Our Weekly Picks: May 19-25, 2010





Francis and the Lights

Although they've garnered attention from shout-outs by Kanye and Drake, New York City's Francis and the Lights have enough style to speak for themselves. Singer Francis Farewell Starlite sounds a lotta bit like Phil Collins, and the '80s groove that often accompanies him only adds to the double-take. If Starlite's Trek convention name didn't scare you off, you'll discover he has some kick-ass dance moves and a synth keyboard with all black keys, because "the difference between black and white keys is that there is no difference." If you can make it early for Teen Inc., you'll get more 1980s funk, spin-cycled with a tad of Ariel Pink and a pinch of Prefab Sprout. (Peter Galvin)

8:00 p.m., $13

Great American Music Hall

859 O'Farrell, SF

(315) 885 0750





Roky Erickson

From his time as leader of psychedelic pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators through his varied and excellent solo work, Roky Erickson has continued to write and perform some of the most original and imaginative music in any subgenre of rock 'n' roll. A testament to his outstanding talent and resilience is that Erickson has done so while surviving decades of drug abuse and mental illness, a hellish journey that has fortunately ended with his inspiring recovery and recent return to the music world. Last month saw the release of True Love Cast Out All Evil, his first new album in 15 years, an incredibly poignant collection of songs that document his struggles but ultimately give the sense of hope and promise for a fruitful future. (Sean McCourt)

With Okkervil River

8 p.m., $29.50

The Fillmore

1805 Geary, SF

(415) 371-5500




Sara Shelton Mann and David Szlasa

Newcomers to the Bay Area take the presence of Sara Shelton Mann for granted. They shouldn't. Though she has been making groundbreaking work — theatrically and philosophically — for 30 years, she yet has to run out of steam, curiosity, or the willingness to push herself to the edge of whatever she happens to be investigating. Yet there is always that same nagging question: how do we live with each other in a world that is anything but perfect and tries to shape us without our consent? Not that her work gives answers — but it's the journey and questions that count, right? She and media artist David Szlasa are joined by some of San Francisco's finest: Yannis Adoniou, Hana Erdman, Patrick Ferreri, Kira Kirsche, Justin Morrison, and Kristin Osler. (Rita Felciano)

8 p.m. (through Sat/22), $25–$30

Novellus Theater

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

700 Howard, SF

(415) 978-ARTS




An Evening with Chuck Palahniuk

It is rumored that at one reading of his short story "Guts," Chuck Palahniuk caused 40 audience members to faint from evocative prose involving intestines and a swimming pool pump. Yeah, gotcha. Palahniuk appears to be on course to offend our every sensibility (besides our apparent appreciation for the "transgressive novel" — Wikipedia, what does that even mean?), and his next target is the general squeamishness caused by L.A. name-dropping, courtesy of his latest release, Tell-All. The master of encyclopedic minutiae and literary gauche comes through this week to talk about what's on his mind — be sure to bring a bag and wear a helmet if you have a weak stomach. (Caitlin Donohue)

7 p.m., $36

Swedish American Music Hall

2174 Market, SF

(415) 861-5016





I love the guys of Keepaway as friends, so full disclosure and all that. But seriously: this is upper deck exercise music. It will remind you of your happiest birthday party or your comfiest drug trip—either way, there are lots of brightly colored bouncy balls and all the time in the world. Keepaway's spring-loaded EP Baby Style is already scorching the usual hype channels, though most of the praise is of the glum "Animal Collective-meets-whatever" kind. Forget it, and go watch a band swing for the fences. (Max Goldberg)

With Geographer

9 p.m., $10


330 Ritch, SF

(415) 541-9574





Readymade Dance Theater Company: The Body Artist

The Body Artist, Albuquerque's Readymade Dance Theater Company's latest theater piece, was inspired by Don DeLillo's novel of the same name. Strictly speaking, it was Laurie Anderson's taped reading that convinced Romanian-born choreographer Zsolt Palcza that he wanted to choreograph the work. Its story revolves around a young woman who, after her husband's suicide, returns to their home and finds an unexpected visitor who knows a lot more about her than she can easily digest. Palcza brings a strong literary bent to much of his work, having previously choreographed both Dracula and Woyzeck. Body Artist is the group's first San Francisco engagement. (Felciano)

8 p.m. (also Sat/22), $10-15


1310 Mission, SF

(800) 838-3006




Nokie Edwards

Getting his start playing back-up with Buck Owens when the country star lived in Tacoma, Wash., Nokie Edwards went on to join the Ventures as bassist in 1960 but quickly made the switch to lead guitar based on his musical virtuosity. Over the years since, he has lent his formidable talents to the many tracks that propelled the group to being the most successful instrumental outfit in history, including "Walk, Don't Run" and "Hawaii Five-O." Having been enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, Edwards and his band mates helped influence generations of surf bands, instrumental groups, and guitarists of all stripes and styles. (McCourt)

With Venturesmania, Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Phonics, Pollo Del Mar, and the Mini Skirt Mob

8 p.m., $15

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011





Maker Faire

Step right up folks, this is the year's preeminent get-together for makers of things. Yes, it's just that specific. Forget the endless service industry feedback loop we're stuck in — Maker Faire is all about taking the initiative to create the world around us. The Faire is home to everything from Burner flights of fancy via steel I-beam and bungee cord to robots, rockets, quilts, and felt creations. But the offerings that get my crafty cravings a-ragin' are educational. After all, where else can one get primers on beekeeping, repurposing a computer hard drive, juggling, fermenting veggies, and building your own rotational casting machine in a single event? Unheard of, even in this hands-on hamlet. (Donohue)

10 a.m.-8 p.m. (also Sun/23, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.), $25

San Mateo County Event Center

1346 Saratoga, San Mateo




Uncorked! Wine Festival

There's something about wine. Maybe it's the process of growing, crushing, fermenting, and aging the grapes. Or maybe it's that a bottle can go as low as $2 and as high as $2,000. You can cook with it, be classy and drink from a box, or just enjoy a glass with a platter of brie and crackers. At the fifth annual Uncorked! Wine Festival, you can learn how to properly pair the finest pastas and meats with the correct types of wines and even find out how to detect if an opened bottle of wine has gone bad. Tastings will be offered, of course, for an extra fee. (Elise-Marie Brown)

1–6 p.m., free

Ghirardelli Square

North Point and Larkin, SF

(415) 775-5500




"Painted Ladies"

Too many perfectly capable odes have been penned to the Victorian homes that dignify our streets. So I won't waste words on how they make us all cooler by their very presence — but you know what I mean, right? Fabric8 gallery sure does. Owner Olivia Ongpin has assembled a homage to the Painted Ladies for her newest opening. Works focus on the femininity and architecture around us, including the Lower Haight fairy tales of Ursula Young, Nome Edonna's water-infused dreamscapes, and the heavy-lidded queens that grace the canvasses of Telopa. (Donohue)

7–10 p.m., free

fabric8 gallery

3318 22nd St., SF

(415) 647-5888




Dead Prez 10 Year Anniversary Show

Laid on a foundation of political and societal confrontation, Dead Prez is celebrated as one of the most militant hip-hop duos. It has been 10 years since their debut album, and they are taking the stage at the Rockit Room for a live performance with special guests Ras Ceylon, Sellassie, and Unity. Since Let's Get Free in 2000, they've released albums and mixtapes and infiltrated the media through music in movies and on TV, most notably the opening theme for each episode of Chapelle's Show. On Mother's Day, they released a remix of B.o.B.'s track "Nothin On You" retitled "The Beauty Within." Two years ago, they recorded their only live album here in SF, and now they're back. (Lilan Kane)

9 p.m., $20

Rockit Room

406 Clement, SF

(415) 387-6343






Canadian electronic artist Caribou tinkers with beats and sounds with a surgeon-like precision, which makes sense given that he is a doctor. Well, not that kind of doctor. I can barely do long division anymore, but the man behind Caribou, Dan Snaith, has a PhD in math and surely this superpower informs his work as a composer. His newest album, Swim, is a shimmering grab bag of danceable rhythms and soft vocals that channel pop music as much as house or disco, all performed with live instruments. (Galvin)

With Toro y Moi

8:00 p.m. (also Mon/24), $17

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421




The Golden Gate Park Band Concert: Armenian-American Day

The possibilities at Golden Gate Park are always endless. It's the perfect place to have a picnic, go to a museum, or just lay in the sun and listen to the drums. Plus, there is always some sort of free concert going on. The Music Concourse is hosting installments of free shows throughout the summer. This week they celebrate the dance and music traditions of Armenian culture. (Brown)

1 p.m., free

Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park

55 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, SF

(415) 831-5500





Lunch with James Franco

What do the 826 Valencia tutoring center and James Franco have in common? Apparently more than you think. The Oscar-nominated actor has done videos and written essays for McSweeney's and is now helping to raise money for the eight-year-old tutoring center. For $150, you can get a three-course lunch, view short films by the actor, and ask questions. You'll also hear from novelist and screenwriter Dave Eggers, staff members of 826 Valencia, and public school teachers. (Brown)

12 p.m., $150

St. Regis Hotel

125 Third St., SF

(415) 284-4000





Nas, Damian Marley

Things that taste better together: bacon and eggs, french fries and ketchup, rap and reggae. Realizing the success of their Grammy-winning collaboration "Road to Zion," criminally-ill MC Nas and the youngest son of Bob Marley, Damian, reunite for a whole album that is equal parts street tough and island beauty. Proceeds from Distant Relatives go to charities in Africa. Although the primary sentiments of the album are hope and inspiration, don't think for a minute that these beastly songs would be out of place in any club in SF or any dancehall in Kingston. More important, the album opens the door to more musical crossover collabs — nü-metal and country? We can dream...(Galvin)

With Nneka

8:00 p.m., $39.50

The Fox Theatre

1807 Telegraph, Oakl.


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