The late-night childhood favorite Creature Features returns to the bay this week, as former television host and master of midnight movies John Stanley joins the "Thrillville Revue" in presenting Ed Cahn's Z-grade 1955 classic Creature With the Atom Brain along with William Castle's 1960 "high-tech" chiller 13 Ghosts. Witness dreadful battles between gangsters and zombies; seek out 12 elusive specters, which can only be seen through special "Illusion-O" glasses; and don't miss Chapter 5 of The Shadow, classic monster movie trailers from Uncle Bill the Trailer King, and live, creepy theremin music from Robert Silverman. Creature Features takes place on Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Parkway Theater in Oakland (1834 Park at Lake Merritt) at 7:30 p.m. John Stanley and original Creature Feature host Bob Wilkins return to the Parkway on Thursday, Oct. 25, with the Bay Area big-screen debut of Godzilla vs. Super-Mechagodzilla and The Satanic Rites of Dracula. Tickets are $10 for Atom Brain and $12 for Godzilla or $20 for both; call (510) 814-2400.
Did you ever wonder about that high-pitched whine in your ears? I can almost guarantee it is not caused by alien technology implanted in your cranial cavity or a plot by the CIA to control your thoughts. It is more than likely tinnitus, a less than satisfactory hearing condition endured by over 50 million Americans, a number that definitely includes nearly all my friends. (One person I know suffers from "objective tinnitus," which means other people can actually hear little clicks and crackling near his ears.) While tinnitus was historically caused by industrial noise -- factories, heavy machinery, and the like -- rock 'n' roll exposed a new and entirely unsuspecting population to the affliction. Since advances in sound technology have moved much faster than advances in hearing education, many people's only warning for permanent hearing damage is that low roar or high whine.
Thank the gods of rock for musician Kathy Peck and Flash Gordon, M.D. With a little seed money from Pete Townshend, who publicly admitted to hearing loss in 1989, Peck and Gordon founded H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers and Ravers) and set up a hearing-screening program at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, where Gordon was medical director at the time. In any given year, H.E.A.R. provides information about hearing loss and tinnitus to a million people worldwide; distributes hearing protection to over 100,000 people at music events; and makes impressions for custom-fit earplugs for musicians. (FYI: You can hear music and conversation through custom-fit earplugs, and they eliminate the occlusion effect that makes your own voice sound hollow.) H.E.A.R. also provides thousands of referrals to health-and-music organizations, testing services, and other H.E.A.R. affiliates that offer help; operates a 24-hour information hot line; and produces public service announcements with various concerned celebrities like George Clinton, Lars Ulrich, Perry Farrell, Les Claypool, Ray Charles, DJ QBert, Green Day, and Spinal Tap. H.E.A.R.'s commitment to music and musicians is unflagging, and the Bay Area has benefited hugely from its grass-roots inception -- I know of at least one local musician who lost his custom earplugs while on tour, and Peck got him a new pair. That's why SF Weekly is proud to make H.E.A.R. the beneficiary of this year's SF Weekly Music Awards band showcase and all-you-can-eat barbecue. And if that weren't reason enough to come, the performing acts include American Heartbreak, Angry Amputees, Bitches Brew, DJ Polywog, Foreign Legion, Frisky Frolics, Granfaloon Bus, HellFire Choir, Los Mocosos, Persephone's Bees, and Venus Bleeding. Seventy percent of every ticket will go directly to H.E.A.R. (the other 30 percent goes to the very deserving Bottom of the Hill). This is also your last opportunity to vote for this year's awards, so even if your favorite group is not playing, come on down, cast your ballot, grab some grub, support a good cause, and catch a great and -- no doubt -- loud show. The SF Weekly Music Awards band showcase, all-you-can-eat barbecue, and H.E.A.R. benefit will be held Sunday, Oct. 14, at Bottom of the Hill at 2 p.m. Admission is a $5-10 donation; call 626-4455.