Bears Women's Bookstore 6536 Telegraph, Oakl; (510) 506-3717. "SheSpeaks," open mic night for women 18 and over, 7:30pm, $5. La Peña Cultural Center 3105 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 849-2572. "Cafe Poetry," 7:30pm, $2. Cody's Books 2454 Telegraph, Berk; (510) 845-7852. "Poetry Flash," with Stephen Kessler and John Oliver Simon, 7:30pm, $2. Starry Plough 3101 Shattuck; (510) 841-2082. "Berkeley Slam!," hosted by Charles Ellik and dani eurynome and including featured readers Kenyatta and AfroKen, with open slam, 8pm, $5. BrainWash Cafe 1122 Folsom; 864-3842. "Spoken Word Salon," open mic with featured reader Ramu Aki and host Diamond Dave Whitaker, 8pm, free.
Thursday: Books Inc. 2275 Market; 864-6777. Contributors to Burning Pen: Sex Writers on Sex Writing read, 7:30pm, free. See 8 Days a Week, page 46. Café 1428 1428 Alice, Oakl; (510) 239-2239, ext 2899. "Poet Skool!," open mic with featured reader Richard Moore and host Paradise Freejahlove, 7-10pm, free. Dalva 3121 16th St; 647-6542. "Poetry Mission," hosted by Harvey, with featured reader and open mic, 7pm, free. Center for Young Women's Development 2973 16th St; 345-0260. "She Who Dreams," spoken word CD release party, 7pm, $3. 26 Mix 3024 Mission; 826-7378. "The Bored Collective" reading with Kid 606, Chris Orr, Byron Mason, Marke Bieschke, Lynnee Bonner, Bay Guardian contributor Sylvia W. Chan, and more, 9pm, $5.
Friday: Cafe International 508 Haight; 552-7390. "Open Myc Series," with featured reader Dee Dee Russell, 7:30pm, free. Yakety Yak Coffee House 679 Sutter; 285-2951. Open mic, 7:30pm, free. Escape from New York Pizza 333 Bush; (510) 654-6495. Del Ray Cross, Cassie Lewis, and Tim Yu from Shampoo magazine read to benefit St. James' Infirmary, 7:30pm, $5.
Saturday: Coffee with a Beat 458 Perkins, Oakl; (510) 526-5985. "Word Beat Reading Series," with featured readers Kirk Lumpkin and Phillip T. Nails, plus open mic, 7-9pm, free. Berkeley Public Library South Branch, 1901 Russell; (510) 527-9905. The Bay Area Poets Coalition hosts an open reading, 3-5pm, free.
Sunday: Bird and Beckett Books and Records 2788 Diamond; 586-3733. Poet Ann Ireland reads, 4:30pm, free. Black Box 1928 Telegraph, Oakl; (510) 451-1932. "Birth of Verse," poetry slam, 7:30pm, $5.
Monday: Notes from Underground Café 2399 Van Ness; 928-8904. "Celebration of the Word," with featured readers and host Jeanne Powell, 7pm, free. Café de la Paz 1600 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 843-0662. "Poetry Nitro," performance showcase featuring Steve Arntsen, plus open mic and host Mishell Erickson, 8pm, free. Rasselas 1534 Fillmore; 346-8696. Open mic for instrumentalists, singers, and poets, featuring the Dee Spencer Trio, 8pm, free. Good Vibrations 1210 Valencia; 431-0171. "Guilty Pleasures Reading," erotica reading with M. Christian and others, 8pm, free.
Tuesday: Andalusia Café 1209 Sutter; 928-8904. "Word Dancing," open mic with hosts Leonard King and Jeanne Powell, 7-9pm, free. World Ground Cafe 3726 MacArthur, Oakl; (510) 482-2933. "World Ground Poetry Series," with featured reader Erika Mailman and open mic, 7pm, free.