This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Touted as the "solo project" of Crooked Jades spark plug Jeff Kazor, Jeff Kazor & the Swerve Beats is, lineupwise, suspiciously close to the Crooked Jades. Three out of four members of the band that made notorious the phrase "Old-Time Is Not a Crime" are also in the new outfit. But it sounds like there's an important difference between the "two" bands: JK & the SBs plays, as famous old-timey-music-lovin' radio station KPIG used to put it, "both kinds of music: country and Hawaiian." That's right -- look for sweet vintage ukuleles, slide guitars, even a marimba. Just don't tell yourself the performance will be free of banjos. It won't. Find out whether Jeff wears a grass skirt as Drew Danburry and Ethan Azarian open at 9 p.m. at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $6; call 647-2888 or visit www.makeoutroom.com.

Thursday, July 7, 2005
People get away with a lot in modern art: If you talk a good game and take pictures of yourself naked, you're all but guaranteed a callback from a gallery. But there's one litmus test that can't be fudged -- good, honest, looks-like-a-naked-person drawing, the hallmark of the figurative school. Kim Frohsin's solo show "In the Abstract: 2004-2005" recalls figurative art's heyday, but not so much that Frohsin is stuck in the past. Using ink and ink washes, she combines formal techniques with the raw possibilities of abstraction, producing portraits of nudes in a variety of poses, with faces obscured, that are both aesthetically honest and emotionally powerful. The opening reception starts at 5:30 p.m. (and the show runs through Aug. 27) at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery, 210 Post (at Grant), Second Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 956-3560 or visit www.dolbychadwickgallery.com.

Friday, July 8, 2005
You seldom see knitting in an artist's studio, unless there's something awfully odd being stitched together. That's definitely the case in Susan Field's shop. Using the French Canadian craft skills she learned as a kid, Field incorporates unusual bits of material into her work, such as cigarette butts from public ashtrays. Before you throw away your lunch, check out the results: Butt Quilt consists of a quilt fastened to a kiddie's metal bedspring, with the butts embroidered or squished into a fetal position and wrapped in a cage. That's something to think about. The opening reception for "Stitches and Other Connections: Handmade Sewing and Knitting Linking a French Canadian Past to the Future" starts at 6 p.m. (and the show runs through Aug. 13) at the Meridian Gallery, 545 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. Admission is free; call 398-7229 or visit www.meridiangallery.org.

Saturday, July 9, 2005
In Purple Rain, Morris Day played a veteran funk leader heading a tight band against Prince's tortured artiste wrestling an oversize motorcycle. Day stole the show, or at least his scenes, sliding across the stage on slick heels, eyebrows arched, hair foppishly coiffed, perpetually surprised at his own greatness. ("Did Morris Day actuallydrop that move?" he seemed to unceasingly wonder.) His music also rocked: Suburban boys, wary of the perspiring purple one, took to Day's funk like nothing else in the film. Now, Day is opening for another tortured singer, afflicted for entirely different reasons: MC Hammer, performing in who knows what incarnation (but hopefully the one wearing the big pants). The "Old School Funk Fest Reunion"starts at 2 p.m. at the Chronicle Pavilion, 2000 Kirker Pass (at Clayton), Concord. Admission is $24-65.50; visit www.chroniclepavilion.com.

Sunday, July 10, 2005
Although the cars are relatively tiny -- they're not to exceed 7 inches in length or 5 ounces in weight (which is a fine size, honey) -- organizers of the Hotel Utah Pinebox Derbyare taking the whole thing very seriously, even building a 37-foot track along the bar. And even though the jalopy-building instructions include phrases that are pretty funny, like "Over-application of lubricant ... is not allowed," the whole undertaking seems infused with a menacing hillbilly deadpan. "NO laws, NO holds barred, NO stinkin' merit badges!" blares the Web site. What about the prohibited lubricant? Find out whose machine is best, starting at 3 p.m. at the Hotel Utah Saloon, 500 Fourth St. (at Bryant), S.F. Spectating is free; call 546-6300 or visit www.thehotelutahsaloon.com.

Monday, July 11, 2005
The film Mana -- Beyond Belief concerns "power objects," defined by filmmakers Peter Friedman and Roger Manley as things that elicit strong emotions or beliefs, whether it's the Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma, a $174,000 tuna from the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, or, for us, two carnitas tacos and a watermelon agua fresca from Nick's Crispy Tacos on Polk. The film travels the world, visiting mystical places and objects both expected (rain forests in New Zealand; voodoo ceremonies in Benin) and unexpected (the halls of Congress; the lowriders of New Mexico), showing how people interact with the sacred. A meditative film with profound cinematography, Mana plays nightly through Thursday at 6, 8, and 9:45, as well as at 2 and 4 on Wednesday, at the Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $4-8; call 863-1087 or visit www.roxie.com.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Grand Guignol theater -- macabre, disquieting, often disgusting -- is experiencing a modern resurgence, and the latest shockfest takes on two elements of the genre: hypnosis and the guillotine. Tonight's show opens with UC Berkeley professor Mel Gordon's presentation on the unconscious art, followed by portions of the long-lost erotic film Hypnosis: Hanussen's First Adventure by Erik Jan Hanussen, a clairvoyant who worked with Hitler. Then comes the shock theater, with S.F.'s Thrillpeddlers wheeling out a guillotine fashioned after a 1792 original and performing two Guignol plays: The Guillotinefrom 1930 and Lips of the Damned, a modern production by Robert Keefe. "Unfettered Souls: Hypnosis, Grand Guignol, and the Guillotine" starts at 7 at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $10; call 255-4800 or visit www.sfpalm.org.


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