House Of Tudor

Reality Check; "Tribute to William Shatner"; Urban Iditarod; Thor

According to its tag line, the award-winning cable access show Reality Check (Saturday night at 11:30 p.m. on Channel 29) is "the journal of underground culture" for the Bay Area. A brief glance at the show's guest list takes the word "underground" to mean something other than seditious or unknown, however: In the sex/comics/rock 'n' roll world of hosts Stuttering Danny D., Ace Annese, Dave Dragon, and founding honcho Huge, underground just means cool -- or at least utterly ridiculous. Whether they're interviewing Father Guido Sarducci, Motörhead, the Misfits, or Elvira, lurking around big events like the Grammys, the Exotic Erotic Ball, the VansWarped Tour, or MacWorld, or infiltrating strip clubs and engaging in naked games of Twister, the Reality Check staff members approach their subjects with the devotion and zeal of half-crazed, drug-fortified, overinformed, well-equipped superfans. Which is just the way we like it. To celebrate a full decade of loud and lewd shows, Reality Checkis throwing a "Decade of Decadence" party at its favorite club, "Stinky's Peep Show." The evening's entertainment will include clips from classic episodes; performances by Real Kids, American Heartbreak, Betty Blowtorch, and Barbee Killed Kenn; a peep show with No. 1 Reality Chick Suzi Ming; and go-go dancing by some of RCTV's pals at the New Century Theater. "Decade of Decadence" will be held on Thursday, March 1, at the CW Saloon at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 974-5906.


"When the demons of evil take over all powers of reason, only impulse remains!" screams the poster for the 1974 "thriller" Impulse (otherwise known as I Love to Kill or Want a Ride, Little Girl?). Perhaps "When leisure suits and overacting collide" would've been a better tag line, considering that the movie stars William Shatner as Matt Stone, a paranoid, homicidal gigolo who uses flashy shirts and smooth one-liners to seduce lonely ladies out of their savings before -- gasp! -- killing them. While members of the First Church of Shatnerology (http://www.freespeech.org/shatner/) may not care to see their champion and lord cast in such an unfavorable light, more cavalier fans will delight in Shatner's understated menace and comic book savoir-faire, snickering at the edgy confrontation between Stone and Karate Pete (played by Harold Sakata of Goldfingerfame), or applauding the chase scene staged in an operating carwash. This "Tribute to William Shatner"comes to us by way of Will the Thrill, master of schlock, and San Francisco's Werepad. If you've never had the privilege of visiting "Thrillville" at Oakland's Parkway Theater, you may anticipate slick hair, three-piece suits, and nimble-tongued patter worthy of a used car salesman, as well as the alluring legs of Monica the Tiki Goddess and fabulous musical prizes. In addition to this rare screening of Impulse, the Thrill promises to include highlights from Shatner's formidable musical career, which are worth the price of admission alone. "Tribute to William Shatner" will be held on Thursday, March 1, at the Parkway (1834 Park at Lake Merritt) at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 824-7334.


During the Alaskan Iditarod, well-trained dog sled teams race across the frozen tundra from Anchorage to Nome, battling fierce weather conditions, mental discord, and physical limits. During the seventh annual Urban Iditarod, teams must negotiate the unrelenting and unforgiving dangers of San Francisco's urban frontier: unpredictable traffic lights, slow-moving tourists, and bewildered police officers. For the race, the sleds are made from shopping carts, the dogs are humans, the mushers are drunk, and the pain is exaggerated. And excruciatingly silly. Teams must include four costumed dogs per sled and cross the finish line together with their "sled" and "owner." The Urban Iditarod will be held on Saturday, March 3, at 11:30 a.m. Interested parties should meet at the Wells Fargo parking lot near the corner of Fifth and Howard streets or contact Alpha Dog at alpha_dog@urbaniditarod.com or Tundra Tommy at tkramer@brassring.com.


And what better way to commemorate your glorious misfortune at the Urban Iditarod than by bowing down at the feet of the mighty arctic barbarian who gave us the muscle rock anthem "Thunder on the Tundra"? That's right, Thor, the original rock warrior, has returned to walk among his people and safeguard his dominion. Since his emergence in 1970 with Keep the Dogs Away, he has had countless imitators -- girliemen musicians who thought a few well-placed chest plates and a foam ax or two could mask their puny physiques and poofy lineage -- but none was Thor.

Born in the Great White North, Thor was a manchild destined for greatness: By the age of 14, he held most of North America's teen bodybuilding championships. At 17, he won both the Mister America and Mister Canada titles, but his first love was music. Drawing on the early influences of Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper -- music to which he pumped iron as a wee one -- Thor donned the spiked codpiece and gauntlets of his ancestors and commenced to rock. Muscles and metal, that was his creed. And while he made quite a splash in his homeland of Canada, in America his records were owned solely by those young boys inescapably drawn to comic-book-quality Norse legends (100 percent of the boys I know). If you missed the flaxon-haired gladiator's albums and movies (Zombie Nightmareand Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, for instance), you needn't worry. From what I'm told, it's the stage show that counts. In days gone by, the Ice Viking would arrive onstage in a chariot; he would wield double-edged battle axes and meter-long swords; he would bend steel bars into pretzels and bite his mike stand in two; he would combat giant robots and allow fellow warriors to smash concrete blocks on his chest with a sledgehammer; and he would make hot water bottles explode with the sheer force of his awesome lungs, all to the driving war cry of songs like "Let the Blood Run Red" and "Rag-Na-Rock." I don't imagine giant props will be included at this tour stop, but I have been promised much bar-bending, bottle-blowing, and Tundra thunder. Thor performs on Sunday, March 4, at the CW Saloon with Hammers of Misfortune and Decapitator opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $4; call 974-1585.

 
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