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Are You Sure, Keith? Our quote of the week comes from a communique released by the self-hyping Marginal Prophets, the local hip-hop outfit that tries to turn every show into a news item. The Prophets contacted us at least a half-dozen times last week to say that the administration at a Marin high school canceled the group's scheduled performance because they didn't approve of the Prophets' promotional poster -- you know, that green jobbie that depicts the two rappers as cartoon characters begging on a filthy street corner amid a tableaux of syringes, bottles, and a condom. Here's cartoonist and rapper

Keith Knight's quoted response to the authorities: "The items in question (with the exception of my penis) are shown as garbage, street refuse." (J.S.)

Juicy Fruit In the late '70s, being an S.F. punk meant you could do just about whatever you wanted, as long as it wasn't conventional. You could be anything -- even a psychotic pineapple. Quintessential late-'70s Berkeley band Psychotic Pineapple, champions of the Rather Ripped Records scene, turned punk songs into cartoon pop, but became as famous for mascot Pyno Man as for their music. The band played with punk groups like the Dils, the Avengers, and Crime, but called it quits after their guitarist, Henricus Holtman, suffered a brain aneurysm back in 1981. Since then, PP have regrouped only for a few special shows. (Two notable performances include a 1986 gig at the KALX studios and a sold-out night at Slim's in '93.) On Nov. 29, the original Psychotic Pineapple -- Alexi Karlinski, Henricus Holtman, and John and David Seabury -- will bring the spirit of the late-'70s punk scene into the pretty unpunk Transmission Theater. Keyboardist Karlinski says the band got thinking about performing again because David Seabury is trying to resurrect Pyno Man -- that fruit gone bad -- and write him into a television cartoon project. Seabury wants to transform the band's catalog of songs into episodic cartoons that would put the one-time mascot in a league with Ren & Stimpy or that little fat kid on South Park. Says Karlinski: "It's always been about Pyno Man; the pineapple is the real star." (R.A.)

Free Radicals A joke from the Internet: Two atoms collide on the street. One says to the other, "Are you all right?" "No, I lost an electron," the other answers. "Are you sure?" "Yeah, I'm positive." Speaking of chemistry and other science lessons that Riff Raff skipped in high school, the Molecules, the Bay Area avant-punk band, play their last show ever Tuesday, Dec. 2, at the Paradise. Eight years ago, New Jersey/New York guitarist Ron Anderson left the Manhattan experimental music scene for the lower-profile Bay Area. Then, as now, Anderson found plenty of quality musicians to play with and enough small venues to keep a culture incubating here. He started the Molecules with drummer Thomas Scandura and recorded Steel Toe in 1991. Four more CDs followed, along with lineup changes (the most recent incarnation has Eskimo John Shiurba on bass). Live, the band often uses improvisation and furiously quick changes to jar audiences. On record, the Molecules reminded reviewers of the Minutemen playing like John Zorn, or Napalm Death sitting in with Captain Beefheart. The Molecules and Anderson's solo records only got stranger as the latter learned more as a musician and a producer. While recording, he developed what he calls "anti-production," or using taping and editing techniques to make the music sound uglier, smaller, bad. For the past two or three years, Anderson has planned on getting out of the San Francisco scene. "As far as the U.S., it could be one of the best places to play, but it is a bad time. It's a cyclical thing." Anderson says musicians here can't find larger audiences because the national press ignores S.F., and only a few small labels release adventurous music. After one last show and a few more months to complete outstanding recording projects and say goodbye, he's calling the Molecules quits and moving across the Atlantic. "Right now Europe is the only place that I've got paid decent money. Just to get paid and appreciated is a big thing." The 38-year-old is planning on checking out the squat scene in Switzerland and lying low for a year to chart his next step. "I'm not sure if I'm going to stay in rock -- I might go even more toward dada: editing tape, noise, free improvisation," he says. "I don't know if I like this idea of middle-aged rockers. Besides, rock music also has this pretension of making money. I'm not really interested in that, just making a living." Sure? Positive. (J.S.)

Never Mind the Music Check out the packaging of San Francisco-based Bhoss' debut CD, Trust Me, moody pop rock laced with Deonne Kahler's PJ Harvey-esque vocals. The CD is sandwiched between 12 coasters of three-ply watermarked watercolor paper (uh, the good stuff), with letterpressed pictures and designs, song lyrics, and five-color liner notes. Each paper disc corresponds to one song. On one side are the lyrics. The other side of the coaster has an illustration that corresponds to its respective track. And the whole thing is fixed together with a shiny 3/8-inch bolt. Assembled with the obsessive detail of a graphic design student's final project, the innovative, environmentally friendly, and outrageously expensive packaging is the work of a well- established local designer, Jennifer Sterling, who has owned her own award-winning design firm for two years in San Francisco. "I've wanted to do some work in the music business for a while, but R.E.M. just doesn't call," she explains. Instead, she hooked up with Bhoss to help the band create a CD package that screams "listen to me" -- unlike the tired ol' plastic jewel case. Sterling says her idea was to design a package that made our Silicon Valley-CD-saturated eyes and ears perk up and say, "Huh? What's this?" Considering the attention Sterling has garnered for Bhoss' CD package -- American Center for Design's top 100, American Institute of Graphic Arts awards, and a large spread in this year's Communication Arts design annual -- maybe Michael Stipe will be calling her soon. (Kelly Silbernagel)

School of Fish Hits magazine, that breathy bible of Los Angeles A&R types, reports that San Francisco quasi-Britpoppers the Magnetic are the latest local S.F. band to twist industry knickers. The hype started with an L.A. show on Oct. 28 that the magazine says "packed the weasels into the Viper Room." The sleaze migrated north last Wednesday when the band opened for (not so) Modern English, reportedly turning Mick's Lounge into a bizarre mash of unctuous record types and kegger dudes grunting for "Melt With You." The former contingent included famed producer Rick Rubin, bigwigs from Warner Bros. and Elektra, and scouts from Chrysalis, EMI, and Sony music publishing. The latter included, ahem, kegger dudes grunting for "Melt With You." (J.S.)

Never Mind the Music 2 When the 7th Note Showclub opened in North Beach two weeks ago, night crawlers couldn't have missed the house-of-mirrors decor, but they may not have known about the venue's 75 years of illustrious history. The 1921 building first housed Lido's, a decadent dance hall that featured burlesque shows and the then-famous Gotham Girls, whose kicky legs slimmed fat wallets. In the 1940s, the room became the Village, which used great crooners like Sammy Davis Jr. to welcome GIs back from the war. For the next 40 years, the names changed as fast as music trends: Italian Village, Dance Your Ass Off, the Boarding House, and Wolfgang's, Bill Graham's showcase for '80s icons like Sheila E, Mr. Mister, and, oh yes, the Miami Sound Machine. The dancing days ended in 1987 when a large fire crisped the joint. After several years as a drama theater, the room was bought by D'Artagnan (no last name) in March. Now, he says he plans on bringing rock, funk, blues, and DJs to the 770-capacity club. The basement, which houses another 560, will open to jazz acts shortly. (R.A.)

"Does anybody remember laughter?": Robert Arriaga (R.A.), Johnny DiPaola (J.D.P.), Karl D. Esturbense (K.D.E.), Jeff Stark (J.S.), Silke Tudor (S.T.), Heather Wisner (H.W.), and Bill Wyman (B.W.). Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to jstark@sfweekly.com, or mail it to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly.

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Jeff Stark

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Silke Tudor

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Heather Wisner

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Bill Wyman

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Johnny DiPaola

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Robert Arriaga

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Karl D. Esturbense

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Slideshows

  • Jack White at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
    Jack White and his band performed at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Friday and Saturday nights in front of sold out audiences. Jack entertained his fans with music that included songs from his days with The White Stripes, and The Raconteurs, as well as hits from his solo albums; Blunderbuss and Lazaretto. Photography by Sugarwolf.
  • San Francisco Street Food Festival 2014
    The San Francisco Street Food Festival was another success this year. Dozens of vendors with original, unheard-of creations, such as deep fried mac and cheese on a stick, black pea paste pancakes, and Korean quesadillas. Then there was the comfort foods we've grown accustomed to, like creme bruleé, shrimp rolls, and pound cake. Photographs by Mabel Jimenez.

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