Thursday, November 3, 2005
Joe Mangrum's award-winning installation Fragile, constructed at the Florence Biennale art show in Italy, is indeed a precarious piece: a 13-level pyramid sprinkled with items ranging from coffee, timber, and tobacco to drugs and oil. Astute readers will note that these items are among the world's prime commodities (the gold-leaf-wrapped bricks should clue you in). Below them, arranged in a precise mandala, are examples of the world's key foods, such as beans, rice, garlic, and oranges, which spill out from the lofty structure like blood from a wound. It's a startling work, fascinating to look at and wide open for interpretation. Tonight Mangrum unveils his latest "immersive environment," which he claims will fill the space floor to ceiling, along with photos from past mammoth projects, including Detonation Earth and Breathless. Opening night starts at 5:30 (and the exhibition continues through Nov. 25) at the Urbis Artium Gallery, 49 Geary (at Kearny), Suite 202, S.F. Admission is free; call 369-9404 or visit www.urbis-artium.com.
Friday, November 4, 2005
The movie Purple Rain featured Prince as we'd never seen him: a funny little man in odd clothes riding an impossibly large motorcycle, his posture weirdly erect. But what singing! And rapid guitarwork! Now you can watch the classic while matching notes with the man himself (and let's not forget Morris Day) at "Sing-Along Purple Rain," courtesy of Peaches Christ's "Midnight Mass." Picture yourself crooning the slow chorus with the audience -- "Pur-ple rain, pur-ple rain" -- then staggering to your feet, balling your fists until your wrists nearly snap, and unleashing, in your best Princely squeak, "I only want 2 see U, only want 2 see U," as you consider the ceiling, sobbing. Purple Rain screens at midnight tonight and tomorrow at the Bridge Theatre, 3010 Geary (at Blake), S.F. Admission is $10; call 267-4893 or visit www.peacheschrist.com.
Saturday, November 5, 2005
Using little more than a can-do attitude and a shit-eating grin, Harmon Leon has made a career of infiltrating various locales (including SF Weekly) and wildly pushing buttons to find out what makes people tick. He takes on the political right in his book Republican Like Me: Infiltrating Red-State, White-Ass, and Blue-Suit America. The cover photo, featuring Leon shirtless (perhaps pantsless?) and holding an American flag over his genitals (which are presumably quite large), ably primes you for the muckraking inside: Leon working security at an "Arnold for Governor" rally, Leon as a tattooed homebuyer in a gated community, Leon as an angry store clerk at the Knob Creek Biannual Machine Gun Shoot. Regardless of his disguise, he's always an investigative wiseass. Leon 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.
Sunday, November 6, 2005
A book fair can usually get away with a few tables of books and a smattering of speakers, but the Jewish Community Center doesn't do things halfway (just look at its multimillion-dollar redesign). This year's San Francisco Jewish BookFest packs 26 writers into 13 panels, and covers such topics as black-Jewish relations in America, Jewish guilt, cabala, Yiddish culture, and modern poetry and fiction. Standout speakers include Rabbi Alan Lew from San Francisco's Congregation Beth Sholom; fiction writers Aimee Bender, Julie Orringer, and Todd Hasak-Lowy; Willis Barnstone, professor emeritus of comparative literature at Indiana University; and children's authors Marilyn Sachs and Roni Schotter. The BookFest starts at 10:30 a.m. at the JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California (at Presidio), S.F. Admission is free; call 292-1200 or visit www.jccsf.org.
Monday, November 7, 2005
Pre-Code movies are now a staple of the festival circuit, with audiences chomping at the bit for 1930s smut. Yet film geeks are always whining, "What about Paramount?" because the studio hasn't cranked open its vaults as wide as those of Warner Bros. and MGM. Even so, the good folks at the Balboa Theater have unearthed 43 rare Paramount titles from 1930 to '34 for their "Sin in Soft Focus" series. Considered the most "continental" studio, Paramount featured many European stars and starlets frolicking in glamorous situations -- and various beds. Today's screenings include the murder mysteries Guilty as Hell and Billion Dollar Scandal, along with a "surprise bonus feature," beginning at 2 p.m. (the fest runs Nov. 3-24) at the Balboa, 3630 Balboa (at 38th Avenue), S.F. Admission is $6-8.50; call 221-8184 or visit www.thebalboatheater.com.
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
We hate to remind you, but it's Election Day. Not your regularly scheduled exercise in democracy, of course, but a special one, which if it were a children's book might be titled Gov. Schwarzenegger Throws a Hissy Fit. This election makes us think of the many pop-culture variations on the word "special." Like Dana Carvey's SNL character the Church Lady, whose signature utterance was "Isn't that special?" Or the end of that Todd Solondz masterpiece of dorkdom, Welcome to the Dollhouse, in which the hunky guy tells the nerdy girl that "special" means "retarded." Some less cynical people than us are throwing a party instead of grousing. The Om Records and Music for America "Election Night Party" puts live music and DJs into the mix of morose drinking and groaning at the election results. The Procussions, Colossus, Whooligan, and the Trout all try to cheer you up at 7 p.m. at Mighty, 119 Utah (at 15th Street), S.F. Admission is $10; call 626-7001 or visit www.mightysf.com.
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