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Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Old-school S.F.'ers likely remember comic Greg Proops from his early '80s Holy City Zoo appearances. But the Proopster really made his local-boy bones when he provided the voice for Beed Annodue, an announcer offering color commentary for the pod race in George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace. If his line readings sounded vaguely familiar, there's a reason: Proops based his performance on the excitable tones of S.F. Giants announcer Ron Fairly. Vocal stylings aside, in his stand-up act the bespectacled comic evinces the same quick, dry wit that made him a standout regular on the improv sketch program Whose Line Is It Anyway? Get a sample when he headlines "Comedy Countdown 2003," supported by a cavalcade of other jesters (Maria Bamford, Greg Behrendt, Patton Oswalt, and Tom Rhodes). The bons mots flow starting at 9:30 p.m. at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon (at Bay), S.F. Admission is $60-65; call 567-6642 or visit www.palaceoffinearts.org.

Thursday, January 1, 2004
In the comic book of his own life, Harvey Pekar mostly complains and collects jazz LPs: It isn't exactly self-aggrandizing. It became popular anyway, during the Miami Vice infested 1980s, probably because it was honest and a little bit charming in a way almost nothing else was back then. American Splendor, the movie about Pekar made by husband-and-wife team Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, has been lauded by critics not only for its shtick-y interviews with the real-life counterparts and its use of comic-book framing devices, but also for a slew of grade-A performances from the actors, notably Paul Giamatti (as Pekar), Hope Davis (as his wife, Joyce Brabner), and Judah Friedlander (as his co-worker, Toby Radloff). Show times are nightly through Jan. 3 at 7:15 and 9:30, also Saturday at 2 and 4:15 p.m., at the Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is $3-6.50; call 668-3994 or visit www.redvicmoviehouse.com.

Friday, January 2, 2004
If you ask us, Jazz at Pearl's co-owner Kim Nalley has delivered a figurative and welcome right hook to the jaw of the flesh-palace environment of North Beach. Not that there's anything wrong with strip joints -- we just prefer music. Live music, that is. And what better place to see it than at Nalley's high-class joint? Drift out of City Lights, meet some people for a drink at Vesuvio, float into Pearl's on a wave of James Williams' intense, witty piano, and you're having a quintessential San Francisco evening of the sort many thought was extinct. Speaking of Williams, he's exactly the type of world-class musician we deserve: As a member of Art Blakey's legendary Jazz Messengers, he was part of music history; since then he's been acclaimed for just about everything -- recording, producing, composing, and teaching. Thank you, Kim! The show begins at 9 p.m. at 256 Columbus (at Broadway), S.F. Admission is $10; call 291-8255 or visit www.jazzatpearls.com.

Saturday, January 3, 2004
At first glance, Yumiko Kayukawa's candy-colored paintings appear angelically feminine, with a style that borrows from Peter Max, Hokusai (The Great Wave), and even Sanrio. But though the artist's stylish, coltish young female subjects are usually shown interacting with cuddly creatures and surrounded by adorable, traditional Japanese flower motifs, a closer look reveals Kayukawa's naughtier obsessions. Those two girls eating serenely from a vast bowl of ramen -- are those handcuffs shackling them to the wall? In the image at left, called Me and My Baby, a pink-lipped femme fiercely hugs her man. Are the casts that claim her lover's arms and legs therapeutic or indicative of a medical fetish? Take your own peek on the closing weekend of Kayukawa's show at the Shooting Gallery, 839 Larkin (at O'Farrell), S.F. Gallery hours are noon to 7 p.m. Admission is free; call 931-8035 or visit www.shootinggallerysf.com.

Sunday, January 4, 2004
Ever watch an old movie like Gilda, about a sultry chanteuse, and after witnessing the star quiver and trill, find that all you can do is lament that they sure don't make singers like that anymore? Turns out they do. San Francisco songstress Veronica Klaus is the modern answer to the cabaret queens who melted hearts in the speak-easies of the '20s and '30s (and the films of the '40s and '50s). With Klaus at the mike even tired standards such as "All of Me" or "The Lady Is a Tramp" can break your heart all over again. Now's the chance to catch Klaus at one of the sexiest rooms in town. Get carried away tonight at 7 at the Plush Room in the York Hotel, 940 Sutter (at Jones), S.F. Admission is $20; call 885-2800 or visit www.plushroom.com.

Monday, January 5, 2004
After scoring in the '70s with the Godfather movies and Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola was at the top of the cinematic heap. Yet his follow-up, the 1982 romantic-comedic-musical One From the Heart, hit theaters with a sodden thud. Coming from the director who practically invented gangster chic, the sweetly retro Heart seemed less a bold experiment than an old-fashioned mess. Yet time has treated the movie gently, leading Coppola to rerelease it in hopes that the generation that made the delirious Moulin Rouge! a hit will re-evaluate and appreciate its many charms. Give the man a second chance at 2 p.m. (and again at 4:30, 7, and 9:30 through Jan. 7) at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (near Market), S.F. Admission is $5-8; call 621-6120 or visit www.castrotheatre.com.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Though folks who feel they were born the wrong sex have always existed, we can safely say that here in America there's never been a better time to be a tranny. A wave of cultural signifiers that extends from movies (Boys Don't Cry, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) to cross-dressing celebrities (Dennis Rodman, Eddie Izzard) has made the second millennium kinder and gentler for gender outlaws of all sorts. This newly permissive mind-set is the perfect milieu for "GenderEnders," a monthly series of spoken word/music events in which the performers are cheerfully queer and the audience is even more so. Tonight, an open mike follows the music of Shawna Virago (she of the lo-fi rockers the Deadly Nightshade Family) and the sexy stories of Charlie Anders (whose work has appeared on Salon.com and in ZYZZYVA and Other magazine), starting at 8:30 at the Cherry Bar & Lounge, 917 Folsom (at Fifth Street), S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 974-1585 or visit www.genderenders.com.

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  • The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals
    The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals featured Bruno Mars at Civic Center Plaza. The evening ended with an after-party at City Hall where guests were treated to small bites Photographs by Sugarwolf.

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