Pech of the Week While Smuin Ballet offers trick ponies and dancing skeletons in Suenos Latinos across town, contemporary ballet troupe the Lawrence Pech Dance Company premieres Spanish Song, which San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Yuri Possokhov has choreographed for soloist Wendy Van Dyck to Isaac Albeniz's Cantos de Espana, performed live by two guitarists. A former dancer with American Ballet Theater and SFB, Pech's professional stature draws reputable guest artists like Possokhov and fellow SFB principal Julia Adam, who brings to the company Newton: Three Laws of Motion, a kinetic three-part ballet that concludes with Mozart's stirring "Exsultate, jubilate," performed live by a chamber orchestra. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and continues through Sunday) at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $20-25; call 978-ARTS.
They've Got Your Number How you see yourself (quiet, hardworking scribe) may have nothing to do with how others see you (self-important hors d'oeuvre-sucking leech), which is sort of how choreographer Deborah Slater arrived at Passing as ... the Mathematics of Being, a contemporary dance-theater piece that probes cultural judgments, both subtle and overt, which shape our views of ourselves and each other. Performances will unfold on two different stages, and the text, music, and sound from each will overlap, contributing to how the work is understood (or misunderstood). Among the selections are Lisa Wallgren's Yellow Girl, Sidney Ortiz's Not a Real Mexican, and Jason Grey's Faggot, pieces that question our sense of belonging and otherness. Max Morales contributes a multilayered score to the show, which begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through Saturday) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is $16.50; call 621-7797.
It's About #&o! TIME INSPIRED BY TOURETTE SYNDROME ASSOCIATION CONVENTIONGOERS WHO TICCED AND JERKED ACROSS THE DANCE FLOOR TO THE BEATLES HIT "TWIST AND SHOUT," LAUREL CHITEN'S DOCUMENTARY TWITCH AND SHOUT FINDS THE HUMOR IN AN OTHERWISE AGGRAVATING AND MISUNDERSTOOD CONDITION. CHITEN AND FELLOW TS SUFFERER LOWELL HANDLER, A PHOTOJOURNALIST, TURN THE CAMERA ON A BROAD RANGE OF PEOPLE WITH THE GENETIC DISORDER, FROM MANHATTAN ACTRESS DESIREe LEDET (WHOSE TWITCHING EYEBROWS MEN OFTEN MISTAKE AS A COME-ON) TO DENVER NUGGETS BASKETBALL PLAYER MAHMOUD ABDULRAUF, WHO ACTUALLY WORKED HIS TICS INTO HIS PLAYING STYLE AND SO SUCCESSFULLY CHANNELED HIS OBSESSIVE BEHAVIOR INTO MARATHON PRACTICE SESSIONS THAT HE WAS NAMED THE NBA'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER IN '93. IN THE PROCESS, THE FILM PUTS A FACE TO THE DISORDER, WHICH WAS THOUGHT TO BE PSYCHOANALYTIC AS LATE AS THE '70S, AND CLEARS UP COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SYMPTOMS LIKE COPROLALIA (OBSESSIVE PROFANITY), WHICH AFFECTS ONLY 15 TO 20 PERCENT OF THE 100,000 OR SO AMERICANS WITH TS. THE FILM SCREENS AT 7 P.M. AT PIEDMONT MIDDLE SCHOOL, 740 MAGNOLIA, PIEDMONT. ADMISSION IS FREE; CALL (510) 420-1534.
MAKING IT SO YOU NEVER LEARNED THE DELICATE PAPER-FOLDING TRICKS OF ORIGAMI, OR HOW TO DRAW? BUCK UPo At the Art Materials Tools of the Trade Show, over 60 manufacturers will showcase their paints, brushes, pens, clay, and projectors, while nationally known artists like painter/sculptor Roy DeForest will conduct workshops and demonstrations on how to use them. A special corner will be devoted to making holiday items like cards and wrapping paper, and supplies will be offered at a discount. Proceeds from the show benefit the Art Supplies for Kids Fund, which provides teachers with desperately needed art supplies so that today's kids won't have to suffer the humiliation of art impairment. The show opens at 10 a.m. (and runs through Sunday) at the Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is free; call (510) 649-4800.
Where's the Parranda? Hurricanes Georges and Mitch, their attendant flooding and mud slides, and now a volcanic eruption have so thoroughly ravaged our neighbors to the south that the photos and accounts of human suffering continue to pour in from Central America. Acción Latina's 17th annual Encuentro del Canto Popular is helping stem the tide with a dance party and raffle hosted by S.F. Giants goodwill ambassador Orlando Cepeda, to benefit Chiapas, Mexico, victims of Georges' catastrophic fury. The guest of honor at this two-night event is Puerto Rican musical celebrity Yomo Toro, a virtuoso player of the 10-stringed guitarlike cuatro. A one-time member of the Fania All-Stars salsa band, Toro has played Carnegie Hall and recorded with folks ranging from Eydie Gorme to Ruben Blades. Improv singer Jerry Medina, Santana's Karl Perazzo and Raul Rekow, and Latin-jazz pianist Rebecca Mauleón join Toro for a night of parranda (party) music: bombas, plenas, and the like. Ozomatli contemporaries Quetzal and Latin rock-ska band Los Moscos, featuring Los Angelitos singer Piero El Malo and a serious brass section, also play. The poet Piri Thomas reads at the show, which begins at 8 p.m. (also Saturday) at the Korinthias Community Center, 245 Valencia (at Duboce), S.F. Admission is $15, and Giants tickets and memorabilia are included among the raffle prizes; call 252-5957.
Timbre! Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan sings like an angel, or at least a fallen angel, in a husky, whiskey-soaked croon that aches with longing. From the outset of his third Sub Pop solo album, Scraps at Midnight, Lanegan mesmerizes with desolate, hauntingly beautiful musical landscapes, from the shimmery western twang of "Hospital Roll Call" to the folky fingerpicking of the brooding ballad "Waiting on a Train." Trees fans won't even miss the wall of sound that accompanied Lanegan's anguished howl on songs like Sweet Oblivion's "Nearly Lost You"; here, Dinosaur Jr.'s Mike Johnson provides spare, melodic backup with guests like Johnson's bandmate J. Mascis and Lanegan's fellow Seattle noisemaker Tad Doyle. Lanegan plays at 8 p.m. at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez (at 24th Street), S.F. Admission is $12.50; call 647-2272.
Pride of Place Clowns serve tea and puppets flap in the breeze during Re:Place, a carnival-like musical performance piece about a wanderer's search for home that gives viewers a chance to explore the site-specific potential of its home, the newly opened Zeum center for art and technology. The show begins in the outdoor theater; viewers follow it through the outdoor pavilion, tripping through gardens and around corners, and interacting with a 60-member, multigenerational cast of dancers, musicians, clowns, and puppeteers, including guests from Wise Fool Puppet Intervention and Clown Conspiracy, all of whom added their stories to the collaborative creative process. It begins at 2 p.m. (and runs through Nov. 22) at the Zeum Amphitheater, 221 Howard (at Fourth Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 777-2800.
Feats of Clay Too often, tribute concerts for influential musicians happen after the musicians are dead and we can't appreciate them. Not so with the Francis Clay 75th Birthday Tribute, at which the birthday boy, a blues drummer who put the backbeat to "Mannish Boy," "Got My Mojo Working," and other Muddy Waters hits of the Chess Records heyday, will enjoy a full night of music from some talented friends, and sock the proceeds away in his retirement fund. Clay, who's planning to play his own party, isn't the only senior citizen on the bill: 94-year-old Delta bluesman Homesick James will perform, along with 82-year-old "Queen of the Boogie" Hadda Brooks and 81-year-old Ignacio "Nachito" Reyes, whose specialty is romantic Mexican blues. Slide guitarist Roy Rogers, harmonica player Big Bones, flutist/percussionist Mary Youngblood, Jimmy McCracklin ... the performers list goes on and on at the show, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $30-40; call 885-0750.
A Prodigy's Progress Unlike certain other child stars, Midori has not greeted adulthood by brandishing firearms, or worse, hosting a talk show. The famous violin prodigy got her first, 1/16th-sized violin at age 3 and spent her youth practicing in the kitchen while her violinist mother cooked dinner; at age 10, she moved Pinchas Zukerman to tears with her rendition of a Bartok concerto. Despite her unorthodox childhood, she's matured gracefully, taking time off from playing and recording for Sony Classics to attend college, learn to cook, and live life outside the rarefied atmosphere of classical music. Now 27, she's also created the Midori and Friends foundation to promote music and arts education for kids. How all this real-world experience has shaped her playing remains to be heard when she presents a program that includes Mozart's "Sonata in A Major," Stravinsky's "Pastorale," and Brahms' "Sonata in G Major, Op. 78" at 8 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $15-55; call 392-4400.
Back in Black Charles Thompson IV, aka Black Francis, aka Frank Black, is absolutely through with the Pixies. If his debut solo album Teenager of the Year and the critically panned follow-up Cult of Ray weren't evidence enough, now there's Frank Black & the Catholics, the band and the album that ended Black's relationship with American Recordings guru Rick Rubin and European distributor Sony, which declared the demo too uncommercial to release. It's true the album lacks commercial polish: The music, stripped down to rock's most basic formula, owes its '60s-style garage raucousness to the absence of studio knob-twiddling. Trompe le Monde fans probably won't like it, but Black makes up for the lack of accessibility with sheer, throaty volume and energetic abandon. Mark Mulcahy opens at 9:30 p.m. (also Wednesday) at the Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck, Berkeley. Admission is $10; call (510) 841-2082.