Thursday, December 25, 2003
In times of distress, we often wonder, "What would Charlie Chaplin do?" Of course, as much as we love him, we know he'd probably divorce a wife or make a mess of his life some other way. A better question might be, "Would Charlie Chaplin have wanted his great film on the subject of overindustrialization to be digitally restored?" It seems to go against the grain of Modern Times to tout a new, high-definition version, but that's what Kino International, the company that owns the print, is doing. Now don't get all mad: Chaplin's heirs have OK'd it, and the original itself hasn't been altered. It's just kind of funny to see PR copy that reads "Automatic scratch reduction filters are used" or "Certain shots also need to be stabilized," when the subject is a film that rails specifically against automation. Go see it anyway -- it'll still have the Little Tramp gettin' in big trouble, Paulette Goddard making the world's finest goo-goo eyes, and the funniest production-line slapstick ever. It screens at 2, 4:30, 7, and 9:15 daily through Dec. 31 at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (near Market), S.F. Admission is $5-8; call 621-6120 or visit www.castrotheatre.com.
Friday, December 26, 2003
Before there was techno, or electroclash, or trance, there were tiny house parties where DJs played reel-to-reel tapes of the mixes they'd created with primitive multitrack recorders and old records. Jesse Saunders was providing aural entertainment at just such a Chicago fete when he discovered one of his bootleg mixes missing. He re-created it on the spot using a drum machine and synthesizers. The resulting 1983 single, "Fantasy," and its follow-up, "On and On," are generally acknowledged as the origins of house music. Since then Saunders has seen house blossom from an underground Midwest fad to a worldwide phenomenon. See the master manning the turntables at "Legends of House 6.0," an evening of DJ'd delights from Saunders, Mickey "Mixin" Oliver (the original '80s turntablist for Chicago's influential Hot Mix 5 radio station), Sen-Sei and DJ David Coleman of the Kinetic Grooves label and local band Thump Radio, and Soul Kitchen's Dusty Crates. The woofers start buzzing at 9 p.m. at Club Six, 60 Sixth St. (at Jessie), S.F. Admission is $10; call 863-1221 or visit www.clubsix1.com.
Saturday, December 27, 2003
Say what you will about her habits of mercilessly trashing her celebrity friends, playing corporate shill, and getting hideously unnatural plastic surgery, but we love comic Kathy Griffin. Not only is she delightfully witty-yet-cruel, she's also balls-to-the-wall honest about her shameless social climbing and consumer-product hawking, particularly on her frequent visits to The Howard Stern Show, on which she recently admitted to taking cash for slyly slipping in mentions of brand-name goods on talk shows (among other embarrassing indiscretions). We also like that Griffin's not too good for any job: Instead of parlaying the heat that surrounded her career after her four-year stint on NBC's Suddenly Susan into more sitcom and movie work, she plowed through low-rent gigs on Celebrity Mole, Hollywood Squares, and Average Joe. Attagirl! See her acid-tongued stand-up act tonight starting at 8 (and again at 10:15) at Cobb's Comedy Club, 915 Columbus (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $30; call 928-4320 or visit www.cobbscomedyclub.com.
Sunday, December 28, 2003
Thank you, Scott Capurro, for telling it like it is. Throwing a Let's End This Lousy Year Early Comedy Party -- brilliant. This year sucks so much it's unbelievable. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor of the whole fucking state, for one thing. We're still in this shitty war, for another. And that evil Aryan goddess Paris Hilton is famous for being skinny. That's just wrong. If this year were a living thing, we would step on its head. Author, actor, and screechy comedian Capurro is just the man to help us do it, too: He'd be watching us and laughing, popping pills until his martini wouldn't stay in the glass. Help end this year's life at 8 p.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $13; call 861-5016 or visit www.scottcapurro.com.
Monday, December 29, 2003
Cirque du Soleil's clowns are not its strongest point. This fact gets whispered over coffee in klatches around the city, but let us declare it here: Those guys did not make us laugh very much. We realize it's not nice for journalists to pick on clowns, but we have a point to make. It seems circus performers Unique Derique (hambone specialist) and Moshe "YooWho" Cohen (U.S. representative of Clowns Without Borders) also noticed this sad clown fact and feistily named their holiday production Cirque Do Somethin'. See, they're already funnier than those French Canadians. Derique and Cohen's show promises unicycle tricks, Yiddish absurdism, and a rubber chicken. Yuk it up starting at 8 p.m. (and continuing through Jan. 11) at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is $5-15; call 826-5750 or visit www.themarsh.org.
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Have you ever looked at a paper bag and wondered if it had ... urges? What about dustpans -- have you considered whether they can shake their shimmies or not? We expect you haven't, but Liebe Wetzel has, and that's where the "loon" in Lunatique Fantastique comes from. Wetzel is the artistic director and all-purpose visionary motivating the ensemble. The troupe is famous for using everyday objects as spunky, opinionated (but silent) puppets, and that's where the "fantastique" comes from. These crazed entertainers present their holiday show, Foiled Again: An All-New Wrapping Paper Caper, in the days after Christmas, when many households are eyeing mounds of torn paper with some suspicion anyway. The production stars wrapping paper, tinsel, and an ornament as Madame Papier; a fedora and trench coat as the Detective; and Styrofoam peanuts as Peanut Man. Show time is 2 p.m. (with additional performances on Jan. 3 and 4) at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Admission is $20; call 861-8972 or visit www.lunfan.com.
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