Even if you don't have an amphibian fixation, the Exploratorium's frog exhibit -- with its ponds, bridges, waterfalls, movies, and bizarre collection of critters (from transparent tree frogs to majestic 12-inch ebony toads) -- is more than worth a visit. As always, the science museum's goal is to make education an interactive experience; with that in mind, they're inviting the public to take part in "Songs From the Swamp," a do-it-yourself toy frog symphony comprised of traditional percussive gamelan instruments and a wide array of rubber, wood, clay, and plastic toys that simulate frog calls. It's everything you could ever want -- Toys "R" Us in Bali -- at the Exploratorium on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. through July 25. Admission to the museum is $2.50-9; call 561-0361.
As much as I regret using other musicians to explicate the tone of a newly discovered group, the image that came to mind within the first two songs of Joe's Friend's nextbigthing was too delightful and compelling to shake: Try to picture, as I did, a less-effete Jello Biafra joined by a less-elderly Geddy Lee in a cubist funk-rock band with slightly disconsolate extremities. Singer Adam Ficticious sets his effervescent warble to aggressive, tangential lyrics that emphasize the aggravation of social pretense, while his band -- locals Ollie Shasta, DANdroid, and David Gazel -- forges disturbingly clever, giddy configurations of funk, punk, pop, and even a wee dash of country. Theirs is one of the more unique sounds to emerge from the Bay Area in quite a while, and I think Joe's Friend will have you asking questions even while you bound and bounce across the dance floor at the Last Day Saloon (in support of Cal Hollow) on Saturday, July 17, at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 387-6344.
Out of simple gimcrackery comes greatness, or thereabouts. Casino Royale, the Burt Bacharach tribute formed as a momentary amalgamation for a single club event, has gained such a following that local Double Play Records has agreed to put out at least two of the group's records -- the first, a Bacharach cover album due in September; the second, a collection of '60s dance music and originals. Of course, now that the 12 members of Casino Royale are going to be rocketed to superstardom, they need promo photos, music videos, corporate promotion packages, and television spots. That's where all you super-groovy people come in: Casino Royale will transform a typical SOMA club into a swank casino/discotheque (with a little help from some friends); all you have to do is turn up in fabulous clothes that complement the spy videos, go-go girls, liquid light shows, and faux-service blackjack and roulette tables. Smooth tunes, fame, and fortune can all be yours at DNA on Saturday, July 17, with Seattle's Dudley Manlove and certain respected ye-ye DJs opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 626-1409.
One of the few San Francisco nightclub events with producers suave enough not to dilute their indulgence with overexposure, "Slick" occurs infrequently and grows more extravagant with each occasion. Unlike most fetish clubs, "Slick" has a dress code that is aggressively enforced. The focus is seductive elan -- not hard-core sexplay -- and while this may disappoint some provocateurs, guests will not be confused with casual store-bought leather fanciers. Wardrobe is extravagant, decadent, fanciful, elegant, erogenous, arousing, libidinous, lewd, and, more often than not, handmade. This is where the most gorgeous (s)he (fe)males and lascivious costumers come to flaunt themselves and compete for praise in an ocean of blinking lavender wigs, mirrorlike latex bodysuits, 10-inch spiked heels, Baroque hoop skirts, and spiked tunics. This month's goal is complete gender transgression, with prizes awarded to the most delicious gender-fuck and a transgender fashion exhibition presented by Mr. S and Stormy Leather. "Slick" 's cavernous new home harbors the club's largest ever play space (hosted by Insect Funeral) and an expansive dance floor with state-of-the-art light and sound for all your goth, industrial, and cybererotic dancing needs after Blue Period administers some live glam rock at 550 Barneveld (look for the searchlights) on Sunday, July 18, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15-20; call 536-9424.
-- Silke Tudor