Our Weekly Picks: June 9-15, 2010




Jim Woodring

Seattle-based cartoonist Jim Woodring just released the latest in his two-decade run of comics featuring Frank, a character somewhat resembling a 1930s animation-style cat. But Frank is probably the most realistic entity on display in Weathercraft, a wordless graphic novel that features a constant barrage of mytho-psychedelic abominations ranging from what Woodring calls a "two-mouthed fear cow" to an amorphous giant ear-creature taking notes with its paw. His drawing style is stunningly detailed, and he'll be "showing" his work at two Bay Area bookstores — a fitting approach since he can hardly present a reading of his complex but text-less explorations. (Sam Stander)

7:30 p.m., free

Pegasus Books Downtown

2349 Shattuck, Berk.

(510) 649-1320


Also Thurs/10, 7:30 p.m., free


1644 Haight, SF

(415) 863-8688



Ferocious Few

The Ferocious Few is one of the most exciting rock bands in the Bay Area, and still relatively obscure. Locally renowned for its ability to command a street corner as if it's Wembley Stadium, the Few traffics in the kind of hard-edged, twangy blues-rock that never goes out of style. Having just returned from a West Coast tour in support of its debut LP Juices, the band is poised to explode into national prominence (at least within the indie circuit) any second now. This show could be the last chance you'll ever get to say "I saw them before they got huge." (Zach Ritter)

With the Generals and Eugene and the 1914

9 p.m., $8

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., SF

(415) 621-4455




Gutenberg! The Musical!

In the grand tradition of theater about theater, Beards Beards Beards: A Theatre Company is producing Scott Brown and Anthony King's Gutenberg! The Musical! But don't expect a reliable primer on Johann Gutenberg and his fabulous printing press. Instead, Gutenberg! traces two Broadway hopefuls, Doug Simon and Bud Davenport, who are pitching their rather absurd musical concept to any producers who might be listening. If their YouTube trailer is to be believed, the production will feature deliberately groan-worthy choreography and several hats. And possibly Dragonball-inspired posing. Beards Beards Beards was cofounded by SF State grad Amanda Dolan, who is directing, and Joey Price, who costars as Bud. (Stander)

8 p.m., $20

Exit Stage Left

156 Eddy, SF

(949) 742-2365



Stiff Little Fingers

Northern Irish punk outfit Stiff Little Fingers was never as critically acclaimed or commercially successful as its late-1970s contemporaries The Clash and the Sex Pistols, but it damn well should've been. In a just world, the opening riff from "Alternative Ulster" alone would be enough to secure an eternal spot in the proto-punk pantheon. The Fingers made its bones amid the political disquiet of post-troubles Belfast, wielding barbed lyrics and razor-sharp guitars against the grim partisans on both sides of Ireland's ethnic conflict. The band broke up in 1982, but five years later it returned, like Arthur out of Avalon, to resume battle against the world's injustices. Slim's, with its cramped-basement aesthetic and battered barstools, is the perfect venue for these guys — bring a fist to pump, a foot to stomp, and all the righteous outrage you can muster. (Ritter)

With Culann's Hounds

9 p.m., $20


333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333



Die Walküre

Following its production of Das Rheingold in 2008, San Francisco Opera is offering Die Walkre, the second installment in Richard Wagner's notorious operatic tetralogy. Baritone Mark Delavan continues from Das Rheingold as Wotan, head of the Norse pantheon of gods (a role he will reprise in SF Opera's production of the entire Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle next summer). Whether you're an Apocalypse Now fan in for "Ride of the Valkyries," an epic fantasy lover seeking squabbling gods, or just someone who likes a bit of weird incest with your German musical theater, SF Opera's take on this classic work of Romantic intensity promises to be ... intense. Francesca Zambello directs and Donald Runnicles conducts. (Stander)

Also Sun/13, June 19, 22, 25, and 30

7 p.m., $20–$325

War Memorial Opera House

301 Van Ness, SF

(415) 864-3330




"Midnites for Maniacs: She-Roes"

Smack-dab in the middle of the Castro's inexplicably long Sex and the City 2 booking comes "Midnites for Maniacs: She-Roes," a trio of films that celebrate women in less shrill, less shoe-obsessed ways. First up is Penny Marshall's 1992 ode to World War II-era women's baseball, A League of Their Own, featuring one of Madonna's least cringe-worthy acting turns. Several film stars will be in attendance — most notably Lori "Tank Girl" Petty. Then, polarizing feminist/femi-not horror film Jennifer's Body (2009) begs you to give it a second chance, with the added bonus of Oscar-winning, slang-slinging screenwriter Diablo Cody in person. Finally, invincible Midnites for Maniacs fave The Legend of Billie Jean (1985) returns. Holding out for a She-Ro? Look no further. (Cheryl Eddy)

A League of Their Own, 6:30 p.m., $13 (for one or all three films)

Jennifer's Body, 9:30 p.m.

The Legend of Billie Jean, 11:59 p.m.

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6120



"Pony Up, Bot"

Do you like ponies? Robots? Trippy whimsy? If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then I suggest you check out "Pony up, Bot," an exhibition of new work by artists Adrianna Bamber and Eric Nichols. (If you answered no to all of them, then yours must be a gray existence indeed.) Bamber's mind-warping-yet-adorable watercolors are what you get when you spill Ralph Steadman all over your Dr. Seuss. And Nichols? According to the Design Guild, his pieces "showcas(e) a postapocalyptic existence where PartyBot interacts with endless nights while remaining the sole resistance to annoying evil scum." Now you can be forgiven for not being able to wrap your head around all that since it is, admittedly, insane. But admit it — "PartyBot"? Whoever he is, you know he's up to something brain-meltingly awesome. This show is your opportunity to feel like a kid again — if you were the kind of kid who did tons of mescaline. (Ritter)

Through July 1

7 p.m. (opening), free

Design Guild San Francisco

427 Bryant, SF

(415) 462-6303



San Francisco Moving Men

In the professional dance world, the male dancer is a rare and coveted entity. Thus a contemporary dance company consisting solely of men, like Joe Landini's San Francisco Moving Men, should be treated with awe and appreciation. If graceful, athletic boys aren't enough to win your admiration, Landini's provocative choreography certainly will. In Dancing @ The Garage, part of the National Queer Arts Festival, the Men run up walls, bounce off artificial turf, duck flying tennis balls, and disco on a three-by-five shag rug. The show also features Christine Cali's dance company Cali & Co. (Katie Gaydos)

Through June 26

Fri.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m., $20


975 Howard, SF

(415) 518-1517



thread | bare

Why shop at the boring ol' mall when you can support local designers — and see the clothes in a runway show populated by local performers, including the fabulous Fauxnique? Plus, not for nothing is "thread | bare" dubbed "a striptease fashion auction," since you can bid on, and get your mitts on, outfits as soon as they come down the catwalk. If you can't make tonight's festivities, which also feature a performance by all-male burlesque troupe SF Boylesque, stop by the Lab to peruse the goods during the weekend-long trunk show. Designs include the "neo-couture" of Miss Velvet Cream, graphic tees by Turk and Taylor, dresses by Invisible Hero Clothing, and more, plus several artists who work with repurposed materials, including Kittinhawk, Mittenmaker, and Ghetto Goldilocks. Recycling is fierce! (Eddy)

7–10 p.m., $10–$20

Trunk show Sat/12-Sun/13, noon-6 p.m., free

The Lab

2948 16th St., SF

(415) 864-8855, www.thelab.org



Burning Man Film Festival

Want to visit the playa without all the dust? Whether you're a seasoned burner or a wide-eyed newbie, the Burning Man Film Festival is sure to offer a thought-provoking perspective on Black Rock City. In honor of Burning Man's 25th anniversary, the film festival traces the past and present of BM and examines how various aspects of the event have changed over time. Saturday's four shows center around BM footage shot from 1991 to 2003, while Sunday's three shows feature films shot from 2002-10. (Gaydos)

Sat-Sun, 2 p.m., $10

Red Vic Movie House

1727 Haight, SF




Real Estate

Though the real estate market's down, you can go see the band Real Estate for a measly cost. Martin Courtney and his cohorts offer plenty in the way of sun-soaked pop hooks and dreamy lyricism to match our cold SF summer. With a self-titled debut that garnered critical raves in 2009, Real Estate is sort of like the Beach Boys on downers. Opening for the band is the SF-based Young Prisms, your standard roughly hewn, unpolished indie band. But like the night's other act, All Saints Day, it's harmless, catchy fun. Real Estate, on the other hand, is fun with brains. No escrow required. (Ryan Lattanzio)

8 p.m., $14


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421




Jenny Owen Youngs

Female adult alternative is a frequently snubbed genre, probably due to its proximity to the Lilith Fair. But these two shouldn't necessarily be yoked, especially for East Coast darling Jenny Owen Youngs. She wears humility on the sleeves of her boyish duds, revealing she's neither starlet nor simpleton. Like Youngs herself, the songs are blunt and oddly sexy. And she's far more than just a girl and her guitar, especially since she spiked the placid drawl of her first EP with a cover of Nelly's "Hot in Herre." That song was probably written for a dive as small as Bottom of the Hill, so it feels right that Youngs is playing here again. (Lattanzio)

With April Smith and the Great Picture Show, William Tell

8 p.m., $12

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St. SF

(415) 621-4455




Bret Easton Ellis

American literary psycho Bret Easton Ellis reprises his nihilist vision of L.A. and the wilting of once sprightly youths, along with their brain-dulling drug use, in Imperial Bedrooms. The sequel to 1985's cult classic Less Than Zero, a novel you should read in that first winter break of freshman year, this new book revisits the same milieu of users and losers. But now they're all middle-aged and having much less sex. A notorious asshole among the contemporary literati, Ellis continues to probe the surface of social mores — with a hot, poison-dipped poker. It's smart of his press to host this event (a conversation with book critic Tom Barbash) on the book's release date. If you read it before, you might not be inclined to show up. (Lattanzio)

6 p.m., $20

Commonwealth Club

595 Market, SF

(415) 597-6700

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