After a four-month hiatus, Scene Diego is back to cause general havoc and disarray. The band of anonymous street performers has been confusing San Diegans since last February by organizing acts of public mass silliness, and on Saturday, Jan. 31, their so-called Mission No. 11, codename Clowning Around, will hopefully kick off another string of good-intentioned debauchery and tomfoolery. If you'd like to participate, it's pretty simple; just meet at West Island Avenue and First Street, Downtown, at 1 p.m. dressed as a clown. Full clown attire, though awesome, is not required. Just turn up in whatever—a red nose here, some giant shoes there, and you're good to go. For more information, visit www.scenediego.org.Super circus: If you liken watching football to getting a tooth pulled, this Sunday, Feb. 1, you might want to check out the New Shanghai Circus at Balboa Theatre (868 Fourth Ave., Downtown). This touring troupe of Chinese acrobats, tumblers, contortionist, jugglers, gymnasts and musicians put on a freak show that's sure to eclipse the excitement of Super Bowl XLIII. With its whimsical scenery, powerful music and crazy choreography, it might even be more entertaining than the new commercials rolled out during the Super Bowl. The show starts at 3 p.m., and tickets start at $25. www.sdbalboa.org.
Hippies on wheels
At 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, La Paloma Theater (471 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas) will screen Klunkerz, a documentary about the history of mountain biking. The film focuses on a group of San Francisco hippies who invented the modern mountain bike in order to get away from cars, cops and pavement. Writer and director Billy Savage will be at the screening to answer questions. Mountain-bike legends Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly will be on hand, too. It's part of Competitor magazine's day-long film festival that ends with a 7:30 p.m. screening of the bike-geek classic, Breaking Away. Festival passes cost $20; individual screenings are $10. For the full line-up, go to www.endurancesportsawards.com/film_festival.php
Balboa Park's San Diego Museum of Art will open a new exhibition this weekend called Black Womanhood: Icons, Images, and Ideologies of the African Body. The show explores how the black female form has been represented throughout history, contrasting traditional African, Western colonial and contemporary global images. The result is an experience that's both aesthetically pleasing and thought-provoking, drawing our attention to the ways in which depictions of race transform over time. More than 100 sculptures, prints, photographs and paintings will be on view, along with new pieces by South African artists Zanele Muholi, Senzeni Marasela and Nandipha Mntambo. The show opens Saturday, Jan. 31, and runs through April 26. www.sdmart.org. $10.
The Writing Beyond Borders Writer's Symposium by the Sea boasts an impressive lineup. Author Luis Alberto Urrea will be there—he wrote By the Lake of Sleeping Children, a remarkably descriptive read about Tijuana dump dwellers, and, more recently, The Hummingbird's Daughter, a book about his great-aunt Teresa Urrea, a woman sometimes known as The Saint of Cabora, or the Mexican Joan of Arc. Also on the bill is political satirist Christopher Buckley, who wrote Thank You for Smoking; Pauline W. Chen, author of Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality; and other authors you'd be nuts to miss. The symposium is priced by event and runs from Monday, Feb. 2, through Friday, Feb. 6, at various locations on the Point Loma Nazarene University campus. Visit www.pointloma.edu/LJML/WSS.htm for the schedule.
Some fans of Barack Obama are so intensely into the 44th President that they do crazy things like wear a million Obama pins, cry every time he opens his mouth or paint 44 portraits of the guy to help mark the historic event. Longtime pop artist Peter Max did the latter, and the somewhat-fanatical result can be viewed at Wentworth Gallery, 1025 Prospect St. in La Jolla, from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31. Max will be at the gallery to talk about the portraits and 300 other paintings, drawings and limited-edition prints that'll be on view. www.petermax.com, 858-551-7071.
Karen Finley really can't be brought up without a mention of the notorious NEA Four, the artists who, in 1990, were labeled “obscene” and had their National Endowment for the Arts grants pulled by a top NEA official. Finley's work was quite jarring, but she'd already passed a peer-review process when she and the others decided to fight the decision in court. It's been more than a decade now, and Finley's work is still somewhere between intense and downright shocking. At 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, through Saturday, Jan. 31, she'll be keeping up the tradition with Impulse to Suck, a performance piece based on the real-life story of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his illicit sex rendezvous. Admission is pay-what-you-can. www.sushiart.org.
The buxom beauty
Candye Kane has enjoyed a singing career that's spanned from punk to blues, bared her ample breasts in boobie mags and survived pancreatic cancer. Now, she's the star of her own play, The Toughest Girl Alive!, a mostly true musical about Kane's real-life woes and accomplishments, featuring music and lyrics by Kane and directed and arranged by San Diego dance man, Javier Velasco. The show opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 1, at Diversionary Theater, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights. To reserve tickets, e-mail email@example.com. $15.