This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, March 17, 2004
There's a line in the come-on copy for "Sinsations," the monthly smutty cabaret show thrown by local arts agitator Dee Dee Russell, that has us kinda worried. Amongst the titillating attractions this evening will be a half-hour "Exhibitionist Open Stage" in which stripping, raps, bodybuilding poses, and naughty songs are encouraged -- no problems there. But it's the next statement that threw us: "NO: cutting/blood/piss/scat/spit." Wha-a-a-a-at? Are Karen Finley esque performances so common in S.F. that one must specifically state a ban against the flinging of bodily fluids? Certainly an event so potentially decadent is one we want to attend. And the rest of the bill -- which includes naked guitar-playing from the fine-fannied Antonio A, lubricious readings, naturist performance art from Scarlot Harlot, and a La Toya Jackson impersonator -- guarantees your admission into Pervert Hell. Make your mommy ashamed starting at 8 p.m. at the Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10; call 922-2787 or visit www.deedeetv.com.

Thursday, March 18, 2004
Oh, the puns you'll read in Pie Any Means Necessary, the new book of pie-tossin' how-tos and vegan dessert recipes from the inimitable Biotic Baking Brigade. A little-known characteristic of left-wing political radicals is their love of wordplay; hence the crew describes itself as "today's proud purveyors of palatable projectiles," sharing the belief that "it's far better to pie on our feet than to live on our knees," and that "the dream of a biodiverse and just future is one we will fight for until the day we pie." Ultimately, in spite of the vitriol dished out to them by their irate victims, notably former Mayor Willie Brown, the pie-ers vow never to give up. "The pie's the limit," they often say. Witticisms aside, can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to have a pie smooshed in your face as you addressed your shareholders' meeting or while TV cameras rolled? Humiliated individuals range from Sylvester Stallone to former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to local TV news reporter Jennifer Jolly. Editor and presumed "creaminal" Agent Apple reads from the anthology starting at 7 p.m. at the AK Press Warehouse, 674A 23rd St. (at San Pablo), Oakland. Admission is free; call (510) 208-1700 or visit www.akpress.org.

Friday, March 19, 2004
Photorealistic painting comes with a big question attached: Does the artist work from a photo, or from life, like a camera does? David Holmes apparently works from research photos, but his compositions are so careful and their details so observant it's hard to believe he didn't spend long hours in direct consideration of his beloved subject: the streets of San Francisco. In his stated mission to "challenge people to reflect on the meaning of the word progress,'" Holmes succeeds in the modern mythmaking a lot of painters jump for and miss, with his classical proportions, deep respect for the human figure, and familiar landscapes almost imperceptibly elevated from reproduction to comment. His show, "Vanishing San Francisco," seems motivated not by the perfectionist mania of some photorealists, but instead by a sense that things are absolutely perfect as they are -- or in some cases, were. The painter's fascination with the Mission District's "17 Reasons" sign is sure to delight local crowds. The exhibit is up through April 23 at City Picture Frame Gallery, 524 Third St. (at Bryant), S.F. Admission is free; call 543-4105.

Saturday, March 20, 2004
Here at the Weekly we get piles of CDs from hungry comers, and we have to admit that we first picked up Cari Lee & the Saddle-Ites' The Road Less Traveled simply because the cover shot of Lee, retro-cowgirl clad in fringe, boots, and a western chapeau, was so unbearably cute. But after a listen or two the Saddle-Ites' relaxed honky-tonk and Lee's dulcet tones, which oscillate between Patsy Cline-ish mournful wails and Peggy Lee's power-purr, started to grow on us. Unashamedly old country, the Saddle-Ites conjure up shades of the Grand Ole Opry, San Antonio rodeo sweethearts, and lonely ladies in double-wide trailers. Embrace the twang tonight when they open for Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys and Ray Condo at 9 p.m. at Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is $16; call 474-0365 or visit www.bimbos365club.com.

Sunday, March 21, 2004
Assuming that we can believe the Bruce Lee biopic we caught on TV last weekend while pretending to do our taxes, Bay Area Chinese elders were so pissed that Lee was teaching martial arts to non-Asians at his Oakland school in the early '60s that they set up a duel between Lee and the most ass-kickingest kung fu fighter in town. Of course, these days both martial arts studios andround-eye students are more common than ragweed. But the revered Monks of the Shaolin Temple don't go around displaying their moves to just anyone -- their exercises are a sacred ritual, intended not for street fighting but instead to firm up muscles that might otherwise atrophy after long hours of meditation. Grab your exceedingly rare chance to see them at their first U.S. demonstration when "Shaolin Kung Fu" begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111 California (at Taylor), S.F. Admission is $30-150; call 776-4702 or visit www.masonicauditorium.com.

Monday, March 22, 2004
Government agents have been riffling through our mail, tapping our phones, sending us messages through The Simpsons, and, we're pretty sure, monitoring us via a tiny camera in our cat's nose. So after we've finished making ourselves a tinfoil protecto-hat and phoning in our fears to all the local media outlets, we're heading straight for this month's "Porchlight Storytelling Series: Conspiracy!,"at which wily types such as John Coate (former big cheese at the WELL, SFGate, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation) and Mark Schapiro (of the local Center for Investigative Reporting) will share tales of frame-ups, complicity, and just-too-perfect coincidences. Don't trust anyone -- especially us -- starting at 7 p.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $10; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
At age 20, Dario Argento made a name for himself as the co-scripter (with Bernardo Bertolucci) of the iconic Clint Eastwood spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West. But he didn't really hit his stride until he helmed 1969's creepy murder mystery The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, the first in a string of films that the multitalented Argento wrote, directed, and sometimes edited, acted in, and composed music for. He followed up The Bird with a series of "giallo" (yellow) horror films (nicknamed after the yellow covers of Italian penny-dreadful horror novels) before he hit it big with 1977's Suspiria, the stylish and unsettling masterpiece that remains a cult classic. Catch it tonight as it screens at 8:15 (preceded by The Bird at 5:45) at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 425 Washington (at Battery), S.F. Admission is free, but an RSVP is recommended; call 788-7142 or visit www.sfiic.org.


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