May 15, 2002
Arts and Entertainment
May 15-22, 2002
A CAPACITOR IS a device that accumulates and stores an electric charge. An avatar is the incarnation of a deity or the embodiment of a principle or attitude. Bring this new vocabulary list to Avatars, a massive collaborative effort instigated by the performance group Capacitor and involving motion-capture animation, short films (by award-winning documentary filmmaker Josh Callaghan), circus- and martial arts-inflected modern dance, live music, innovative rigging designs and movement props, and 30-minute DJ sets. Based on a video game aesthetic, Avatars voyages into the worlds of five mythological characters and brings a veritable Noah's Ark of artists along for the ride. A refined version of the kitchen-sink approach to performance, Avatars features ballet dancers, capoeristas, and aerialists riding the line between virtual and live-action worlds. The performance grew out of the Capacitor Lab, which brings together artists and technicians from disparate fields to grapple with concepts and technical issues throughout the creative process. Audiences are given the choice between an early show with traditional theater seating and a late-show dance party format. Get there on time for a preshow interactive installation by experimental performance collective Vainglorious. Fri/17-Sat/18, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., King Street Garage, 174 King, S.F. $15-$20. (415) 820-4860 (info), 1-866-468-3399 or www.capacitor.org (tickets) (Sima Belmar)
Image conscious Thesis: dominant representations of beauty and desirability in this country tend to favor young, white heterosexuals, to the exclusion of people of color, queers, and anyone who doesn't fit the cultural ideal. Antithesis (maybe): more suburban white kids listen to hip-hop these days than rock, and terms like "jungle fever" and "rice queen" point to the exoticization of ethnic cultures by whites, both straight and gay. Race and desire clearly interact in our cultural representations and personal lives, but never in a clear or obvious way. 'R X D = [Eros] X [Ethnicity]' is a multigenre art installation by a group of multicultural queer Bay Area artists exploring the complexities of this relationship. Their question: how can a generation informed by postmodern discourses in feminism, queer theory, and postcolonialism reformulate and recontextualize representations of race and desire in the 21st century. A series of performances, film screenings, and panel discussions will coincide with the exhibit, all of which will be documented in the next issue of Shellac, a queer people of color arts publication. Opening reception tonight, 6-9 p.m.; exhibition through July 13, Wed.-Sat., noon-5 p.m., Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia, S.F. Free. (415) 626-2787, www.theintersection.org. (Lara Shalson)
You better work A diva used to be a successful female singer, an operatic prima donna. Nowadays a diva is likely to be anyone with fabulous fashion sense and a supermodel attitude, regardless of gender or singing ability. True to the word's etymology, Exit Theatre's first-ever 'Divafest' isn't only about music and it isn't only for women. You will, however, find an abundance of original musical numbers and female persuasions in this two-week festival, whether it's Sean Owens's return engagement of his critically acclaimed Girlesque, a musical tribute to his female role models, or Amy X. Neuburg's Songs about Life and Death and Love and Insects. You'll also find new solo works, comedy, and cabaret acts celebrating females from virgin to vamp, and you'll have the opportunity to view a staged reading of Clare Boothe Luce's wonderfully bitchy 1930s comedy The Women, a satire of upper-class New York women. So bring your opera glasses and prepare to have your concepts about womanhood overhauled. Through Sat/25. See Stage listings for this week's schedule; go to www.sffringe.org for complete schedule. Exit Theatre, Exit Stage Left, and Exit Café, 156 Eddy, S.F.; Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, S.F. $5-$20, all-show pass $55. (415) 673-3847. (Shalson)
Don't touch that dial Earlier this year White Noise Radio Theatre rocked the stage at the inaugural San Francisco Sketch Comedy Festival, skewering everything from Mamet to Schwarzenegger and working the funniest satanic baby bit since Omen IV: The Awakening. Going on 10 years together, original White Noisers Stephen T. Brophy and Lester Milton (along with the multitalented Beth Lisick, a relatively recent addition to the mix) don't use sets or props to spread the gospel of their comedy. Instead they base their sketches on the format of an old-timey radio show, complete with sound effects, music, and commercials, and they touch on everything from melodrama to horror to just plain bizarreness. Catch them in their latest show, Now, Do What?, running at the Marsh through early June. Opening acts include comedians Daniel Packard (May 17), Liz White (May 18), Merle "Ian Shoales" Kessler (May 24-25), Mike Spiegelman (May 31-June 1), and Colin Mahan (June 7-8). Through June 8. Previews tonight, 8 p.m. Opens Sat/18, 8 p.m. Runs Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., the Marsh, 1062 Valencia, S.F. $10-$17. (415) 826-5750. (Cheryl Eddy)
Unholy trinity Anyone interested in British biker-metal legends Motörhead already knows what to expect from them, but why is it that their opening acts have so often been predictable clones whose goal is basically to sound like Motörhead? This show is different, thankfully. Main support act Morbid Angel are among the few survivors of the late-1980s Florida death metal explosion and one of the bands that helped push that genre into alien realms of physical stamina and wigged-out songwriting complexity. Meanwhile, Massachusetts's Today is the Day now in their sixth different lineup under the leadership of singer-guitarist Steve (not "Stone Cold") Austin have been cranking out demonic noise rock-experimental metal hybrid sounds since the early '90s. All in all, three generations of evil rock and roll innovation on one stage not a bad deal. Speedealer also performs. 8 p.m., Club Townsend, 177 Townsend, S.F. $25. (415) 974-6020. (Will York)
Flyin' high It's one of American history's most compelling stories: in 1937 aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, took off from Oakland for a famous flight around the world but disappeared over the Pacific just before completing the trip. Now the 'Amelia Earhart Symposium' at the Western Aerospace Museum (at the Oakland Airport) gathers scholars, researchers, and the interested public for three days of debate over what really happened. The various theories include one in which Earhart and Noonan were captured by Japanese military forces and detained in the Marshall Islands and Saipan, as well as one that places the pair at the center of a U.S. government cover-up conspiracy. One of today's highlights is the screening of the 1943 Rosalind Russell film Flight for Freedom, the Hollywood version of the tale, which may offer certain clues about the real story. Sun/19 you can join a narrated bus tour of Earhart-related sites around the Bay Area. Fri/17-Sat/18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun/19, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Western Aerospace Museum, 8260 Boeing, Oakl. $12-$16. (510) 638-7100, www.westernaerospacemuseum.org. (Summers Henderson)
A chant for Tibet The guttural, multitonal chanting of Buddhist monks is one of the most otherworldly sounds you're ever likely to hear. The Gyuto Monks, the Dalai Lama's personal choir, perform sacred music in which each monk is able to simultaneously recite two- or three-chord notes while in deep meditation. Dressed in their saffron and ruby ritual robes and colorful fringed headdresses, the monks accompany their mantra with cymbals, bells, horns, and drums. They chant as a means to achieving spiritual enlightenment as well as a way to pray for blessings and to pacify demons. The Gyuto Monks' euphonious efforts have already been immortalized on two albums produced by Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart 1989's Freedom Chants from the Roof of the World and the just-released Perfect Jewel: Sacred Chants of Tibet (both on Rykodisc). The monks hope to raise money to support their monastery and to draw attention to the plight of their homeland through their performances. Like many Tibetans, the monks continue to live in exile in India, following the brutal repression of Buddhism by the Chinese after they invaded Tibet in 1949. 8 p.m., Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $18-$30. (415) 472-3500. (China Martens).
Party hard If there's anything that unites people more than music, it's dancing to it. For 29 years Berkeley's venerable Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center has provided the space. For the past five years the late David Nadel's labor of love has hosted a benefit world music dance marathon to keep the joint bouncing and give it a welcoming new dance floor. The fifth annual 'Ashkenaz Dance-A-Thon' offers 12 hours of nonstop grooves and rhythms from nine Cajun, zydeco, swing, Balkan, African, and reggae bands, including Zydeco Flames, Johnny Nocturne, West African Highlife Band, and Reggae Angels. To fuel you there's an international food-athon too. 2 p.m.-2 a.m., Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo, Berk. $20 and up. (510) 525-5054. (Derk Richardson)
Speak clearly After meeting at an open mic event six years ago, poet Royal Kent and composer Wendy Loomis pooled their talents and formed Copus, a group that fuses spoken word with the members' own brand of "millennium music" (a mix of classical, world, blues, jazz, and other genres). This freethinking approach to the creative process makes Copus now a full-fledged band with flute, drums, stand-up bass, and other instruments perfect as host of 'Language: The Journey to World Peace,' an evening of international performance. Also on the bill is "Fish and Fetish," a lecture delivered in the manner of 19th-century African explorer Mary Kingsley by actor Betsey Means, and Loomis's "Israel Palestine," a piece that incorporates seven languages, as well as film footage by Rahel Fikre-Selassie, to deliver a timely pro-peace message. 7 p.m., the Marsh, 1062 Valencia, S.F. $12-$17. (415) 641-0235, www.copus.net. (Eddy)
Laugh if you dare Cross the Insane Clown Posse with John Wayne Gacy's art portfolio and you'll get an idea of what Ouchy the Clown possibly the world's only "clown dom" brings to the table. If clowns scare the bejesus out of you, best to steer clear of this purposefully sinister yet surprisingly good-natured figure, who works the crowd using his DJ skills (expect cartoon theme songs and off-the-wall punk), a whip, a straight razor, and the dreaded "clown cross" (for anyone who's ever wanted to be smacked around by a threatening circus refugee). Also in the house will be Ouchy's own Porn Clown Posse and drink specials on something called a "Pink Fuzzy." Ronald McDonald, go home! 7-10 p.m., Curve Bar, 747 Third St., S.F. Call for price. (415) 896-2286, www.ouchytheclown.com. (Eddy)
Turkish delight Always a charismatic and theatrical performer, with his trademark baritone voice, Peter Murphy is still best known as the lead singer of seminal Brit goth band Bauhaus during the early 1980s. He argues that his 2002 solo album, Dust (Metropolis), retains a lyrical thread back to the dark musings of Bauhaus hit "Bela Lugosi's Dead," but musically Murphy's sound reflects the past 10 years he and his family have spent living in Turkey. His backing band features traditional Turkish instruments and electric violin rubbing shoulders with rock guitar and drums. As influences, he cites the late, legendary Pakistani qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the Muslim calls to prayer he hears every day in Turkey. Dust is Murphy's first album in seven years and has largely met with a warm critical reception as the record that finally fully reflects his talents. Live, Murphy's the same exciting performer he's always been, perhaps more responsive to his audience than in his more standoffish goth days. Just don't expect him to play any Bauhaus songs. Singer-songwriter Michael J. Sheehy, former leader of U.K. band Dream City Film Club, opens. 8 p.m., Fillmore, 1805 Geary, S.F. $26.50. (415) 346-6000. (Martens)
Day of the locust Seventeen-year locusts (which are really a periodical cicada of the root-sucking variety) emerge from beneath the earth's surface every summer to fuck one another to death, all the while causing such a grinding racket that nearby residents would prefer to live next to the airport than endure the intractable sound of insect ecstasy. When San Diego band the Locust come to town and play with free jazz-evangelized local hardcore outfit Total Shutdown, the result should be much like that three-week ritual only reduced to compacted sets of jagged friction more dynamic and intense than your garden-variety emo or death metal. And wouldn't you like to put yourself in their path? Orthrelm also play. 9:30 p.m., Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. $8. (415) 621-4455. (Deborah Giattina) The Bay Guardian listings deadline is two weeks prior to our Wednesday publication date. To submit an item for consideration, please include the title of the event, date and time, venue name, street address (listing cross streets only is not sufficient), city, telephone number readers can call for more information, telephone number for media, admission costs, and a brief description of the event. Send information to Listings, 520 Hampshire St., S.F. 94110; fax to (415) 487-2506, or e-mail (no attachments, please) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We cannot guarantee the return of photos, but enclosing an SASE helps. We regret we cannot accept listings over the phone.