This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
There are those who will revere Sarah Dunn's girlie beach read The Big Love for its enchantingly flip tone or its protagonist's Big Dilemma (she's caught between looking for love and just getting herself laid), or maybe for its dead-on descriptions of inconsiderate guys you may recognize from your own checkered past (such as the boyfriend who breaks up with the narrator, Alison, by running out for some mustard and never coming back). But what has us all gaga over this funny confection is Alison's job as a columnist for a weekly alternative newspaper. Given that we've been envisioning ourself as the plucky heroine of popular chick-lit novels ever since we caught a whiff of Bridget Jones, Dunn's astute reportage on the benefits and drawbacks of her lead character's profession is like altjournalist catnip. Listen to the story of our alter ego as Dunn reads at 5:30 p.m. at Book Passage at the Ferry Building, Embarcadero & Market, S.F. Admission is free; call 835-1020.

Thursday, July 22, 2004
Indie rock can be a little stultifying. The scene sometimes veers toward snobbery, alienation, and watery music. So imagine how stoked we were to find out about the Gossip, a band with no time for any of that crap, yet which commands the idolatry of many, many emo kids. Powerhouse frontwoman Beth Ditto is a revelation all by herself: Wearin' patent leather spike heels, she's Kathleen Hanna meets Etta James -- and so much more. The group that backs her up is nothing less than stellar, featuring the prolific (five bands + six zines + a record label = a lot of rock) Brace Paine on guitar and Kathi Mendoncaa doing more with one drum than most skin-pounders do with five. The total effect is irresistible, and most folks dance, even the skinny scaredy-cat types. The Rogers Sisters and Dance Disaster Movement open at 9 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $10; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.

Friday, July 23, 2004
You know that cool aunt you have? The one who's much younger than your parents, knows how to say "fuck off" in eight languages, and taught you how to French inhale? Cop a squat in the audience at the Bay Area Black Comedy Showcase's "Bernard's Funny Fridays" and you'll soon find out that Carla Clayy is her comrade in arms. Sassy, sarcastic, and charmingly waggish, Clayy riffs on everything from fat-free butter ("If you ever get a chance to taste shit or fat-free butter, taste the shit") to the surrealism of black Baptist churches, all in pursuit of mirth; she also dispatches hecklers with nicely timed gibes that drop like comic neutron bombs. Clayy shares the bill tonight at this first "Funny Friday" with a bunch of local comedy A-listers, including Tony Sparks (the comic catalyst who hosts Brain Wash's weekly yukfest) and Kirk McHenry. Be your own laugh track starting at 9 p.m. at the Buriel Clay Theater, 762 Fulton (at Webster), S.F. Admission is $10; call 922-2049 or visit www.aaacc.org.

Saturday, July 24, 2004
Yes, yes, yes, dance is an ethereal and gorgeous art. But you want to know the real high point of seeing a dance show on a date night? No matter how schlumpy you and your escort of the evening may be, no matter whether you spent your pre-show hours sucking down Pabst Blue Ribbons and superburritos, after a couple of wowza turns from exquisitely toned performers in tights you'll be ready to race home and make sweet, sweet love. For us, the main attraction at tonight's "West Wave Dance Festival 2004: Program Two" is Deborah Slater Dance Theater, the upstart company that's gained rapturous notices for its acrobatic words-and-movement ruminations on such everyday pastimes as sleep and aerobics classes. Catch its new piece (along with work from EmSpace Dance, the Lisa Townsend Company, and Scott Wells & Dancers) at 8 p.m. at the ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $15-20; call 863-9834 or visit www.danceartsf.org.

Sunday, July 25, 2004
Oh, man, this sounds like trouble. "Tingle Tangle" is a hot-cha evening of 1920s- and -'30s-inspired cabaret numbers, and it features honest-to-golly taxi dancers: for-rent cuties you can pay to dance with you -- your choice of boy or girl, for a price to be negotiated. That's nothing but trouble, the kind San Francisco loves. Scott Larsen & the Lucky 7 are the anchoring musical presence tonight, cranking out sultry Duke Ellington style jazz, and the event also boasts a shadow-play burlesque act and vintage ditties by chanteuse Ruby Iron; it's bound to get hot in there. You might wind up thirsty for cold champagne, which would just get you in more trouble. "Please come bedecked decadently," organizers request. Tingle all over starting at 9 p.m. at Amnesia, 853 Valencia (at 20th Street), S.F. Admission is $7; call 970-0012.

Monday, July 26, 2004
If you see a black-clad, chrome-domed guy poking at roadside detritus in Napa, don't assume he's looking for returnable cans and bottles. That trash-picker could be Gordon Huether, the NorCal artist whose monumental glass, acrylic, metal, and mixed-media sculptures are a major feature in public spaces from San Francisco (where you may have seen his blown-up "urban grit" photos on the Fremont Street side of downtown's Charles Schwab Building) to the Ontario International Airport (whose administrators chose Huether's stained-glass panels to brighten up their entranceways). Huether loves working discarded bits of city dross into his sculptures -- see if you can spot these cast-aside articles amongst the artist's lit-up conglomerations of stacked, fused, and leaded glass or his purposefully tattered and eroded works on paper in his solo show, "Gordon Huether,"which runs through Aug. 26 at the Andrea Schwartz Gallery, 525 Second St. (at South Park), S.F. Admission is free; call 495-2090 or visit www.asgallery.com.

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