This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, July 2, 2003
Local boy Arj Barker's greatest claim to fame is The Marijuana-logues, an 80-minute, three-comedian paean to the joys of pot that landed him and his fellow toker-comics appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and a host of other late-night shows. Is working the Bay Area comedy clubs a letdown after Jimmy, Conan, Dave, and Jay? Ask Barker yourself when he brings his off-kilter absurdism to the Punch Line. Colin Mahan, known on these shores for his work in the Fresh Robots comedy troupe, opens. Shows run tonight and tomorrow at 9 at the Punch Line, 444 Battery (at Clay), S.F. Tickets are $10. The duo returns for two performances on Saturday, July 5, at 9 and 11 p.m.; tickets are $15. Call 397-7573 or visit www.punchlinecomedyclub.com.

Thursday, July 3, 2003
If there's a "Corporate Rock Sucks" T-shirt in your closet, chances are you've already bought tickets to im Magazine's Indie-Fest, the combination concert/dance party/networking event for independent musicians from the Bay Area and beyond. The evening features Simon Stinger's sexy new wave, the Phenomenauts' otherworldly rockabilly, and Monkey's Latin ska. Attendees get a free compilation CD with 12 tracks culled from submissions from 280 indie bands, as well as a complimentary copy of im's first issue, a year in the making and stuffed with advice for musicmakers not on the big-record-label-deal track. The party starts at 8 p.m. at Studio Z, located in the former Transmission Theater at 314 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Tickets are $12; call 503-0340 or visit www.imindie.com.

Friday, July 4, 2003
"Several Exceptionally Good Recently Acquired Pictures XVI" is only the latest edition of an aptly (if dully) named annual exhibit at the Fraenkel. Past years' shows have included the work of Nan Goldin, Andy Warhol, and Richard Avedon, as well as "the odd-ball, the eccentric, the highly-worthy images that refuse to fit into any other exhibition," as the gallery's Web site says. It's true, apparently -- these crazy curators get to put up anything they want, whether it came from a museum, a private collection, or a flea market. This year's highlights are August Sander's portrait of his son, Eye of an Eighteen-Year-Old Man; an Eadweard Muybridge series of men wrestling and playing baseball; and The Pyramids of Dashoor, From the South by Francis Frith. The exhibition continues through Aug. 23 at the Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is free; call 981-2661 or visit www.fraenkelgallery.com.

Saturday, July 5, 2003
Some call it a bilevel, Camaro hair, or even "business in the front, party in the rear," but whatever name you give it the mullet is perhaps our most controversial coif. American Mullet is the documentary that's not afraid to delve into the world's most hideous hairstyle, with 52 minutes of tongue-in-cheek anthropological exploration of how the cut evolved and why it changed from fashionable to laughable. Director Jennifer Arnold crisscrossed the country in 2000, conducting more than 50 interviews with the hockey-haired, seeking the answer to the timeless question, "The mullet -- why?" An extraordinarily diverse panoply of mudflap-wearers share their thoughts, from soccer jocks to lesbians, "MexiMulleted" Latinos to country music fans emulating Billy Ray Cyrus' trademark do. Along the way, Arnold debunks stereotypes, proving that a mullet doesn't automatically mean "idiot redneck." Catch the flick at 2, 4, 7:15, or 9:15 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Tickets are $3-6.50; call 668-3994 or visit www.redvicmoviehouse.com.

Sunday, July 6, 2003
To a bitching, complaining kvetch nothing's ever good enough, and even something positive is a reason for some nudniks to whine. But you can expect a lot more support from the audience at "K'vetsh," the spoken-word event open to any queer with a song to sing, a story to tell, a poem to read, or a rant to release. The night is dual-hosted by never-short-a-word Tribe 8 singer Lynn Breedlove and writer/performer/director Tara Jepsen. Breedlove's fresh off a national book tour for her hyperactive S.F. novel Godspeed, and Jepsen's just wrapped up performances of her Oui de Deux stage show, a comic take on artistic duos, so each should have a couple of yarns to relate herself. Sign up for a chance at the open mike at 7:30 p.m. at Sadie's Flying Elephant, 491 Potrero (at Mariposa), S.F.; the show starts at 8. Suggested donation is $1-3; call 551-7988 or visit www.kvetsh.com.

Monday, July 7, 2003
Dan O'Neill became the youngest syndicated cartoonist in history when the Chronicle began publishing his Odd Bodkins in 1963, but his provocatively political strips and stances got his ass canned in 1969. Did O'Neill retreat quietly into comix history? Nope. Instead he gathered a group of rogue scribblers, who penned Air Pirates Funnies, which starred Disney characters engaging in some very un-Magic Kingdom-like activities. Disney's subsequent lawsuit dragged on for a decade, during which O'Neill and friends used media coverage of the case to merrily throw light on the company's conservative (some say fascist) activities and quick-and-merciless strikes against satirists. Writer Bob Levin recalls the case and its origins when he reads from his just-released book, The Pirates and the Mouse: Disney's War Against the Counterculture. The free reading begins at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck (at Vine), Berkeley. Call (510) 486-0698 or visit www.blackoakbooks.com.

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