Sleeping Ugly Despite the chest hair spilling over the tops of the tutus, the ungainly size-12 pointe shoes, and makeup thick enough to scare small children, the dancers of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo really are lovely. The all-male Canadian company, which dances the women's roles in drag, combines virtuoso technique with dead-on physical comedy and a broad knowledge of the classical repertoire as they lampoon ballet warhorses like Sleeping Beauty and relatively modern choreography by Martha Graham and Paul Taylor. The Trocks take advantage of Stern Grove's pastoral setting to skewer Michel Fokine's "The Dying Swan" and Act 2 of Swan Lake, danced here with Stars & Stripes Forever, a spoof of Balanchine's salute to his adopted country, set to the unbearably cheerful music of John Philip Sousa. For this free performance, a word of advice: Pack a breakfast picnic and arrive early (like daybreak), or risk seeing the performance perched on a hill with an obstructed view. A pre-performance talk with the dancers begins at 11 a.m. in the Grove's Trocadero Clubhouse, followed by the performance at 2 p.m. in Stern Grove, 19th Avenue & Sloat, S.F. Call 252-6252.
You Just Might Find You Get What You Need Nobody leaves this year's Rock 'n' Swap without getting something, even if it's only the free scoop of Ben & Jerry's ice cream volunteers will be handing out to each person who attends. The opportunity to score something great is, of course, the main draw for weekend browsers and hard-core collectors alike. Record stores, dealers, traders, and indie labels will be presiding over 70 tables of CDs, albums, and cassettes of every genre, including out-of-print and hard-to-find recordings, imports, and new releases. Posters and other music-related paraphernalia will also be sold at the event, which benefits the adventurous programming of noncommercial college radio station KUSF, and begins at 10 a.m. in McLaren Hall, USF campus, Golden Gate & Masonic, S.F. Admission is $1-2; call 386-KUSF.
Mmmm, Cake MTV viewers will recognize Cake Like's Kerri Kenney from her stint with the sketch comedy show The State, but it's hard to imagine Kenney's band getting heavy rotation on her home station; when Kenney and co-vocalist Nina Hellman launch into "So mad/ So sad/ So bad/ To be adopted," complete with bansheelike backup on Bruiser Queen's lead-in track "The New Girl," there're bound to be some raised eyebrows. The band careens from arty, sarcastic pop to pretty harmonies, with a clean, spare sound more reminiscent of Scrawl than the Breeders, to whom the trio is often compared. Birmingham's Verbena dedicate a song to nobody but themselves with "Hey Come On," which cements the band's reputation as known jokesters and inveterate liars since this kind of infectious, lo-fi pop begs for repeated plays and a spot on the compilation tapes circulated among friends. Songs for Emma open the show at 8 p.m., followed by Verbena and headliners Cake Like, at the Kilowatt, 3160 16th St. (at Albion), S.F. Admission is $6; call 861-2595.
Make Mine Dry Capitalize on $2.80 martinis at Perry's "Martini Madness" to toast the late martini-swilling columnist Herb Caen or still-here author Armistead Maupin, who set some of Tales of the City's action in the bar, which celebrates its 28th anniversary this week. Besides the cheap martinis, guests who turn 28 this year or whose birthdays fall on the 28th day of any month get one free martini. It almost makes the Union Street crowds bearable. Swing band the Martini Brothers kick off the celebration with a set of jazz standards and dance numbers tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Perry's, 1944 Union (at Laguna), S.F. Admission is free; call 922-9022.
Do Do That Butoh German expressionism and its proponents like dance trailblazer Mary Wigman are given their due for their influence on the Japanese dance form butoh at this year's San Francisco Butoh Festival, subtitled "German Arts and Butoh Dance." Butoh's post-World War II, post-mushroom cloud aesthetic is equal parts natural beauty and unmitigated horror, drawing its stunning visceral power from a slow-motion kaleidoscope of body movement, rather than from the elaborate artifice of more theatrical forms like kabuki. Former Wigman dancer Sondra Horton Fraleigh, Berlin's tatoeba-Theater Danse Grotesque founder Delta Ra'i, and festival performers will delve into the history of both forms and their connection to one another at a symposium kicking off the festival beginning at 7 p.m. in the Asian Art Museum's Trustees' Auditorium, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free. Festival guests Akira Kasai, a butoh pioneer and student of the spoken-word and dance movement eurythmy, and Yumiko Yoshioka, a member of Japan's first women's butoh group, perform Aug. 21-24 at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is $13-17; call 392-4400.
Losing My Religion JFK and Fidel Castro, Mother Teresa and Madonna, and other pairs of iconic same-sex couples lock lips in Alex Donis' installation "My Cathedral," an exploration of how we feel and express devotion. Donis, an L.A.-based artist and sometime collaborator with Angeleno performance artist Coco Fusco, uses sound, light, and video to turn his host gallery into a storefront church. Viewers are prompted to consider deified figures from public and personal perspectives, filtered through sexuality, spirituality, and fantasy. If nothing else, the installation should remind guests of Mother Teresa's incredible intestinal fortitude. "My Cathedral" opens at noon (and is up through Sept. 27) at Galeria de la Raza, 2857 24th St. (at Bryant), S.F. Admission is free; call 826-8009. In conjunction with the exhibit, Artists' Television Access will screen Donis' recent video and performance work including Grace and Moscas en Leche on Friday, Aug. 22, at 8 p.m. at 992 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890.