Pranks for the Memories

Harmon Leon's media adventures

FRI 6/18

Harmon Leon is so weird even OJ Simpson calls him "crazy boy." And when a freak show like OJ considers you demented, it's clear you've veered off the beaten path and into some mighty odd territory. The San Francisco comic/writer (best known for the prankish "infiltrations" described in his award-winning 2002 book The Harmon Chronicles) checked in with the notorious ex-NFL-er when Leon was tapped to provide color for the pilot of a proposed OJ TV show, a Punk'd rip-off called, we shit you not, Juiced. During the course of the taping Simpson wore whiteface to play bingo at an Elks Club lodge, praised Broncos for their "great escapability," and told a Fred Goldman joke ("Who was the first Jewish guy to get a Heisman trophy? Fred Goldman, because he got mine!").

Hear Leon describe it all -- plus share anecdotes and video culled from his bizarre appearances on shows from Blind Date to The Jamie Kennedy Experiment -- at his hysterical solo show TV Pirate, starting at 8 p.m. at the Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth Street), S.F. Admission is $10; call 896-6477.
-- Joyce Slaton

Leon with Simpson in his paleface get-up.
Leon with Simpson in his paleface get-up.
He's Wired: Matt the Electrician.
He's Wired: Matt the Electrician.
Antibalas' members have to take several 
taxis to get to their shows, we presume.
Antibalas' members have to take several taxis to get to their shows, we presume.
Battleship looks up to you.
Nicki Red
Battleship looks up to you.

Working Musician

FRI 6/18

"These boots were made for working, and that's just what they do. And one of these days I'm going to have to buy some new boots." Who ever thought Nancy Sinatra would be pressed into service for a sad song about how tired a guy is during his six-day workweek? Matt the Electrician has a nerve. His second album, Made for Working, is full of singer/ songwritery, country-tinged folk rock, but the lyrics really smack you upside the head sometimes. To wit: "I had a dream last night that you were pregnant/ But you can't get pregnant when you're dead." It's a little worn to say that a musician takes a hard look at everyday life (e.g., crapping cats, suicide) and finds new good ways to think about it; but like the battered boots on the album's cover, there it is anyway. He opens for the abominably talented Asylum Street Spankers at 9 p.m. at 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 970-9777 or visit www.12galaxies.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Sound Off
Fela Kuti's beat returns

SAT 6/19

And you thought Bootsy Collins had the funk: Late Nigerian musician Fela Kuti is credited with inventing Afrobeat, an insanely catchy combination of American funk, jazz, and big-band music with traditional Yoruban rhythms. Embedded with politically charged lyrics, the new style electrified artists, musicians, human rights activists, and badass revolutionaries all over the world. See if Kuti's sound works the same magic on you this Saturday, as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' Kuti exhibit, "Black President," goes sonic at "Afrobeat in the Gardens: A Tribute to the Legendary Fela Kuti,"an afternoon of Fela-inspired music from a diverse slate of bands.

San Francisco-based sax, bass, and drums trio the Broun Fellinis open the concert with their signature "Brounsoun," a soulful soup of jazz, funk, Afrocentric hip hop, Jamaican dub, film scores, and African/Indian trance sounds. Their set is followed by a turn from the 14-piece Brooklyn-based Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, which honors its musical forefather with its own rich beat patterns culled from jazz, funk, and African music. Finally, audience members will hear from internationally renowned headliner Blackalicious, which has championed a politically conscious brand of rap (read: free of lyrics about bling-bling and hos) that has aimed to uplift and mobilize the hip hop community for over a decade. The Blackalicious performance also offers a special treat: Quannum crew member Lateef the Truth Seeker joins the group to premiere "The Underground Spiritual Game," a Fela-inspired mix by renowned mixmaster Chief Xcel.

The show starts at noon in Yerba Buena Gardens, Third & Mission streets, S.F. Admission is free; call 978-2787 or visit www.yerbabuenaarts.org.
-- Melissa Lane

Rock Nerds

SAT 6/19

The big secret about the guy face down in his microphone stand is not his Pabst Blue Ribbon addiction. The musicians in Battleship try to direct your attention to their guitar-inflicted bruises, but it's actually their almost-scholarly knowledge of garage, punk, prog, and other rock genres that makes the show good. The Sweethearts and We March share the stage starting at 10 p.m. at Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St. (at Wisconsin), S.F. Admission is $5; call 503-0393 or visit www.theeparkside.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Tell Tales

SUN 6/20

Now that the TV season has, sadly, come to an end, it's all too tempting to watch the refuse of summer programming. Instead, why not listen to what Eth-Noh-Tec is serving up: Asian and Asian-American folklore, mythology, and modern-day dramas in its inventive "Summer Storytelling Performance," which takes place at 3 p.m. at 977 South Van Ness (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 282-8705 or visit www.ethnohtec.org.
-- Brock Keeling

 
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