Wednesday, June 18
Many of us girls had a love-hate relationship with our childhood Barbie doll. Though we spent countless hours braiding her hair and dressing her up in perky outfits, secretly we couldn't wait to pull out her flaxen tresses and rip her minuscule garments to shreds. Our bond with the unrealistically proportioned gal has become less complex over the years, but she's still a source of fascination and disgust. And we're not alone: 45 artists have created twisted versions of the ageless icon for the exhibit "Altered Barbi and Friends" (the name is purposely misspelled to avoid pissing off the powers that be at Mattel). Created using everything from clay to toilet paper, these toys range from the absurd (Sunny Side Up/Easy Over: melted Barbies in a frying pan) to the ethnic (Shiksa Barbie) to the political (Burka Barbie) to the politically correct (Pretty and Plump Barbie). Don't miss the show, because you won't be able to buy these gals at the nearest Toys "R" Us. The display runs through July 2 at Chatterbox, 1185 Church (at 24th St.), S.F. Admission is free; call 647-0900 or visit www.chatterboxsf.com.
Thursday, June 19
Tim Barsky has a lot on his mind. Fortunately for him -- and for us -- he shares those thoughts in a way that makes audiences stop and take notice. Barsky combines traditional storytelling techniques, live music, and street theater with the ease of a seasoned DJ, a description that makes sense once you realize that Barsky is also a flutist and beatboxer who has worked with such disparate talents as Hasidic folklorist Fishel Bresler and vocal percussionist Process. In his new collection of interwoven short stories, Over Nine Waves, the oral historian sets ancient fairy tales -- such as the age-old Irish love story of Midr and Eideen -- in modern, urban settings (the subway and the laundromat, for example). In addition to the Everyday Ensemble, a group of musicians drawn from local hip hop and klezmer communities, he's enlisted the help of special guests like beatboxer Andrew Chaikin and break dancers from the Fillmore Rocks Crew to create a genre-defying production. Over Nine Wavesopens tonight at 8 (and runs through June 28) at the Exit Theatre on Taylor, 277 Taylor (between Eddy and Ellis), S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 673-3847 or visit www.sffringe.org.
Friday, June 20
You know a happy hour is good if it carries on till 1 a.m. The Yerba Buena Center for the Art's quarterly "Shift" shindigs have been so popular that the venue is organizing a late-night version called "nightShift."A mix of electronic music, video, and art, the event is also a launch party for Buzzin' Fly, Ben Watt's new indie record label. The male half of the pop-electronica duo Everything But the Girl, Watt has been experimenting with house and drum 'n' bass since moonlighting as the DJ and producer of the deep house "Lazy Dog" club nights in West London. He'll man the decks along with local favorites like Ellen Ferrato, Laird, and Toph One. There'll also be plenty of eye candy that you wouldn't find at the corner bar, including a gaming installation, a special program of videos from the annual Transcinema festival, and sculpture and photography featured in the YBCA-wide exhibit "Asia and Our Moment." "nightShift" starts at 8 p.m. at 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $18-20; call 978-2787 or visit www.yerbabuenaarts.org.
Saturday, June 21
Everybody loves to hate vegans: They're unhealthy, people think, wan and humorless. Worst of all, they want to separate us from our cheese. They must be evil! Sarah Kramer and Josh Hooten, however, are none of the above. They're friendly, upbeat, and stylish. Kramer and writing partner Tanya Barnard shook things up a while back with their cookbook How It All Vegan, a funny, hip offering full of (gasp!) delicious recipes, and they've now followed it up with another volume, called The Garden of Vegan. Hooten's effort at boosting the image of non-animal-product consumers is Herbivore, a new magazine for the vegetarians of the world -- at least those who want to read about vegan tattoo artists, how to stay vegan on a road trip, and, um, vegan porn. Kramer, Herbivore's first cover girl, and Hooten celebrate the debut issue of the magazine at 8 p.m. at San Francisco's newest all-vegan boutique, Otsu, 3253 16th St. (at Guerrero), S.F. Admission is free; call 255-7900 or visit www.veganmart.com.
Sunday, June 22
The documentary Bums' Paradise has all the elements of a Hollywood movie: romance, insanity, addiction, and confrontations with the law. But because it's a true story, it lacks a tidy resolution. Like all real-life dramas, Tomas McCabe and Andrei Rozen's look at the Albany Landfill encampment is messy. The doc chronicles the lives of 50 or so homeless men and women who created a home and a community for themselves on an industrial wasteland adjacent to the San Francisco Bay. Folks like "Mad" Mark lived at the refuge for years, creating amazing works of art, until their eviction. (Mark's Fairy Castle, for example, was a two-story structure with steel-reinforced concrete floors, a parapet, and a spiral stairwell constructed from discarded concrete slabs.) McCabe hosts an audience discussion at today's screening, which starts at 3 p.m. at the Parkway Theater, 1834 Park (near Lake Merritt), Oakland. Admission is free; call (510) 814-2400 or visit www.picturepubpizza.com.
Monday, June 23
Pride Month is so much fun and so full of events that it can be exhausting. So take a load off and enjoy the Monsters of Queer Comedy, a lineup of stellar San Francisco comedians guaranteed to be pee-your-pants funny. But let's be serious -- you should really go so you can buttonhole Tom Ammiano. Tell him what he should do if he wins his bid for mayor. It'll be hysterical! Maureen Brownsey hosts, while Janis Lipton, Doug Holsclaw, Lisa Geduldig, and Bridget Schwartz do all the real work. The show begins at 8 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market (at McCoppin), S.F. Admission is $10; call 865-5555.
Tuesday, June 24
Bitter, arrogant, and judgmental aren't qualities we look for in a friend, but it turns out that those traits make a great sequential artist. Adrian Tomine (pronounced "toe-mee-nay") is living proof of this fact: His graphic novels are critically acclaimed, razor-sharp observances of life as a twentysomething in the Bay Area, even if the characters and the author are crabby. "Comics," in this case, is really the wrong word, but it is technically Tomine's medium. As is true of the work of a lot of his influences -- among them Dan Clowes and the Hernandez brothers -- "cartoon" is also a misnomer, so don't be fooled. Optic Nerve, Tomine's ongoing publication, isn't for kids, and it isn't for Spider-Man fans. It's smart, beautifully drawn storytelling from an artist with a lot to say and a good-looking way to say it. Tomine signs copies of Summer Blonde, a collection of previous work, at 7 p.m. at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-8688 or visit www.booksmith.com.