Viv Corringham appreciates the racket of urban street noise; it inspires her to sing. The celebrated British recording artist brings her environmentally inspired soundscapes to life through walking, creating improvised vocal works based on strolls through cities like London, Istanbul, and San Francisco. In her live shows, she uses found objects and field recordings from her travels. Against a sonic vista of string glissandos, chimes and gongs, and the din of lorries and malls, Corringham's voice, which blends the refined medievalism of Dead Can Dance with the snarly angst of P.J. Harvey, ranges from a background chirp to an aural storm. Apparently, retail outlets have particularly stimulated her oeuvre. "The shopping mall is very unreal, very sterile. It's their lighting, their music -- this very bland music all the time," she says. "So I wanted to try and get this unreal, high and wafty kind of singing into it." Aside from evoking department store hubbub, Corringham's routes are bound to spark the nostalgia of world travelers.
Retrace Corringham's footsteps tonight at 8 at the Meridian Gallery, 545 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 398-7229 or visit www.meridiangallery.org.
-- Niramala Nataraj
Recovering a diamond
There's cause for rejoicing in silent-cinephilic San Francisco, where a coveted but lost film has reappeared after 80-odd years. Featuring paired Hollywood legends Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino, 1922's Beyond the Rocks, based on a novel by Elinor Glyn, was recently recovered and restored by the Netherlands Filmmuseum. Although it's neither star's career peak, Rocks is still an exquisitely swoony buffet of German mountain movie, Versailles costume romance, and Arab desert adventure. Valentino is subtly erotic as an aristocratic lover -- honorable, well-dressed, and barely suppressing his desire for a millionaire's wife, played by Swanson. To watch him bury his flaring nostrils in a scented hankie or kiss a lady's hand is to ponder why we expect so little sensuality from our Jude Laws today.
Beyond the Rocks' West Coast premiere revival screening is accompanied by Dennis James on the Mighty Wurlitzer, 2 and 7 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (at Market), S.F. Admission is $13-15; call 621-6120 or visit www.thecastrotheatre.com.
-- Frako Loden
Broken runs perfectly
Broken Social Scene could have followed several paths after 2002's You Forgot It in People, with its neatly parsed songs that mastered wildly different styles. But the rambling group, a collective of Canadians attached to a startling list of side projects, picked sprawling, shambling indie genius for its third (eponymous) full-length. Delicate songs tumble forth from the album, each loaded with layered instruments and the act's signature horns, and punctuated with metallic screeches, roiling jams, and criminally sweet melodies. The opener, "Our Faces Split the Coast in Half," unleashes all of the above.
Quick: Tell your entire, complicated life story in seven minutes or less. It sounds almost impossible, but at Tranny Fest 2005: Short Shorts, transgendered (and "transgenre," quips the Web site) filmmakers give it a try. Sailors, local bands, and drag performers all get their seven minutes of fame, starting at 8 p.m. at Femina Potens Gallery, 465 South Van Ness (at 16th St.), S.F. Admission is $5; visit www.trannyfest.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser