Performance artist and musician Sxip is a whirling dervish of intensity and inventiveness, carving transcendent melodies out of thin air on instruments that he either makes himself or twists beyond recognition from conventional materials such as pennywhistles, harmonicas, and yes, even tampon applicators. That he's able to coax compelling sounds out of such things as the "Obnoxiophone" and the "Regurgitated Music Box Choir" is no surprise to those who used to see him with the Bindlestiff Family Circus.
Before joining the circus, Sxip (pronounced "skip") honed his craft by busking around the country and scoring plays and films in New York, where he currently resides. His haunting, gypsy-tinged sound was captured on his 1998 debut release, When Joy Destroys Sorrow. Raised on Appalachian folk music but of Albanian ancestry, Sxip (his real first name; last is Shirey) melds indigenous sounds with Eastern European riffs. The result seems to be grounded in some netherworld at once wholly American and completely other. His high-energy, buzz-saw performance style makes every live show a treat not to be missed. Sxip performs with Zero Boy at 9 p.m. at the Odeon, 3223 Mission (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $10; call 550-6994.
-- David Hadbawnik
Honoring Harvey Milk's life
The life of gay activist Harvey Milk is well documented: his camera store in the Castro District, his community-mindedness, his love of publicity, his election to the Board of Supervisors as the first openly gay person to hold high elected office in the U.S., and his murder by Dan White at City Hall. His taped "political wills" are famous, too, for their prescience and inspiration: "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."
Although Milk is worshipped often and well, he's rarely called a saint in public. But the Museum of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered History dives in with "Saint Harvey: The Life and Afterlife of a Modern Gay Martyr," its inaugural exhibit. The collection includes various artworks honoring Milk and a stellar collection of his personal items -- including the last clothes he wore. "Saint Harvey" opens today at 657 Mission, S.F. Admission is $2-4; call 777-5455 or visit www.glbthistory.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
This anti-fashion vixen wears everything well
Fans of cable's public-access television are probably already familiar with Dee-Dee Russell, the spandex-clad diva known for sporting everything from Day-Glo feather boas to empty Evian bottles. Her popular series, Dee-Dee TV, has followed the "queen of anti-fashion" on various misadventures as she pokes fun at designers and taste-makers via film shorts, glitter paintings, and wearable art. Many of these works are on display in the multimedia exhibition "Bohemian Superstar!,"which opens today with a reception at 7 p.m. (the show continues through June 30) at Artemis Gallery (aka the Atelier of Famous Melissa & Co.), 545 Sutter, Suite 301. Admission is free; call 788-1866.
-- Lisa Hom
At the "Frame by Frame" documentary film series, every entry makes our ears prick up. Subjects range from a controversial dog shelter to female circumcision to Vegas showgirls -- up close. "Mingle With the Maker" events get behind the scenes, as does the filmmaker forum (11 a.m. Saturday), where HBO production types answer audience questions. Screenings start Friday at 2 p.m. at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission. Admission is $5; call 978-2787 or visit www.yerbabuenaarts.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser