Oh, what a twisted web we weave -- some more twisted than others. In the case of J.X. Williams, a shadowy (and fictional) filmmaker, the web-weaving is off the charts: His involvement with the Mafia in the '60s led him to make movies often labeled "trash," but which purported to reveal unsavory truths about government plots to addict Frank Sinatra to heroin and other Kennedy administration secrets. Williams' use of pornographic images did not impress authorities, though it did earn him a cult following. Still, his work is extremely rare. Or at least that's what Other Cinema's Noel Lawrence tells us.
Lawrence isn't a bad weaver himself: He claims to have tracked down and befriended Williams. Although it's impossible to tell what's real and what's bullshit about any story having to do with Williams, one thing is for sure: As part of an evening called "Dirty Tricks," Lawrence screens the film Peep Show and several shorts -- all supposedly by Williams -- and provides an introduction. See if you can figure it out at 8:30 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 290-0401 or visit www.othercinema.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Sultan of San Diego
Sing a song of Swami
As if John Reis didn't have enough on his plate:
The sandpaper-voiced frontman (aka "Speedo," "Slasher," or "Swami," depending on the circumstance) for seminal San Diego punk acts Rocket From the Crypt and the now-defunct Drive Like Jehu not only juggles vocal duties in three current bands (RFTC, Hot Snakes, the Sultans), but he's also chief knob-twister and head of his own independent label, Swami Records. With the Swami Southwest Séance Tour Reis showcases a handful of his favorite lo-fi bands, giving the rest of the Left Coast a chance to discover the garage-y, fist-pumping rock 'n' roll that's redefining the San Diego sound. The Sultans co-headline with Beehive & the Barracudas; singer/songwriter Dan Sartain and S.F.'s own the Husbands are also on the bill.
The grind begins at 9 p.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $10; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com.
-- Maya Kroth
The rain, the pain, the movie
Terms of Endearment, Titanic, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg -- they can all turn cynical moviegoers into embarrassing crybabies. But only one of them can open a skeptical tear duct with neither a cancerous tumor nor a pair of sinking lovers: the 1960s French musical, which genuinely moves you with its tragic tale of heartbreak. Director Jacques Demy paints the town of Cherbourg in candy colors, resulting in a kaleidoscopic nod to Hollywood musicals, while a pre-Belle de Jour Catherine Deneuve reveals a remarkable voice in this all-sung gem.
The loveliness screens daily at 2, 4:30, 7, and 9:15 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (near Market), S.F. Admission is $5-8; call 621-6120 or visit www.castrotheatre.com.
-- Brock Keeling
Loch'd and Loaded
You gotta love men in kilts, especially when they're the Real McKenzies. This band comes complete with guitars, bagpipes, and attitude, along with a wee bit of whiskey, a barrel full of punk, and a load of Celtic pride. New wave/punk sensations the Briefs and the Radio Reelers open at 9 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $8; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.
-- Sunny Andersen