This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Anyone who's tried facing off with police during a protest probably has wondered, "What are they thinking?" Sometimes the thin blue line betrays emotion or offers an opinion, but in tense situations, officers of the peace usually keep mum and put on that scary blank expression. So what are they thinking? Documentary filmmaker George Paul Csicsery was a rabble-rouser in the 1960s and was beaten by cops during Stop the Draft Week in 1967. Recently he tracked down several retired members of the Oakland Police Department -- guys who confronted anti-war protesters and Black Panthers back in the day. Find out what they thought in The Thursday Club, which shows at 7:30 p.m. in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Screening Room, 700 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $6-7; call 978-2787 or visit www.ybca.org.

Thursday, April 21, 2005
As performers on one of the world's best albums, the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, Desmond Dekker & the Aces would be worth seeing live on the strength of the single track that appears on that record, "007 (Shanty Town)." But the singer and his celebrated backup group are also some of the most famous practitioners of mod, ska, and reggae styles, having recorded mighty classics such as "The Israelites" and "Unity." One of Jamaica's first angry young "rude boys," Dekker helped pioneer that genre's tough, political style. Whatever the sound, the crooner's sweet but never syrupy falsetto carries the emotion and rocks the beat. Monkey opens at 9 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $23-25; call 255-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com.

Friday, April 22, 2005
In the early 1990s, Camille Paglia caused a stir by revealing herself, in her book Sexual Personae, to be that rare species: a smart woman who dislikes feminism. She's now set out to prove that she also dislikes pedantry, academic jargon, and the language of theory with her latest work, Break Blow Burn. Subtitled "Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems," the hot-pink tome looks at verse by Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and Joni Mitchell, among many others. Whether you agree with her point of view or not, Paglia's interesting enough to deserve your attention. The author reads from and signs copies of Breakat 7 p.m. at the Park Branch Library, 1833 Page (at Cole), S.F. Admission is free; call 666-7155 or visit www.booksmith.com.

Saturday, April 23, 2005
If we could have just one superpower, we'd want an inner surround sound that could control all the volume within a one-block radius of our delicate eardrums. We would turn down the drunken yahoos yelling beneath our window at 2 a.m. and reduce the thundering construction outside our office to a mere rumble. But if the raw reverb of rock 'n' roll came rolling in, we'd use our personal volume knob to turn the sound up -- way up. Tonight the Loud Music Symposium hosts several acts that would do our superpower proud. Hosted by trumpet blaster Adam Rapa, the cacophonous evening swerves from the sci-fi psychobilly of the Phenomenauts to the brassy percussion of the Renegades Drum & Bugle Corps. Get out your earplugs at 7 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), S.F. Admission is $15; call 392-4400 or visit www.renegades.org.

Sunday, April 24, 2005
Tattoo artists who also paint often make tattoo-based paintings, which is great. But Karina Figueroatakes the opposite tack: She makes washy, painterly portraits with odd pastel hues and broad brush strokes that show a keen eye for figure drawing. While Figueroa's lone subjects get their proportions slightly toyed with, the works are nonetheless serious portraiture, inviting speculation into the characters of the people who gaze coolly back at you from the canvas. Figueroa's pieces are a far cry from flash, and though her tattoo work is impressive in its own right, we know that art aficionados -- whether skin-work fans or not -- will especially appreciate this show. The unnamed exhibition is up through May 14 at Arspace Gallery, 1286 Folsom (at Ninth Street), S.F. Admission is free; visit www.arspace.org.

Monday, April 25, 2005
With our day jobs to hack through and cats to feed, who has time to rifle through the used record bins at thrift stores to find that perfect score? Luckily, Los Angeles based Scram Magazine's new book, Lost in the Grooves, paws through the dusty bins so we don't have to, offering more than 100 tributes to obscure aural ephemera. Scram's vinyl junkies come to the Bay Area tonight to share stories about their most demented finds. Highlights include Jay Hinman's lecture on "The Future of the Music Dork in the Digital Age" and John Trubee's Behind the Music style tale of making a fake suicide threat to get a record deal. Give the geeks some love at 7:30 at Moe's Books, 2476 Telegraph (at Dwight), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 849-2087 or visit www.moesbooks.com.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005
"Gender in a blender" is one description of the Trannyshack Faux King Contest, from the organizer's Web site. That makes the event sound bloody, but we're pretty sure no drag kings were harmed in the production of this gleefully bent set of performances. Even so, conventional notions like "boy" and "girl" are definitely in danger tonight, as men who dress in women's clothing dress as women who dress in men's clothing. Got that? Feminine men aping the various aspects of women's masculinity should be the basis for some highly entertaining lip-syncing, if not serious questioning of sex-role stereotypes; either way, you'll be a better man for attending this cavalcade of stick-on mustaches and unnecessary trouser-stuffing. Host Fudgie Frottage and judges Heklina, Princess Kennedy, and Metal Patricia help find the successor to last year's winner, Marty Pants. May the best human win at 11 p.m. at the Stud, 399 Ninth St. (at Harrison), S.F. Admission is $8; call 252-7883 or visit www.heklina.com.


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