Our Weekly Picks: August 4-10, 2010
Emerging from the early punk and new wave scenes of New York City in the mid-1970s, Blondie incorporated a variety of musical styles into its overall sound, helping to set itself apart from its contemporaries and creating a following that perseveres today. It's hard to believe that firebrand singer Deborah Harry is now 65, but she, along with founding members Chris Stein and Clem Burke, continues to powerfully rollick through the band's impressive back catalog of favorites such as "Call Me," "Heart of Glass," "Atomic," and its cover of The Paragons' "The Tide Is High." With Gorvette (featuring Nikki Corvette alongside Amy Gore of the Gore Gore Girls). (Sean McCourt)
8 p.m., $55
1805 Geary, SF
There are many career paths available to someone with an advanced degree in biology, but standup comedy usually isn't one of them. That explains the immediate appeal of Tim Lee, a PhD from UC Davis who's made his name mining the rich comedic veins of fossil records and molecular geometry. This is actually way better than it sounds — think of the guy as your witty high school science teacher writ large. His use of PowerPoint slides makes him a kind of Demetri Martin for the un-stoned. But what ultimately sets Lee apart is his undeniably charming wonkiness. Sure, you've heard a million Larry King jokes, but have you heard one that manages to work in the Cambrian explosion? (Zach Ritter)
8 p.m., $20
Punch Line Comedy Club
444 Battery, SF
What is feminine? Answering such a broad and loaded question undoubtedly generates some anxiety. Not so for CounterPULSE's summer artists-in-residence, Laura Arrington and Jesse Hewit. Merging dance and theater, these two emerging choreographers aren't afraid to dive head-first into notions of sex, gender, and authenticity. Their shared showcase at CounterPULSE (a nonprofit community performance space) features Arrington's latest piece, Hot Wings — which centers around four women in a cardboard castle — and Hewit's newest creation, Tell Them That You Saw Me, a work with everything from lipstick and large tanks of water to sacred hymns and sex stories. (Katie Gaydos)
Thurs/5-Sat/7, 8 p.m.; Sun/8, 3 p.m., $15–$20
1310 Mission, SF
Sex Tapes for Seniors
If you have a comfortable relationship founded on bridging the generational gap, Sex Tapes For Seniors is a show you can see with your grandparents. They can relate to, or at least chuckle at, the plight of old folks clinging to their libidos before slipping into senility, and you can appreciate it because this is your future. Yet as Mario Cossa –– playwright, director, and choreographer –– fills your imagination, you might realize you don't want to be sitting with grandma and grandpa after all. Upon retiring, a group of seniors starts making their own instructional sex tapes and thus, the locals get all verklempt. In the words of the late TV series Party Down, this musical is "seniorlicious!" (Lattanzio)
Through Aug. 22
Previews tonight, 8 p.m.
Runs Fri.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun, 2 p.m., $20–$40
2961 16th St, SF
"Exploratorium After Dark: Nomadic Communities"
As thousands of Bay Area residents prepare for their annual pilgrimage to the Black Rock Desert for Burning Man, the monthly Exploratorium After Dark series takes on the topic of nomadic communities. "While true nomads are rare in industrialized countries, hybrids of whimsical and economically inventive itinerancies are evolving here in the Bay Area," notes the program. Burning Man board member and chief city builder Harley Dubois will discuss the evolution of Black Rock City while attendees have the chance to nosh on one of the blue plate specials at the mobile Dust City Diner, a project developed by Burning Man artists that brings the '40s-style diner experience to the most random spots. Exploratorium biologist Karen Kalumuck will also talk about nomads from the animal world and how they've come to live and thrive in the Bay Area, with interactive exhibits. (Steven T. Jones)
6–10 p.m., $15
3601 Lyon, SF
The Norman Conquests
The Shotgun Players invade the Ashby Stage with British playwright Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests, a triptych of farce, lunacy, and suburban malaise. The Conquests feature three freestanding yet complementary plays set in separate rooms of a house revolving around the same characters: Table Manners happens in the dining room, Living Together in the living room, and finally Round and Round the Garden in the ... well, you get it. In 2009, a revival garnered one Tony and five nominations. A three-play package affords you many chances to catch each, but on Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, you can see them all in one marathon. (Lattanzio)
Through Sept. 5
Performance times vary, $20–$25 (three-play package, $50)
1901 Ashby, Berk.
"Gangsters, Guns, and Floozies"
The cinematic microverse populated by shamuses and femmes fatales is fodder for plenty of critical writing as well as contemporary neo-noir film, but a gallery of visual art inspired by the form stands to capture the shadows from a different angle. Nicole Ferrara's works depict harsh gray moments in time, with the titular floozies, guns, and gangsters as primary subjects. The immediacy of the faces on Ferrara's characters is enough to convey the continued relevance of this decades-old aesthetic. Whether painted or caught on film, the desperate acts of desperate people are riveting and revealing. Ferrara also paints B-movie inspired art, apparently drawing inspiration from the alternate visual reality presented in such films. (Sam Stander)
Through Aug. 31
Reception 6 p.m., free
301 Jefferson, Oakl.
Big Umbrella Studios is a cooperative gallery and a community of artists, and with them comes DIY-chic culture to the Divisadero Corridor. "Por Skunkey" brings together the artists-in-residence –– including the abstract, gestural paintings of Umbrella co-owner Chad Kipfer –– along with a few guests to pay tribute to Skunkey, also known as canine-in-residence, also known as Mama Skunk. And if you'd like some oil spill on the side of your oil painting, then under the Umbrella you'll find artist responses to this summer's BP disaster. Here's hoping Skunkey herself shows up, so be nice and pet the pooch. When you're good to Mama, Mama's good to you. (Lattanzio)
Through Aug. 31
7 p.m., free
Big Umbrella Gallery
906 1/2 Divisadero, SF
Slammin' All-Body Band
Clap, snap, stomp, slap, step, tap. Try it and you'll see it's easy to make sound with your body. Making music though, proves far more difficult. Keith Terry — a trained percussionist and drummer for the original Jazz Tap Ensemble — has mastered what he terms body music. He's been clapping and stomping his way through awe-inspiring kinetic soundtracks for more than 30 years. In 2008 he founded the International Body Music Festival out of his nonprofit Oakland arts organization, Crosspulse. This benefit show with Slammin' All-Body Band — plus guest dancers and renowned hambone artist Derique McGee — highlights the artists before they head off to the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival. Proceeds help fund the group's NYC debut. (Gaydos)
8 p.m., $25–$100
La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck, Berk.
"Night of 1,000 Showgirls"
Can you believe it's been 15 years since Showgirls was first released? The crowning achievement in a directing career that also included 1997's Starship Troopers, 1992's Basic Instinct, 1990's Total Recall, and 1987's RoboCop, Paul Verhoeven's trashiest, most glorious film is, by extension, probably the trashiest, most glorious film of all time. Peaches Christ (now a filmmaker in her own right, thanks to alter ego Joshua Grannell's All About Evil) hosts "Night of 1,000 Showgirls," maybe the biggest tribute the tit-tastic classic has ever enjoyed. In addition to a Goddess-themed preshow, there'll be a contest for Nomi Malone look-alikes — don't forget the nails! And don't eat all the chips ... or the doggie chow. (Cheryl Eddy)
8 p.m., $18
429 Castro, SF
San Francisco Ballet
An afternoon at the ballet doesn't come cheap. Rarely ever, free. But thanks to the annual performing series Stern Grove Festival, park-goers can see one of the nation's top ballet companies, San Francisco Ballet, for a grand total of zero dollars. In its one and only Bay Area summer appearance, SFB performs Christopher Wheeldon's romantic pas de deux, After the Rain; Mark Morris' playful ensemble piece, Sandpaper Ballet; the classic pas de deux from act three of Petipa's Don Quixote; and the neoclassical work Prism by SFB artistic director Helgi Tomasson. So skip out on Dolores Park for one Sunday this summer, trade in your tall can for a bottle of wine, and head to Stern Grove for a tutu-filled midsummer afternoon. (Gaydos)
2 p.m., free
Sigmund Stern Grove
19th Ave. and Sloat, SF
"The Evolving Landscape of Local Journalism"
In the face of the ever more hectic state of print journalism, as exemplified by the recent strife at the San Francisco Chronicle and the disappearance of other local publications, new modes of reporting are cropping up to fill the need for engaged investigative coverage. Tonight at the Booksmith, Lisa Frazier from the recently opened Bay Citizen, SF Public Press's Michael Stoll, and Mission Local's Lydia Chavez discuss the future of local journalism as a significant alternative to our standard methods of news delivery and consumption. If these three aren't enough San Francisco journalistic players for you, the panel discussion will be moderated by Christin Evans, co-owner of the Booksmith and a contributor to the Huffington Post. (Stander)
7:30 p.m., free
1644 Haight, SF
Weird Al Yankovic
Must we seek to encapsulate Weird Al Yankovic in 130 words or less? Some would call this treason against the United States of Awesome. Yankovic has been marshaling the ludricrousness of pop culture music into parodies no less farcical since 1979 — and his campaign (surprise!) continues to this day. Certainly, "Eat It," "I Love Rocky Road," and "Amish Paradise" — the track that incurred the wrath of Coolio at the height of his celebrity powers — were classics seared into our souls like the brand on a cow's behind. But rest assured of the future's brightness by his recent offerings, like an ode to that modern day zeitgeist, "Craigslist." (Caitlin Donohue)
8 p.m., $36-50
982 Market, SF
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