Last week I saw a cloud shaped exactly like a string of cartoon waves, with razor-sharp edges and pointed peaks, looming over the Bay Bridge. My first idea -- to snap a picture and sell it to a KRON 4 weatherman -- was followed by another specious thought: Is Andy Goldsworthy now manipulating clouds? The British artist has indeed something of the supernatural in him: His meticulous outdoor sculptures reflect the order underlying nature while being composed entirely of materials picked up on the spot (typically twigs, stones, branches, ice, and handcrafted pigments). Sometimes his creations appear to be primitive totems, such as stone slabs built into huge egg-shaped sculptures or set into precarious, mortar-free arches. Others mimic the talents of industrious critters -- the obsessive twig-work of the bowerbird comes to mind -- or are simply deceptive, like a line of dandelions hidden among scattered neighbors. His art usually remains on-site, succumbing to entropic forces along with everything else, and only appears in galleries as photographs.
Yet his exhibit "Stone Light Drawings" includes a surprise: site-specific installations, including soot drawings on glass, created using the stalk of a leaf to scratch forms on panes darkened by a blowtorch, admitting the city's natural light. Also appearing will be his signature cracked-line "drawings," in which pavers are broken and repositioned to define a thin, meandering gap, constructed using England's Appleton Greenmoor sandstone and attached to gallery walls. The show opens at 10:30 a.m. on Friday (and continues through Nov. 26) at the Haines Gallery, 49 Geary (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is free; call 397-8114 or visit www.hainesgallery.com.
-- Michael Leaverton
Readers With Drinks
Author readings can be boring, but little is dull when you're working on an evening drunk in the Mission. Litquake's "Lit Crawl" wisely combines the two, scattering nearly 150 top-shelf authors throughout 30 venues around Valencia Street (plenty of them bars) and staggering reading times for rosy-cheeked attendees. Your course is your own, depending on your tastes in bottles or books. We recommend starting with Violet Blue at Good Vibrations, catching Robert Coover at the Elbo Room, and finishing with K.M. Soehnlein at the Marsh or the "Writers With Drinks" crew at the Latin American Club. After that, requisition a park bench and sleep it off. "Lit Crawl" starts at 5 p.m. at various venues. Admission is free; visit www.litquake.org.
-- Michael Leaverton
The Right Thing
Spike Lee lectures us
Controversial filmmaker Spike Lee presents his lecture on African-American images in Hollywood, about his experience directing gems such as Crooklyn, Bamboozled, and Clockers, among many other masterpieces. Lee, who has shown the film world that great actors like Laurence Fishburne, Halle Berry, and Denzel Washington are more than capable leads in a white-dominated industry, hailed from pre-civil rights Atlanta, Ga., and moved to Brooklyn at a very young age. Elements of his multiracial neighborhood experiences, with all their tensions and family peril, are the focal points in many of his movies. He graduated from Morehouse College, never sits down at Knicks games, pissed people off with his Nike commercials, and is one of the greatest directors to never win an Oscar. He speaks at 6:30 p.m. in the Hotel Nikko Ballroom, 222 Mason (at Ellis), S.F. Admission is $15-60; call 597-6701 or visit www.commonwealthclub.org.
-- Claudia Buchsbaum
Head for the land
What if military bases were turned into art compounds, or if the most beautiful real estate was set aside to inspire struggling souls? What if famous artists set about redesigning old buildings, creating inspired renovations of even the bathrooms and kitchens?
Headlands Center for the Arts is all this and more: Every few months, the organization accepts several new artists in residence, who get free houses, free food, and free studio space. Your jaded, cynical perspective might lead you to think the artists have to sing for their supper, but no. Headlands exists to provide space, not to demand new work. The public is invited out for a peek at the "Fall Open House." See what current resident artists Amanda Hughen, Michael Arcega, Michael Bacol-Lagos, and others are up to, starting at noon at 944 Fort Barry (near Simmonds), Marin Headlands. Admission is free; call 331-2787 or visit www.headlands.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
From Monument to Masses is just another dumb band. Don't go to the CD release party. I want the group all to myself -- just me, Matthew Solberg, Sergio Robledo-Maderazo, and Francis Choung celebrating the remix album, Schools of Thought Contend. You wouldn't like it, I swear. You're not into radical left-wing hypnotic post-punk, are you? All those layered and cut-up samples from rare political speeches, the introspective, soaring synth washes -- repeat after me: "I don't need to go. She can have it all to herself." Sigh. OK. You can come. Medications and Continental open at 10 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $10; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser