Our Weekly Picks: June 16-22, 2010

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WEDNESDAY 16

THEATER/DANCE

The Tosca Project

American Conservatory Theater artistic director Carey Perloff and San Francisco Ballet choreographer Val Caniparoli have teamed up with an all-star cast of ACT actors and San Francisco Ballet principal dancers (Lorena Feijoo, Pascal Molat, and Sabina Allemann) to bring theater and dance to one stage. Tracing the history of SF's famous Tosca Café, The Tosca Project at ACT journeys through the love, loss, and popular dances of the past century to a soundtrack (featuring everything from Stravinsky to Hendrix) as diverse as the café's ever-changing clientele. (Katie Gaydos)

Through June 27

Tues.–Sat., 8 p.m. (also Wed. and Sat., 2 p.m.); Sun, 2 p.m., $15–$85

American Conservatory Theater

415 Geary, SF

(415) 749-2228

www.act-sf.org/0910/tosca/index

THURSDAY 17

PERFORMANCE

Fresh Meat Festival

It's that time again when Sean Dorsey brings tranny and queer performers for a love feast of dance, humor, music theater, and just about any other form of performance you could want. Most remarkable perhaps is how the Fresh Meat Festival — a tiny, local event only a few years ago — has grown into a national forum for often very polished performers who stick their necks out in every direction. Part of the festival's fun is people-watching; some audience members' get-ups nearly rival what's seen on stage. Highlights from the lineup include world premieres of Dorsey's take on Craigslist's Missed Connections, Annie Danger's media-style life coaching session, and SoliRose's music-theater reflections about life in the Middle East. (Rita Felciano)

Thurs/17-Sat/19, 8 p.m.; Sun/20, 7 p.m., $17–$20

Z Space @ Theater Artaud

450 Florida, SF

www.brownpapertickets.com

MUSIC

U.S. Bombs

Boasting one of the most unpredictable, energetic, and enthralling bandleader of any punk band ever to set foot in front of an audience, U.S. Bombs has cultivated an incendiary reputation thanks to singer, legendary skateboarder, and all-around "master of disaster," Duane Peters. Combining sounds culled from old school influences like the Clash and mixing them with the raw, adrenaline-pumping attitude needed while attacking a half-pipe, the band's lineup has gone through several variations. But no matter which members of punk rock royalty he has behind him, Peters is guaranteed to steal the spotlight and make for a show you won't likely soon forget. (Sean McCourt)

With the Forgotten, Druglords of the Avenues, and Cunt Sparrer

8 p.m., $14

Slim's

333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333

www.slims-sf.com

EVENT

Decomposition reading

It's sometimes said that, like pop songs, all good poems are ultimately about either love or death. Instinctively, I think most of us know this to be incorrect. Sometimes, though, we need a little reminder, which is where events like this one come in handy. Decomposition is an anthology of fungi-themed poetry from throughout the ages — apparently, many of America's most seminal wordsmiths, including Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson, drew tremendous inspiration from the lowly mushroom (and no, not like that). Leading this tour of verse's dark, dewy reaches will be editor Kelly Chadwick and poet Charlotte Innes. (Zach Ritter)

7–9 p.m., free

Ecology Center Store

2530 San Pablo, Berk.

(510) 548-3402

www.ecologycenter.org

FRIDAY 18

DANCE

Great Integration: A Chamber Hip-Hop Opera

By calling Great Integration — an allegory about the end of times — a hip-hop opera, choreographer Raissa Simpson and composer-pianist JooWan Kim may be on to something. Hip-hop is music, it's dance, it's poetry, and above all it's a way of being. It means living on the edge, on unstable ground and embracing the subversive. Longtime East Bay activist and Integration contributor MC Kirby Dominant can attest to that. As far as the opera part is concerned, the Chinese and the Italians discovered centuries ago that opera is a messy, all-encompassing form of theater splendidly suited for big topics. Sounds just about right for all aspects of Integration. On opening night, jazz vocalist Christopher Nicholas joins Kim's Ensemble Mik Nawooj and Simpson's Push Dance Company. (Felciano)

Fri/18–Sat/19, 8 p.m., $15–$25

ODC Commons

351 Shotwell, SF

(415) 863-9834

www.brownpapertickets.com/event/104653

MUSIC

QM

Do you like hip-hop? Do you like cheap booze? Get your ass down to Hotel Utah for a stiff double dose of both and party like your parents are outta town. Local rapper QM of the Rec-League, self-described as "your favorite rapper's favorite rapper to drink with," is finally releasing his latest album, Happy Hour, and is throwing his own happy hour to celebrate. QM's clever punch lines and West Coast sound may not change your political views, but they just might leave you hung over. Throw in $1 PBRs and Happy Hour grab bags filled with the album, a beer koozie, and other surprises, and Hotel Utah's guaranteed to get wild. Be prepared for a drunken good time, and keep some aspirin and water ready for the morning after. (Ben Hopfer)

With Rec-League, Adverse, and Parable Paul

9 p.m., $10

Hotel Utah

500 Fourth St., SF

(415) 546-6300

www.routinefly.com

EVENT

"Cultural Encounters: Friday Nights at the de Young"

If you're one of those people for whom a croissant is a "kwah-sahn," then this week's Friday Soirée at the de Young Museum, presented in partnership with the Alliance Française, should cater to your Francophiliac tastes. Though not French himself, Rich Kuhns accompanies the "Birth of Impressionism" exhibit as a strolling accordionist. The Bay Area monsieur of musette hearkens back to traditional French sounds — he plays Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf, of course — while also adding some contemporary flair to the fête. Following his performance, Dr. Alexandra Amati-Camperi lectures on the Fête de la Musique, French singer-songwriter Eric John Kaiser performs, and you can make your own found object instrument with Kim Erickson, described as an "art diva" by the de Young website. It's no coincidence that the word "cliché" is French," but zut alors, clichés never sounded so good. (Ryan Lattanzio)

5–8:45 p.m., free

de Young Museum

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, SF

(415) 750-3600

www.deyoung.famsf.org

FILM

Top of the Food Chain

Bluntly retitled Invasion! for its American release, Canadian filmmaker John Paizs' homage to 1950s sci-fi films, Top of the Food Chain (1999), is the second of his films to screen at Artists' Television Access in as many months. Previously, the auteur worked on beloved Canadian comedy series Kids in the Hall, but his films have a miniscule presence on the Internet — a few blog reviews here and there, and only two relevant YouTube clips. However, both of those clips are of hilariously non sequitur musical numbers, so that's a promising sign. Indeed, Paizs' fetishization of a seemingly outdated genre should be right at home alongside ATA's usual assemblage of experimental video art. (Sam Stander)

8 p.m., $6

Artists' Television Access

992 Valencia, SF

(415) 824-3890

www.atasite.org

PERFORMANCE

Miriam's Well

This cultural and artistic mashup tells the stories of Mary, Maryam, and Miriam from the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions connecting across time and distance at an ancient water well, the source of life and strife in a world that has yet to come to terms with how we can come together around our most basic shared needs. The performance involves dance, live music, poetry, and readings of sacred texts by a variety of acclaimed artists, from creator and dancer Miriam Peretz to musicians the Qadim Ensemble and master percussionist Pezhham Ackavass to spoken word artist Lana Nasser. It's a story of visionary women leading all us past our historical and still-growing divisions and toward the realization that "without peace the well will soon run dry." (Steven T. Jones)

8 p.m., $20

Grace Cathedral

1100 California, SF

(415) 749-6355

www.brownpapertickets.com/event/97354

SATURDAY 19

EVENT/PERFORMANCE

Birthfest and The Dynamite Show

FouFouHa!, San Francisco's uniquely zany clown dance troupe, wants to take you on a strange journey all the way from a woman's womb to a glitzy reality show set in Hollywood. That may seem like a long road to travel, but with troupe founder and performance director/choreographer Maya Culbertson-Lane, a.k.a. MamaFou, behind the wheel, it's sure to be a fun ride. The play, which runs at Brava June 17-26, follows the Fous as they audition to be humiliated on television, exploring the role of the fool in society. But this show is preceded by a film festival on midwifery, with proceeds benefiting the Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery, which recently helped MamaFou deliver her second child. What's the connection? As she explains, it's about power, "the power to not give into social fears created by a system run by money — in this case Hollywood and insurance companies." With live music by the Gomorrans Social Aide and Pleasure Club and a photo exhibit by Eric Gillet. (Jones)

Birthfest, noon-6 p.m.; The Dynamite Show, 8 p.m., $20–$40

Brava Theater

2781 24th St., SF

www.foufouha.com

www.birthfest.com

EVENT

StreetSmARTS Community Extravaganza

It's afternoon in the Tenderloin, and muralist Jet Martinez has been sponsored by the SF Arts Commission to paint traditional Oaxacan embroidery flowers in Cedar Alley. His audience: a man who has been yelling "I'm gonna kill you!" to no one in particular all day. The guy starts to approach him, and when he gets close enough says this to Jet in a low, articulate voice: "We really appreciate what you're doing for the community." Don't ever let them tell you art doesn't matter. Celebrate the beautiful walls created through StreetSmARTS with b-boys, DJs, and a midnight unveiling of "The Elements of Hip Hop," a indoor gallery of works by the muralists themselves. (Caitlin Donohue)

Sat/19, 6 p.m., free

African American Art and Culture Complex

762 Fulton, SF

(415) 252-2598

www.sfartscommission.org

MONDAY 21

MUSIC

Brian Jonestown Massacre

Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? the Brian Jonestown Massacre asks in the title of its latest album. It's possible bandleader Anton Newcombe did, if you recall how insane he was in Ondi Timoner's documentary Dig! (2004). The San Francisco-bred band returns to the Fillmore in conjunction with its new release — a rather disquieting listen with plenty of dissonant space noise and expletives to make for a psychedelic headbanger's wet dream. Newcombe, steeped in notoriety since Dig! and its frenetic portrait of the artist as a disturbed man, has been honing his sound since 1990. If you can separate art and artist (or don't even bother — it makes things more interesting), BJM is one of today's only bands that should be allowed to remain as prolific as it is. (Lattanzio)

9 p.m., $22.50

Fillmore

1805 Geary, SF

(415) 346-6000

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