This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, May 7, 2003
Brooklyn MC Talib Kweliis most famous as the least famous member of two prominent hip hop duos: Black Star with Mos Def and Reflection Eternal with DJ Hi-Tek. Though he has often been overshadowed by his collaborators, Kweli has proven that he can stand alone. On his debut solo album, Quality, the socially conscious rapper mixes political commentary with street-smart wordplay, raking the residents of the White House over the coals in "The Proud," gushing over the birth of his two kids in "Joy," and extolling the virtues of the party life in "Waiting for the DJ." Quality features plenty of cameos from Kweli's pals -- Mos Def, Common, Bilal, and many others -- but this time, he deserves all the credit. J. Boogie opens for Talib Kweli at 9 p.m. at Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is $20; call 474-0365 or visit www.bimbos365club.com.

Thursday, May 8, 2003
For Modernism, a gallery strong on high-level whimsy, "Selected Prints"is a perfect exhibition. It highlights several artists in the gallery's permanent collection and brings on the big gun of earnest, complex faux-naiveté, Wayne Thiebaud. The man famous for making pictures of cakes joins a stellar cast of other West Coast representational painters and their signature work: Mel Ramos' lighthearted gals, John Register's dim-lit romance, Edward Ruscha's shadowy tones. Also exhibiting is Mark Stock, whose The Butler's in Love series, heartbreaking and sweet, looks especially enticing. Martin Muller, the show's curator and owner of the gallery, assured us that there would indeed be "food-related" Thiebauds present, even a cream pie. These five artists' work will be yours to view from now until June 21 at Modernism Gallery, 685 Market (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is free; call 541-0461 or visit www.modernisminc.com.

Friday, May 9, 2003
At Born to Be Bad 2: Trash Cinema Conference and Film Festival, it pays to be tacky. The Pacific Film Archive's second annual ode to motion picture vulgarity includes such guilty pleasures as Jacques Tourneur's voodoo classic I Walked With a Zombie (tonight) and Harry Novak's hillbilly sex comedy Pigkeeper's Daughter(Saturday), in which horny backwoods babes go hog wild. This year, an international scholarly symposium, which is free and open to the public, analyzes every genre of trash film imaginable, from blaxploitation to Hong Kong vampire movies to Italian beach flicks. Keynote speaker Mikita Brottman presents a speech called "Why I Hate Gwyneth Paltrow" -- who knew academia could be so cool? Screenings take place at the Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft (near Bowditch), Berkeley. Admission is $4-8; call (510) 642-5249. The conference runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley campus. Visit www.trashcinema.com for a full schedule.

Saturday, May 10, 2003
Loren Rhoads' magazine is more straightforward than most. Whereas a lot of publications' titles are designed to make you think, "Hm, I want it, and they've got it" -- Time, for example, or Penthouse -- with Morbid Curiosity, it's quite literal. You already have it, and the mag satisfies it, in fact will scratch your itch till it bleeds. "Eeeww, that's so gross!" you'll squeal as you fail to put the magazine down. Issue 7, for example, has a bit of a medical theme, but also includes plenty of variety: a man who grew up in Amityville, a lady who paints with her menstrual blood, suicides, voodoo, and plain old death. Most affecting, perhaps, is Brian Keene's oddly constructed but absolutely riveting "Kick 'Em Where It Counts," a story about an industrial accident involving the author's testicles. Squirm all you want -- but show up anyway to see nine of the authors read from 3 to 6 p.m. at Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia (at 19th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 824-8203 or visit www.borderlands-books.com.

Sunday, May 11, 2003
Director Sherri Young has an ambitious plan for the African-American Shakespeare Company: In the current production of Othello, she cast Iago as a black woman. Situated as it is in an Ally McBealworld of modern-day attorney drama, the play is aimed, Young says, at "an unspoken taboo in the African-American community, which is the tradition of successful black men marrying white women. There is a cultural rejection of black women from black men who rise in corporate settings." In this light, the "fair Desdemona" becomes a much more interesting character, as does Iago, whose motives are now more complex. Will audiences be shocked? Will Iago be sympathetic? Will Shakespeare provide us with yet another fresh take on lust, jealousy, and manipulation? Find out today at 2 p.m. at the Buriel Clay Theater, 762 Fulton (at Webster), S.F. Admission is $17-22; call 762-2071 or visit www.african-americanshakes.org.

Monday, May 12, 2003
We don't know much about Serene Zloof's play Manifest: The Battle of Intergalactic Farces, but we sure like the name. It's billed as a "Sin-O-Magik" comedy, which helps a little in describing Zloof's solo meditation on worship and spirituality. Zloof takes viewers into a universe where media gods are revered and helpless parishioners toil to create their own destinies -- that is, until the congregation realizes that free will could be just another way to keep the masses in check. Manifest plays at 8 tonight (and runs through May 17) at El Teatro de la Esperanza, 2940 16th St. (at South Van Ness), S.F. Admission is pay-what-you-can this evening, otherwise $12-20; call 285-5275.

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