August 21, 2002

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8 Days a Week

Aug. 21-28, 2002

FORGET EVERYTHING YOU think you know about puppets. Elmo and his gang are not even on the same planet as local puppetry company Lunatique Fantastique, which since 1997 has been staging plays using puppets crafted from found household objects. The extraordinary results have included comic, all-ages works such as the now-annual holiday production The Wrapping Paper Caper and thought-provoking, daring works such as 2000's Snake in the Basement, which used materials including newspaper and red fabric to weave the tale of an accused child molester. The group's brand-new show, My Dinner with Lunatique Fantastique, takes an adults-only look deep into the hearts and minds of random kitchen materials. Expect to come away seeing bananas, mops, rolls, gloves, and other unexpected items in an entirely new light. In this performance LunFan also presents a sneak preview of its in-progress "War Trilogy," which touches on subject matter including the Middle East, Einstein, and Japanese internment camps. Through Sept. 15. Previews Wed/21-Fri/23, 8 p.m. Opens Sat/24, 8 p.m. Runs Wed.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, S.F. $15-$25. (415) 861-8972. (Cheryl Eddy)

Aug. 21

Wednesday

The new wave For much of the past year cellist Hugh Livingston has been at the helm of ArtShip Recordings, one of the Bay Area's most intriguing not-exactly-underground projects: a series of minidisc CDs recorded live in the various steel-clad holds and compartments of a 491-foot ship docked at Oakland's 10th Avenue Terminal. Released in "waves" since last November, the ArtShip discs capture 21 minutes of solo improvisations on saxophone, bass, recorder, shakuhachi, zither, voice, and other instruments. Wave 10 features electronics maestros John Bischoff, Robi Kauker, Chris Brown, and Tim Perkis. The foursome performs after a set by the Wave One Quartet (Livingston, bassist Damon Smith, and multi-instrumentalists Tom Bickley and Brett Larner). 8 p.m., 21 Grand, 449B 23rd St., Oakl. $6-$10. (510) 444-7263. (Derk Richardson)

Aug. 22

Thursday

To die for Though it's likely you're all too familiar with Joseph Kesselring's Arsenic and Old Lace – a play popular with everyone from high schoolers to pro companies that was turned into a Frank Capra film starring Cary Grant – rest assured that you've never seen it like this before. Presented as a benefit for the San Francisco Fringe Festival, the appropriately off-kilter A Fifth of Arsenic and Old Lace is an hour-long performance that taps five directors and five casts to collaboratively and successively spin the tale. (If you caught last year's similar A Sixth of Streetcar, you're already one step ahead.) The total number of doddering old serial killers lurking around the Exit Theatre may be alarmingly high, but fortunately the show is in the capable hands of directors Libby O'Connell (Girlesque), Rebecca Salzer (Rebecca Salzer Dance Theater), Susannah Martin (Paducah Mining Co.), Meredith Eldred (Exit Theatre), and Laura Ellen Smith (Pass the Hat Productions). Through Sat/24. 8 p.m., Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, S.F. $20. (415) 673-3847. (Cheryl Eddy)

Ebony and ivory Describing bands as equations involving similar bands is easy enough, but Vancouver's p:ano are most remarkable for sounding distinctly like themselves on their debut album, When It's Dark and It's Summer (Zum), even as they call to mind the best aspects of numerous other chamber-pop and folk acts. The quartet have mastered the melancholic atmosphere of Palace without the silly self-indulgence, the rich instrumentation of the Microphones in more tightly focused songs, and the beautiful, winding melodies for the likes of which Tom Waits fans suffer so many dumb lyrics about whiskey and cheap footwear. Fans of the Delgados, Bedhead, Ida, and Slint will appreciate p:ano's moody, lush harmonies – and everyone ought to appreciate indie rock that isn't embarrassing. P:ano play with Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu and Vancouver's Jerk with a Bomb. 9 p.m., Kimo's, 1351 Polk, S.F. $5. (415) 885-4535. (Elizabeth Lobsenz)

Page-turners In recent years the march toward convenience of the written word has been matched by the expansiveness of the book arts movement. Due in part to organizations like New York's Booklyn Artists Alliance, book art has grown to include a variety of media, methods, and settings, exploiting new technologies even as it preserves letterpress and bookbinding traditions. 'Booklyn at the San Francisco Center for the Book' showcases 40 new artist books at the San Francisco Center for the Book. This hands-on exhibit – featuring works by Marshall Weber, Mark Wagner, Ruth Lingen, and others – includes multimedia pieces as well as fine letterpress books and handmade zines, with content ranging from humor and poetry to commentary on the war on terror. 7 p.m., San Francisco Center for the Book, 300 De Haro, S.F. Free. (415) 565-0545, www.booklyn.org. (Lobsenz)

Aug. 23

Friday

Write wedding Bay Area Filipino American writers show off their talents at 'Intercept,' a night of poetry reading and performance to celebrate the eighth installment of literary mag Interlope: A Journal of Asian Poetics (founded by former Bay Guardian intern Summi Kaipa). Noted poet Eileen Tabios guest-edited the issue, and tonight she'll mount her inventive performance piece Poem Tree, which draws on the Filipino wedding tradition of guests pinning money to a newlywed couple's clothing – except in Tabios's version, poems are pinned to a wedding dress as a symbolic affirmation of her devotion to poetry. Other local Interlope contributors on hand to read include Catalina Cariaga, Jean N.V. Gier, Barbara J. Pulmano Reyes, Tony Robles, and Annabelle A. Udo; there'll also be cake and traditional Filipino desserts to celebrate the "nuptials." 8 p.m., Locus 1640 Post, 1640 Post, S.F. $5. (415) 864-6740. (Eddy)

Cosmic burn Interstellar rock stars Comets on Fire burn bright tonight, ripping across the Parkside in a psychedelic frenzy. The quartet – which includes Noel Harmonson of the Lowdown and Chris Gonzalez of the Exploding Crustaceans – use Echoplex-distorted vocals, bass, drums, guitar, and oscillator to take you on a mind-searing journey across the Milky Way. Be warned: this is not your momma's psych rock. Hotwire Titans and Nads also play. 10 p.m., Parkside, 1600 17th St., S.F. $4. (415) 503-0393. (Angie Edwards)

Aug. 24

Saturday

Two of hearts Having recorded a healing chant to "the mother of us all" in a 6,000-year-old temple in Malta and another that incorporates poetry by Alice Walker and the voices of Patti Cathcart and Riffat Salamat, composer-guitarist-vocalist Jennifer Berezan is on another plane in folk-based singer-songwriting. Likewise, recording with an elephant orchestra in Lampang, Thailand, confirms that acoustic and electric cellist Jami Sieber should be placed in a league of her own (a league she established with her gorgeous instrumental recordings Lush Mechanique and Second Sight). Before Sieber moves from the Bay Area, she and Berezan share a double bill (and several collaborations, no doubt) that would require too many hyphens to categorize musically. The adjectives heartfelt and enthralling must suffice. 8 p.m., Berkeley Unitarian Fellowship, 1924 Cedar, Berk. $18. (510) 841-4824. (Richardson)

Aug. 25

Sunday

Choose or lose Thanks to the sinister machinations of the administration of one President George W. Bush, women's reproductive rights are now on shakier ground than many folks might realize. Take an active role in pro-choice politics, learn about the status of other women's rights issues, and even toss in some rocking-out at 'Vote Your Voice: Local Women Rock Benefit Concert,' presented by the California National Organization for Women and sponsored by Alice, 97.3 FM, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, and the Bay Guardian. Performers include bands Kindness, Venus Bleeding, and the Hail Marys, plus DJ Anita Lofton and solo artists Jenn August and Dre Kernodle. Also in attendance: California state assemblymembers Carole Migden, Dion Aroner, and Wilma Chan, and District Eight supervisorial candidate Eileen Hansen, who'll share tips on how to get involved in politics and discuss which women's issues to keep an eye on during the upcoming election and legislative session. 5-9 p.m., Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. $15-$50. (916) 442-3414, www.canow.org. (Eddy)

Aug. 26

Monday

Fresh coat San Francisco has quite a few vibrant, eye-catching murals, but it's not uncommon to catch sight of a once-proud work of art fading away because of neglect. After a chance passing brought one such forgotten work to the attention of local resident Michele Garcia, the campaign to restore the mural at Chavez Elementary School was founded. Garcia figured she knew enough talented local artists to get the job done but would need to raise funds to rent a sandblaster, buy paint, and secure other materials necessary for the project. The benefit event features DJs, live painting by Sam Flores and Albert Reyes, a raffle with prizes such as dinner at Puerto Alegre, and an auction of works by local artists, including some of those tapped to help repaint the Chavez school mural (the team of restorers includes Tiffany Bozic, Jeremy Fish, Matt O'Brian, Butter, and Mars One). If all goes well with this endeavor, expect to see Garcia mounting similar rescue missions around the city. 6 p.m.-2 a.m., Butterfly, 1710 Mission, S.F. Donations accepted. michelegarcia@msn.com. (Eddy)

Aug. 27

Tuesday

XX cinema OK, so Kathryn Bigelow's K-19: The Widowmaker may not have broken any box-office records. But it does have the distinction of being a woman-directed big-budget studio film, which is an all too rare event these days. Though for the most part Hollywood ain't having it, thankfully the indie world has provided plenty of space for female film- and videomakers to create their art. The monthly Independent Exposure screening series, programmed by Microcinema International, presents its first-ever "All Women Edition," an evening highlighting 15 international directors. Locals Tiffany Shlain ("Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness") and J.D. Beltran ("Telephone Stories") are among those included in the lineup. 8 p.m., 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna, S.F. $5. (415) 864-0660, www.microcinema.com. (Eddy)

Aug. 28

Wednesday

Lights out The idea of crossing old-school skate punk chops, Misfits-flavored lyrics, Kiss theatrical pyrotechnics, and a wiggy theremin might sound as much like one of nature's greatest blunders as a musical vision. Either way, welcome to the slightly warped view of Oakland's Pitch Black. Featuring the sing-song sneer rasp of ex-Nerve Agent/Big Rig guitarist Kevin Cross, the group has been pounding out their steady beat and winning over the all-ages circuit with its sci-fi ghoul-core antics. Their self-titled long player on Revelation Records, while heavy on the above-mentioned shtick, also reveals a band that is melodic, hooky, and almost even bordering on sensitive! Down in Flames and DeathXDeath round out the all-ages hard-and-heavy fest. 9 p.m., Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. $6. (415) 621-4455. (John O'Neill)

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