April 24, 2002




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Electric Habitat
By Amanda Nowinski

Tiger on beat
By Patrick Macias

By Josh Kun


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By Annalee Newitz

Without Reservations
By Paul Reidinger

Cheap Eats
By Dan Leone


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Eight Days a Week

April 24-May 1, 2002

DID YOU KNOW California has the highest incarceration rate in the world? That it spends $5.6 billion on jails and only $4.3 billion on higher education? And that in the past 10 years our so-called Golden State has seen 20 new prisons go up, compared with only one new UC school? I probably wouldn't if it weren't for the folks at the Prison Activist Resource Center and the California Prison Moratorium Project – committed purveyors of cold, hard facts about an issue the mainstream media have managed to shroud in half-truths and inflammatory rhetoric. Support the facts and head out to 'Jailbreak: A May Day Benefit for the California Prison Moratorium Project and the Prison Activist Resource Center,' an evening of music and performance featuring a host of local talent, including Filipino American spoken word collective Eighth Wonder, Latino hip-hoppers La Paz, performance artist Maria Elena Gaitan, master musicians Daniel Torres and Melinda Velasco, and funksters Wayside. The brilliantly badass Ruthie Gilmore, professor of geography at UC Berkeley and a lifelong activist who organizes with both groups, will also speak, and she's sure to break it down on what we can do about these facts. Come on out, people – if you didn't know before, you do now. Wed/1, 8 p.m., El Rio, 3158 Mission, S.F. $7-$20 (21 and over). (510) 893-4648, ext. 202. (Sylvia W. Chan)

April 24


Past imperfect Sure, indie all-star Richard Linklater recently turned Stephen Belber's provocative play Tape into a film starring Robert Sean Leonard and real-life spouses Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. But that shouldn't stop you from revisiting the source material when the Magic Theatre brings the drama back to the stage. Belber (an associate writer and performer in The Laramie Project) sets his play in a cheap Michigan hotel room, all the better to up the tension during an uneasy reunion/confrontation between two guys and a girl. Friends in high school, over the past 10 years they've been divided by wildly different career paths (one's a drug dealer, one's an up-and-coming filmmaker, and one's an attorney), jealousy, and conflicting opinions over a maybe-rape, maybe-consensual sex event in their past. Local theater vets Gabriel Sebastian Martin, James Asher, and Jessica Turner star, and Amy Glazer directs. Through May 12. Previews tonight-Thurs/25, 8 p.m. Opens Fri/26, 8 p.m. Runs Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m. (also Sun/5 and May 12, 7:30 p.m.), Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. D, Marina at Laguna, S.F. $17-$37 (Sun/5, pay what you can). (415) 441-8822. (Cheryl Eddy)

April 25


Future funk The most interesting thing about 'Hip-Hop and Beyond,' the first academic conference about the music that has most influenced the American cultural landscape in recent years, is that the many lectures, panels, exhibits, and performances are not dominated by traditional academics but by the men and women, young and old, who've helped shape the music over the years. Featured are people like Davey D., Ricky Vincent, Umar Bin Hassan, Grand Wizzard Theodore, MC Zion, Paris, and even Rudy Ray Moore, a.k.a. Dolemite. The four-day affair has more panels than you can count, as well as performances – both on and off campus. Stay tuned to the Web site for conference and performance information. Through Sat/27. See Events listings, page 67, for more information. (510) 642-7084, www.hiphopandbeyond.com. (J.H. Tompkins)

Pull the strings Indulge your passion for the animated inanimate at the 'Puppetlove! Festival of Radical Puppetry,' a four-day event involving performances, workshops, and exhibitions at cell space. The fest showcases contemporary puppet work, emphasizing puppetry as a vital, adult art form. Tonight's show (8 p.m.) features political themes and an entomologically accurate, black-light puppet show that delves into the secret lives of bugs. Tomorrow (8 p.m.), puppeteers perform with live musical accompaniment, and Portland's Teatro Calimari does comic object theater, which involves giving life to ordinary household objects, like, say, a bagel with lettuce. Friday's late show (11 p.m.) features XXX lewdness for adults only, including Folly's Fables, which contributed a controversial performance to the festival two years ago. Saturday starts with a kid's show at noon, including an interpretation of a Native American creation myth, and the 8 p.m. cabaret features a wide variety of performance styles. Sunday is community night, an opportunity to meet the puppeteers, take part in a puppet slam, and see puppet movies, including George Higham's adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's "Annabel Lee." The festival also includes several classes on marionette making, stilt walking, and other puppet-related skills. Through Sun/28. cell space, 2050 Bryant, S.F. $5-$50. For a complete schedule call (415) 905-5958 or go to www.zeitgeist.net/wfca/PL2002.htm. (Summers Henderson)

April 26


Lost in space Bringing a composer's acuity and a seeker's restlessness to a genre fondly, or disparagingly, known as space music, Kevin Keller has created his own beguiling niche of ambient chamber music. Filtering his teen affinity for '70s prog through the melodic impressionism of Debussy, the gauzy atmospherics of Brian Eno and Harold Budd, and the Deep Listening of Pauline Oliveros, the Bay Area keyboardist bridges the worlds of classical performance (Kronos premiered one of his string quartets) and blissful contemplation. Celebrating the release of its new CD, Across the Sky (Zebra Music), the Kevin Keller Trio, with cellist Tania Simoncelli and electric bassist Mark Fassett, creates an enthralling soundscape under the region's newest star dome. 8 p.m., Chabot Space and Science Center, Ask Jeeves Planetarium, 10000 Skyline, Oakl. $12-$15. (510) 336-7373. (Derk Richardson)

Trans-eriffic! Let's just put stupid stereotypes of trannychasers to rest right now. People who adore trannies are not all old, booze-addled homophobic men who haunt Tenderloin bars in search of a cheap date. Some trannychasers are cool, genderqueer feminists who love trannies because – well, duh, they're magically delicious! The fabulous humans of Ladyfest Bay Area and Artists Television Access bring all tranny fans a night to remember with 'Ladies Love Trannies,' a selection of films culled from the recent Trannyfest film festival. Including crowd-pleasers like "It's a Boy!" and "Life's a Butch," the program is for young and old, straight and queer, boy, girl, and other. Festivities will also include music from Club KY DJs Spike and Jacob. All proceeds benefit Ladyfest Bay Area, a nonprofit festival of arts and politics for anyone who has ever been or felt female. 8 p.m., Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. $7-$25 sliding scale. (415) 824-3890, www.atasite.org/2002apr26.html. (Annalee Newitz)

April 27


A new England We need Billy Bragg now more than ever. Is he an idealistic ex-punk? A new Woody Guthrie? A hopeful romantic? Damned straight. Mobilized, and on tour, since the dark Thatcher 1980s, Bragg supported the miner strikes of 1984 and '85, formed a musician's coalition called Red Wedge, and has worked as a writer, a broadcaster, and an activist. On England, Half English (Elektra) Bragg and his Blokes play with upbeat Northern soul and traditional English roots while lyrically questioning British identity and issues of home, love, and social justice. Fans of his Mermaid Avenue recordings with Wilco will be happy to find traces of American folk-country. Bragg can write pop anthems challenging World Bank policies and love songs with irony but without cynicism. And if his fans had their way, Billy would succeed the queen, tell Tony Blair and George W. where to get off, and lead us into a new era in which everyone earns a living wage and exports like the Spice Girls never happen again. Black 47 open. 8 p.m., Warfield, 982 Market, S.F. $25. (415) 775-7722. (Katje Richstatter)

A.k.a. the Bammies The fact that this is year 25 for the California Music Awards – born as the Bammies – means about 10 generations of snotty alternative bands have made snide comments about the ceremony and have subsequently swallowed their words when they themselves were nominated. Still, making fun of Sammy Hagar is part of the fun (and who knows, maybe there will be a spontaneous Journey reunion) – and, in fact, Sammy himself will perform. Also on the bill are Smash Mouth, Bob Weir, Joe Satriani, Papa Roach, Mixmaster Mike, the K.G.B., and special guests. Rock stars! Limos! Fun and games in the dressing rooms! Oh my! 7:30 p.m., Henry J. Kaiser Arena, 10 10th St., Oakl. $25-$125. (415) 421-8497, www.californiamusicawards.com. (Tompkins)

April 28


Snake charmers Before evolving into the don of the downtown New York avant-garde scene, John Zorn spent the late '70s and early '80s making some genuinely weird music, often in the form of improvisational game pieces such as Pool and Archery. Like a musical equivalent of Dungeons and Dragons (in terms of complexity, not aesthetics), these games involve all sorts of rules and codes determining who does what when, though without ever telling anyone exactly what to play. Zorn's best-known game piece, Cobra, is available on CD in four versions; those discs are kind of interesting, but there's always a lingering feeling that the recordings are only giving you half the story, since a lot of the fun is in watching the players react and interact in the moment. Live Cobra performances are rare, but a group of locally based musicians – including longtime Zorn collaborators David Slusser, William Winant, and Bob Ostertag – is giving it a go tonight. The Brown Bunny Ensemble opens. 8 p.m., the Lab, 2498 16th St., S.F. $7-$10. (415) 864-8855. (Will York)

Ladies, women, and girls Past the throngs of leather boys, past the house music and the gawking tourists, last June's Nectar Stage at the post-parade Pride Celebration offered a space dedicated to women's performance for the first time in the history of the festivities. The all-volunteer Nectar Productions team is hard at work on this year's event, and you can help out at a Nectar benefit reception. Hors d'oeuvres are on the house; Courtney Joslin of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Pam Peniston of the Queer Cultural Center, and Hopland Music Festival producer Jody Cole offer some words on Nectar; and entertainment is provided by DJ Edaj, sheslam member Karen Ladson, Bleu (guitar-drum duo), and Boy Wonder (influences: 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys, Richard Simmons). Bring your checkbook and show support for this year's Nectar Stage – generous souls score a raffle ticket, and prizes include a Gold's Gym membership, National Queer Arts Festival tickets, and a gift certificate for Citizen Cake. 4-6 p.m., Tin Pan Asian Bistro, 2251 Market, S.F. Free. (415) 263-4898, www.nectar-productions.com. (Lynn Rapoport)

April 29


High Och-taves Sometimes there may be such a thing as too much sax, so tenor and sopranino player Larry Ochs occasionally needs to step out from the reedy abundance of the Bay Area's long-standing Rova Saxophone Quartet and blow his own horn. In a rare double bill featuring two of his side projects (a third, Maybe Monday, includes Fred Frith and Miya Masaoka) Ochs gives avant-garde and free jazz fans a chance to more closely scrutinize his on-the-spot facility and creativity. In What We Live, bassist Lisle Ellis and drummer Donald Robinson mind-meld with Ochs in a virtually seamless collective sound. Larry Ochs's Sax and Drumming Core (with a superb new CD in tow) supplants the bassist with another drummer, the ubiquitous Scott Amendola, giving Ochs even more harmonic freedom over even thornier beats loosely based on blues and chants from around the world. 8 and 10 p.m., Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakl. $8-$10. (510) 238-9200. (Richardson)

April 30


Dance of joy Awards ceremonies may be a little self-indulgent, but they also offer a rare opportunity for a community to celebrate itself. And if it's an arts community, such as the dance scene, there is always that moment of jubilation: we made it through another year. The 16th annual Isadora Duncan Dance Awards – the 'Izzies' are small fry in the scheme of things, but in the Bay Area they're the only opportunity for dancers of every persuasion to come together and party. Where else would you see San Francisco Ballet dancers hobnobbing with Ethnic Dance Festival participants, or cloggers mingling with release dancers? The Izzies, which honor nominees and winners in 10 categories (including outstanding achievements in individual, ensemble, and company performances), affirm that being acknowledged by your peers is always worth celebrating. 6 p.m., War Memorial Opera House, Green Room, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Free. www.izzies-sf.org. (Rita Felciano)

May 1


Dear diary Layering music, abstract lyrics, and visuals one on top of the other is a specialty of indie four-piece the Rum Diary. Live, the band build up a veritable wall of sound, through a collection of instruments that includes two sets of drums and two bass guitars, and use film and slide shows to enhance the sounds they create, which are a mix of Scottish post-rockers Mogwai and rock dinosaurs Pink Floyd. Named after gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson's long-lost novel – written in 1959, it didn't appear in print until nearly 30 years later – the Rum Diary have been together since February 2000 and originally hail from Cotati, a small northern California town. Their debut full-length album, Noise Prints (Substandard), was released in March, and their latest single, "Mileage," comes out May 7. The track, already a live favorite, ends with all four members drumming their hearts out. Bay Area instrumentalists Continental (who also feature two drummers) and San Francisco indie-electronic band Rubymar support. 9 p.m., Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. $6. (415) 621-4455. (China Martens)

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