May 15, 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

'Divafest' Exit Theatre, Exit Stage Left, and Exit Café, 156 Eddy; Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor; 673-3847, www.sffringe.org. $5-20 (all-show pass, $55). May 16-25. This week's schedule: Girlesque (Exit Theatre, Thurs, 8pm; Sat, 3pm); The Last of the Red-Hot Dadas (Exit Theatre, Fri-Sat, 8pm); Dialogue Between a Prostitute and Her Client (Exit Stage Left, Fri-Sat, 8pm); Champion (Thurs, 8pm; Sat, 3pm); Songs about Life and Death and Love and Insects (Exit on Taylor, Thurs, 8pm; Sat, 3pm); Madam Noir's Fandange Underbelly Erogeny Odyssey (Exit on Taylor, Fri-Sat, 8pm); Hellacious (Exit Café, Fri-Sat, 10pm); Body Talk staged reading (Exit Café, Sat, 6pm). See 8 Days a Week, page 68.

Fool for Love Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St; 861-5079. $14-16. Previews Thurs/16-Fri/17, 8:30pm. Opens Sat/18, 8:30pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7:30pm. Through June 9. UStickEm Productions and Theatre Rhinoceros present Sam Shepard's play about incest, love, and loss.

Les Misérables Curran Theatre, 445 Geary; 512-7770. $30-85. Opens Wed/15, 8pm. Wed/15-Sun/19, runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs and Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7:30pm. May 21-June 9, runs Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Wed, Sat-Sun, 2pm). Through June 9. Jean Valjean and company return to San Francisco.

Mr. Mystic Presents the Danger Tour Shelton Theatre, 533 Sutter; 249-9177. $10-15. Opens Fri/17, 10:30pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 10:30pm. Through June 8. Performer Mr. Mystic presents "hilarious feats of mystery and daring."

Now, Do What? The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 826-5750. $10-17. Previews Fri/17, 8pm. Opens Sat/18, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through June 8. See 8 Days a Week, page 68.

The Ritz New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. $18-35 (Thurs/16, pay what you can). Previews Wed/15-Sat/18 and Wed/22-Fri/24, 8pm; Sun/19, 2pm. Opens Sat/25, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; June 2, 9 and 16, 2pm (additional matinees June 30 and July 7, 2pm; Wed-Sat shows run through June 29 only). The New Conservatory Theatre Center presents Terrence McNally's play about a straight guy who evades the Mafia by hanging out in a gay bathhouse.

Bay Area

The Entertainer Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822. $26-35. Previews Wed/15, 8pm. Opens Thurs/16, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through June 16. Aurora Theatre Company presents John Osborne's play about three generations of a showbiz family.

Two for the Seesaw Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; (415) 388-5208. $24-40. Opens Thurs/16, 7:30pm. Runs Tues-Thurs, 7:30pm (also May 30, 1pm); Fri-Sat, 8pm (also June 8, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through June 9. Marin Theatre Company performs William Gibson's comedic drama, set in 1950s New York.

Ongoing

The Altruists Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 533 Sutter; 296-9179. $20-35. Thurs/16-Sat/18, 8pm. 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.

The Clay Play 2840 Mariposa; 621-7978. $13-18. Previews Wed/8, 8pm. Thurs/16-Sat/18, 8pm. Theatre of Yugen and Libby Zilber present their original play, a Zen-influenced work that mixes Noh movement and music with the tale of a potter at her wheel.

Cockroach Infestation New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom; 776-7247. $12-15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through June 2. Steve Lyons's comedy tells the tale of two mismatched roommates: flaky, passionate Simone (Mara Luthane) and sensible, acerbic Jenny (Sarah J. Mitchell). When fate brings together Simone's fling of the moment, a shady performance artist named Doug (Jim Eckhart), and Jenny's straight-arrow computer programmer fiancé Don (Michael J. Symonds), it's the men who seem to make the strongest connection, hatching a wild but potentially lucrative dot-com scheme to offer online funerals. Lyons's script is diverting but lightweight stuff, an intriguing collision of worlds that gets resolved too superficially. But he's got a gift for characterization, and the writing has more wit and subtlety than is allowed to live by director Dawson Moore. Moore's frenetic production goes zooming way over the top, squelching any sense of underlying reality or stakes and pushing the volume and mugging to increasingly unfunny extremes. Mitchell and Luthane both seem to have good instincts that get steamrollered here; only Symonds, playing the most likable and dimensional character, manages to deliver a performance to match. (Rosenstein)

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

Come, My Beloved A Traveling Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida; 399-1809. $12.50-25. Thurs/16-Sat/18, 8pm; Sun/19, 2 and 7pm. 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. 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 with an older woman to whom the same honeyed phrases convey her erotic love of the divine. The cast is made up of first-rate actors, 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)

Fat Men in Skirts Studio 210, 3435 Cesar Chavez; 621-4736. $5-10. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through June 1. Flux Theatre Company performs Nicky Silver's black comedy about a mother and son stranded on a desert island.

For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again Geary Theater, 415 Geary; 749-2228, www.act-sfbay.org. $11-61. Tues-Sat, 8pm (Tues/21, show at 7pm; also Sat and June 5, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through June 9. Carey Perloff directs Olympia Dukakis in celebrated Quebecois playwright Michel Tremblay's tribute to his mother. American Conservatory Theater's Marco Barricelli plays the 50-year-old narrator recalling moments from boyhood to young adulthood shared with his beloved Nana. Nana's humorous tall stories and humble musings reflect a deep attachment to and concern for her talented but unconventional son, while Tremblay's homage expresses both the extension and the source of an oeuvre that prizes the plainspoken dignity of working-class women. Dukakis brings a sympathetic American inflection to Nana, and Barricelli (whose job as devoted son amounts mainly to sitting still and paying attention) delivers an able if uninspired performance. Despite their charm (and a last-minute apotheosis) these scenes feel too limited, as if malingering just beyond reach of a larger play or the discipline of a plotline. True, the narrator warns us we won't be seeing anyone shout, "My kingdom for a horse!" or turning into a rhinoceros (etc., etc.), as the purpose of the evening is to indulge a simple desire to put his departed mother onstage. Still, one wonders if just one rhinoceros would have been so bad. (Avila)

Greater America The Next Stage, 1620 Gough; 841-1262. $15 (Sun/12 and May 26, pay what you can). Opens Fri/10, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 9. First Seen and Bare Bones Theater Company present the world premiere of Katherine Murphy's black comedy about a dysfunctional family.

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

*Io! Princess of Argos Thick House, 1695 18th St; 401-8081. Thurs/16-Sun/19, 8pm. Encore Theatre Company revives Art Street's remarkably successful rendering of Greek tragedy as 21st-century lounge act, featuring princess Io (Beth Wilmurt), Argos's exile and Zeus's ex, forced to wander the desert as a cow with a gadfly trapped in her skull. Writer-director Mark Jackson teamed up with composer Marci Karr to create this kinetic yet soulful musical comedy based on a scene from Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound that, for all its Vegas ambience, manages to convey some eternal truths. Wilmurt delivers a richly textured performance, balancing emotional depth with technical ease and superb comic timing. (Avila)

Knuckles and Crunch Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St; 861-5079. $15-24. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm (also Sun/19, Sun/26, June 3, 3pm). Through June 8. Theatre Rhinoceros presents Doug Holsclaw's latest, a tale of two drifters who get jobs at a Columbus, Ohio, gay bar in 1978.

A Lady and a Woman Luna Sea Women's Performance Project, 2940 16th St, Second flr; 863-2989. $10-13. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/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. 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.

Night of the Iguana City College of San Francisco, Diego Rivera Theatre, 50 Phelan; 239-3100. $5-10. Fri/17-Sat/18, 8pm; Sun/19, 2pm. City College of San Francisco presents Tennessee Williams's drama.

Sexaholix ... A Love Story Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market; 512-7770. $33-59. Wed/15-Sat/18, 8pm (also Sat/18, 2pm); Sun/19, 3pm. See "In a Heartbeat," page 61.

*Shakespeare's R&J New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. 861-8972. $18-35. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun/26, June 9, 16 and 23, 2pm. Through June 29. The spoken words are almost exclusively Shakespeare's, but the context puts a unique spin on this classic tale of forbidden love. Playwright Joe Calarco gives us Romeo and Juliet, in all of its melodramatic magnificence, as performed by four Catholic school boys. As the youths act the parts of Shakespeare's play, their own stories of repression and desire come through in their exchanged looks and momentary breaks in character, where shrugging off a line or delivering it with pointed intensity serves to lend it new meaning. The concept of the play – teenage boys escaping the drudgery of conjugating Latin verbs through their playacting – adds layers to Shakespeare's heart-wrenching tragedy, as the passion and intensity of the story come as much from the schoolboys' devotion to the text and one another as they do from the text itself. The result is a version of Romeo and Juliet that is self-conscious while remaining genuinely moving: the balcony scene (featuring actors Brent Rosenbaum and Taylor Valentine) is a treat in itself. (Shalson)

Sisters Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, Ste 601; 989-0023. $20 (Thurs, pay what you can). Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/25. Phoenix Theatre baptizes its new, roomier digs 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. This thematic depth and director Bill English's competent cast sustain interest through a somewhat labored script. (Avila)

Will He Bop? Will He Drop? Buriel Clay Theater, African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton; 292-1852. $8-15. Thurs/16-Sat/18, 8pm; Sun/19, 3pm. See "In a Heartbeat," page 61.

Bay Area

*The Colour of Justice Oakland YWCA, Ehmann Hall, 1515 Webster, Oakl; (510) 436-5085. $15-19. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 4pm. Through Sun/26. TheatreFIRST presents an impressive production of this difficult docudrama based on the Stephen Lawrence inquiry – difficult not only because of the sheer magnitude of the play (including a cast of more than 30 and more than two hours of solid dialogue) but also because of the intensity of the subject matter. Stephen Lawrence, a young black man, was stabbed to death in 1993 in south London by a group of white boys in an unprovoked, racist attack. Despite eyewitness accounts and loads of evidence, no one was ever brought to justice for the crime. The Colour of Justice is a dramatic rendering of the public inquiry held in 1998, which concluded that the failure of the police investigation was the clear result of institutionalized racism. If you don't know the lines were taken directly from official transcripts, you might not believe the willful blindness, overt racism, corruption, and sheer incompetence that emerge from the police testimony. On the other hand, with Rodney King in our own state's shameful past, perhaps it's not surprising at all. It's a heavy performance, but well worth the effort. (Shalson)

Homebody/Kabul Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. $38-54. Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs/16, Sat/25, May 30, June 8, 15 and 22, 2pm; Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through June 23. While much has been made of Tony Kushner's "prescience" in writing his latest play, Homebody/Kabul, long before Sept. 11, the play is about much more than the events of the moment. The focus begins intimately in the living room of the Homebody (Michelle Morain), an obsessive reader who has settled in with a quaint but informative 1965 travel guide to Kabul. Surprisingly, this armchair traveler decides to go explore the world she has only read about. This three-hour-and-forty-minute evening is absorbing, witty, fierce, and intelligent, but it's hard for Kushner to top the Homebody's astounding opening monologue. Like the script, Tony Taccone's direction has its rough spots, but his work here bristles with attentiveness and dynamism. (Rosenstein)

Love Is the Law La Val's Subterranean Theatre, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (510) 464-4468. $7-12. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 8. Impact Theatre premieres Zay Amsbury's play about a raver who falls in love with an undercover DEA agent.

Medea UC Theatre, 2036 University, Berk; (510) 704-8210. $10-18. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 1. The Shotgun Players' Medea has brought new life to the UC Theatre, an ideal home for Euripides' classic tale of betrayal and revenge. The venue is particularly well suited to director Russell Blackwood, whose trademark affinity for Grand Guignol is reflected in this production's approach – a combination of art nouveau stylization and metatheatrical self-consciousness. Actor Beth Donohue's Medea reveals layer after layer of emotional complexity; she possesses the fury of a woman scorned intermingled with vulnerability, regret, and a master's relish of her own cunning. Unfortunately, nothing else in this production comes close. The other casting is uniformly weak, and Blackwood's melodramatic approach is only intermittently successful, uncertain in its balance of earnestness and camp. (Rosenstein)

L'Universe Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. Wed/15-Fri/17, 8pm; Sat/18, 2 and 8pm; Sun/19, 1 and 4:30pm. After taking us on a virtual tour of the major theories of the universe, from Aristotle's to Heisenberg's, 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. (Shalson)

What Cats Know Transparent Theater, 1901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 883-0305. $20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 9. Lisa Dillman's darkly comic chronicle of the manipulations and sexual jealousies brewing between four "friends" begins promisingly. But Dillman can't seem to figure out who really wants what from whom, and the story feels so haphazard that the play begins to seem endless. Rebecca J. Ennals's paceless direction doesn't help, and two and a half hours in this bunch's company is more than enough. Because there are so few plays that render the current generation with anything approaching honesty, you can see what attracted Transparent Theater to this project. But the play needs a lot more than "real life" going for it: it needs to make us care. (Rosenstein)

dance

Lea Wolf and Stephen Pelton Dance Theater ODC Theater, 3153 17th St; 863-9834. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $18. See Critic's Choice.

Mary Armentrout Dance Theater The Lab, 2948 16th St; 864-8855. Fri-Sat, 8pm. $10-15. The group performs Blue Sofa, a piece that explores everyday life using an understated, deadpan sense of humor.

Mary Sano and Her Duncan Dancers Mary Sano Studio of Duncan Dancing, 245 Fifth St, Studio 314; 357-1817. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. $12-15. The studio presents the "Fifth Annual Dionysian Festival: Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of Isadora Duncan's Birth" – an evening of choreography that includes both new works and pieces from Duncan's repertoire.

'San Francisco Ballet School's Spring Student Showcase' Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon; 865-2000. Wed, 8pm (5:30pm, preshow fundraiser, $150-500; call 415-553-2000 for information). $20. San Francisco Ballet students perform.

Scott Wells and Dancers Dance Mission Theatre, 3316 24th St; 931-8648. Thurs-Sun, 8:30pm. $16. See "Boxed In," page 62.

Smuin Ballets/SF Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theatre, 700 Howard; 978-2787. Wed, Fri (gala with dinner, $200-300), and Sat, 8pm (also Sat-Sun, 2pm). $30-40. The company performs a repertory program that includes a Dvorák ballet premiere, plus Eternal Idol and Very Merrily Verdi.

Bay Area

Artship Dance, Sue Li-Jue's Facing East Dance and Music, Nina Haft and Company Dock adjacent to Artship, 103 Tenth Ave, Oakl; (510) 238-5103. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $16. The three groups offer "Geographies of Memory: A Dance Vessel," a collaborative "oceanic evening of performances" that celebrate immigration and community, set against the backdrop of Oakland's waterfront.

Berkeley Ballet Theatre Julia Morgan Theatre, 2640 College, Berk; (510) 843-4689. Fri-Sat, 7pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 6pm. $5-16. The company presents its spring showcase with four works created by Corinne Jonas, Sally Streets, and Sonya Delwaide.

performance

'Avatars' King Street Garage, 174 King; 820-4860 (info); 1-888-820-4860, www.capacitor.org (tickets). Fri-Sat, 8:30 and 10:30pm, $15-20. See 8 Days a Week, page 68.

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

'Dream of a Common Language' All Saints' Episcopal Church, 1350 Waller; 621-1862. Sun, 4pm. $15. The All Saints' Arts Committee presents a reading of Heather McDonald's play.

'Horse Latitudes' Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission; 554-0402. Fri-Sun, 8pm. $8-15. The Jon Sims Center for the Arts' Alchemy Emerging Playwrights Series presents Nicola Harwood's new play about the intersection of Native American and white culture.

'In the Seelie Court' AcroSports, 639 Frederick; 665-2276. Sat, 3 and 7pm; Sun, 1pm. $8-15. Acrobatic group AcroSports Performance Troupe presents a high-flying, fairy-themed show for all ages.

'Language: The Journey to World Peace' The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 641-0235, www.copus.net. Sun, 7pm. $12-17. See 8 Days a Week, page 68.

'The Movement and the Moment: Arts in Asian American Activism' Locus 1640 Post, 1640 Post; www.kearnystreet.org. Thurs-Fri, 7:30pm. $5. Kearny Street Workshop and Locus 1640 Post copresent a performance event that draws inspiration from the Asian American rights movements in the 1960s and 70s.

Ouchy the Clown Curve Bar, 747 Third St; 896-2286, www.ouchytheclown.com. Mon, 7-10pm. Call for price. See 8 Days a Week, page 68.

'Out of the Emperor's Hat!' SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan; 221-3309. Sun, 2pm. $6-12. This family-friendly performance explores Chinese mythology through dance, music, and magic.

'Show Your Color' 848 Community Space, 848 Divisadero; www.848.com. Fri, 8pm. $3-5. The Terrorist Beanie Baby Brigade presents a multimedia show that takes on globalization-driven stereotypes.

'Strands' SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan; 440-5545. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Sun/23. $15-18. The Asian American Theater Company presents writer-performer D.H. Naomi Quiñones's tale of her Japanese-Latin American family's history.

'Tentacle Session #33' Spanganga, 3376 19th St; 821-1102. Sun, 7:30pm. $5-10. Chris Carlsson from Processed World magazine discusses "reclaiming everyday life from the ravages of wage slavery."

'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 "Work It! She Works Hard for the Money."

'The Typists' and 'The Tiger' Voice One Studio Theatre, 1119 Mission; 626-1087. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $15. Voice One Studio Theatre presents two one-act plays by Murray Schisgal.

'Wings: An Evening of Poetry and Music' Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St; www.brava.org. Fri, 7:30pm. $10. Jose Montoya and Casiindo, Rudos Revolutionary Front, Gina Palcado, Francisco X. Alarcon, and Jorge Argueta perform at this event.

'Women's Work' Venue 9, 252 Ninth St; 289-2000. Tues, $8-10. This ongoing performance series highlights women artists. This week: Lay Down, I Think I Love You, an autobiographical tale by Hagar Ben-Eliezer; Interdomestic Themis, a performance about sensory perception by Tessa Willis; Climbing the Tree, a dance, word, and music piece by Cynthia Winton-Harry and Suzanne Cimone; and Baptismal, by Jenice Acosta and Dancers.

'Work Is a Drag' Café du Nord, 2170 Market; www.sfbike.org. 6pm, $5-8. The San Francisco Bicycle Coaltion sponsors this comedy event in honor of Bike to Work Month; performers include Heklina, Killing My Lobster, and others.

Bay Area

'The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore' Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson, Kensington; (415) 771-3352. Sat-Sun, 2:30pm. $15-25. The San Francisco Chamber Singers performs Gian Carlo Menotti's work with special guest dancers and musicians.

comedy

Bayfront Theater Fort Mason Center, Bldg B, Third fl, Marina at Laguna; 474-8935. Thurs, 8pm: "The Belfry Presents: Musical May," $7. Fri-Sat, 8pm: "True Fiction Magazine," $15. Sun, 8pm: "Sunday Players Present: The Ring Tournament," team improv competition, $6.

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

The Warfield 982 Market; 421-TIXS. Sun, 11pm: The Kids in the Hall perform, $35.50-45.50.

Bay Area

Black Box 1928 Telegraph, Oakl; (510) 595-5597. Thurs, 8pm: The Oakland Playhouse improv troupe performs improv comedy, $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 Quan Barry and Glori Simmons, 7:30pm, $2. La Peña Cultural Center 3105 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 849-2572. "Cafe Poetry," hosted by Paul Flores, 8pm, $3-5.

Friday: Yakety Yak Coffee House 679 Sutter; 285-2951. Open mic with Ayoung Kim and Allison Floyd, 7:30pm, free.

Saturday: Coffee with a Beat 458 Perkins, Oakl; (510) 526-5985. "Word Beat Reading Series," with Dancing Bear and C.J. Sage, plus open mic, 7-9pm, free. Berkeley Art Center 1275 Walnut, Berk; (510) 527-9753. Rita Bogaert and Adam David Miller, 7pm, free. Café du Nord 2170 Market; www.charlesanders.com. "Writers With Drinks," with Hank Hyena, Carol Queen, Rudy Rucker, Thea Hillman, Sam Tsitrin, and host Charles Anders, 6pm, $3-5.

Sunday: Bird and Beckett Books and Records 2278 Diamond; 586-3733. Poet David Meltzer and bassist Dartanyan Brown perform, 6pm; poets Q.R. Hand and Dan Richman read, with open mic, 7:30pm, free. Place Pigalle 520 Hayes; 552-2671. Poets Christina Fisher, Beth Lifson, and Arielle Gye read, 4:30pm, free.

Monday: Notes from Underground Café 2399 Van Ness; 928-8904. "Celebration of the Word," with featured reader Don Altadena and host Jeanne Powell, 7pm, free.

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