The Bay Area is full of gypsies. Many of us have spent decades wandering between the East Coast and the West, traveling from India to Africa, or simply moving from the Mission to the Sunset to the Haight to the Castro. But José Cortés is a gypsy of another breed -- a gypsy singer, or cantore, from Spain. His captivating voice is a big draw for Theatre Flamenco's "Lamento." The show is a top-notch celebration of flamenco performance; in addition to Cortés' anticipated vocals (which accompany the footwork of Spanish dancer Manuel Gutierrez), the evening offers three world premieres. Longtime Artistic Director Miguel Santos' Lamento (the title dance) is about sadness and grieving, while the others are lighter fare created by Santos' new co-director, Carola Zertuche. Both of her works are strong on girl power and performed by women: Tangos is inspired by the cante chico, or "light song of flamenco," and Farruca, a dance typically meant for men, receives a hearty gender swap.
The spicy dish opens at 8 p.m. on Friday (and continues through Sunday) at the Cowell Theater, Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $26-40; call 345-7575 or visit www.fortmason.org.
-- Karen Macklin
Punks, Not Dead
Our neighbors to the north-core
It's always refreshing to hear a punk band yelling a different tune than "Fuck you! I know everything, and everything sucks!" Even being able to make out the anti-capitalist words in the first place is a plus in this genre. Winnipeg's vegan politicore representatives Propagandhi have been around the block (tours with scene luminaries such as Fugazi and NOFX, for example), and a decade and a few personnel changes later are as pissed as ever. (The current U.S. administration won't facilitate the band's retirement anytime soon.) The only thing that's changed is that the act's songs clock in at four minutes -- long for hardcore -- and occasionally slow down just a sliver. Sweet, funky bass lines, shredding guitar, and above all, college-educated lyrics make this the perfect music to crank on your iPod while marching at the anti-G8/Iraq War rallies. Greg MacPherson and Western Addiction open at 9 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $13; call 255-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com.
-- Claudia Buchsbaum
The word as weapon
Marjorie and Daniel love to throw punches at each other -- verbally, that is. Though Daniel is the ex-boxer, both halves of this art-collecting couple enjoy perpetual sparring, and their favorite battle is over a painting with which they're unhealthily obsessed. When a younger couple comes to their house to view the work, their sadistic routine gets a reprieve as Marjorie turns her rage from her husband to the newcomers.
Inspired by Edward Hopper's 1947 painting Summer Evening and by the playwright Mat Smart's boxing stint while attending grad school, The Hopper Collection continues through Dec. 11 at the Magic Theatre, Fort Mason, Building D, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $26-40; call 441-8822 or visit www.magictheatre.org.
-- Karen Macklin
At "Ladies Sing the Blues," local chanteuses Denise Perrier, Kim Nalley, and Lady Mem'fis offer up two shows. "The Early Years" finds the trio channeling Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and Esther Phillips, while during "The Later Years" audiences hear the songs of Dinah Washington, Etta James, and Nina Simone. Better see them both, at 9 and 11 p.m. at Jazz at Pearl's, 256 Columbus (at Broadway), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 291-8255 or visit www.jazzatpearls.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser