By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
By Emma Silvers
By Alee Karim
With the Noise Pop Festival only a couple of weeks away, folks may have thought Poptopia! poorly placed. After all, Noise Pop is something of a San Francisco tradition, while Poptopia! has always been a Los Angeles affair. But after talking to local musicians and bookers, Heebee Jeebeez's Paul Kopf surmised that, if anything, the Bay Area needs more outlets for pop music -- otherwise, Sacramento will make good on its threat to become the center of the Northern California pop scene, which just won't do. So, in conjunction with L.A.'s eight-day marathon, three local clubs will be hosting five nights of p-p-pop music performed by over 30 bands -- everybody from Los Angeles' highly regarded Baby Lemonade on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the Cocodrie, to our own Orange Peels at the Bottom of the Hill on Sunday, Feb. 7. Other shows of note: Saltine and the Tearaways (included on the Rhino collection) at the Paradise Lounge on Friday, Feb. 4; a free matinee with the Fitsners and the Nukes at the Paradise Lounge on Saturday, Feb. 6; and Apples in Stereo at the Bottom of the Hill on Saturday, Feb. 6. All shows are $7; see Music Listings for a complete schedule and show times.
Kelly Flint is the aural equivalent of Jessica Rabbit, composed of reality-defying curves and gin-filled abstractions that could melt ice cubes made of glass. Maybe it's not her fault. Maybe she was just drawn that way.
David Cantor, Flint's cohort in Dave's True Story, is the composer behind all the jazzy titillation on the NYC duo's Chesky release Sex Without Bodies. As the band's name suggests, Cantor's character-driven tales of love in the age of phone sex and Bukowski fans are based loosely on fact, set to smoky cocktail-sipping rhythms, and tempered by a limber, literary wit that would have satisfied the wry humor surrounding the Algonquin Round Table. Unbeknownst to her husband, "Ned's Big Dutch Wife" runs a brothel in Vissertown for "The men with their inner lives/ As grim and as grainy as Super 8." A failed literary flirtation leads to the intellectual resolve, "I'll read Kafka's tale about that lonely vermin/ I'll read every Jonathan Edwards sermon/ Hell, I'll even read Immanuel Kant in German/ But I'll never read Trollope again." As charming as Cantor's words can be, in song, the power of the prose is in the phrasing. It's Cantor's sultry muse who lures varnish away from wood and squeezes tears from bar towels with a simple line like "I'm not in for the long haul/ So spare me the roses, the wine and the song." Yes, in the hands of a genuine chanteuse, rhyming "industrial psych" with "Dick Van Dyke" is not only acceptable, it's quite lovely and if you don't believe me, Dave's True Story performs at Cafe Du Nord on Thursday, Feb. 4, opening at 10 p.m. for Lori Carson. Tickets are $5; call 861-5016. Also at Hear Music in Berkeley on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. for free; call (510) 204-9595. And at the HiFi Lounge (formerly Blues) on Sunday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 345-8663.
I don't know who decided the illegitimate cousins of the Ramones should breed with Thee Headcoats and start a surf band, but he or she is a great analytical genius. The Bomboras are that perfect mixture of greasy black leather, sandy surf, and bowling shirts. Opening for the Bomboras are the Groovie Ghoulies, who are supporting their latest release on Lookout! Records, Fun in the Dark (see the punk-freaky ode to Carly Simon, and the unimaginable Sonny and Cher cover "Laugh at Me"); and the Dukes of Hamburg, a Wammie-nominated garage outfit who cover old blues numbers you shouldn't recognize if they do their job on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 9 p.m. at the Starry Plough in Berkeley. Call (510) 841-2082 for admission price. Also Friday, Feb. 5, at 10 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill. Tickets are $7; call 626-4455.
If you've never seen someone fisted or flogged during a live S/M exhibition, I must warn you: It's a bit more frightening than a half-dozen trannys actually singing (I swear). At "Feast," the first of many monthly pansexual queer cabarets, you'll get all that and more. The "more" includes a slave auction hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a naked-boy food buffet, and a 45-minute set by Comedy Central's John McGivern. You can feast at the Power Exchange on Friday, Feb. 5, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 487-9944.
Rhino sex can be violent, too. Snorting, squealing, grunting, sniffing, charging, and severe head-butting is just the beginning; the end is a baby calf born last July that you can coo over on the S.F. Zoo Valentine's Day Sex Tour. Find out which critters embrace lesbians, which employ barbs, whips, and paddles, and which opt for an all-over body massage on Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 14 at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (with an additional talk at noon on Valentine's Day). Tickets are $35; call 753-7165. You must be 18 or over.
Across the country, jazz musicians are venerating the man who gave us "Take the A Train" and "Satin Doll." Born over 100 years ago, Duke Ellington is deserving of another revival. During the (real) swing era he inspired soloists to heights beyond their imagining, and after bebop and rock 'n' roll had taken their toll the versatile bandleader recaptured success during the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival with his unearthly Blues in Orbit. The Asian American Jazz Orchestra pays tribute with Ellington's Far East Suite, inspired by travels through the Middle East and Asia. Performances will take place at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 3 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $9-15; call 221-2608 or (510) 208-6086.
-- Silke Tudor