8 Days a Week

Dec. 3-10, 2003

BANDING TOGETHER TO survive the hype, West London's Bugz in the Attic is a collective that is steadily infesting the crates of DJs across the globe. Putting the lie to some critics' cries of "passing fad," this eight-member crew of producers, DJs, and musicians shows that the creative vein of broken beat is far from exhausted – instead, its inclusive embrace of house, soul, and jazz makes for a killer combination on the dance floor. Bugz' new album demonstrates that its sound works just as well out of the club. Fabric 12 Live: Bugz in the Attic (Fabric) is a wide-ranging mix that covers all the bases, from housier numbers like Afronaught's re-rub of Alison David's "Dreams Come True" to the drum 'n' bass flavor of "Future Rage" from DKD (an alias for collective members Daz-I-Kue, Kaidi Taitham, and Dego). But even though the disc was recorded live at London club Fabric, the Bugz sound works just as well at home – just clear the furniture, because you might end up dancing in your living room. Opening for the Bugz is Ayro, who showcases his live take on broken flavors via Rhodes and MPC drum machine. Fresco residents Hakobo, Kento, and Yoshito also perform. Fri/5, 10 p.m., Milk, 1840 Haight, S.F. $10. (415) 387-6455. (Also Sat/6, 10 p.m., Top, 424 Haight, S.F. $5. 415-864-7386). (Peter Nicholson)

Dec. 3


That's showbiz In film, "breaking the fourth wall" – think Ferris Bueller talking to the camera – can either be endearing or, more often, annoying. Onstage, though, the practice feels way more genuine. TheatreWorks leaps into the actor-audience divide with A.R. Gurney's comedy The Fourth Wall. The lead character, a suburban WASP who's come rather unglued, believes her life is transpiring onstage. Her reaction is, naturally, to rearrange her ever so tasteful living-room furniture to look like a set; clever self-reflexiveness, political satire, and even a few Cole Porter tunes ensue. The play, which offers an off-kilter critique of contemporary American life, as well as of the theater world, makes its West Coast debut with this production. Through Dec. 28. Previews tonight-Fri/5, 8 p.m. Opens Sat/6, 8 p.m. Runs Tues/9 and Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m. (also Dec. 13 and 20, 2 p.m.; no shows Dec. 24-25); Sun., 2 and 7 p.m., Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto. $20-$48. (650) 903-6000, www.theatreworks.org. (Cheryl Eddy)

Dec. 4


All fiesta, no siesta In one of those astonishing and fortuitous rock 'n' roll moments, guitarist Chris Root encountered Brazilian chanteuse Juju Stulbach on the Manhattan set of a film. Stulbach's sultry Portuguese lilt was a come-hither sound Root couldn't resist, and together they traveled to the fabled beaches of her native Ipanema. It was there they recorded the first plaintive wisps of music that evolved – with the later addition of keyboardist and sampler whiz John Marshall Smith – into the unique, beguiling buzz of the Mosquitos. If you find it hard to fathom indie pop bossa nova, you're not alone, but take a trip to the DNA Lounge tonight and you'll get bitten by its dreamy, sexy sound. Headlining this saucy double bill is New York City nuevo Latino experience Yerba Buena, whose electrofunk infusion of Cuban rumba chants, Nuyorican boogaloo rhythms, and thundering Afrobeat horns explodes into mayhem on the dance floor. 9 p.m., DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., S.F. $15. (415) 626-1409. (Jonathan Zwickel)

Viva XXXmas Celebrate the season at the annual Good Vibrations Holiday Ball, where you can rub shoulders (and perhaps, with permission, other body parts) with hot porn stars like radical Nina Hartley, sultry fetish diva Midori, and world-exploding babes Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano. Now that feminist sex toy shop Good Vibes has opened a brand-spanking-new store on Valencia near 17th Street, there are more reasons than ever to get down and dirty with the sex-positive crew. And it's going to be pretty darn dirty at this ball, which features entertainment from drum ensemble Taiko Ren, drag king Rusty Hips (Mr. Trannyshack 2003), belly dance troupe Sirens, genderqueer rockabilly freaks Burlacticus Undertow, and DJ Vonn. Don't forget to check out the naughty photo booth and make-out rooms. Best of all, this is your chance to pay homage to host Carol Queen for being the Bay Area's finest sex guru. All guests must wear fetish, formal, semiformal, or drag. Yummy! 8 p.m.-2 a.m., Club NV, 525 Howard, S.F. $25. (415) 974-8985, ext. 201, www.goodvibes.com. (Annalee Newitz)

Riding high According to their bio, Texas's Speedealer have played 250 to 300 shows a year for the past seven years, putting them up there with James Brown, Black Flag, and Iron Maiden in the "hardest working in showbiz" category. Judging by Burned Alive (Radical Records), one of Speedealer's two new CDs, they're in no danger of becoming a bloated classic rock act. The album is a live assault on the legendary CBGB, a sonic torch job combining the full-steam-ahead speed metal of Slayer with the unswept garage grime of Candy Snatchers or Zeke, then dipping the whole thing in a heaping helping of "I'll stomp a mudhole in your ass" Lone Star attitude. Their other new record, Bleed (Dead Teenager), is a studio offering produced by ex-Butthole Surfer J.D. Pinkus. Dirty Power and Supagroup open. 9 p.m., Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F. $8. (415) 621-4455. (Duncan Scott Davidson)

Dec. 5


Firestarter In the '80s, comedians were supposed to be the new rock stars, but that concept died right around the time Carrot Top came on the scene. Los Angeles comic Mike O'Connell is changing all that. A mustachioed spasmatic who wears a red jumpsuit and wields an electric guitar, O'Connell's act runs the gamut from reminiscing about his upbringing in a collective of pagans and Satanists on the outskirts of Cleveland to an emotional "one-woman" performance about unrequited love in the antebellum South. O'Connell, named Rolling Stone's Hot Comedian this year, comes to San Francisco on the heels of an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live to bellow from the depths of his twisted soul – a perfect evening of bourbon-soaked chaos and comedy. San Francisco band the Famous open. 9 p.m., Odeon Bar, 3223 Mission, S.F. $5. (415) 871-6388, www.odeonbar.com. (Dina Gachman)

Wedding singer I don't have plans to get married anytime soon, but when the day comes, Paula Frazer will be the entertainment, and that's that. This daughter of a minister and a piano teacher from Georgia's Smoky Mountains has a voice both tender and vulnerable, and she can hit notes that would've made Roy Orbison jealous. A Place Where I Know (Birdman) gathers a decade of songs going back to her Tarnation days. Recorded at home on a four track, featuring nothing but that angelic voice and an acoustic guitar, the album stands in quiet counterpoise to the lush arrangements of 2001's Indoor Universe (Birdman). Frazer emotes a heartfelt pathos and palpable sense of loss on songs such as "Halfway to Madness," "Deep Was the Night," and "A Game of Broken Hearts" that can choke me up like no other singer can, with the possible exception of Willie Nelson. If you're the crying kind, bring your hankie, and maybe a dozen red roses for Frazer – she deserves them more than any overblown opera diva does. Steve Wynn and Mike Therieau also play. 10 p.m., Parkside, 1600 17th St., S.F. Call for price. (415) 503-0393. (Davidson)

Dec. 6


SOS The permeability of Filipino culture and Bay Area punk became evident to singer Rupert Estanislao of hardcore band Eskapo when he noticed that teen audiences in Vallejo were singing along to all of his songs – 80 percent of which are written in Tagalog. Eskapo performs at 'Save the Stiff: Christmas Sessions,' a benefit for Bindlestiff Studio, a Filipino American performance space struggling to escape the clutches of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. The lineup also includes the Skyflakes – a Partridge Family-esque group whose sweet veneer belies the sinister themes of their lyrics – along with boisterous indie acts Amorsolo, potatoCouch, Charmin, Golda Supanova and the Supafrenz, Goldar, and Love Daria. Films in the multimedia program include Paolo Sambrano's pictoral montage about the loss of Filipino airport screeners after Sept. 11, 2001, and the documentary Beats Rhymes Resistance: Pilipinos and Hip Hop in L.A. 6 p.m., Bindlestiff Studio, 185 Sixth St., S.F. $6 ($4 with donation of clean used or new sleeping bag). (415) 974-1167. (Rachel Swan)

Beyond 'Punk'd' The infamous San Francisco Cacophony Society's rogue troupe of Santas are, appropriately enough, the chosen ambassadors of the holiday season at the 'Re/Search Pranks! Festival.' Honoring counterculture mavericks who have executed large public pranks, usually with corporate targets, the fest celebrates the way pranks can affect entire masses of people and make visceral political points. Also marking the 15th anniversary of the publication of Re/Search's Pranks!, the evening includes a panel with veteran pranksters Mark Pauline of Survival Research Laboratories, Mal Sharpe of legendary hidden-mic comedy team Coyle and Sharpe, tattoo icon Don Ed Hardy, and others. All artists and pranksters will have rare goods for sale; bring your own prank-related stories for a chance at being included in the upcoming Pranks! 2. 6-10 p.m., Lab, 2948 16th St., S.F. $5-$20. (415) 864-8855, www.thelab.org (Cindy Emch)

Dec. 7


Destroy! It's no accident that Mobilization Recordings, Laughing Squid, and KFJC, 89.7 FM, chose Pearl Harbor Day to launch 'How to Destroy the Universe Festival Part I.' By creating mass fear, the attack on Pearl Harbor not only pulled the United States into war but also ushered in a backlash against civil liberties facilitated by an oversimplified – and misguided – concept of security. What better way to raze today's false safety net than with fire, steel, and sound manipulated by veteran masters of extreme music and art? Dr. Howland Owll of the Church of the SubGenius MCs the event, which features psycho-surf-core by the Mermen, pyro-industrial post-punk mantras by F-Space (including Scot Jenerik and former members of Savage Republic and Chrome), gothic cabaret by Neither Neither World, psychotic episodes by the Serotonins, and classical covers of '80s hardcore hits by the Punk Rock Orchestra. Burning Man artist Charles Gadeken and We're Desperate early L.A.-S.F. punk-scene photographer Jim Jocoy provide added visual stimulation, and DJs Fernando (Thunderdrome, DeathGuild, Assimilate) and KFJC's MC Christ confer their special sonic touches. 5 p.m., StudioZ.tv, 314 11th St., S.F. $10. (415) 252-7666. (Camille T. Taiara)

Fur real Abandoned stuffed animals – puppies, bears, at least one turkey – are the materials of Mariette Marinus, who discovers her subjects in secondhand shops and turns them into art objects, confining them in plastic boxes and display cases. Once squeezed into place, the toys take on new characteristics; their previously blank-eyed expressions become disgruntled, uncomfortable, terrified, even royally pissed off (see the piece featuring a suddenly thuggish Snuggle spokesbear). A show of Marinus's work, 'Trapped and Found: A Collection of Squashed Plush,' opens tonight at Glama-Rama!; check it out for the bizarre sensation of having your heartstrings pulled while being freaked-out on a rather primal, "It's aliiiive!" kind of level. Through Feb. 7. Opening party tonight, 6-9 p.m. Call for gallery hours, Glama-Rama!, 417 South Van Ness, S.F. Free. (415) 861-4526, www.glamarama.com. (Eddy)

Dec. 8


Tumbling down A great performance piece shows humans as we are: miserable, joyful, beautiful bundles of contradictions. Take a journey into the strong, messy, and inspiring world of Domino, a work in progress from renowned local theater artist Sean San José. Best known for his work with Campo Santo, which he cofounded, San José here incorporates live music into an exploration of the grief and loss of an AIDS survivor, and the cultural roadblocks he must overcome to honor a deceased friend. This script-in-hand performance features a postshow discussion. 8 p.m., Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, S.F. $5. (415) 978-ARTS, www.yerbabuenaarts.org. (Emch)

Dec. 9


Lady luck It may be cold in San Francisco, but El Rio is guaranteed to be hot, hot, hot tonight. Sizzling on the stage is an ass-kicking preview of (and benefit for) the cultural explosion that is Ladyfest. A do-it-yourself wonder, Ladyfest (a global phenomenon; the next Ladyfest Bay Area is slated for August 2004) is a nearly weeklong, completely volunteer-helmed festival that celebrates art, film, music, and more – all of it celebrating ladies in every imaginable incarnation. Friendly to all sexual and gender identities, it's an activist, feminist affair for the knowin'-how-to-have-a-good-time postmillennial set. Highlights of the sneak peak include the quirky punk and roll of buthceR and smeaR, the noise pop of Bitesize, the funky rhythms of Beautiful Engines, and DJ Thick as Thieves. 8 p.m., El Rio, 3158 Mission, S.F. $8. (415) 282-3325, www.elriosf.com, www.ladyfestbayarea.org. (Emch)

Nothing's better With a touch of salsa, a dash of klezmer, and a smidgen of flamenco, Mas Que Nada concoct a spectacular musical blend. The Latin jazz six-piece consist of mostly twentysomethings on flute, guitar, cello, bass, violin, and percussion. Since leaving the womb one year ago, they've etched jittery rhythms into the grain of San Francisco's nightlife. The venue offers no dance floor, but Jacob Lawfor's rhythmic conga playing will knock you off your seat and have you wishin' there was space to cut the rug. Mas Que Nada play at Mecca on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. 7:30 p.m., Mecca, 2029 Market, S.F. Free. (415) 621-7000. (Daniel King)

Dec. 10


Birthday treat Texan Frank Jackson gives lessons in love with his velvety singing, smooth piano playing, and interpretations of the Great American Songbook. He's a sweater-wearing, seasoned jazz vet with a romantic voice in the Nat King Cole tradition, and if you've seen Jackson live, you know he's authentic. Generations of fans, at least according to my Friendster reports, have already begun gearing up for this throwdown in celebration of Jackson's birthday. All you really oughta know, apart from the fact that jazz tosses punk to the curb these days (care to debate?), is that Jackson has been gigging since the '50s, and every decade his polished performances win over a new batch of listeners. 9 p.m., Jazz at Pearl's, 256 Columbus, S.F. $5. (415) 291-8255. (King)

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December 3, 2003