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House Of Tudor 

Hank Williams Karaoke, "The War Room," "Electromechanik," New England Clambake, "Planet Tiki," Kiss-Offs, Waco, and "Burlesque Brigade."

Wednesday, Sep 15 1999
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The problem with being a karaoke groupie is that between the tunes that make you swoon, like "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," are a whole slew of crappy, happy sing-alongs like "Summer Lovin'." For the tear-in-your-beer lover, there is no karaoke quite like Hank Williams Karaoke. This ninth annual birthday tribute includes live musical backing by the Rounders and songbooks with nothing but lyrics from country's greatest, most tragic songwriter (OK, he had some peppy numbers, too). But only faulty tonsils will fill your melancholy eye at the Hank Williams Sr. 76th birthday tribute held at the Elbo Room on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 552-7788.


For many of us, the war against Kuwait was our initial firsthand exposure to war propaganda -- you remember the three-dimensional television logos and snappy news-speak that made the conflict look and sound about as serious as WWF matches -- but war propaganda has a long, visually arresting history. "The War Room" is a multimedia exhibition that compiles stylish recruitment posters, aerial propaganda leaflets from the 4th PSYOPS Unit of the U.S. Army's Special Forces Division, and broadcast media coverage of various wars. The collection includes propaganda both for and against war, and, not surprisingly, the psychological tactics are nearly identical. Critical viewing should be brought to the opening of "The War Room" at Intersection for the Arts Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. Admission is free; call 626-2787.


For the fourth installment of Blasthaus' mixed tech-media series, "Electromechanik" presents three international masters of "plunderphonia" (recontextualization of found sounds and images). Hailing from the U.K., People Like Us (Vicki Bennett) does the dada shuffle with intercepted radio broadcasts, easy listening, and Alpine yodeling. Her work has been featured on Radio 100, BBC, Holland's VPRO, and Negativland's "Over the Edge" program, and on more than 25 CDs and records. The Bay Area's Jet Black Hair People (Peter Conheim) ravages the reasonable narratives of educational films, public service announcements, and religious proclamations for his own nefarious purposes. He is a founding member of the all-projector trio Web Gate and spy-fi purveyors Mono Pause; he is also a member of the found-sound troupe Negativland. San Francisco's Wobbly (Jon Leidecker) abuses vinyl, tape loops, and other found sounds while glazing the finish with live piano and keyboards. He is the primary content provider for Gerneal Injectables and Signals Inc. Together, these three artists recently released People Like Us Meet the Jet Black Hair People ... In Concert!, a brilliantly funny collage of spy tunes, Euro-disco, black metal, superfly funk, barroom vomiting, and demented soundbites from career heroin addicts who intone, "I looked at my skin and it looked like that of a turkey," and concerned Jesus freaks who haltingly read, "The world around us is a three-ring circus of destruction." Contributing to the live montage will be Phosphene, an audio-visual collective from Vancouver specializing in 16mm and Super 8. The b.o.l.t. lounge will also be in full effect with dead media like reel projectors, Pong, and View-Master at the Justice League on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 789-7690.


Fresh New England clams and lobsters will be flown to the Bay Area just in time for the annual New England Clambake, which includes lots of cool sand, cold microbrews, steaming seafood, and red-hot New Orleans funk by Zigaboo Modeliste & the New Aahkestra, John Mooney & Bluesiana, 008, and Minus Linus. Bring your bikini and your Mardi Gras beads to McNears Beach in San Rafael on Saturday, Sept. 18, from noon to 8 p.m. Tickets are $12-40; call (530) 876-9024.


Not many people realize that the legend of beach bongo comes from sunny Oakland, not sunny Southern California. That's right, Preston Epps, the creator of the Top 40 hit "Bongo Rock," as well as "Bongo Bongo Bongo" and "Surfin' Bongos," is our own native son and one of the originators of the crazy beat bongo beat. For a rare appearance on his bayside shores, Epps will perform at "Planet Tiki," a night that includes the 20-woman synchronized dance troupe the Devil-Ettes, the fire-eating Molotov Malcontent, the humorous King Kulukele & the Freaky Tikis, the exotica combo Fisherman, saw player Sudsey, and exotica/beach party music from "Bardot A Go Go," "Leisure Lounge," and Gearhead magazine publisher Mike Lavella. Tiki art, Polynesian drinks, exotica silk-screens, and sand will enhance the beach party atmosphere at "Planet Tiki" held at the International Center on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12-15; call 979-3031. In conjunction, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will be presenting an exotica film festival on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, Sept. 15, 17, and 18. See Night + Day, Page 28, for details, or call 978-ARTS.


Armed with an old hearse, a bunch of homemade pyrotechnics (amazing what you can do with gunpowder and a bunch of tuna fish cans), and an unquenchable zest for harmless irony, the Kiss-Offs apply garage guitar, Casio keyboards, and smug new-wave guy-girl anti- harmonies to the important themes of cowboys, dating, saints, kidney thieves, and the holy Kiss-Off trinity (Eskimo, butterfly, and French). The Kiss-Offs perform at the Purple Onion on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 398-8415.


Last week, Congress called for an independent investigation of the FBI's attack on the Branch Davidian headquarters in 1993. No doubt, the renewed government probe stems from the continued public outrage propagated by the unsuppressed documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement. While Waco originally premiered at the Roxie in 1997, it is worth mentioning again as it might be the single most important viewing experience for anyone still believing in American constitutional rights. Waco will be shown again at the Roxie at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 19, and Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 26. Admission is $7; call 863-1087.


If the frolicking fillies at the Clambake and "Planet Tiki" were too full of sunny wholesomeness and sand for your liking, might I suggest the heavily boa-ed "Burlesque Brigade," which offers the titillation of the Cantankerous Lollies with fishnets, wigs, and wiggles, accompanied by the old burlesque sound of the Fisherman's Brass Combo and the tap-dancing Gypsy busking of Blue Canary at the Make-Out Room on Sunday, Sept 19, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 647-2877.


Last week, in what can only be described as alien possession, I mistakenly named Mount Tam as the site of my great-grandmother's house when, in actuality, my childhood memories are of Mount Diablo. I'm sure the Rova Sax Quartet concert was delightful but, regardless, I must apologize to lovers of the well-heeled Mount Tam: The buzzards, rattlesnakes, and fear- inspiring dirt roads come from memories across the bay.

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Silke Tudor

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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.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

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