This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Bittersweet, atmospheric, slightly harsh folk music may sound like a done deal. When you hear it, you probably figure you know what it's about: the singer's sad love affairs. But when John Dwyer, of Pink & Brown and Coachwhips fame, is the one making it, you don't know shit. Here's what the lyrics to Dwyer's "mellow" music say: "I'm going to destroy you/ Even though your parents have begged me not to." Granted, this is about a sad affair, but it doesn't have anything to do with love. The band is called OCS, and the music has very little screaming of either human or guitar, but it's John Dwyer, all the way. Emma Zunz opens at 9 p.m. at the Hotel Utah, 500 Fourth St. (at Bryant), S.F. Admission is $6; call 546-6300 or visit www.hotelutah.com.

Thursday, August 11, 2005
It doesn't take much to be a sculptor. Attack a hunk of balsa with a butter knife, and you're toiling in Rodin's shadow. But the big stuff -- sinking a 50-foot arrow into the waterfront or sending a curvilinear mess of iron to the clouds -- that's where the action is, and that's what you'll find at Sculpturesite, a new indoor/outdoor space with room for crazy ideas. Its opening show, "Vernissage,"features selections by more than 20 artists, including large-scale pieces by Bruce Beasley, Jeffery Laudenslager, and Clement Meadmore, built with all the sound and fury of proper metalwork. Bret Price, for one, bent an enormous steel beam by building a heat chamber around it. That's our boy. The opening reception starts at 5 p.m. at the Sculpturesite Gallery, Convention Center Plaza, 201 Third St. (at Howard), Suite 102, S.F. Admission is free; call 495-6400 or visit www.sculpturesite.com.

Friday, August 12, 2005
Rapid-fire filmmaking contests, such as Cinemasports' now-worldwide fest, are a little gimmicky -- single takes are fine for actors, but editing should never be an improv act. The Un-Scripted Theater Company, however, takes the idea to such an absurd length that it's practically avant-garde. The aptly titled "Impossible Film Project" creates a movie minutes before showtime, based on suggestions from the very audience attending the show. Confused? Let's break it down: Improv actors, armed with cameras, hit the streets after you tell them what you want to see. Somehow this becomes a film in "mere minutes," as promised by Un-Scripted on its Web site. Can the group pull it off? It already did in New York. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. (and continues through Aug. 30) at the Dark Room, 2263 Mission (at 18th Street), S.F. Admission is $8-12; call 401-7987 or visit www.darkroomsf.com.

Saturday, August 13, 2005
A modern adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Tom Smith's Dangerous centers on a group of young gay men in the midst of love, seduction, and betrayal. Smith is a New Mexico State professor with several original plays and Shakespeare adaptations to his credit, and the production won rave reviews in London when it premiered there last year. Laclos' novel is set in 18th-century France, following the outrageous love affairs of high society's most sex-crazed aristocrats; this update moves the story to the modern gay social scene, turning one character into a gym trainer and another into a soon-to-be-ordained priest. Sounds positively scandalous. It plays tonight at 8 (and continues through Sept. 11) at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Admission is $22-40; call 861-8972 or visit www.nctcsf.org.

Sunday, August 14, 2005
"We will frock you," organizers promise, and they mean it: It's the Faux Queen Pageant, in which "women trapped in drag queens' bodies" will strut across the stage, collecting points from celebrity judges and tips from the audience on how they could look even, um, better. This is serious stuff for a good cause: Contestants will be scored on drag presentation, talent, and personality, and the proceeds go to two worthy organizations, San Francisco Sex Information and the St. James Infirmary. There will, of course, also be musical entertainment. DJ Pusspuss will be on hand to spin funky tunes, and the opening band, Polkacide, promises magical hard-core polka. What else does a girl need? The show starts 7 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 522-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com.

Monday, August 15, 2005
Imagine you're a knight, galloping through wet fog back to your king, swigging port from the Holy Grail, the blood of the Green Knight, Grendel, and a battalion of Orcs staining your blade. Those majestic pip-pip-pipping horns you hear? That's the sound at the end of "Manhattan," one of Head of Femur's seemingly tossed-off, heavily orchestrated flourishes containing God knows how many instruments. The Chicago group is the latest conservatory-grade batch of musicians to cram a year's worth of hooks into a single song, while laying down enough strings and brass to power an "Evening at the Pops." More Architecture in Helsinki than Fiery Furnaces, and more epically grand than both, Femur will have the crowd feeling like a princely lot at tonight's gig. The show starts at 9 at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $8; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.

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