The House of Tudor

Aah, New Year's Eve ... that delightful night when corner bars string up a few balloons, serve Cheez Doodles and Cook's, and collect a $20 cover. Still, every dive in town will be packed beyond the fire code because this night belongs to neophytes. Inevitably, some beer-crazy yahoo will throw up on your dress shoes and you'll be cornered by a crazy mascara-streaked dame who, at the stroke of midnight, will realize that her life is as empty as a store-bought pinata because the mook of her dreams shoved his tongue in the mouth of a passing cocktail waitress. Nevertheless, on the eve of California's cigarette ban, this is the last night that a civilized person might publicly partake of the twin pleasure that is bourbon and a smoke, so ...

Might I suggest Incredibly Strange Wrestling? The crowd here is always built of high-strung chicks and bloodthirsty boozehounds who spit on the floor and hurl inanimate objects for laughs. This episode of ISW promises the unparalleled bonus of festive costumes, combustible props, and highly amusing -- if not highly choreographed -- violence, accompanied by musical guests Mike Watt, the Henchmen, the Bomboras, the Hi-Fives, the Weaklings, and Ain't. The show will be held at the Transmission Theater and Paradise Lounge on Wednesday, Dec. 31, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-25; call 861-6906. Watt will also be performing at the Bottom of the Hill on Friday, Jan. 2, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 621-4455.

Those with more, well, discerning, tastes might attend Cafe Du Nord's Surrealist Costume Ball, where the folks at the "downhear Lounge" plan to ring in the new year like decadent 1920s Parisians. Imagine music chiming out of every doorway, the smell of roasting meat hanging in the air, streets flowing with wine, and artists with carte blanche privileges. With the fantastic success of the Du Nord's October "Titanic Party," look for the right touches of delight and debauchery. The prix fixe menu includes a choice of duck breast with pomegranate sauce, wild mushroom strudel, filet mignon à la bourguignon, and seared salmon with lemon tarragon. Salut Matelot perform French cabaret; Tonya Monique et les Amies present a tribute to Josephine Baker; and Fat Chance BellyDance writhe alongside Juan the Snake Dancer at the Cafe Du Nord on Wednesday, Dec. 31, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50 for the first dinner seating at 6:30 p.m.; $70 for the second seating at 9:30 p.m.; and $20 without dinner after 8 p.m. Call 861-5016.

The staff at Slim's gives this bit of advice: Take Thursday and Friday off work and avoid the hangover by avoiding sobriety. Super Diamond provide a little honey-voiced crooning to wash down the hair of the dog in this unprecedented New Year's Eve extension. (Seeing that the Neil Diamond cover band managed to sell over, um, 1,200 advance tickets to their New Year's Eve party, I advise purchasing advance tickets for this or performing a citywide lobotomy.) There will be a full buffet and champagne available at Slim's on Thursday, Jan. 1, with Herb opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $25; call 255-0333.

After a long absence from live gigs, the Billy Nayer Show disproved the adage "out of sight, out of mind." In November, hordes of people were turned away from the sold-out show at the Bottom of the Hill as sharp-suited frontman Cory McAbee struggled to reach a stage blocked by ardent fans. Pleased, but a touch overwhelmed by the crowd's fervor, McAbee leapt onstage and into the character that has made the singular director/animator/singer/writer somewhat of a cult figure in these parts. He leered and crooned, cajoled and boomed, revealing a scintillating musical mastermind torn between impish glee and sinister possibilities. New songs and new characters were introduced into the BNS canon, and the crowd grinned and bounced along until the tune was familiar enough that they could sing along. It was a moment, and if you missed it, you don't know what you'll be missing at the Bottom of the Hill on Saturday, Jan. 3, with Fantasy and Hall Flowers opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 626-4455.

This weekend, hundreds of mods and modish hangers-on will converge on San Francisco for "Scooter Rage III." Expect drinking, riding, dancing, and a lot of just standing around looking sharp. Given this crowd's propensity for late nights and goofballs, DJs Kirk, Kitty English, Jim Martinez, and Marcos Castro present the "Midnight Soul All-Nighter," an evening of classic soul that will carry on until at least 6 a.m., which is the only proper hour for a self-respecting mod to head for home. The all-nighter will be held at 330 Ritch on Saturday, Jan. 3, starting at midnight. Tickets are $5; call 541-9574.

-- Silke Tudor

 
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