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This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Before we start, understand that we have a boner for '70s post-apocalyptic fantasies -- Omega Man, Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green -- that makes it easier to forgive the shortcomings of THX 1138, the 1971 sci-fi flick that was the very first directed by a young, pre-Star Wars George Lucas. OK, the dialogue is stilted. Yes, the plot (which follows a 1984-like story line concerning a futuristic society in which sex and emotions are forbidden and one man chafes against its bonds) moves more slowly than a DMV line. But with a cool roster of stars -- Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasance, among others -- plus some really neat visuals (including several clearly recognizable San Francisco locations, such as the honeycomb-patterned walls of the then-unfinished BART tunnels) and a bitchin' soundtrack by groovy composer Lalo Schifrin, it's worth at least a look. See the movie's new director's cut, an ever-so-slightly longer version that has been digitally restored, today and tomorrow at 11:10 a.m., 2, 4:50, 7:40, and 10:30 p.m. at the Metreon, 101 Fourth St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $7-10; call 369-6000.

Thursday, September 16, 2004
Vancougar (from guess where?) gets compared to the Shangri-Las a lot. The comparison is valid, especially considering the band's often-throbbing beat, shout-chant backup vocals, and catchy tunes. We don't know for sure that these four Canadians rely as heavily on eyeliner and hairspray as the 1960s girl group did, but they're just as cute and a lot more complex. Vancougar has, in fact, already amassed a following of rocker-boy groupies "up there," guys who admire the 'coug's fine musicianship -- and who've probably also noticed that most of the band is stacked. That's not just our opinion, either: It came straight from the mouth of lead singer, guitar slinger, and songwriter Eden Fine Day, author of such fine tunes as "Credit Tard," who describes the act's overall sound as "Blondie doin' Elvis Costello in the back of Robert Pollard's car while listening to the Shangri-Las." The Holiday Band shares the bill starting at 10 p.m. at the Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk (at Post), S.F. Admission is $5; call 923-0923 or visit

Friday, September 17, 2004
Though the kitschy fetish for fruit-juice-and-rum cocktails with little umbrellas in them, Martin Denny's "jungle" music, and ersatz Polynesian art of the late '50s and early '60s was a widespread American fad, tiki culture has deep roots in the Bay Area. After all, it was here that Victor Bergeron opened what would become the influential rum-peddling restaurant chain Trader Vic's in 1932. So it's no surprise that San Francisco would be the home of "Tiki Art Now!," a huge (and really, really colorful) exhibition of "neo-primitive" works curated by Tiki News impresario Otto von Stroheim. Get a load of leopard girls, carved idols, bare-breasted hula dancers, and artist Shag's "cocktail culture" illustrations when the show opens tonight -- with a sure-to-be-packed reception featuring island-compliant nibbles -- at 7 p.m. (the exhibit continues through Oct. 9) at the Shooting Gallery, 839 Larkin (at O'Farrell), S.F. Admission is free; call 931-8035 or visit

Saturday, September 18, 2004
One of the particularly neat things about living in a tiny, compact city is the ease with which you can stumble from one bar to another. But hitting 10 bars before last call is not something you want to do alone, unless you plan to end up like one pathetic drunk of an ex-friend of ours who wound down one spree by tripping over the skirt of his thrift-store wedding dress, falling into a gutter with a broken ankle, and getting busted by the SFPD for the cocaine in his pocket. Nice! Instead, pal around with a crowd of new drinking buddies at the North Beach Bar Run, a joyfully tiddly lurch through 13 establishments in a mere four hours. Your $5-8 admission buys you a map, a wristband that entitles you to drink specials, and a posse of fresh booze-bound cronies. The crawl begins at 4 p.m. at the Northstar Cafe, 1560 Powell (at Green), S.F. Call 515-5222 or visit

Sunday, September 19, 2004
It's not enough, apparently, to convene just one underpants-only group bicycle ride. Critical Ass organizer Brian Caraway looks forward to the event's nationwide expansion. "This time, it will be National Ass," he tells us by phone, "with people in Brooklyn and Portland participating on the exact same day." The bizarre bike outing began in New York as an affectionate spoof of the monthly Critical Mass ride; Caraway points out that the San Francisco tour "is like coming full circle, since this is where Critical Mass started." How strict is the undress code? "Strict," Caraway says without hesitation. "But whatever you consider undergarments is OK." After a brief disagreement about tights and T-shirts (he thinks they're underwear; we don't), he further clarifies, "It doesn't have to be full lingerie." Ride like the wind, starting at 1 p.m. at the 16th Street BART Station, 16th & Mission streets, S.F. Participation is free (but you have to buy your own beer); e-mail

Monday, September 20, 2004
Remember when Nirvana struck audio gold with Nevermind and a slew of A&R folks started scouring the Seattle clubs for the Next Big Grunge Thing? Well, the same thing has happened on a smaller scale in Detroit, home of so-called rock 'n' roll saviors the White Stripes, mostly thanks to lead singer Jack White's Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit compilation. But for some reason, no major label has yet scooped up the finest of the current Rock City indie acts, the sonic alchemists known as the Hentchmen. On the trio's latest release, Form Follows Function, it jitters and shakes through a sizzling lineup of tracks, sounding like a low-fi '60s garage band interpreting old Seeds and Replacements tunes. Tonight the Hentchmen join saucy girly-rockers the Bobbyteens in opening for Japan's the's 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

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
When Westerners hear anything about Muslim culture, it's typically outsider alarmism. But a work in which we actually hear from those who live in a religious regime and under the veil is all too rare. And that's why Marjane Satrapi's new graphic novel, Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return, is all the more amazing. Satrapi's autobiographical cartoons trace her life from the time she fled Iran's fundamentalist culture (chronicled in her first book, the best-selling Persepolis) to live a life of wild freedom, absurd prejudice, and abject hunger in Austria to the years after she returned, homesick, to the country of her birth, fully aware of the privileges -- and the disadvantages -- she left behind. Climb inside the mind of a courageous, conflicted woman when Satrapi reads from Persepolis 2 at 12:30 p.m. at Stacey's, 581 Market (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 421-4687 or visit

Calendar submissions can be mailed to 185 Berry, Suite 3800, San Francisco, CA 94107; faxed to 777-1839; or e-mailed to at least three weeks in advance of your event.


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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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