Nothing prepared audiences for Italian director Sergio Leone's 1964 B-movie A Fistful of Dollars. What at first appeared to be a standard-issue oater was at its heart a radical European reinterpretation, even deconstruction, of the western genre, with its own delirious visual style and sound design. Leone's "spaghetti" westerns brought Clint Eastwood and composer Ennio Morricone superstardom and inspired the depiction of violence in works by such varied filmmakers as Peckinpah, Scorsese, Tarantino, Kitano, and Miike. Here's your chance to see both a souped-up version of Leone's arguably best-known picture (thanks to the release of an English-language version of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in a new widescreen print, with Dolby Digital stereo remixing and nearly 20 minutes of previously unseen footage) as well as one of his most obscure, the oddball 1971 James Coburn/Rod Steiger vehicle Duck, You Sucker (aka A Fistful of Dynamite). The Sergio Leone westerns retrospective continues with Duckat 3:30 and 7 p.m. Wednesday (The Good ...screens Thursday at 2:30, 6, and 9:30 p.m.) at the Act One/Two, 2128 Center (at Shattuck), Berkeley. Admission is $6-9.25; call (510) 464-5980 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
-- Frako Loden
Comedian Vidur Kapur puts it best: "I'm Indian. I'm gay. I'm fucked." Kapur faces his demons -- an easily shocked family, an exceptionally traditional culture, racism both subtle and blatant -- in the edgy The Very Vidur Show, which traces his life from a closeted childhood in a conventional Indian household through his high-level work in the conservative field of economics and on to his eventual self-acceptance as an openly gay man. Along the way he skewers racial, class, and sexual stereotypes as well as a wide range of East Asian, um, sacred cows. The chuckles begin at 8 p.m. at the Jon Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission (at 11th Street), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 554-0402 or visit www.jonsimsctr.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Funk Soul Brothers
Poncho Sanchez gets down
Who doesn't hate supergroups? Nothing is as painful as 12 guitarists and three singers you wouldn't pay to see solo belting out "Louie Louie." But mix together the hardest-working conga player in show business (Poncho Sanchez, Latin jazz veteran) with funk/soul/jazz trombone legend Fred Wesley (well known for his horn playing in both James Brown's band and P-Funk), round it out with Hammond B-3 organ prodigy Joey DeFrancesco, and you've got a serious rhythm and groove tempest that should burn holes in your soles.
You're gonna sweat, so wring in the new year with the Poncho Sanchez Band, starting at 8 and 10 p.m. Friday (and playing nightly through Wednesday) at Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West (at Jack London Square), Oakland. Admission is $26-100; call (510) 238-9200 or visit www.yoshis.com.
-- Kevin Chanel