This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, August 18, 2004
If you've ever done karaoke at the Mint, you know that those people don't fuck around. There's no getting up in drunken groups to sing "Papa Don't Preach," or fumbling your way through "Ring of Fire." The singers who get onstage are practiced, smooth, and utterly confident. That's why we're not exactly sure how the crowd's going to react to "Karaoke Night With Political Women,"at which local officeholders will warble their hearts out. Will Supervisor Fiona Ma choose a Tom Waits song to croon? Does District Attorney Kamala Harris have a spectacular soprano she's been dying to display? Take a listen and schmooze with powerful politicos at 7 at the Mint Karaoke Lounge, 1942 Market (at Duboce), S.F. Admission is free; call 626-4726 or visit www.themint.net.

Thursday, August 19, 2004
Notice an overabundance of black leather jackets and steel-toed boots on Columbus Avenue today? Those long-haired badasses aren't just out there to pick up pizza slices and espressos. The North Beach Metal Festivalstarts tonight, and even if we hadn't told you, you'd have figured it out, given the volume of the bone-crunching guitars and earsplitting vocals that'll be emanating from the area. The fest's rage against the pristine is headlined this evening by California death metal deities Deeds of Flesh, with Demon Sword, Sol Asunder, and Maelstrom supporting. (Quick question: Why do so many of these bands have singers who sound a lot like Cookie Monster? Let us know when you return.) The onslaught begins at 8 (and the festival continues tomorrow night with a fresh lineup) at Broadway Studios, 435 Broadway (at Columbus), S.F. Admission is $8, or $12 for both shows; call 724-4210 or visit www.broadwaystudios.com.

Friday, August 20, 2004
Ah, to be a mod. Swanky made-to-measure suits and fringy haircuts, scooter rallies and pointy shoes. Of course, the amphetamine-fueled mid-'60s mod scene is deader than Jean Seberg, but at least one aspect of the culture lingers on -- the sweet soul and ska music. Before the rise of self-described mod bands like the Kinks, the Who, and the Small Faces, well-dressed young things were frugging all night to the strains of Dusty Springfield and Desmond Dekker. Relive those frenetic parties without getting all hopped up on goofballs at "Soulness," where DJs Goldmyne and English Steve spin classic and new soul, vintage R&B, and dancehall faves from the '60s and '70s starting at 10 p.m. at 26 Mix, 3024 Mission (at 26th Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 826-7378 or visit www.26mix.com.

Saturday, August 21, 2004
Despite San Francisco's reputation as a full-tilt party town, this place is just loaded with spoilsports who'd like to see the citizenry tucked into bed by midnight (or 9 p.m., in some neighborhoods). Let's see them complain about the noise at "Art 415," the almost indescribably cool benefit party for the after-hours champions at the San Francisco Late Night Coalition. This smorgasbord of eye and ear candy includes live music from beat-boxer and looper extraordinaire Kid Beyond and Felonious: onelovehiphop, a screening of excerpts from filmmaker Kevin (Straight Outta Hunters Point) Epps' latest projects, a vintage-sportswear fashion show, dance performances, visual arts displays, and thousands of square feet of community-minded locals mingling their asses off on the dance floor. Stare in wide-eyed wonder at 7 p.m. at Terra, 411 Harrison (at First Street), S.F. Admission is $15 ($100 for VIP entry); call 505-4734 or visit www.startsoma.com.

Sunday, August 22, 2004
There's a reason why the incline-dodging bicycle route from Market Street to Golden Gate Park known as the Wiggle is so popular: Who the hell wants to tax her calves and cardiovascular system by pedaling torturously up one of our town's deadly dunes? Some very masochistic cyclists, it turns out, who wear out their gears and pump up their supply of endorphins at today's "Steepest Hills of SF Bike Tour." In pursuit of panoramic views -- and utter exhaustion -- the hardy crew maps a grueling expedition over downtown's painful summits (Telegraph Hill, Filbert Street), the Mission's most arduous ascents (biked up 22nd Street lately?), and the heinous heights of the Haight (there's a reason why you never got to Buena Vista Park via Duboce!). Efforts are rewarded with a big fat post-tour lunch. The suffering begins at 9 a.m. at McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park, Stanyan & Fell, S.F. Participation is free; call 431-2453 or visit www.sfbike.org.

Monday, August 23, 2004
Some call them "the modern terra cottas." But unlike the famous Chinese tomb warriors, the rows and rows of eerie statues in "The Missing Student Art Installation Project" don't represent mute aides in eternal service to some evil overlord. Instead, these statues are there to stand in for the 175,000 students who could have been enrolled in California colleges, but aren't. A diverse group of low-income people whose lives might have taken a turn for the better with a university education now won't have that chance, as a result of Schwarzenegger-driven cuts to the education budget. This powerful display, sculpted by community college art students from around the state, makes the point that a certain number of people remain in drudge jobs with low pay without getting a chance to move on up. Will they wind up serving an evil overlord? Only time will tell. The opening event begins at 5 p.m. (and the statues are up through Aug. 30) in Union Square, Geary & Stockton, S.F. Admission is free; call 230-3701.

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