Solo performer Jeff DeMark was lured by love from his cozy hometown of Madison, Wis., to the freakish shores of San Francisco. Of course, it didn't take long for his love affair to end up in the shitter, leaving DeMark lonely, broke, and hapless. This began a temp-trek that would wend its way through 22 jobs in less than 17 months. Rather than wallow in paper-shuffling misery, DeMark used his talents as a monologist to transform the mundane qualities of telemarketing into a poignant reflection of love in the '90s. The result, "Went to Lunch, Never Returned," has received rave reviews throughout the country and even provoked guffaws from NYC's oh-so-very-so Knitting Factory crowd. Of course, the S.F. Association of Temporary Agencies has been quoted as saying, "He'll never work as a temp in this town again." Hopefully, he won't have to. "Lunch" runs at Venue 9 Thursday through Saturday, May 22 to May 31 at 8 p.m. Ticket price is $7-10; call 626-2169. ... During the 1980s Suede -- or London Suede, as they are legally obligated to call themselves in the States -- couldn't have convinced a London music critic to piss on them if they were on fire. By 1992, however, all that had changed. Suede's girly-voiced glam ennui had made the cover of Melody Maker, and every other magazine worth paying attention to followed. Their independently released singles "Metal Mickey" and "Animal Nitrate" were brilliant by any pop-lover's standards, and by the time the self-titled Nude/Columbia debut was released, Suede was the "Best New Band in Britain." Suede, the album, went No. 1 and gold within two days, outselling their nearest competition (Depeche Mode, at the time) four-to-one. Their next release, dogmasterstar, finally convinced the American press to jump on the Britpop bandwagon -- which closely coincided with guitarist Bernard Butler deserting the group in a flurry of heavy-handed publicity. Even without Butler, it is clear on Coming Up where bands like Radiohead, James, Pulp, and, even the sprightly Supergrass might have gotten their inspiration. If you like glamorous, literate, wry, high-pitched, perfectly orchestrated pop, this is your best bet. Be sure not to miss the opening band, Sheffield's Longpigs, whose dark-haired front-muffin oh-so-cutely sings, "I put on perfume to make me smell like someone else in bed." Suede play the Fillmore on Friday, May 23 at 8 p.m. Ticket price is $16.50; call 775-7722. ... After four successful years of operation, everyone's favorite Tenderloin speakeasy, Club 181, celebrates its anniversary by giving everything away. First, all cover charges will be waived for tonight's festivities. You can hit both dance floors where DJs Crispy and Mike P. will spin until 3 a.m., or go up to the snakelike bar where free champagne will flow until 10 p.m. If that's not gettin' you into the groove, shoot some pool or feast at the free appetizer bars -- sushi, oysters, and California cuisine. Then, at midnight, partake of free shots served up by some of the city's finest night club luminaries -- Scott Burns and Benito Taylor from "Fever," Harry Denton from the Starlight Room, Martel Toler and Nabiel Musleh from "Release," Terry Brown from Harry Denton's, Pete Glikshtern from "Liquid," Johnny L. and Big Brad from Johnny Love's, and "The Muscle Boys" themselves, Greg Svitenko and Scott Morris. Monday's a holiday, so you have no excuses. Join the staff of Club 181 on Sunday, May 25 at 9 p.m.; call 673-8181. ... Bruno's chose to end their Cinco de Mayo celebration in style. You may leave all the work or love-related anxieties brought on by DeMark at the door. Los Compas, a fabulous nine-piece band that specializes in all forms of Latin dance music -- from cumbia to merengue to danzon to cha-cha -- has only your body in mind when they perform. Their hip-shaking use of horns, guitars, and accordion demonstrates the best that Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic have to offer. A perfect stimulant for the beginning of a short work week. Put on your toe-tapping shoes Monday, May 26 at 9:30 p.m. Ticket price is $3; call Bruno's at 550-7455.
-- Silke Tudor