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Wednesday, Nov 5 1997
november 5
The American Gandhi A black, homosexual pacifist during the McCarthy era ... can you say "wrong place, wrong time"?! Bayard Rustin was the American Gandhi: He fought racism, militarism, and nuclear war at a time when all were at their peak power. He sang the blues, helped organize the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and actively pursued equality for all. Local artist groups Thick Description, Pomo Afro Homos, and New Langton Arts present Brian Freeman's meditation on Rustin, Civil Sex. You'd think that an exploration of black masculinity, and black gay history would be a direct route to political overload, but Civil Sex's premiere in Washington, D.C., proved otherwise. Freeman researched Rustin via friends, lovers, and colleagues, making the play personal and political, as the title suggests. Civil Sex previews at 8:30 p.m. (opening night is Friday, Nov. 7; the show continues through Nov. 30) at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is $18-22; call 641-0235.

Orff the Wall In 1958, Michael Smuin was in the S.F. Opera production of Carmina Burana and has been in love with it since. So what has he done? Started his own ballet corps and revived Carmina. Carl Orff, who wrote Carmina, set it to the medieval poems of 13th-century Bavarian monks -- with timpanis and the whole bit. Smuin's interpretation fills the dance with sexual and primal urgings -- it is the '90s, after all. The program will begin with Smuin's 1982 work Stravinsky Piano Pieces, accompanied by pianist Roy Bogas. Carmina Burana opens at 8 p.m. (performances continue through Nov. 16) in the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $25-30; call 441-3687.

Lucky 13 The Film Arts Festival of Independent Cinema is 13 years old this year! "Independent film is the punk rock of the '90s," fest director Mark Taylor quotes fanzine writer Greta Snider; this year's edition, about 80 films and videos, has something for everyone: women, young Asian filmmakers, disabled athletes, queers, families ... you name it. Screenings are at the Castro and Roxie theaters, the S.F. Public Library, the Lab, and Four Walls. Opening night's "In Glorious Black and White" is a collection of short stories written in celluloid: the pupil of her hand in the palm of her eye, Chekhov's Gun, and AIDS drama Don't Run, Johnny are a couple of the local picks. Land of the Sea is the late show tonight, and if you can manage to stay up on a school night you can cut a rug with the El Camino Cha Cha Orchestra at the International Center Ballroom. The festival runs through Nov. 9 -- all day, every day. "In Glorious Black and White" starts at 7 p.m. at the Castro Theater, 429 Castro (at Market), $8-10; Land of the Sea starts at 9:30 p.m. at the Castro, $6-7; the Opening Night Party starts at 9:30 p.m. at the International Center Ballroom, 50 Oak (at Van Ness), $15-20. Call 552-FILM for a complete schedule of events.

Tequila T'kill'ya Bill Romo, president of the Herradura Estate Distillery in Guadalajara, is bringing his tequila to town for a tastin'. Aficionados should come early to hear Romo's informal talk on the legend of tequila-making (accompanied by appetizers). The Left at Albuquerque executive chef will also prepare a five-course Tequila Tasters' Dinner, featuring corn tamales in a lobster habanero stew and lamb en mole, and, of course, five different tequila cocktails. Tasting starts at 5 p.m. at Left at Albuquerque, 2140 Union (at Webster), S.F. Tasting is free, dinner is $35; call 749-6700 for reservations.

november 6
Race Matters Stick a bunch of college students in some racial awareness workshops, force them to bare their true feelings on race and prejudice, and what do you get? Local filmmaker Frances Reid's documentary Skin Deep. Pull them back together with people like black studies professor Dr. Laura Head, Asian-American studies lecturer Robert Fung, and other race-relation scholars, and what do you get? Some serious dissecting of Americans' racial attitudes. Director Reid followed students from around the country into their workshops, their dorms, and their homes to see how and why they think the way they do. Tonight's screening of Skin Deep will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker, the subjects, and the scholars. Screening is at 7 p.m. in SFSU's Knuth Hall, 1600 Holloway (at Cardenas), S.F. Admission is free; call 553-2382 to reserve a seat.

Sales Force Buy, sell, trade, hawk, steal, give away ... just show me the money. Money equals commercialism, which brings us to advertising, the "poetry of America." Are advertising ideas really poetry, or manipulation? Thinking, Ltd., Malachy Walsh's new play, is about one scribe's struggle with writer's block and her desperate attempt to convince people that advertising is good for the world. Walsh himself has worked for ad agencies around the country and no doubt is able to shed some light on the minds that create things like "Got Milk?" Thinking, Ltd. opens at 8 p.m. (and continues through Nov. 22) at Venue 9, 252 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 273-1890.

Bouncy Bouncy New Jersey's Bouncing Souls avoid '90s punk-lite with feet firmly planted in the old school. For the past eight years, the foursome have stayed consistent with a sound that's played in true punk form -- loud, fast, and a big fuck-all to harmony. In spite of a recent label change from B.Y.O. Records to Epitaph, their new self-titled release, chock-full of gritty East Coast punk rock, doesn't disappoint. Sharing the bill are New York's Pietasters, who recently released a full-length effort on Epitaph's subsidiary, Hellcat. The seven-piece ska outfit have a tight horn section that makes showing up a little early well worth it. Mustard Plug open the show at 8 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10.50; call 552-0333.

november 7
Beam Me Up Start Trekkin' takes theater sports to the Starship Enterprise. As if it's not enough to do a parody of Star Trek, these guys go improv with audience suggestions and participation. We hope this translates into no more pacifism, no more equality, and no more nonviolence for the Trekkers. Shows are late-night, meaning the hopelessly devoted will either a) miss out, or b) have to set their VCRs. Start Trekkin' opens at 10:30 p.m. (and repeats Nov. 14 and 21) at the Bayfront Theater, Building B, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $6; call 431-5092.

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Kelly Silbernagel


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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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