While a wet-lipped Brad Pitt is chosen to instruct the adolescent Dalai Lama in Hollywood's version of Tibetan history, and corporations use His Holiness to sell computer hardware, it might be difficult to remember the tangible consequences of Chinese occupation in Tibet. Every year hundreds of children traverse the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to find freedom across the border in Nepal. Many don't survive the 30-day trek, and those who do often lose toes, fingers, feet, or entire legs to frostbite. The Benefit Concert for Refugee Children of Tibet aims to supplement some of the medical expenses incurred by arduous emigration. There are a lot of talented folks devoted to easing the severe ballast: cyberpunk-earth-mother Nina Hagen, Trance Mission, and Vox Mundi founder Silvia Makkach. Children from the Bay Area's Tibetan community will perform traditional music and dance alongside their teachers and families at Yerba Buena Center on Saturday, May 30, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22-25; call 978-2787.
The Flying Neutrinos arrived in New York City on a junk barge by way of New Orleans. Back in the Crescent City the principals -- chanteuse Ingrid Lucia and her "cousin," a tap-dancing trombone player named Todd Londagin -- and their families earned evening meals busking on street corners. With a performance history like that you know the Neutrinos -- named after spry subatomic particles -- could squeeze a smile out of a grapefruit. What you might not know is that Lucia sings like a fallen angel -- like Billie Holiday short on sorrow or Alberta Hunter long on years -- and when Londagin's not wailing on his trombone or hovering two inches above the dance floor, he croons into the mike through the dreamy eyes of Chet Baker. The Flying Neutrinos perform at the Union Street Fair (Cafe Du Nord stage at Union & Webster) on Saturday, May 30, at 3:30 p.m. Also at Cafe Du Nord on Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and 31, at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5-7; call 861-5016.
I've been told there's no better way to wind up the weekend than with a nice wholesome game of bingo. (Really, I've been told that.) Unfortunately for most folks reading this column, early morning attendance anywhere -- much less in a house of God -- is out of the question, and wholesome is best left to breakfast cereal. But thanks to Chicken John -- the mad impresario who last brought us the underground game-show series You Asked for It -- church bingo has a new time and a new, thoroughly immodest, face. During Whore Church, Chicken John will be joined by longtime friend in poultry and profanity Dr. Ducky DooLittle, a seductive sexologist from New York who makes her living writing erotic zines and selling her panties. Together, they will lead the congregation through a heated bingo tournament and a Bible-beating symposium on science, sex, and religion with special guests. Services will be followed by musical communion from Bianca's Smut Shack at Transmission Theater on Sunday, May 31, at 9 p.m. Tickets are about $5; call 861-6906.
Throughout his 20-year career, Jon Langford's musical aberrations have blazed with his trenchant wit and passionate indignation. It can be heard in the clamorous, frustration-fueled anti-punk of the Mekons in the '70s; the clamorous, disgust-fueled country of the Waco Brothers in the '90s; and the innumerable projects in between. The latest, Jon Langford & Skull Orchard, is the first, however, to bear the firebrand's name, and the debut album is appropriately personal. As Langford turns his exacting eye on his homeland of Wales, which he left over 20 years ago, he is filled with rage. There is something else: a deep, sorrowful resolve that so often reveals a man's age. The music, too, has a newfound, dare I say, melodic maturity. Skull Orchard -- Langford, former Mekon Steve Goulding on drums, Alan Doughty of Jesus Jones on bass, and Mark Durante of Revolting Cocks on guitar -- performs at the Bottom of the Hill on Monday, June 1, with Mekon Sally Timms and Holly McNarland opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 626-4455.
-- Silke Tudor