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This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

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Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Female-centered action movies and TV shows (Alias, Charlie's Angels) have revved up the current demand for stuntwomen. But back in the 1970s Jeannie Epper was ready and willing to brawl, jump, ride, and fall, yet she was seldom called upon in an industry where chicks were decorative objects rather than fighting machines. Epper's big break came when she doubled for Lynda Carter on TV's Wonder Woman; ever since, she's been a behind-the-scenes superstar. Now she gets her due in Double Dare, a documentary that profiles the work of Epper and Xena: Warrior Princess stunt double Zoë Bell. With backstage clips and interviews with Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Lucy Lawless, and Carter herself, Dare exposes the battles these gals continue to fight in order to make it in a man's world. The film starts at 7:30 p.m. in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' Screening Room, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Tickets are $6-7; call 978-2787 or visit www.filmarts.org.

Thursday, July 17, 2003
Even the mellowest of Californians sometimes need a chance to get, well, violent -- an opportunity to shriek, to rage, to fuck shit up. While hammering your belongings with a baseball bat is an excellent way to dispel this tension, we don't recommend it. Instead, work that simmering anger out at Jezebel's Joint, the bar that's brought an incredibly diverse lineup of entertainment to its seamy little corner of Larkin Street. Every Thursday night the Joint offers something for the smash-and-crash crowd with "Road Rash," a club for vehicular aficionados of the two-wheeled variety. With MotoGP racing videos on three screens and the throbbing beat of metal, electroclash, industrial, and driving punk rock from DJs Fernando and Crackwhore, the fast and the furious can leave the stress on the dance floor. "Road Rash" starts at 10 p.m. at Jezebel's Joint, 510 Larkin (at Turk), S.F. Admission is free; call 345-9832 or visit www.jezebelsjointsf.com.

Friday, July 18, 2003
Fire keeps us warm and cooks our food, and it's fun to look at. A flaming torch streaking light against the nighttime sky can be as beautiful and as compelling as a van Gogh painting, though it's usually not accorded the same props -- except at the Fire Garden, a collective that brings together light-and-fire performers and artists to create an evening of illuminated entertainment. The troupe's latest work, Dream, is a cavalcade of bright beauty, including a fire-eating belly dance from Ultra Gypsy, fiber-optic sculptures from Light Fantastic, electroluminescent clothing by Zoe Blue, and a giant Tesla coil that throws off sizzling jolts of electric light. Pyros take note: Dream runs tonight and tomorrow at 8 in the Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Tickets are $20; call 601-6269 or visit www.firegarden.org.

Saturday, July 19, 2003
"Old-time is not a crime," insist the Crooked Jades, a local Americana band, and we must agree. The Jades love vintage instruments, songs that predate the evil influence of radio, and traditional arrangements of that high-lonesome stuff. You want banjo? They've got your banjo right here: Hawaiian slide banjo, claw-hammer banjo, fretless minstrel banjo, even banjo ukulele. In addition, the quintet plans to show off more fiddle than you can shake a stick at, along with a few original tunes strictly in the historical style -- there's a particularly sweet song about a girlfriend lost in a muddy landslide. It and others appear on the group's latest newfangled recording, The Unfortunate Rake, Vol. 2: Yellow Mercury. The Earl Brothers open at 8 p.m. at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez (at 23rd Street), S.F. Admission is $13-15; call 454-5238 or visit www.noevalleymusicseries.com.

Sunday, July 20, 2003
It's a play. It's a one-woman show. It's a bunch of people watching a lady talk, play music, and bake cookies. (Later, everyone gets to eat them.) I Look Like an Egg, But I Identify as a Cookie doesn't bother too much with fitting into a neat description, but we can tell you this much: It takes place at a cozy restaurant, and critics from Austin to San Jose are ass over tit about it -- the Austin Chronicle calls author/performer Heather Gold a "bake-happy cyberqueer par excellence." Sure, the cookies don't hurt, but the word on the street is that Gold's show is smart, funny, and packed with crunchy bits of thought-provocation. Eat it up tonight at 7:30 (it continues through July 28) at Chez Spencer, 82 14th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $15-20; call 646-0924 or visit www.subvert.com.

Monday, July 21, 2003
Not the bunch of sloppy drunks running off at the mouth that it might be in the hands of lesser organizers, ultra-cool storytelling series "Porch Light" is serious about its mission. Arline Klatte and Beth Lisick make sure that the authors, musicians, truck drivers, and others who take the stage here actually do their job: telling stories. Given a different theme each time (past motifs: "Creepy," "Up All Night," and "On the Road"), performers have 10 minutes and get to use no notes or memorization. Only brains and sass can save them up there, and they've had some success at it. In celebration, the theme this time around is "Survivor: Looks Like We Made It," and yarn-spinners include Lee Vilensky, Hai Ning Luan, Laura Fraser, and Tamim Ansary. Live music from Kobald caps the evening. Open those ears at 6:30 p.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $10; call 861-5016 or visit www.porchlightsf.com.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003
A man's eyes bore into you, demanding your attention, even as your own eyes are drawn to the outrageous hue of his robe. At a show of expressionist David Tomb's mixed-media pieces, you can't look away. Tomb's varied charcoal lines and surprising bursts of color have been compared to the works of Lucian Freud and Alice Neel. All three have produced portraits of friends and acquaintances rather than accept commissions -- a tough choice, and a respectable one. "Ogle," Tomb's current exhibition, showcases carefully rendered faces set off by the loose, unworked quality of the images' margins as well as those amazing, saturated swaths of pure color. The show continues through Aug. 2 at the Hackett-Freedman Gallery, 250 Sutter (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is free; call 362-7152 or visit www.hackettfreedmangallery.com.

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Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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