Though it's on the syllabus of nearly every introductory film class for its undeniable artistry, D.W. Griffith's 1915 silent film Birth of a Nation is also a shocking testament to the institutionalized racism of its day. Glorifying the post-Civil War creation of the Ku Klux Klan, the movie has been stirring up controversy since its release. Tonight, Paul D. Miller, best known as hip hop artist DJ Spooky, presents Rebirth of a Nation, a “multimedia remix” of the wildly racist picture. Miller creates a counternarrative by laying modern-day images over the original piece, then applying hip hop techniques to the visual medium, using video recorders and slide projectors as stand-ins for turntables and samplers. The audiovisual extravaganza includes three screens, two of which display his “remixed” images as the third projects the original celluloid. Meanwhile, the multitalented raconteur is up onstage, creating an accompanying soundtrack culled from various found recordings, including some from legendary bluesman Robert Johnson. An open dialogue with Miller follows each performance. The genre-breaking show plays at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard (at Third St.), S.F. Admission is $24-45; call 978-2787 or go to www.ybca.org.
— Jane Tunks
DJs and fashion designers love you anyway
For a surprising number of people, guilty pleasures involve reality television programs. (We sincerely hope this doesn't describe you.) But if your secret desires lean toward not-too-girly fashion, local weekly dance party Death Rock Booty Call, or anything like that, you'll skip America's Next Top Maggot-Eater for Guilty Pleasures. Get silly to tunes from DJs Jenny Young, Pink Stain, and Marco Vega; check out a live set from La Femme Visible (which includes members of the Invisibles and No Condom? Whatever!); and see shamelessly hip fashions from local clothing makers the Water Myth and Gytha Mander. We won't tell, but Mander's T-shirt with snap-on mink epaulets may get you in hot water with your vegetarian-activist friends.
The furtive love starts at 9 p.m. at the Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell (at Van Ness), S.F. Admission is $6; call 861-2011 or visit www.rickshawstop.com.
— Hiya Swanhuyser
Blame It on Rio
Hotties compete for the Carnaval crown
With their long history of backstage enemies morphing into onstage sisters, traditional beauty pageants have always provided a good way to experience a sense of schadenfreude. In contrast, the Carnaval S.F. King and Queen Competition promises to be a more upbeat affair, in which 20 scantily clad contenders vie to become the royal couple. Expect lots of itsy-bitsy costumes, rock-hard physiques, and gravity-defying headdresses. Unusual competitive categories like “audience response” might result in a particularly zealous entrant “accidentally” flipping a feather boa so it slaps a talented opponent across the face. The rivalry begins at 8 p.m. at Patio Español, 2850 Alemany (at Farragut), S.F. Admission is $15; call 920-0125 or go to www.carnavalsf.com.
— Jane Tunks
With crunchy guitar riffs and lyrics about Bigfoot and King Kong, the Groovie Ghoulies are impossible to resist. The irrepressible Sacramento act is known for its zany live shows, in which band members take requests and throw kitschy gewgaws at the audience. The shenanigans begin at 10 p.m. at Café Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $10; call 861-5016 or go to www.cafedunord.com.
— Jane Tunks