This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, November 3, 2004
By the time you read this, you'll know whether we have a new president or not (that tidbit was unavailable at press time). Either way, Bay Area residents plan to keep the pressure on the guy headed for the Oval Office. The Anti-War March and Rally-- sponsored by the national Not In Our Name Project -- sounds like a good way to celebrate or regroup, depending. Regardless, if you'd like to spend some post-election time with left-wingers, here's your chance. Against the USA PATRIOT Act? Pissed about the government arresting people and holding them incommunicado based on the color of their skin? You won't be alone tonight. Speaking of which, this is the first evening demonstration we've heard of in quite a while: Organizers encourage noisemakers and flashlights, starting at 5 p.m. at Powell and Market, S.F. Admission is free; call (510) 601-8000 or visit www.bayarea.notinourname.net.

Thursday, November 4, 2004
No matter how bleak things seem, every month, art galleries all over the city shed their old exhibits and grow a new crop. First Thursday comes every month, rain or shine, election, recession, or economic depression. No matter what, the good people at Rena Bransten, Dolby Chadwick, Braunstein/Quay, Gallery Paule Anglim, and all their friends in the downtown area (and plenty of others in various neighborhoods, notably the Mission) open their doors during the evening and invite the public to see and be seen while enjoying world-class art. Students, curious riffraff, society types, and those interested in free snacks regularly flock in and around the scene, starting at 5:30 p.m. at various locations (which change from month to month), especially the multi-gallery locations of 49 and 77 Geary (between Grant and Third streets) and 251 Post (at Grant), S.F. Call 788-9818 or visit www.sfada.com for links to some likely participants.

Friday, November 5, 2004
Big surprise: The only multi-day celebration of funk music in the world (according to its press materials) happens right here in the Bay Area. We tend to be serious lovers of the bass-heavy, sexed-up genre in this town, and have been so ever since Sly Stone's toes started tapping over in Vallejo. This year, the Funk Festival features a slew of bands, dancing, soul food, and DJs, along with something new that should draw plenty of would-be funksters: "Funk School" includes workshops from the Meters' guitarist, Leo Nocentelli, and Sly's own drummer, Greg Errico, as well as a lecture from the biggest funk nut around, Rickey Vincent. The KPFA "The History of Funk" DJ also goes by Uhuru Maggot, and he loves funk so much he wrote a doctoral thesis and a book on it. The fest starts at 10 p.m. (and continues through Nov. 12 at various locations) at the Elbo Room, 647 Valencia (at 18th St.), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 552-7788 or visit www.sffunk.com.

Saturday, November 6, 2004
We admit that we've got a thing for pathetic superheroes. You might think that's a contradiction in terms, especially if you've never seen (or worse, didn't like) Mystery Men, a cinematic meditation on lame caped crusaders starring Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, et al. (Hey, we own the DVD.) Imagine our joy, then, at hearing of the new production from Impact Theatre called Meanwhile, Back at the Super Lair. The plot of Greg Kalleres' play revolves around the Human Fly, Silver Streak, Rhino Man, and Leopard Woman, who may once have saved Sate City, but who now mostly play video games at the titular Super Lair, a municipally funded apartment. Subjected to the investigations of a city-appointed efficiency expert, the superdorks' livelihoods are at stake, and they must battle not only a petty bureaucrat but also a brand-new supervillian, starting tonight at 8 (and running through Dec. 11) at La Val's Subterranean Theatre, 1834 Euclid (at Hearst), Berkeley. Admission is $10-15 (Thursdays are pay-what-you-can); call (510) 464-4468 or visit www.impacttheatre.com.

Sunday, November 7, 2004
If you're lucky, you've never felt true desperation. Angst, probably. Anxiety, sure. But not the kind of brutal desperation that can drive you to take a terrible chance in hopes of a payoff that could change your life. At the beginning of the luminous Spanish-language film Maria Full of Grace, Maria is unemployed, pregnant, and 17, and is just frantic enough to agree to swallow dozens of rubber-covered pellets of heroin and transport them from Colombia to the United States. But her impetuous reach for a better life only lands her in deeper danger. Nearly a documentary -- surely there is no more dispassionately informative look at the mechanics of drug smuggling -- but really a searing fictionalized look at the motivations of those who work as mules, Maria is an absolutely devastating but curiously beautiful punch in the gut. Take the blow at 2 p.m. (and 4:15, 7:15, and 9:25 p.m. today and 7:15 and 9:25 p.m. tomorrow) at the Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 668-3994 or visit www.redvicmoviehouse.com.

Monday, November 8, 2004
Textiles completely surround us, from paper towels to clothes to random swatches of fabric (look at your cubicle walls!), so we might be smart to give the stuff some thought. Artists and designers think about it a lot, since they're the ones making the original patterns that are repeated over and over on your car seats (and your beloved wallpaper and your pretty bedspread and ...). "The Art of Textile and Surface Design" is an exhibit of such originals from a group of local textile designers: Our favorite is San Francisco Toileby Jean Bowler, featuring floaty, idyllic scenes of the Tea Garden, the Palace of Fine Arts, and guess which bridge. The show begins at 8 a.m. today (and runs through Feb. 4) at the Mills Building, 220 Montgomery (at Bush), S.F. Admission is free; call 399-0333.

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