November 20, 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, Rita Felciano, Lara Shalson, and Chloe Veltman. See 8 Days a Week for information on how to submit items to the listings.

theater

Opening

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St; 863-7576. $20-40. Opens Wed/20, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sun, 8pm (also Sat, 11pm). Open-ended. Kevin Cahoon steps into the title role of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's glam rock opera.

Bay Area

Alarms and Excursions Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822. $28-38. Previews Wed/20, 8pm. Opens Thurs/21, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Dec 22. Aurora Theatre Company performs Michael Frayn's series of eight short comedies that make light of our dependence on gadgets and technology.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. $10-54. Opens Wed/20, 8pm. Runs Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/23, Nov 30, Dec 5, 14, 19, 26, and Jan 4, 2pm; no shows Nov 28 and Dec 24-25); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through Jan 7. Berkeley Rep performs an adaptation of Salman Rushdie's novel.

High School Tamalpais High School, 700 Miller, Mill Valley; (415) 332-9454. $7.50-15 (reservations required). Opens Fri/22, 6-9pm. Runs Fri, 6-9pm; Sat, 2-9pm; Sun, 1-8pm. Through Dec 15. See 8 Days a Week, page 52.

The Play about the Baby La Vals Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (510) 704-8210. $10-18. Previews Thurs/21-Fri/22, 8pm. Opens Sat/23, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Dec 28. Shotgun Players present the West Coast premiere of Edward Albee's absurdist comedy.

Ongoing

Are We Almost There? Shelton Theatre, 533 Sutter; 345-7575. $12-15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. Travel is the theme of this musical comedy revue.

The A**hole Monologues Exit Theater, 156 Eddy; 931-1094. $15-25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (no shows Nov 28-30). Through Dec 14. Mr. Bagel Productions' show features a variety of performers expressing their thoughts on backsides. Proceeds benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.

The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 826-5750. $14-21 (sliding scale). Thurs/21-Sat/23, 8pm. KFOG-FM news commentator Wes "Scoop" Nisker performs his solo musical comedy.

The Bombay Trunk New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. $18-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm (no shows Nov 28, Dec 25); Sun, 2pm. Through Jan 5, 2003. The New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the world premiere of Felice Picano's mystery comedy.

*Cirque du Soleil Presents Varekai "Grand Chapiteau," parking lot of Pacific Bell Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza; 1-800-678-5440. $31.50-70. Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs-Sat, 4pm; no shows Nov 26, Dec 17); Sun, 1 and 5pm. Through Dec 22. I am so out of shape. Cirque du Soleil sets its latest venture in the imaginary land of Varekai (actually the Romany gypsy word for "wherever"), where a loose fairy-tale plot involving a gilded forest full of creatures ranging from the hauntingly beautiful to the frankly bizarre brackets a series of undeniably amazing and imaginative feats of strength, agility, and nerve. There are some delightful comedic sketches in the mix too, of course. The all-encompassing reach of the spectacle under the big blue top, set to a live and catchy Euro-pop score, sometimes makes it difficult to take everything in, but wherever you look you can't help but be impressed. What George Lucas gets his creations to do with special effects these people just do. Aesthetically, one would only begin to describe it as Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Terry Gilliam go to the Renaissance fair. A serious treat. (Avila)

Cowboy Mouth Bulldog Theatre, 965 Mission, Ste 250; 305-6773. $7-10. Thurs/21-Sat/23, 8pm. Mostly Grounded Theatre Company performs Sam Shephard's tale based on his relationship with Patti Smith.

Eugenia Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St; 861-5079. $16-18. Thurs/21-Sat/23, 8:30pm; Sun/24, 3:30pm. Chameleon Theatre Company performs Lorae Parry's play.

The Food Chain New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. $15-25. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 1. The New Conservatory Theatre Center and Unidentified Theatre Company present Nicky Silver's comedy about relationships and body image.

*It Could Have Been a Wonderful Life Bannam Place Theater, 50A Bannam Pl; 986-4607, www.wonderfullife.org. $15-20. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Dec 29. Fred Raker's 25-in-one-man show – back after a successful run last year – charts the despair of aspiring Jewish comedian Phil Resnick, who winds up pigeonholed on public television while the life he could have had goes to an Anglo American-ized colleague, the host of TV's What's Up with That, America? The crisis provokes a little divine intervention by Phil's guardian angel, Jack Benny. Based on Raker's own brush with stardom as well as the Capra classic, this very funny solo performance cleverly weaves Jewish identity and self-doubt into nothing less than a wonderful 75 minutes. (Avila)

*Lackawanna Blues Geary Theater, 415 Geary; 749-2228. $11-49. Wed/20-Sat/23, Nov 26, 29-30, 8pm (also Sat/23, and Nov 30, 2pm); Nov 27, 2 and 7pm; Sun/24 and Dec 1, 2pm. Through Dec 1. Tony Award-winning actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson grew up in Lackawanna, N.Y., under the wing of boardinghouse proprietor Rachel "Nanny" Crosby, the saintlike hero of his celebrated solo show. The sharp and personable Santiago-Hudson keeps himself largely on the sidelines of his reminiscences, giving center stage to his beloved guardian and about 20 deftly drawn characters from the community of drifters and strays at 32 Wasson Ave. Director Loretta Greco helps ensure they all come through seamlessly, with impeccable timing, subtle emotion, and good humor. (Avila)

The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell Thick House, 1695 18th St; 401-8081. $15-25 (sliding scale). Thurs/21-Sun/24, 8pm. Joe Loya, known to feds tracking his notable bank robbery career in the 1980s as "the Beirut Bandit," hails from East Los Angeles, where his born-again father ruled the family with a physically brutal authoritarianism that drove Loya to act out publicly in a life of crime. His self-penned solo show is bumpy and rough-edged; for all his charm, Loya is not an actor and lacks the physical discipline demanded of one. Still, Loya's stories – robbing his first bank; trying to kill his father; his first day in prison – add up to, among other things, an enthralling and sobering look at families, natural and surrogate. (Avila)

The Men from the Boys New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. $18-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm (no show Nov 28); Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 8. Mart Crowley's long-awaited sequel to The Boys in the Band finds the famous circle of seven gay men (minus one) firmly in middle age, again assembled at Michael's New York penthouse apartment, this time for a memorial. Crowley has Larry die of cancer, not AIDS, bent on avoiding certain traps even as he struggles to draw a bead on his characters three decades after Stonewall. But the attempt to move things forward by focusing on the trials of aging (three twentysomethings help measure the generation gap) doesn't get very far, while the vituperative wit and climactic tongue-lashings of the original reemerge fitfully at best. (Avila)

Puppetry of the Penis Theatre on the Square, 450 Post; 433-9500. $29.50-44.50. Tues-Thurs, 8pm; Fri-Sun, 7pm (also Fri-Sat, 9:30pm). Open-ended. Aussies Simon Morley and David Friend bring their bare-bones, antierotic testicle spectacle to San Francisco: an endless series of juvenile contortions with titles like the Hamburger, the Didgeridoo, and the Boomerang, accompanied by limp showbiz banter. There's nothing surprising about the origins of the show in an Australian pub act, two genial blokes lampooning highbrow sophisticates with a series of "genital origami installations" (a.k.a. "dick tricks"), but the one-joke premise treating it as an "art" can't hide the fact that as entertainment it's even more of a stretch. (Avila)

R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida; 626-DOME, www.foghouse.com. $20-40 (first Wed of each month, pay what you can). Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 2pm. Open-ended. D. W. Jacobs's R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe is bursting with so many ideas that it's almost impossible to contain them within the confines of the stage. Fuller was one of the great brainiacs of the 20th century, a philosopher, mathematician, inventor, and idealist who devoted his life to finding the best fit between nature and humanity. In Jacobs's fitful, two-hour monologue based on the life and writings of Fuller, actor Ron Campbell dexterously pings from one of the visionary's obsessions to another. Whether rattling through a dense explanation of atomic structure, proselytizing about how famine will become extinct as humans do "more and more with less and less," or espousing the joys of parenting, Campbell inhabits Fuller's eccentric soul with physical and verbal intensity – at times so much so that the margins between performance and lecture blur. (Veltman)

Rent Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market; 512-7770. $40-60. Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm and Nov 29, 2pm; no show Nov 28); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Dec 1. The popular Broadway musical returns.

Scenic Routes Exit Stage Left, 256 Eddy; (510) 986-9194. $15-25. Thurs/21-Sat/23, 8pm. Golden Thread Productions presents the world premiere of Yussef El Guindi's drama about the cultural differences facing a white woman and her Egyptian boyfriend.

7 Sins: The Holiday Edition Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; 820-3947. $20-25. Sun, 5 and 8pm. Through Dec 15. A revolving cast of seven perform comedy monologues drawn from real-life experiences.

Show Ho Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St; 861-5079. $15-25. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm (also Sun/24 and Dec 1, 3pm). Through Dec 7. Writer-performer Sara Moore is, as a former Ringling Brothers employee, licensed to clown. Popping back and forth between a number of characters, mostly carnies, our host is the excruciatingly nervous, gender-ambiguous Hell's Kitchenette Rhonda Hammerstein. Scrunch browed and wide eyed, responding like a sea anemone to every tremor from the audience, Rhonda tells us how she came to accept who she was (and lose her virginity) among a community of clowns embracing their freakishness and otherwise making a virtue of difference. Along the way we get a couple of songs from Moore's able lungs, including the delightful "When Everyone Fun Is Dead." (Avila)

The Time of Your Life Next Stage, 1620 Gough; 333-6389. $10-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (no shows Nov 28, Dec 14); Dec 14, 2pm. Through Dec 21. Multi Ethnic Theater presents William Saroyan's comedy-drama.

Working for the Mouse New venue: Exit Cafe, 156 Eddy, S.F.; (510) 464-4468. $7-12. Fri-Sat, 8:30pm (no shows Nov 29-30). Through Dec 14. Impact Theatre presents Trevor Allen's solo comedy about working at Disneyland.

Young Zombies in Love Venue 9, 252 Ninth St; (510) 982-0433. $12-15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (no shows Nov 28-30). Through Dec 7. Emerald Rain Productions present a pop-rock musical comedy about a love affair from beyond the grave.

Bay Area

Cannery Row (Chapters 1-7) New venue: Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College, Berk; (415) 437-6775. $25 (Wed, pay what you can). Thurs/21, Nov 27, Fri-Sat, 8:30pm (no show Nov 28); Sun, 5pm. Through Dec 1. Question: When is a play, immaculately performed by a strong cast with evocative use of scenery, sound and light, not a play? Answer: when it's a novel. Despite the conscientious staging and eloquent sense of ensemble, Word for Word's production of the first seven chapters of John Steinbeck's novel Cannery Row is more about setting mime to words than creating drama. The actors duly act out all the literary descriptions of life in a sleepy California town and include even the "he saids" and "she saids" from Steinbeck's written narrative, creating an effect that is interesting for the first five minutes and tiring for the remainder of the show. As a pedagogic exercise, Word for Word's Cannery Row is faultless: watching it makes you want to read the book. But in ignoring the fact that the stage is a first-person environment by placing Steinbeck's third-person narrative literally word for word in the mouths of the cast, we're better off settling down in an armchair with a good book. (Veltman)

Eternity Is in Love with the Productions of Time Transparent Theater, 1901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 883-0305. $20 (Sun, pay what you can). Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Dec 8. A singer named Rose has an affair with a poet. Her husband takes revenge by reporting a subversive poem to the secret police. This is the premise of Transparent Theater's original production set in a fantastical Soviet Union. The location strikes one as an easy choice, evoked ahistorically to convey a generalized atmosphere of oppression. Consequently, the artists' struggle for freedom of speech becomes empty when they don't appear to be speaking against anything in particular. Similarly, the decontextualized lines of poetry interwoven into the dialogue (from artists including Blake, Kafka, Dylan, and a handful of Russian poets translated by cowriter Tom Clyde), lose their resonance, and the handful of genuinely lyrical phrases get lost in a sea of "deep thoughts" devoid of any substantive meaning. A haunting musical score composed by Daniel Feinsmith and performed live by Alyssa Rose on the violin keeps this production afloat. (Shalson)

Frame of Possibilities Metro Theatre, 201 Broadway, Oakl; (510) 444-8521. $15-20. Fri/22-Sat/23, 8pm; Sun/24, 3pm. Anniversary Productions presents Judith Offer's comedy set in the contemporary art world.

The Importance of Being Earnest Pardee Home Museum, 672 11th St, Oakl; (510) 444-2187. $15-25. Fri/22-Sat/23, Nov 30, Dec 6, 8pm; Sun/24, 2pm (also Dec 5, 8pm, Trocadero Clubhouse, Stern Grove, Sloat at 19th Ave, S.F.; Dec 7-8, 8pm, Falkirk Mansion, 1408 Mission, San Rafael). Woman's Will, the all-female Shakespeare company, puts the Bard on hold for this winsome production of Oscar Wilde's perennial pleaser. Two bored young men of the upper class, Algernon Moncrieff (Erin Merritt) and Jack Worthing (Carla Pantoja) discover they have independently developed the same alibi system in the service of some much needed frolicking in the country and city, respectively, a system Algernon refers to as Bunburying, after his imaginary invalid friend Bunbury. Jack's imaginary friend is a brother named Earnest. When Algernon decides to try Earnest on for size, complications ensue which threaten to stymie their respective infatuations for Cecily Cardew (Chloe Bronzan) and Gwendolen Fairfax (Laura Hope). Wilde himself has so mined the ironic possibilities of the premise that the untraditional casting adds no new dimension to the play's meaning, but, minus some rough patches, the acting is consistently solid, with a standout performance in Phoebe Moyer's Lady Bracknell. Director Virginia Reed handles her actors with a sure hand, and Wilde's comic masterpiece handles the rest. (Avila)

Medea Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Berkeley, near Bancroft and Telegraph, Berk; (510) 642-9988. $36-56. Wed/20-Fri/22, 8pm; Sat/23, 2pm (also Sat/23, 8pm); Sun/24, 3pm. See "Medea Dearest," page 45.

Menocchio Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. $38-54. Wed, 7pm; Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs/21, Nov 30, Dec 7, 12, and 21, 2pm; Dec 21, show at 2pm only; no show Nov 28); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Dec 21. See "Medea Dearest," page 45.

Misanthrope Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; (510) 558-1381. $8-18. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (no show Nov 28); Sun, 5pm. Through Nov 30. Central Works performs a new play based on Moliere's classic comedy.

Wonderful Town Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; (415) 388-5208. $25-43. Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs/21, 1pm; Dec 7, 2pm); Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Dec 8. Marin Theatre Company and Allegro Theatre Company coproduce the Tony-winning musical set in 1930s New York. dance

'Fourth Annual San Francisco Hip Hop DanceFest' Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon; 392-4400, www.sfhiphopdancefest.com. Fri-Sun, 8pm. $25. See 8 Days a Week, page 52.

Lawrence Pech Dance Company Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission; 978-ARTS. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. $30-35. The company presents world premieres by Lawrence Pech (Angels: Fallen and Otherwise); Val Caniparoli (Boink!); and Julia Adam (The Medium is the Message).

Limón Dance Company Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 345-7575. Mon, 8pm. $20. See Critic's Choice.

*Maxine Moerman Dancetheatre, Megan Nicely and Company, Funsch Dance Experience Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St; 668-9006. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $12-15. If your verbal and rational selves take up too much space in your life, head to the Dance Mission Theater this weekend, where the queens of fancy – Maxine Moerman, Megan Nicely, and Christy Funsch – will replenish your soul with a logic that is sensory and a rationale that is as pleasurable as it is intuitive. Watch the way Nicely translates potential into kinetic energy and back again, and how Moerman's dancers hover between the real and the surreal (but definitely end up in Alice in Wonderland territory). But maybe best of all is Funsch's piece Excitation Mode, in which she places the members of the San Francisco Guitar Quartet in the four corners of the space, and simply lets her dancers inhabit the musicians' sonorous universe. (Felciano)

Smuin Ballet Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; (415) 345-7575 or (415) 495-2234. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. $35-55. Choreographer Michael Smuin presents world premieres Come Dance Me a Song, to songs by Elton John (played live by John Bayless), and Stabat Mater, to Anton Dvorak's choral work. The evening also offers the 1981 Bouquet, from Smuin's San Francisco Ballet days.

Bay Area

Danny Nguyen Dancers and Musicians Laney College Theatre, 900 Fallon, Oakl; (510) 464-3239. Sat, 8pm. Free. The company performs two new works that combine international and modern dance styles.

Theatre Flamenco Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; 650-903-6000. Fri, 8pm. (Also, Nov 29-30, 8pm and Dec 1, 2pm, Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, S.F. 415-345-7575). $25-27 (gala performance Nov 30, $25-50). The company, now in its 36th season, performs "Ritmo Flamenco," an evening of flamenco works.

'Works in the Works' Eighth Street Studio, 2525 Eighth St, Berk; (510) 644-1788, ext 2. Sat-Sun, 7:30pm. $8. Works-in-progress are shown and discussed with host Jill Randall (Sat) and Evangel King (Sun).

performance

'Art That Moves II: Large and Temporary' Cell Space, 2050 Bryant; 642-7273. www.qbox.org. Sun, noon-10pm. Call for price. The San Francisco International Mechanical, Kinetic, and Electronic Arts Festival continues with works by Seemen, Omnicircus, and more.

BATS Improv Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; www.batsimprov.com. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. $6-12. This week's shows: "Romantic Interludes" (Thurs); "Gorilla Theatre" (Fri); "Double Feature" (Sat); "Theatresports" (Sun).

'Come and Get it!' Peña PachMama, 1630 Powell; 646-0018. Thurs, 7-10pm. $5. Cabaret duo the Kitchenettes kick off their new, monthly musical revue, a show promising "songs of food, love, and lust."

'848 Community Space 11th Anniversary Shows' 848 Community Space, 848 Divisadero; 922-2385. Fri-Sun, 8:30pm. $10-20 (no one turned away for lack of funds). See 8 Days a Week, page 52.

'EROShambo Surreal Robotic Cabaret' OmniCircus, 550 Natoma; 701-0686. Sat, 9:30pm. Through Dec 7. $10-15. A cast of musicians, performance artists, and robots appears in this original cabaret show.

'H' Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission; 554-0402. Fri, 8pm. $5-10. Artists-in-residence Adeo, a performance ensemble of queer men of color, presents their latest work.

'Hansel and Gretel' Legion of Honor, Florence Gould Theatre, 34th Ave at Clement; 392-4400. Sun/24, Nov 30, and Dec 8, 2pm. $15-30. Golden Gate Opera performs a colorful, family-friendly version of the storybook classic.

Kaspar Hauser Spanganga, 3376 19th St; 826-1202. Fri, 10pm. $10. Capering about Spangangas's small stage dressed in their signature Pierrot clown suits, this quartet of comedians take us back to the days of court jesters and pantomime with their jokes about bears, selection of silly voices, and gentle pratfalls. Kaspar Hauser's offbeat sense of humor is unusual, yet it remains singularly baffling. The group delights in making fun of improvised comedy, yet the fact that almost every sketch fails to deliver a punch line makes watching Kaspar Hauser feel like sitting through the most flaccid reruns of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Veltman)

'Low Trash Equals High Art Closing Party' SF LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market; 865-5555. Fri, 7-10pm. $10. A cabaret show with Cara Vida, members of the Cockettes and Angels of Light, the Whoa Nellies, and more caps off a photography exhibit celebrating the "Summer of Love" era.

'No Place Like Pink' Broadway Studios, 435 Broadway; www.judygarlandoverdrive.com. Fri-Sat, 9pm. $16-20. Judy Garland Overdrive presents a musical exploration of the Wizard of Oz-Dark Side of the Moon connection.

Playbill staged readings Blue Bear School of Music, Fort Mason Center, Bldg B, Marina at Laguna; 626-4603. Fri, 7:30pm. $5-10. This week's play in a series of works by new writers is Going the Way of the Buffalo, by Maria Rokas.

'San Francisco's Magic Parlor' Sweetie's Cafe and Pub, 475 Francisco; 771-6066. Tues, 8pm. Through Dec 31. Magicians Walt Anthony and James Hamilton "spin tales and weave enchantment" at this new ongoing performance.

'Seventh Annual Miss Trannyshack Pageant 2002' City Nights, 715 Harrison; 263-0980. Sun, 10pm. $15-20. The glam trio of Heklina, Juanita More, and Pippi Lovestocking host the annual quest to claim the Miss Trannyshack title.

'Supergirl Power Activate!!!' Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa; 621-7978. Mon-Tues, 8pm. $10-15. Yugen Presents hosts the "superheroines" of the P Power Performance Project in an evening of dance, performance art, video, and theater.

'Under the Leaves (Shuberta's Fall) New College of California Theater, 777 Valencia; 437-3487. Fri-Sun, 8pm. $12-15. Krista DeNio, cLOWnFACE productions, and the Experimental Performance Institute present this original "mythical performance fairytale."

'What Is Peace?' Mission Cultural Center for the Latino Arts, 2868 Mission; www.revbilly.com. Sat, 8pm. $12. See 8 Days a Week, page 52.

'When Hell Freezes Over!' StudioZtv., 314 11th St; 252-7666. Wed, 8pm. $8. This "red-hot hootenanny" features the dancing Devil-Ettes, Sabbath tribute Bride of Ozzy, and TV theme song-cover band the Six Million Dollar Band.

'Women's Work' Venue 9, 252 Ninth St; 289-2000. Tues, 8pm. Through Nov 26. $8-10 (sliding scale). This week's performers in Venue 9's ongoing series include Rosemary Griggs and Jessie Bliss Markson.

'Zero Point Field' Xenodrome, 1320 Potrero; 285-XENO, www.xenodrome.com. Thurs-Sat, 9pm. Through Dec 14. Call for price. Xeno performs a show that combines classical dance with circus arts, pyrotechnics, and more.

Bay Area

'April 10, 1535' Mills College, Lisser Hall, 5000 MacArthur, Oakl; (510) 534-9529. Mon-Tues, 8pm. $5. Oakland Public Theater presents a staged reading of Cheryldee Huddleston's drama.

'Words + Music (Radio)' Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont, Oakl; (510) 594-9409. Fri-Sat, 8pm. $10-35. Radio plays and live music are performed in, and radio broadcast throughout, the multi-chambered Chapel of the Chimes for this unique event by Three Chairs Productions.

comedy

Caffe Sapore 790 Lombard; 474-1222. Fri, 8pm: "Comedy at Caffe Sapore" with host Melissa Gans, $5.

The Field 524 Union; 377-1662. Wed, 8:30pm: "Jazz Man Trio" with Rob Cantrell, Harmon Leon, and Dan Crawford, $5.

Lavash Four Embarcadero Center; 207-0285. Fri, 8pm: "Comedy at the Embarcadero," $10.

San Francisco LGBT Community Center 1800 Market; 865-5633. Mon, 8pm: "Monday Night Gay Comedy," hosted by Kay Frazier, $8-15 (no one turned away for lack of funds).

The Stud 399 Ninth St; 823-5121. Wed, 8:30pm: "Stood Up!" with hosts Pippi Lovestocking and Ronn Vigh, $5.

Sweetie's Bar and Grill 474 Francisco; 820-3237. Sat, 8pm: "Too Many Larrys!" improv comedy, free. Through Nov 30.

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: BrainWash Café 1122 Folsom; 440-5530. "Spoken Word Salon," open mic with featured readers Royal Kent and Copus and host Diamond Dave Whitaker, 8pm, free. San Francisco Art Institute Lecture Hall, 800 Chestnut; 338-3401. The Poetry Center presents Ron Padgett, 7:30pm, $6.

Thursday: Coppa D'Oro Cafe 3164 24th St; 821-1618. "Poetry on the Patio," spoken word and acoustic music open mic with host Barbara Bennett, 6:30pm, free. New College 663 Valencia; 706-9128. New College Poetics presents a reading by Robert Taylor and Victoria Sanchez, plus open mic, 7:30pm, free. The Poetry Center Humanities Bldg rm 512, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway; 338-3401. Dodie Bellamy and Lynn Breedlove read, 4:30pm, free.

Saturday Berkeley Art Center 1275 Walnut, Berk; (510) 527-9753. "Rhythm and Muse" all open mic set, 7pm, free.

Sunday: Cody's Books 2454 Telegraph, Berk; (510) 845-7852. "Poetry Flash," with Forrest Hamer, Murray Silverstein, and Judith Stronach, 7:30pm, $2.

Monday: Perry's Joint 1661 Fillmore; 931-5260. "Celebration of the Word," with featured readers Katherine Parker and Darlene Roberts, plus open mic, 7pm, free.