This Is Sub Pop? Friends of Dean Martinez used to be a wedding and bar mitzvah cover band-for-hire named Friends of Dean Martin, until Dino's lawyers threatened to sue the tuxedo pants off 'em if they actually sold any records, which became a distinct possibility once they signed with Sub Pop. The name change may be for the best: The new "ez" ending better conveys their easy, sleepy lounge stylings and the Southwestern accents suffusing their instrumental originals and covers like Henry Mancini's "Lonesome." The group's revolving lineup has included Tom Larkin of Jonathan Richman's band and former Green on Red organist/accordionist Chris Cavacas, but on this tour, former Useless Playboys guitarist Woody Jackson joins Martinez founding member Bill Elm, whose steel guitar swoops, shimmers, twangs, and weeps through a melancholy soundtrack for starry-eyed lovers and serious drinkers. San Francisco's Tarnation cap off the night with moody balladry from their most recent release, Mirador, led by singer/guitarist Paula Frazer, the daughter of a Georgia preacher. Half Film opens the show at 9:30 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Texas), S.F. Admission is $8; call 621-4455.
Road Rash Easy Rider takes a wrong turn in Jon Moritsugu's short narrative film Sleazy Rider, which melts down footage from the cult film into a biker-chick flick featuring the requisite combination of evil women, bad seeds, and burning rubber. Sleazy Rider screens at "Highway to Hell," a cinematic program celebrating a good set of wheels and the open road. The bill also includes Danny Plotnick's Death Sled II: Steel Belted Romeos, the filmmaker's recollection of his brush with a carload of New Jersey thugs; Dirty Fingernails, Sarah Kennedy's story of a woman who sets out to repair a broken-down bike; Steve Federico's Speed, a collage of fast motion (minus Sandra Bullock); Dan Janos' freeway opus I Am a Mechanic; and Christine Craton's Ghosts Along the Freeway, a documentary on a bad stretch of road in Minnesota's Twin Cities area. "Highway to Hell" begins at 8 p.m. at the 111 Minna Street Gallery, 111 Minna (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is $6-7; call 552-FILM.
Beach, Baby It's called the North Beach Cocktail Crawl because lapping up drink specials at 12 neighborhood bars will make some party people want to crawl home and curl up on the nice, cool bathroom floor tile. The admission price on this venture is less than $1 per club, which seems like a bargain: Although some of these clubs don't usually charge a cover, others charge more than that, and tonight, most will be serving hors d'oeuvres. Some will even host live music: Key Lime Pie, Shade, and the Fingers play Lost and Found (1357 Grant); the Danny Castro Band plays Grant and Green (1371 Grant); Brother Sky and the Bedrockers play Club Cocodrie (1024 Kearny); Eric Skye plays Frankie's Bohemian (443 Broadway); and Jellyroll play Broadway Studio (435 Broadway). If well-lubed revelry in North Beach isn't lure enough, crawlers also get a shot at winning a night for two at Reno's Eldorado Hotel and Casino. The North Beach Cocktail Crawl begins at 8 p.m. at the Cocodrie or the Columbus Cafe (562 Green) and proceeds in whatever direction crawlers choose. Admission is $7-10; call the Crawl hot line at 675-5812.
Power to the People Megawattage characterizes a series of art openings tonight, beginning with the star power radiating from the exhibit "Sixties," which features photos of musicians, like a rare shot of Yoko and the Beatles together, taken during the Summer of Love by Robert Altman, Baron Wolman, Herb Greene, and Linda McCartney. The exhibit's reception falls exactly 31 years after Linda's spouse, Paul, and his band played their last show at Candlestick Park. (Q: When does the Summer of Love anniversary end? A: Not this week.) "Sixties" opens at 7:30 p.m. (and is up through Sept. 30) at the Museum of the City of San Francisco in the Cannery, 2801 Leavenworth (at Beach), S.F. Admission is free; call 928-0289. Power is even more tangible at the group show "Electricity Is Your Friend," which includes, among other works, Natalie Jeremijenko's Tectonic Donkey, a 25-cent retrofitted pony ride that simulates the Loma Prieta earthquake pattern; Krys Bobrowski's interactive sound installation String Quartet: Music Box, which allows guests to act as audience and conductor; and Neil Grimmer's hand-pump sex toys. "Electricity" opens with a reception at 6 p.m. (and is up through Sept. 27) at Southern Exposure, 401 Alabama (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-2141. (The show "Power On/Power Off," with performances by ambient sound ensembles idbattery and in be tween noise, is held Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the same location; admission is $3.) And finally, the magazine work of contributors known outside magazine circles, including Exene Cervenka and Phranc, will be shown at the "Best of Joy and Lucky Show," a party and exhibit for those two local small-press magazines. It opens with a reception at 7 p.m. (and is up through Sept. 6) at Collision, 417 14th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is free; call 431-7165.
Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio? Celebrity sightings. Food booths. Live entertainment and/or nudity. Festivals ought to promise one or more of these if they hope to draw a crowd, and our local Labor Day event organizers have pretty well covered their bases. Appearances by sports stars Joe DiMaggio, Wilt Chamberlain, Yogi Berra, and Reggie Jackson (among others) fill the celebrity quotient at the Tri-Star Collectors Show of sports memorabilia (10 a.m.; also Sunday and Monday; Cow Palace, Geneva & Santos, Daly City; free-$7; 469-6065). Country singer Emmylou Harris joins Spyro Gyra, the Blasters' Dave Alvin, and blues artists Keb' Mo' and Junior Wells at Absolut a La Carte, a La Park, a three-day fund-raiser for the S.F. Shakespeare Festival and Project Open Hand. The event features dishes from 40 local restaurants, 20 wineries, and 25 microbreweries (11 a.m.; also Sunday and Monday; Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, S.F.; free-$8.50; 383-9378). Absolut a la Carte, in turn, inaugurates the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's return to the city, where it resets Much Ado About Nothing in 1950s Italy (1:30 p.m.; also Sunday, then Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 28; west of the Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, S.F.; donation; 422-2221). Blues & Art on Polk offers three stages of live music by Curtis Jack Griffin, Nefertiti & Her Afro Blues, Soul Seekers, Jeffrey Halford & the Healers, and plenty others, as well as refreshments ranging from gumbo to pad thai and knishes served amid the arts and crafts booths (10 a.m.; also Sunday and Monday; on Polk between Jackson and Bush, S.F.; free; 346-9162). And finally, country cult heroine Iris DeMent plays the Sausalito Art Festival, along with Los Lobos, NRBQ, and the New Morty Show, to name a few; local food and spirits will be available for tasting. (9 a.m.; also Sunday and Monday; Bridgeway & Harbor, Sausalito waterfront; free-$10; 705-5555). For a complete listing of Labor Day events in the Bay Area, see Page 32. Next month: nudity, at the Folsom Street Fair.