This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, July 9, 2003
Anyone who attends a screening of What I Want My Words to Do to You: Voices From Inside a Women's Maximum Security Prison and expects leering lesbian matrons and sweaty gang rumbles is in for disappointment -- instead, the film documents Eve Ensler's rehabilitative prison-writing workshops. That's not to say the movie's entirely un-juicy; true-crime fans should be excited to see Pamela Smart, the real-life inspiration for Gus Van Sant's To Die For, and Weather Underground associates Kathy Boudin and Judy Clark, serving lengthy prison terms for their connection with a 1984 robbery gone wrong. But since Words focuses on the prisoners' mea culpas rather than on the sordid details of their criminal acts, it's more a contemplative exercise than a salaciously seamy "based on a true story" romp. Ensler appears tonight at the 6 and 8 p.m. Roxie screenings, 3117 16th St (at Valencia), S.F. Tickets are $5-8, call 863-1087 or visit www.roxie.com.

Thursday, July 10, 2003
When local celebs find success in San Francisco they usually do one thing: leave for a bigger metropolis. Fortunately for us, some talented residents remain loyal to our little backwater, and with the start of Killing My Lobster Goooal!!! we have reason to be thankful these screwball sketch comics have stayed at home. With past shows targeting the inherent silliness of love, noir B-movies, and even the Bay Area's crappy current economy, KML now turns its deft comedic hand to the sports world. Attendees can expect to see a vocalization of a nervous pitcher's inner monologue, a spelling bee gone wrong, foul shots, injury timeouts, and some exceedingly twisted cheerleaders. Goooal!!! starts tonight and runs through July 27 at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Building D, third floor, Marina and Buchanan streets, S.F. Tickets are $10-15; call 558-7721 or visit www.killingmylobster.com.

Friday, July 11, 2003
A musician like Me'shell Ndegeocello can be a critic's bane: What is she? An award-winning bass player, a monster of new-funk, a political artist with a million imitators? In fact, she's all that and more, which makes her a tough subject and a brilliant listen. Her unclassifiability hasn't stopped anyone from trying to classify her, though: Rolling Stone, Billboard, and SPIN have all made attempts at describing her extremely funky sound. Everyone agrees that she's a gifted, sexy, intelligent lady, and that her innovation and soulful sass remind us of Prince. There also seems to be consensus on her latest album, Cookie: The Anthropological Mix Tape: It's boss, and the inclusion of samples from hot-stuff intellectual icons like Gil Scott-Heron and Angela Davis is the cherry on top. See her tonight and Saturday at 9 at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $20-22; call 885-0750 or visit www.musichallsf.com.

Saturday, July 12, 2003
The tagline for the dance performance piece Twilight Worlds sounds like some kind of Mad Scientist experiment gone wrong: "Sex, tsunamis and reincarnation are explored through hip hop jazz, butoh, mime, poetry, classical Indian dance, video and song." Um, yeah. And Donald Rumsfeld writes poems, too. Be that as it may, Worldsincludes solo works conceived and performed by three female artists who use some mighty odd techniques (mime?, "modern release technique"?!!) to explore ideas about smut, storms, and the soul. Tonight marks the last night of the show, which takes place at 8 at New College of California Theater, 777 Valencia (at 19th St), S.F. Tickets are $5-10; call 609-4236.

Sunday, July 13, 2003
Inspired by early 1960s bachelor culture -- cocktails galore, white fur-trimmed dens, and the sensuous sounds of Eartha Kitt's "I Want to be Evil" -- Sex Kittens in Hi-Fi, a "musical pastiche," promises plenty of bombshell babes with huge ... hair. The cast is mostly made up of lovely ladies portraying archetypes such as the Girl Next Door and the World Weary Sensualist, but also includes one lucky guy playing the Bachelor, natch. That happy man is Richard "Scrumbly" Koldewyn, who also arranged the music for the show. Sounds like that's not all he arranged. The plot that ties together numbers like "Pet Me Poppa," "I'm a Bad, Bad Woman," and "Never on Sunday" centers around three broads getting ready for a night on the town. We predict lingerie. The boots start walkin' tonight (and continue through Aug. 10) at 8 at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Admission is $15-35; call 861-8972 or visit www.nctcsf.org.

Monday, July 14, 2003
Yeah, like you've never tried to teach your dog to say "I love you." Linguistics professor Paul Iverson gets a shock when he arrives home to find that wife Lexy has snuffed it, having fallen or jumped from a large tree in their backyard. Reeling, he tries to reconstruct his life by seeking the truth about Lexy's death from the only witness: their dog Lorelei. With Lorelei holding the clues to his wife's demise, Paul embarks upon a desperately ambitious scheme to train the pup to talk. That tantalizing (for dog lovers, anyway) premise underlies Carolyn Parkhurst's new debut novel, The Dogs of Babel, a journey into linguistics, animal behavior, and the mysterious silence that can fall even between people who've pledged to share a bathroom sink forever. Parkhurst reads from Babel tonight at 7 at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Turk), S.F. Admission is free; call 441-6670 or visit www.bookstore.com.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Before March, the Dixie Chicks were the biggest thing in country since sliced Cyrus -- but then lead singer Natalie Maines blabbed onstage about being ashamed to share a home state with the Prez. Country fans responded immediately, slagging the group on right-wing talk shows and burning (well, melting) Chicks records and CDs. Though Maines immediately ate crow in any number of subsequent interviews, perkily affirming her love for God, country, Bush, andhis war in Iraq, the band is still personae non grata in C&W circles. Anti-Bush liberals, however, are suddenly a lot more interested in what the Chicks have to say, both on and offstage. See for yourself what all the fuss is about when the group's Top of the World Tour reaches Oakland tonight. Rootsy pop rocker Michelle Branch opens. The show starts at 7:30 at the Oakland—Alameda County Arena (formerly the Arena at Oakland), 7000 Coliseum Way (at I-880 & 66th Ave), Oakland. Tickets are $35-65; call 510-569-2121 or visit www.coliseum.com.

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