House Of Tudor

A sexy film fest, a Croatian lute fest, and a festering punk band

Drawing on shorts submitted to festivals all over the world, Pink Bubble Bath: The Sexy Film Festivalselects movies that look at sex in a "new and interesting, non-exploitive way." Of course, what is new and non-exploitive might be open to interpretation, but getting a club full of people to laugh out loud on Valentine's Day should be universally accepted as righteous, especially in San Francisco. Last year's Bubble Bath program (which will be reshown this year, along with the 2002 crop) included Pigskin Orgasm, a hysterical montage of compromising moments in the professional sports world -- butt slapping, neck rubbing, leg oiling, lip licking, hockey-stick riding -- set to a love song; Teaparty!, a playful meeting of two well-developed gals in pigtails and their stuffed animals; Fruit Salad, the revenge fantasy of one man left with his girlfriend's watermelon; and Endgame, winner of the Meanest Writing in a Sexy Film award. This year's program includes Pigskin Orgasm 2, a spankthology by Gym Jones called Undisciplined, and BLT&A, in which Sean Kelly, the owner of host venue Spanganga, makes crispy bacon the object of all erotic desire. Pink Bubble Bath: The Sexy Film Festival screenings will take place Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15 and 16, at Spanganga (3376 19th St. near Mission) at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 821-1102 or go to www.pinkbubblebath.com.


As the saying goes in Croatia, "There's no girl more beautiful than a tambura." At least that is the belief of the tamburasi (those who play the lutelike instrument with genuine passion) and all the musicians participating in the third annual San Francisco TamFest. The two-day festival is a jubilant family affair where lovers of Balkan culture can kick off their shoes, snack on a fritter, and celebrate the instrument that transcends the disparity among Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian communities. This year's event includes the Bay Area's first visit by the nationally acclaimed Becari of St. Louis, as well as St. Anthony's Dance and Tamburitza Ensemble, Blue Adriatic, the Slavonian Traveling Band, Novi Stari Tamburasi, and the Dalmacijo Singers. The San Francisco TamFest will be held at the Slavonic Cultural Center (60 Onondaga at Alemany) on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 8 p.m. Dinner is served on Sunday night. Admission is $10 for adults, free for children; call (510) 649-0941 for festival info.


As with nearly every other West Coast punk rocker old enough to own a record player in 1982, I developed a very special place in my little barbed-wire heart for T.S.O.L. Back then, shouting the lyrics to "Code Blue," the Long Beach quartet's frenetic ode to necrophilia, was certain to secure frowns and grimaces from even the most permissive California parents. The chorus -- "I wanna fuck I wanna fuck the dead" -- is cathartic in a way that only struggling adolescents and the clinically predisposed can understand. But it is not "Code Blue" that creeps into my mid-afternoon teatime thoughts. It is "Sounds of Laughter" -- which also appeared on the band's 1981 full-length Dance With Me, along with equally great songs like "I'm Tired of Life" and "Die for Me" -- that is a persistent companion, scampering through my brain like a one-armed gremlin square-dancing with a bottle of Ritalin and a head full of Kafka, demanding that I stop sorting mail and start knocking over garbage cans. I also fondly remember "Abolish Government/Silent Majority" and "Property Is Theft," two quasi-political songs from T.S.O.L.'s self-titled debut EP (also released in 1981) that incited me as a youth to misbehavior on a rush-hour bus. Sadly, T.S.O.L.'s initial releases and their darker, artier third album, Beneath the Shadows, could not keep the '80s at bay. Around 1983, singer Jack Grisham left the band and T.S.O.L. traded in its ghoulish face-paint for hair spray and tight leather pants, becoming yet another Los Angeles heavy-metal hair band writing songs about miniskirts and wet bars.

So, it was a great surprise when last year's Disappear arrived with the original band intact (minus drummer Todd Barnes, who died in 1999 and to whom this record is dedicated). The album features the return of the Grim Reaper who adorned the cover of Dance With Me, as well as the strapping cheek that first caught my attention. Grisham's voice has grown fuller over the last 20 years, but he still flirts with the snotty tones that were punk's initial calling card. In fact, much of this record seems to be a skillful, purposeful flirtation with T.S.O.L.'s past, peers, and progeny. Grisham's unforgiving lyrics and guitarist Ron Emory's gothic licks lead supercharged insinuations of the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Buzzcocks, and even the Jim Carroll Band, giving Disappear a fresh, bouncy sheen untouched by acne medication or methamphetamine. T.S.O.L. supports Agnostic Front on Sunday, Feb. 17, at Slim's with the Casualties opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12; call 522-0333.

 
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