8 Days a Week

July 23-30, 2003

TRUE CRIME BUFFS are a distinct breed (if not especially rare – there's a reason why CSI is such a huge-ass hit), soaking up episodes of American Justice and eagerly paging through paperback tomes on the Zodiac killer, Martha Moxley, O.J. Simpson, and anything penned by Ann Rule. And natch, the best part of any true crime book is the inevitable section of black-and-white photos nestled in the pages smack-dab at its center. Haunting images abound in 'To Protect and Serve: The LAPD Archives,' an exhibit not for the meek, which comes to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts by way of Los Angeles gallery fototeka. The result of long hours spent sifting through both the LAPD's archives and the Police Historical Society, "To Protect and Serve" depicts moments and scenes that are iconic (the Watts riots), ghoulish (a dead man's blood-spattered arm, still cupping a knife), or simply artistically interesting (a lonely bridge with a body crumpled beneath). Of course, since we're talking Los Angeles here, Hollywood's dark side is also well represented, with snaps of Charles Manson and pals, the tragic and mysterious demise of 1930s screen star Thelma Todd, and a wealth of Black Dahlia crime-abilia, including a letter written by the doomed lass to her mother in 1946. Through Oct. 5. Reception Fri/25, 8-11 p.m.; exhibit opens Sat/26 (gallery hours Tues.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m., first Thursday of the month till 8 p.m.), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, S.F. $3-$6 (parties $10-$12). (415) 478-ARTS, www.yerbabuenaarts.org. (Cheryl Eddy)

July 23


Black noise Knowing nothing about pianos, I assume the black keys are the sinister ones. Though there is nothing overtly malevolent about the Black Keys' revivalist blues, listening to Dan Auerbach's digging, scrapping guitar you have to wonder, did he trade his soul for this? Auerbach's thundering riffs are so epic, you half expect Jimmy Hendrix's soulful croon to make an appearance. Just as well, the Black Keys' vocals are everything they should be: gritty, smoky, and barroom-wizened. Patrick Carney's churning percussion is equally solid, keeping the whole works crashing forward in a half groove, half stagger. There are a handful of straight-up blues bands to choose from nowadays, but this Akron, Ohio, twosome keep it realer than Jack White and Jon Spencer put together. Comets on Fire and Coup de Grace do opening duties. 9 p.m., Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. $10. (415) 621-4455. (Phil Herrick)

July 24


Power lines Given its ubiquity on cell phone screens and billboards, animation is easy to ignore. But in 'Fired and Wired,' the client-artists at Creativity Explored use computers and moving images to make powerful artistic statements about living with limited mobility. Participants in the exhibit use still and animated drawings and video – in many cases, for the first time – to address a range of issues, including autonomy, sexuality, and their often unusual and very funny views of their mediated environment. Works in ceramic and plaster offer a low-tech counterpoint to the drawings and animation reel on view, and local group Franciscan Hobbies provides musical accompaniment to tonight's reception. Visitors can purchase video copies of the reel, custom prints, and other works in various media. 7-9 p.m. (exhibit through Sept. 27; gallery hours Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sat., 1-6 p.m.), Creativity Explored, 3245 16th St., S.F. Free. (415) 863-2108. (Elizabeth Lobsenz)

Fringe benefits Where can you catch two top-notch writers who explore the intersections of cultural dispersion, gender, ethnicity, and experimental narrative? As part of its pioneering Diaspora Poetics series, New Langton Arts brings together British-Indian poet-novelist Bhanu Kapil Rider and Bay Area-based visual artist-poet Arnold J. Kemp. Rider, who teaches at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Co., reads from her novel in progress, The Wolfgirls of Midnapure. Kemp, former associate visual arts curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, reads from his new poetry collection, Moments before Concordance. Both are well suited to Diaspora Poetics, which presents experimental writers of diverse backgrounds whose work "addresses the notion of diaspora and the resulting cultural outpouring by poets and writers who are placed, pushed, or choose to situate themselves at the margins of society." 8 p.m., New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom, S.F. $4-$6. (415) 626-5416, www.newlangtonarts.org. (Masha Gutkin)

Dirty words Building on the success of their column "The Em and Lo Down," Nerve.com writers Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey bring their wry, intelligent take on sex advice to a new book, The Big Bang: Nerve's Guide to the New Sexual Universe. Hip yet impressively thorough, the book instructs on everything from anatomy to bondage for beginners, and includes especially well-done chapters on sexual health and contraception, all illustrated by photographer Matt Gunther's spirited shots of a Paris Hilton doppelgänger playing with her friends. Taylor and Sharkey hit San Francisco on their "Big Sex Drive" road show, which features their presentation on anal sex styled as a flight-attendant safety demonstration (there's a "Chicken or beef?" joke in there somewhere). A discussion, video shorts, and booze complete the mood. 8 p.m., Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Free. (415) 824-3890. (Lobsenz)

July 25


Unmentionables It has been the lifelong dream of local artist-poet-rapper Ricky Lee to create a world-famous underwear museum, a temple of homage to our humblest – and often fanciest – of garments. Lacking the resources to purchase a building, Lee has done what she can to reach her goal with 'Panty Waste,' an underwear-themed art extravaganza featuring wacky novelty drawers, lovingly handcrafted briefs, scandalous thongs, and boxers, plus multimedia takes from a wide range of artists (graffiti writers, tattooists, designers). Check out the live underwear fashion show by Anastasia Kayiatos and other local designers; groove to hip-hoppers Katastrophe and DimeLife Crooks; bang your head to noise monsters Revenge and rockers Nervous Breakdowns; enjoy cheerleading by Oakland's Bod Squad; and more. Just make sure your panties are clean. Or not. 8 p.m.-1 a.m., Mission Badlands/Balazo Gallery, 2811 Mission, S.F. $3-$5. (415) 861-4985, troublemakerpro@hotmail.com. (Michelle Tea)

July 26


Let go House may not be the freshest sound for the dance floor, but it still can shake some rump, as evidenced by Luke Fair and Desyn Masiello's recent double mix CD In House We Trust: Vol. 3 (Yoshitoshi). The pair descend on S.F. from their respective homes in Canada and the U.K. to play their own take on the main room sound at the long-running Release, and they're sure to drop plenty of hits from Washington, D.C.-based Yoshitoshi and sister label Shinichi. Local lads Laird (Golden Gate Recordings) and Frenchy le Freak (F) lend a hand. 10 p.m., 1015 Folsom, 1015 Folsom, S.F. $20. (415) 431-1200. (Peter Nicholson)

Altered states There's no denying that our culture is obsessed with makeovers – be they of the talk show ("My Daughter Dresses Too Sexy!"), home-improvement (Trading Spaces), or beauty and fashion (What Not to Wear) variety. But you don't have to be an Extreme Makeover fan to appreciate 'Before/After,' a multimedia live art event devoted to the idea of transformation (not just for the better: the post-Sept. 11 New York City skyline is referenced in at least one piece). Two slide shows – one featuring photographs by the Point Blank collective, whose members curated "Before/After," another by a group of artists handpicked by Point Blank – examine variations on the theme; both feature live musical accompaniment. The event also includes spoken word by Mary DeNardo, Tara Jepsen, and Christina Loff; and a short film by photographer, video artist, and Mr. Lady Records founder Tammy Rae Carland. 8 p.m., New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom, S.F. $5-$10. (415) 626-5416, www.newlangtonarts.org. (Cheryl Eddy)

July 27


Paranoid android The cyborg killing machines of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines are pretty terrifying, but rest assured, not all robots are out to destroy the human race, and most are useful and a lot of fun. Just check out the Robotics Society of America's annual Robot Games and Expo this afternoon at the Fort Mason Center. Today's events include robot racing, choreography, and combat. Among the hundreds of homemade and professionally assembled machines on display is Fujitsu's HOAP-1, a Linux-based humanoid automaton that can walk on two legs and is used for research in robotic motion control and communication. You can also expect to see technologies from NASA, including a mock-up of the Mars Rover, the mechanism used to explore the surface of the red planet. Robot-related slides, videos, and lectures intersperse the competitions, but feel free to bring your own 'bot or even rent one from RSA to join in on the activities. Noon-7 p.m., Fort Mason Center, Bldg. C, second floor, Marina at Laguna, S.F. $10, students free. www.robotics-society.org. (Herrick)

Grovin' Pack a picnic, some sunscreen, and a thick sweater and head for Stern Grove, because even if ballet is not your first love, San Francisco Ballet should not be missed. It's one of the top companies in the country and seems to be getting better by the year. To see these magnificent dancers against the background of tall trees is a very special experience. And it won't cost you a penny. For this year's Stern Grove Festival appearance, SFB put together a fun program that should please just about anybody. For those who love contemporary ballet there's Peter Martin's athletic Waltz Project; Natalia Makarova's staging of Paquita will suit those who want their ballet classical; and Balanchine admirers will be happy with his popular Allegro Brillante. And if you are really into bravura, there is the pas de deux from Don Quixote, which entered the company's repertory this past year and will return this coming season. 2 p.m. (preperformance talk, noon), Stern Grove, 19th Ave. at Sloat, S.F. Free. (415) 252-6252, www.sterngrove.org. (Rita Felciano)

July 28


Pop Poo-bah San Francisco's Chris Von Sneidern is one of those on-again, off-again musicians you'd see and hear everywhere, playing in bands like the U-Turns, the Lost Patrol, the Sneetches, Flying Color, and Map of Wyoming; recording others in his Tenderloin studio; couch surfing; even popping up as a heartbreaker in an acclaimed collection of Mary Gaitskill short stories. Then he upped and moved to the Northwest. But never fear – you can still catch Von Sneidern around town, sometimes doing sound at the Make-Out Room, where he steps out from behind the board and performs tonight in celebration of his new Innerstate Records album, The Wild Horse. Promising to be low on "funky boogaloo," poetry, and high concepts, Von Sneidern's latest finds his pop flair in fine form, covering supermodels, mortgages, and last dances, displaying a hint of Bacharach bounce on "Remember," a streak of reverb-washed C&W on "Glory Days Are Gone," and an abiding weakness for classic songwriting with a loving take on Petula Clark's "Down Town." Brad Brooks and Thistle also play. 8:30 p.m., Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St., S.F. $6. (415) 647-2888. (Kimberly Chun)

July 29


Props to the lord Mark Schaffer, one half of Burmese's thunderous drum attack, brings the noise in a new way tonight as Schaffer the Darklord. A man of many projects, including Syphilis Bill, the End of the World, and Bottled Og, Schaffer writes some of the whitest, most hilarious raps this side of the Insane Clown Posse. Over surprisingly funky beats, he muses on his forbidden love with a metal drummer, death, war, Nordic lords, and the daily trials of a true metal lifer. Expect to hear his rhymes delivered by a nimble tongue, while he sports the face paint, cape, and spikes of a Norwegian black metal god. The Darklord shares the bill with the decidedly unfunky Scorched-Earth Policy, Morbosidad, and World of Lies. 9 p.m., Curve Bar, 747 Third St., S.F., $5. (415) 820-1200. (Anup Pradhan)

July 30


Play toupee As fans count the days 'til Comedy Central's Strangers with Candy arrives on the big screen, that much missed show's creative team – Amy "David's sis" Sedaris, Paul Dinello, and The Daily Show's Stephen Colbert – has another hilariously twisted hit with the book Wigfield: The Can-Do Town that Just May Not. In the trio's satirical look at the disappearance of Small Town, USA, "literary-ist" Russell Hokes investigates the impending demise of Wigfield, a damned-if-they-do(n't) speck on a map with "more gentlemen's clubs than gentlemen." Even better than the book's T&A take on Waiting for Guffman, however, promises to be its page-to-stage adaptation, wherein the authors perform readings as the town's resident wackos, including albino stripper Cinnamon, taxidermist-mortician Lenare, and fudge-packin' (no, really!) Mayor Halstead. Wigfield's stage show makes its West Coast debut tonight, with a book signing to follow. Through July 31. 8 p.m., Post Street Theatre, 450 Post, S.F. $35. (415) 321-2900, www.ticketmaster.com. (Jimmy Draper)

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July 23, 2003