This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
We went to the last "Punk Sound Night," very excited to see raw footage of Le Tigre frontwoman Kathleen Hanna's old band, Bikini Kill. The early 1990s videotape had been shot by fans, and the evening included other cool acts in oldfangled low-production-value home movies as well as some professional stuff from the same era. It was awesome. But there was hardly anyone there! We couldn't believe it, so we had to let you know that this time, "PSN" focuses on X Ray Spex, a documentary about the truly amazing band of the same name, featuring punk saxophone queen Lora Logic and the uniquely talented lungs of singer Poly Styrene. Again, assorted other clips round out the evening. Let's see some butts in those seats this time, people. The strong possibility of seeing "Oh Bondage, Up Yours" performed begins at 8 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890 or visit www.atasite.org.

Thursday, September 30, 2004
Monsters are in this season. Ghouls, werewolves, and the walking undead are the new black, as far as your fall wardrobe is concerned. Green eye shadow? Forget it! Cover your whole face with the stuff. This trend may not yet have hit the runways of Milan, but at "Stiff, Dead & Green," an exhibit of monster-oriented art, it's quite the thing. Anchored by that sick girl Isabel Samaras (you've probably seen her Frankenstein couple going at it on any number of rockabilly concert fliers), the show also features the terror of Jim Winters' drawings, the weird-but-cute creations of Flower Frankenstein, and tons more white-hot monstrosity, through Oct. 31 at the National Product Gallery, 1845 Market (at Guerrero), S.F. Admission is free; call 255-1920 or visit www.nationalproduct.us.

Friday, October 1, 2004
If you've dreamt of presenting your unblemished white neck for a vampire's nibble, start letting down your defenses at "The Hunger," the second yearly gathering for the fiends who inhabit our local Vampire Club. The Biting Booth is a main attraction, accompanied by a nook devoted to ice play and a frisky dungeon space. The evening also boasts hands-off activities -- belly and fire dancing performances, a vampire costume contest, gloomy goth spinning by DJs Slaveboy, Digitalsidhe, and Prince Tristan (someoneknows his Anne Rice erotica!), and all the mingling with fellow pale, pierced, and pain-seeking would-be bloodsuckers you desire. Don a macabre costume or risk drawing sneers -- hey, how many other nights of the year do you get an opportunity to wear your cat-eye contact lenses? -- at 9 p.m. at the Rawhide, 280 Seventh St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10-20; call 621-1197 or visit www.thehunger.org.

Saturday, October 2, 2004
Mimes get a bad rap, but after being exposed to other people's shriekingly loud cell phone conversations on the bus every day we're not so sure that anything done silently is such a horrible thing, even if most mimes do enjoy capering and prancing a bit too much for our comfort. Fortunately, the performers of the Kinetic Theory Experimental Theatre, whose soundless spectacles are accompanied by live accordion music, have turned their backs on old-school mime tricks: You won't find them descending an imaginary staircase or pretending to be trapped inside a box. Instead, the plotline behind the company's new show, Gruesome Tales of Death and Destruction, concerns a street musician who happens upon a twisted graphic novel whose stories of perversion and violence suddenly begin to come to life in front of him. The play continues tonight (and runs through Oct. 31) at 8 p.m. at the Odeon Bar, 3223 Mission (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $10; call 289-6808.

Sunday, October 3, 2004
Some come to the Castro Street Fairfor the beer, some for the arts and crafts, some for the opportunity to cruise shirtless men and/or scantily clad ladies under the ever-present San Francisco fall sun. But us, we dig the festival for the music. This year the traditional 18th Street Latin sound stage is replaced with the final pageant of the Cutest of the Castro competition, while the country-and-western and electronica (aka the "club dance stage") areas return for another whirl. But the main stage is where it's really at, with the saucy all-male tribute act Mandonna, tranny-rock band Pepperspray, and, um, the exceedingly unique show tune style covers ('70s AC/DC, Kiss, and Zeppelin hits) of the Ethel Merman Experience. Best of all, at 3 p.m. San Francisco's own '80s sensation, the Tubes, gives us one of our favorite new wave era pop songs, "White Punks on Dope," one more time. Start getting way, way down at 11 a.m. along Castro between Market and 18th streets, S.F. Your $3 donation gets you $1 off beer and water all day; call 285-8546 or visit www.castrostreetfair.org.

Monday, October 4, 2004
While most of us here on the Left Coast saw the collapse of the World Trade Center on television from a distance of more than 2,500 miles, comic artist Art Spiegelman was there in person when the towers went down. It's no surprise, then, that the cartoonist who's spent his career working out his psychic kinks through his drawings (most famously in the Maus series, inspired by his father's real-life experiences at Auschwitz) would try to exorcise the lingering memories of that horrible day with his latest book, In the Shadow of No Towers. The oversized illustrated book narrates Spiegelman's swings between grief, rage, and a desire to escape into the comics that have always been his solace. Hear the author discuss his work tonight at 7 at the Jewish Community Center, 3200 California (at Presidio), S.F. Admission is free, but tickets must be picked up before the event at the JCC or at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Cole), S.F.; call 863-8688 or visit www.jccsf.org.

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