Marky's Mark Once you're a Ramone, you're a Ramone for life, as Marky Ramone will tell you. In his pre-Ramones drumming days, he was known as Marc Bell, founder of the power trio Dust and a collaborator with Wayne County and Richard Hell & the Voidoids, with whom he recorded the now-classic "Blank Generation" back in the early days of New York punk. Then he met up with a band of shaggy, pizza-scarfing rock 'n' rollers from New Jersey and that was that. After a barrage of fast and catchy punk-pop anthems including "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Blitzkrieg Bop," as well as the cult movie Rock 'n' Roll High School and an appearance on that cultural arbiter of hip, The Simpsons, Marky and his Ramones brethren said "Adios amigos" and hung it up. Various incarnations of the Ramones have reappeared, of course, including Marky Ramone & the Intruders, who benefited from the Ramones' world domination, debuting on different labels from Japan to South America. The new Marky is much like the old: Songs average about two minutes, and bear titles like "I Wants My Beer." Sloppy Seconds open at 10 p.m. at the Paradise Lounge, 11th Street & Folsom, S.F. Admission is $6; call 861-6906.
A Sense of Humor Could the same label that launched Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Tad, and the whole flannel-shirted coterie that came to be known as grunge help launch anti-grunge as well? It could. It did. Sub Pop is home to the cocktail combo Combustible Edison, after all, and to Saint Etienne, a precious U.K. pop trio backed by a disco beat. They've been attracting a small but loyal following for the last eight years, but their influences, folded smoothly into their new album Good Humor, date at least three decades back, to Carnaby Street and Petula Clark, to the Supremes, even. If singer Sarah Cracknell's sweetly coy delivery seems familiar, it could be from the multiple dance club remixes of Saint Etienne's songs, done by acts ranging from Aphex Twin to the Chemical Brothers, or it could just be how much Cracknell sounds like the Cardigans' Nina Persson (they share a producer, Tore Johansson). Europop comes to your house, beginning at 9 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $12-14; call 522-0333.
Best in the West In the evenings, after artists and presenters have hashed out activism, education, and censorship at the weeklong National Performance Network's 14th Annual Meeting, San Francisco will put some of its best artists forward in a series of "NPN Showcases," hoping to attract some national attention. They merit local attention for sure, as a widely varied, highly concentrated sampler of exceptional Bay Area talent: The first night brings the Balinese music and dance of Gamelan Sekar Jaya, the high-flying dance of Jo Kreiter, and the articulate modern choreography of Robert Moses (8 p.m. tonight at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida at 17th Street, S.F., 621-7797; $12.50). Meanwhile, Robert Henry Johnson, Shakiri, and Nena St. Louis are among the performers at Cultural Odyssey tonight (8 p.m. at 762 Fulton, S.F., 292-1850; $5-10 sliding scale). In the East Bay, Conjunto Cespedes cooks up Afro-Cuban jams at a concert that features reggae from Amandla Poets and hip hop from Naru (8:30 p.m. tonight at La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck, Berkeley, 510/849-2568; $10). Some of the city's brightest dance gets its due at a two-night showcase that opens with LINES Contemporary Ballet's aerodynamics and the inventive modern movement of Stephen Pelton, Lily Cai, and Axis Dance Company, who surmount physical challenges in eye-opening fashion; the second night brings classical Indian dance by Chitresh Das and modern from Scott Wells and Deborah Slater (8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Brady Street Dance Center, 60 Brady at Mission, S.F., 395-8427; $15). There will be a bus running between venues.
Vid Kids In "Reel Girls/Real Girls," a program of films and videos created by teen-age girls from around the country, boys figure into the picture, but in atypical ways: Lori Damiano's animated short Strongman snipes at dudes with guns, and Ginny Habereder's Paybax sends a heroine to the rescue of her hapless boyfriend. The Massachusetts Mirror Project offers viewers a glimpse of what really goes on in a girl's life -- 12 girls a year film their own experiences for the project. Tomorrow night brings "Teen Riot 4: The Legend Continues," with films and videos produced at the California State Summer School for the Arts, curated by Valerie Soe and Danny Plotnick. Kids express themselves with Super 8, animation, found footage, and scratched and painted 16mm; among the highlights is The Dangers of Co-Ed Laundry Rooms, a satiric look at unisex laundromats, invoking the Red Scare propaganda films of the '50s. Screenings begin at 7:30 p.m. at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $3.50-7; call 558-8129.
Radio Revels People who don't like shopping will find lots of interesting diversions at the KPFA Holiday Crafts Fair. There are all-day screenings of new films: socially minded works like Richard Cohen's documentary on homelessness in Santa Monica, Taylor's Campaign (1:45 p.m. Saturday); films with local interest, like Red Rain, a profile of East Bay boxer Gina Guidi (3:30 p.m. Saturday); and spiritually minded films, like Rumi: Poet of the Heart (noon Sunday) and Peace in Every Step: Meditation in Action: The Life and Work of Thich Nhat Hanh, about a Buddhist monk (3:30 p.m. Sunday). There's accordion music and gumbo. Ultimately, there's the satisfaction of helping one of the Bay Area's last good radio stations buy and play adventurous new music -- proceeds benefit listener-supported KPFA. OK, and there's shopping, which offers ceramics, art, jewelry, and such from over 200 booths of juried artisans and artists. The fair begins at 10 a.m. (also Sunday) at the Concourse Exhibition Center, Eighth Street & Brannan, S.F. Admission is free-$6; call (510) 848-6767, ext. 602. For more events celebrating the season, see our Holiday Guide on Page 34.