Wednesday, November 16, 2005
That Blonde Venus hair, those frilly outfits, that sweet, sweet voice: It could only be Uni & Her Ukulele. The uke's pink, usually, and the girl's obsessed with unicorns; the overall effect is the musical and sartorial equivalent of sucking on a jawbreaker while drinking whiskey straight from the bottle. Although Uni claims both Ol' Dirty Bastard and Stevie Nicks as influences and strays a long, long way from traditional, she does perform a tune called "Mahalo Maui Rose" that brings the old-fashioned plinky romance. She's joined by Jesse DeNatale and Jeff Kazor & the Swerve Beats at 8 p.m. at the Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell (at Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $7; call 861-2011 or visit www.rickshawstop.com.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
The Soviet Eccentric Movement? We've never heard of it, but it sounds like a cross between socialist realism and dada, which can't be anything but good. One of this early film movement's productions is Kote Mikaberidze's My Grandmother, a silent jab at bureaucracy made in 1929. Somehow overlooked for 50 years, it comes to us tonight with a new score by local movie-music maven Beth Custer and a consortium of talented players. The screening features live translation of the intertitles, as the tale of a beleaguered, Harold Lloyd esque hero unfolds on DVD. We're told that the picture's "anarchic styles" include puppets and weird camera angles, so prepare to be surprised at 8 at the Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St. (at Capp), S.F. Admission is $8-15; call 863-7576 or visit www.bethcuster.com.
Friday, November 18, 2005
With a sharp nod to Two Gallants, local country-rock duo Readyville expands upon, flies over, and maybe even chucks rocks at altcountry -- but the band never gets too close to the dreaded label. The result, as heard on its recent eponymous CD on East Bay label Antenna Farm Records, is a joy. Vocalist Nick Palatucci pushes emo poetics into a raw-sounding musical setup that still manages to work in lap steel guitar with an affectless delivery that would probably make Nashville want to smack him. But anyone with an ear for the rough edges and awkward moments that (along with lap steel guitars) make life worth living is going to love it. The Papercuts, Michael Talbott & the Wolfkings, and the Donkeys open at 9 p.m. at the Hotel Utah, 500 Fourth St. (at Bryant), S.F. Admission is $7; call 546-6300 or visit www.thehotelutahsaloon.com.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
A guy who blows bubbles using only his hands, a world-class juggler, and a local magician: These are just some of the men performing at "Dark Kabaret." Carnival-rock guitar maniac Eric McFadden and famous showman Frank Oliver are two more. But all of them, talented and guaranteed to make you laugh as they are, plan to keep their clothes on. Luckily, the show also hosts the Men of Exotica, who last year performed a synchronized strip routine involving bathtubs and bare buns. And yes, the variety show includes women, too, both bare and covered. Kitten on the Keys, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, and many others (with a strong possibility of surprise celebrity guests) make "Dark Kabaret" a fail-safe good time, starting at 7:30 and 10 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $20-75; call 885-0750 or visit www.darkkabaret.com.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
It's easy to create visual art out of found objects -- you simply label them as such -- but what about making comedy out of them? That's the idea behind Killing My Lobster'sNothing Is Original, a series of sketches centered on found notes, old advertisements, newspaper clippings, and other informational detritus. Highlights include an overwrought letter of apology from a Boy Scout who swiped a candy bar, Civil War era sweethearts who confuse modern advertisements found on doorknobs with love letters, and a notorious Microsoft e-mail scam, in which performers embody each member of a long message thread (including the genius who hits "Reply to all" to tell everybody to stop hitting "Reply to all"). Even when the material lags, the players carry the sketches -- particularly Andrew Bancroft, who elevates a bizarre jazz-cat poetry reading with masterful feline quirks. The show closes tonight at 7 at the Thick House, 1695 18th St. (at Arkansas), S.F. Admission is $12-17; call 587-4465 or visit www.killingmylobster.com.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Which famed music sensation abandoned his usual style, embraced electric instruments, incurred the scorn of traditionalists, and didn't father the sad sack in the Wallflowers? That would be Miles Davis. When he released the seminal and wildly controversial jazz-fusion LP Bitches Brew, recorded in three days, it sent shock waves through the insular jazz community -- and many people still haven't recovered. The story is told in the documentary Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue, which features interviews with notables such as Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Carlos Santana, along with Davis' entire 38-minute performance at 1970's legendary Isle of Wight Festival. It screens tonight at 7:15 and 9:15 at the Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is $4-8; call 668-3994 or visit www.redvicmoviehouse.com.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Green grass, Polaroid photos, and spills of pennies characterize Alex Kopps' soulful "A Set of Imaginary Solutions to Real Contradictions." The meticulous installation rests in a tiny corner of this vastly unorthodox surf shop, around which you'll also find T-shirts featuring Margaret Kilgallen designs, a treehouse, and gorgeously handmade boards. But inside the scene created by Kopps (aka Big Gay Al, among a number of aliases), it's another world: Delicate curlicues painted directly on the walls frame snapshots of bird tracks in wet concrete, hanging stringy contraptions, and more shiny copper conglomerations. The show continues through Dec. 2 at Mollusk Surf Shop, 4500 Irving (at 46th Avenue), S.F. Admission is free; call 317-2562 or visit www.mollusksurf.com.