First crushes are always painful, especially when they involve a literal punch or pigtail-pull from one grade-schooler to another. But for a kid who doesn't fit neatly into "male" or "female," there can be a whole other level of heartache that happens during young love -- like when the new girl in town digs you until she finds out you're not really a boy. Sean Dorsey, a local transgender choreographer who combines full-bodied modern dance with storytelling and pungent humor, explores fourth-grade crushes and other intimate but often humorous experiences in The Outsider Chronicles. Using narrative to lessen the abstraction of dance, Dorsey relates the adventures of a butch 13-year-old pulled out of jazz choir to receive gender-correction "play therapy" from the school psychologist (the kid gives Barbie a buzz cut and tries to create a dick out of a Hot Wheels Jeep Cherokee), a queer-transgender couple getting brutalized by police after a night out on the town, and a transgender boy preparing to come out to his father.
The Outsider Chronicles plays at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission $15; call 863-9834 or visit www.freshmeatproductions.org.
-- Karen Macklin
Taiko drummers let loose
At the end of the International Taiko Festival, drummers haul out the 1-ton, 12-foot-tall o-daiko drum, valued at $500,000, and beat the life out of it with sticks the size of billy clubs, sending thunderous sound waves over the audience. The rest of the evening is just as eventful, though, alternating between loud percussion acts, like Japan's Ensemble Wako Daiko and San Francisco's Taiko Dojo Rising Star Dream Team, and softer, quieter performances, including butoh dance from Koichi Tamano and vocals from the "Pavarotti of Japan," Kiyonari Tosha. Presiding over it all is Seiichi Tanaka, the grand master from Taiko Dojo who transformed this folk art into a world-class showcase.
The festival starts at 7 p.m. on Friday (and continues through Sunday) in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $32-42; call 978-2787 or visit www.ybca.org.
-- Michael Leaverton
Admit it's funny
Drugs are bad, of course. But bad-drug tales? They're good. Drug-taking gives Monday-morning storytellers great material, as curious shit just happens when you ingest odd substances, from driving 12 mph on the freeway to diving under the bed whenever the phone rings. The craziest yarns can be found at your local Narcotics Anonymous meeting, but admission carries a hefty price. Next best thing is the storytelling series "Drug Diaries," in which entertainers such as Jim Fourniadis, Mike Spiegelman, and Sherilyn Connelly relate funny tales of ordinary madness. "Drug Diaries" takes place at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (through Nov. 26) at the Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission (at 18th Street), S.F. Admission is $13; call 401-7987 or visit www.darkroomsf.com.
-- Michael Leaverton
Friends in Need
The Swampsong Metal Festival benefits a gang of bands from New Orleans, its headliner the sludgecore confederacy Eyehategod, whose name sounds different post-Katrina. Even better, though, are the Hazard County Girls, who count both Thin Lizzy and Kitty Wells as influences. These two and many others play at 9 p.m. at Studio Z, 314 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10; call 252-7666 or visit http://groups.myspace.com/swampsong.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser