There's something hypnotically transfixing about the hula. Dancers' swaying hips and liquid arm movements combine to form a mesmerizing spectacle that could only have been developed in a place as idyllic as Hawaii. Initially inspired by the subtle motions of nature -- the waves, the trees, the winds -- the resulting storytelling dance is as intoxicating as a tropical cocktail.
If you yearn to be transported to your own paradise without damaging your liver, join the dance company Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu at Hula Show 2003, celebrating Hawaii's native movement and rich culture. Be warned: This ain't your mama's hula. By setting pieces to both traditional music and newfangled pop hits (last year's show featured songs by Eminem and Linda Ronstadt), and including numerous legends and stories from the island state's history, troupes mix things up like a strong Pacific swell. Drink it in starting at 8 p.m. (and again Oct. 5, 10, 11, and 12) at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon (at Lundeen), S.F. Admission is $25-30; call 567-6642 or visit www.naleihulu.org.
-- Sunny Andersen
Dirt -- Cheap
Don't let the name of this variety night -- "Smegma!" -- scare you away. (If you don't know what it means, ask your nearest uncircumcised friend. As author Dr. Paul M. Fleiss has written, hyperbolically, "[It's] the most misunderstood, most unjustifiably maligned substance in nature.") Anyway, "Smegma!" features some of San Francisco's most beloved performance artists -- Tara Jepsen and Beth Lisick as their alter-ego comediennes Carole Murphy and Mitzi Fitzsimmons, respectively; Deep Dickollective with its hip hop stylings; scribe Matthue Roth; singer/songwriter Mark Weigle; and more -- for an evening of old-fashioned bathhouse follies and fun. Tonight's host, writer Kirk Read, keeps this three-ring circus in tiptop shape. And where else would an erotic cabaret show named after a secretion found only on the nether regions be held but at one of San Francisco's foremost sex clubs? The cunning array of stunts begins at 8 p.m. at Eros, 2051 Market (at Dolores), S.F. Suggested donation is $5-10; call 255-4921 or visit www.erossf.com/enewsletter.html.
-- Brock Keeling
I Frapp Myself
The strange, soothing sounds of Goldfrapp
The next time you find yourself looking in the mirror, try listening to Goldfrapp at the same time; it's good music to play while checking yourself out. Each time I hear the band, I care less and less about its music and lyrics -- which, by the way, I find easy, breezy, and beautiful -- and more and more about, say, how I might look on camera. Each song makes me feel as if I'm the star of my very own video. You know the feeling, right? Of course you do. Admit it.
Conceived in England, Goldfrapp consists of singer/composer/keyboardist Alison Goldfrapp (who honed her skills with Orbital and Tricky in the mid-1990s) and multi-instrumentalist Will Gregory. With the notoriously doll-like vocalist looking like a cross between Bernadette Peters and Marilyn Manson, the band's decadent tunes sound like torch songs done electronically -- again, melodies to pose to while admiring yourself -- that tread the fine line between 120 Minutesand Total Request Live.
Goldfrapp's latest, noir-ish record, Black Cherry, hints at the days of coke and yore, with nods going to Donna Summer, '80s synth, and goth aesthetics. The duo's first album, Felt Mountain, was rightfully acclaimed, with A-listers like Moby and Radiohead putting it on their Top 10 lists. Naturally, Goldfrapp may suffer from Renée Zellweger syndrome: undeserved critical backlash. As the group sings you to delirious self-regard, vogue your head off and remember: Don't backlash -- bat a lash. Brookville opens at 9 p.m. at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $20; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com.
-- Brock Keeling
Bolshoi ballerina Anastasia Volochkova's recent dismissal due to her "excessive" 109-pound weight underlined a sad fact: In the dance world, only the sylphlike are invited. "Bodies in Motion 2003: Freedom to Move" busts through the genre's skinny bigotry with an evening of modern movement from fat-friendly performers and troupes, including FatChanceBellyDance, Big Moves, and solo artist Lawrence Goldhuber. The action begins at 8 p.m. at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $20-22; call 863-9834 or visit www.bigmoves.org
-- Joyce Slaton
What's Your Story?
Derek Powazek has a lot of stories to tell. Once a year, he surrounds himself with fellow motormouths at his brainchild, Fray Day. Devoted to telling personal stories, the event features Armistead Maupin and Noe Venable, among others. One of those others could be you -- there's an open mike, starting at 8 p.m. at the Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St., S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 863-7576 or visit www.fray.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser