This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, January 7, 2004
There aren't many brother-and-sister improvised comedy acts. Is it because siblings of differing genders usually hate each other, being likely to punch one another in the face, hawk loogies, and participate in high-drama screaming matches? (Not that we'd personally know anything about such antics; it's just what we've heard.) Imagine the expanded possibilities for embarrassment provided by a live audience. These scenarios might even be comedy gold. Find out when the Babcocks, Bryce and Becky (names changed to protect their mom), hit the stage, in a show described as "rugged and durable," at 8 p.m. (and continuing the first Wednesday of every month through June) at the Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10; call 364-1411 or visit www.sfimprovcooperative.com.

Thursday, January 8, 2004
We Gen-X girls didn't buy "A moment on the lips, forever on the hips" the way so many of our mothers and grandmothers did. A lot of us have taken some variant of "That's obscenely decadent -- I want it" as a motto instead. Intent on exposing this truth and debunking the myth that women are always on a diet is Women Who Eat, a new collection of essays edited by Leslie Miller. Including work from established food writers like Amanda Hesser of the New York Times and Food & Wine's Kate Sekules, the book also boasts selections from local literary figures. Bitch magazine's Lisa Jervis and Rachel Fudge join Terez Rose, Christina Henry de Tessan, and other Eat contributors at tonight's panel discussion, starting at 7 at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Turk), S.F. Admission is free; call 441-6670 or visit www.bookstore.com.

Friday, January 9, 2004
Holy girl gang, Batman! The "Inside of Inside" exhibit opens tonight, featuring artworks by somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 women. Local artists' and curators' collective the Big Ballyhoo issued a call for participants to consider the concept of "home," and was amazed at the number of responses -- seems women have a lot to say about where and how they live. In the show, professional arts like painting and sculpture appear alongside forms traditionally considered "women's work," such as quilting or knitting. Among many installations are a reconstructed prison cell, a teenager's desk, and an indoor landscape. The artists themselves are too numerous to mention; many are more like "closeted crafters," according to the Web site, but a few names jump out: Tammy Rae Carland, Sarolta Jane Cump, and Karen Kirchoff are all familiar, and some hardworking Big Ballyhoo members (Dusty Lombardo, Kristin Dilley, and Mary DeNardo) double as exhibitors. The opening reception begins at 6 (the show continues through Feb. 7) at the Lab, 2948 16th St. (at Capp), S.F. Admission is free; call 864-8855 or visit www.thelab.org.

Saturday, January 10, 2004
In classic Devo tunes like "Gut Feeling," "Mongoloid," and "Jocko Homo," a profound sense of disquiet prevails. These aren't pop confections; in them vocalist Mark Mothersbaughsings of an intense disenfranchisement from contemporary society and a fascination with unconventional, even perverse, people, places, and ideas. Mothersbaugh extends his discomfort to visual art in "Beautiful Mutants," a series of vintage photographs that he collected and appropriated, digitally and manually tweaking them until the once-staid subjects appeared hideously deformed. Mothersbaugh calls his photos "corrected," implying that what he's really doing is exposing mankind's twisted innards. In his hands a cooing baby is transformed into joined-at-the-head twins; a smiling, suited man becomes a four-legged deviant; and a pair of brothers grin as they bookend their suddenly-ready-for-the-sideshow sister. See Mothersbaugh's handiwork starting at 7 p.m. (and continuing through Feb. 1) at the Capobianco Gallery, 1841 Powell (at Filbert), S.F. Admission is free; call 296-9110 or visit www.mutato.com.

Sunday, January 11, 2004
In our hearts, Feb. 24, 1999, is a day that will live in infamy. On that tragic afternoon, the bad-movie-skewering TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000 was canceled, forcing the MST3K crew to pack up its sprockets and decamp for greener pastures. Since that time the guys have kept themselves busy: Mike Nelson has written several books; Joel Hodgson's been punching up scripts (George of the Jungle has a big debt to pay!); and Kevin Murphy (aka Tom Servo) keeps popping up on NPR. But we've missed them terribly, and the thought of getting to see Mike, Kevin, and Bill Corbett (Crow/Brain Guy) at the essential "Mystery Science Theater 3000 Symposium" (part of SF Sketchfest, see Performance, Page 35) has us all atwitter. The trio dish on modern bad movies and their checkered show-business pasts and presents starting at 2 p.m. at Cobb's Comedy Club, 915 Columbus (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $20; call 928-4320 or visit www.cobbscomedyclub.com.

Monday, January 12, 2004
Country singer/songwriter Steve Earle sure got under some people's skin a few years back with his song "John Walker's Blues." Nashville radio types called him all sorts of names and accused him of hating his country every chance CNN gave them. Still, pretty much everyone, even neoconservative David Skinner of the Weekly Standard, had to admit that the song was good; in fact, it's one of Earle's strongest in a while. Amos Poe's documentary Just an American Boy follows Earle on his 2002 tour supporting Jerusalem, the album that contains the controversial track. Using clips from radio interviews and live footage of Earle playing tunes from throughout his decades-long career, including his old breakthrough hit "Copperhead Road," the film builds a portrait of a flinty patriot in an unfriendly time. Show times are 7:15 and 9:20 tonight and tomorrow night 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.

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