Our Weekly Picks: August 11-17, 2010




Carla Bozulich's Evangelista

Anyone who's witnessed Carla Bozulich live knows the former Geraldine Fibbers frontperson is a true force of nature, bravely following her muse into the flatlands of Texas, onto arena-sized stages, or to the ear-scorching reaches of experimental music. For the past month, the Bay Area has been home to the artistically restless Bozulich, who says she never stays anywhere for very long. Still, this is her refuge as she writes her fourth album with Evangelista for the respected Constellation imprint — recording once again with players in Godspeed You! Black Emperor — before she heads out again. This fall, she'll be directing and performing at a massive multiday installation-performance in Krems, Austria. Godspeed you, Ms. Bozulich, who hopes to "shake things up a bit" at her favorite old haunt, Cafe Du Nord, with guests Ava Mendoza on guitar and John Eichenseer on viola. (Kimberly Chun)

With Common Eider, King Eider

9:30 p.m., $14

Café Du Nord

2170 Market, SF

(415) 861-5016




Henry Lee

Once a prolific Chronicler of one of the biggest media snafus in recent Bay Area memory, Henry Lee adapted and expanded his coverage of the Hans Reiser murder case for his true crime book Presumed Dead. What elevates it beyond a sensationalist paperback is Lee's cogent reportage and willingness to think more about the unthinkable (spousicide, for one) than most would ever dare. He starts with the life of murder victim Nina Sharanova and weaves his way into the nitty-gritty of the case. Even before this summer's publication, Lee proved himself a stalwart for local journalism — and for all the other strong stomachs out there delivering cold, hard truths. (Ryan Lattanzio)

7 p.m., free

Books, Inc.

1760 Fourth St., Berk.

(510) 525-7777






"Infinite City: Right Wing of the Dove"

The release of Rebecca Solnit's Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas — a book that digs through the dense and dirty histories, cultures, and sites of the Bay Area with help from cartographers, artists, and writers — is preceded by a series of cartographic "live art" events at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and in the Bay Area at large. Part two of this series is a screening of In Smog and Thunder: The Great War of the Californias (2003), written and art-directed by Sandow Birk. Drawing from his own experience amid the antagonisms of these two cities, Birk satirically envisions a civil war between Los Angeles and SF, and his 100-plus artworks comically probe the ongoing geo-ideo-cultural tension. Afterward, Solnit leads a post-screening discussion on the contradictory relationship between our liberal values and local economy. That SF and LA are cultural foils is well-known. But Solnit points out, friction is being made closer to home. (Spencer Young)

7 p.m., free with museum admission ($9–$18)


Phyllis Wattis Theater

151 Third St, SF

(415) 357-4000




Rapid Descent Physical Performance Company

Love ain't easy. Relationships are intense, emotionally draining, and take up too much time. What then (besides cuddling) keeps us coupling up? New Zealand playwright Gary Henderson might have the answer. And thanks to choreographer Megan Finlay and her physical performance company Rapid Descent, you won't have to go all the way to New Zealand to find out. Finlay brings Henderson's Skin Tight to San Francisco and reworks the original script to incorporate dance as well as live music by trumpeter Aaron Priskorn. Centering around the enduring love of one couple (played by Beth Deitchman and Nathaniel Justiniano), Skin Tight exposes the visceral complexity of hostility and attachment. (Katie Gaydos)

Through Aug. 28

Thurs.–Sat., 8 p.m., $20–$35


1310 Mission, SF





The California Academy of Sciences, a place that puts nature on its proper pedestal, is a great venue for Dawes. The band has appreciation not just for its own musical genealogy, but also for the mysteries of the American landscape. This folk rock quartet, helmed by the Goldsmith brothers, saw Americana anew on the debut album North Hills, undoubtedly a nod to that small-town Louisiana region. The songcraft recalls the harmonic pastures of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Like a pair of Levis, Dawes' faded wear-and-tear is contrived — yet it feels genuine, and that's what counts. A song like "Take Me Out Of The City" gives a microcosmic view of the band's guitar-plucking, straw-gnawing aesthetic. (Lattanzio)

6 p.m., $12

California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Dr., SF

(415) 379-8000




Reverend Horton Heat

It may be hard to believe, but the rockabilly juggernaut that is the Reverend Horton Heat will be hitting the 25 year mark soon — and as fans of the Texas trio know, the band's strong suit is its live show. So in fitting fashion, it has decided to celebrate its upcoming milestone by filming a live set in our fair city's legendary music venue, the Fillmore, for a special release next year. Although the band will be sure to touch on material from its latest album, Laughin' and Cryin' With The Reverend Horton Heat, expect Jim Heath, Jimbo Wallace, and Paul Simmons to dig into their back catalog for some oldies and goodies as well. (Sean McCourt)

With Split Lip Rayfield, Hillstomp

9 p.m., $25


1805 Geary, SF





Terry Zwigoff

On Aug. 10, there were two things of utmost importance you should've celebrated: National S'mores Day and the arrival of Terry Zwigoff's 1995 documentary Crumb on Criterion Collection DVD. Zwigoff, personal hero of many (including myself), will be at Amoeba to sign copies of that new release plus his 1985 film Louie Blue, also slated for Criterion treatment. Blues musicians Frank Fairfield and Blind Boy Paxton will accompany, which fits the bill since Zwigoff has made the blues and its many subgenres a focus of his films. He probably saw some of himself in Seymour, the LP-loving and lovable schlub in Ghost World (2001), just as he understood artist R. Crumb's grotesque genius. (Lattanzio)

6 p.m., free

Amoeba Music

1855 Haight, SF

(415) 831-1200




Bobcat Goldthwait

Although he is perhaps most initially recognizable for his high-pitched, scratchy voice and wacky mannerisms from his appearances in 1980s movies and comedy specials, Bobcat Goldthwait is a man of many talents. From his breakout acting roles in flicks, including the Police Academy series, to his live album Meat Bob, to directing his first film Shakes The Clown in 1991, the versatile performer has had an ever-expanding resume. He even opened for Nirvana on its 1993 U.S. tour. Last year saw the release of his critically acclaimed film World's Greatest Dad, and his newest project is directing a U.K. musical production based on the Kinks' Schoolboys in Disgrace album. Be sure to catch the hilarious — and busy — man live on stage while you can. (McCourt)

Through Sat/14

8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., $20.50

Cobb's Comedy Club

915 Columbus, SF

(415) 928-4320





Stone River Boys

Although their recent debut album Love On The Dial was born in the midst of enduring personal tragedies, the Stone River Boys created a collection of inspiring tunes that meld country with a host of other roots rock influences. Featuring guitarist Dave Gonzalez (the Paladins and the Hacienda Brothers) and singer Mike Barfield (the Hollisters), the group came together a couple of years ago while the two were trying to help raise money for friend and fellow musician Chris Gaffney's cancer treatments. "Gaff" passed away before the benefit tour could begin, but the resulting music is a fitting tribute, carrying the torch and keeping the infectious spirit of their friendship alive. (McCourt)

With Carolyn Wonderland, Mother Truckers

9 p.m., $15


333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333





Dan Sartain

How did a lip-stachioed rocker from Birmingham, Ala., become the poster child for the garage roots revival? Well, he didn't really; Jack White already had that crown. But years of paying tribute to the gods of garage and blues eventually landed Sartain on a tour with the White Stripes in 2007 — the subsequent 7-inch release for White's Third Man label now seems like your textbook well, of course! facepalm moment. The pair's aesthetics of "garage-a-billy" with a Morricone spaghetti western tinge are invariably complementary. And although it may seem a disservice to all the time Sartain put into his sound before this epic meeting of minds, you have to admit there are worse career maneuvers than being linked to Jack White. (Peter Galvin)

With Leopold and His Fiction, Twinks

9 p.m., $8

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF

(415) 923-0923





Fourteen years on from the advent of Rasputina's cello-goth-lite musical stylings on Thanks for the Ether, the trio is touring behind its latest record Sister Kinderhook. Vocalist-songwriter-cellist Melora Creager is the only remaining original member (in fact, the band's lineup has even changed since recording the album, with percussionist Catie D'Amica stepping down). Rasputina seems to be maintaining its historical fascination here — the album's embroidered cover anachronistically purports that it was "wrought by Rasputina circa 1809." They're well-matched with supporting act Larkin Grimm, a skilled practitioner of weird folk and one-time member of Dirty Projectors whose riveting life story incorporates being born into a cult, studying at Yale, and spending time in Thailand and Guatemala. (Sam Stander)

With Larkin Grimm

8 p.m., $16

Great American Music Hall

859 O'Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750





Alison Gopnik

UC Berkeley psychology and philosophy professor Alison Gopnik is responsible for groundbreaking work exploring the ways young children think and learn. She'll be reading from her latest book, The Philosophical Baby, just a few blocks from Berkeley campus. A Chronicle bestseller, the book continues to delve into developmental psychology for new insight into some momentous topics (it is, after all, subtitled What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life). Heavy subject matter, to be sure. But since it's also about babies, you can temper those overwhelmingly deep thoughts with cuteness and chortling. Oh, and an inborn template for the scientific method, apparently. (Stander)

7:30 p.m., free

Pegasus Books Downtown

2349 Shattuck, Berk.

(510) 649-1320






It's changed over the years, for better and for worse, but the Bay Area is still a hospitable place for poets. Just look at the newly opened café-performance space Rancho Parnassus. According to its website, RP's goal is "to get the abundant untapped talent around Sixth Street working together." Toward this end, the venue is hosting an installment of the "Idiolexicon" series, with readings from local poets Carrie Hunter, Della Watson, and Jessica Wickens. All three are billed as experimental, but their work also bears more than a hint of high-modernist influence. Watson's unconventional syntax is reminiscent of Gertrude Stein, while Hunter's "Kine(sta)sis" evokes Poundian Imagism. On the page, it's all pretty effective stuff. Come to the reading, and you can decide how it plays live. (Zach Ritter)

7 p.m., free

Rancho Parnassus

132 Sixth St, SF

(415) 503-0700


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