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Wednesday, Sep 11 1996
september 11
Sharp Shooter There's been lots of talk lately about the plight of Tibetans, who have endured Chinese occupation of their nation since 1945, but photographer Phil Borges' powerful, vivid work speaks volumes. The Seattle documentarian presents a slide show and discussion of his new book, Tibetan Portrait, at "Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion," a multimedia event benefiting the International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet. Tibetan music and dance by Chaksam-Pa and the world premiere of the film Ngawang Choephel: Portrait of a Political Prisoner are also on the program, which begins at 7 p.m. at Wheeler Auditorium, Telegraph & Bancroft, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $10-12; call (510) 642-9988.

Catholic Boy Comeback Restless energy and a keen eye are two of Jim Carroll's best attributes, although his heroin habit nearly eclipsed both. Back in the '60s, Carroll was a hoops-shooting, smartass NYC kid whose athletic and academic skills had to compete with his drug use, which began early in his teen years and dragged into the '70s. Carroll laid bare his experiences with drugs, sex, and crime in a brutally honest and funny journal, which became The Basketball Diaries. He turned from poet to musician with the encouragement of Patti Smith, and created some edgy, punk-influenced underground classics, including the autobiographical "People Who Died." After a stint with Bay Area band Amsterdam (he kicked heroin in Bolinas), he moved back to Manhattan, and to writing. Carroll airs his talent for lyrical irony in a spoken-word show -- the Killer B's open at 8 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. Admission is $12.50; call 885-0750.

Know Your 'Wrights Broadway's next big thing may be breaking out soon, and you could say you saw it first at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival 19, a series of staged readings of new plays and plays in progress, overseen by Artistic Director Jayne Wenger. Sam Shepard, Anna Deavere Smith, and David Henry Hwang are among the more than 200 playwrights who have used the series as a public training ground. This year's installment includes Holly Hughes' Snatches of Saginaw, a narrative on growing up gay in America, and Robert Alexander's A Preface to the Alien Garden, a deconstruction of inner-city turmoil that blends hip-hop and sci-fi styles. The first performance, Brighde Mullins' Topographical Eden, takes place on All Souls Day 1976 at the Buddha Buffet in Las Vegas. It begins at 8:30 p.m. (the fest continues through Sept. 22) at the Magic Theater, Fort Mason, Bldg. D, S.F. Admission is $9; call 263-3986.

Proud, Part 2 The New Conservatory Theater Center's first series of works by gay playwrights saw sold-out houses and extended runs, and generated a second season, called "Moving Forward With Pride." Among the works scheduled for this round are Edwin Sanchez's erotic drama Trafficking in Broken Hearts; The Lonely Planet, Steven Dietz's take on love and fear in the age of AIDS; and the opening production, Fortune and Men's Eyes, John Herbert's 1967 story of incarcerated Canadian youth, which previews at 8 p.m. (and continues through Oct. 26; the "Pride" series continues through July 19, 1997) at the NCTC, 25 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $16-20; call 861-8972.

september 12
Voices of Experience Studs Terkel's books Working, Race, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good War have relayed various aspects of the American experience as told to him by Americans. His latest, Coming of Age, examines the familiar themes of life and work in the 20th century. Oral historian Sydney Lewis, who has worked with Terkel, and who interviewed kids aged 13 to 19 for her most recent book "A Totally Alien Life Form" -- Teenagers, will have an onstage conversation with Terkel about his dealings with the people, both for his books and on his 38-year-old talk-radio show. The conversation begins at 8 p.m. at Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $16; call 392-4400.

Hootin' and Hollerin' Before Reverend Horton Heat there was Ronnie Dawson, but this week marks their simultaneous appearance. Dawson, nicknamed "The Blonde Bomber," is one of the original rockabilly masters. His rock 'n' roll guitar swing, perfected over four decades, is embellished with blues and country licks, and his influence shows in a second wave of rockabilly players, among them the Cramps (who covered his hit "Rockin' Bones") and fellow Texan Heat. The Reverend isn't really a man of the cloth, but the religious fervor and trashy good humor he and his band bring to twangy old-style rockabilly is genuinely touching. Sleepy LaBeef opens for Dawson at 10 p.m. at the DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., S.F. Admission is $5; call 626-1409. The Lunachicks and Reacharound open for Reverend Horton Heat at 8 p.m. at the Warfield, 982 Market, S.F. Admission is $15; call 775-7722.

Fools Rush In If It's a Wonderful Life had been a musical comedy, it might have been Shlemiel the First. Based on the play and short stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer and set to klezmer, the buoyant violin-driven music of traditional Jewish celebrations, Shlemiel tells the tale of a frazzled angel who is supposed to distribute a bag of fools evenly throughout the world but accidentally drops his entire load on the town of Chelm. The fool Shlemiel is sent from Chelm to spread the word but gets lost in town and winds up seeing his life in a new way. American Repertory Theater Director Robert Brustein and choreographer David Gordon collaborated on the show. It previews at 8 p.m. (and continues through Oct. 13) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary, S.F. Admission is $14-47.50; call 749-2228.

Rebel Reads It's no secret that Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings holds a top spot on the fundamentalists' library hit list for its "pornographic" content, but who would have suspected Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach? Folks in Stafford County, Va., did, and removed it from library shelves because, some said, it "encouraged children to disobey their parents." The San Francisco Library celebrates Banned Book Week with a rare-book auction at 4 p.m. today and the sale of over 100,000 books from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Fort Mason Center, S.F. Admission is free for regular events, $15 for the auction; call 557-4257.

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Heather Wisner


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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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