What the World Needs Now ... is a 71st birthday bash honoring the man who gave the world "Walk on By," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Always Something There to Remind Me," "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," "What's New Pussycat?," and the theme from The Blob, just to name a few of his many hits. The 10-piece band Casino Royale, named for one of those hits, does the honors at the "Back-to-Back Burt Bacharach Birthday Bash." With an all-Bacharach set, they add their names to a long list of musicians who've already admired the prolific songwriter's knack for pop hooks, including people whose careers were boosted immeasurably by it (Dionne Warwick comes to mind; so does Elvis Costello). Guests sign a giant birthday card and join in the trivia contest beginning at 9 p.m. at the Hi-Ball Lounge, 473 Broadway (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is $8; call 397-9464.
Six Degrees of Tinky Winky What gives a fundamentalist Christian apoplexy faster: people licking substances off seminude performance artist Karen Finley, or a band of Internet renegades singing about cyberporn? This would be the week to find out, if we could just lure one to Shut Up and Love Me! and Cyberotica! Subtitled "A Low-Tech Rock Musical About a High-Tech World," Cyberotica! celebrates the sexual shenanigans and religious fanaticism that chat rooms inspire. The story is propelled by an all-American single searching for love online, sort of like a mean modern revision of Beach Blanket Babylon; the gender-bent cast includes members of Enrique and the Sick and Twisted Players, as well as Leigh Crow (aka Elvis Herselvis) as a heterosexual agoraphobic exhibitionist cross-dresser who posts self-portraits online. Look for the Teletubby at the show, which begins at 9 p.m. (and runs Thursday nights through July 29) at the Transmission Theater, 314 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10; call 861-6906. Finley brings us an update on the spoken-word cabaret show that earned her a place among the NEA Four, dishing dirt about her experiences with Jesse Helms and Orrin Hatch, and inviting viewers to give her a tongue bath throughout the night. The show, a benefit for this summer's Celebrating Women Festival, opens Friday at 8 p.m. (and runs through Sunday) at the New Conservatory Theater Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Admission is $25; call 861-8972.
Let 'Er Rip When former Didjits frontman Rick Sims sings "Brainwasher" with his new project the Gaza Strippers, you can bet the washing's being done with a kerosene-soaked sponge. This is the same Sims who utterly destroyed Devo's "Mr. DNA" and married high camp to wrestling with "Full Nelson Reilly." In his undertaker's suit and colored spectacles, Sims doesn't really seem nuts until he leans into a mike stand and lets loose a high-pitched yelp and a flurry of glam-punk hooks that unfailingly unhinge everyone around him. The mantra of "Short, fast, loud, and catchy" that served him well in both the Didjits and the Supersuckers (with whom he guested for a time) guides the Strippers' Laced Candy, a sloppy but entertaining trip through dive bars, gun shows, and other cheap rock thrills. Loaded, Phoenix Thunderstone, and Custom-Made Scare open for the Gaza Strippers at 9 p.m. at the CW Saloon, 917 Folsom (at Fifth Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 974-1585.
Go East, Young Man The crash of cymbals will herald the arrival of the Kei Lun Martial Arts Chinese lion dancers and mark the beginning of the two-day public concert "Made in San Francisco: An Asian Pacific Heritage Month Celebration at City Hall," which kicks off at 10:30 a.m. today. Hanmadung: Korean Youth Cultural Center Drumming Group is part of Saturday's wildly divergent lineup, which begins at 1 p.m. and includes the 30-member California Chinese Orchestra, poet Genny Lim, hip-hop DJ Vinroc (a two-time International Turntablist Federation champion), and the Asian American Jazz Orchestra performing Duke Ellington's "Far East Suite." Both concerts will be held at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place (between Fulton and McAllister), S.F. Admission is free; call 221-2608.
Benign Despots It's important to remember that when the Dictators emerged back in 1975, musical dinosaurs like the Eagles still roamed the Earth and, along with disco, ruled the airwaves. Punk had only begun to break in the U.K. with the Sex Pistols and the Clash, and stateside with CBGB bands like the Ramones. In that dismal climate, the five-piece New York outfit released a handful of cult-status albums and then, like others of their kind, lived in relative commercial obscurity for the rest of their lives. The Dictators were not the best that punk produced, but they did contribute a few good stinging lines, some blistering licks, decent treatments of Stooges and Flamin' Groovies songs, and ... Handsome Dick Manitoba, who began as their roadie and became their singer. Jacksaints and Kingdom First open for the Dictators at 10 p.m. at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Texas), S.F. Admission is $10; call 621-4455.