In Mountain Views: Still/Life With Dancing, local choreographer Nina Haft explores the concept of sanctuary -- communing with the land, history, and spirits of the living and the dead -- with a performance set in the Bay Area's premier burial ground.
It's a suitable backdrop, since Mountain View Cemetery has many tales to tell. Designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (who created New York's Central Park), the 220-acre memorial park hosts the remains of illustrious local pioneers like Domingo Ghirardelli (our own Willy Wonka), Dr. Samuel Merritt (of Lake Merritt fame), and Edson Adams (Oaktown's scandalous co-founder). The graveyard's antique statuary, apartment-size mausoleums, steep serpentine paths, verdant hillsides, and million-dollar bay vistas create an evocative setting for Nina Haft & Company's "live movie" tour. Confront your final destination at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (and again at 4 p.m. on May 8) at Mountain View Cemetery, 5000 Piedmont (at Pleasant Valley), Oakland. Admission is free; call (510) 595-8388.
-- Sam Prestianni
ATA turns 20
In the first issue of Artists' Television Access' Webzine, columnist C. Czacki wrote (in an article on the mysterious attractiveness of 1980s boomboxes), "Maybe it is the job of the artist to shift the empty feeling of nostalgia and make it into something productive." It's ideas like this that propel the volunteers at ATA to do all the weird and wonderful stuff they do. At "Myths of Thee Underground," the Mission District arts space celebrates itself, its 20 years of activity, and issue No. 2 of the Webzine with screenings, interviews of independent-media VIPs, art installations, and an update from ATA co-founder Lise Swenson on her latest project, Mission Movie(see Urban Experience, Page 28). This night is anything but empty nostalgia. The show starts at 8 p.m. at 992 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890 or visit www.atasite.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
When ex Giant Sand steel guitarist Bill Elm formed Friends of Dean Martin in a play on Alcoholics Anonymous' nickname "Friends of Bill W.," he didn't expect a cease-and-desist letter from Dino's camp. Ten years and seven albums later (and with a slightly tweaked moniker), Friends of Dean Martinez is still cooking up its brew of countrified instrumental cocktail rock. Calexico fans will love FODM's latest, Random Harvest, the sonic equivalent of a desolate, tumbleweed-strewn stretch of highway somewhere in the Arizona desert. The band plays at 9 p.m. -- but get there early to check out "Range Life," an exhibition of art inspired by Random Harvest, at 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is $15; call 970-9777 or visit www.12galaxies.com.
-- Maya Kroth