Our Weekly Picks: September 29-October 5, 2010





The devil went down to Georgia, and sprinkled enough hoodoo in the water to cultivate quite a metal scene. But it ain't just Mastodon and Baroness splitting ears in the town squares. Kylesa — you know, the band with the two drummers, the badass chick guitarist-vocalist (she's one of two guitarists and one of three vocalists), and the coolest cover art in the biz — is about to drop its fifth full-length, Spiral Shadow. The title of lead track "Tired Climb" belies the album's fierce riffs and heavy energy. But let's stop pretending you weren't going to this show anyway — local mighties High on Fire headlining the glorious Great American? With the added bonus of two ironclad openers? Can't miss, hesher. (Cheryl Eddy)

With High On Fire and Torche

8 p.m., $20

Great American Music Hall

859 O'Farrell, SF






Mark Morris Dance Company

Just because his company has become a perennial audience favorite doesn't mean we should ignore Mark Morris. After all, the acclaim is justified: there's nobody else who — after 30 years of working — can still surprise and delight (and sometimes disappoint) us the way Morris can. This time he is bringing three West Coast premieres. If the buzz wafting in from the East Coast is any indication, the new Socrates set to Satie's oratorio "Socrate" (piano and voice) should be outstanding. It will be performed with the stark Behemoth — Morris' only no-music piece — and Looky, his bemused take on pretentious museum-going in which the inmates take over the show. (Rita Felciano)

Thurs/30–Sat/2, 8 p.m.;

Sun/3, 3 p.m., $34–$72

Zellerbach Hall

Bancroft at Telegraph, UC Berkeley, Berk.

(510) 642-9988




Lizz Roman and Dancers

San Francisco's Gingerbread Danzhaus is the only venue in the city to provide dance studio space to professional companies while also serving as a nightclub in the after-hours. This weekend it will also be the seat of Lizz Roman and Dancers new site-specific work This Dance This Place, which aims to bring the architecture of Danzhaus to life through an interactive dance performance challenging viewers to really see the nooks and crannies of the space. With a live sound score, collaborative lighting and costume design, and dancers streaming from every danceable doorway, crevice, and ledge, this performance is sure to provoke thought on where and how dance is presented. (Emmaly Weiderholt)

Through Oct. 9

Thurs.–Sat., 8 p.m., $20


1275 Connecticut, SF





Nina Haft and Company

A few years ago, visitors to Zaccho Dance Theatre's third-story performance space could look down onto San Francisco's last working farm. The Bayside venue seems uniquely appropriate for Nina Haft's site-specific Debris/Flows. Collaborating with German-born, Italian-trained Claudia Borna, the two women transformed this former warehouse space into a natural environment for 12 dancers to explore both outer and inner landscapes. In addition to watching the performance, audiences can contribute to Zaccho's environment by planting seeds and eating food from local gardens. The dozen dancers will help you navigate the labyrinth. (Felciano)

Fri/1–Sat/2, 8 p.m. (also Sat/2, 6 p.m.);

Sun/3, 6 p.m., $12–>$18

Zaccho Dance Theatre

1777 Yosemite, Suite 330, SF

(510) 325-5646





A lot of the Drums' music mines the sounds of the 1950s, smooshing it up with the more saccharine output of the Smiths and New Order, but there's a lull halfway through the New York City band's debut album where its intentions really become clear. A slower song than the rest of the album, "Down By The Water" mimics the believable earnestness of '50s crooners completely without pretension. The Drums have been accused of lacking individualism, which is a fairly valid criticism considering you could drop some of their more upbeat tracks into a Smiths album and no one would bat an eye. But in latching onto eras where simplicity was something to be celebrated, the band succeeds by being sincere when tongue in cheek would have been way "cooler." (Peter Galvin)

With the Young Friends

9 p.m., $15


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421





Although the Smuin Ballet may be considered a relatively small ballet company, there's nothing small about the renowned choreographers and kick-ass dancers Smuin attracts. Founded by Michael Smuin in 1994 and now under the artistic direction of Celia Fushille, the company presents classical ballet with a contemporary edge. It kicks off its 2010-11 home season with a fall program that includes the world premiere of Oh, Inverted World — set to the indie rock band the Shins and choreographed by the illustrious Trey McIntyre — as well as Michael Smuin's twangy Bluegrass/Slyde and his more lyrical Brahms-Haydn Variations. (Katie Gaydos)

Through Oct. 9

8 p.m. (no show Mon/4);

Additional shows Sat/2–Sun/3, 2 p.m.), $20–$62

Palace of Fine Arts Theater

3301 Lyon, SF

(415) 978-2787





The Incredible Shrinking Man

Ever get the feeling you're being dwarfed by what's going on around you in life? Well, that's exactly what happens to the main character in the 1957 Jack Arnold sci-fi classic The Incredible Shrinking Man, in which a freak accident causes him to get smaller and smaller with every passing day. Featuring a host of inventive special effects and memorable scenes (among them his epic battle with a house spider), the movie screens tonight as part of the San Francisco Film Society's annual "Film In The Fog" event. Let's hope nature cooperates and offers up a little bit of a spooky mist to make for a cool and creepy early Halloween celebration. (Sean McCourt)

5 p.m. picnic, 7 p.m. film, free

Presidio, Moraga at Arguello, SF




The Sword

Austin, Texas, retro-metallers the Sword are in space. This summer, new album Warp Riders saw them rocket into full-fledged concept album territory, weaving a epic saga of interplanetary travel and mystical sci-fi warriors on a loom composed of Orange amplifiers. As fall descends, they're taking the tunes and tales on the road, and their SF date marks the second stop on a grueling national run. Fans will be eager to bask in a bevy of new songs performed live, and the band's adroit playing on the new record bodes extremely well for the experience. Prepare for blast-off! (Ben Richardson)

With Karma to Burn and Mount Carmel

8:30 p.m., $20

Regency Ballroom

1290 Sutter, SF





American Splendor

Who is Cleveland's most beloved figure? A few months ago the answer may have seemed obvious: superhuman baller LeBron James. At least until he got on the ESPN grandstand and announced he was going to Miami. Four days later Harvey Pekar died, and it put everything in perspective. A cranky file clerk who wrote wonderfully mundane comics about life's pedestrian absurdities for more than 30 years, Pekar was an unlikely fit for the limelight (with legendary Letterman appearances to prove it). Fame found him nonetheless, culminating in this 2003 biopic featuring not only a suitable portrayal by the continually wincing Paul Giamatti, but also the inimitable figure himself. A fine entry into a persistent legacy. (Ryan Prendiville)

8:30 p.m., $5.50–$9.50

Pacific Film Archive

2575 Bancroft, Berk.

(510) 642-5249





Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle

Graffiti's outgrown furtive leaps over cyclone fencing and dark alley deployment. These days street art is a community builder, the old pros from the 1980s golden age having become teachers and respected figures in the art world. But that doesn't mean it's gotten stuffy. Case in point: Bay Area graff legend Estria Miyashiro's free annual spray-off in the park. Names that are no strangers to the city's bus stops, brick walls, and freight trains will be present to participate in and judge live painting: Nate1, Crayone TWS, and 2009's champ Vogue TDK among them. Mix in stencil workshops, a youth sketchbook competition, and artist signings, and you've got a multi-generational homage to the art of aerosol. (Caitlin Donohue)

11 a.m.–5 p.m., free

DeFremery Park

1651 Adeline, Oakl.

(510) 895-5700





Guitar Wolf

In the future, anthropologists will study Guitar Wolf to calculate the speed of pop culture. The musical equivalent of Engrish, the trio channels Ramones-era punk rock (leather and all) to create Japanese "jet rock 'n' roll," a louder, noisier, and enjoyably unintelligible hybrid. Tonight the band ends its first U.S. tour in five years, also the first since the death of bassist Billy. "However, it is not, not necessary to worry," lead singer Seiji says on the band's website. "New bassist player U.G.! U.G. is terrible! It is jet terrible! It fight! It fight rock! I will show Guitar Wolf is reborn to you!" (Prendiville)

With Hans Condor, Midnite Snaxxx, and DJ Classic Bar Music

9 p.m., $15

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., SF

(415) 621-4455





Guided By Voices

Ringleader Robert Pollard is rounding up the rest of indie rock giants Guided By Voices for a one-time reunion tour to commemorate Matador Records' 21st anniversary. And this isn't some half-ass reunion, either. This is the GBV lineup of the mid-1990s that spawned much-beloved albums such as Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. Pollard's been just as prolific on his own as he was before the group's breakup in 2004, but there is just no comparing his solo work to GBV's catalog. Don't miss your chance to see one of the most influential indie rock bands of the past 20 years one last time. (Landon Moblad)

With Times New Viking

8 p.m., $24


982 Market, SF

(415) 345-0900


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