Be it on Haight, Telegraph, or Market and Sixth, dollars to doughnuts says you've seen a young punk adorned with a black leather jacket with a large word carefully stenciled in Wite-Out on the back: "Subhumans." The uninitiated may regard this as a comment about the kid's own genetic makeup; instead, it's an homage to one of the most beloved bands to emerge from the prolific English music scene of the '80s.
It's been a long 23 years since the group's first single, "Demolition War," was released, and in the interim a lesser act would have long since hung up its guitar straps and combat boots. But instead of retiring to trade on their long-lasting street cred when they tired of playing their classics, the energetic Subhumans endure, rejiggering the original lineup with a new guitarist and occasionally playing under the name Citizen Fish. Whatever you call the quartet, these stalwarts' sweaty reunion should evoke nostalgia for old and new punks alike. The Enemies and the Frisk open at 9 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $10; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.
-- Sunny Andersen
A la Mode
2 fast, furious
French graffiti artist Mode 2 operates in the tradition of Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was himself smart, creative, and successful without the benefit of art school. Mode's more or less a muralist (although he works in other forms as well) whose dance-floor imagery calls up memories of certain kinds of Harlem Renaissance exuberance, while his political pieces recall the urgency of Picasso's Guernica.
Admired by underground hip-hoppers and tony gallery types alike, the artist is lauded in Europe as the first to use highly stylized lettering à la Doze Green and other New Yorkers. Although he has received major government commissions in France, Australia, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere, Mode 2 hasn't had an American solo show before this. The opening party for "Mode 2" begins at 7 p.m. (and the show continues through April 25) at Future Primitive Sound, 597 Haight (at Steiner), S.F. Admission is free; call 551-2328 or visit www.futureprimitivesound.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Loving the Avatar
Get the scoop on The Sims
Normally you couldn't drag me out to a technology lecture if you offered me spanakopita and oral sex, but this event's different, because the man of the hour is Will Wright. That'd be the Will Wright who created The Sims, the game that's given every player the power to conceive and destroy life forms like a fickle god, and allowed my cruel husband and me to craft a Sims house with no toilets and watch the artificial family self-destruct. Fun!
Wright explains how his profitable power-tripping pastime came to be, starting at 7 p.m. at the Art Institute of California -- San Francisco, 1170 Market (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 865-0198 or visit www.aicasf.aii.edu.
-- Joyce Slaton
Some people do any old thing they want: They don't care if it seems weird. We say, up with such people. Christopher Fulkerson is one. He set a Ray Bradbury short story to music, and that's just not normal. Fulkerson's performance of A Miracle of Rare Device begins at 8 p.m. at Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia (at 19th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 824-8203 or visit www.borderlands-books.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser