This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Karen Carpenter ensured her lasting fame by becoming the first anorexia nervosa poster child, but none of the hundreds of articles and books written on her untimely demise captures the mixed-up horror of her life quite like Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Todd Haynes' notorious 1987 short film, which used an all-Barbie cast to depict the singer's rise and fall. Long out of circulation because of a court order orchestrated by Karen's brother, Richard (who supposedly objected to Haynes' using the Carpenters' music without permission), Superstar is all but impossible to see these days. That is, unless you get yourself to "LFBA Movie Night: Mascara & Barbie Dolls," a Ladyfest-related party featuring a (possibly illegal) screening of Superstar along with the thigh-slapping Tammy Faye Bakker bio The Eyes of Tammy Faye.Start giggling at 7 p.m. at Femina Potens, 465 South Van Ness (at 16th Street), S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 861-2240 or visit www.feminapotens.com.

Thursday, July 1, 2004
You don't want your Louise Brooks haircut, fringed flapper dress, and storehouse of cutesy Jazz Age slang to go to waste, do you? Join the dapper daddies and swanky shebas at the juice joint of the hour, the 1920s-loving club known as "Sheik." Under the direction of the Von Blondenberg Sisters -- aka Princess Kennedy and Jordan L'Moore from tranny-rock band Pepperspray -- the Financial District watering hole Vertigo is transformed once a month into a gin-soaked speak-easy loaded with sharp hipsters in baggy pants and rolled stockings. Vintage Prohibition-era tunes keep the place jumping, so polish up those long cigarette holders, trim those pencil mustaches, and join the whoopee starting at 9 p.m. at 1160 Polk (at Sutter), S.F. Admission is $3; call 674-1278 or visit www.princesskennedy.com.

Friday, July 2, 2004
With assets including a hottie firecracker of a female vocalist, a tight band backing her up, and some great, rough punk songs, it's a real surprise that the Avengers didn't become as famous as other Bay Area rabble-rousers from the same late-'70s/early-'80s era, like the Dead Kennedys, the Nuns, and Flipper. Maybe, despite years of playing raucous gigs at long-gone venues such as the Mabuhay Gardens and the Deaf Club, the act just didn't get the breaks. Or maybe the world wasn't yet ready for a ferociously pissed-off rocker chick. Today, more than a quarter of a century after Penelope Huston first tore up the stage, she's still making music. She's already getting admiring ink for her folk-tinged 2004 solo album, The Pale Green Girl (and the band's still working the buzz garnered by the 1999 compilation The Avengers Died for Your Sins). Now Huston has reunited with guitarist Greg Ingraham and hired a new rhythm section, and tonight they kick out the old-school jams as the scAVENGERS, with the Sermon and Thistle opening at 9 at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $12; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com.

Saturday, July 3, 2004
"It's an election year and the opera gloves are off," says Irwin Keller, better known as "Winnie" from the winsomely ornery cross-dressing "beautyshop quartet" the Kinsey Sicks. Tonight the rascally foursome turns its attention to politics with the mock GOP fund-raiser "I Wanna Be a Republican." While listing the reasons behind each singer's supposed conversion to the right, the sharp-tongued gals skewer graft (with the Chicago takeoff "When You're Good to Dubya, Dubya's Good to You"), gentrification (those who saw the Sicks' off-Broadway show may recognize "Bugle Boy on Avenue B," an ode to an upwardly mobile real estate agent), and privacy (the killingly hilarious workplace drug-testing parody of "The Shoop Shoop Song," retitled "It's in His Piss"). Domestic affairs go awry starting at 8 p.m. (also July 9) at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), S.F. Admission is $20-32; call 392-4400 or visit www.kinseysicks.com.

Sunday, July 4, 2004
While you're lighting bottle rockets in honor of the day we blew off those British brutes, take a few moments to commemorate the folks previously shooed unceremoniously out of the Bay Area -- the Ohlone Indians. Thousands of years before Europeans arrived on the scene, this tribe lived here in peace, but within a few years of Mission Dolores' founding, its members were all but wiped out. Salute our downtrodden brethren today as artists Ben Wood and David Mark project 3-D images of the Ohlone's history and culture onto Coit Tower. Wood and Mark pulled off a similar trick earlier this year on Mission Dolores' dome; for tonight's feat they climb up on a Telegraph Hill rooftop and attempt to distract locals from the waterfront fireworks. The "3-D Projection on Coit Tower" starts at 9:30 p.m. Images are viewable from many areas around the tower, as well as from the parking lot at 1 Telegraph Hill Blvd., S.F. Admission is free; call 362-0808.

Monday, July 5, 2004
Though my husband has a deep love for lethargic European movies, I need a little more action. I don't require buildings knocked over by tidal waves or anything, but since I can be bored by my own life for free, I prefer flicks that don't feature sad-faced Frenchmen bicycling past cafes ad nauseam. Which is why the lyrical Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring took me by surprise. You couldn't think of a more nap-inducing setup -- an aged Buddhist monk teaches his student valuable life lessons during each season -- yet the film's eye-poppingly gorgeous setting in a verdant Korean valley, as well as its naturalistic performances, allows the unhurried pace of the production to seem serene and moving instead of somnolent. Catch this slow but worthy picture tonight and tomorrow night at 7:15 and 9:30 at the Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 668-3994 or visit www.redvicmoviehouse.com.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004
You've been seeing Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka's enigmatic green-clad maiden on posters around town advertising the Legion of Honor's wonderful art deco exhibition. But there's more to de Lempicka than a couple of paintings. The artist married at 16, seduced Bolshevik officials in order to free her husband during the Russian Revolution, hung out with decadent 1920s Parisians Jean Cocteau and Natalie Barney, and took great pleasure in painting sensual depictions of her seemingly innumerable male and female lovers. But even those who know nothing about the painter's life will be entranced by her work -- stylized, often angular portraits that combine soft Renaissance colors and lighting with a sophisticated, citified sensibility. You'll have to ask a staffer to show you around the Weinstein Gallery's eighth-floor de Lempicka exhibition, but the extra trouble is more than worth it. "Tamara de Lempicka" continues through July 18 at 383 Geary (at Mason), S.F. Admission is free; call 362-8151 or visit www.weinstein.com.


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