House Of Tudor

"Alloy Orchestra," "Bardot a Go-Go"

"There can be no understanding between the hands and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator" is the tag line for Metropolis, Fritz Lang's fantastical look at a future in which the self-obsessed Thinkers of a city have completely lost connection with the Workers, whose diligence keeps the organism functioning. Sound familiar? More specifically, the "great machine" has wiped out middle class workers and artisans, establishing a system of economic feudalism in which a plutocracy thrives while the degraded and disenfranchised are forced underground, where they hatch petty schemes to get back at their oppressors. Eventually, priorities are re-evaluated in the face of a large flood that brings about the symbolic unity of beautiful, selfless Worker Maria and Thinker Frederson, who save the city's children and offer hope for the next generation. If only it were so easy. The 1927 masterwork is as breathtaking as any science fiction movie made since, made doubly so by the live musical accompaniment of the surrealist Alloy Orchestra. To add a little levity to the proceedings, the Alloy Orchestra will add aural hilarity and sardonic whimsy to three comedic shorts: One Week, in which Buster Keaton desperately attempts to build a house for his beloved, Easy Street, which finds Charlie Chaplin taking on mob bullies, and Big Business, which follows a trail of destruction left by Laurel & Hardy's door-to-door Christmas tree scam. Alloy Orchestra will play on Friday, Mar. 31 at the Castro Theater with "Masters of Slapstick" at 7:30 p.m. and Metropolis at 9:30 p.m. Ticket price is $12; call 621-6120. And on Saturday, April 1 at Rafael Film Center with "Masters of Slapstick" at 2:30 p.m. and Metropolis at 7 p.m. Ticket price is $12; call 454-1222.


Led by the enchanting force that is Alicia Perrone -- think Blondie's coquettish sleaze, Siouxsie Sioux's histrionic wail, and Joan Jett's surly punch -- Simon Stinger recently landed a cameo and a song in the Dan Aykroyd and Kirk Douglas comedy Diamonds, but that's a small accomplishment next to the realization of Devil on My Mind. The San Francisco quartet's second independent release is a 21st-century girl's revelation of all that was enjoyable in the '80s: the belief in ego, love, and music; the freedom of blazing down the freeway with dried roses hanging from your rearview mirror; the simple joy of pounding your feet in the dark corners of a nightclub filled with black-clad fans who believe in the star potential of their local musicians. The CD opens with a strident remake of Devo's "Girl U Want," dominated by the low-slung predatory growl of Victor James' bass line and crowned by Perrone's snotty certainty, before rolling into 12 originals that are limber enough to supplant your own youthful anthems about ditched romance. "Dead On" exposes an ex-boyfriend's penchant for dating carbon copies with the irresistible sing-along "Johnny's got a girl and she looks like me." "When a Boy Meets a Girl" finds Perrone exposing her siren's claws with the slinky line "I don't really care if you love me back/ Or at all/ I just want you to want me till it hurts you." "Hollywood Ending" decries the myth with seductive sweetness before finding release in the new wave bombast of "Summertime." "The Last Girl in the World" fulfills the ambition of both Adam Ant and Siouxie Sioux to carry their particular flavor into contemporary world of pop. And "Go Sugar" picks up where Concrete Blonde left off. Simon Stinger's cohesion, its ability to combine Perrone's distinctive vocal talents with rock 'n' roll balls and new wave snap, make Devil on My Mind the most dazzling, fun, and charmingly insolent album I've heard this year. They celebrate their record release at Ian Brennan's "Burlesque on Broadway" which also features the Slow Poisoners, Phoenix Thunderstone, Old Grandad, Rosin Coven, Bite, Ocean 8, and the Cantankerous Lollies burlesque troupe (expect more nudity from the bands than the girls) on Saturday, April 1 at the Broadway Studios at 7 p.m. Ticket price is $10; call 291-0333. Simon Stinger also performs at Paradise Lounge on Saturday, April 8; call 861-6906.


After an eight-month hiatus, "Bardot a Go-Go" has re-emerged to celebrate my birthday one day early -- or, rather, the early birthday of Serge Gainsbourg, the heavy-lidded king of cool who eked out a living as a bar pianist before reluctantly taking a singing role. Charmed by his "petulant homeliness," the French public embraced Gainsbourg -- as all should -- but he always preferred to write for others, giving Johnny Halliday, Petula Clark, Jane Birkin, and Dionne Warwick hits, and committing the masturbatory coos of Brigitte Bardot to vinyl. This birthday celebration will feature all of his best songs -- "Ford Mustang," "Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus," and "Bonnie and Clyde" to name a couple -- as well as a brand new Serge slide show (marvel at the dark sunglasses, smoldering cigarettes, and rumpled suits), go-go gals, rare French videos, and other happy, bouncy Europop on Saturday, April 1 at 330 Ritch at 9 p.m. Ticket price is $7; call 541-9574.

 
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