Wednesday, August 3, 2005
The Pacific Film Archive's series highlighting "operatives, surveillants, and saboteurs" in cinema gets really weird with The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, described in the program as a "tawdry biopic" of the former FBI honcho. Made in 1978 but never theatrically released, the film stars Broderick Crawford as Hoover, whose strange sexual habits (not just a rumor here) and Machiavellian rise through the bureau are traced by our narrator, a disgruntled fed played by Rip Torn. Variety panned the movie as "cheap, lurid sensationalism," but director Larry Cohen intended it to be a history lesson, and the PFA program describes it as "scandalous but politically astute." The film starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft (at Bowditch), Berkeley. Admission is $4-8; call (510) 642-1124 or visit www.bampfa.berkeley.edu.
Thursday, August 4, 2005
A New York purveyor of hillbilly printmaking, Cannonball Press, is coming to town with a mission: to serve up prints of chickens to the chicken-print-starved citizenry. The art show/sale "Thanks for Nothing: Losers, Lucky Breaks, and Lost Causes" features work from the Box o' Chickencollaborative box set of woodcuts, as well as individual pieces by the imprint's stable of artists, including David Rees, David Ellis, and S.F.'s own Maya Hayuk. How does one go about creating Cannonball art? As the Web site explains, "Preheat idea in Oven of Rock. Make sure color is off! Allow images to gestate and contort at will." Then comes the kicker, which explains plenty of the chicken-related work on display: "Do not add Fine Art." The event starts at 5 p.m. at 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 974-1719 or visit www.cannonballpress.com.
Friday, August 5, 2005
Francesca Lia Block first crossed our radar 15 years ago with the release of the original Weetzie Bat book, a postmodern, magical-realism pop confection starring the eternally hopeful Weetzie navigating the perilous waters of urban Los Angeles, or "Shangri-LA," with original characters such as My Secret Agent Lover Man, Dirk, and Duck. Since then Block has grown into a young-adult publishing phenom and one of the best chroniclers of urban L.A., writing what she calls "contemporary fairy tales with an edge" that are equally appreciated by adults. Her latest, Necklace of Kisses, released Aug. 2, features Weetzie at 40 and brings back many of the old gang. Block reads at 7 p.m. at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-8688 or visit www.booksmith.com.
Saturday, August 6, 2005
In 2004, Orem, Utah, experienced the shock of its life, an event that rocked the pious foundations of this tranquil, Mormon, outrageously Republican town: Michael Moore was invited to speak at the local college. Egads! Both the students and the locals went batshit, a condition well documented in the film This Divided State; the right, primarily represented by a tenacious millionaire neighbor, expressed outrage that such an "anti-American" would have the nerve to sully dear Orem, a place where Republicans outnumber Democrats 12-to-1. The left, mostly students and faculty, cried free speech. Luckily someone turned on a camera, and we've got a fascinating peek at an unexpectedly fierce war over ideology. This Divided State plays at 5, 7, and 9 p.m. (and continues through Aug. 28) at the Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St. (at Capp), S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 863-7576 or visit www.victoriatheatre.org.
Sunday, August 7, 2005
Liebe Wetzel is a master puppeteer, a virtuoso whose closest competition is the tortured Craig Schwartz in Being John Malkovich (makes you wonder if a cameo wasn't in order). But Wetzel does him one better: Instead of using models in Executive Order 9066, she uses a Japanese tea set, a tablecloth, sand, brown paper, and a suitcase. That's it. No carved wooden faces; no little pairs of pants. The transformation of the everyday items is the stuff of magic, and the plot, too, seems well beyond the reach of Wetzel's peers, dealing with one family's struggle in an internment camp during World War II. And she makes one more forcible break with tradition: Her troupe, Lunatique Fantastique, doesn't use strings. Who says puppetry can't be avant-garde? E.O. 9066 plays at 7 p.m. (and continues through Aug. 28) at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is $15-22; call 826-5750 or visit www.themarsh.org.
Monday, August 8, 2005
The RZA has plenty to say, so it proved necessary to step off the mike, pick up the quill, and pen the wild manifesto The Wu-Tang Manual, detailing "the philosophy and saga" of his many-peopled clan. Some of the insights are what you'd expect (the RZA on Scarface and The Godfather: "They're almost biblical, in terms of their importance in life." And on drugs: "I think weed has been involved in at least 85 percent of all our music"). But there are plenty of surprises -- "Chess is a martial art. It's about the flow of Chi, the ebbing and flowing of universal energies" -- and most welcome is a glossary of terms: "4-9-3-11," for instance, is a "numerical-alphabetical representation of the word dick,'" which should come in handy at the dinner table. The RZA speaks at 7:30 p.m. at the Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin (at Grove), S.F. Admission is $12-18; call 597-6700 or visit www.commonwealthclub.org.
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