June 12, 2002




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8 Days a Week

June 12-19, 2002

JUST WEEKS AFTER Sept. 11, Reno, the loud-mouthed lesbian comedian with attention deficit disorder, started cracking jokes and ranting about the attacks. It was before most people were willing to publicly lambaste her favorite targets, our nation's leaders (including President George W. Bush, whose speaking style she describes as "like a drunk pretending to be sober"), but exactly when those same people desperately needed a good laugh. The inspiration for her show, Rebel Without a Pause, came when she was awakened by the sound of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center – she lives eight blocks from ground zero. She scrapped earlier plans to gripe about gentrification and the New York mayoral race in order to devote her energies to processing grief through humor. Well-known on the Lower East Side for her hilarious, left-leaning, stream-of-consciousness style solo performances, Reno might also be familiar from the HBO feature film Reno Finds Her Mom, about Reno's real-life search for her birth mother. You can expect that Reno's latest performance will be equally personal, poignantly hysterical, and unapologetically critical, because if there's one thing this rebel's not without, it's a cause. Tues/18-Sun/23, 8 p.m., Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St., S.F. $24-$26. (415) 647-2822, www.brava.org. (Lara Shalson)

June 12


We cho-cho chose her In "Daddy Gay Story," a routine from her latest tour, Korean American comedian extraordinaire Margaret Cho discusses the topic of being gay and Asian. The act is side-splittingly hilarious but has a serious and thought-provoking undertone, bringing up the shame, fear, and misunderstandings that homosexual and transgender Asians and Asian Americans deal with in their families, friends, and community. Noodle Magazine, a new publication for gay Asian and Pacific Islander men, recognizes Cho's support, love, and representation of its community and has placed her on the cover of its debut issue. Tonight at Noodle's launch party Cho reads from and signs copies of the mag and promotes the release of her upcoming film and CD, The Notorious C.H.O. Filipina singing group Pinay also perform. 7:30-10:30 p.m., San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center, 1800 Market, S.F. $5-$10. www.sfcenter.org. (Sarah Han)

June 13


What's best for the children This is a book reading and signing that isn't to be missed. Judith Levine, author of the controversial new work Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex, will be making her only Bay Area appearance at the Fourth Street Cody's Books in Berkeley. In her book, Levine makes the simple argument that young people deserve clear information about sex. For this, she has been called a messenger of Satan by members of the Christian right and has been attacked as a promoter of child pornography by groups who want to squash the First Amendment in the name of "protecting" kids from adult content on the Internet. Her brave, intelligent responses to critics have become a lifeline for people who want to see free speech preserved and who want children to be given the respect, freedom, and protection they deserve. A longtime activist and writer, Levine has also published work on gender and families in Ms. and Nerve. 7 p.m., Cody's Books, 1730 Fourth St., Berk. Free. (510) 559-9500. (Annalee Newitz)

June 14


Divine soothsayer San Francisco's number-one misunderstood son, Chuck Prophet, has spent his entire career boxing around the "singer-songwriter" tag. And while he might share some base characteristics with others among the genre, Prophet has a distinct and wonderful penchant for pulling the oars toward uncharted shores. Since his early days in Green on Red and throughout a virtually criticism-free solo career, rather than leaning on great storytelling to carry the tune, Prophet has experimented. While his contemporaries strum in the corner, he raps, loops, scratches, and commits general sonic mayhem with superior results. His sixth disc, No Other Love (New West), finds Chaz continuing the tradition of boundary bending, as well as reaching back to the past to touch on everyone from Joe Tex to Duane Eddy. He celebrates the album's official release with two S.F. shows; tonight he headlines Slim's with openers Jeff Trott Band and Persephone's Bees, and Tues/18 he performs alone at Amoeba. 9 p.m., Slim's, 333 11th St., S.F. $12. (415) 522-0333. (Also Tues/18, 6 p.m., Amoeba Music, 1855 Haight, S.F. Free. 415-831-1200.) (John O'Neill)

June 15


Keep your folk-us Music doesn't get any more authentically do-it-yourself and grassroots than when it's played at the San Francisco Free Folk Festival. A glorious, meticulously coordinated hodgepodge of concert and "cabaret" performances, music and dance workshops, and special children's activities, the 26th annual edition features such out-of-the-limelight headliners as Steve Seskin (a songwriting phenom who strikes gold behind the scenes in Nashville) and Michael McNevin (who doubles as an Etch A Sketch master). When you're not watching them, be sure to check out the Shut-Ins, the World Harmony Choir, and the Dunsmuir Scottish Dancers. In between sets you can also pick up a few pointers on your vocal harmony or ukulele playing at the workshops and peruse the music and crafts marketplace. Today, noon-11 p.m.; Sun., noon-10:30 p.m., Roosevelt Middle School, 460 Arguello, S.F. Free. (510) 287-9095, www.sffolkfest.org. (Derk Richardson)

Buck yeah Pride month is packed with plenty of performances, films, spoken word events, and so on, but there's only one gay rodeo kicking up dust in these parts. Saddle up and mosey on down to San Jose for 'Best Buck in the Bay,' the 11th annual San Francisco Bay Area rodeo sponsored by the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association – Bay Area Chapter. Participants compete in the gender category with which they most identify, and events include yippee-ki-yay!-inducing favorites like barrel racing, calf roping, and bull riding. The cowboy- and cowgirl-themed fun keeps going outside the ring, with a full slate of social activities (including pool parties and the "Buckin' Ball" dance) planned throughout the week at various locations; go to www.bayarearodeo.com to get the scoop. Through Sun/16. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully (enter on Monterey Hwy., Gate D), San Jose. $15. (415) 561-9228. (Cheryl Eddy)

June 16


What a shock In case you've been wondering what Michelle Shocked's been up to, you can find out for free at the opening concert of the Stern Grove Festival's 65th Anniversary Season. The progressive folk-rocker, who soared to prominence after the surprise success of her 1987 Texas Campfire Tapes, has traveled many musical byways during the past 15 years, from the punky folk-country of Short Sharp Shocked to the brassy Captain Swing and the rootsy Arkansas Traveler, all released on Mercury. After years of frustration and differences with the major label, she was finally freed from their shackles (and publicity boosts) in 1996. Shocked's most recent album, Deep Natural, is the first release on her own Mighty Sound label. This two-CD set, featuring a disc of dub treatments, puts Shocked's sensual and spiritual concerns, her eclectic folk-jazz-gospel music, and her now sweet, seductive, and strident voice in constantly shifting sonic spaces that always fit her restless but sharp focus. L.A.-based Afro-Chicano band Quetzal opens. 2 p.m., Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Ave. and Sloat, S.F. Free. (415) 252-6252, www.sterngrove.org. (Richardson)

Island beauty The Philippines are in the news all the time, mostly for unfortunate reasons: natural disasters, kidnappings, or as a staging area for U.S. foreign policy. Maybe Sining Kumintang Ng Batangas, performing as they do in the national Bayanihan style, present too rosy a picture of the complexities of this diverse culture. But for the local Filipino community and all those who love the country, Sining's return is much welcomed, as they present theatrically appealing examples of the many traditions that make up this 7,000-plus-islands nation. Included, among others, are barrio dances from the central Philippines, robust northern mountain dances, and excerpts of dreamy dance dramas from the south. 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, S.F. $15-$20. (415) 345-7575. (Rita Felciano)

Hoodwinked The blink-and-you'll-miss-it live sets of Fast Forward are stunning. The Los Angeles miscreant has released one 7-inch and a self-titled full-length on Vermiform, hot-wiring new wave synth-punk with impish performance-art shtick. As with Vermiform brain trust Men's Recovery Project, visual aesthetics and pranks are considered key to audience enjoyment. Yet aside from the layers of hiss, Fast Forward is as catchy as the overrated Faint in the pop tune department. Last time F.F. played San Francisco, there was about seven minutes of intense lights, drum machine assault, druid-leprechaun mischief, and a comfortable level of chaos. Tonight the band opens for the End of the World, a hip-hop act featuring a member of Burmese and spoken word artist Kassy Katastrophe. Deep Dickollective, who make what they call "homohop," also play. 9 p.m., Kimo's, 1351 Polk, S.F. $5. (415) 885-4535. (George Chen)

Mary Jane In an ideal world, Mary J. Blige would be on tour with the Roots as a backing band, so the too-short highlight of Jay-Z's Unplugged (a flame-throwing snippet of "Family Affair") could extend to the length of a whole concert. Blige's most recent Bay Area visit hit hardest when the medley mania slowed down, allowing her time to cover Philip Bailey's "Children of the Ghetto" and reach the ceiling of the Paramount Theatre with her voice. Hopefully still high after smoking Shakira in a Divas Live duet on VH1, Blige has returned, and oops, oh my, it looks like Tweet will open. 7:30 p.m., Chronicle Pavilion, 2000 Kirker Pass Road, Concord. $32.50-$69.50. (925) 363-5701. (Johnny Ray Huston)

June 17


Trigger happy The Word for Word Theater Company presents a unique theatrical experience when it turns Tobias Wolff's short story "Bullet in the Brain" into a performance featuring every word of the original. Eight actors play more than 50 characters, including Paul Finocchearo as the main character, Anders, a jaded book critic who is shot after he mouths off during a bank robbery. The story tells us what he remembers and doesn't remember in his final moments, as he rediscovers his passion for language. The appeal of Wolff's work lies in its profound characters, gorgeous language, and stories that are human in their scope. For this one-time-only event, Wolff himself will be present for a discussion after the performance. Tonight's event is a fundraiser for the Word for Word Ninth Anniversary Show, which runs July 25-Aug. 25 at the Magic Theatre and includes two other Wolff stories. 7 p.m., Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, S.F. $33. (415) 345-7575. (Summers Henderson)

June 18


Fresh talk There's a simple idea behind the 'New Works/New Voices' series at Intersection for the Arts: a prominent, established author reads new work and picks another emerging writer to read as well. Tonight's featured author is Juan Felipe Herrera, one of the leading voices of the Latino literary scene. His career goes back to the Chicano Movement and his founding of the poetry theater Teatro Tolteca in L.A. in 1971. Since then he has published 20 books and been a teacher in the Bay Area and around the state. His work is witty, dramatic, and occasionally surrealistic and includes poetry, novels, and memoirs. Herrera teaches at California State University, Fresno, and for his co-readers he picked seven young poets from the Central Valley. The event benefits Intersection for the Arts. 8 p.m., Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia, S.F. $5-$15. (415) 626-2787. (Henderson)

June 19


Treasure chest Artist Frank Pietronigro builds on a successful project he created last year with 'Intergeneration: Building Queer Community Across the Ages Through Art,' an interactive performance and exhibition series that aims to link queers of all ages and create art – often by non-artists – in the process. Common themes in the works include issues of aging; gift-giving in the form of sharing culture between generations; celebrations of life and nature; and overcoming obstacles that are common among people both young and old. Stop by the San Francisco Main Public Library (100 Larkin, S.F.) to view the visual arts component – a display detailing how participants created a 40-page anthology based upon writings used or drafted during the creative process – through July 15. Tonight, check out the final performance of the series, which is titled "Potlatch: Sharing a Lifetime of Experience, Stories, and Treasures from Our Tribe." Audiences will have a chance to contribute their own "story spirals," personal tales about intergenerational relationships. Expect to see pieces that run the gamut of genres, including song, video, dance, and storytelling, all based on true stories; appropriately, the event is hosted by New Leaf Outreach to Elders and the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center and is part of the National Queer Arts Festival. 7 p.m., Rainbow Room, San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center, 1800 Market, Second floor, S.F. Free. (415) 695-9010. (Eddy)

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