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House of Tudor 

Wednesday, Apr 22 1998
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Just as musicians have discovered the significance of silence (leaving breathing room in the space between carefully placed notes), visual artists have begun to discover the importance of noise (creating color and texture with a palette of sound). Artist/activist Chris Cobb understands the importance of both. For years, the Sacramento native has been recording the relative hush of small neighborhoods -- the sound of birds, bicyclists, sprinklers -- and transplanting the peaceful sounds to bustling inner cities. In an attempt to teach the chaotic place to sound like a quiet place, Cobb creates serene landscapes with sound that, in turn, helps the listener/viewer hear the character of his natural environment more clearly. But you have to listen at the San Francisco Art Institute on Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free; call 576-9440.

Of course, silence isn't for everyone. All Punk Rods!, a muscle-bound compilation curated by Gearhead magazine and issued by Lookout! Records, combines excerpts from an autocentric episode of The Munsters with 14 of the best drag punk bands in hot rod history. On one slim disc, you get the Nomads, Gas Huffer, Man or Astro-Man?, the PeeChees, Servotron, the Quadrojets, the Donnas, the Smugglers, and others singing about an American passion: fast cars and, more importantly, really fast cars. Smell the petrol at the record release party where All Punk Rods! contributors the Dragons and the Demonics will play at the Covered Wagon on Thursday, April 23, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 974-5906.

Culled from high-tech obsessions and scary movies, San Francisco's Chrome were one of the first bands to create an electric bridge between mechanical space rock and visceral punk. Albums like 1978's Alien Soundtracks -- a concept album set in a space-age strip club in a totalitarian country -- set the stage for future sci-fi terrorists, while songs like 1982's "Fire Bomb" foreshadowed the latter-day drag punk scene. Sadly, after numerous mind-expanding studio projects, the musical cyborg fell into disrepair as producer, drummer, and synth master Damon Edge refused to tour; ultimately both he and vocalist/guitarist Helios Creed embarked on solo careers. But now the pair have reunited for their first live show in over 15 years. Opening are Chrome-fallout A Minor Forest and I Am Spoonbender -- the cerebral love child of Thought Industry/Pansy Division drummer Dustin Donaldson, Cub guitarist Robynn "Cup" Iwata, and esoteric philosopher Brian Jackson. Chrome perform at Great American Music Hall on Friday, April 24, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 885-0750.

According to the wisdom of Austin Powers, monogamy is for squares and nothing's more evil than a square -- unless, of course, you are a P-squared (party person), in which case you're groovy, baby. As we all know, "Shag-A-Licious" MC Lord Martine is a P-cubed (professional party person), which means this happening is sure to be frivolous good fun. Folks are encouraged to wear saucy threads for the fashion shoot and Mr. and Mrs. Shag-A-Licious contest. Co-promoters Martel, Nabiel, and Max are probably thinking Liz Hurley's leather catsuit, or the Fembot's fuzzy pink nightie, or Powers' velvet suit and lace cravat, but nothing says "Fancy a snog?" like Dr. Evil's crazy bald head and sassy facial scars. Dance to the sounds of Night Fever at Bimbo's 365 Club on Saturday, April 25, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15-20; call 474-6299.

Seems like everyone is incorporating pyrotechnics into his stage show -- a fire-breather here, a flamethrower there -- but leave it up to an industrial abomination from East Germany to take things to the next level. By examining the body of poet/Olympic swimmer Till Lindermann, one begins to understand the endurance required of a member of Rammstein. Burns and abrasions come with the glory of singing for this multiplatinum horror show. Lindermann wouldn't have it any other way. He likes fire. Two songs into a typical Rammstein set, Lindermann is consumed in flame -- he is a walking, growling firebomb. Four songs into the set, he is a dark smoldering form surfing the crowd on a blow-up raft shooting burning arrows into the air. Five songs into the set, he is drawing blood with violent self-flagellation. Six songs into the set, he is sodomizing his keyboardist with a flamethrowing phallus. I won't tell you what Rammstein do for an encore, but rest assured their stage show is as frighteningly memorable as their lyrics are surprisingly poetic. Of course, they sing in German. Rammstein perform at the Maritime Hall on Sunday, April 26, with Hanzel und Gretyl opening at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10-12; call 974-0634.

With their matching striped shirts, signature harmonies, and clean-cut, fun-loving attitude, the Kingston Trio took the mountain mystery out of folk music and gave it a nice, smiley face that captured the hearts of millions throughout the '50s and '60s. Their hit "Tom Dooley" -- a story of three confederate soldiers who rob a train and become outlaws -- made folk popular in mainstream culture and helped create an audience for Dylan and Baez. Although the Kingston Trio have continued to produce music since 1957, this marks the first meeting in 30 years of lead singer Bob Shane and harmonizer Nick Reynolds. The Kingston Trio perform at the Beach Street Bar on Monday and Tuesday, April 27 and 28, at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $25; call 931-6400.

-- Silke Tudor

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Silke Tudor

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Slideshows

  • 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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