Our weekly picks
Electronic Frontier Foundation: 20 Years
With technology becoming ever more an integral part of our daily lives, important issues surrounding digital rights continue to arise in new forms, be they regarding net neutrality, government wiretapping, or downloading music. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit civil liberties organization, was founded in 1990 to defend people's rights in the areas of free speech, innovation, privacy and more. EFF celebrates its 20th anniversary tonight with a party and fundraiser hosted by Mythbusters' Adam Savage, featuring music, entertainment, and tech luminaries such as Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and Lotus 1-2-3 program designer Mitch Kapor. (Sean McCourt)
8 p.m., $30
375 11th St., SF.
ARTEMIO: "Gersamkunstwerk"; Frankie Martin: "Through the Vortex"
Nothing sounds more disparate than "guns, grenades, bombs, and machetes" assembled into a mandala; and video of a "1,000 mile, California coastal bicycle" voyage. But who knows, juxtapositions create funny things like frisson. What distinguishes Mexico City conceptual artist ARTEMIO from New York "nomadic inter-media artist" Frankie Martin could potentially create a third work where the paradoxical polarities and politics of drug wars infiltrate the narratives of mobile subjectivity this side of the leisure-born border. I'm thinking something like Road Rash, the 1991 Sega Genesis video game where motorcyclists beat each other with chains and baseball bats in a race to the champagne and bikini line. You might see something a bit more sophisticated. (Spencer Young)
7–11 p.m. (through March 13), free
Queen's Nails Projects
3191 Mission, SF
"A Valentine's Tribute Weekend to John Hughes"
When the Oscars' people-who-died montage rolls around in March, more than one child of the '80s will raise a fist for John Hughes, the writer-director-producer of many of the era's most beloved teen films. Midnites for Maniacs programmer and host Jesse Hawthorne Ficks feels your pain — he's assembled seven of Hughes' enduring classics for a two-day feast of class- and clique-disrupting romances, multiple Ringwalds, touchy-feely grandmas, homemade prom dresses, Ferraris, the best fucking movie about travel ever (you can bet your John Candy it ain't Up in the Air), and Bueller ... Bueller ... Bueller. The marathon begins tonight with Some Kind of Wonderful . Angst ahead! (Cheryl Eddy)
7:30 p.m. (Some Kind of Wonderful), 9:30 p.m. (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) and 11:45 p.m. (National Lampoon's Vacation); through Sat/13, $10 per day
429 Castro, SF
San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival
Old-timey — it's not just for lemonade, hoop skirts, handlebar mustaches, and dial-ups. It's also for the retro-coolly acronymed SFBOT, raising its analog arms and taking over dozens of the Bay's venues with that sweet, sweet sound of everyone's favorite time period: yore. Loudon Wainwright III, Stairwell Sisters, Water Tower Bucket Boys, Asylum Street Spankers, and a strummin' army of fiddlers, yelpers, crooners, stompers, hoofers, and juggers blow wildly through the roots of this 11th annual harmonic convergence. Oh yes, there shall be banjos. (Marke B.)
Various times, venues, and prices (through Feb. 24)
Tonight: Red Molly, Stairwell Sisters
8 p.m., $19.50
Freight and Salvage
2020 Addison, Berk.
Mahogany Soul Series: Chico DeBarge, Martin Luther
It's Friday night — time to mellow out to some old school soul sounds. Chico DeBarge is a charismatic and skilled songwriter and producer long known for making the ladies swoon with his sensual singing style. He's joined by fellow R&B man Martin Luther. Also in the mix is DJ Sake-1. Part of Ineffable Music Group's Mahogany Soul Series, this event is a trifecta for R&B lovers. (Lilan Kane)
9 p.m. $16–$20
Shattuck Down Low
2284 Shattuck, Berk.
Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime
Badfish, named after a song on Sublime's 40 Oz. to Freedom (Gasoline Alley/MCA, 1992), has helped keep the Sublime spirit alive. The group formed in 2001 when they met at the University of Rhode Island, where they were computer science majors. They've quickly garnered a fanbase in the college music scene and have played to sold out crowds since 2006. The members are also in their own non-tribute band, Scotty Don't, which usually serves as the opening act for Badfish shows. (Kane)
9 p.m., $65–$84
1290 Sutter, SF
Alameda Zombie Crawl
Movies (and music videos) have taught us that zombies can run, swim, operate amusement park machinery, and perform synchronized dances. It turns out the undead even enjoy exotic cocktails — ergo, the first annual Alameda Zombie Crawl, which kicks off with drink specials (including, duh, Zombies) at the Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge. The brain-chomping masses will then head to Scobies Sports Bar and Grill and Lost Weekend Lounge, before breaking off into smaller groups to terrorize shopping malls and farmhouses in rural Pennsylvania. Come dressed to kill — er, like you've already been killed; there'll be makeup assistance ashore the Island for anyone who doesn't have Tom Savini-style gore-and-latex skills. (Eddy)
7 p.m. (makeup starting at 5 p.m., $5–$50), free
Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge
1304 Lincoln, Alameda
Black Choreographers Festival
The Black Choreographers Festival kicks off its three-weekend run in Oakland with workshops, public discussions, $10 master classes, and seminars. New this is year is a free film series presented in partnership with see.think.dance. Starting this Saturday in Oakland, it includes documentaries, feature films, and shorts from Africa and the diaspora. Also this weekend is a Sunday morning youth meet, after which the young dancers invite the public to an afternoon concert. Despite videos and all manner of documentation, dance still gets passed on directly from one body to the next. This is an opportunity to see the next generation. Participating groups include Dimensions Extensions Dance Ensemble, Destiny Arts, Oakland School of the Arts, San Francisco School of the Arts, and On Demand. (Rita Felciano)
1–6 p.m. (also Sun/14, 4 p.m.; festival through Feb 28), free–$10
Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts
1428 Alice, Oakl.
Workshop: "DIY Valentine — Sexy Bedroom"
Extravagant gifts and pricey candlelit dinners for the big V day have, more or less, become a thing of the past. In this economy, many are having to craft new ways of celebrating the day dedicated to all things love. Fortunately Kelly Malone is giving a sultry tutorial on how the ladies, and even gents, can spice up their bedrooms for the big night. At Workshop, you'll learn how perfect a seductive cocktail, tease your hair like Brigitte Bardot, create alluring smoky eyes, and transform your unadorned room into a lair fit for a sex kitten. (Elise-Marie Brown)
5:30 p.m., $40 (sign-up required)
1798 McAllister, SF
Company C Contemporary Ballet
At nine, Company C Contemporary Ballet has found its groove. Two things stood out at last month's Walnut Creek performances that will be repeated on this side of the Bay this weekend. These are beautifully alert dancers who can shine in a wide range of repertoire. Being in a small company, they switch gears rapidly and admirably. Also, founding Artistic Director Charles Anderson has a gift for programming. He commissioned Amy Seiwert in a hot nightclub number, brought Lar Lubovitch's flowing Cavalcade to a tough Steve Reich score, introduced Charles Moulton's ingenious Nine Person Ball Passing to a new generation, and choreographed his own Akimbo. He knows what's he's doing. (Felciano)
8 p.m. (also Sun/14, 2 p.m.), $18–$40
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission, SF
Marc Huestis Presents "Justin Bond: Close to You" and Whatever Happened to Susan Jane?
"Did he beat you, girl? You got burned if he didn't beat you, girl." I can't think of any better romantic advice than that, gleaned from a scene in Marc Huestis' San Francisco new wave comedy from 1982, Whatever Happened to Susan Jane? Besides drag queen wisdom, the flick dispenses some great back-in-vogue music, including tunes from Tuxedo Moon and Indoor Life. A DVD release screening of it is just the prelude to a night with SF girl-gone-good Justin Bond, who'll be singing Carpenters hits with a 10-piece orchestra, and hosting special guests the Thrillpeddlers. Trash the Ipecac and be my bloody, melancholy valentine. (Johnny Ray Huston)
Susan Jane: noon, $8
Justin Bond: 8:15 p.m., $25–$75
419 Castro, SF
Girls, Smith Westerns
Girls were last year's critical darlings, but their tour mates the Smith Westerns have perhaps a more interesting rise to fame. Hailing from Chicago, the four members range from 17 to 19 years old. They play the sort of Nuggets rock that went out of style 20 years before they were born. With songs like "Girl in Love" and "Be My Girl," these guys wear their hearts on their sleeves — and really, isn't that what Valentine's Day is all about? (Peter Galvin)
With Magic Kinds, Hunx and the Punkettes
7 30 p.m., $16, sold out
Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell, SF
Planting its stake in music history as the first U.K. punk band to release a single and tour the U.S., the Damned turned heads with "New Rose" and "Neat Neat Neat." But since today is Valentine's Day, perhaps its tune "Love Song" is most appropriate to sing along to: "I'll be the ticket if you're my collector/ I've got the fare if you're my inspector/ I'll be the luggage, if you'll be the porter/ I'll be the parcel, if you'll be my sorter." Join founding members Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible for a chaotic romp through the old days and slam dance with your sweetheart. (McCourt)
With Hewhocannotbenamed and the Generators
8 p.m. (7 p.m. doors), $30 ($54.95 with dinner)
333 11th St., SF
Leela James's debut album A Change Is Gonna Come (Warner Bros., 2005) received rave reviews from critics and comparisons to Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan. After four years and a break from a major label, she's returned with her self-produced sophomore record, Let's Do It Again (Shanachie Records). The album was recorded using live takes, much like the original soul recordings created at Stax and Muscle Shoals. James pays homage to her musical influences with covers by Betty Wright, Bobby Womack, and the Staples Singers, to name a few. Attention soul lovers: let loose some raw emotion on V-Day. (Kane)
7 p.m. $30
1330 Fillmore, SF.
Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Party!: Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Zigaboo Modeliste & the New Aahkesstra, DJ Harry D
Oh Mardi Gras, the time of year where beads almost help people avert indecent exposure and jazz bands blare throughout the streets. It's one of those rare moments that I find myself wanting to be in a city other than San Francisco. But since some of us can't fly down to New Orleans for the week, the next best thing to the Southern goodness that is Louisiana is the Fat Tuesday party going down at the Independent. Listen to the sounds of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band while downing a glass of bourbon, and be transported to the place of deep, dark bayous and ambrosial gumbo. (Brown)
7:30 p.m., $22
628 Divisadero, SF
"Ask a Scientist: Quantum Mechanics"
Although most of us are glad to be done with school and liberated from 10-page papers and final exams, every now and then it's nice to learn something new. With the "Ask A Scientist" series anyone can unfold the scientific mysteries that make up the world we inhabit, at least on a level that can be taught in two hours. Discover how energy and matter make up quantum mechanics, how an object can be in two places at once, and other science stuff. (Brown)
7:00 p.m., free (excluding food or drinks)
350 Kansas, SF
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