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Eight Days a Week

April 3-10, 2002

THEY SURE DON'T make 'em like Ann Calvello anymore. If you've never witnessed the skull-cracking skills of the "archvillainess" of Roller Derby – imagine a cross between Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman on wheels, only with better jewelry and bigger attitude – Sharon Rutter's Demon of the Derby: The Ann Calvello Story is essential viewing. Now in her 70s, the feisty San Francisco native first took to the track in 1948, and from the start (as the film's archival footage vividly depicts) she gleefully terrorized opponents and referees, cultivating a larger-than-life persona that delighted fans across the country. Though Roller Derby's popularity peaked decades ago (back in the day, the sport beat basketball and football in television ratings), Calvello, whose entire adult life has centered on the sport, still clings to her glory days, acting the part of a celebrity even as she works her day job at Safeway. Rutter's doc goes beyond simply glorifying a legend, including interviews with teammates and friends who worry about Calvello's ability to perform at her age (though Calvello, who survived a brain tumor, is confident throughout). The film also features some interesting commentary on the fleeting nature of fame. But mostly Demon of the Derby is a celebration of one of the most colorful characters in sports, a woman who has lived her life the only way she knows how – and has had a great time doing it. Calvello will be on hand at the 8 p.m. screenings; Saturday's 8 p.m. show includes a "Dress as Ann Calvello" contest, so get to work on that tan and better your chances of winning a prize from "the meanest mama on skates." Fri/5-Sat/6, 6, 8, and 10 p.m. (also Sat., 2 and 4 p.m.), Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th St., S.F. $3-$7. (415) 863-1087. (Cheryl Eddy)

April 3

Wednesday

Lured in Known to fans of quirky jazz for her work in the Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet and Living Daylights, Seattle alto saxophonist-flutist Jessica Lurie teases out other aspects of her myriad talents – which include singing and wordless vocalizing – in the new Jessica Lurie Ensemble. On the group's wide-ranging debut CD, !Zipa Buka! (Zipa! Music), Lurie's original compositions tap Bulgarian and other eastern and central European themes to create bridges between postbop jazz and the groove-orientation of the jam band circuit, where she has become a popular participant. Lurie's touring ensemble is made up of BTMSQ tenor saxophonist Sue Orfield, guitarist Jason Seed, acoustic bassist Reuben Radding, and drummer Greg Campbell, whose collective credits include Bo Diddley, Quincy Jones, Trey Gunn, and John Zorn. Will Bernard and Motherbug open. 9:30 p.m., Boom Boom Room, 1601 Fillmore, S.F. $7. (415) 673-8000. (Derk Richardson)

April 4

Thursday

Don't mess with Dayton Texas may not have a lot to offer America in the way of politicians (especially since Ann Richards dried out), but good Christ, the quality of on-the-cusp music that pours out of the Lone Star state is staggering. The past year or so has seen Billy Joe Shaver release his best album in 10 years, Jon Dee Graham and Slaid Cleaves joining the singer-songwriter elite club, and Slobberbone making a strong bid to become America's best rock and roll band. Meanwhile, Jesse Dayton continues to write, tour, and quietly compile his own impressive list of admirers. He's played a Clinton inauguration, bent a string or six on Ray Price and Waylon Jennings albums, and gotten the blessing of Johnny Cash himself as a here-to-stay, real-deal artist. His newest disc, Hey Nashvegas! (Stag), finds the Dixie Chicks, Johnny Gimble, and Flaco Jimenez dropping in to pay their respects, but you get the feeling the album would have gotten by on just Dayton and a guitar alone. Staples like barrooms, broken hearts, and streaks of bad luck rarely sound this fresh, and his George Jones-styled vocals could put a tear in any beer. Dayton will be teaching a few lessons when he opens for the Supersuckers. Through Fri/5. 9 p.m., Slim's, 333 11th St., S.F. $12-$14. (415) 253-0333. (John O'Neill)

Free thinkers Since 1989 performance artist Rhodessa Jones has been changing the lives of women inmates at the San Francisco County Jail through theater. At the same time, the women involved in her Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women have reshaped the theater by stretching its creative possibilities to incorporate their stories. Tonight, Jones gives a presentation titled 'Theater for the 21st Century' as part of a book-signing party to celebrate the release of Rena Fraden's recent account of Jones's collaborative process, Imagining Medea: Rhodessa Jones and the Medea Project. In addition there will be a performance by members of the project and a screening of excerpts from Larry Andrews's film We Just Telling Stories, which documents the development of the Medea Project's sixth production, Slouching toward Armageddon: A Captive's Conversation/Observation on Race. 7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, S.F. Free. (415) 362-8193. (Lara Shalson)

April 5

Friday

Back forward Among other distinctions, Kansas City, Mo.'s Coalesce are the only band to record splits with both grindcore grizzlies Napalm Death and sensitive emo popsters the Get Up Kids. The group, formed in '94, survived a few lineup changes before breaking up in '99. The current foursome (with original members Sean Ingram and Stacy Hilt) have picked a good time to get back together, since the whole hardcore-math-metal genre they helped create back in the mid '90s has become overrun with copycats who could use a lesson on how things are done. Speaking of timing, they also have a couple long-promised albums coming out soon, the remastered CD version of the out-of-print Give Them Rope (Second Nature) and the vinyl issue of 0:12 Revolution in Just Listening (Hydra Head). The Esoteric, Eniac, and Blessing the Hogs also play. 8 p.m., Pound-SF, Pier 96, 100 Cargo, S.F. $8. (415) 826-9202. (Will York)

Operation enduring otherness Were the bellyaching born-agains on Capitol Hill to catch wind of the National Endowment for the Arts' role in helping bankroll La Pocha Nostra's latest shenanigans, they'd cream themselves with censorship fervor. And that's precisely the kind of racialized obsession the arts group is hoping to expose at its 10-year anniversary celebration. The event, 'Apocalypse Mañana,' is also a coming-out party for OG cultural border bandit Guillermo "Mad Mex" Gómez-Peña and rockero turned symphonic composer Guillermo Galindo's new CD of the same name, released by Calaca Press. An interracial fantasy fest, "Apocalypse Mañana" promises two evenings of radical performance art by Peña, Juan Ybarra, Michelle Ceballos, Emael, Gigi Otalvaro, Isis Rodriguez, Liz Lerma, Sara Shelton Mann, Dakota, Leilani Chan, and incorrigible audience members, among others. Also on the bill are live Pima drumming and rocktronic opera, video graffiti, transracial makeovers, political peep shows, art by Rene "El Capo de la Misión" Yañez, and an intercultural fetish costume ball – themed "Operation Enduring Otherness" – presided over by a mistress of ceremonies from Stormy Leather. Come dressed as your favorite racial profile or evil other and be prepared to release that transvestite Zapatista supermodel, chola-geisha guerrilla grrrl, or whatever repressed erotic hybrid superhero you may have lurking deep inside. Through Sat/6. 8 p.m.-midnight, Balazo/Mission Badlands Gallery, 2811 Mission, S.F. $10-$15. (415) 920-0896. (Camille T. Taiara)

Creative process Get firsthand insight into the techniques of some of today's most intriguing Native American writers at Small Press Traffic's 'Coordinates 2002: Indigenous Writing Now,' a free three-day conference that boasts representation from nine Native nations. Tonight, James Thomas Stevens, Inés Hernández-Ávila, Diane Glancy, and Paula Gunn Allen get the ball rolling with a poetry and prose reading. Saturday, two daytime panels – "Conjuring with the Hand of Language" and "Vocabularies of Contested Spaces" – delve into such topics as the intercultural "voice" and oral traditions; an evening reading features the works of Esther Belin, Kimberly TallBear, Reid Gómez, Cedar Sigo, and Gerald Vizenor. The event wraps up Sunday with "Choices and Practices for a New Generation," a panel that explores the inspirations and strategies of younger Native writers. Tonight 6 p.m.; Sat., panels 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-5 p.m., reading 7:30 p.m.; Sun., panel 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Small Press Traffic Literary Arts Center, 1111 Eighth St., S.F. Free. (415) 551-9278. (Cheryl Eddy)

Finding hope When Ntozake Shange's lyrical choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf rose to fame in 1975, bringing its relatively unknown author out of obscurity and into the spotlight, the play's experimental style and thoughtful examination of the lives of contemporary black women in the United States were considered revolutionary for the Broadway stage. Since then the piece has been a mainstay in many college drama classes and a popular production piece on campuses, as well as in commercial theaters. The piece is written for a cast of seven women, identified only by the colors of their clothing, who deliver interweaving monologues voicing the struggles of urban black women to find a sense of self in the face of abuse and pain. This weekend's free SFSU student showcase is directed, produced, and performed by an all-women of color cast. Don't miss the opportunity to see an updated version of this groundbreaking work that incorporates contemporary music and dance. Through Sat/6. 8 p.m. (also Sat/6, 3 p.m.), San Francisco State University, Studio Theatre, 1600 Holloway, S.F. Free. (415) 338-1341. (Shalson)

April 6

Saturday

New world folk On his second album, Captain of the Old Girls (Upperworks), folk indie rocker Hudson Bell marries musical influences from the Deep South and the West Coast. Although based in San Francisco, Bell grew up in Baton Rouge, La.; for Captain he reached back to his Southern roots and recorded in Mississippi with Bruce Watson, cofounder of famed blues label Fat Possum. Bell's new album is worlds away from his debut offering, 1999's spare Under Boxes and Dirt (Upperworks), a collection of digitally remastered recordings of homemade tapes he amassed between 1992 and 1996. Here's hoping fresh-faced, clean-cut Bell will be sporting his cute one-dollar-bill bow tie as he and a backing band showcase his songs. 9:30 p.m., Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary, S.F. $5. (415) 885-4074. (China Martens)

April 7

Sunday

Get lit That extra hour of daylight the U.S. Department of Transportation bestows on us every spring is a welcome ray of light for the inhabitants of sun-deprived San Francisco, especially the seasonally glum. When the nation switches to daylight saving time, the commute home seems less somber, and suddenly you feel like you can get more shit done. In celebration, Mike Taylor, singer and guitarist for the Court and Spark, has organized a party dubbed 'Groover's Paradise.' The Court and Spark, the aptly named Winter Flowers, Bart Davenport, and DJ Beatbroker (of Broker/Dealer) perform. 9 p.m., Cafe du Nord, 2170 Market, S.F. $7. (415) 861-5016. (Deborah Giattina)

April 8

Monday

Jazz notes The warm, capacious tone and generous outpouring of melodic ideas remain consistent in the trumpet playing of Dave Douglas, but nothing stands still in the jazz-crit darling's music. In the course of releasing 15 CDs, he has employed eight different working ensembles. The latest – his New Quartet, with saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist James Genus, drummer Clarence Penn, and pianist Uri Caine – has just put out The Infinite (RCA/Bluebird), which juxtaposes arrangements of Rufus Wainwright, Björk, and Mary J. Blige tunes to seven equally distinctive originals. Caine plays a lot of Fender Rhodes in this group, somewhat harking back to the earliest Miles Davis fusion experiments. Douglas sounds little like Davis on the horn, but he embodies the same restless spirit and innate determination to sustain a connection with folk and popular sensibilities, even while taking them out on a limb. Also Tues/9. 8 and 10 p.m., Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakl. $16. (510) 238-9200. (Richardson)

April 9

Tuesday

Out of the past If your passion is out-there, eerie experimental electronic music, Rroland, a.k.a. former California grape farmer James Lucas, is worth a listen. More well-known in Europe, he regularly tours as a solo support act for Scottish indie star Momus. Lucas uses antique monotone analog synthesizers to create what he terms "mistaken memories" of several lives he believes he's lived before. His 2001 album, Reflections on a Past Life as Played on the Roland Synthesizer, is the second release for American Patchwork, a new label overseen by Momus. Expect an eccentric, intellectual performance from Rroland, who admits to being heavily influenced by English late-'60s psychedelia and who once composed parodies of Ovid stories that replaced the ancient Greek characters with modern pop stars. 10:30 p.m., Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, S.F. $3. (415) 923-0923. (Martens)

April 10

Wednesday

Cluck you Those who missed it at a recent San Francisco International Film Festival or when it screened briefly around town now have another chance to peep out The Natural History of the Chicken, Mark Lewis's brilliant (and brilliantly funny) doc about the often unnatural relationship between humankind and chickenkind. Keep your incredulity in check, for the stories herein are strange but true: a wayward hen saved from a frozen death by "mouth-to-beak resuscitation"; a neighborhood terrorized by a stubborn rooster enthusiast; a pampered pet that's more shih tzu than clucker; a mama bird who protects her cherished young at any cost; and the strange tale of "Miracle Mike," who ruffled more than a few feathers in the 1940s when he lost his head but kept on living – and subsequently enjoyed a second career as a traveling curiosity. Through Thurs/11. 7:30 and 9:15 (also Wed/10, 2 p.m.), Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight, S.F. $4.50-$6.50. (415) 668-3994. (Eddy)

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