Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Giving new meaning to the old term "peace punk" (coined, as far as we know, during the Reagan years), Jericho's Echo is a filmic chronicle of the small, intense Israeli punk rock scene. Facing bombings, mandatory military service, and severe political and religious beliefs on all sides, the kids profiled here are understandably pissed. They mostly want what lots of kids want: to rock, to be free, to look awesome, and to differentiate themselves from their elders. Although their political ideas range all over the spectrum, the interviewees mostly seem to think peace with Palestine is at least possible and definitely desirable -- even the band members whose lead singer got blown up. Jericho's Echo screens as part of the Jewish Film Festival at 10:30 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (near Market), S.F. Admission is $5.50-8.50; call 621-6120 or visit www.castrotheatresf.com.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Curators gone wild! Seriously: "Daily Dose" is a five-week stretch of art openings, with a new exhibit going up every day. Is it some sort of death wish the organizers have? Are they trying to create scheduling mayhem among gallerygoers? And while some people might try to pull off this kind of thing as a fun gimmick and throw any old thing up on the walls, the quality of the art here is high, high, high. The sweet, semiperverted, and always brightly colored work of Matt Furie lurks on the horizon (Aug. 11), for example, as do the concentrated concentric spiralism of Oliver Halsman Rosenberg (July 29) and Kelly Tunstall's diva-matics (Aug. 6 and 7, with Riley McFerrin). Today, the art opening features the work of Vincent Perea, starting at noon at Low Gallery, 487 14th St. (at Guerrero), S.F. Admission is free; visit www.lowgallery.com.
Friday, July 29, 2005
The setup is simple: You tell jokes instead of singing songs. A machine feeds you your lines, and you get to go nuts pretending you're Rodney Dangerfield. "Joke-e-oke" is brilliant in its conception, but how does it pan out onstage? It seems like it could go either way: People could get up there and butcher your favorite vintage Richard Pryor material, or they could blow you away with a semiprofessional Roseanne Barr impersonation. The event often includes some battling, arbitrated by "celebrity judges" (if you're lucky, the inflatable male doll judge will be jazzed about your Margaret Cho), as well as some noncompetitive stage time. The sincerest form of flattery starts at 8:30 p.m. at Rx Gallery, 132 Eddy (at Mason), S.F. Admission is free; call 474-7973 or visit www.angrywaiter4am.com.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Stephen Adly Guirgis' Jesus Hopped the "A" Train, coming off runs in New York, London, and Edinburgh (where it won the Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award), is all but destined for success in our city: It features a pissed-off bike messenger, a public defender, a born-again serial killer, and a few prison guards thrown into the boiling cauldron of Rikers Island, where they confront the serious matters of justice, faith, free will -- all the biggies -- in site-specific nasty language. One problem: Guirgis is a former writer for NYPD Blue. Can he avoid clichés? "Whenever it appears that Jesus is settling into familiar territory, it slides right beneath expectations into another, fresher direction," said the New York Times. The play starts at 8 p.m. (and continues through Aug. 20) at the Fellowship Church, 2041 Larkin (at Broadway), S.F. Admission is $18-20; call 776-4910 or visit www.fellowshipsf.org.
Sunday, July 31, 2005
As a project of recording engineer John Askew, Tracker might have wound up as a showoffy conglomeration of loops and bleeps -- it must be tempting to sit in front of a board with only yourself to please. But on Polk, the group (Askew plus talented friends) sounds rich with honest instrumentation and genuine songwriting skill. It's a road-trip album, expansive film-score stuff deserving of its many comparisons to Giant Sand and Califone. But for all Askew's restraint, it's still a recording with fancy crewelwork around the edges, and the textured bits and bright, unexpected spots are woven expertly into the music's calm Americana fabric. Tracker plays with the Red Thread and Mandrake 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.
Monday, August 1, 2005
Josh Emmons' The Loss of Leon Meed, set in Eureka, is one of those rare books in which plot is unimportant, which is a good thing, because the plot is a slippery concept: a man who mysteriously appears and disappears in the damnedest places, such as someone's shower or waffling in the ocean's shore break. Other than that, you've got one long exercise in character study, with the writer dallying with each of the myriad people exposed to the man before moving on to the next. Emmons, though, dazzles with his sentences, taking risks with all the writerly challenges -- unexpected word choice, unexpected metaphors, unexpected nouns as verbs -- and nailing each like a young Jonathan Franzen. He reads at 7 p.m. at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), S.F. Admission is free; call 441-6670 or visit www.bookstore.com.