Thursday, September 25, 2003
We don't always understand the difference between "a spoken-word performance" and "a play," but it's certainly worth it to see both. One thing we definitely understand is the phrase "Having fun with despair, loss, and death in the killer robot future" (especially the "killer robot future" part), which just happens to be the description of "Being Terminatimable," an evening named after one of those charming vocabulary flubs our president so often makes. It's a vaudevillian cabaret-type evening celebrating the joys of sorrow, with live accompaniment and spoken-word performances. Sweet Oblivion, The Smile of Death, and The Glitter Man are the short plays that make up this Running With Scissors Theater Company production. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. (and continues through Sunday) at the Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $15; call 364-1411 or visit www.climatetheater.com.
Friday, September 26, 2003
What do you call 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea? A good start -- but what about people like Gerry Spence? Most famous for having been late activist Karen Silkwood's attorney, he's been a champion of the underdog for a long time. Not only that, but he's really, really good at his job, too: He's never lost a criminal case, and hasn't lost a jury trial since 1969. We say fish this one up off the ocean floor. Spence's current case, the trial of Sandy Jones, deals with a poor woman from rural Oregon accused of shooting a real estate developer. Spence is also a prolific author: His recently published book about Ms. Jones' case is called The Smoking Gun. He reads at noon at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is $6-12; call 597-6700 or visit www.commonwealthclub.org.
Saturday, September 27, 2003
Drawing on the dada movement's ideas about the tyranny of intelligibility, the curators of "Free Mattress" have nevertheless put together a pretty inviting show. David Larsen (aka LRSN) has been making the painstaking, quirky (bet he hates to be called that!) kinds of zines that have given zines a good name. At this exhibit, he's showing drawings and paintings, but it's safe to assume they won't be normal. Vancouverites Amy Lockhart and Marc Bell probably get called quirky by their weeklies back home for stunts like filling a vending machine with little encapsulated figurines, charging a dollar apiece, and calling the whole thing an art gallery. They're showing works on paper, too -- but see above. Will Yackulic, whose paintings and sculpture are on display, is a poet. A quirky poet. View it all beginning at 6 p.m. (the show continues through Oct. 19) at Pond, 324 14th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is free; call 437-9151 or visit www.mucketymuck.org.
Sunday, September 28, 2003
Why anyone would want to hear the blues is sometimes hard to comprehend. Depressing stories and single-note guitar solos seem like they would give you the blues, not take them away. But people around here (OK, OK, and in most of the rest of the world, too) love the music. The warm bass-heaviness of Chicago's honky-tonk style, the upbeat danceability of jump swing, and the stripped-down sound of back-porch Delta blues keep throngs of fans happy -- not sad. This year's San Francisco Blues Festival has all of the above plus vintage soul, some psychedelia, and harmonicas up the wazoo. Headliner Taj Mahal is a highlight, as are the Jimi Hendrix Red House Tour (a mobile museum of Hendrix-iana) and the local boy who always makes good, Nick Gravenites. Get the blues starting at 11 a.m. at the Great Meadow, Fort Mason, Marina & Laguna, S.F. Admission is $25-65; call 979-5588 or visit www.sfblues.com.
Monday, September 29, 2003
The high school hallways of Anytown, USA, are as emblazoned with designer names as a department store. What kids eat, where they go, what they listen to, what they drive -- all are governed by Madison Avenue's relentless youth marketing. Given that the vast majority of teens are tuned in to brand shopping for everything from jeans to colleges, what are the potential drawbacks of this unchecked consumerism? Does individuality stand a chance? Alissa Quart, author of 2002's seminal book Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers, details how the social milieu of the young is being shaped by advertising and lets parents and kids know what they can do about it. Listen up starting at 7:30 p.m. at San Francisco Day School, 350 Masonic (at Golden Gate), S.F. Admission is free (though donations are requested); call 922-7045 or visit www.parentscoalition.net.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
As we wave goodbye to adolescent acne and hello to bunions, a sad fact begins to sink in: Our tastes, once evolving, have become as adamantine as an aged futon. What's new and different sounds, looks, and smells cacophonous, ridiculous, and disgusting, respectively, and before we know it we're sneering at teenagers on the street because they appear so asinine with their jeans belted around their thighs. Luckily, retro revivals in every aspect of cultural life from fashion to food to theater eventually turn all that was once passé into today's hot item, appealing to both the nostalgic and the hip. Such is the case with the Raveonettes, the Danish twosome whose muscular, primal garage-punk on their 2003 debut, Whip It On, conjured up pleasing shades of the Cramps and the Jesus and Mary Chain. The band hits town tonight in support of its follow-up album, Chain Gang of Love. Neo-wave Kittens for Christian and Stellastarr* open at 8 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $15-32.95; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com.