Rife with buxom superheroines and turbo-thrusters, anime is very popular with lustful American boys with a penchant for the unreality of animated lines. Unlike most American animation, anime reveals abundant details about the culture from which it is derived -- the bosozoku motorcycle gangs, the ekiben station lunches, the hachimaki headbands worn as a symbol of great exertion. The weekly exploration of "Anime: Japanese Animated Films" begins with a tribute to Osamu Tezuka, arguably one of the greatest manga writers and the creator of Astro Boy and Akuemon, at the Pacific Film Archive on Friday, June 4, at 7 p.m. with additional shows on June 11 and 18 and Sunday children's matinees on June 6 and 20. Tickets are $3.50-7.50; call (510) 642-1124.
This year, the Guinness Fleadh outraged the toffee-nosed producers of the Black & White Ball by seducing John Lee Hooker and the Cardigans away from the annual symphony fund-raiser. That's reason enough to attend the Guinness festival, but anyone who caught last year's will know the other reasons. There's the full day of music: This year includes Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Shane MacGowan, and the Saw Doctors, plus the inexplicable inclusion of artists "representing the Irish singer/songwriter tradition" like Hootie & the Blowfish and Ben Harper, who weakly follow last year's performance by X in that category. There's also Guinness' understandable knack for hiring fine bartenders: The fairgrounds will be crawling with all your favorite patrons and purveyors from every pub in town. I can tell you from experience that you haven't lived -- or nearly died -- until you've started drinking Guinness at 11 a.m. with thousands of overexcited Irishmen. The Fleadh will be at the Golden Gate Polo Fields on Saturday, June 5, at 11 a.m. Tickets are $45; call 421-8497.
The effervescent Peaches Christ returns to the forum of sleazy cinema, where she will humiliate and titillate her subjects with "Midnight Mass," a weekly midnight movie series that demands audience participation in the form of glue-sniffing, go-go dancing, hair-pulling, and pec-greasing. The pre-show is not for the faint of heart, but neither are the motion pictures, which include Showgirls, Barbarella, Reform School Girl, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Desperate Living, and Double Agent 73. "Midnight Mass" opens with John Waters' Polyester -- in Odorama -- on Saturday, June 5, at the Bridge Theater. Tickets are $5; call 352-0818.
If twirling among flamethrowers and flying bread-clots with silver-spangled aliens, brownie-smeared ballerinas, and Day-Glo cowboys is your idea of keeping up with the Joneses, the Cyberbuss Costume Ball should feel just like home. Nestled in the industrial back garden of the Bayview Warehouse District, the Cyberbuss Ball is the city's most visually stimulating event. With "Urban Theme Units," the "Space Cowgirls Fashion Consultation Salon," "Rina's Romper Room," and the "Love Dodge," folks are invited to enhance their "frheak" factor. Kung Fu Grip, Ether, Stark Raving Naked, the Cybercube Dance Theater, and the very unfortunate Cyber Mobile Phreak Phorce drum group (they must be stopped!) will perform at this year's ball, held at Griffith and Quesada on Saturday, June 5, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10-15; for more info see www.cyberbuss.com/calendar.htm.
I'm one of those clueless dolts who stumbled upon Chuck E. Weiss without any prior knowledge of his 25-year friendship with Tom Waits. (I didn't even know he was the Chuck E. immortalized by Rickie Lee Jones or that he had played with Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Willie Dixon.) I was just hanging out at the Paradise Lounge one night when this fearlessly odd-looking cat jumped onstage and blew my mind with his grisly Neanderthal barroom swamp stomp. Only after twice trampling on Tom Waits' toes during one of Weiss' semiregular trips to the Paradise (infrequent because Weiss refuses to fly and must travel by train) did I realize Weiss was the sodden dice-and-shots rogue frequently mentioned on Waits' Small Change. In Los Angeles -- where Weiss helped shatter North Hollywood's notion of songwriters (along with Jones and Waits) during the '70s at the now-defunct Tropicana, and where he held sway at the Central (now the Viper Room) for nearly 11 years -- apt tribute has been paid in the form of a dedicated booth in the Kibbitz Room of Canter's Delicatessen, but records have not been forthcoming. Extremely Cool is his first album in over 18 years. Drawing on a street-savvy throng of musicians and "nothing higher than a third-grade education," Weiss roils through a collection of grubby-toed zydeco, ramshackle rockabilly, well-boiled blues, and seedy sing-alongs rooted in his crooked sense of humor. Tom Waits co-wrote a couple of numbers, sang along on one, and produced the whole album, but the flavor is Weiss, more hip-wiggling than crevice-digging. Weiss opens for Willy "Mink" DeVille at Slim's on Sunday, June 6, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18-20; call 522-0333.
-- Silke Tudor