The House of Tudor

Although many astroheads have come to regard Saturn as the god of toil, for the Romans he was the highly celebrated god of agriculture -- that means grapes as well as wheat (wine is of key import here) -- and his festival, the Saturnalia, was a seven-day affair held in mid-December that temporarily closed schools and courts, outlawed war, and encouraged masters and slaves to exchange gifts and break bread together. After the fall of the Titans, Saturn was forced to flee to Italy -- where he civilized the natives and explained the many uses of olive oil -- but his time is still considered the Golden Age of Rome. Apropos of San Francisco in May, right? Says Harris Rosenbloom, founder of SFSource -- a new, but admirable, pocket guide which has been available since October -- " 'Saturnalia' is meant to paint a portrait of San Francisco cultural life with a wide brush." The "Saturnalia" of which he speaks officially declares the release of his monthly publication with its in-depth, if overly selective, hour-to-hour entertainment listings (everything from college lectures to garage rock clubs), eye-catching black-and-white photography (current and archival), and precious Hello Kitty dimensions (4 1/4 inches x 7 1/2 inches). Like the magazine itself, "Saturnalia" draws on a number of artistic resources. The event, which should run until 4 a.m., includes a flamenco show by Grupo Sol y Luna; performances by San Francisco Taiko Dojo and Om recording artist Soulstice; an art auction that benefits Visual Aid; and fashion shows by M*A*C and ISM (S.F.'s Independent Style Merchants). Later, DJs -- Sloppy J (Salvage Sound), Sake, Andrew Jervis (Ubiquity), Chris Smith (Om), Skreddy 57 (Stellar Trax Sound System), and Aural B (Sharpshooter) -- spin deep house, drum & bass, hip hop, and rare groove. Make use of the complimentary Spanish tapas and gin and vodka martinis. The party will be held Friday, May 30, at 8 p.m. at the King Street Garage. Tickets are $10; call 437-1775. ... When Alan Black, James Reese, and Aidan McManus (all associates of the Scottish Cultural and Arts Foundation) decided to write their own tourist guide, A Kick in the Loin, they visited a well-known tourist office and asked a clerk to cross off areas on the map where they should not walk. As suspected, the Tenderloin got the big black X. Feeling the neighborhood unjustly maligned, the crew set about giving travelers a true picture -- scabby, but intriguing -- of an American "inner city." As a precursor to the book's summer release (complete with a forward by Irvine Welsh), the SCAF has arranged three consecutive weekends for the Tenderloin Walking Tour. English walking expert (there are a lot of walking experts in England) W. Anchor will lead folks through cheap pizza joints, tranny/prostitute hangouts, obscure pool halls, murder sites, piss-soaked alleyways, small shops that will sell you just about anything, and, for a real brush with fame, the hotel where Billie Holiday got busted for possession. Walkers will be fortified with a beer or a shot beforehand. Guns of any kind are discouraged. Bravehearts should meet at the Edinburgh Castle on Saturday, May 31, or Sunday, June 1, at 2 p.m. (The tours continue June 7-8 and 14-15.) Tickets are $10; call 522-9621. All proceeds benefit the SCAF. ... If you're not too pooped, or traumatized, by your trip through the 'Loin, frolic on down to the waterfront for a wholesome debriefing. KFOG's fourth annual Sky Concert features its best musical entertainment to date: Canadian alternarockers the Odds, Uncle Tupelo offshoot Wilco, and Grammy Award-winning blues artist Keb' Mo'. The music is topped off by an 18-minute fireworks display choreographed by Performance Pyrotechnic Associates to a KFOG "world class rock" soundtrack, which will blare through giant sound towers erected along the Embarcadero Promenade. Best skyward view can be found between the Bay Bridge and the Ferry Building at the waterfront on Saturday, May 31. The event starts at 4 p.m. and is free to the public; call 817-KFOG. ... After all these years, it's almost embarrassing to still swear by the Gipsy Kings, but unlike other heady icons of the '80s (shhh, don't say U2), the Gipsy Kings still are just that. Lead vocalist Nicolas Reyes and lead guitarist Tonino Baliardo have not lost the gritty, sexospiritual energy that first infected their recordings; the sound of their native tongue, Gitane, is still potent and exhilarating, even to those who don't speak it; and the rest of the musical brethren (two more Reyeses, two more Baliardos) only become more accomplished and forcible as time passes. Seeing them live is a treat that comes too seldom. They play at the Greek Theater in Berkeley on Sunday, June 1, at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25-47.50; call (510) 642-0527. ... It's been over a year since the highly acclaimed ambient world music outfit Trance Mission has graced a Bay Area stage. Rumor had it that the pressure of being on CMJ's new world music chart for 18 weeks was just too much for the band; that the core members -- clarinetist Beth Custer and didgeridoo artist Stephen Kent -- had sequestered themselves away where they could fondle their BAMMIES in peace. Of course, this was not the case. Trance Mission has been busy adopting new talent -- Beasts of Paradise frontwoman Eda Maxym and Canadian-born Peter Reason -- as well as working up new material. This date will be the first and last show before Trance Mission embarks on an extensive European tour, and will feature all the new works, which incorporate Maxym's gorgeous vocalizations, as well as Reason's beat-heavy trance rhythms and deep electronica. Also, for the first time, longtime producer Simon Tassano will join the tribe onstage with real-time digital treatments that will expand Trance Mission's already global groove. Trance Mission performs at the Great American Music Hall on Monday, June 2, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 885-0750.

-- Silke Tudor

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