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Hairy Spray 

A New Yorker shows us his wits

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SAT 1/17

It's time to explain the concept of the John Waters Universe. Here, things are simple: You're either a good guy or a bad guy. If you're bad, you have stifled your own dreams in exchange for money or status; you are condemned to wear boring clothes at all times. You will do almost anything to prevent anyone else having fun, and you're often portrayed by Mink Stole.

If you're good, on the other hand, you've made sacrifices so that you can follow your heart (or some other organ): You are Mike Albo. As such, you are a member of the Dazzle Dancers -- a twisted ensemble that provides glitter, synchronized dance moves, and anti-consumerist messages to New York tourists -- and you write your critical little heart out for Nerve.com, the New York Times Book Review, and the Village Voice, among others. Most important, you perform your solo show Spray, featuring your famously sharp-tongued monologues and, according to your press materials, "a Britney Spears chair dance in a tiny glittering patriotic outfit." Such a good boy! As a reward, you get to be hysterically funny, righteously articulate, and far, far too sexy for your pants.

Reader, are you a John Waters good guy? Because the rest of us are scraping our pennies together to get tickets to Albo's show. Afterward, let's chase him in a screaming horde, catch him, and smooch him, OK? Spray opens at 8 p.m. (and continues through Feb. 7) at Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. (at South Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $15-25; call 861-5079 or visit www.therhino.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Strung Out

THURS 1/15

Puppet theater is usually for the kiddies, but the Bay Area is experiencing a marionette-theater-for-grown-ups renaissance, with works from Lunatique Fantastique, ShadowLight Productions, and other companies claiming manikin drama for adults. "Strange Love," a collection of three dramas about human relationships, is supposed to be appropriate for young'uns aged 12 and up, but the second show on the docket, the satirical Share & Share Alike (which relates the story of a woman who cuckolds her lover with his own conjoined twin), pretty much guarantees a drinking-age crowd. The marionettes emote starting tonight at 7 (and running through Jan. 31) at the Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), S.F. Admission is $15-25; call 567-8211 or visit www.sffringe.org.
-- Joyce Slaton

Rant Rock
Country Teasers carry on

FRI-SAT 1/16-17

When surveying wildly eccentric artistic works, most viewers infer that the artist must be either a conceptual genius or completely insane. Why isn't it possible that he might be both? Behind the '80s-style tortoise-shell glasses and the Anthony Michael Hall-circa-Weird Science mien of B.R. Wallers festers a misanthropic pack mule of colossal proportions. With his monotone verbal tirades crackling against the backdrop of his Country Teasers' 2/4-time honky-tonk, Wallers barks out harangues built around his own personal demons. Only a true cockeyed character (read: nutjob) could create this kind of tuneful havoc, and only utter oddballs could enjoy the kind of musical mayhem that makes other volatile rockers appear like docile, mellow gents by comparison. The bellowing begins at 10 p.m. at the Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk (at Post), S.F. Admission is $7; call 923-0923 or visit www.hemlocktavern.com.
-- Kevin Chanel

Now This Is a Rave
Bimbo's smoking-hot rockabilly

FRI 1/16

When someone belts out the phrase "C'mon, let's have a party," you don't have to think twice -- the answer is always a loud and hearty "Yeah!" Especially when the call comes from the golden lungs of the First Lady of Rockabilly, Ms. Wanda Jackson. With a twang and a warble that have become the standard for rock, country, and rockabilly songstresses everywhere, Jackson's voice has the power to throw listeners into some very magic moments. After recording upward of 50 LPs, Jackson can still belt it out like nobody's business -- and we hear her new album, Heart Trouble, is a killer.

The Oklahoma native jumps and wails at the "All-Star Rockabilly Show," which also features Bill Haley's Original Comets and the Paladins. Get Jacksoned up at 9 p.m. at Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is $18-20; call 474-0365 or visit www.bimbos365club.com.
-- Sunny Andersen

The Shadows Know

SAT-SUN 1/17-18

Shadows can play havoc with our emotions: They veer so easily from the looming, terrifying unknown to silly bunny ears. Leonidas Kassapides draws on the magical powers of blocked light to present The Metamorphosis of Karaghiozis, a traditional Greek story about a traveler and his sidekick told with large-scale shadow puppets. Master shadow manipulator and puppeteer Larry Reed directs; musical group Edessa is on hand to provide a live score; and the shadows are sure to enchant, startle, and awe children of all ages. The Metamorphosis begins at 8 p.m. at the SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 648-4461 or visit www.shadowlight.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

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