February 19, 2003

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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

The Dazzle Geary Theater, 415 Geary; 749-2228. $11-61. Opens Wed/19, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, Feb 26, March 4-5, and 11-12, 8pm (also Sat, Feb 26, and March 12, 2pm); Sun, 2pm (also Sun/23, 7pm); Feb 25, 7pm. Through March 16. American Conservatory Theater presents Richard Greenberg's fantasy about the strange lives and mysterious deaths of two reclusive, once-wealthy New York brothers.

Killing My Lobster Tales of a Lonely Planet Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St; 558-7721, www.killingmylobster.com. $13-18 (Thurs, pay what you can). Opens Thurs/20, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 11pm); Sun, 7pm. Through March 2. Sketch comedy group Killing My Lobster presents its new show about travel.

Ladies and Gentlemen Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy; 999-8870, www.theshee.org. $15-20 (previews and March 10, pay what you can; opening night $25). Previews Thurs/20-Fri/21, 8pm. Opens Sat/22, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 15. See 8 Days a Week, page 44.

Physicalities Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor; (510) 532-8420. $12-17. Opens Thurs/20, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 15. Aggro Theater Co. presents Steven O'Donoghue's new play about Internet dating.

Soul of a Whore Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia; 626-3311. $9-15. Previews Thurs/20-Sun/23, 8pm. Opens Mon/24, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sun and March 17, 8pm. Through March 17. Campo Santo + Intersection present the world premiere of Denis Johnson's latest work, a morality play written entirely in modern verse.

Bay Area

The Rehearsal: A One Act Play in Three Acts Transparent Theater, 1901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 883-0305. $20 (Sun, pay what you can). Opens Fri/21, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through March 23. Transparent Theater presents the premiere of Mark Chappell and Alan Connor's comedy about a troupe of actors struggling to mount an obscure Hungarian play.

Ongoing

*Chicken: A 1-Ho Show Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 826-5750. $10-15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 1. A chicken is a common domestic fowl, often found roasted or deep-fried. A chicken is also a teenage rent boy. David Henry Sterry is familiar with both definitions. In Chicken: A 1-Ho Show, Sterry's refreshingly affectionate portrayal of a naive young man's first taste of Los Angeles street life in the mid 1970s, the actor and writer demonstrates how little effort it takes to go from dunking greasy lumps of chicken in rancid oil in a Hollywood fast food outlet to earning $200 a pop for fleshing out rich Beverly Hills widows' sexual fantasies. Sterry might look like a lost child bouncing around in sweatpants and red baseball boots, but he attacks his evocative prose like a grizzled beatnik poet hitting a home run. (Veltman)

Closer than Ever New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. $15-35. Thurs/19-Sat/22, 8pm; Sun/23, 2pm. The New Conservatory Theatre Center kicks off its "In Concert" season with this musical revue of songs by David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr.

Dracula Phoenix II Theatre, 414 Mason; 731-6027, www.ticketweb.com. $15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 1. La Vache Enragée presents Mac Wellman's witty, wild, word-drunk take on the Bram Stoker classic. Adding its own twist, La Vache makes Dracula (Jennifer Dean) a steely Transylvanian countess with porcelain features and a striking red gown. A commanding presence, Dean's cold-blooded mistress, backed by an instrument-toting band of sultry vampirettes, seduces the innocent Lucy (Katherine Basbaum) despite the best intentions of guardian Mina (Katherine Murphy) and artless American beau Quincy (Myers Clark), not to mention the professional concern of Professor Von Helsing (AJ Davenport) or the less-than-professional Dr. Seward (Vonn Scott Bair). Meanwhile, Mina's husband, Jonathan (Scott Fluhrer), raves under Dracula's spell in Seward's asylum, where happy-go-lucky factotum Simmons (Jon Bailey in a red-blooded performance) sings bawdy sea chanteys. Stoker's latent themes of sex and power erupt here in a full-blown gale of audacious syntax and lurid poetry as the characters look to gratify themselves wherever possible. The pace flags a bit, and the word-driven text receives inconsistent treatment from an uneven cast, but director Mike Burg's imaginative staging and rich, elegant costumes combine with Ty McKenzie's sepulchral lighting to create an alluringly haunted environment for Wellman's "bloodsucking mysterium." (Avila)

8 Bob Off Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org. $10-50. Previews Wed/19-Thurs/20, 8:30pm. Opens Fri/21, 8:30pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 2:30pm. Through March 9. The Magic Theatre presents the world premiere of Gary Leon Hill's tale of three troubled people who slowly rebuild their lives.

*A Feast of Fools Marines Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter; 1-877-771-6900. $25-45. Extended run: Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through March 2. Accomplished Bay Area actor and clown Geoff Hoyle's latest "one-man show" not only revisits characters and routines from an illustrious 30-plus year career, it features one woman: his marvelously versatile accompanist and coperformer Gina Leishman. Built around the comical conceit of a show that doesn't quite come off, the evening in fact offers some flawlessly executed vaudevillian foolery and pantomime. Handily directed by Richard Seyd, Hoyle's masterful brand of physical comedy consistently delights without uttering a word. (Avila)*Hedwig and the Angry Inch Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St; 392-4400. $25-35. Wed-Fri, 8pm; Sat-Sun, 7pm (also Sat, 10pm). Open-ended. Kevin Cahoon assumes the title role originated by John Cameron Mitchell in his 1998 Obie-winning glam musical, later a celebrated film. And while die-hard fans show up prepared to sing along, the show is so instantly contagious that no homework is necessary on the part of the uninitiated. For all its value as camp, Hedwig is a cabaret act of subtle sophistication; the story, like the best glam rock, has a quiet force that is the undercurrent of its self-conscious banality and cutting humor. (Avila)

In the Garden New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. $18-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through March 30. In Norman Allen's "erotic drama," the lives of four urban professionals are turned upside down by a homeless teen obsessed with the New Testament. The play opens post-coitus with Gabe, a promising young student, lying naked on his professor John's bed while the latter gets dressed. Soon, Gabe will have sex in the same bed with John's wife Muriel and their best friend Walter. The only person not getting laid in this sexual roundelay is Lizzie, who nonetheless develops an intimate, if platonic, relationship with the boy whom the professionals regard as a modern-day prophet. This production wants to be a provocative meditation on the postmodern condition -- on the inability of people to connect with each other or the world in a culture more concerned with surface than substance -- but no number of biblical quotes or references to Nietzsche can compensate for this play's one-dimensional characters or its vacuous platitudes. Ultimately, Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence," which serves as the play's theme song of sorts, has more depth. (Shalson)

Mother's Milk The Marsh, 1074 Valencia; 826-5750. $10-15. Fri/21-Sat/22, 7:45pm. Wayne Harris performs his solo show, a reflection on his mother's death from breast cancer.

Mud Shelton Backstage, 533 Sutter; 835-2106. $8-12. Thurs/20-Sat/22, 8pm. Flux Theater Company performs Maria Irene Fornes' drama about an uneducated woman striving to make a better life for herself.

No Exit Theatre Rhinoceros, 2929 16th St; 861-5079. $15. Thurs-Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7:30pm. Through March 9. Expression Theatre Ensemble performs Jean-Paul Sartre's existential classic about a man and two women locked in one room for eternity.

R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida; 626-DOME, www.foghouse.com. $25-35. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 2pm. Open-ended. 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 D. W. 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, inhabiting Fuller's eccentric soul with physical and verbal intensity. (Veltman)

'Second Annual Bay One-Acts Festival' Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 776-7427, www.threewisemonkeys.org. $15-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through March 2. Three Wise Monkeys and Eureka Theater's second annual festival showcase the work of 14 Bay Area playwrights, 11 companies, and a assortment of local talent. Week two of a four-week program takes off with Tanta's Knock Yourself Out, a comedy set aboard a crowded Muni bus. River Jackson's stop-and-go script crackles with one-liners but seems unsure when to get off. Directed by Richard Bernier, amusing performances, including Raymond Rea as cranky off-duty dental technician cum nitrous tank, smooth the ride. One Act Wonders' Alan Goy directs Trevor Allen's The Alice Unit, a bawdy but ultimately sentimental look at the seamy side of love among three wage slaves in Wonderland drag. TWM presents Scott Munson's A Spider on the Radio, directed by Alice Shiking. The quirky nebbish-turned-spiderwoman story line gets a lift from strong comedic performances by Floriana Alessandria and TJ Metz. Finally, Coelacanth Theater's Nick Sholley directs Ed Brownson's Soul's Rust, about an HIV-positive man (Russ Duffy) who discovers the sprit of his recently deceased best friend (Danielle Thys) drinking Jack Daniels outside a convenience mart. The performances, especially Thys's darkly shaded shade, elevate an interesting but underdeveloped premise. With minimal sets and inevitably uneven offerings, the crapshoot aspect of this unique smorgasbord remains part of its charm. (Avila)

*Seven Guitars Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter; 474-8800, www.lorrainehansberrytheatre.com. $25-32. Thurs/20-Sat/22, 8pm; Sun/23, 2pm. Seven friends, including fated bluesman Floyd "Schoolboy" Barton (Roberto Robinson), congregate in the backyard of a Pittsburgh house around Mother's Day 1948 in the sixth installment of August Wilson's rich decade-by-decade portrait of the African American 20th century. Barton's dream of getting to Chicago to build on the success of a hit record slowly but surely rearranges the lives around him in a tale that ingeniously pinpoints the tension between postwar optimism and the persistent legacy of American racism, mimicking the carefree but haunted quality of a blues lyric. Wilson's vibrant blend of humor, romance, and danger receives first-rate treatment here, with an altogether excellent cast. (Avila)

Skin Hot: Bone Deep (Series 2) African American Art and Culture Complex, Buriel Clay Memorial Theater, 762 Fulton; 861-8208, www.ticketweb.com. $13-23. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 1. The Liquid Fire Project's lesbian and bisexual performers use dance, song, storytelling, and poetry to explore the connection between race and the erotic.

The Special Connection: A Night of Love, Sex, and Serendipity The Next Stage, 1620 Gough; 673-0304, ext 3, www.cafearts.com. $12-25. Fri-Sat, 8pm (no show Sat/22). Through March 1. Combined Art Form Entertainment's Tilted Frame Improv players (Diana Brown, Jonathan Caplan, Christopher DeJong, Sean Garrett, Heather O'Brien, Kym Priess, and Trish Tillman) present a semi-free-form show built around the theme of sex and dating. Short improvisational solos generated by a live hookup to the Craigslist personals page bracket a series of sketches, including a spontaneous musical and two short films. The live Internet feed adds a twist to the usual improv stratagems, and Lydia Brawner's home-movie segments have a silly appeal, but the frequency of "special connections" remained low as far as ideas were concerned. (Avila)

Thief River New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972. $18-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through March 9. If you're tired of gay love stories where shame wins out over romance, where gay bashing drives the plot, and where all of the characters are either gay or homophobic (or a combination of the two), you'll probably expect to hate Lee Blessing's Thief River. But you might be surprised. Quick pacing and a nonlinear plot structure help keep this play interesting, despite its clichés. One has to wonder, watching this story of a 53-years-long, mostly unrequited love affair between two men from a small farming town in the Midwest, whether any unfulfilled attachment could possibly be worth holding onto for that much time. But, somehow, there are enough wryly humorous lines and touching moments to keep one engaged, even after one has long stopped rooting for the star-crossed lovers' reunion. (Shalson)

*Via Dolorosa New venue: A Traveling Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida; (510) 436-5085. $5-19. Fri/21-Sat/22, 8pm; Sun/23, 3pm. If British playwright David Hare's bold foray into first-person political theater ever suffers from the built-in obsolescence of topicality, that day is a long way off. That's because its subject, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, tragically endures. The intervening years since the play's debut in 1998 on London and then Broadway stages have only layered it with an unanticipated prescience and lent it the virtue of having been composed during what in hindsight looks like the relative calm before the storm, when many different voices seemed to speak more or less openly about what was going on and why. TheatreFirst's discussion-provoking production, with actor Simon Vance in the role of Hare and staged in a succession of both Muslim and Jewish venues, further testifies to Via Dolorosa's viability as political theater. (Avila)

Waiting for the Podiatrist Venue 9, 252 Ninth St; 289-2000. $12-15 sliding scale. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (no show Feb 27); March 2, 2pm. Through March 2. Terry Baum has been performing for nearly thirty years and is certainly a part of that generation of lesbians who redefined low-budget theater in the 1980s with profound, ironic humor. In this piece, Baum struggles to deal with the aftermath of her father's stroke. While he lies comatose in the hospital, Baum attempts to comfort her irritating mother (an orange-haired, shrieking hand-puppet played by Baum), while deciding whether or not to pull the plug on her father's respirator. Baum is a very likeable personality on stage, moving easily between irreverent jokes and sentimentality, and capable of pulling off a song-and-dance number with a puppet (to the accompaniment of Scrumbly Koldewyn of Cockettes fame). However, her portrayals tend toward caricature, and her performance sometimes lacks the self-reflexivity that would make it truly nuanced. The play runs about thirty minutes too long, a fact which Baum acknowledges in her final song about the value of finally learning that sometimes it's best just to wait: "better late than never!" she sings. (Shalson)

Bay Area

The Chairs Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822. $28-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through March 9. See "Vanishing Act," page 37.

Champion! La Val's Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (415) 789-8370. $12-20. Thurs/20-Sat/22, 8pm. Thessaly Lerner performs her high-energy solo show.

The Chosen New venue: Julia Morgan Theatre, 2640 College, Berk.; (415) 399-1809. $12.50-25 (Thurs, pay what you can). Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2, 7pm. Through March 2. Baseball and the Torah are unconventionally intertwined in A Traveling Jewish Theatre's sensitive staging of American-Jewish novelist Chaim Potok's breakthrough novel, The Chosen. The novel, written in 1967, was adapted three years ago by Potok and Philadelphia playwright Aaron Posner. The Chosen tells the story of a friendship between two Jewish teenagers from different backgrounds in Brooklyn at the end of World War II. Director Aaron Davidman's dark mise-en-scène imbues the turbulent relationship between a Hasidic Jew, Danny Saunders (Gabriel Carter), and the more liberal Jewish teenager Reuven Malter (Zac Jaffee) with longing and anger. Although the pace of the production drags in places, Richard Olmsted's subdued set and lights and convincing performances from the ensemble eloquently convey one of the play's central ideas: that "speech is silver but silence is golden." (Veltman)

Culture Clash in AmeriCCa San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose; (408) 367-7255, www.sjrep.com. $20-48. Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm; Feb 26, noon); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through March 2. Culture Clash mix their trademark blend of irreverent humor and social satire in this new show about Silicon Valley.

The Importance of Being Oscar Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; (510) 841-7287 (information); (510) 558-1381 (reservations). $8-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through March 23. Wilde Irish Productions and Central Works present Micheál mac Liammóir's play about the life and work of Oscar Wilde.

The Pintucci Family Christmas: A Bleak Comedy La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (510) 704-8210, www.shotgunplayers.org. $10. Mon/24-Tues/25, 8pm. The Shotgun Players Theatre Lab presents a new, experimental work by H. Gayle Harlan about one family's holiday from hell.

Suddenly Last Summer Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949. $10-54. Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs/20, Sat/22, March 1, 6, 15, and 20, 2pm; no show Fri/21); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through March 23. Berkeley Rep performs Tennessee Williams's drama about a wealthy widow desperate to keep her late son's lifestyle – and violent death, as witnessed by his cousin – a secret.

dance

Dance Brigade Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St; 273-4633. Fri-Sat, Thurs/20, and Feb 27, 8pm; Sun, 6pm. Through March 2. $20-25. The company performs CaveWomen ... The Next Incarnation!

Erica Shuch Performance Project Magic Theater, Fort Mason Center, Bldg D, Marina at Laguna; 558-8118 (reservations), 441-8822 (information). Fri-Sun, 8pm. $15. The company performs Vis-à-vis, a new work that combines dance, theater, and live music.

Jess Curtis, Leslie Seiters, Rachael Lincoln, and Ron Estes 848 Community Space, 848 Divisadero; 435-7549. Fri-Sat, 8:30pm. $10 (no one turned away for lack of funds). The dancer-choreographers present "This Time, This Place: New Work, Physical Research, and Movement Experiments."

Leni-Basso, Study of Live Works BANETO ODC Theater, 3153 17th St; 863-9834. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. $12-20. See 8 Days a Week, page 44.

Robert Moses' Kin Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 345-7575. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sun, 2pm). $18.50-24.50. In celebration of Black History Month, the company performs last season's evening-length Word of Mouth.

San Francisco Ballet War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness; www.sfballet.org. Program Three: Wed, 7:30; Fri, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Program One: Thurs and Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm). $8-120. Program Three includes Allegro Brillante, Damned, and Polyphonia; Program One includes Ballo Della Regina, Chi-Lin, and Dreams of Harmony.

Bay Area

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph, Berk; (510) 642-9988, www.calperfs.berkeley.edu. Fri-Sat and Feb 26-27, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 3pm. Through March 2. $26-48. See Critic's Choice.

'55th Annual Festival of the Oaks' Laney College Gymnasium, 900 Fallon, Oakl; (510) 527-2177. Sun, 10am-5pm. Donations accepted for workshops (free for spectators). International folk dance is the focus of this festival, which includes a performance by the Danny Nguyen Dancers and Musicians, plus folk dance workshops.

Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company Marin Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, Avenue of the Flags at Civic Center, San Rafael; (415) 499-6800. Fri, 8pm. $18-30. Noted guitarist Paco Peña and his company of singers, dancers, and musicians perform flamenco puro.

Smuin Ballet Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Castro at Mercy, Mtn View; (650) 903-6000, www.smuinballet.org. Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. $35-40. The company performs To the Beatles – Revisited 2001, Stabat Mater, The Eternal Idol, and Very Merrily, Verdi.

performance

'An Evening with Jay Scott Berry' Unity Hall, 2222 Bush; 346-0480. Sat, 8pm. $15. The magician performs.

BATS Improv Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; www.batsimprov.com. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. $6-12. This week's shows: 3 for All, improv comedy group (Thurs-Sat); "Micetro" (Sun).

'The Fischhouse' Norfolk Alley between 11th and 12th Sts; 561-7205. Thurs, 6pm. $40. Classic and contemporary arts group the Fischhouse presents a performance by opera singer Marissa Martins, with simultaneous mural painting by local artists.

'I Swing like That' Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission; 554-0402. Fri, 8pm. $5-10 sliding scale. Jon Sims artist in residence Cedric Brown performs his solo show, which takes on traditional notions of jazz musicians.

'Imagine Judy Garland: An Evening with Connie Champagne' Plus Room, York Hotel, 940 Sutter; 885-2800. Sun, 8pm. $20. The chanteuse, noted for her ability to pay tribute to Judy Garland's character and voice, performs a selection of songs never recorded by Garland.

'The Liberty Sisters' Randall Museum Theater, 199 Museum Wy; 554-9600. Sat, 1pm. $3-6. This family-friendly show highlights American women in history.

'The Pseudo-Intellectual' Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa; 621-7978. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. $10-15. You've heard of a play within a play? Here's something a little different: a play within a television show. The Pseudo-Intellectual, a rambling take on the television series Biography, imagines a parallel universe where Biography host Peter Graves has decided to abandon A&E to set up his own rival network. Broadcasting from a shack in Montana, the narcissistic, syrup-voiced anchor presents a new kind of Biography: instead of profiling the lives of celebrities, he tells the story of Rex McFadden, an ordinary joe from the Midwest, otherwise known as the "Pseudo-Intellectual." The Traveling Art Circus ensemble has some talented performers, but this show is a disappointing showcase for their energy and skills. Overwritten, overacted, and overlong (at two hours, the stage version of Biography is double the length of a TV episode,) The Pseudo-Intellectual is an exercise in self-indulgence. (Veltman)

'Things Unsaid' Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission; 554-0402. Sat-Sun, 8pm. Through March 2. $10-15. The Jon Sims Center presents Duy Nguyen's play about two men who fall in love amid the dramas of the extended Vietnamese American "family of choice" that surrounds them.

'True West' Voice One Studio Theatre, 1119 Mission; 826-1087. Fri-Sat and Feb 27, 8pm. Through March 1. $10-15. Voice One Studio Theatre performs the Sam Shepard's tale of two brothers.

'Zero Point Field' Xenodrome, 1320 Potrero; 285-XENO, www.xenodrome.com. Fri-Sat, 9pm. Through March 22. $10-20. Xeno and Climate Theater present the final weeks of their ensemble show, a mix of dance, circus arts, original music, and more.

Bay Area

'The Crookaletta Sunday Show' Black Dot, 1431 23rd Ave, Oakl; (510) 532-8559, (510) 594-4335. Sun, 5pm. $5. The hip-hop theater company presents its monthly variety show, featuring short comedic, dramatic, and experimental vignettes.

'Hands across the Sea' Marin Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, Avenue of the Flags at Civic Center, San Rafael; (415) 499-6800. Tues, 7:30pm. $18-35. Two of Great Britain's most acclaimed military bands, the Band of the Grenadier Guards and the Pipes and Drums and Dancers of the Scots Highlanders, perform a salute to the United States.

'A Peep under the Hood' Black Repertory Theater, 3201 Adeline, Berk; (510) 652-2120. Fri-Sun, 8pm (also Sat, 2:30pm; Sun, 5pm). $15-17. Black Repertory Theatre presents local author Bobby Clements's comedy-drama about family members battling for control over their car dealership.

comedy

The Mock Café 1074 Valencia; plethorashow@yahoo.com. Fri, 8:30 and 10pm: Comedy troupe Plethora performs sketch comedy with musical interludes and stand-up, $7.

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

The Stud 399 Ninth St; 823-5121, stoodupsf@hotmail.com. Wed, 8:30pm: "Stood Up!," stand-up comedy with Pippi Lovestocking and Ronn Vigh, $5.

Bay Area

Black Box 1928 Telegraph, Oakl; (510) 451-1932. Thurs, 8pm: The Oakland Playhouse improv troupe performs improv comedy, $6.

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 spoken word events and featured readers:

Wednesday: BrainWash Café 1122 Folsom; 440-5530. "Spoken Word Salon," with open mic and host Diamond Dave Whitaker, 8pm, free.

Thursday: Coppa D'Oro Cafe 3166 24th St; 826-8003. "Poetry on the Patio," spoken word and acoustic-music open mic with host Renaldo Ricketts, 6:30pm, free. Istituto Italiano di Cultura 425 Washington; 788-7142. Biancamaria Frabotta reads poetry in Italian and English, 6:30pm, free.

Friday: African American Art and Culture Complex 762 Fulton; 252-4655, www.writerscorps-sf.org. "San Francisco WritersCorps Youth Poetry Slam," 7pm, free. First Congregational Church of Berkeley 2345 Channing, Berk; www.durantcenter.org. "Poetry and the Sacred" reading with Christina Hutchins and Jim Autry, 7pm, $10. Small Press Traffic 1111 Eighth St; 551-9278. Small Press Traffic presents a poetry reading with Etel Adnan and Brenda Iijima, 7:30pm, $5.

Saturday: Berkeley Art Center 1275 Walnut, Berk; (510) 644-6893. "Rhythm and Muse," open mic featuring Valentine Pierce, 7pm, free. First Congregational Church of Berkeley 2345 Channing, Berk; www.durantcenter.org. "Poetry and the Sacred" workshops, 1-4pm, $35; poetry open mic, 4:15-5pm, free.

Sunday: Cody's Books 2454 Telegraph, Berk; (510) 845-7852. "Poetry Flash," with Matthew Zapruder and Peter Richards, 7:30pm, $2. First Congregational Church of Berkeley 2345 Channing, Berk; www.durantcenter.org. "Poetry and the Sacred" poetry worship service with Jim Autry and Pat deJong, 10:30am, free; poetry worship service with Christina Hutchins, Alison Luterman, Neeli Cherkovski, and Molly Fisk, 6pm, $5-10.

Monday: Perry's Joint 1661 Fillmore; 931-5260. "Celebration of the Word," with featured reader Gerald Nicosia and open mic, 7pm, free.

Tuesday: Spanganga 3376 19th St; 821-1102. "The Spang Bang" open mic for all types of performers, 8pm, $2 (suggested donation). The Beanery 2925 College, Berk; (510) 549-9093. "The Whole Note Poetry Series," with featured reader to be announced, 7pm, free.