May 01, 2002


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stage

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.

theater

Opening

Coconut Masquerade Bindlestiff Studio, 185 Sixth St; 974-1167. $12-15. Opens Thurs/2, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through May 25. Teatro Ng Tanan presents Melinda Corazon Foley's play, written in verse, about a woman who is overwhelmed by her troubled past.

For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again Geary Theater, 415 Geary; 749-2228. $11-61. Previews Sat/4, 2pm; Tues/7-Sat/11, 8pm. Opens Sun/12, 7pm. Runs Tues-Sat, 8pm (Tues/14 and May 21, shows at 7pm; also Sat and June 5, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through June 9. www.act-sfbay.org. Olympia Dukakis stars in Michael Tremblay's play about a gay playwright's complex relationship with his mother.

How to Be a Secret Agent Girl as Seen on Television and in Movies Venue 9, 252 Ninth St; 289-2000. $10-15 (Thurs and Mon/13, pay what you can). Opens Thurs/2, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sun and Mon/13 (special actor's benefit), 8pm. Through May 24. Cathleen Daly's comedic exploration of the female psyche, a Fringe Festival favorite, returns for a full run.

A Lady and a Woman Luna Sea Women's Performance Project, 2940 16th St, Second flr; 863-2989. $10-13. Opens Fri/3, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through May 25. Luna Sea presents Claudia L. Vierra Allen's comedy about two African American women who find each other in the 1890s South.

Malambo Theatre on the Square, 450 Post; 433-9500. $35-50. Previews Wed/1-Thurs/3, 8pm; Fri/4-Sat/5, 8:30pm (also Sat/5, 3pm); Sun/6, 3 and 7:30pm. Opens Tues/7, 8pm. Runs Tues-Thurs, 8pm; Fri-Sat, 8:30pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 3 and 7pm. Through June 16. Luis Bravo (Forever Tango) presents the world premiere of his new Argentine dance and theater production.

Sexaholix ... A Love Story Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market; 512-7770. $33-59. Opens Tues/7, 8pm. Runs Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 3pm. Through May 19. Stage and film actor John Leguizamo performs his latest comedic solo show.

Bay Area

Así que pasen cinco años Oakland Metro, 201 Broadway, Oakl; (510) 763-1146. $15-20. Opens Fri/3, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through May 26. Oakland Opera Theater Company performs Federico García Lorca's work, staged as a bilingual multimedia production with puppets, live music, and more.

The Colour of Justice Oakland YWCA, Ehmann Hall, 1515 Webster, Oakl; (510) 436-5085. $15-19. Previews Thurs/2, 8pm. Opens Fri/3, 8pm. Runs Thurs, 8pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 4pm. Through May 26. See 8 Days a Week, page 70.

What Cats Know Transparent Theater, 1901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 883-0305. $20. Opens Thurs/4, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 9. Transparent Theater premieres Lisa Dillman's comedy about four feuding city dwellers.

Ongoing

Ain't Misbehavin' Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter; 474-8800. $22-30. Extended run: Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sun/12. The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre presents the musical, set in 1930s Harlem and featuring the music of Fats Waller.

The Altruists Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 533 Sutter; 296-9179. $20-35. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through May 18. The Actors Theatre of San Francisco presents a play about people who don't match their politics.

Are We Almost There? Shelton Theatre, 533 Sutter; 345-7575. $19-23. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Extended through June 16. The musical comedy revue about traveling returns to the Shelton Theatre.

Bombs over Baghdad New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom; 290-1576. $15. Fri/3-Sun/5, 8pm. Texas Theater Company presents a new play by Jeff Kellner set in Baghdad just before the Gulf War. In an office of the Iraqi Ministry of Information, two soldiers, Hassan (Paul Santiago) and Abbas (Brian Raffi), struggle to come up with catchy slogans to lure tourists to Iraq. To this end, their commanding officer, Tariq (Greg Dubin), has brought in a high-powered Beverly Hills consultant, Nick Shine (Zach Jordan, who easily walks away with the show). As Saddam Hussein's plans for invading Kuwait evolve into a confrontation with the United States, the group's assignment shifts first to justifying the invasion and finally to anti-American propaganda. Despite the timely déjà vu of the subject matter, the script stretches this simple premise too thin, forcing director Tony Castellano to fill its vast empty spaces with awkward pauses and actions. (Avila)

By Jupiter Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 255-8207. $15-27. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sun/12. 42nd Street Moon launches its Richard Rodgers centennial season with the final show of Rodgers's brilliant collaboration with lyricist Lorenz Hart. The book, by Rodgers and Hart and based on Julian Thompson's The Warrior's Husband, is a playful trifle about the inversion of gender roles in Pontus, where the Amazon women fight and rule and where men tend the children and look pretty. Judging by contemporary reviews, the joke got a little thin even in 1942, but the lovely score features such gems as "Nobody's Heart," "Wait till You See Her," "Careless Rhapsody," and Hart at his naughty, witty best with "Ev'rything I've Got." (Rosenstein)

Come, My Beloved A Traveling Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida; 399-1809. $12.50-25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through May 19. There may well be a great piece of theater lurking in the biblical Song of Songs, but unfortunately A Traveling Jewish Theatre hasn't found it in Come, My Beloved. Adapter and director Naomi Newman had an interesting idea: to explore the poem's celebration of secular and divine love. This conflation of poetry, song, and movement links and contrasts a pair of rhapsodic contemporary lovers (David Mendelsohn and Tanya Shaffer) with an older woman (Krisztina Peremartoni) to whom the same honeyed phrases convey her erotic love of the divine. Unfortunately, the "contemporary" couple actually seems trapped in a '70s Hallmark-card vision of groovy lovin'. The cast is made up of first-rate actors who lavish considerable skill on the enterprise, but their efforts can't save them from the inherent absurdity and tediousness of supposedly modern lovers repeatedly praising each other's virtues with comparisons to myrrh, gazelles, et al. (Rosenstein)

Confessions of a Dope Dealer Exit Cafe, 156 Eddy; 666-3939. $10-15. Thurs-Sat, 8:30pm. Through Sat/11. Sheldon Norberg presents his autobiographical solo show, a comedic look at his drug experiences.

*Frank Olivier's Twisted Cabaret and Pandemonium Vaudeville Show Mason Street Theatre, 340 Mason; 982-5463. $30-42. Extended run: Fri/3, 8:30pm; Sat/4, 5:30 and 9pm; Sun/5, 3:30pm. Also, the "Midnight Madness" version of the show, with more extreme acts, runs Fri/3, midnight. Jugglers don't come much better or stranger than Frank Olivier, a one-man reincarnation of vaudeville with a decided edge. This 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 the audience roaring. (Rosenstein)

Io! Princess of Argos Thick House, 1695 18th St; 401-8081. Thurs-Sun, 8pm (also Mon/13, 8pm, special actor's benefit performance). Through May 19. Encore Theatre Company presents Mark Jackson and Marci Karr's cabaret musical inspired by a character in Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound.

Lavender Lockeroom Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St; 861-5079. $15-18. Return engagement: Thurs-Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7:30pm. Through Sun/12. HPH Players and Theatre Rhinoceros present the world premiere of F. Allen Sawyer's comedy inspired by gay pulp novels of the 1950s and '60s.

Michelangelo Did This? Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy; 981-6444. $10-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/11. Genghis Productions presents Howard Hain's black comedy that imagines what would happen if Michelangelo were reincarnated as "a putz living in Iowa."

*My Brother Sang like Roy Orbison Bannam Place Theater, 50A Bannam; 986-4607. $15-18. Fri/3-Sat/4, 8pm; Sun/5, 3pm. Randy Rutherford, an adept performer, subtly conveys youth's doubts, hesitations, and improvisations in a soulful and engrossing account of his early manhood in the 1960s. Unable to raise him herself, Randy's mother sends him to live with Denny, an older boy who once had the same stepdad as Randy. The charismatic young man with a crooner's throat and a cherry red Corvette becomes both big brother and idol to the shy, undersize 16-year-old. There's humor, nostalgia, and suspense in the details of their life together, conveyed with unflinching love against the backdrop of Vietnam, a war that transforms the nation and their relationship. Directed with quiet assurance by Freddie Long, Rutherford's story inevitably blends his coming-of-age with the country's coming apart in an affecting tale of lost innocence. (Avila)

Shakespeare's R&J New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. 861-8972. $18-35. Previews Wed/1, 8pm. Opens Sat/4, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun/12, May 26, June 9, 16 and 23, 2pm. Through June 29. The New Conservatory Theatre Center presents Joe Calarco's version of Romeo and Juliet, set in a Catholic school for boys.

Sisters Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, Ste 601; 989-0023. $20 (Thurs, pay what you can). Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through May 25. Phoenix Theatre baptizes its new, roomier digs at 414 Mason St. with Canadian playwright Wendy Lill's drama about a nun who burns down a Catholic-run residential school for Indian children. The story unfolds as a series of flashbacks by accused arsonist Sister Mary (Esther Mulligan) as she mutely staves off interrogation by a young Jewish defense attorney (Bruno Kanter). While the sought-for confession is a familiar enough device all around, the story of young Mary (Lauren English) on the journey from religious idealism to moral corruption is timely indeed. But Lill ultimately reaches beyond Catholic fundamentalism. Domineering Mother Agnes (Linda Ayres-Frederick) and kindhearted Sister Gabriel (Susi Damilano) complete a trio of damaged personalities whose complicity with the forced erasure of native culture is presented as a religious duty performed under government auspices. Moreover, set in the late 1960s, Mary's violent act of contrition finds an echo in the thoroughly rebellious decade represented by her youthful attorney, who, significantly, turns out to have been an abused child himself. This thematic depth and director Bill English's competent cast sustain interest through a somewhat labored script. (Avila)

Speak the Devil Exit Theater, 156 Eddy; 820-1670. $10-18. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/11. The SF Buffoons present an original dark comedy inspired by medieval fools and street performers.

Stones in His Pockets Curran Theatre, 445 Geary; 512-7770. $34-59. Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat-Sun, 2pm). Through Sun/12. Marie Jones isn't the first Irish playwright to note the negative impact of Hollywood on her native land. Stones tells the tale of a big-budget film crew invading a small village in County Kerry, ignoring its dramatic realities while using the place and its people as mere backdrops for yet another improbable Tinseltown fiction. Since stars Bronson Pinchot and Christopher Burns play all of Stones's roles, from townspeople to film crew, the piece is an actors' field day. Pinchot and Burns do a creditable job, but director Ian McElhinney consistently allows them to go zooming over the top into broad caricature. The slam-bang approach also accentuates the play's central flaw: its unconvincing shift into pathos with the death of an undersketched supporting character. (Rosenstein)

Tape Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg D, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822. $17-37 (Sun/5, pay what you can). Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2:30 and 7:30pm. Through Sun/12. Stephen Belber's play, already a movie and an off-Broadway veteran, makes its West Coast premiere at the Magic Theatre. In this tightly focused three-person show, Jon (James Asher), an up-and-coming young filmmaker, meets up with his old high school buddy Vince (Gabriel Marin), a drug dealer going nowhere fast. There's been a major shift in their respective status since high school, and an unresolved rift regarding an old sexual encounter between Jon and Vince's ex-girlfriend Amy (Jessica Turner) has had Vince stewing ever since. When he finally goads Jon into confessing what happened – and tape-records the confession – it's an open question what either will do when Amy, now an assistant district attorney, shows up. Tape is a divertingly nasty power play in which all involved are constantly jockeying for the upper hand, forcing us to continually reappraise what really happened. But there's an oddly sadistic quality to the play, as if Belber relishes watching his characters squirm. The actors all do fine work, and Marin is a schmuckily endearing loser, but no one here wins much sympathy. Amy Glazer's direction is sparky and apt, but there's a much more interesting story underneath the manipulative melodrama that goes underexplored: how friendships can twist or fade over time. (Rosenstein)

'Three 2 Life' Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia; 626-3311. $9-15. Fri/3-Sat/4, 8pm. Part of Intersection for the Arts's ongoing Hybrid Project, "Three 2 Life" brings together established San Francisco artists Donald Lacy, Shawn Taylor, and Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe in a thought-provoking evening of solo performances exploring the themes of life, death, and race relations in the United States. Cooper-Anifowoshe's performance is the strongest of the three, bringing together several short scenes in which the artist plays different characters commenting on a range of topics from AIDS in Africa to chemical-weapons testing in the United States. (Shalson)

The Very Worst of Varla Jean Merman New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. Wed/1-Sat/4, 8pm (also Sat/4, 10pm). Varla Jean Merman (a.k.a. Jeffery Roberson) promises to "educate" her audience during this 70-minute drag cabaret in which Merman variously sings, plays the clarinet, and shows videos of her trips to Provincetown, Mass., and Tokyo. The claim is clearly intended as a joke, sending up and celebrating the vacuous nature of Merman's part smutty, part ditzy, part being-un-"p.c."-is-fun! performance, which includes a song about talking to genitals and another piece in which Merman consumes nearly an entire can of spray cheese – all just fine if you find that sort of thing amusing. To her credit, Merman is a very good-looking airhead with some fabulous costumes, and she sports an impressive vocal range. (Shalson)

Bay Area

A Flea in Her Ear Altarena Playhouse, 1409 High, Alameda; (510) 523-1553. $9-12. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sun/12. Alameda Little Theatre presents George Feydeau's action comedy.

Homebody/Kabul Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. $38-54. Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs/2, Sat/4, Sat/11, May 16, 25, 30, June 8, 15 and 22, 2pm; no show Fri/3); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through June 23. See "World Traveler," page 51.

Long Day's Journey into Night Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 528-5620. $10. Fri-Sat and Thurs/9, 8pm. Through Sat/11. Actors Ensemble of Berkeley presents Eugene O'Neill's play.

Pericles LaVal's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (510) 234-6046. $10-14. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Sat/4. Subterranean Shakespeare presents the Bard's classic with masks, puppets, and eight actors in 35 roles.

Medea UC Theatre, 2036 University, Berk; (510) 704-8210. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 1. Shotgun Players present Euripides' revenge tragedy.

L'Universe Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. Tues-Fri, 8pm (no show Fri/10; added show Thurs/9, noon); Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 1 and 4:30pm. Through May 19. After taking us on a virtual tour of the major theories of the universe, from Aristotle to Heisenberg, the Flying Karamazov Brothers use juggling to demonstrate how Einstein's desire for a unified field theory might have been compatible with Heisenberg's uncertainty principle after all – pretty heady stuff for four wacky guys who spend most of the evening cracking silly jokes and playing with high-tech toys designed by MIT's Media Lab. The dizzying result does less to explain the universe than to astound us with our inability to understand how they do their tricks any more than we understand quantum physics. But the metaphor does work to illustrate that the chaos and unpredictability of humans at play with one another have their own rhythmic beauty, perhaps even magic. One of the nicest parts of the performance comes when the entire stage is turned into a musical instrument that the performers "play" by wearing computers that detect acceleration and location to emit different tones and pitches, thus combining movement and technology to create music and dance. (Shalson)

dance

'Bay Area Celebrates National Dance Week' (510) 918-2057, www.voiceofdance.com. Wed-Sun. Free. Free dance classes, open rehearsals, and performances are offered throughout the Bay Area; call the hotline or check the Web site for details.

Dandelion Dancetheater and Hae Kyung Lee and Dancers ODC Theater, 3153 17th St; 863-9834. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $15-17. See "Bare Necessity," page 52.

'San Francisco Ballet 2002 Repertory Season' War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness; 865-2000. Program eight: Fri-Sat, Tues/7, Thurs/9, 8pm (also Sat-Sun, 2pm); Wed/8, 7:30pm. Through Sun/12. Program eight consists of Giselle, a full-length program.

Smuin Ballets/SF Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theatre, 700 Howard; 978-2787. 'Gershwin': Wed, Fri-Sat, Tues/7, and Thurs/9, 8pm (also Sat-Sun, 2pm). Through Sun/12. 'Mixed Repertory': May 15, May 17 (gala with dinner, $200-300), and May 18, 8pm (also May 18-19, 2pm). $30-40. The company performs Dancin' with Gershwin through Sun/12; the subsequent repertory program includes a Dvorák ballet premiere, plus Eternal Idol and Very Merrily Verdi.

'Spring Forward' Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St; 273-4633. Fri-Sat, 8pm. $10. Dance Brigade's biannual choreographer's showcase features works by Sue Roginski and Stephanie Schaaf, Meadow Leys, Kirstin E. Williams and Strong Current Dance Company, Hiedi J. Eggert and Tim Odnnell, Sima Belmar (a Bay Guardian writer), and others.

'Through My Eyes' SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan; 441-8831. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun/5, 2pm. Through Sat/11. $12-20. Asian American Dance Performances presents works by Japanese and Japanese American choreographers working in a variety of styles. This weekend: Eri Majima and Dance Emerge II from Tokyo, Jill Togawa, and Judith Kajiwara.

University Dance Theatre San Francisco State University, McKenna Theatre, 1600 Holloway; 338-2467. Fri-Sat, 8pm. $8-12. The SFSU group presents "No Boundaries/New Dances," an evening of choreography by Susan Whipp, Cathleen McCarthy, and others.

'Women's Work' Venue 9, 252 Ninth St; 289-2000. Tues, $8-10. This ongoing performance series highlights women artists. This week: They'll Eat the Fat Ones First and other "fat-positive" dance works by Big Moves; and Fallen Stories, by newly formed modern company Vertigo Dance.

Bay Area

Lyon Opera Ballet Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph, Berk; (510) 642-9988. Program A: Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Program B: Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. $24-46. Program A includes Maguy Marin's 1985 Cendrillon, a reconception of the Cinderella story; Program B includes three West Coast premieres, all set to music by Ravel.

performance

'Boxing with Ghosts: Eight Tales of Death and Resurrection' African American Arts and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton; (510) 845-3332. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $10-20. Community Works and Soapstone Theatre Company presents a play that explores the cast's real-life tales of surviving homelessness, violence, drug addiction, prison, and other adversities.

'ĦBrava Havana!' Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St; 392-4400. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. $30. Cuban cabaret star Juana Bacallao performs.

'Cabaret of Sin' Spanganga, 3376 Mission; 487-7445. Thurs, 10pm. Through May 23. $15. This variety show combines a burlesque revue, fire dancing, Wild West stunts, music, and more.

'Fauxgirls!' Marlena's, 488 Hayes; 864-6672. Sat, 10pm. Free. Anjelica Devarox and Victoria Secret host a drag cabaret.

Geoff Hoyle Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez; 454-5238. Sat, 8:15pm. $14-16. The physical comedian and mime, an original cast member in Broadway's The Lion King, performs a show of classic characters and new routines.

'LuminEssence' Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St; 1-866-SF-SHOWS. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 7 and 9pm; Sun, 3pm. $27-35. The Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation benefits from this event, a cabaret of Vegas-style variety entertainment.

Gigi Otálvaro-Hormillosa, Shar Rednour, Michelle Tea, Ariana Waynes San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market; 865-5633. Thurs, 7:30pm. $10-25. Each woman contributes a solo performance to this event.

'Pirate Reality' Facility Three, 1850 Cesar Chavez, Ste 3; ifuc2001@hotmail.com. Thurs-Fri, 9pm. $10-12. The Institute for Unpopular Culture, Pollen (publishers of artwork collection Forest), and the contributing artists benefit from this event, which features comedy, music, video art, and dance by the Traveling Art Circus, Heidi Schweiker, and others.

'Scabaret!' Spanganga, 3376 19th St; 821-1102. Sat, 9pm. $15. This eclectic show is described as "a neo-industrial circus jazz opera."

'Til Friday' Club Rendez-vous, 1312 Polk; 309-CLUB. Fri, 10:30pm and midnight. Free. A cast of drag performers – including Cockatelia, Gypsy Calabrese, Sonfondaboyz, Manley Lennox, and Karen Kill – takes the stage; this week's theme is "Broadway Babes."

'Unnatural Acts: A Vaudeville Cafe' Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk; unntural_acts@hotmail.com. Thurs, 9pm. $10. Hostess Doll-ya Hoffman-Kaufman-Stein-Steinberg presents an evening of vaudeville and burlesque performances.

'Young California Writers Project' Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg D, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822. Mon-Tues, 7:30pm. Free. See 8 Days a Week, page 70.

comedy

Bayfront Theater Fort Mason Center, Bldg B, Third fl, Marina at Laguna; 474-8935. Thurs, 8pm: "The Belfry Presents: Musical," $7. Fri-Sat, 8pm: "3 x 3 Semi-Finals," improv competition, $12. Sat, 10:30pm: "Eat the Apple," all-women improv, $7. Sun, 8pm: "Sunday Players Present: The Ring Tournament," team improv competition, $6.

The Mock Cafe The Marsh, 1074 Valencia; 826-5750. Sat, 9pm: "No Y Chromosome Comedy Showcase," $8.

Rasselas 1534 Fillmore; 921-2051. Mon, 9pm: "All Black Comedy Showcase," with Yayne Abeba, Tony Sparks, and others, free.

San Francisco LGBT Community Center Rainbow Rm, 1800 Market; 552-7200. Mon, 8pm: "Qcomedy Showcase: Monday Night Gay Comedy," with host Blake, $5-15.

Spanganga 3376 19th St; 821-1102. Thurs, 10pm: "Spiegelmania," stand-up comedy show hosted by Mike Spiegelman, with Ryan Stiles, Bruce Cherry, and guests, $5.

spoken word

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: Cody's Books 2454 Telegraph, Berk; (510) 845-7852. "Poetry Flash," with Ellen Bass and Alison Luterman, 7:30pm, $2. La Peña Cultural Center 3105 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 849-2572. "Cafe Poetry," hosted by members of Youth Speaks, 7pm, free. Starry Plough 3101 Shattuck; (510) 841-2082. "Chicken Grease!," hosted by Nazelah Jamison and Karen Ladson, 8pm, $7. Brainwash 1122 Folsom; 864-3842. "Spoken Word Salon," open mic with host Diamond Dave Whitaker, 8pm, free. Valley Life Science Building Rm 2060, UC Berkeley, Berk; (510) 642-2743. "11th Annual Poetry for the People Student Reading," with students of June Jordan, 7:30pm, call for price.

Thursday: Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin; 338-2227. The Poetry Center presents Turkish poet Murat Nemet-Nejat, 7:30pm, $7. Morrison Library Doe Library, UC Berkeley, Berk; (510) 642-0137. Poet Heather McHugh reads, 12:10pm, free. North Gate Rm 105, UC Berkeley, Berk; (510) 642-2743. "11th Annual Poetry for the People Student Reading" with students of June Jordan, 7:30pm, call for price.

Friday: Escape from New York Pizza 333 Bush; (510) 654-6495. C.B. Follett and Susan Terris read to benefit Runes, A Review of Poetry, 7:30pm, $5. Valley Life Science Building Rm 2060, UC Berkeley, Berk; (510) 642-2743. "11th Annual Poetry for the People Student Reading," with Martin Espada, 6:30pm, call for price.

Saturday: Coffee with a Beat 458 Perkins, Oakl; (510) 526-5985. "Word Beat Reading Series," with "Press 62" writers, plus open mic, 7-9pm, free. Berkeley Art Center 1275 Walnut, Berk; (510) 527-9753. "Rhythm and Muse," open mic series with featured readers Roopa Ramamoorthi and Ramsay Breslin, 7pm, free. Berkeley Public Library Claremont Branch, 2940 Benvenue, Berk; (510) 527-9905. The Bay Area Poets Coalition hosts an open reading, 3pm, free.

Sunday: Cody's Books 2454 Telegraph, Berk; (510) 845-7852. "Poetry Flash," with Jan Beatty and C.G. Hanzlicek, 7:30pm, $2. Bird and Beckett Books and Records 2278 Diamond; 586-3733. Performance poets Barry Fitton and Joke Kaviaar read, 4:30pm, free. The Black Box 1928 Telegraph, Oakl; (510) 451-1932. "Birth of Verse" salon featuring Mark Bamuthi Joseph, 8pm, $5. Eastwind Books of Berkeley 2066 University, Berk; (510) 548-2350. Poet Alan Chong Lau reads from Blues and Greens, A Produce Worker's Journal, 3pm, free.

Monday: Berkeley Bakery and Café 1561 Solano, Berk; dreamboogie@yahoo.com. "Poetry Express," open mic with host Mark States, 7pm, free. Notes from Underground Café 2399 Van Ness; 928-8904. "Celebration of the Word," with featured readers Alice Rogoff and Julia Vinograd, and host Jeanne Powell, 7pm, free. German Cook 612 O'Farrell; 776-9022. Spoken word and live music featuring Diego Patricio Donohoe, 7pm, call for price.

Tuesday: Andalusia Café 1209 Sutter; 928-8904. "Word Dancing," open mic with hosts Leonard King and Jeanne Powell, 7-9pm, free.