This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, September 17, 2003
The ethereal space-rock of 1997's OK Computer made the members of Radiohead musical superstars. Though so-so subsequent releases dulled their radiance, a vast number of tunesmiths still look to the unique quintet for inspiration. Christopher O'Riley is one such musician. The classical pianist was once known for his recordings of Stravinsky's and Ravel's works, but his enthusiasm for Radiohead's complex sonic creations led him to adapt the tunes to play as concert-recital encores and station-break fillers for his Public Radio International show, From the Top. Riley's critically acclaimed 2003 album, True Love Waits, contains soaring, luscious instrumental versions of 15 Radiohead songs, from the eerie "Karma Police" to a wistful, heart-tugging take on Amnesiac's sole breakout hit, "Knives Out." Tonight O'Riley makes his only Bay Area appearance of the year starting at 8 at Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $18-28; call (510) 642-9988 or visit www.calperfs.berkeley.edu.

Thursday, September 18, 2003
Best known for putting real muscle into encouraging digital video artists before it was cool, Resfest is still on the artists' side, seven years later. If DV cameras were guitars (they cost about the same these days), then Resfest would be a music venue committed to live independent performances, and the festival has nurtured several now-famous artists like Lars von Trier. Unlike the cozy confines of the corner pub, though, the fest travels the world, speaks many languages, and these days features fancy stuff like fashion-world involvement, specially produced DVDs, and award-winning Web sites. This year's highlights include rarely seen Spike Jonze videos, Leiji Matsumoto's animated INTERSTELLA 5555, and a retrospective of the work of pop-music video director Michael Gondry. Amon Tobin and RJD2 perform at the opening event, which starts at 5 p.m. at Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is $10-30; call (866) 468-3399 or visit www.resfest.com for a complete schedule.

Friday, September 19, 2003
Handicrafts are all the rage. The '80s are hot hot hot. So could any one object be cooler than a beautiful pink-and-red quilt that proclaims, in appliqué letters, "Once I had a love, and it was a gas. Soon turned out to be a pain in the ass"? We think not. "One Way or Another" is an entire show devoted to new artworks inspired by the music, the style, and the sass of Blondie. Valentina Harrison, Jack Lee, and Harry Stein are the artists curated by Leah Modigliani. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m. (and the show continues through Nov. 9) at the Manolo García Gallery, 136 Fillmore (at Germania), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-6380 or visit www.artsync.com.

Saturday, September 20, 2003
When Pulp Fiction came out, a lot of people threw big hissy fits -- it was too violent, too nonchalant, it heralded the downfall of civilization. Above all, these false Cassandras cried, kids today would learn, from this movie, to kill without remorse. A few years later, Julie Taymor (a sick fuck if ever there was one, Broadway's The Lion King notwithstanding) directed a film version of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus that, true to the 16th-century text, made Pulp Fiction seem tame. (See it. It's called Titus.) Now, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of UC Berkeley's Greek Theater, members of the National Theater of Greece (Fancy that! A national theater group!) will perform Medea in the type of traditional open-air space that Euripedes had in mind when he wrote it in 431 B.C.E. But be warned: The characters are extremely violent and kind of nonchalant about it. Will teenagers learn to kill their children from this amoral tale? Don't take a chance -- keep them at home, in front of the TV, learning that humans are vapid, exercise-obsessed automatons. You don't want them getting ideas. Medea begins at 8 p.m. (also 7 p.m. on Sunday) at the Greek Theater, Hearst & Bancroft, Berkeley. Admission is $32-62; call (510) 642-9988 or visit www.calperfs.berkeley.edu.

Sunday, September 21, 2003
"I have no culture. I'm just plain old white-bread American." If you have never heard these words, count your blessings. The number of irritating assumptions in those phrases is many and complicated -- and pervasive. So listen up: The culture of the United States is hybrid in nature, inherently cross-pollinated, and impure to its very bones. This is a source of fascination and pride for Keith Hennessy, artistic director of Circo Zero, whose work has been rather tartly described as "Cheaper than Cirque du Soleil and equally amazing." The Bay Area Reporter said it, not us. But more important, the aerial tissue artists, singers, faux drag queens, and celebrity astrologer Rob Brezsny all work to make Hennessy's vision of "celebrat[ing] hybridism, the mongrel nature of mixed blood lines, cultural influences, and survival tactics" come to life. All that, plus contortionist Jade-blue Eclipse, juggler Max Haverkamp, and trapeze poet Emily Leap, at 2 and 7 p.m. in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 700 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $20; call 978-2787 or visit www.yerbabuenaarts.org.

Monday, September 22, 2003
In the United States, unexplained disappearances of photogenic young women tend to get juicy front-page coverage. But in the border city of Juárez, Mexico, more than 300 girls and women have been brutally raped and murdered over the last decade with a shocking lack of media coverage. Bumbling, possibly corrupt local police seem to give the cases short shrift, and though the cops have arrested many suspects over the span of the crimes, not only are they nowhere near finding a culprit, but they've also been accused of torturing false confessions out of arrestees. Oscar-nominated Latina filmmaker Lourdes Portillo's wrenching 2001 documentary Señorita Extraviada, Missing Young Woman chronicles the cases from the beginning, teasing out devastating facts about the murders, the victims, and the appallingly inadequate response from Mexico's law enforcement. The horror begins at 7:30 p.m. at Modern Times Bookstore, 888 Valencia (at 20th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 282-9246 or visit www.mtbs.com.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003
If the name Carlos Castaneda makes you roll your eyes, this may be the book for you. Amy Wallace, a woman who knows more about the New Age would-be spiritual leader than anyone should have to, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her association with him, and in Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castaneda, she dishes the dirt: He had a harem. He was a big fat liar. He was manipulative. Wallace's story is full of sad tales of misguided truth-seekers who figured Castaneda for some kind of guru and wound up facing a truth they didn't like: Their guy had problems. But somehow, the author finds wisdom in her former lover's words and claims his books are well worth a read. We don't know about that (we're still busy rolling our eyes), but her book sounds like it might have a couple of insights for people who feel lost. Wallace reads at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck (at Vine), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 486-0698 or go to www.blackoakbooks.com.

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