March 12 2003



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March 12-19, 2003

GOLD RUSH- era high-waters, hot-rod threads, and low-cut hippie bell-bottoms literally form the fabric of California's history – and those are just the jeans. The Oakland Museum of California's new exhibit, 'Iconic to Ironic: Fashioning California Identity,' traces this state's unique fashion developments as a cultural progression. Hollywood glamour, designer couture, and the invention of sportswear also occupy space in the exhibit, which contains such national treasures as Jennifer Beals's sweatshirt from Flashdance, Michael Jackson's glittery glove, Sharon Stone's white Basic Instinct suit, and James Dean's jeans from Rebel Without a Cause. The museum also presents several accompanying programs and fashion shows over the coming months; on the exhibit's opening day Harold Koda, curator in charge at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum, discusses the influence of California fashion. Exhibit runs March 15-Sept. 21 (lecture Sat/15, 2-4 p.m.; museum hours: Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.), Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak, Oakl. $4-$6. (510) 238-2200, (Laurie Koh)

March 12


Got art? While most commodities become discounted on opportune occasions (fare wars, after-Christmas sales, no-money-down-and-no-interest-until-2004 deals), good art is rarely found on the cheap. Until tonight, when nonprofit art space the Lab holds its annual benefit fixed-price art sale and auction. Of the 190 works, only a dozen will go up on the block for bidding; the rest will be priced from $25 to $250 and sold on a first-come, first-served basis. With names such as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Ed Ruscha, and Kathryn Spence in the catalog, it's like finding Gucci shoes at a basement blowout. Beyond earning much-needed funds for the Lab's cutting-edge programming (as well as to help replace its recently stolen media presentation equipment), the goal behind the sale is to encourage art collecting among the young and frugal. Preview today and Thurs/13, 1-6 p.m. (free); opening reception Fri/14, 6:30 p.m. ($10-$20 sliding scale); sale continues Sat/15-Sun/16, 1-6 p.m. (free), Lab, 2948 16th St., S.F. (415) 864-8855. (Kerry Rodgers)

Barbed live wire Comedy Central fave and folkie Stephen Lynch is so saccharine-voiced that his politically incorrect taunts at necrophiliacs, molesters, and special-ed rejects are almost a sweet relief. This fall the NYC-by-way-of Saginaw, Mich., singer-songwriter releases Superhero (What Are Records?), a new live CD full of tunes about murder, masturbation, and bowling. 8 p.m., Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, S.F. $16. (415) 885-0750. (Kimberly Chun)

Book smarts The brainchild of Bay Area singer-songwriter Deborah Pardes, the Songs Inspired by Literature project uses music as a primary tool for teaching and refining reading skills. In partnership with the California State Library, the Library of Congress, and Friends of the Library USA, SIBL rallies musicians, authors, teachers, and journalists in a campaign of support for literacy projects. To raise funds, last year SIBL released its first CD of songs inspired by literature. Chapter One features the work of Bruce Springsteen, Suzanne Vega, and Aimee Mann. The release of Chapter Two, which includes tracks donated by Steve Earle, David Bowie, Tom Waits, Rosanne Cash, Ira Marlowe, Pardes, and others, is the hook for this benefit evening of noshing, schmoozing, and performances by Pardes, Marlowe, and California and New York SIBL competition winners Dee Adam, Ana Porter, Larry Kenneth Potts, Stephanie Riggio, and Michelle Bloom. 6 p.m., Cafe du Nord, 2170 Market, S.F. $5-$20. (415) 861-5016. (Derk Richardson)

March 13


Second-act swing Like Dexter Gordon's homecoming in the late 1970s, alto saxophonist Frank Morgan's return to recording as a leader in 1985 (after a 28-year hiatus and stints in San Quentin, Chino, Synanon, and other self-explanatory outposts) was one of the great comeback stories of the mainstream jazz renaissance. More important, the hard bop music he made with Cedar Walton, McCoy Tyner, Art Farmer, George Cables, and others was bursting with positive emotional energy and melodic ingenuity. Not heard often enough in the Bay Area in recent years, he returns to exchange friendly fire with another towering altoist, Sonny Fortune, whose progressive sensibility refracts the Charlie Parker bop legacy through the prism of John Coltrane and the "new thing" era. With Cables on piano, Henry Franklin on bass, and Steve Johns on drums, the quartet promises nightly fireworks. Through Sun/16. 8 and 10 p.m. (Sun., 2 and 8 p.m.), Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakl. $5-$22. (510) 238-9200. (Richardson)

March 14


Jukebox heroes Nuremberg naturals Boozoo Bajou roll into town for their San Francisco DJ debut at the always funky Twice As Nice, bringing with them deep crates of oddities new and old. Their upcoming compilation, Juke Joint (Stereo Deluxe), rendered all of my other CDs superfluous on a recent road trip, with grooves from artists as diverse as Primal Scream, Tommy Guerrero, and John Lee Hooker blending to form an album that focuses on the missing links. Keep an ear out for new material from their next artist album, the follow-up to 2001's deliciously downtempo Satta. Hometown wonders Cool Chris (Groove Merchant) and Tom Thump (Cosmic Flux) also perform. 9 p.m., 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna, S.F. $10-$12. (415) 974-1719. (Peter Nicholson)

March 15


Well worth it Local trio Giant Value churns out buoyant, countryish pop that practically forces you to smile. It's hard enough to resist the pretty melodies and whimsical lyrics ("Fishes don't have feelings; that's the difference between them and us") that define the group's recent self-released album On the Move avec Giant Value. But you can't fully grasp the band's sway until you witness Dena, Bru, and Vinnie at work. They make faces, giggle, trade instruments, and just act generally adorable while their easy, unpretentious energy seeps out and fills the room. Even if you're dead-set on ducking the enthusiasm, you'll likely fail. It's not that Giant Value play bubblegum pop; there's a dose of sadness in almost every song. But they do leave you wondering where most bands get the idea that in order to be evocative, they must also be consistently sorrowful. Little Fuzzy also play. 10 p.m., Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, S.F. $5. (415) 923-0923. (Tali Woodward)

Candy-coated terror Local wizards of sound artistry Hans Grüsel's Kränkenkabinet are plenty entertaining on their own – their freaky-deaky electronic tunes are perfect party music for sweet-toothed witches, cuckoo clocks, animatronic dolls, and big bad wolves. But tonight they're venturing even deeper into dark waters by providing the live soundtrack to creepy silents by early avant-gardists Dr. James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber, 1928's Fall of the House of Usher and 1933's Lot in Sodom. Also on this Other Cinema bill are local filmmaker Michael Wilson's "Flora's Film," a short about the unfaithful wife of cinema trailblazer Eadweard Muybridge; an antique slide show by Sandra Joy Lee; and an intermission performance rumored to include Hans Grüsel's own take on the similarly umlauted Motörhead's "Ace of Spades." 8:30 p.m., Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. $5. (415) 824-3890. (Cheryl Eddy)

Russian percussion Last year's USSR – The Art of Listening (Ninja Tune) was proof that DJ Vadim was still at the top of his game, keeping hip-hop fresh with judicious use of the most essential ingredients, including rhymes from the likes of Slug (Atmosphere) and Gift of Gab (Blackalicious). With more than 100 live shows under their belts, Vadim, DJ First Rate, and vocalist Yarah Bravo know how to both re-create the tracks from his albums and rock the party right. Setting the mood will be local players J Boogie's Dubtronic Science (Om), who will have their own debut album ready to go later this spring. 10 p.m., Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F., $10. (415) 621-4455. (Nicholson)

March 16


Open your ears A wide, wide range of topics – home and family, love and sex, and, uh, feminine hygiene products – promise to surface at 'Do Tell: Readings by Queer Asian Pacific Islander (API) Writers.' Sponsored by the venerable Kearny Street Workshop and the Chinatown Community Arts Program, this free reading – the first of the series' programs in 2003 – features the literary talents, wit, and insights of Samoan writer, filmmaker, and painter Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Filipina American poet Maiana Minahal, and Vietnamese American humorist Danny Thanh Nguyen. 2-4 p.m., Chinatown Community Arts Program, Community Room, 750 Kearny, S.F. Free. (415) 503-0520, (Eddy)

March 17


Rebel yells What with all of the excited screeching, crazy costumes, and lavish amounts of booze and jam-filled cookies, it's no mystery why folks of all religions get excited about the Jewish holiday of Purim. This year, the day – which honors a victory over oppression, thanks to the tenacious subject of the biblical Book of Esther – happens to fall on St. Patty's. Green beer may have its charms, but things will no doubt get pretty boisterous at 'Estherminator: A Psycho-Pious Purim Rock Opera,' a modern interpretation of the holiday's origins by Amy Tobin and Amichai Lau-Lavic presented by the Hub at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. The performance includes cabaret-style live music and plenty of opportunities for audience participation, as it's tradition to unleash cacophonous mayhem whenever Esther's adversary, bloodthirsty bad guy Haman, comes up in the story. 8 p.m., 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna, S.F. $10-$12. (415) 346-6040. (Eddy)

March 18


Small wonders As even the most staid relationships between the United States and the countries of the world unravel, ordinary people show a generous capacity to build bridges almost as fast as the Bush administration burns them. One particularly dramatic effort works by expanding the notion of community theater. La Colmenita (The Little Beehive), also known as the world-renowned National Children's Theater Company of Cuba, marks its first visit to the United States this month with performances in San Francisco and Oakland, part of a five-city California tour. A charismatic and colorfully clad ensemble of 25 talented youths between the ages of 7 and 15 blends music, dance, and comedy in bilingual productions of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream (March 19), as well as two famous Caribbean folktales, Menique (Tues/18) and La Cucarachita Martina (March 20). Beginning as a modest local project, La Colmenita has grown into a widely popular network of grassroots regional theaters offering an inclusive avenue for serious artistic expression to some 10,000 Cuban children, including those with disabilities. San Francisco-based human rights group Global Exchange sponsors the historic visit, part of an attempt by a growing number of Americans to normalize relations with an island neighbor suffering a senseless economic embargo now more than 40 years old. Proceeds go to sending medical aid to children back home. 7 p.m., Alice Arts Center, 1428 Alice, Oakl. $10-$15. (415) 575-5559, (Also, March 19-20, 7 p.m., Brava Theater, 2781 24th St., S.F. $20-$35.) (Robert Avila)

March 19


Check it out Tonight's Johnny Paycheck tribute, presented by Speedy's Wig City and Ranchero Records, started as a benefit for the emphysema-wracked Johnny "Take This Job and Shove It" Paycheck. Unfortunately, the renowned rabble-rouser perished Feb. 18 – but the show goes on with rockabilly and honky-tonk artists such as Dave Alvin, Red Meat, Dave Gonzales of the Paladins, Johnny Dilks and the Visitacion Valley Boys, Dallas Wayne and the Roadcases, Tom Armstrong and the Jukebox Cowboys, Jinx Jones and the Kingtones, and the Rounders. 9 p.m., Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, S.F. $15. (415) 552-7788. (Chun)


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