Our Weekly Picks: August 25-31, 2010




The Penny Dreadful Project

If you know what a penny dreadful is, and you know who Andrea Yates is, and you're still reading this, The Penny Dreadful Project will probably be up your alley (you sick freak!) Directed by Mario El Caponi Mendoza, this experimental play concerns an anonymous woman and a triad of men who are three different versions of her son. Mommy goes mad, and potentially murderous, as she finds herself in the hell she's created. The production is also inspired by Susan Eubanks who, like Yates, murdered her sons. It's one thing to read about this stuff, and another to see it unfold in front of you. Prepare to be shaken. Oh, and don't bring the kids. (Ryan Lattanzio)

8:30 p.m., free

Studio Theatre

Creative Arts Bldg., Room 102

SF State University

1600 Holloway, SF

(415) 338-2467





"Mexico: Los Soneros de la Bahía"

Under the artistic direction of Nydia Algazzali Gonzalez, the music ensemble Los Soneros de la Bahía brings traditional Mexican son to the Yerba Buena Gardens lunchtime concert series. Known for its danceable, dynamic rhythmic patterns and elements of improvisation, son fuses colonial and indigenous music traditions and embodies Mexican mestizo culture. Dedicated to preserving and reviving this unique art form, the musicians, dancers, and poets (also known as soneros) of Los Soneros de la Bahía deliver Mexican music and dance that evoke both old traditions and contemporary aesthetics. Let's just hope their lively son brings out some sol. (Katie Gaydos)

12:30 p.m., free

Yerba Buena Gardens Esplanade

740 Mission, SF

(415) 543-1718





It's easy to reflexively dislike Boris, if only because it's the one heavy band that a guy wearing a purple keffiyeh to a cocktail party will profess his undying affection for. But despite all the too-cool-for-school trappings, the Japanese trio is a potent rock 'n' roll force, combining drone, doom, and scuzz into a noisy, inimitably raw package. It's a particular favorite of the band's fellow musicians, having collaborated with SunnO))), Torche, and the Cult's Ian Astbury, with whom they'll release a four-track EP in September. Great American Music Hall — one of the city's best-sounding venues — should be a perfect location for its sonic excursions and incursions. (Ben Richardson)

With Red Sparowes and Helms Alee

9 p.m., $18

Great American Music Hall

859 O'Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750




"Dark in August: Rare Vampire Films"

For folks of the ever-more-prevalent view that vampire cinema these days totally bites, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is here to staunch the wound. Over four days, it is screening bloodsucking fare from decades past, kicking off with Kathryn Bigelow's cult Western-tinged fang flick Near Dark (1987). The following days bring Vampire Hookers (1978), ostensibly a trashy vamp romp shot in the Philippines and starring David Carradine; and two showings of Vampyr (1932), Carl Theodor Dreyer's first sound film. Hookers is reportedly standing in for an unsatisfactory print of Daughters of Darkness (1971), but it seems the range of camp to class will still be maintained. (Sam Stander)

Near Dark tonight, 7:30 p.m.; Vampire Hookers Fri/27, 7:30 p.m.;

Vampyr Sat/28, 7:30 p.m. and Sun/29, 4:30 p.m., $6–$8

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF

(415) 978-2787






Expect some spooky and sinfully delightful musical mayhem when Danish imports Nekromantix hits the stage tonight after the sun goes down. You may just want to bring some wooden stakes and holy water with you, unless you've already been bitten — er, smitten — by its infectious songs. Founding member Kim Nekroman's wild antics on his signature coffin bass have given unholy life to the band's funeral-march-on-speed psychobilly blasts since 1989, when he played the part of the classic movie mad scientist and melded the sounds of punk and rockabilly and fused them together. Listen to them, children of the night. What music they make. (Sean McCourt)

With Howlers and Mutilators

9 p.m., $15


333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333




"Café Flamenco"

So you can't go to Andalucia for your flamenco fix this summer. Not to worry. This time of the year its cities are really hot and the parking is lousy. Much better to indulge that all-encompassing passion at home, offered in a fresh guise to boot: Caminos Flamencos, SF's foremost flamenco company, is inviting pianist-composer Alex Conde from Valencia and bassist Haggai Cohen of Israel for a jazz-flavored evening. They join Caminos' own formidable dancers and musicians, including the always-welcome singer Jesus Montoya from Seville. (Rita Felciano)

8 p.m., $22

Verdi Club

2424 Mariposa, SF







A Web browser-based digital art piece, Richard S. Mitchell's new work comprises millions of single-colored frames, across the spectrum that makes up the RGB color model. It runs for seven days, 18 hours, 24 minutes, and 48.64 seconds, and is simultaneously viewable from any computer that accesses the Jancar Jones Gallery website. That may seem like a mouthful of data, and there's more to be had on the site, but little in the way of stated intent or contextual mumbo-jumbo. This is a minimalist exercise focusing on color rather than shape and allowing anyone, anywhere to synchronously experience a nonstatic piece of art. But if you want to rub elbows with other appreciators, it will be showing in the gallery for three hours. (Stander)

Through Sept. 5

Reception tonight, 6–9 p.m., free

Jancar Jones Gallery

965 Mission, Suite 120, SF

(415) 281-3770




Valerie Orth

Valerie Orth is a sexy, soulful singer-songwriter whom I've been lucky enough to catch for truly memorable sets ranging from a powerful performance at Cafe du Nord to an intimate acoustic session rolling across the playa in an art car with a konked out generator at Burning Man last year. Now the SF artist has just come out with a new album, Faraway City, that beautifully captures a voice and style that is reminiscent of Ani DiFranco or Björk, two of her key influences. The album, filled with catchy original songs developed over the last two years, was produced by Jon Evans, another local who plays bass for Tori Amos and helped record music for the likes of Tom Waits, Third Eye Blind, and Boz Scaggs. Stop by this CD release party and see what I mean. (Steven T. Jones)

With Emily Wells and Kindness and Lies

8 p.m., $15


333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333






For more than 20 years, Saul Hudson — better known to his millions of fans around the world simply as Slash — has exuded the very essence of what it means to be a rock star. His iconic stage image: trademark top hat, sunglasses, and low-slung Les Paul is instantly recognizable, as are his innumerable guitar licks and solos that are now part of the rock 'n' roll canon. Although on this tour he's supporting his new self-titled solo album, which hit stores in April, fans should probably expect a decent dose of some classic Guns N' Roses tunes in the mix as well. (McCourt)

With Myles Kennedy and Taking Dawn

8 p.m., $32–$40


982 Market, SF





Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos

Es la hora de salsa — or make that, la hora de hora. Either dance would be an appropriate response to the music at this live album recreation. The year was 1961 when Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos was released, Yiddish folk tunes remixed by top Latin jazz musicians into dance floor fusions fit to blow off your yarmulke. The Idelsohn Society is sponsoring its on-stage rebirth featuring Larry "El Judio Maravilloso" Harlow, Wil-Dog of Ozomatli, and Jeremiah Lockwood of the Sway Machinery; the whole shebang is led by Arturo O'Farrill of the Afro Cuban Sextet. They're playing in conjunction with an exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum that highlights congruent notions of Zion, "Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations." (Caitlin Donohue) 8 p.m., $18

Yoshi's San Francisco

1330 Fillmore, SF

(415) 655-5600





Lower Dens

If you combine Jana Hunter's saturnine vocals, or found (like Nico's) between masculine and feminine, with Will Adams' shoegazing guitar, you get what sounds like something caught in the wind. Or sometimes you get music that sounds like was recorded in the most depressing bedroom ever. For the most part, the Baltimore, Md., quartet Lower Dens keeps things in a minor key, and its 2010 debut Twin-Hand Movement glistens with brooding songcraft, riding a dark and stormy (new) wave. This band was already on the rise before it was stabbed with a certain Pitchfork, as Hunter had been kicking it solo since early in the aughts. (Lattanzio)

9 p.m., $10

Hotel Utah

500 Fourth St., SF

(415) 546-6300

www.thehotelutahsaloon.com EVENT



Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir

Dave Mustaine has seen more than his fair share of difficult obstacles to overcome throughout his musical career due to his past drug and alcohol addictions, which famously got him kicked out of an early Metallica lineup. Even during his ensuing triumphs with long-time metal favorites Megadeth, he struggled often with his demons. Now clean and sober, the singer and guitarist is riding high on his current successes, which include a new autobiography, Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir (Harper Collins), that hit the New York Times Best Sellers List earlier this month. Fans won't want to miss this rare opportunity to meet a true metal icon when he signs copies this afternoon before taking the stage at the Cow Palace tonight with Slayer and Testament. (McCourt)

10:30 a.m. (updated event time!), free

Borders Stonestown

233 Winston, SF

(415) 731-0665



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