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House Of Tudor 

Chic global travelers, New York drag kings, and horrific Halloween plays

Wednesday, Oct 3 2001
The first installment of San Francisco-based PLANET° Magazine -- designated as issue zero for reasons detailed within -- has been called a work in progress by the editorial staffers, but they're being modest. The magazine, which approaches the concept of globalization through the artful eyes of chic, socially conscious urban dwellers with a healthy travel budget, is beautiful, hip, refined, and unexpectedly interesting. This month's features include a stirring and intermittently humorous photo essay taken from Albert Watson's book Maroc, which chronicles his travels in Morocco, and an interview with Sacto resident William T. Vollman, in which the author explains his faithful exploration of dangerous parts of the world, saying, "I don't particularly care how long I live so I might as well [take risks] all my life."

But what sets PLANET° apart from other magazines is its regular departments. "Native" explores a different indigenous population every month, with this expedition presenting a glimpse at the Kogi, a people from a remote part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia. "Interzone," a term coined by William Burroughs, delves into geographic locations that have served as summits for creative minds, such as Paris in the '20s, Berlin in the '30s, and Greenwich Village in the '40s. This issue, "Interzone" looks at Tangier, the hedonistic '50s stomping ground of Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams, Jean Genet, Truman Capote, and Barbara Hutton. Next, "Divinity" acquaints us with a different way or place in which humans encounter aspects of the unnameable divine; this volume features Maha Kumbh Mela, an ancient Hindu festival that has become the largest human gathering in history, with over 80 million people bathing in the Ganges River. "Fade In" explores Mexico City through an interview with Guillermo Arriaga, screenwriter of the critically acclaimed Amores Perros, while "Voices" offers the cultural opinions of Nigerian singer Femi Kuti, Bay Area hip hop activist Michael Franti, and former Bay Area resident and McSweeney's Publisher Dave Eggers. "Satellite," a "worldwide cultural surveillance," offers capsules on out-of- the-ordinary restaurants and galleries in S.F., nightclubs in Kiev, and pornographic boy-on-boy comic books in Japan. Even PLANET°'s more plebeian fare -- fashion, music, and books -- reflects the magazine's stylish globalism, focusing on artists like Bombay-born Badmarsh and Shri, the Bay Area's DJ Quest, Iceland's Björk, and the cross-pollinating Six Degrees record label. Absorbing from beginning to end, PLANET° helps assuage the creeping fear that San Francisco is a narcissistic little village rather than a global city. If you need such reassurance, PLANET° launches on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at Club Six with DJs Garth, Lorin, and Milki Waii spinning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10-15 and will benefit an online memorial for the WTC tragedy created by artists from around the world; call 863-1221.

Fresh from appearances on Sex and the City, The Maury Povich Show, and in several major motion pictures, the Men of Club Casanova have deserted New York City's premier drag king party to flash their machismo at some appreciative West Coast mimbos. The Men's tour features the formidable Mo B. Dick, founder of Club Casanova and the wisecracking stripper/biker in John Waters' Pecker; his fiancee, BOB, a female female-impersonator beloved by such photographers as David LaChapelle and Mario Testino; Australia's Muthafucker MC, winner of Melbourne's King Victoria 2000 title; and the German gigolo Antonio Caputo, winner of Berlin's Best Drag King title. The "New York Drag King Road Show" will be joined by Howie Weenis, S.F.'s Drag King 2001, and drag king retro rock band the Woodyz on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at Cafe Du Nord with DJ Zanne opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 282-5378.

The Swedish "Demons," a recent addition to local label Gearhead Records, are not to be confused with the multitude of other Demons walking the Earth. Lux Interior and Poison Ivy of the Cramps personally blessed this appellation, which makes sense since these "Demons" bear a fanaticism for gritty, Stooges-style garage rock and greasy hair. While the band's sound isn't terribly original, it's nothing to complain about either. The "Demons" support the G. Strippers on Thursday, Oct. 4, at the CW Saloon with Japan's Supersnazz opening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 974-1585.

The Thrillpeddlers are the only theater company in the United States actively translating and producing the bloody one-act horror plays and sex farces that made the Grand Guignol Theater one of Paris' most popular tourist attractions during the 1920s. The company's annual presentation of Shocktoberfest!! has become one of my favorite events of the Halloween season, which is saying a lot in this October-loving town. This year's "Carnival of Hallucinations" features two Grand Guignol originals -- Makers of Monsters, which takes place behind the scenes of a carnival sideshow, and Kiss of Blood, a hearty portrayal of madness and the medical profession -- as well as the original comedy The Torture of Cavaradossi, which dares to show you the offstage torments behind Puccini's Tosca. The spooky fetishists in Barefoot Beauties return this year to offer slithering delights between scenes. Shocktoberfest!!'s "Carnival of Hallucinations" will be held Thursdays through Saturdays, Oct. 4 through Nov. 10, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18; call 820-1400.

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Silke Tudor


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