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The House of Tudor 

Wednesday, Feb 19 1997
Whew! Already four years have passed since Bondage A Go-Go first opened its leather-clad doors. Purists said that it would never last -- that the bridge-and-tunnel crowd would overwhelm all the true fetish fans, leaving an acid-washed regurgitation of tequila-shot-chugging voyeurs. But dilution factor aside, BAGG has flourished. It has consistently been the highest-grossing Wednesday night in town -- if not for the weekly playspace where the less inhibited explore some of their perversions, then for the dance floor, which is always filled with nymphets grinding away to the latest altrock tunes. The anniversary party will include erotic spoken word, fleshy fashion shows, slutty art, a costume contest hosted by Cory McAbee ($300 prize), and a blood orgy or two (not for the squeamish). The anniversaries always sell out, so get your sick little butt in gear and tromp down to the Trocadero, 520 Fourth St., before Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. to secure your tickets ($10). Call 995-4600. ... With a 20-year career already under his belt, Billy Childish has copped the well-deserved esteem of relative newcomers Jon Spencer, Blur, and Beck. Today, his recording style is still derivative of his lifestyle -- give him a basement and a carton of cigarettes and he'll give you an album in as little as a day. Childish, who owns only a van and a couple of guitars, still puts every cent earned by his music, painting, and poetry straight back into his art. This steadfast DIY aesthetic has kept him out of what he calls the "real world" -- that ugly, looming place chock-full of mortgages and ulcers. Still, given the fact that Childish has not been to a live gig (unless playing himself) since 1978, it is testament to his talent that his musical incarnations -- The Milkshakes, The Pop Rivets, Thee Mighty Caesars, and Thee Headcoats -- have remained fierce forces in the British underground music scene. Thee Headcoats' latest album, Knights of the Baskervilles, is an exceptionally funny and gorgeous mix of three-chord punk rock, acoustic blues, and poetic lo-fi epiphanies. Any label worth its salt would be lucky to own Knights, but as Childish says, "[Labels] are counting their pennies and watching their arses. ... They're not carried away by the passion of what they do." There is certainly no shortage of passion here. Childish will be signing records at Das Pussycat (3162 16th St.) on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. (call 255-4883). He will be presenting spoken word and acoustic blues at the Make-Out Room (3225 22nd St.) later that same night at 9 p.m. Ticket price is $5; call 647-2888. Thee Headcoats will be performing at Bimbo's 365 Club (1025 Columbus) on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 9 p.m. The Neptunas and the Maybellines open. Ticket price is $10-12; call 474-0365. ... Of the (surprisingly) still expanding gaggle of Cocktail Nation bands, the Squirrel Nut Zippers stand heads and derbies above the rest. Their warm, dizzying originals (a word nearly exempt from the swinger vocabulary) are more sloe gin fizz than vodka martini: friendly rather than classy, a testament, perhaps, to the band's origin in Elfland, N.C. Hot, the Zippers' second album on Mammoth, is better produced than The Inevitable, but it lacks some of the earlier work's wantonness. They sound a bit restrained -- as if hesitant to invite back the ghosts who danced all over Inevitable. Still, there is a merry blend of Dixieland and hot jazz that nicely complements the wicked humor of Jim Mathus and the cartoon charm of Katharine Whalen. They'll get you hopping around the dance floor, letting loose with an inebriated urban yodel even without the usual visual aids (vis-a-vis vintage duds). The Zippers perform Thursday and Friday, Feb. 20 and 21, at 9 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell. Tickets are $12.50; call 885-0750. ... DJ Cheb i Sabbah rarely lends his name to anything unless it is exceptional. Hassan Hakmoun is no different. Trained in traditional Gnawa trance music by master musician M'Allem Amida Boussou, Hakmoun brought the spiritual sounds of Morocco to the outside world with a number of recordings, including his work with Peter Gabriel. Incorporating the strenuous acrobatics of Gnawa dance with his music, Hakmoun's live performances are intensely physical and, quite seriously, hypnotic. Tonight, during "The Trance of Seven Colors," Hakmoun will be joined by Moulay Lamrani, as well as his teacher and his teacher's son, Hassan Boussou. As with all Sabbah-produced events, the setting will be enhanced by thematic visuals, an African bazaar, henna hand-painting, and mint tea. The "Gnawa leila" begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Ramada Inn Addarash, 920 University, Berkeley. Tickets are $18; call 789-8467. ... Last year, I went on the "Great San Francisco Treasure Hunt," an event created by private eye Jayson Wechter that sends hundreds of wannabe sleuths through the streets of San Francisco in search of brain-teasing clues. The treasure hunts were originally played only among Wechter's friends, but they have grown to the point of being the best way for anyone to rediscover his town. The "Chinese New Year's Treasure Hunt" has the added bonus of being held in the dark of night, set against a landscape of dragons and fireworks. Pick up your map and your clues on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 4:45 p.m. Meet in the parking lot between the Ferry Building and Pier 1. Password: Slinky. Registration is $15, and proceeds benefit the Riley Center for Battered Women. Call 564-9400. Rain or shine.

-- Silke Tudor

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Silke Tudor


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