High Voltage Uncle Tupelo's debut album No Depression was auspicious in more ways than one: Not only was the title later borrowed to describe rootsy country rock outside the Nashville "new country" marketplace, but the band itself produced two good offshoots: Jeff Tweedy's Wilco and Jay Farrar's Son Volt. There's no shortage of depression in the music, actually: Son Volt's inaugural album Trace sang the Midwestern natural disaster blues with "Ten Second News" and dipped into country balladry with "Tear Stained Eye." Farrar and bandmates Jim and Dave Boquist, sometime collaborators with members of Minneapolis bands like the Jayhawks and Soul Asylum, followed Trace with the road-weary Americana lyricism of Straightaways, which is awash in 12-string and pedal-steel guitar, banjo, and organ. With new album Wide Swing Tremolo, Farrar and company infuse the country twang and bluesy lamentation with a harder-rocking electric edge. Andrew Duplantis opens for Son Volt at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $18.50; call 346-6000.
Film Strip Find out once and for all what's behind the Green Door, and why John Holmes was nicknamed "The King" (hint: big ol' scepter), at "Beyond Boogie Nights: Celebrating the Golden Age of the Blue Movie," a celebration of erotic films organized by sex-toy store Good Vibrations and hosted by Carol Queen. Talented directors and actual scripts, sets, and plots are said to have mattered more in the pre-video '70s, when sexual experimentation reached its climax. Queen guides viewers through a collection of classic and seldom-seen porn clips, including selections from Behind the Green Door, Deep Throat, and The Devil in Miss Jones, among others. A post-screening panel discussion follows, where genre stars Annie Sprinkle, Candida Royalle, and Richard Pacheco talk about cultural perceptions of porn, shifts in the industry, and related issues. The screening begins at 8 p.m. at the Castro Theater, 429 Castro (at Market), S.F. Admission is $10 for the film and panel discussion, $50 for the film, panel discussion, and 6 p.m. reception with stars from porn's salad days; call 974-8985, ext. 250.
The Brecht Connection Germany's loss of playwright Bertolt Brecht, who left the country when Hitler rose to power, ultimately proved the theater world's gain: Brecht wrote some of his most notable work, including Mother Courage and Her Children and The Life of Galileo during his self-imposed exile in Denmark and Finland. Happy Birthday Brecht, a musical theater portrait of the playwright's political and personal entanglements throughout his turbulent life, uses Brecht's plays, letters, and diaries to trace his early collaboration with Kurt Weill on The Threepenny Opera through his relocation, his brief stay in Hollywood, his summons from the House Un-American Activities Committee, and his eventual return to Germany, where he founded the Berliner Ensemble Theater Company and staged his own work. The show, which comes from the stage of London's Royal National Theater, commemorates the 100th anniversary of Brecht's birth and features songs from Weill and Brecht, including "Mack the Knife." Di Trevis directs the show, which begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through Sunday) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is $10-15 (proceeds benefit Send a Piana to Havana, a program for schoolkids in Cuba); call 621-7797. Meanwhile, Brechtian conventions (in particular, the disruption of theatrical illusion) emerge in Exit Laughing: The Freest Theater in the Reich, Betty Grandis' one-woman multimedia cabaret show about the performances concentration camp inmates staged for each other and, under duress, for their guards. Grandis addresses the audience directly in the piece, which begins as a lecture and morphs into a show using video, music, and movement. It opens Friday at 8 p.m. (and continues through Nov. 15) at Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa (at Florida), S.F. Admission is $8-12; call 751-6040.
Take a Powder At this weekend's Great San Francisco Snow Party city dwellers can build snow figures, ski and snowboard, even pee in the snow (prosecutorial immunity not included) without the long commute and the pricey lift tickets. Western ski resorts hope to generate business by trucking in piles of man-made white stuff from Berkeley's Glacier Ice Co., and creating a public "skis on" cross-country course and a Kids Learn-to-Ski Maze -- equipment and instruction provided. Competitive skiers and snowboarders will be showing off their skills in a stunt show, while klutzy artistic types do their thing at the snowpeople-building activity area. It all begins at 11 a.m. (also Saturday and Sunday) at Pier 39, Beach & Embarcadero, S.F. Admission is free; call 981-PIER.
She Said/She Said Between founding the Lesbian Herstory Archives, a Brooklyn-based repository of lesbian-related archival material, and editing books like The Persistent Desire, a collection of gripping personal histories dating back to the bad old days of bar raids, author/activist Joan Nestle has been instrumental in recording American lesbian history. The extent of her influence clearly shows in "A Tribute to Joan Nestle," in which a lesbian author A-list reads from Nestle's old work and selections from her latest book, A Fragile Union: New and Selected Writings. Bastard Out of Carolina author Dorothy Allison MC's the night of readings, which features Dykes to Watch Out For comic creator Alison Bechdel, Best Lesbian Erotica editor Tristan Taormino, The Leather Daddy and the Femme author Carol Queen, and playwright Bayla Travis (The Dyke and the Pornstar). It begins at 8 p.m. at the Victoria Theater, 16th Street & Mission, S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 431-0891.