Stuart Bousel is irritating in his prolificacy. The writer/director of many original, award-winning plays, he habitually does research-intensive adaptations of intellectual bedrock – Aeschylus, Goethe, Marlowe. But that's only one of his genres. He also writes sexy comedies. Worse, he's young. Did we mention he acts, too? If all that hard work, motivation, versatility, and intelligence don't add up to irritating, what does? Thwarted writers are bound not to like him, now more than ever: He's just done it again, with an adaptation of a Jean Genet play. Genet is known for his immortalization in David Bowie's song "Jean Genie," helping launch gay culture, and being a great, intimidating literary figure. His dense, iconoclastic works are highly stylized and challenging to actors, directors, and audiences; The Balcony, which Bousel has used as the backbone of his latest play, is considered one of Genet's most compelling.
Bousel compares the relationship between his production, Troijka, and The Balcony to that of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Homer's Odyssey – that is, loose. The drama's action is set in an unnamed city during a period of civil unrest, inside a cathouse. The madam's machinations, the perverse desires of her customers, and the power struggles among revolutionaries, heads of state, and military men make up the plot. We're curious to see what Bousel and his company, No Nude Men, make of Genet's famous hatred of the armed services. Troijka opens tonight at 8 (and continues through Feb. 28) at Spanganga, 3376 19th St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $10; call 752-2084 or visit www.spanganga.com.
– Hiya Swanhuyser
The genre's all sophisticated now, with its own venues, kajillions of bands, and some fine national magazines. But waaaay back in the early 1980s, altcountry practically consisted of the Knitters. For some, this twangy side project of punk royalty X is still all the style needs. John Doe's voice rivals Merle Haggard's, while Exene Cervenka channels Minnie Pearl gone insane, and the group's stripped-down sound shows off a musicianship that punk just won't. Through the ironic jabs at hicks-from-the-sticks shines a genuine love for country music – Doe's cover of Haggard's "Silver Wings" is an entirely smirkless tear-jerker. The Virgil Shaw Band opens at 9 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $25; call 885-0750 or visit www.musichallsf.com.
– Hiya Swanhuyser
Stoner Rock Flashback
Thin Lizzy's back. Again.
Though the band's harmonized, twin lead guitar attack influenced such metal giants as Metallica and Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy is still best known as the musical vehicle of black Irish leader, bassist, and songwriter Phil Lynott. Standing firmly in the poetic tradition of his homeland, Lynott wrote vivid, romantic tunes about downtrodden underdogs and working-class heroes that rocked ferociously.
Lynott's hedonistic lifestyle caught up with him in 1986, but his former bandmates still get together to pay heartfelt tribute to their late leader. With latter-era guitarist John Sykes delivering a dead-on vocal impersonation of Lynott while trading blazing leads with longtime Lizzy axeman Scott Gorham, the band is sure to set the bar high when it opens for classic-rock warhorse Deep Purple. The hot licks wail at 8 p.m. at the Warfield, 982 Market (at Sixth Street), S.F. Admission is $27.50-35; call 775-7722.
– Dave Pehling
Boys Will Be Girls
Les Fauxlies' retro razzle-dazzle
If you hear a few more breathy alto giggles and see an increase in the number of lovely ladies sporting Adam's apples during the next several weeks, there's a reason: Performance troupe Les Fauxlies Fantastique's flirty cabaret show features a resplendent cast of primped-within-an-inch-of-their-lives "showgirls" who just happen to possess Y chromosomes. Recalling the days when American tourists would hit Parisian revues hoping for a bit of tit and a lot of leg (as well as the gender-bending onstage antics at defunct local clubs like Finocchio's), Les Fauxlies offers a mix of live vocals from a male-female singing duo and Vegas-style fanfare from artistes dripping in sequins, rhinestones, feathers, and other fripperies. Wave bye-bye to binary gender starting at 8 p.m. on Feb. 12 (and continuing through March 7) at Venue 9, 252 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $20-40; call 248-1942 or visit www.aaaahz.com.
– Joyce Slaton
Something got you down? Whatever it is, it won't stand a chance against the big pink bubble of fun guaranteed at a Bobbyteensshow. Fronted by the excellently bratty vocalist and local megastar Tina Lucchesi and held down by Bay Area megastar Russell Quan on drums, the band is compelled to dress guitarist Lisa Schenberg and bass player Dannielle Pimm in very tight, very brief outfits, so they can get some attention, too. Surprise, surprise: It works. You're starting to feel happy just thinking about it, aren't you? The Dazes and the Salem Lights open at 10 p.m. at Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St. (at Wisconsin), S.F. Admission is $7; call 503-0393 or visit www.theeparkside.com.
– Hiya Swanhuyser