September 18, 2002



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Sept. 18-25, 2002

IT'S NOT JUST another night at the movies when the Alloy Orchestra is in town. The Cambridge, Mass.-based three-piece have devoted their considerable skills to creating new scores for silent films, and they're hitting the Castro Theatre as part of their national tour, with homemade percussion and high-tech electronics gear in tow. The first film of the night is Albert Parker's 1926 The Black Pirate, a tale about a revenge-minded swashbuckler (Douglas Fairbanks) who tracks down the crooks who murdered his father and dispatches them with Inigo Montoya-like finesse. The Alloy Orchestra's seaworthy score is particularly entertaining during the film's many vigorous fight scenes. Next up is F.W. Murnau's 1922 vampire classic Nosferatu, with the unforgettable Max Schreck (aped by Willem Dafoe in the recent Shadow of the Vampire) as the titular fangmeister. Though this isn't the first time a local screening of Nosferatu has featured live accompaniment, it's still worth catching here, as it's showing in a restored print with hand-tinting and newly translated intertitles. And, natch, a stellar score with creepy flourishes to boot. Lest you think Alloy are only interested in older classics, the Nosferatu screening also features Jane Gillooly's 2000 short "Dragonflies, the Baby Cries," which delves into kids' imaginations. Thurs/19, 7:30 (The Black Pirate) and 9:30 p.m. (Nosferatu, "Dragonflies"), Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, S.F. $12 ($18 for both shows). (510) 704-4448, ext 1. (Cheryl Eddy)

Sept. 18


Hold everything We all carry bags, be they purses, canvas messenger totes, or even the plastic Safeway variety. Ever wonder how your bag would act if it had its own animated personality? New Langton Arts and artists Nick Bertoni and Laetitia Sonami investigate and imagine with Bags, a new visual and sound installation featuring "bags with baggage of their own." In this most unusual, often comic exhibit a golf bag hobbles along unaided, a child's backpack self-propels in circles, doctors' kits make use of their medical instrument contents, and a Chanel purse exhibits snooty behavior toward a pack of broken-down satchels. Created with the help of Bertoni's art and technology lab, Tinkers Workshop, and a group of teen volunteers who conducted a series of on-the-street interviews with passersby about their various carryalls, Bags aims to uncover the link between identity and objects. Besides that, it just sounds cool. Bring on the growling briefcases! Through Oct. 19. Reception Thurs/19, 6-8 p.m.; gallery hours Tues.-Sat., noon-6 p.m., New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom, S.F. Free. (415) 626-5416. (Cheryl Eddy)

Sound off Don't let the antics mislead you. When the members of the Willem Breuker Kollektief don funny hats, wave flags, or perform turtle-on-its-back break dancing moves, it may look like they take their music lightly. But such players as pianist Henk de Jonge, trumpeter Boy Raaymakers, trombonist-tuba player Bernard Hunnekink, saxophonists Hermine Deurloo and Maarten van Norden, and leader Breuker keep pace not only with the comic turns of Spike Jones's City Slickers and Sun Ra's Arkestra but also with the serious, far-out musicianship of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the ICP Orchestra, and other avatars of avant-garde jazz. As on their recent CD, Thirst, they're likely to mix music by Bartók and Ravel in with classic Ornette Coleman and exciting originals. Their ventures across the Atlantic from the Netherlands are all-too-rare. 8 and 10 p.m., Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakl. $16. (510) 238-9200. (Derk Richardson)

Sept. 19


Rico suave Adrian, Mich.'s hardest hard rock export, 25 Suaves, come to town this week, playing tonight at Kimo's and Sat/21 at the Hemlock Tavern. The duo, made up of Mr. Velocity Hopkins (guitar) and DJ Party Girl (drums), play wholly over-the-top rock music made for the arena but delivered on the small stage. If you're one of those idiots who wear Motörhead T-shirts even though they've never heard 1916, then you better come to one of the Suaves' shows and redeem yourself by jumping around, touching the person next to you, getting into a fistfight, and buying some Bulb Records merch. Hopkins and Party Girl keep the flames of rock music, uh, aflame with drunk-ass party-through-the-bad-times blare, so come on down and feel the burn. Tonight 25 Suaves play with Hard Place, Vertonen, Skozey Fetish, Pope Joanne, and Spider Compass Good Crime Band. 9 p.m., Kimo's, 1351 Polk, S.F. $5. (415) 885-4535. (Also Sat/21 with Ass Baboons of Venus 10 p.m., Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, S.F. $5. 415-923-0923). (Mike McGuirk)

Art explosion For more than 20 years the ODC Theater has been one of San Francisco's most important arts venues, especially for its programs designed to support the work of emerging choreographers. Head to its little corner of the Mission for 'Beyond the Walls,' a benefit and preview party that looks to please both frequent visitors and first-time explorers. With noted theater personality Rhodessa Jones handling MC duties, headliners the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra take the stage with special appearances by Robert Henry Johnson, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and James Cagney. Later in the evening the event becomes a dance party with beats by DJs Sep and Soulsalaam. ODC's upcoming calendar includes highly anticipated works such as The Quilt Project, a collaboration between dance, music, and spoken word artists; Will Power's new solo work; plus, an opera, Indian dance, a storytelling festival, and much more. So come out and support the folks that make it all possible. 7:30 p.m., ODC Theater, 3153 17th St., S.F. $10-$20. (415) 863-9834. (Eddy)

Hard-hitting For much of the past decade, Scottish DJ-producers and childhood friends Stuart MacMillan and Orde Meikle have been playing and recording together as Slam, fusing supple house grooves and techno melodies into a stripped-down, fast-paced form of dance music. Their last album, 2001's Alien Radio, offered up even more electronic styles, including downtempo and, alarmingly, progressive house. Hopefully, the two's forthcoming set at the Justice League will consist less of the wildly erratic Alien Radio and more of the cool, layered funk that made recent mix CDs like Slam in America so enjoyable. San Francisco DJ-journalist Chris Orr opens. 8 p.m., Justice League, 628 Divisadero, S.F. Call for price. (415) 289-2038. (Mosi Reeves)

Dorks 'R' Us Local nerd-rock gods Three Day Stubble support the performing arts at a benefit for underground theater company Thunderbird. For decades now, the plaid-clad band have been wooing audiences with gawky dance moves and pubescent humor. Their amazing hairdos, flatulence, and lack of fashion sense have made them underground legends across the United States and in Japan. Sonically, they're like Peru Ubu played by adolescent dadaists. The all-star Stubble lineup includes Donald the Nut, Shibby Dow, Brently Pusser (Mono Pause), Lance Boyle (Polkacide), and Chauncey Von Hagglestein (Brown Whornet). Funds raised at tonight's "Zoom! A Rocket Girl Fundraiser" benefit Thunderbird's fall musical, Rocket Girl, starring Donald the Nut as the Space Pope. The event also includes stand-up comedy by Mike Spiegelman, trapeze artists, clowns, and more music by Junk Sick Dawn and You're in Uranus. 8 p.m. Broadway Studios, 435 Broadway, S.F. $15. (415) 291-0333 or (415) 934-3016. (Angie Edwards)

Big When describing the Asian Massive Tour, there's no need to use a tired phrase like "transglobal" or offer an off-the-cuff sociology lesson, because the bottom line is that the featured artists – DJ Cheb i Sabbah, Karsh Kale, and MIDival PunditZ – make great dance music, and that's all you need to know. Cheb i Sabbah has been a fixture in San Francisco's music scene for years, playing a crucial role in bringing traditional Indian music to contemporary popular music. One of Kale's most recent projects, Tabla Beat Science, is a collaboration with ubiquitous and occasionally inspired producer Bill Laswell. And MIDival PunditZ – Gaurav Raina and Tappan Raj – are helping to spearhead electronica in India. 8:30 p.m., Ruby Skye, 420 Mason, S.F. $20. (415) 693-0777 (Also Sun/22, 19 Broadway, 19 Broadway, Fairfax. $12-$15. 415-459-1091). (J.H. Tompkins)

Sept. 20


Pants on fire Brooklyn-based band the Liars play tense, funked-up rock à la Gang of Four and ESG better than most. But they are as distinct for their neurotic energy as for their skill; one gets the sense that only their perfect beats, bouncing bass lines, and frantic cries of "Can you hear us? Can you hear us?" stay their compulsions to scratch out eyeballs (yours, then theirs). Live, the group are known to channel their odd mania into destruction of everything they touch, turning their performances into danceable spectacles of jagged sounds and broken things. The band bring their leveling talents to the Fillmore's stage, performing with fellow New Yorkers the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. 9 p.m., Fillmore, 1805 Geary, S.F. $20. (415) 346-6000. (Elizabeth Lobsenz)

Guy talk Get a first look at a new art form – the "spoken word theater piece" – with No Man's Land, an original work brought to the stage by a cast of Bay Area poetry luminaries, including Beau Sia (recently seen in Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam), performance poets-fiction writers Paul S. Flores and James Kass, and the omnipresent Marc Bamuthi Joseph, a slam champion who hosts the Living Word Project's Second Sundays spoken word series. All have ties to Youth Speaks, which presents No Man's Land as its first show with all adult artists – though the Youth Speaks teens did help the performers shape the play. No Man's Land combines autobiographical and fictional elements to explore how each cast member perceives what it means to be a man in contemporary America. Tonight, the show will be presented as a regular staged piece; come tomorrow to learn how the work was created through additional question-and-answer sessions and to see youth performances. Through Sat/21. 8 p.m., ODC Theater, 3153 17th St., S.F. $10-$15. (415) 863-9834, (Eddy)

Sept. 21


Gobi greatness If you like dance extravaganzas – as in Busby Berkeley or Broadway – don't miss the Gansu Dunhuang Art Academy, from the heart of the Gobi desert. Choreographed by Zeng Li, The Heavenly Horse (performed tonight in Cupertino and at the Oakland show) is based on a Han dynasty myth about China's western expansion along the Silk Road and should satisfy any lover of spectacle. This evening-length dance drama has everything: a story of true love tested through adversity, dramatic fights between Good (dressed in white) and Evil (in sinister black), and extraordinary crowd scenes with dozens of dainty women portraying natural phenomena. The sentiments and the story may strike us as naive, but the artistry of the people involved is anything but. Tomorrow's Cupertino show is Ancient Tunes of Dunhang, inspired by the Dunhuang murals. 8 p.m. (also Sun/22, 7 p.m.), Flint Center, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino. $35-$120. (408) 864-8816. (Also Tues/24, Calvin Simmons Theatre, 10 10th St., Oakl. $35-$120. 415-392-4400.) (Rita Felciano)

Sept. 22


Rock recess Local post-indie rock cyclone Caesura have been around the San Francisco scene long enough to put out a 7-inch, an EP, and a full-length album, yet they've received little press. They deliver a whirring, melodically damaged crush of sound that retains enough complexity for the math rock-ophiles but still breathes with the beating of a human heart. Huh? That means they're a little emo, but don't worry, 'cause the guitars are so loud you'll be transported to another post-rock universe, and the drummer will make you want to take your pants off. Caesura play with Don Caballero's big-shot drummer Damon Che's band, Bellini, and June of 44's Sean Meadow's solo project, Everlasting the Way. 9 p.m., Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary, S.F. $5. (415) 885-4074. (McGuirk)

Pedal prowess A whole lotta wheels will be simultaneously turning at the second annual San Francisco Bicycle Ballet. Inspired by the graceful motion of riding a bike, event founder and choreographer Carla Laser began organizing a performance of synchronized cycling in the early '90s. Various pro-bike groups became involved, and the SFBB was born. Expect to see an ever changing number of riders flowing together to make shapes, then shifting beautifully into entirely different configurations. The performance celebrates the joy of riding and can be appreciated by riders and nonriders alike. Other entertainment will include 16mm films, live bands, performance art, and art installations. 6 p.m-12:30 a.m., Café Cocomo, 650 Indiana, S.F. $8, $4 bicyclists (dinner $1) (415) 864-2588, (Edwards)

Sept. 23


Critical mass Film critics often seem to be an interchangeable lot these days, relying on the same rote and recycled clichés or dismissive yay-nay gimmicks to guide a reader's moviegoing fix. You could never accuse Anthony Lane, however, of being either unoriginal or bland. As a film reviewer and pop culture pundit for the New Yorker, he has tackled the latest burnt offerings to the cinema gods with an astute eye, an arsenal of puns, and one of the most distinctively irreverent voices ever to grace a page (his skewering of sacred cow The Sound of Music should be required reading in universities; his appraisal of Braveheart is summed up as "Faster, Pussycat! Kilt! Kilt!"). The snarky one himself will be sitting down for a conversation with Barbara Lane at the Commonwealth Club of California to discuss movies, writing, and Nobody's Perfect, a recently published collection of his columns and essays from the past 10 years. Noon, Commonwealth Club of California, 595 Market, second floor, S.F. $12. (415) 597-6705. (Also Tues/24, 7 p.m., A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness, S.F. Free. 415-441-6670). (David Fear)

Sept. 24


Holland's opus For years British bassist Dave Holland was best known for his sterling contributions to other people's music – including that of trumpeter Miles Davis circa Bitches Brew and saxophonist Sam Rivers – and his ability to meld technical virtuosity with improvisatory imagination, as in his work in the Circle group with Chick Corea, Anthony Braxton, and Barry Altschul. In the '80s and '90s, though, Holland's brilliance as a composer came to the fore in his own talent-laden and jazz poll-topping groups. Now, on the brand new ECM CD What Goes Round, he leads the Dave Holland Big Band, with frequent collaborators Steve Nelson on vibes and Billy Kilson on drums, and a host of reed and brass players (including Antonio Hart, Chris Potter, Josh Roseman, Gary Smulyan, and Robin Eubanks) to give unprecedented depth, richness, and color to his complex but delightfully accessible original pieces. Through Sept. 29. 8 and 10 p.m., Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakl. $26. (510) 238-9200. (Richardson)

Sept. 25


World travelers After making its Bay Area debut last year, Quebec's Cirque Éloize return to town with a new show, Nomade, that pays tribute to Roma, or Gypsy, culture. Don't turn up at this circus looking for elephants and clown-packed cars, because this company adheres to the cirque nouveau school of ringmaster-free entertainment – thought that's not to say the show will be devoid of numerous heart-stopping moments. The 13 artists work magic with the trapeze, the Russian bar (in which the performer leaps from and lands feet-first on a flexible bar, performing acrobatic acts in the air in between), banquine (a combination of ballet and gymnastics), and more. In keeping with the theme the show also features a score inspired by traditional Gypsy folk music. Through Sept. 29. Sept. 25-28, 8 p.m. (also Sept. 28, 2 p.m.); Sept. 29, 3 p.m. Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph, S.F. $26-$48. (510) 642-9988, (Eddy)

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