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Girl Talk 

Women MCs throw down

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FRI 9/23

Most of us are aware that rap is a genre raging with a legendary testosterone level and a lot of cooked-up beefs full of hyperbolic misogyny. A crotch-grabbing braggadocio has long dogged hip hop's heels, for better or worse. But if you think freestyle battling (the phenomenon of improvisational rhyming that usually pits one rapper against another) is solely the terrain of caustic greats like Biz Markie or KRS-One, think again. The male-dominated world of verbal warfare has often been populated by lyrical minxes like Jean Grae and Medusa, whose spontaneous dime-dropping talents reveal a craft that can't be eclipsed by booty-shaking beats. Oakland's "LIP: An All Grrrl MC Battle" gives female rappers and spoken-word poets the chance to showcase their talents by spitting off-the-cuff manifestoes. Round 1 has artists reciting original written work over randomly selected grooves; and Round 2 has them ad-libbing their flow after being given a topic. The last woman standing wins $500, studio time, and local airplay -- definitely more scintillating than a catfight. Witness the verbal chops starting at 10 p.m. at Club Anton, 428 Third St. (at Broadway), Oakland. Admission is $8-12; call (510) 595-5504 or visit www.grrrlbattle.com.
-- Nirmala Nataraj

Rosie's Turn
Barr hits the circuit

FRI-SUN 9/23-25

Roseanne Barr graced the cover of almost every tabloid magazine during her tenure on her groundbreaking sitcom Roseanne. Surprisingly, she did this without the use of oversize sunglasses and a frail, cocaine-thin body. Bizarre, indeed. And what would happen if Roseanne shrieked out the national anthem today, like she did 15 years ago? More than public scorn, perhaps. But that act pretty much summarizes her work as a comedian: ugly controversy stemming from her brilliant comedy. She never meant to be political, merely blunt and honest in recapping her life as a housewife and woman.

Although she crashed through the looking glass of fame into nutsville (reports of multiple personalities, pre-fame prostitution, and a Tom Arnold marriage), she returns to stand-up, and you can catch the legend live starting at 8 and 10:15 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, and at 8 on Sunday, at Cobb's Comedy Club, 915 Columbus (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $27-30; call 928-4320 or visit www.cobbscomedyclub.com.
-- Brock Keeling

Mono's Method
Sonic blasts from Japan

FRI 9/23

Like Mogwai, Japan's Mono features somber, tender guitars, recalling the sun setting in a smoky sky, perhaps during a nuclear holocaust, along with the electric anticipation of a rushing sound-wave, which hits like the hand of God when you least expect it. Things are more subdued on the band's latest, Walking Cloud, Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined, with sustained atmospheres trumping distorted barrages, but one or two bursts, notably the midsong explosion on "Halcyon (Beautiful Days)," will have you seeing your maker when Mono plays live. The Drift and Bellini open at 10 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $10; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.
-- Michael Leaverton

The Booze Explosion

SAT 9/24

"What ever happened to H. Rap Brown?" screams John Wilkes Booze in "White Guilt." (Good question: Sadly, the man who said, "Violence is as American as cherry pie," is in prison.) This Indiana band's shrieky, torn-apart rock is heavily laced with radical politics; soundwise, think Frank Black sucks helium and sings for a tight, pounding garage gang. Kool Teen! opens at 9 p.m. at Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St. (at Wisconsin), S.F. Admission is $6; call 503-0393 or visit www.theeparkside.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

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Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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