This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Cassidy Curtis documents the way graffiti changes over time using "interactive timelapse collage," a Flash/Photoshop confection. Barrett Fox teaches mini-computer animation classes. Kris Bell demonstrates a Nyx Illuminated Jacket, the latest in interactive clothing. Is it any wonder that the organization bringing these three together takes "People doing strange things with electricity" as its tag line? Dorkbot-sf is exactly that -- just some folks making innovative electrified stuff and then talking about the results. One of several offshoots of dorkbot-nyc, the local group is dedicated to monthly get-togethers that have many functions, including our favorite: To "give us all a chance to see the cool things that our neighbors are working on." The speakers begin at 7:30 p.m. at False Profit, 43 Norfolk (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is free; visit www.dorkbot.org.

Thursday, January 15, 2004
We've heard people called hardheaded. We've heard 'em called mule-headed, wrongheaded, even beheaded. But Will Franken and John Swerdan have aptly titled their hyperactive, character-switching, no-respect-for-nothin' show Circus Head, because they are circus-headed. OK, we don't know if that's a term they would apply to themselves, but it's true: From Stephen Hawking singing "Anarchy in the U.K." to Monty Python esque gender confusion, Franken and Swerdan's characters openly defy "let me tell you about me and my weird life" stand-up comedy. The pair's performances incorporate video and music, and result in such wacked-out scenes as "the gay cowboy actor," a terrifying "Introduction to Shakespeare," and (brace yourself now) a skit called "The STD Quilt." The inside of these two brains must be like Cirque du Being John Malkovich. Three rings of absurdist caricatures begin at 8 p.m. at Spanganga, 3376 19th St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $7; call 821-1102 or visit www.startupsounds.com.

Friday, January 16, 2004
By now the outlines of Michael Alig's downfall are familiar: Nice gay boy moves to Manhattan, becomes king of the late-'80s club kids, and one drug-addled night brutally murders roommate/drug dealer Angel Melendez with a hammer and a shot of Drano before dismembering his body and dumping it in the Hudson. It's a scenario so seamy that it gave birth to two books (including Alig crony James St. James' Disco Bloodbath) and two films, a chilling 1998 documentary as well as a 2003 feature, each named Party Monster. Having seen both, we can safely say that the doc's superior. But the sublimely campy-fey performance by Seth Green as St. James, the brilliantly off-key casting of Macaulay Culkin as Alig, and the authentically over-the-top costumes and party scenes make the narrative Monster a must-see, too. It screens at 7:15 p.m. (and again at 9:25) 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.

Saturday, January 17, 2004
You give a performance event a name like "Coital Canvas"and people are going to expect, well -- remember John Cleese's straight-faced live sex-education demonstration in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life? That's what they're going to expect. But instead of panting prurience, those who check out this dance/music/visual arts collaboration will instead find a playful riff on the hookup among three distinct branches of the arts. Jazz quartet Patrick Cress' Telepathy provides the off-the-cuff musical backdrop for Dandelion Dancetheater's BellyRoot, a mixture of choreographed and improvised movements, as well as for "jazz performance painter" Nancy Ostrovsky, who'll use the tuneage as inspiration for the impromptu wall-size artwork she'll create during the show. The evening starts with an informational lecture and demo from each artist at 7 p.m. at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $12-20; call 863-9834 or visit www.odctheater.org.

Sunday, January 18, 2004
An all-star team of critical left-wingers has been assembled and a big-brained referee engaged; they're all set to analyze and recognize the laughable state of U.S. government. It sounds like a thought-provoking event, but then there's the name: Mashing together titles associated with speakers Paul Krugman of the New York Times, political comedian Al Franken, and author Kevin Phillips may have sounded like a good idea, but the result is "One Historic Evening of Unraveling the Lying Liars of the Great American Dynasty." That's just ... well, our real beef with the unwieldy moniker is the lack of reference to radio host Amy Goodman, who moderates the evening. We figure that if organizers had gone this route, the title would have been "One Historic Evening of Democratically Unraveling the Lying Liars of the Great American Dynasty Now!" Whatever it's called, it starts at 7 p.m. at the Berkeley Community Theater, 1930 Allston (at Kittredge), Berkeley. Admission is $15-20; call 255-7296 or visit www.globalexchange.org.

Monday, January 19, 2004
As we honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, we can't exactly pat ourselves on the back for living his dream and creating harmony and love among all races in this glorious nation. But we do have Willie Brown. Now, now, don't make that face: In Dr. King's time, you sure wouldn't have seen a black man become mayor of an important city. The world is therefore better now than it was then -- end of discussion. The annual freedom march and rally celebrates King and Brown -- it even bears the title "Keeping the Dream Alive: The Man, His Mission, His Motivation ... Da Mayor." Public transpo on BART, the Golden Gate and Oakland/Alameda ferries, and Caltrain is free or reduced to the events, which begin at 11:30 a.m. at Fourth and Townsend streets (the march continues to Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove), S.F. Admission is free; call (510) 268-3777 or visit www.norcalmlk.org.

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