Our weekly picks

What to do Dec 9-15, 2009



Keith Hennessy: Saliva: The Making of and Saliva

Saliva is probably Keith Hennessy's best known and least seen work of the last 20 years. When it premiered on a cold December night in 1988 under a San Francisco freeway overpass — and when it was performed again in March 1989 — it had not been advertised, word got around in the underground arts community. Saliva was a ritualistic solo in which Hennessy forcefully, poetically, and hopefully spoke for his own manhood and for a community caught in the anguish of AIDS. To use spit — an "uncouth" bodily fluid — as healing balm was a revolutionary act in both humanistic and theatrical terms. It may be difficult in 2009 to recreate the sense of pain, helplessness, and fury that generated the work. But isn't that what memorials are for? Lest we forget, these events are the opening act of a celebration of Hennessy's work and contribution to the Bay Area that continues in January. (Rita Felciano)

Saliva: The Making of discussion and screening: 7:30 p.m., free


1310 Mission, SF

Saliva performance: Sun/13, 8 p.m.; $15–$25 (no one turned away)

check www.circozero.org for location, SF





Don't expect fairy folk and mythical critters to prance through the new Espers album, III (Drag City) — regardless of song titles like "Trollslända." That's Swedish for dragonfly, band member Meg Baird assures me. Despite appearances and a name that evokes paranormal-minded cultists, it's clear the group of mostly Philadelphians is more earthy and no-nonsense, as Baird reels off the various scratch song names and ideas Espers toyed with as they were making III — a witchy, intoxicating blend of psychedelia, prog, and English folk revival. For Baird's interview, see this week's Noise blog. (Kimberly Chun)

With Wooden Shjips and Colossal Yes

8 p.m., $13–$15

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421



Historic Libations

San Franciscans have long enjoyed a romance with alcohol — from the debauchery of the Barbary Coast era to the modern renaissance of the artisan cocktail, the City by the Bay knows how to knock 'em back. You can celebrate this high-proof history at Historic Libations, a party inspired by Cocktail Boothby's American Bartender (Anchor Distilling, 152 pages, $14.95), an expanded reprint of a classic 1891 book by one of the city's earliest and most influential mixologists. Revelers can sample a variety of uniquely San Francisco cocktails, including the pisco sour and the Martinez. At the end of the festivities, they'll be given their own copy of the book to take home and consult to perfect historic and potent concoctions. (Sean McCourt)

6 p.m., $40–$50

California Historical Society

678 Mission, SF.

(415) 357-1848, ext. 229



SF Mime Troupe 50th Anniversary Exhibition Birthday Bash

Even if 50 is the new 40, it's rare for many 50-year-olds to be as robust as the SF Mime Troupe. Challenging entrenched racism, endemic poverty, and politics-as-usual regionally and nationally since 1959, the Mime Troupe has earned theatre's greatest awards — three Obies, a Tony, and an obscenity trial.