October 16, 2002




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8 Days a Week

Dec. 18-25, 2002

IN LOS ANGELES , fans of pre-talkie pictures are lucky to live in the same town as the Silent Movie Theatre, the only venue in America featuring a regular, weekly selection of silent films (sound films are also screened on occasion, but only those made before 1949). Up here in San Francisco, opportunities to catch Charlie Chaplin and his cohorts in action are less frequent, with the annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival and occasional rep house programming illuminating the earliest film era for local audiences. This weekend, the Silent Movie Theatre hits the road with the traveling 'Silent Picture Show,' a holiday event suitable for kids and vintage-film buffs alike. Program highlights include selections from the best-known silent comedians (Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy), plus the Little Rascals and Felix the Cat. Accompanying each film on the Castro Theatre's Mighty Wurlitzer will be Bob Mitchell, who's been sitting behind a keyboard in various movie theaters for 78 of his 90 years. Also on the bill are Janet Klein and her Parlour Boys, who'll perform ukelele-filled, Vaudeville-era tunes between films. Fri/20-Sat/21, 8 p.m.; Sun/22, 1 p.m., Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, S.F. $10-$15. (415) 621-6120. (Cheryl Eddy)

Dec. 18


Star power When we think about the universe, music, and IDM, naturally we wonder: what would Carl Sagan do? Well, the celeb astronomer probably wouldn't come to any of the same conclusions as Sagan, a heady Blectum from Blechdom spin-off project. Blevin from BFB and J Lesser handle the dense curtain of effects-laden vocals and churning rhythms, throwing in a mother lode of skittering samples, keening noises, and found sounds that bump, crunch, and chirp in the night. Ryan Junell crafts the video projections. Expect a full-length CD/DVD on the heels of the group's inclusion on Deluxe's recently released Night Owls 02 anthology, alongside Pan-American, Soft Pink Truth, and Electric Birds. 10 p.m., Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, S.F. $6. (415) 923-0923. (Also Sat/21, 7 p.m., Ramp, 2236 Parker, Berk. $5. 510-658-7426). (Kimberly Chun)

Toe the line Since 1997 the Footage Dance Film Festival has been the Bay Area's – and probably the West Coast's – best place to see cutting-edge dance films. And if the phrase "dance films" brings to mind, say, Dirty Dancing or Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, think again: this fest features collaborative works created by choreographers, performers, and media artists, so the focus is on dance works captured on film and video, not narrative films that happen to include fancy footwork for plot purposes. This year's 90-minute program includes world premiere Alice, an Alice in Wonderland adaptation by choreographer-director Robert Sund, performed by the Santa Barbara-based State Street Ballet; The Triad Project, which taps the talents of three choreographers (including Footage founder Cynthia Pepper), three dancers, and three composers; and five short films representing international dance perspectives. Most filmmakers will be in person at all shows for postscreening discussions. 7 and 9 p.m., Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth St., San Rafael. $5.50-$8.50. (415) 454-1222. (Also Thurs/19, 7:15 and 9:15 p.m., Red Vic, 1727 Haight, S.F. $3-$6.50. 415-668-3994.) (Cheryl Eddy)

Pop on the rocks Former Western State Hurricanes and Harvey Danger player John Roderick knows all about cool – heck, he was born in Alaska, and he calls his current band Long Winters. Resplendent with pretty slide guitar, expansive orchestration, mild-mannered psychedelia, and offhand melodies that surge and retreat like a tide, The Worst You Can Do Is Harm, the Long Winters' Barsuk Records debut, found the connected Mr. Roderick tapping friends such as Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla and Ben Gibbard, the Posies' Ken Stringfellow, Sunny Day Real Estate's Joe Bass, and Built to Spill's Jim Roth for musical contributions. The world didn't exactly burst into flames when The Worst You Can Do Is Harm came out, but then again that doesn't really seem to be Roderick's modus operandi. Instead, he seems to have put together a low-key little album you might want to cozy up to after the embers die, the cocoa runs out, and the winter seems like it's never going to end. Winfred E. Eye and Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter also play. 9 p.m., Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. $7. (Also Thurs/19, 9:30 p.m., Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck, Berk. $6. 510-548-1159.) (Chun)

Dec. 19


Gus Van hunting Long before the notion of an American independent film renaissance, talk of a "new queer cinema," or even a Sundance Channel on your cable TV screen, Portland, Ore.-based filmmaker Gus Van Sant was unleashing his uncompromised vision upon an unsuspecting public. Works like 1985's Mala Noche and 1989's Drugstore Cowboy helped pave the way for the "indie" revolution, and despite flirtations with Hollywood A-list status, he remains committed to off-the-radar storytelling (his latest film, Gerry, out in February, is chock-full of static 10-minute takes and existential ambiguities). The filmmaker will be interviewed onstage at the Castro Theatre by New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell as part of Frameline's "Close-Up: Visionaries of Modern Cinema" series, which celebrates the luminaries of gay filmmaking. 8 p.m., Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, S.F. $10-$12. (925) 866-9599, www.frameline.org/closeup. (David Fear)

To Victor, the spoils The Bay Guardian's very own art director, Victor Krummenacher, has been plenty busy since the break-up and reforming of Camper Van Beethoven, the passing of the Monks of Doom, and the release of solo outings such as 2000's country-rock Bittersweet. When he isn't chasing down cover art and wringing stories from tardy editors, he's been watching a Camper revival of sorts, especially with the recent release of the band's long-overdue box set. The fact that he's such a lovely vocalist, accomplished singer-songwriter, and all-around imaginative fellow just makes you want to hand him your wallet and ask him to mail you the next album. Catch him while you can, before he goes on tour with Camper Van Beethoven again. Ing and Bone Cootes also play. 9 p.m., Eagle Tavern, 398 12th St., S.F. $5. (415) 626-0880. (Chun)

Good cheer or bust Holiday stress has the potential to make you want to strangle your neighbor with Christmas lights. Avert disaster by dragging a loved one down to San Francisco State University's College of Creative Arts for an evening of sketch comedy at 'The Super-Happy-Fun-Time, Sensational, Non-Denominational Holiday Variety Show.' Laugh the night away as the student members of the Players Club present a variety of improvisational and musical talents. This show is for both the naughty and the nice, but the program is not suitable for children. Through Fri/20. 8 p.m., San Francisco State University, Creative Arts Building, Studio Theatre, 1600 Holloway, S.F. Free. (415) 338-1341. (Cynthia Dea)

Dec. 20


Happy hellidays For those of you who aren't dreaming of a white Christmas, here's a holiday alternative: the fifth annual 'Black X Mass,' brought to you by Karla La Vey, daughter of the late Dr. Anton La Vey (author of the Satanic Bible), and the First Satanic Church. The party promises to be delightfully devilish, with commandment-breaking performances by Magician Jim Morton, the blasphemous Graves Bros. Deluxe, Barney the Theramin Wizard, and mutant demons of noise Rubber O Cement, plus organ accompaniment by K-Rob of the "Ask Dr. Hal" show. All forms of sin and indulgence are encouraged, along with costumes and fetish wear. 8:30 p.m., Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary, S.F. $5. (415) 885-4074. (Angie Edwards)

Happy hellidays, part two You've spent all your dough and endured too many hours with long-distant relatives, and you've got the Johnny Mathis version of "Winter Wonderland" stuck in your head. Time to treat yourself to an evening of gloom and glamour at the 'House of Voodoo Deathmas Ball,' where you can flaunt your most fashionable gothic apparel and your new Kelly Osborne hairdo. DJs Voodoo, Perki, and Rick A Mortis will be spinning death rock, goth, glam, and more downstairs, while upstairs Djall, Pinky, and Pathogen will rock the house with industrial and synth pop. Put on your best pout for a photo with Satan Claus, and – if you dare – bring a wrapped gift for the "gothic gift exchange." 9 p.m.-3 a.m., Big Heart City, 836 Mission, S.F. $5-$8. www.houseofvoodoo.com/event.html. (Rachel Swan)

Dec. 21


Soaring high Since the release of their self-titled CD, Dave Gleason's Wasted Days have been the toast of the Bay Area's homegrown alt-country/Americana scene. They open the door, with their latest headlining gig, for I See Hawks in L.A. to continue their tangy assault on NorCal audiences sympathetic to the influences of Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt, et al. Fronted by songwriters Robert Rex Waller Jr. (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Paul Lacques (guitars, lap steel, vocals), the five-piece convincingly mine Flying Burrito Brothers territory on their self-titled debut (Ethic Recordings) and win extra points for calling their efforts a "retreat to approximately 1962, when Roger Miller discovered Dexedrine." 9 p.m., Ivy Room, 858 San Pablo, Albany. $5. (510) 524-9299. (Derk Richardson)

Dec. 22


Dawn on this While many of us welcome New Year's Day with a bad hangover, the completion of the 260-day Mayan year is met with early-morning festivities. Set your alarm clocks for this year's 'Maya Sacred Cycle Celebration,' where David Tipas, a Mayan spiritual leader from Guatemala, presides over the ceremony at sunrise. In observance of the completion of this cycle and the beginning of the next one, traditional marimba and percussion music and Aztec dancers Xitlali perform to highlight the traditional aspects of ancient Mayan culture. 6 a.m.-9 a.m., Dolores Park, Dolores between 18th and 20th Streets, S.F. Free. (415) 824-2534. (Dea)

Dec. 23


Girl power Technically, yes, the San Francisco Girls Chorus have been performing this year's version of their Christmas concert around the Bay Area throughout the month of December. But tonight the 300 members of Chorissima and Virtuose, the SFGC's concert, touring, and recording ensembles, are on their home turf, filling Davies Symphony Hall with their program of classical and contemporary works, plus a new interpretation of Haydn's Magnificat. In addition, the show includes an audience sing-along of traditional carols (think "Silent Night," not "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"). This popular show, which makes use of the San Francisco Symphony's imposing 9,000-pipe organ, is a hot ticket, so get yours early. 8 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, S.F. $12-$40. (415) 392-4400, www.sfgirlschorus.org. (Eddy)

Dec. 24


Hark! The herald If you've been plugging your ears to the annual onslaught of new holiday-music CDs (Carly Simon? Jesse Colin Young?), Bay Area jazz vocalist Clairdee gives even the most stubborn grinches reason to rekindle an intimate acquaintance with "Winter Wonderland," "Merry Christmas, Baby," "The Christmas Song," and other chestnuts of the season. On her new CD, This Christmas (Declare Music), the soulful Ella and Nat-influenced singer enlivens the repertoire with her fresh, swinging phrasing and a variety of jazz and R&B grooves. The host of friends helping out – on the CD and at its Christmas Eve release celebration – includes pianist Ken French, keyboardist Jon Herbst, bassist Ruth Davies, drummer Omar Clay, saxophonist Charles McNeal, vocalist Nicolas Bearde, and others. 8 and 10 p.m., Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakl. $15. (510) 238-9200. (Richardson)

The night before If, after weeks of shopping, traffic, and bad news, you need a last-minute uplift, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Ensemble has the perfect solution. The 15- to 20-person, scaled-down version of the award-winning Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir raise their glorious voices – and you, too – in a nondenominational celebration of the human spirit. Many of us, myself included, need an antidote to modern living more than ever. Here it is. Nonbelievers are welcome (I ought to know). 7 and 9:30 p.m., Slim's, 333 11th St., S.F. $15. (415) 522-0333. (J.H. Tompkins)

Dec. 25


To life Contrary to every TV commercial you've seen for the past six weeks, not everybody actually celebrates Christmas. But if you don't celebrate Christmas, what the heck are you going to do on Christmas Day? Instead of prowling the aisles of the nearest 24-hour Safeway, head up to the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center for its annual Fiddler on the Roof sing-along. Enjoy the music of a strolling fiddler, warble "If I Were a Rich Man," and compete in the dress-as-your-favorite-character costume contest. And, of course, enjoy the screen version of the popular musical, which contains a message about family and the struggle between traditional and modern views on relationships that folks of all faiths can relate to. This event sold out last year, so reservations by Dec. 23 are recommended. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 N. San Pedro, San Rafael. $12-$30. (415) 444-8000. (Eddy)

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, the Bay Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., S.F. 94107; fax to (415) 487-2506, or e-mail (no attachments, please) to listings@sfbg.com. We cannot guarantee the return of photos, but enclosing an SASE helps. We regret we cannot accept listings over the phone.