October 16, 2002




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8 Days a Week

Feb. 5-12, 2003

PREPARE YOURSELF FOR a sensory overload and stimulate your inner artist as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and 23five Incorporated present Activating the Medium Festival 2003, a weekend of performances, installations, and discussions from artists around the globe. Galvanize your senses with incredible sights and sounds by visual artist Leif Elggren of Sweden; sound artists Michael Gendreau and Brandon LaBelle (both use music to define conceptual spaces and the physical body); and a "spatial-acoustic concert" by Infrasound, a duo that explores the relationship between noise and architecture. If that's not enough to keep your eyes and ears occupied, rest assured, that's only Friday's lineup. The remainder of the weekend features other groundbreaking and dynamic artists, with performances by Achim Wollscheid and Carl Michael von Housswolff and an installation by Christina Kubisch – all of whom create an intersection of sound and urban space as a medium for performance art that engages the observer in several different ways. After its launch in San Francisco, the festival will tour other locations in California. Fri/7, 8 p.m. (performance); Sat/8, 2 p.m. (performance), 3 p.m. (panel discussion); installation runs Fri/7-Sun/9, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., S.F. Free with museum admission ($6-$10) except Fri/7 performance ($10-$12). (415) 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org. (Cynthia Dea)

Feb. 5


Roll with it Hard to believe that a 1975 James Caan sci-fi sports flick could inspire not only a reportedly god-awful remake but also an eclectic ensemble like Portland, Ore.'s Rollerball. All references to LL Cool J (star of the newer film) can be jettisoned once you throw on the group's 2002 album, Long Walk for Ice Cream, or their 2001 disc, Trail of the Butter Yeti. This moody avant orchestra have more in common with Bay Area genre upenders such as Charming Hostess or ambient foragers like Tarentel than, say, "Mama Said Knock You Out." Echoey guitar and ominous synth shade the lengthy and occasionally dissonant jams of Butter Yeti, whetting your appetite for the more brass-and-woodwind-laced goth carnival textures of Ice Cream. Sounds yummy – who knows how it will play out live. The Dying Californian also play. 10 p.m. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, S.F. $5. (415) 923-0923. (Kimberly Chun)

Feb. 6


Convenience culture The San Francisco Cinematheque kicks off its spring season with a visit from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, a self-described "sprocket scientist, explicator, and proponent of classification-resistant what-have-yous" who hails from Pittsburgh and Baltimore. tENTATIVELY (or tENT for short) is bringing a new book and CD to town. Tonight he screens trickster-activist vids with titles such as Teenagers from Inner Space; on Sunday he presents Guitarists Anonymous Withdrawal Aids, a performance piece. 7:30 p.m., Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, S.F. (Also Sun/9, 7:30 p.m., San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut, S.F.) $4-$7. (415) 552-1990. (Johnny Ray Huston)

Feb. 7


Grind it up One great thing about grindcore is the odd assortment of lyrical approaches the bands take, which fall into three primary categories: radical left-wing politics; gore and dead bodies; and boneheaded, purposely offensive comedy. With titles such as Been Caught Buttering and "Blood, Pus, and Gastric Juices (Tekkno-House Mix)" scattered throughout their catalog, we'll let you figure out which of those categories Austria's Pungent Stench fit into. This once popular yet nearly forgotten trio made a surprise comeback last year (after a whopping eight years on the sidelines) with the confusingly titled Masters of Moral – Servants of Sin (Nuclear Blast), which is far better than those Styx and Eagles reunion albums from several years back. Tempering the Stench's antics with a back-to-back dose of more serious, politically conscious metal are Orange County's Phobia, whose latest album, Serenity Through Pain, came out on Fremont label Deathvomit, and Berkeley hardcore-grind veterans Benumb, who'll be celebrating the release of their new album, By Means of Upheaval (Relapse). 9 p.m., Curve Bar, 747 Third St., S.F. $10. (415) 896-2286. (Will York)

Modern marvel Let's face it. Nobody knows what will happen to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company after the unthinkable happens: no more new pieces from the man who has made dances nonstop since his first attempts at Bennington College in 1942, when he was still a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company. This is what Cunningham has said about his time with Graham: "I began to fear that the Graham work was not in lots of ways sufficient for me." Indeed it was not. His own propensities – and the tenor of the post-World War II world – moved him in experimental directions far away from Graham. He hasn't stopped since, driven by an insatiable curiosity to see what else the human body can say in its relationship to the world around it. For its two-program 50th anniversary tour, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company performs the choreographer's latest work, Fluid Canvas (with visuals by digital artists Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar), both nights, as well three excellent pieces from various decades: the gorgeous Suite for Five (1956) tonight; tomorrow, the story-led How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run (1965) and Pictures (1984). Tonight's show also includes an appearance by the Kronos Quartet. Through Sat/8. 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph, Berk. $24-$46. (510) 642-9988. (Rita Felciano)

Friendly ghosts Disco may be dead, but thanks to Los Amigos Invisibles, Venezuelan neodisco is alive and well. These Caracas natives have received international attention for recrafting disco into a more relevant and interesting sound. Their testosterone-driven lyrics and tongue-in-cheek bravado have resulted in hilarious songs like "The Anal Disco" and "Masturbation Session." Some of their earlier work dabbled in house, but their most recent CD marks a move toward the loungy side of bump and grind. Don't go to this show expecting Los Amigos Invisibles to resurrect tired renditions of songs like "Play That Funky Music," but do expect to dance your ass off. DJ Franky Boissy opens. 9 p.m., Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus, S.F. $18. (415) 474-0365. (Mirissa Neff)

California love Smells of garbage overwhelm my desk as I write about Cristina Lei Rodriguez, the Oakland Museum of California's first artist in residence. We're not much different, she and I, since we both work among the stank for our respective art forms. But while the trash invading my space is just left over from last night, for the past three months, Rodriguez has been using recycled objects from community members and junkyards to create a mural titled Daydreaming in the California Landscape. For Rodriguez, California dreaming isn't just a sea of garbage, but a whimsical landscape that reflects the hopes and dreams of this state. Tonight she discusses her work as her residency comes to an end. Starting this month, the museum welcomes painter Lien Truong, whose new project explores the diversity of California families. 8 p.m., Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak, Oakl. $4-$6. (510) 238-2200. (Cynthia Dea)

Feb. 8


Bombshells Whether you believe in St. Valentine or not, love is in the air (it usually is somewhere) – and tonight, so are drag kings, lo-fi spaz-dance duos, and sultry burlesque acts. Club Galia gets taken over by deviants, dancers, and drag performers for 'Love Grenade,' a benefit for SIR Video and author Staci Haines's Sexual Healing Video Project, which is producing a video edition of Haines's best-selling book The Survivor's Guide to Sex. Performers include self-proclaimed spazzes Robosapien (former members of the Infinite X's and Boy Wonder); S.F. Drag King champs Fresh (1999) and Rusty Hips (2002) and drag troupe Transformers (members of Boy Wonder and Kings of Hearts); and dancers Simone de la Getto and Burlesque-esque. Dr. Carol Queen will also be on hand to give expert advice on love and sex. 9 p.m., Club Galia, 2565 Mission, S.F. $10-$25 sliding scale (no one turned away for lack of funds). (510) 848-1929. (Lynn Rapoport)

Feb. 9


Beyond Garfield Local indie comic artists get some well-deserved recognition thanks to the Cartoon Art Museum's Small Press Spotlight, which launched at the recent Alternative Press Expo. Currently on display for the next few months is work by Jason Shiga, an Oakland cartoonist who got his start in 1995 after a particularly inspiring UC Berkeley class on graphic novels. Since then, the prolific creator of both comic books and strips (including Bus Stop, formerly in the San Francisco Examiner, and Fleep, formerly in Asian Week), as well as a graphic novel, Double Happiness, has intrigued readers with his deceptively cute drawings and intelligent writing. He's also known for his "interactive" comics; one work, Every Dog Has His Day, consists of unbound, illustrated cards that can be arranged in various ways to tell different stories. The Cartoon Art Museum plays host to Shiga's Meanwhile..., a wall-size "matrix" of variously connected panels that weaves a different sci-fi tale for all who ponder it. Through April 20 (gallery hours Tues.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.), Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission, S.F. $2-$6. (415) CAR-TOON, www.cartoonart.org. (Cheryl Eddy)

Feb. 10


Out of this world Over the past three decades, the Kronos Quartet has beveled the surface of chamber music, commissioning works by the likes of Philip Glass, and most recently getting creative on behalf of NASA. Terry Riley, a renowned minimalist composer, has a long history of collaborating with Kronos; his latest work for the group, the multimedia Sun Rings, draws inspiration from the sounds of plasma waves in space. Learn more about the work at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum's 'Sun Rings: A Conversation with Composer Terry Riley and Members of Kronos Quartet,' moderated by former Bay Guardian theater critic Brad Rosenstein. This event is held in conjunction with SFPALM's current exhibit, "Kronos@30: Thirty Years of Kronos Quartet," on display though June 21. 7 p.m., San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum, 401 Van Ness, fourth fl., S.F. $10-$15. (415) 255-4800 (reservations recommended). (Rachel Swan)

Feb. 11


Full flower Two reasons to see 1969's Black Rose Mansion, a stylishly eccentric Japanese melodrama making its San Francisco premiere at the Castro Theatre: first, director Kinji Fukasaku recently passed away, so you can incorporate this big-screen selection into your own home-video tribute festival to the master (suggested programming: Battle Royale, Fight Without Honor and Humanity, and The Green Slime). Second, its star, Akihiro Maruyama, has been Japan's most famous openly gay performer and celebrated drag queen for decades; as the titular Black Rose, he plays a female nightclub star wooed by an assortment of troubled men. If you've seen Fukasaku's 1968 Black Lizard, you're well acquainted with Maruyama's charms; if you haven't, get a first-class introduction tonight. Through Feb. 12. 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 p.m., Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, S.F. $5-$8. (415) 621-6120, www.castrotheatre.com. (Eddy)

Feb. 12


Bring the noise Since the days of the now-defunct Cocodrie, Desarme Presents has been putting together international indie music fests with one simple goal: to break down cultural barriers through the common consumption of seditious sounds and gallons upon gallons of beer. Today the hole-in-the-wall, cross-border promotion and distribution group takes it up a notch, with Intergalactic Rockfest III. Join the fun in a raucous night of music and libation featuring out-of-this-world psychobilly "rocket-roll" replete with Devo-esque antics by the Phenomenauts, hardcore from S.F.'s celebrated the Sick (with Sammy of the Oozies standing in for recently deceased bassist Warner Harrison), OG Spanish punk by Don Cikuta (visiting the Bay Area following their European tour with the Misfits), and bilingual punk-meets-ska by Mission District rude boys La Plebe. Oi! Oi! Oi! 8 p.m., Slim's, 333 11th St., S.F. $10. (415) 255-0333. (Camille T. Taiara)

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