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Jan. 16-23, 2002

TOP FIVE REASONS you should go see swingin' novelty artist Harvey Sid Fisher at the Odeon Bar: (1) He's an American cult legend, thanks to his album (and its companion cable access program, complete with interpretive dancers) Astrology Songs, which is made up of Casio'd tunes specially composed for each sign. Sample lyrics: "First I must see what you have for a brain / For me to be reached on a physical plane / I'm buddies with many but I don't get too close ... I am an Aquarian!" (2) He's renowned as an entertaining performer, and members of his Los Angeles-based crew of musicians and dancers will be on hand to make this weekend's shows full-on extravaganzas. (3) He cuts a dashing, tuxedoed figure – it's not for nothing that his résumé lists him as "one of L.A.'s top ten million photographic models." (4) His non-zodiacal musical stylings include the albums Battle of the Sexes (duets with couples fighting, such as "I'm Outta Here") and Golf Songs and Golf Jokes (including "I Am the God of Golf"), and one of his latest creations is the antismoking tirade "Kick that Butt" ("Putting up money to buy cigarettes is like paying someone to killllllll you!"). (5) Attending Fisher's gigs may present the only chance you'll ever get to use "Hey baby, what's your sign?" as an irony-free pickup line. And besides, there will not be anything else going on in this town that'll top a performance by "Mr. Hollywood" himself. Fri/18-Sun/20, 9 p.m., Odeon Bar, 3223 Mission, S.F. $10. (415) 648-8627. (Cheryl Eddy)

Jan. 16

Wednesday

Get your 15 minutes Calling all struggling animators! ASIFA-S.F. (a local animation association) is holding its annual Open Screening of animated shorts by students and independent filmmakers. Featured works include Geoffrey Clark's "In the Vault," about a gravedigger who is accidentally locked inside his own burial vault overnight, and John Atkinson's tale of a hyperimaginative office worker, "The Daydreamer," which garnered top honors at the Berkeley Film and Video Festival. As a special tribute, an excerpt from the 1994 documentary Faith Hubley: Inspiration, will also be shown. Hubley, one of the most well-respected and prolific artists in the animation world, passed away last month. In addition to the slated roster, anyone wishing to share an animated short of his or her own creation (16mm, VHS, or 3/4-inch tape) may bring it to add to the program. 7:30 p.m., Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon, S.F. Free. www.asifa-sf.org. (Meryl Cohen)

Jan. 17

Thursday

Monkey do You know the old adage that says you could put 100 monkeys in a room with 100 typewriters, and eventually one of them would turn out something Shakespearean? Well, around these parts it only takes three monkeys to program an entire festival of one-act plays. For the first annual Bay Area One-Acts Festival, Three Wise Monkeys Theatre Company has assembled 13 works written by local playwrights and produced by 10 local companies, including the appropriately simian Monkey Subdues the White Bone Demon, which tells an ancient Chinese legend with shadow puppets; "Findamate Dot Com," which explores looking for love on the Web; and "Bile in the Afterlife," which follows the unfortunately named main character on his journey to the Egyptian underworld. Each week of the three-week smorgasbord features a new helping of plays; check out the company's Web site for a festival schedule. Through Feb. 3. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m., Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, S.F. $15-$18 for one show, $40-$45 for three. 1-866-468-3399, www.ticketweb.com or www.threewisemonkeys.org. (Nancy Einhart)

Women on the verge A sexually confused Groucho Marx, secret agent chicks in training, rubber dresses, and talking carpets. Hmmm ... with characters like these, what could it be but a women's arts festival? The Women on the Way Festival, to be exact. Held at Venue 9, a performance space that's running strong on the fuel of female performance, this three-week festival brings together Bay Area theater, comedy, poetry, music, and visual arts talents. We like the sound of Cathleen Daly's How to Be a Secret Agent Girl As Seen on American Television and in Movies, but in case undercover high jinks aren't your bag, there are plenty of other performances to sample, from wacky solo shows to musical theater to poignant performance poetry. Check Venue 9's Web site for dates and descriptions of each show. Through Feb. 3. Thurs.-Sun., 8 p.m., Venue 9, 252 Ninth St., S.F. $15. (415) 289-2000, www.venue9.com. (Einhart)

Jan. 18

Friday

You're so vain While the importance of the New York Dolls is well documented, founding member Sylvain Sylvain never really got a fair shake, history-wise. David Johanson was the guy with his eyes on the brass ring, Johnny Thunders played the glamorous junkie role to the grave, and Sylvain was, well, the pretty decent guitarist who actually looked good in heels. With three-fifths of the lineup in the hole and Johanson/Buster Poindexter continuing his journey as music's ultimate trend pimp, Sylvain is the last link to the Dolls legacy in attitude; he still lives for spitting on a mic and bending a note in two. A New Yorker to the core, Sylvain churns out wonderful street-fighting rawk and roll with nasal sing-talk, question-and-answer lyrics, fragmented guitar blasts, and shitty production values. Tonight Red Planet, Hotbox, and Chix Pack join this underappreciated American original. 9 p.m., Pound-S.F., Pier 96, 100 Cargo, S.F. $12. (415) 861-9202. (John O'Neill)

Tequila popper Need a good, strong blast of tequila to get your ass in gear for the dance floor? Samantha Stollenwerck, the powerful vocalist and guitarist of Berkeley-based Shady Lady, is infamous for buying rounds of shots for her friends and fans just to get a party started. Stollenwerck, joined by Michael Parlengas on guitars, Mike Disch on bass, Ethan Hamilton on sax and flute, and Joe Oviedo on drums, plays jam rock 'n' roll with twists of jazz, funk, and psychedelia. The year-old group possess both an amazing stage presence and a great relationship with their audience, thanks to Stollenwerck's sassy demeanor and raspy vocals, which seem to evoke the spirit of Janis Joplin. Shady Lady have a huge following in the East Bay, and their sound is spreading fast. Tonight they open for ama. 9 p.m., Last Day Saloon, 406 Clement, S.F. $5. (415) 387-6343. (Heidi Smith)

Jan. 19

Saturday

Flora and fauna When Jeff Rosenberg (Pink and Brown, Lumen, Tarentel) relocated to Los Angeles, he didn't audition for a boy band and immediately skyrocket to superstardom. Instead he formed a trio called Young People that couldn't be more down to earth. Their slow, slightly unrefined playing of guitar, drums, and organ makes them sound like they were raised in the Appalachians and learned to sing by imitating the harmonies drifting out from the nearest cabin in the woods. The naive quality of singer Katie Eastburn's voice can turn hardship into hope. The Curtains, also on the bill, have a loose, scuttling style that conjures wood creatures prowling the night and other such organic noises. These two minitour mates bring an element of surprise to their music that makes them totally enchanting. Young People and the Curtains play with the Numbers, Xiu Xiu, Theory of Ruin, and Tiny Bird Mouths. 9 p.m., Stork Club, 2330 Telegraph, Oakl. $6. (510) 444-6174. (Deborah Giattina)

Screaming for vengeance Metal godfathers Judas Priest are nothing if not survivors. Over the course of a 30-year career they've endured the makeup and hair-spray excesses of the '80s, ridiculous allegations of leading fans to suicide with subliminal messages, and the departure of seminal screamer Rob Halford in 1992. Guitarists Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing took some flak for hiring Priest cover-band vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens as a replacement, but naysayers were quickly silenced by the "I Can't Believe It's Not Halford" magic of the singer's performance when the group finally returned to the stage in 1998. The band's latest effort for Atlantic, Demolition, might not hold a candle to Priest albums of yore, but die-hard rivetheads will be coming out of the woodwork for a chance to hear crushing classics like "Victim of Changes" and "You've Got Another Thing Coming" live. Opening are NYC thrashers Anthrax and Iced Earth. 8 p.m., Warfield, 928 Market, S.F. $35. (415) 567-2060. (Dave Pehling)

Jan. 20

Sunday

Flake on me With a résumé that includes hard time spent in the Mummies, Count Backwurds, Loose Lips, and Dukes of Hamburg, the fivesome that make up the Flakes continue the going-nowhere-fast tradition of their former outfits. And the Flakes rip it up harder than most of their local contemporaries, even if nobody is paying attention. From crappy clubs to shitty dive bars, the Flakes' calling card is bare-bones R&B and '60s-style garage punk with a 2/4 beat. It's an instant dance party for those who enjoy tail-feather shaking, a cover tune quiz for know-it-all record collector geeks, and a simple pleasure for folks looking to ditch the pretensions of the indie world. With two 45s under their belt and a full-length album in the works, it's only a matter of time till these guys vault the wall from super-unknown to hopelessly obscure, and we'll be right there dancing stage left the whole time. The Sermon, Harold Ray Live in Concert, and M.C. King Fish and the Twisting Sisters also make the scene. 9 p.m., Covered Wagon Saloon, 917 Folsom, S.F. $5. (415) 974-1585. (O'Neill)

Check your head Self-proclaimed "post-futurists" David Pescovitz and Brad Wieners are ready to say "I told you so." Much to the surprise of their many critics, the technological predictions presented in their futuristic retrospective, Reality Check (Wired Books, 1996), are actually coming true. In "Post-Futurism in Review," the 29th installment of Laughing Squid's Tentacle Sessions, a series devoted to facilitating live interaction with all types of artists and their work, the duo will provide video and live demonstrations of their favorite inventions from the "recent future." The wonders of this show will include dissident robots, the first commercial "smart shirt," and one lucky techie's meal ticket, the virtual sex slave. 7 p.m., Spanganga, 3376 19th St., S.F. $5-$10. (415) 821-1102, sessions.laughingsquid.org. (Cohen)

Jan. 21

Monday

Dream aloud One gifted orator deserves another. Or, if Youth Speaks has anything to say about it, 25 others. To honor a man whose words had a huge impact on others, Youth Speaks's multicultural band of poets present their own verbal interpretation of the leader's legacy in "Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." Now in its fifth incarnation, this anything-but-stuffy event sells out every year, so this time around the troupe of 21-and-under wordsmiths are taking their performance to a bigger venue. And in what's becoming an annual tradition, DJ Funklore will spin a special mix of King's legendary speeches. An all-ages dance party follows. 7 p.m., Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission, S.F. $2-$8. (415) 978-ARTS, www.youthspeaks.org. (Einhart)

Way of the Gunn Since 1994 guitarist-bassist Trey Gunn has been best known as a member of the pioneering and seemingly eternal prog rock band King Crimson, along with Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew. The Texas native, who has also played with Vernon Reid, Michael Brook, Eric Johnson, and David Sylvian, helped guitar builder Mark Warr develop what has become his main axe – a 10-string touch guitar with the range of a piano. In addition to featuring the Warr Guitar on such solo albums as The Third Star, The Joy of Molybdenum (both on Discipline Records), and his self-released Raw Power, Gunn has built a high-octane instrumental rock band around his pyrotechnic prowess on the instrument, with Joe Mendelson on an 8-string Warr Guitar, Tony Geballe on an electric guitar and a 12-string acoustic guitar, and Bob Muller on drums, percussion, and tabla. Through Wed/23. 9 p.m., Cafe du Nord, 2170 Market, S.F. $15. (415) 861-5016. (Derk Richardson)

Jan. 22

Tuesday

No butts about it Everybody say "Rah!" Everybody say "Rowl!" Now line up to get a head butt from Chicago's main man of independent music, Wesley Willis. Initially known primarily as a pen-and-marker outsider artist with a strong cult following, Willis, a diagnosed chronic schizophrenic, has been recording and performing nonstop since 1991 in an attempt to help soothe the voices in his head. Sometimes frightening, often funny, his three-chord odes to the trivialities and travails of everyday life, the places he goes, and the people he digs will either resonate deeply or drive you to the exit. With at least 25 albums under his belt, Willis (personal taste aside) may be the purest performer ever to commit to tape. Yes, the songs all sound the same, but it's a pretty damn good song. Rock over London, rock on Chicago! Wesley Willis, he's the real thing. Uh-huh. Willis splits the bill with Die Goldenen, Zitronen, Grand Buffet, and Custom on It. 9 p.m., Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. $10. (415) 885-0750. (O'Neill)

Jan. 23

Wednesday

First position If Dance Theatre of Harlem's two programs prove anything, it's that the company is confident in its ability to create choreography from within. Several of the current rep pieces are Bay Area premieres of recent works by in-house artists: veteran Augustus Van Heerden's Passion of the Blood (inspired by Lorca's Blood Wedding), young Laveen Naidu's Viraa (to Ernest Bloch's exquisite Concerto Grosso no. 2), and resident choreographer Robert Garland's New Bach to music by J.S. The company also revives Dialogues, its 1991 Glen Tetley commission for four couples, one part of which originally was danced by Ronald Perry and Karen Brown, current artistic director of Oakland Ballet. Also on tap is Garland's Return, his pop take on Aretha Franklin and James Brown, which premiered here in 1999. Program A (Viraa, Passion of the Blood, Return), Wed/23-Thurs/24 and Sat/26, 8 p.m. Program B (New Bach, Dialogues, Concerto in F), Fri/25, 8 p.m.; Sat/26, 2 p.m., UC Berkeley, Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft at Telegraph, Berk. $24-$48. (510) 642-9988. (Rita Felciano)

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