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Haunted Happenings 

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22nd Annual Womyn's Spiral Dance: Dance your hippie ass off at this tribute to the Crones, the Goddess, and the grandmothers. (Say what?) In addition to the estrogen-fest, partake in live drumming, crafting, and more. The womyn dressed in the sexiest outfit drinks for free all night. (Just kidding). Fri., Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m., $23-$27, www.daughtersofthegoddess.com. Orinda Masonic Temple, 9 Altarinda Road (at Santa Maria Way), Orinda.

Alternative Tentacles Bat-Fest 2005: Punk rock ledgends Jello Biafra & the Melvins thrash about for your Halloween merriment. Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots and Turn Me On Dead Man open. Mon., Oct. 31, 8 p.m., $!6. Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), 885-0750, www.musichallsf.com.

BATS: Sunday Players Halloween Show: BATS Improv School grads performing at their spookiest. Sun., Oct. 30, 8 p.m., $8, www.improv.org. Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason, Bldg. B (Marina & Buchanan), 474-8935.

Bionic's Hallow's Eve: Even though the place is awash in pink, you're still bound to have a spook-tacular (heh) good time at this French house and electro filled fete. The neighborhood is dicey, but it's still one of the better (and more expensive) places to go get smashed in the inner Mission. You should also dress to impress. Sun., Oct. 30, 9 p.m., $7. Pink, 2925 16th St. (at South Van Ness), 431-8889, www.pinksf.com.

Boo at the Zoo: Dress up the wee ones in their cutest little outfits, and then haul them over to the San Francisco Zoo for a safe trick-or-treat route, surprises, and see amazing creatures both large and small! Sat., Oct. 29, noon, $4.50-$7.50. San Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo (at Skyline), 753-7080, www.sfzoo.org.

Boo at the Zoo Too: East Bay version of the aforementioned Boo at the Zoo. Sat., Oct. 29, 12-4 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 30, 12-4 p.m., $4.50-$7.50. Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Road (at Hwy. 580), Oakland, 510-632-9525, www.oaklandzoo.org.

Boy George: Fresh off of a cocaine bust, Boy George now gets you high on the dance floor when he spins at this popular nightclub. Also, he will judge the costume contest, so look your best or he might turn to the flake again. Sat., Oct. 29, 10 p.m., $25. Ten 15 Folsom, 1015 Folsom (at Seventh St.), 431-1200, www.1015.com.

Brazilian Halloween Costume Party: The Elbo Room eschews the live DJ format that most Halloween parties are doing, and instead brings you Brazilian beats with Bat Makumba and DJ Felina. A great alternative to the numerous DJ-based events going on. Fri., Oct. 28, 9 p.m., $8-$0. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia (at 18th St.), 552-7788, www.elbo.com.

Bumpkin Pumpkin: This two-day dance party that goes deep into the night is perfect for those looking to groove in a nice downtown venue, minus the pretentiousness. DJs Kyau, Albert, Pulser, Robert Nickson, Seep Voices, Mars, Weired psyants, Angel, Rohan, & more hit the decks. Fri., Oct. 28, 9 p.m.-4 a.m., $30-$60. Terra, 511 Harrison (at First St.), 864-8833, www.terrasf.com.

The Castro's Halloween Party: For years the Castro has been the epicenter of Halloween. All things out-of-this-world, strange, and spectacular happen here on Halloween night. Although over the past few years the climate has changed to that of slack-jawed gawkers and a surprisingly homophobic taint, it still remains a must-see event for new arrivals to the city. Mon., Oct. 31, 7 p.m., free, www.halloweeninthecastro.com. Castro, (at Market).

Club ID's Midnight Cabaret Halloween Ball: The Holy Kiss & Madelia perform at this bi-monthly club night's Halloween party where the avant-garde and tres chic 18-and-over set gather. LA's The Pindown Dolls will perform their signature style of burlesque, while DJ Fletcher helps you bop your head to '80s rock, Britpop, and electro beats. Costumes and a hipper-than-thou attitude are a must. Fri., Oct. 28, 10 p.m., $7-$8. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell (at Van Ness), 861-2011, www.rickshawstop.com.

The Connecticut Yankee's Annual Halloween Party: The Connecticut Yankee shakes up its usual offering of Americana and jam rock by showcasing live DJs pumping out rock, soul, jazz, and reggae for this dance party. And the best part of it all? It's free. Sat., Oct. 29, 10 p.m., free. The Connecticut Yankee, 100 Connecticut (at 17th St.), 552-4440, www.theyankee.com.

Creep: Have a spookily awesome Halloween at the not-so-spooky and sterile Metreon megaplex. Jillian's hosts a dance party near downtown. Expect a costume contest and DJ Fuze spinning club hits, hip hop, and R&B beats. Sat., Oct. 29, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., $5 in costume. Jillian's, 101 Fourth St. (at Mission), 369-6100, www.jillians.com.

Dark & Misunderstood: Not nearly as depressing as the name might suggest, this festive fete features live painters, "cat juggling" (oh dear, we hope not), costume contests, dancers, and more. DJs Mike Nice, Omar, Lady Lovely & the Bastard Prince, and Kozmo spin rare grooves, break beats, trip-hop, electro, and new wave all night long. Sat., Oct. 29, 9 p.m., $5. Madrone Lounge, 500 Divisadero (at Fell), 241-0202, www.madronelounge.com.

Dark Sparkle's Halloween Party: Spend Halloween in a gorgeous former speak-easy transformed into a haunted house, while you dance to dark Gothic beats. Michael Sparkle and MM host a night of debauchery, costume contests, treats, and more -- a perfect place to escape the Castro melee happening just outside. Mon., Oct. 31, 9 p.m., $15-$20. Café Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), 861-5016, www.cafedunord.com.

Deep-Ocean Halloween Play Party: Drink, dance, and play truth or dare while you learn more about your own erotic desires at this didactic and sexually charged party. To stave off gawkers, costumes will be mandatory. Fri., Oct. 28, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., $10-$40. Center for Sex & Culture, 398 11th St. (at Harrison), 255-1155, www.pervercity.org.

Disco Circus: Ruben Mancias, Franky Boissy, Craig C., and Bus Station John (one of the city's finest DJs and best-kept secrets) spin unique sets of modern, '70s, and '80s disco at this ghoulishly good party. Obviously, '70s attire is strongly encouraged. Sun., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.-4 a.m., $10-$15. Mighty, 119 Utah (at 15th St.), 626-7001, www.mighty119.com.

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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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