Jackie Sheeler's anthology of poetry by and about the police, Off the Cuffs, tells it like it is; the book addresses issues of law enforcement and police brutality, but also pays tribute to the fuzz. Sheeler, the daughter of a cop and the ex-wife of a convicted felon, has included pieces written by officers, inmates, and prison employees as well as by established poets like W.S. Merwin and Sharon Olds. Contributors Daphne Gottlieb, Janelle Moon, and others read tonight at 7:30 at Modern Times, 888 Valencia, S.F. Admission is free; call 282-9246 or visit www.mtbs.com.
-- Lisa Hom
Waking the Dead
Mexican and Japanese dance, together at last
Good luck finding a restaurant that serves sashimi and burritos on the same plate. That seemingly odd cultural mix, however, is what defines Navarrete x Kajiyama Dance Theater. In its signature style of melding Mexican and Japanese theatrical traditions, the San Francisco-based company premieres its cross-cultural collaboration, Ghost Memories and Other Circumstances.
The provocative new work, created by Artistic Directors José Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama, commemorates their respective native holidays of Día de Los Muertos (the Aztec-originated Day of the Dead) and the Obon Festival (a similar celebration that first began in seventh-century Japan). Infused with tango and Cuban danzonas well as wushu martial arts and taiko drumming, this four-day dance concert weaves together two ancient rituals for a rollickin' fiesta. Performances start at 8 p.m. (6 p.m. on Sunday) at Dance Mission Theatre, 3316 24th St. (at Mission), S.F. Tickets are $17-20; call 273-4633 or visit www.dancemission.com.
-- Karen Macklin
Slam It Hard
Most of the time, we're with Marianne Moore, who wrote in her poem "Poetry," "I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond/ all this fiddle./ Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one/ discovers in/ it after all, a place for the genuine." But when we hear about the hundreds who go to "Second Sunday" every month or about the Berzerkeley Slam that hosts "touring poets," we get choked up. Don't let your inner skeptic keep you away from the San Francisco - Berkeley Unified Poetry Slam Finals. Wordslingers get three minutes to rock the mike, and audience members rate the performances. The four who earn the highest scores tonight will go to the National Poetry Slam in Chicago, to defend the title the S.F.-Berkeley team won in 1999. 7 p.m. at Studio Z, 314 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $12; call 252-7666 or visit www.studioz.tv.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser