Our weekly picks
Noise Pop: The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger
Noise Pop is in full effect, and Sean Lennon manages to pull double duty with the most important ladies in his life, performing with Plastic Ono Band as well as a group that includes his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhr. The latter project, dubbed Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger, presents lavish folk songs not too far-flung from Lennon's solo output, including a few spaced-out covers of that material. But Muhl's harmonies lend a new depth and tone to the sublime psych gems. Performing under the pseudonyms Amatla and Zargifon, the duo is joined at this performance by members of Cornelius's band (Keigo Oyamada, Shimmy Hirotaka Shimizu, Yuko Araki), adding to the full sound. (Peter Galvin)
With If By Yes (Petra Hayden and Yuka Honda)
8 p.m., $20
628 Divisadero, SF
Noise Pop: Harlem, Young Prisms
Best party of Noise Pop probably has to be the Harlem show. The Bay Area isn't trifling when it comes to garage rock, but the Texan trio can hang with the best of them (and in fact, they have some ties to them). They've got the best rock 'n' roll invocation of Caspar the Friendly Ghost since fellow Austin boy Daniel Johnston, and a handsome guitar sound. And yeah, they have a song called "Psychedelic Tits" that Jayne Mansfield would be proud to dance to regardless of whether Frank Tashlin was watching. They can write about unhappily blasting ABBA in the rain in the South of France and make it sound like the best time. Opening for them are Mexican Summer signees Young Prisms, one of the best new bands in San Francisco. (Johnny Ray Huston)
With Best Coast, the Sandwitches
8 p.m., $12
Cafe Du Nord
2170 Market, SF
Jimmy Scott and the Jazz Expressions
There is nothing quite like Jimmy Scott singing "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." I've seen Scott testify when singing this song — even at 85 years old, he grabs hold of it with ferocity. That's how it is when a song tells the story of your life, and Scott, well he's the kind of singer who turns a song into a story. Back in the '60s, Scott brought fearless singing on songs such as "Day By Day." In recent years, his takes on standards like "All of Me" have had an increased sense of mischievous humor. If you haven't seen Jimmy Scott live, you should, because there is no one quite like him, and no document of a concert in Tokyo, no matter how enjoyable, can match the experience. (Huston)
8 p.m., $18
Yoshi's San Francisco
1330 Fillmore, SF
"In the Defense of Food"
Food. It's one thing that can bring people together, create tears of joy, make mouths water, and conjure dreams. Although many of us try to fight the temptation to indulge in delectable bites, we are, in fact a society obsessed with savory morsels that bring us to our knees, and keep us begging for more. So let's talk about it. Poetri, the star of the original Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, will unleash his inner love for food, and top spoken word artists from the Bay Area will also spend the evening praising unforgettable treats. And yes, food sampling and wine tasting are on the menu. (Elise-Marie Brown)
6 p.m., $20 (RSVP required)
Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission, SF
Robert Moses' Kin: The Cinderella Principle
When Robert Moses formed his dance company 15 years ago, he called it Robert Moses' Kin. Moses knows that families today no longer just run along bloodlines. Nontraditional, blended, interracial, same-sex, single parent, no-kids families have become common. Hence The Cinderella Principle: Try These On to See If They Fit, an hour-long, full company work for which he collaborated with playwright Anne Galfour. The choreographic impetus came from interviews with people who are engaged in redefining kinship. Since dance companies often refer to themselves as family, Cinderella seems a particularly appropriate subject for a choreographer to undertake. The live music by Todd Reynolds includes beat boxer Kid Beyond. Cinderella will be joined by two works from 2008, Toward September and Hush. (Rita Felciano)
8 p.m (also Fri/26-Sat/27), $20-35.
Yerba. Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission, SF
Jill Storthz: Woodcuts
San Francisco has a lot of artists, but how many artists have San Francisco in heart and mind? Jill Storthz does — she's written about the city's influence on her work's "splintered ramshackle quality entwined with colored light, earth, and space. Points for use of the word ramshackle, no doubt, but Storthz's woodcuts have a lightness and grace to them, and the piece on the postcard for her latest show is rich with color in a manner that doesn't listlessly parrot Mission School motifs. Storthz doesn't draw within the lines of color theory — in other words, her art is distinct, not derivative. (Huston)
5:30–7 p.m. (through March), free
490 2nd St, SF
Third Annual International Juried Plastic Camera Show
What happened to the days when a basic point-and-shoot camera with film could make life exciting? We didn't have the option of viewing photos instantly — instead, we had to march over to the one-hour photo and wait as our roll of film was developed. Whether the pictures came out in focus or not, the whole point was to document a moment in time when something worthy of a photo took place. At the Juried Plastic Camera Show, renowned photographers will showcase their work with the use of low-grade cameras — sans all the fancy equipment — and unveil beautiful pieces at that. (Brown)
6 p.m., free
RayKo Photo Center
428 Third St., SF
Noise Pop: Atlas Sound
Buffalo Springfield died so that we might have Neil Young, and Peter Gabriel gave up the ghost with Genesis so his angelic 1980s pipes could blast from the boombox of an adolescent John Cusack. Sometimes branching off is a good idea. So it is with the music of Atlas Sound, the more-than-side project of Deerhunter's Bradford Cox. The group's recent album Logos (Kranky/4AD, 2009) is a hodgepodge of druggy, reverbed, and blissed-out beauty recorded whenever, wherever, and with whatever from 2007 to 2009. (Brady Welch)
With Geographer, Magic Wands, Nice Nice
8 p.m., $16-18
Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell, SF
As recent entries The Book of Eli, The Road (2009), and I Am Legend (2007) have demonstrated, it's easy to nuke a fascinating sci-fi genre into ponderous, sentimental meh-ness. (Not every postapocalyptic film can be as cool as 1979's Mad Max.) Self-distributed Downstream avoids the heart-tugging route, for the most part: after his scientist father is killed, a boy grows up to be a straggly-haired drifter in a ravaged world where there's no gas and very few women (thanks to cancers caused by genetically altered food). His one hope is of finding a rumored city kept civilized by clean energy. Its over-reliance on split-screen can be distracting, but Downstream deserves props for approaching dystopia from an intriguingly green perspective. (Cheryl Eddy)
Fri/26-Sat/27, 8 p.m.; Sun/28, 7 p.m.; $12
2961 16th St., SF
Brian McKnight, Lalah Hathaway
Tonight, two respected R&B singers come together in one of the most soulful towns. Brian McKnight has made an imprint with his singing and songwriting on such hits as "Back at One" and "Anytime." He also plays nine instruments. His timeless voice is an inspiration to several of today's R&B singers. Opening for McKnight is Lalah Hathaway, daughter of the legendary Donny Hathaway. Her buttery alto tone is reminiscent of her father's voice, but she injects her own timbre and control into every note. (Lilan Kane)
1807 Telegraph, Oakl.
A stampede of horsepower comes thundering into the Bay Area today as the Monster Jam series of monster truck races and events hits Oakland, featuring ground-shaking custom creations such as "Iron Man," "Donkey Kong," "Maximum Destruction," and the long-running fan favorite "Grave Digger." Spectators will be treated to both races and full-on "freestyle" events — where the 10,000 pound muscle machines fly through the air at distances up to 130 feet and reach heights up to 35 feet in the air — not to mention crushing cars aplenty. Get in touch with your inner gear-head and speed on over to the Coliseum early, where a pit party precedes the night's main events, allowing fans to get up close and personal with the burly beasts. (Sean McCourt)
3 p.m. pit party, 7 p.m. main event; $7.50–$30 ($125 for an all access pass)
7000 Coliseum Way, Oakl.
It's cold season, so if you are experiencing a sore throat, grab some California Honeydrops. Their music makes you feel good. Originating in the Oakland subway stations in 2007, California Honeydrops has played worldwide. Led by vocalist and trumpeter Lech Wierzynski, the band embraces roots, blues, and New Orleans-style horn lines to create a modern sound with a traditional influences. The playful rhythm section includes Chris Burns on the keys, drummer Ben Malament, and bassist Seth Ford-Young, with spicy shouts from saxophonist Johnny Bones. Bring your dancing shoes. (Kane)
$10–$15, 7:30 and 9 p.m.
Red Poppy Art House
2698 Folsom, SF
Cartune Xprez: 2010 Future Television
Combine images of old Sunday morning cartoons, live video theater, and psychedelic colors and shapes into a cosmic video and you've got Cartune Xprez: an out-of-body dream sequence come to life. Many of the directors will be on hand to explain the concepts for their work, so don't be scared if you misinterpret their tour de force. Artists who have presented at Cartune Xprez in the past include Shana Moulton, Day-Glo maniacs Paper Rad, and collage visionary Martha Colburn. (Brown)
8 p.m., $5
1800 Campbell, Oakl.
"Meet Ann Bannon: Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction"
Pulp fiction isn't just Tarantino kitsch. For pre-Stonewall gay and lesbian writers, the creation of pulp titles with something more — a way to forge community, share desires, and spark imagination. For some, if not all, this meant pulp was a political act. It would be difficult to find a better representative of lesbian pulp fiction than Ann Bannon, whose five-volume Beebo Brinker Chronicles has seen numerous reprints and recently inspired a stage play. In conjunction with the West Coast premiere of the stage version of Beebo Brinker, Bannon is coming to town for a tea party. Heat it up and add honey. (Huston)
1 p.m., $20–$40
Brava Theater Center
2789 24th St., SF
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