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Riff Raff 

Wednesday, Nov 4 1998
Suckers Normally we don't fall for cheap publicity stunts. But every once in a while some band -- well, it's usually the Gun & Doll Show -- manages to impress us with clever, if sometimes poorly executed, promotional gimmicks. (They once hired a plane to fly a Gun & Doll banner, and to promote their debut record they attempted to write "Bomb" in flowers on the side of a grassy hill.) More recent case in point: Last week we sighted three large black balloons and a small banner flapping outside the third-floor windows of our building, right on the edge of the China Basin Channel. The sign, advertising the band's upcoming Bottom of the Hill show, read "Gun & Doll Show, Nov. 7." We saw the band's large truck and decided to investigate. Down by the water we found Killian MacGeraghty wrapping a hefty rock with the loose end of 100 feet of kite string. "What are you doing?" we asked. "Making sure that no one takes it down," he said. And with that, he chucked the rock into the channel. (J.S.)

Mutations OPUS415 No. 4, a 10-hour new-music marathon curated by San Francisco's Common Sense Composers' Collective, promises the season's most eclectic and provocative gathering of aural adventurers this side of NYC's infamous Bang on a Can Festival. Dan Becker, founder and director of CSCC, says the idea behind the event is "to build bridges between all the different exploratory new-music communities in the Bay Area -- the academic, experimental jazz, and electronic. There are a lot of cool pockets here, but they often don't get the chance to check each other out. We want to try and help the scene become more of a scene by bringing together as many different styles as possible in kind of weird genetic mutations." Over the past three years -- first at Minna Street Gallery, then at ODC Theater -- the concerts were a great success, drawing hundreds of creative-music fans and fostering a real sense of community around a motley medley of sounds. This year's program -- which features the works of more than 25 composers -- at the Forum at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Saturday, Nov. 7, should meet similar success with its ear-bending range of internationally recognized and lesser-known local artists (plus three New Yorkers) who will be putting themselves way out there in ambitious and unusual formats. The daylong sound barrage kicks off at 1 p.m. with, well, a barrage of sound from the 45-piece Moe!kestra! The concert is scheduled to run in four sets, approximately 2 1/2 hours each, with five to seven showcases per set. Tickets and info: 978-ARTS. (Sam Prestianni)

It's My Nightclub and I'll Ramble If I Want To Sometimes, especially if no one else will do it, you have to throw your own birthday party. Last Thursday, Maritime Hall did just that to revel in three years of operation and what they consider a successful run against their rival, Bill Graham Presents, which operates the Warfield and the Fillmore. At the thinly attended "press conference" held before the actual party, owner Boots Hughston announced that the Maritime's 2B1 production company has held at least 800 shows and has expanded to include five different venues -- Maritime, Palookaville in Santa Cruz, the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, the Del Mar in Reno, and 319 in Chico. Hughston also touted a handful of CDs recorded at the Hall and said that the Maritime recently teamed up with the Southern California company Golden Voice, which promotes "alternative" rock shows like the Offspring. The deal will allow 2B1 to offer bands an eight-show package in California, which the Maritime hopes will remain an option for groups who choose not to take traditional tour routes. With all the new additions, Hughston could barely contain his optimism. "The future of the Maritime looks bright," he said. (R.A.)

Words That Rhyme Continuing the tradition of once-great folk publications Sing Out! and Broadside, which used to print the lyrics of important songwriters before their songs had even been recorded, this week Riff Raff proudly presents "Critic Song." The important composition, written and recorded by the fancifully lowercased singer/songwriter essence, was left for us last week by the same woman whose fabulous photographs we will continue to print in this space until we run out of pictures (or our editor kneecaps the project). (J.S.)

Critic Song
I didn't mean to hurt
your feelings
But there's something
that I wish you'd
It's hard to be a rockstar
with no last name
After all, I'm just tryin'
to play the game

(whistle a little tune)

You were the first to
print my photo
Now they love me out
in Soho
I'm off to record my
big debut
When my bus rolls by I'll be waving at you
I'll send you snapshots from the road
With all my new looks and new clothes
I'll send the record when it's through
I'm looking forward to my big four-star review

(whistle another tune)

I wrote this tribute
To make you laugh
And for all of the nice folks
at the Weekly Riff Raff
'cause you're the stud
you're the man
you've discovered who I am
Thank You!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you
Big Smooch!!!

Riff Raff riffraff: Robert Arriaga (R.A.), Johnny DiPaola (J.D.P.), Jeff Stark (J.S.), Silke Tudor (S.T.), and Heather Wisner (H.W.). Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to, or mail it to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly.

About The Author

Jeff Stark

About The Author

Silke Tudor

About The Author

Heather Wisner

About The Author

Johnny DiPaola

About The Author

Robert Arriaga


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  • 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.

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    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
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    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
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    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

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