Blues Times Four The Legends of the Blues All-Star Band brings together four veteran bluesman: Jimmy Rogers, who pioneered the Chicago sound with Muddy Waters; harmonica king Junior Wells, who played with Howlin' Wolf in Memphis; Delta blues figure Robert Lockwood Jr., who learned the music from stepfather Robert Johnson; and pianist Johnnie Johnson, who pioneered rock 'n' roll with Chuck Berry ("Johnny B. Goode" is Berry's own tribute to Johnson). The quartet has a cumulative age of 283; they'll perform (through Sunday) at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi's Nitespot, 6030 Claremont, Oakland. The Jimmy Rogers All-Star Blues Band opens. Tickets are $15-18; call (510) 652-9200.
Walking on Water In Vietnam, water puppetry functions both as entertainment and as a way to pass on legends and myths. Hidden by decorated backdrops, puppeteers stand waist-deep in water, manipulating wooden creatures (dragons, fishermen, boats, animals, peasants) so that they seem to dance on the liquid's surface. The ancient art form makes its California debut with performances by the Thang Long Water Puppets Theater of Hanoi; accompanied by musicians and singers, they'll act out 18 fables at 2, 6, and 9 p.m. (through Sunday) at Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf, S.F. Tickets are $5-12; call 546-2700.
The Art of Noise Music videos and album covers help experienced artists make a quick buck between personal projects; they also boost the careers of young unknowns. Acknowledging these trends, "Choreographed Spaces: Design for Rock and Roll" shows how rock art plays with form and content, fusing experimentation with pop-culture immediacy. Videos, designs, and graphics by Stephane Sednaoui, David Fincher, Herb Ritts, Rex Ray, and more will be shown; a critical panel featuring Susan and Bruce Burdick, Mike Mills, Green Day video director Mark Kohr, and Colossal Pictures President Drew Takahashi will yak and gab. The visual/verbal shindig lasts from 6 to 8 p.m. at SFMOMA, 151 Third St, S.F. Tickets are $4-8; call 357-4000.
I Hear a Symphony After tenures in Brooklyn and Germany, American conductor Dennis Russell Davies has returned to the Bay Area to perform with the S.F. Symphony for the first time in 13 years. He will use the occasion to unveil Lou Harrison's Symphony No. 3; the program concludes with Gustav Holst's The Planets, a suite that aims to capture the astrological "personalities" of seven planets. The music starts at 8 p.m. (through Saturday) at Davies Symphony Hall, Grove & Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $10-68; call 864-6000.
Touch Me What effect does today's consumer-oriented, media-saturated, technology-addicted culture have on physical and verbal communication? That loaded question provides the start-off point for "Contact," a new exhibition tied to this week's NAAO Conference (see Calendar Listings). Artists including Jordy Jones, Kevin Evensen, MANUAL, and Erin Sax address various phenomena -- AIDS, the Internet, TV -- and their effects on human interaction. "Contact" includes films, videos, paintings, photos, installations, and computer art; you can see them from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Walter/McBean Gallery, 800 Chestnut, S.F. Free; call 749-4545.
You Can Call Me Ray With the Kinks and on his own, Ray Davies has always been a smart and kinky eccentric, so it makes sense that his autobiography -- X-Ray -- isn't your typical rock 'n' roll tell-all. Penned without a ghostwriter, the witty, cranky book says what it wants to say (and no more) about Davies' ambiguous sexuality and other topics. Hear him read from it during a signing from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight, S.F. Free; call 863-8688.
Castle of Horror Part low-grade P.T. Barnum, part low-grade Alfred Hitchcock, director William Castle is known for his marketing gimmicks (Illusion-O, Percepto, insurance against death by fright) as much as his films. Castle flicks sometimes feature hammy fading stars (Strait Jacket casts a tired-looking Joan Crawford as an ax-murderer), but more often than not, cheesy tricks steal the show. The first installment in a tribute to the "King of the B's," The House on Haunted Hill has Vincent Price and Emergo, a special process "more startling than 3-D." (Cheaper, too!) A warning: Watch out for flying skeletons. The screamiere takes place at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, Castro & Market, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 621-6120.
Boogie to Beckett Inspired by the writings of Samuel Beckett, French choreographer Maguy Marin's May B aims to translate the playwright's language into movement. Set to music by Gilles de Binche, Gavin Bryars, and Franz Schubert, the piece first gained attention when it debuted at the American Dance Festival in 1983. Marin's 14-member troupe -- Compagnie Maguy Marin -- will perform it at 8 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $18-32; call (510) 642-9988.
Faster Than a Speeding Bullet Thirty plays in 60 minutes. That's what Chicago's Neo-Futurists offer with "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind," a small sample of the troupe's 2,000 original works. The show's ever-changing moods range from comedy to tragedy, from the personal to the political. Special bonus: If a performance sells out, the audience will be treated to a free large pizza. The supersonic thespiantics start at 8 and 11 p.m. (and continue through Oct. 22) at the Exit Theater, 156 Eddy, S.F. Tickets are $4 plus $1 times the roll of a six-sided die ($5-10); call 972-8077.
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