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Wednesday, Jul 26 1995
july 26
Rock to Power Modeled after '70s educational programs like Free to Be You and Me, the new CD/booklet Free to Fight works as entertainment and activism: It mixes music, comics, and essays with spoken and written self-defense ideas and instruction by and for women. Live rock (the spontaneously witty, always wonderful Lois), hip hop (Mizzery and 151, both from the Northwest), and female self-defense demonstrations are on the agenda as the Free to Fight tour hits town; smart, strong women kick out the jams and kick ass at 9 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 621-4455.

july 27
Coochie-Coochie Her acting talents have been showcased in theaters and on The Love Boat. Guitar Player magazine voted her "The Best Flamenco Guitarist in the World." She sings, she dances, and -- according to Daily Variety -- she "works like a trouper every minute she's on stage." She's the one and only Charo, ageless as ever and still a "succex," and she's taking a break from neon Vegas to spread a little sunshine in the less glittery Bay Area. See this total role model sing, strum, and coochie-coochie at 7 and 10 p.m. at Coconut Grove, 1415 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $45; call 776-1616.

Mississippi Blues "Scenes that I thought had long vanished from the American land were revealed. ... Few outsiders would believe what I have seen if not for my camera." So writes Ken Light in the introduction to his new book, Delta Time. A product of four-and-a-half years spent traveling the Mississippi Delta, Light's newest photographs show that the civil rights movement scarcely reached field workers in the area. Whether documenting tumbledown homes and churches or paying tribute to religious rituals and celebrations, Light updates the social-documentary style of Depression-era photographers like Dorothea Lange. See his work Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Vision North Gallery, 2300 Polk, S.F. The show runs through Sept. 9. Free; call 474-4581.

july 28
Dancing Queen Born in France, raised in Spain, La Tania learned to flamenco dance practically before she crawled out of the crib; studying under Paco Pe–a and Maria Maya, she's toured the world for 25 years, establishing herself as one of today's premier young flamenco artists. Dramatic and declarative, a mix of improvisation, interpretation, and innovation, La Tania's performances usually involve an international troupe of artists. Dancers Virginia Iglesias and Fibi Vernier, singers Antonio de Jerez and Robert Zamora, and guitarists Don Fontowitz and Guillermo Rios join her for two world premieres and an assortment of traditional dances at 8 p.m. at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland; the show continues through July 30. Tickets are $5-18; call (510) 889-9550.

Attack of the Red Hot Skillet Lickers Q: What gets bigger and bigger as it gets older? A: The Jazz & Wine at Embarcadero Center festival, amongst other things. Last year's event drew 20,000 people -- this year's features more performers (16) and more wineries (30), so more listeners and drinkers are likely to attend. The Josh Jones Quintet, Conjunto Cespedes, Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, David Hardiman's S.F. All-Star Big Band, and acid-jazz Trekkies T.J. Kirk (whose Warner Bros. debut just hit the stores) kick off a three-day celebration that also features gallery exhibits (including one devoted to Duke Ellington) and food from nearby restaurants; the sounds and sipping start at 5:30 p.m. at 2, 3, and 4 Embarcadero Center, S.F. Free; call (800) 733-6318.

july 29
(Don't) Stand-Up You could see it as an alternative to the stand-up comedy-club scene. You could see it as a home for laugh merchants who've done their time and then escaped from that sinking, stinking ship known as Saturday Night Live. Regardless, the people behind "Un-Cabaret" want you to see it. Born at Los Angeles' Luna Park, the revue has grown up enough to take to the road, with a cast that includes Terry Sweeney (best-known for his Nancy Reagan spoofery on SNL), Julia Sweeney (whose nearly straight-to-video It's Pat! film is actually a weird gem, complete with cameos by Camille Paglia and Ween), Taylor Negron, and others. The chuckles commence at 8 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Tickets are $15; call 885-0750.

Mighty Morphin Petting Anchors Power Rangers, petting zoos, and TV news anchors are just some of the attractions at this year's KTVU/Fox Family Kids Fair. Fifty activity centers will house over 110 hands-on activities, and Angel Grove's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers will take a brief break from school and crime-fighting to visit San Jose. Kids can enjoy entertainment from clowns, magicians, storytellers, comedians, gymnasts, and dance troupes; adults can marvel at the great hairdos of Elaine Corral and Leslie Griffith, who -- in terms of style and smarts -- put the Bay Area's other newscasters to shame. The mania spans from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (and continues July 30) at San Jose Convention Center, 150 West San Carlos, San Jose. Admission is free-$5; call (510) 874-0422.

Oxymoronic Antics The seven members of True Fiction Magazine have been performing together for six years: Collectively, they've clocked 137 years of improvisation experience. Can one's spontaneity improve over time? Find out for yourself when the TFM ensemble performs A Spontaneous Spectacle, its largest show to date. Guest musicians (led by TFM regular J. Raoult Brody) and movable set pieces (for instant scene changes) will be on hand for maximum silliness. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. at Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, S.F. Tickets are $13-15; call 824-1559.

Trashy Aesthetics Indoor shows tend to get more media attention (and money), but many contemporary urban artists reject the gallery sphere, creating public works that respond to industrial waste and reclaim inner-city environments. Sponsored by Headlands Center for the Arts, "Nurturing Nature: Reclaiming the Landscape" features presentations by five such creators/activists: environmental historian/geographer Gray Brechin; multidisciplinary artist Mel Chin; landscape architect George Har-greaves; sculptor Susan Leibovitz Steinman; and Jacquiline Tripp, artist-in-residence manager at NORCAL. The showing and telling runs from 10 a.m. to noon at M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Tickets are $5-6; call 750-3624.

july 30
Heavenly Voices Ma”trise des Hauts-de-Seine (the Paris Opera Boys Choir) is on a national tour; sponsored by the Golden Gate Boys Choir and Bellringers, its sole S.F. appearance will (tentatively) include selections from Vivaldi, Bach, Pergolese, Mozart, and Charpentier. The singing starts at 3:30 p.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral, Geary & Gough, S.F. Free; call (510) 887-4311.

Take That! In 1990, 16 gay British men were convicted of assault and given sentences of up to four-and-a-half years for privately engaging in consensual S/M. "The Spanner Case," as it has come to be known, has been appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, whose members helped decriminalize homosexuality in England in the 1960s. SpannerMart 2: S/M-Leather Flea Market and County Fair will raise funds for the appeal through activities ranging from auctions of leather goods to "rousing, on-the-spot flagellation." Music and refreshments will add to the festive atmosphere; all genders and orientations are welcome. The shop-'n'-flog lasts from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Women's Building, 3543 18th St, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 673-0452.

july 31
Mighty Moe Moe Tucker first made a name for herself as the Velvet Underground's tomboyish drummer; her ramshackle rhythmic style is a fundamental part of VU classics like "Waiting for My Man," and her singsong voice graces one of the group's more obscure treats, "I'm Sticking With You." For the past decade, Tucker has been alternating between two personalities: trailer-park mom and touring rocker. She brings the same no-nonsense charm to both: Amid the snide cooler-than-thou attitudes copped by hipsters in Jeff Feuerzeig's recent documentary on Half Japanese, Tucker's declarations of love for rock seemed especially refreshing. Hear her play at 8 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Tickets are $9; call 885-0750.

Odes to Carmen When Carmen McRae died last fall, it was another solemn reminder that an era of jazz divas that included Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington was coming to an end. An accomplished scatter also renowned for her subtle, intuitive phrasing, McRae lives on through recordings like Carmen Sings Monk and her influence on a younger generation of stylists. Backed by the Tom Garvin Trio, five vocalists -- Buddy Conner, Denise Perrier, Kitty Margolis, Madeline Eastman, and Mark Murphy -- pay tribute to the woman and the singer in "Carmen: Dedicated to You." A benefit for the Stanford Jazz Workshop Vocal Program's Carmen McRae Vocal Scholarship, the show starts at 8 p.m. at Kimball's East, 5555 Shellmound, Emeryville. Tickets are $15; call (510) 658-0606.

august 1
Krazy Karaoke Once a month, the thumpa-thumpa music stops and karaoke sneaks its way into the Stud. How? Through Singing for Suppers, a benefit for Project Open Hand, hosted by Pippy Lovestocking and Heklina. August's event includes star turns by Patsy Cline, Mint regular Elvis Herselvis, Robbie D., and you (if you've guts and/or blood alcohol level). The loony crooning begins at 9 p.m. at Ninth and Harrison, S.F. Admission is $1 (or a canned good); call 252-7883.

Lovely Libby "I love movies and sometimes I even love films," writes Libby Gelman-Waxner, "but above all, I always love watching what Kim Basinger will do with her hair so it will always get caught in her mouth." Libby is an assistant buyer in juniors activewear; she's also America's most beloved and irresponsible film critic. Collected in the book If You Ask Me, Libby's reviews for Premiere bypass silly stuff like dialogue and mise en scne, focusing on the things movie fans really care about: the ever-changing hair, clothes, and body parts of the stars. Libby on Streisand: "Barbra's only spontaneous moment in The Prince of Tides comes when Nick tosses her a football and she screams, 'My nails!' " On Michelle Pfeiffer: "I don't know whether to hate Michelle Pfeiffer or start a new religion or a chain of fitness centers built around her." On America: "In America, no one is ever really sorry, they just try and merchandise their apologies." Hear Libby and close friend Paul Rudnick at 7:30 p.m. at A Different Light Bookstore, 489 Castro, S.F. -- who knows, Nan Parks of the Bay Times may even attend. Free; call 431-0891.

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Johnny Ray Huston


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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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