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Dark Knight 

Audacious art at Modern Times

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WED 3/24

Appreciators of Keith Knight's smartass single-panel cartoons attribute the cleverness of his work to many things: an addiction to the news, a cockeyed outsider's viewpoint, even sheer talent. But we think Knight himself pins down the genesis of his output best: He blames it on drugs. Yep, as he relates in his author's bio (a gem of breezy clarity that's as far from the stuffy twaddle of other bios as Knight's work is from Hagar the Horrible), the young artist whiled away his college years doing graphic design work before he moved to S.F. and began ingesting contraband chemical inspiration and developing "his trademark poorly rendered, barely thought-out, last-minute cartooning style."

At this we must protest. While it is true that Knight's artwork is a bit crude, much like that of Boondocks' Aaron McGruder, to whom Knight is often compared, the drawings are clearly second fiddle to the artist's fiery word-bubble dialogue. His gibes run the gamut from stinging to merely saucy as they skewer modern sacred cows from George Bush to Santa Claus. See Knight -- and slides of his work -- tonight at 7:30 at Modern Times, 888 Valencia (at 20th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 282-9246 or visit www.mtbs.com.
-- Joyce Slaton

Garrrrage Rock
The name is Bondies. Von Bondies.

FRI 3/26

It was probably painful to be pummeled in the face by the White Stripes' Jack White. Although the Von Bondies' singer was covered in blood and bruises, the incident did not hurt the careers of the band members. Suddenly, the group's name was entertainment news from Hollywood to Helsinki, a marketing "miracle" for a band on the verge of releasing its second album and venturing out on a world tour.

This foursome of equal parts testosterone and estrogen has the garage sound that's all the rage with pop outlets such as MTV. Stylish and sexy in that "rock 'n' roll" way, the Von Bondies are aptly prepared to embrace their fame, with their new major-label release and Google-friendly moniker.

The Cuts and Vue open for the Von Bondies at 9 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $13; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com.
-- Sunny Andersen

A Blonde Dish
Musicals are a girl's best friend

WED 3/24

Everyone knows that blondes have more fun. Of course, most of them also have to deal with costly salon visits and root touch-ups. But is it really true that boys prefer girls with golden locks over their darker-crowned counterparts?

This age-old question was immortalized back in 1949, when Carol Channing starred in the original Broadway production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, a musical comedy about two single gal pals who set out on a French cruise in search of perfect husbands, but wind up getting more than they bargained for. 42nd Street Moon revives this classic tonight at 8 (and continuing through April 18) at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), S.F. Tickets are $17-30; call 255-8205 or visit www.42ndstmoon.org.
-- Karen Macklin

Barely Legal

FRI 3/26

Though courtrooms have a boring rep, they're actually a million laughs. Nah, that's a lie, they are stultifying. But there is comic gold to be extracted from the law's contradictions and eccentricities, and the Legal Briefs mine every last nugget with their "TV Crime Drama" improvs. Exercise your constitutional right to chortle starting at 8 p.m. at the Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth Street), S.F. Admission is $10; call 896-6477 or visit www.offmarkettheater.com.
-- Joyce Slaton

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Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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