Thursday, October 23, 2003
We first heard about Jim Florentine from an anecdote on the Howard Stern Show. A Stern staffer had accompanied Florentine to lunch, and when the waiter came over to offer fresh pepper for Florentine's chicken dish, the comedian accepted. And how. "Keep going," he told the waiter, who emptied the contents of three pepper mills onto his food, which Florentine then ate. Even more moronically hysterical are his Terrorizing Telemarketers CDs, in which Florentine tortures sales-minded callers by pretending he's deaf, mentally challenged (much like the "Special Ed" character he plays on Comedy Central's Crank Yankers), afflicted with gastrointestinal distress, desolate over the death of his dog, or experiencing a robbery. Florentine brings his asinine antics to the local stage when he opens for blast-from-the-past Andrew Dice Clay along with Jim Norton at 8 p.m. at the Warfield, 982 Market (at Sixth Street), S.F. Admission is $40.25-45.25; call 775-7722.
Friday, October 24, 2003
Was all the mid-'90s buzz over "neo-soul" caused by D'Angelo's naked video performance of 'Untitled (How Does It Feel)''? Because less than a decade after the style's peak, the genre's artists (e.g., Maxwell, Alicia Keys, Macy Gray) have slipped off the charts and out of the public eye, while singers who create glossy pop (Beyoncé, Ashanti) dominate R&B. But at least some musicians are keeping the faith, sliding smooth soul sounds into contemporary ballads. L.A.'s The Soul of John Black is one such outfit, integrating hints of Sly Stone, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, and P-Funk into its tunes, yet polishing the '70s vibe with hip hop rhythms and arrangements. Hear for yourself when the band plays the Elbo Room (with DJs Haul and Mason opening) as part of the San Francisco Funk Festival, starting at 10 p.m. at 647 Valencia (at 18th Street), S.F. Admission is $10; call 552-7788 or visit www.elbo.com.
Saturday, October 25, 2003
Under places where San Franciscans live, work, and play, dark secrets lie moldering -- dead bodies, buried in once-consecrated ground. Formerly dotted by scores of final resting places, this city began reclaiming valuable real estate from sepulchral residents in the 20th century. Many graves were uprooted and moved to cemeteries in Colma and other less in-demand areas. But local legend has it that thousands of corpses still lie below certain parts of the Mission and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a lingering rumor confirmed in part by the discovery of approximately 300 skeletons during the 1993 renovation and expansion of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. Want to see some boneyards past and present? Accompany the Bike Coalition on its San Francisco Cemetery Tour, which pushes off at 11 a.m. from the Fulton Street steps at the Main Library, 100 Larkin (at Grove), S.F. Admission is free; call 431-2453 or visit www.sfbike.org.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
In the dawn of Aug. 16, 1936, poet and playwright Federico García Lorca was killed by Fascists. His body was buried in an unmarked grave, but for students of his work, he's far from dead and gone. The latest revival of the beloved versifier is somewhat literal: Luis Oropeza's one-person show brings the gay revolutionary artist back to life onstage, in Blood Poet Lorca! Called a "Red" and a "queer," Lorca considered Gypsies the true aristocrats of Europe, claimed to belong to the "Party of the Poor," and yet was one of Spain's most popular artists. (Imagine Britney doing any of those things.) Oropeza performs his painstakingly researched play at 8 this evening (and continuing weekend nights through Nov. 2) at the Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 533 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. Admission is $20; call 296-9179.
Monday, October 27, 2003
The Ethan Hawke-Uma Thurman vehicle Gattaca didn't do gonzo box office upon its 1997 release, but recent scientific developments have imparted a new shine to the movie, making it appear less like implausible sci-fi and more like a prescient vision of future events. Genetically modified foodstuffs, the cracking of the human genomic code, and a spate of increasingly ominous cloning experiments have all made Gattaca's plot -- which involves Hawke using Jude Law's hair, urine, and skin samples to pose as a member of the elite in a genetically chauvinistic futuristic society -- seem less nutty. Learn about the shape of things to come at "The Genomics of Gattaca," at which scientist Steven Bodovitz screens clips from the film and analyzes each scene in light of both our current capabilities and advances coming down the pike. The talk gets technical at 7 p.m. at the Bazaar Café, 5927 California (at 21st Avenue), S.F. Admission is free; call 831-5620 or visit www.bazaarcafe.com.
Slavery is our national shame. It's constantly present in our minds -- has been since the Civil War -- and yet we still can't figure it out. How could it have happened? What can we do about it now? One answer comes from artists Salifu Mohammed, Kimara, and Karen Carraway, in the form of paintings, photographs, and mixed-media installations at "Maafa 2003: Black African Holocaust Commemoration," an annual art show dedicated to counteracting the effects of the middle passage and other injustices. One of Carraway's installations, an altar, sounds especially intriguing, inspired as it was by Sara Baartman, aka Hottentot Venus, who was kidnapped from her Cape Town home in the early 1800s and subsequently displayed as a caged animal in Europe. The powerful exhibition opens today at noon (and continues through Oct. 31) at the Sargent Johnson Gallery, 762 Fulton (at Webster), S.F. Admission is free; call 922-0623 or visit www.aaacc.org/sargent_johnson.html.