Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Hip hop has gotten a bad rap thanks to certain high-profile artists' questionable antics, like Snoop Dogg's Girls Gone Wild extracurricular activities and 50 Cent's crack-dealing past. But independent filmmaker Joslyn Rose Lyons is out to set the record straight. Her documentary Soundz of Spiritshows that not all members of the hip hop community celebrate the gangsta lifestyle. The movie features revealing interviews with dancers, DJs, producers, and MCs, including Talib Kweli, Spearhead's Michael Franti, and KRS-One, who are often called "conscious" rappers because of their political messages and positive lyrics. Soundz of Spiritoffers an alternative view of the maligned medium, demonstrating that the music isn't solely about fast cars, sex, and bling-bling. It screens as part of "True Stories," a series of sneak previews of documentaries, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $6-7; call 978-2787 or visit www.soundzofspirit.com.
Thursday, May 22, 2003
Tom Robbins is a blowhard. Everyone knows it, but nobody cares. He's the acknowledged master of absurd, keep-ya-hooked plot lines and characters gone wildly askew, and given those, readers are bound to be forgiving. Sex is an important motif in his novels; drugs, too -- but not rock 'n' roll so much, come to think of it. Again, so what? The author of many best-selling novels, Another Roadside Attraction and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues among them, has put out once more with Villa Incognito. All we really want to know is, Can he keep it up? He can, it seems, and with relish. The new novel comes complete with his trademark sass, toilet humor, and prettily extended metaphors. Robbins reads tonight at 7:30 at Cody's Books, 2454 Telegraph (at Haste), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 845-7852 or visit www.codysbooks.com.
Friday, May 23, 2003
Masami Teraoka is most famous for exploring the collision of Japanese and American cultures in ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) that are better seen than described. For example, the series titled McDonald's Hamburgers Invading Japan is as gorgeously bizarre as it sounds, depicting flying burgers and geisha girls with serpentine tongues. His current solo show at the Catharine Clark Gallery displays equally striking works that also combine traditional techniques with modern-day subject matter -- 9/11 and the Catholic Church sex scandals. But this time, Teraoka has appropriated medieval and Renaissance-style aesthetics to paint his unique picture of the Apocalypse. The exhibit includes pieces from his mid-'90s Confessional Series, which portrays corrupt priests as architects of humanity's imminent demise, and six paintings from Teraoka's latest body of work, US Inquisition (also the name of the show), inspired by the World Trade Center attacks. Framed in vibrant gold, these large-scale triptychs are defiantly bright, richly colored in the reds, blues, and golds of illuminated manuscripts. Don't miss them; the show closes tomorrow at the Catharine Clark Gallery, 49 Geary (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is free; call 399-1439 or visit www.cclarkgallery.com.
Saturday, May 24, 2003
Cooking With Elvis, British playwright Lee Hall's sex farce, was a surprise success at the 1999 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Unabashedly outrageous and politically incorrect, the play is about the strange and dysfunctional ways in which a family copes with a tragic car accident. Jill, an overweight 14-year-old, finds solace by preparing elaborate dishes. A formerly famous Elvis impersonator, her father is now a quadriplegic confined to his wheelchair, except during fantasy sequences in which he performs stirring renditions of Elvis' most famous routines. Jill's mom, meanwhile, deals by getting drunk and cavorting with her live-in sex toy, Stewart. Chock-full of dirty gags, the King's greatest hits, and underage sex, Cooking With Elvisborders on bad taste -- which only adds to its hilarity. Performances start at 8 p.m. (and continue through June 14) at the Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Geary), S.F. Admission is $20; call 989-0023.
Sunday, May 25, 2003
Every record label has a specific flavor, and Olympia's K Records is no exception. The way things taste up there these days is ecstatic and folky, with a punk rock—informed sauce. It's all delicious, and our favorite dish is Little Wings. The dreamy, coastal, nature-boy feel of singer Kyle Field's compositions is an amazing dessert for those who indulge in a steady diet of angry thrashing. We wouldn't want to live in a world without insane rock, but Little Wings' lo-fi, mystical sweetness is a welcome addition. Field's latest release, Light Green Leaves, comes on cassette, vinyl, and CD, but it's really three different albums: He recorded each form separately, so that the tape version is personal and full of found noises, while the LP reflects the fact that it was created in the Dub Narcotic studio (with K labelmates Phil Elvrum and Adam Forkner, among others). Live, Field has been known to turn all the lights off and hand out flashlights, for a campfire effect. Bring him vegan cookies at 7:30 p.m. at the Hotel Utah Saloon, 500 Fourth St. (at Bryant), S.F. Admission is $5; call 546-6300 or visit www.thehotelutahsaloon.com.
Monday, May 26, 2003
In light of current events, this year's official Memorial Day Observancewill be more somber than those of recent years. Dedicated to the men and women in uniform killed or MIA in Iraq, the day starts with a parade to the Presidio's San Francisco National Cemetery, where flower wreaths will be placed at the Cenotaph. At 11 a.m., the formal ceremony begins with a performance by the Concord High School Band and San Francisco's 91st Division Pipes & Drums, followed by an eardrum-blasting display of rifle volleys and taps, a 21-howitzer cannon salute, and a military flyover by the California National Guard. The procession leaves at 10 a.m. from the Presidio Parade Grounds, Lincoln & Montgomery, S.F. Admission is free; call 982-3417. El Rio's Shit Kickin' Memorial Day Party is perhaps a bit livelier (yet still patriotic), featuring an all-country lineup and a free barbecue. It starts at 3 p.m. at 3158 Mission (at Cesar Chavez), S.F. Admission is $10; call 282-3325 or visit www.elriosf.com.