This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
1964 gave us so much that was so weird: the release of both Mary Poppins and Dr. Strangelove, Barry Goldwater for President, the Ford Mustang, the birth of Calista Flockhart. Fortnightly dance club "1964" takes on the bizarre spirit of this pre-groovy year: Musically speaking, although the Beatles were monopolizing the charts with "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and its ilk, an interesting underground was beginning to take the shape of mod/fuzz/psych rock, and girl groups were at their most fabulous. Whether it was the Kinks, Martha & the Vandellas, the Animals, or Dusty Springfield, most rock and pop from 1964 had a fast beat, catchy tunes, and singalong lyrics with under-the-radar double-entendres. So pile your hair high, squeeze into a pencil skirt, and go heavy on the liquid eyeliner, because you'll want to look your '60s-est on the dance floor tonight, starting at 10 at the Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary (at Larkin), S.F. Admission is free; call 885-4074 or visit www.castlenews.com.

Thursday, March 25, 2004
Plenty of architects are creative people, but look around you. See any really interesting structures? Building designers are often just as office-bound and stymied as the next cubicle drone. Perhaps that's why they love Gordon Matta-Clark so much: The man known as an "anarchitect" was famous for chain-sawing holes in abandoned buildings in the 1970s -- talk about deconstruction. San Francisco Cinematheque screens two programs of his lesser-known movie work at "City Slivers and Fresh Kills: The Films of Gordon Matta-Clark." The rarely seen pictures do some chronicling of the creation of the artist's rough installations, but many are simply stand-alone celluloid art. Program 1 screens at 7:30 tonight, and Program 2 at the same time tomorrow, at the San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut (at Jones), S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 552-1990 or visit www.sfcinematheque.org.

Friday, March 26, 2004
There's something about watching sketch comedy that's nerve-racking. While dramatic actors could easily presume a silent audience is simply listening raptly (instead of glazed over with boredom), that same quiet is anathema to comics desperately reaching for laughs. That's why we're often too nervous to check out a new troupe: We just can't take the pain. But we heard awfully good things about Uphill Both Ways, the five-man company whose stock in trade is topical, absurdist vignettes. The scuttlebutt was, in fact, good enough to reluctantly draw us to a show. And for once the rumors were true -- When Uphill Both Ways Attacks! put us in mind of the late, lamented Kids in the Hall: strange, ironic, ridiculous, and very, very chortle-worthy. See it tonight at 10 at Spanganga, 3376 19th St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $10; call 821-1102 or visit www.uphillbothways.com.

Saturday, March 27, 2004
It was a sad day when the Hotel Utah closed down. Remember how blue you felt about that, and make sure to rejoice in equal intensity, because the Utah is back. The club's cozy space once again plays host not only to regular live music, but also to a renowned open-mike night. The balcony that lets audiences look down musicians' shirts has reopened, and the new managers seem to have wasted no time in continuing to book the high-quality rootsy rock and country lineups the club is famous for. Tonight, Philly favorites the Capitol Years bring Beatles-esque rock featuring walls of guitar to the spot. Rock on at 9 p.m. at 500 Fourth St. (at Bryant), S.F. Admission is $6; call 546-6300 or visit www.thehotelutahsaloon.com.

Sunday, March 28, 2004
Using a slide projector instead of a guitar and a monologue rather than songs, bar performer Andy Friedman tours as relentlessly as any band. He hopes, he wrote in a recent e-mail, "to bring a live, poetic forum to the visual arts." While that kind of talk belies the man's lumberjack whiskers and baseball cap, he's serious, or at least he's seriously been winning over audiences with his slide-show show for two solid years. The projected images are of Friedman's drawings, Polaroids of places he's been, and the occasional semiartistic naked lady: perfect for luring barstool warmers into the art world. Friedman takes the stage as part of the "Songbird Series" at 6 p.m. at the Bazaar Café, 5927 California (at 21st Avenue), S.F. Admission is free; call 831-5620 or visit www.bazaarcafe.com.

Monday, March 29, 2004
The circus arts/freak show renaissance that has America's urban centers in its grip means that San Francisco is awash in unconventional entertainers who pound nails up their noses, fit their bodies through tennis rackets, and shove swords down their throats. But the Girly Freak Show's female focus gives it a distinct edge. Its artistes still utilize the classic street-performer mediums -- fire, pain, illusion, the insertion of objects into areas not designed to hold them -- but womanly touches make for a performance that's more beautifully bizarre than repulsive. See Slymenstra Hymen (of chaos-rock band GWAR) climb a ladder of swords, Camanda Galactica shoot fire out of a most intimate bodily region, Ula the Pain Proof Rubber Girl relax on a bed of machetes, and the Bozo Porno Circus spread its industrial-rock perversity starting at 8 p.m. at Pound-SF, 100 Cargo (at Pier 96), S.F. Admission is $10; call 826-9202 or visit www.poundsf.com.

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