Our Weekly Picks: November 24-30




Pretty Lights

Fewer and fewer new musicians are choosing to fight the losing battle against illegal downloading, deciding instead to align with our interweb overlords and rely on their music to speak for itself. Colorado electronic music producer Derek Vincent Smith, a.k.a. Pretty Lights, has been steadily releasing free albums on his website all year, and this tour is proof that a heavy helping of Internet chatter can indeed get you a big-time show at The Fox. Reminiscent of early-aught DJ Shadow or RJD2 albums, Smith's style infuses old school, crate-digging funk and soul with contempo dance beats, an approach that's lain dormant in the aftermath of the mashup. Come for the rad music and stay to see how many "candy kids" it takes to turn the show into a rave. (Peter Galvin)

With Thunderball and Gramatik

7:30 p.m., $27.50

The Fox Theatre

1807 Telegraph, Oakl.





Kenny Dope

I have an urge to use Kenny Dope's last name as an adjective, but the powers that be informed me I'm cut off from using any more puns this week. So here's the straight talk: Come Thursday, you're gonna be in a full on turkey (or tofurkey) coma, which makes tonight night your last chance to squeeze in some cardio. Even for the unmotivated, Kenny Dope will make this happen. Also half of the production duo Masters at Work, Dope is known for reworking disco, jazz, pop, and especially Nuyorican soul to make everything (including your feet) move a whole lot more. (Ryan Prendiville)

With David Harness and LadyHouse

10 p.m., call for price


401 Sixth St., SF

(415) 646-0999





Dickens Christmas Fair

Imagine 12,000 square feet of Victorian London, suitable for diversion over Thanksgiving weekend and perhaps some light Christmas shopping (sorry, I said it). But harken! The Dickens Christmas Fair is one costume-heavy event whose appeal goes far beyond the Miss Havisham fan club. Especially if you like beer — there will be five pubs on the cobblestone streets, including the Bohemian Absinthe Bar, and ribald entertainment like daily performances of The Mikado and an explorer's club where the audience is regaled with tales of British empire expansion. And especially if you like cinching — Dark Garden's corsetry will be there amid the fake snow and bawdiness, perfect for the French postcard tableaux nearby. Wink. Nudge. (Caitlin Donohue)

Fri/26–Sun/28; also Dec. 4–5, 11–12, 18–19;

11 a.m.–7 p.m., $12–$25

Cow Palace Exhibition Halls

2600 Geneva, SF






With zany characters created from wires, tubes, boxes, and even toilet paper, all ages will delight in Mummenschanz and its imaginative world. Founded in 1972 by Bernie Schüch, Floriana Frassetto, and the late Andres Bossard as a nonverbal theatrical troupe interested in transcending national and cultural barriers, this Switzerland-based pantomime company has enjoyed internationally acclaim. 3x11, a retrospective look back on the company's most popular and successful works of the past 33 years, will entertain Bay Area audiences immensely this weekend. Come and be enchanted by the wacky, witty universe of Mummenschanz. (Emmaly Wiederholt)

Fri/26-Sat/27, 2 p.m.; (also Sat/27, 8 p.m.);

Sun/28, 3 p.m., $22–$52

Zellerbach Hall

UC Berkeley, Berk.

(510) 642-9988



The Christmas Ballet

The late Michael Smuin knew western music inside out. From Bach to Coltrane, Palestrinata to Presley, he let it feed his wit, imagination, and — let's be frank — a dollop of his sentimentality. Nowhere did he put these propensities to better use than in The Christmas Ballet, a rip-roaring trip through the holidays. You can't miss the way these composers inspired him for choreography that's both classical and cool. Every year he added a few new voices, letting others rest. This year the task of keeping the show fresh has fallen to choreographer-in-residence Amy Seiwert, who picked Leonard Bernstein's version of the "Carol of Bells," and ballet master Amy London, who went for Andy Williams' "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." The show comes to SF Dec. 15. (Rita Felciano)

Fri/26–Sat/27, 8 p.m.;

also Sat/27, 2 p.m., $20–$62

Lesher Center for the Arts

1601 Civic Center, Walnut Creek

(925) 943-7469




Japanese director Kaneto Shindo has a thing for ghostly mothers and daughters-in-law, perhaps because the supernatural events that unfurl in his elegant, horror-minded films always spring from domestic traumas. In his most famous film, Onibaba (1964), two women are driven to madness after preying on near-dead samurai in feudal Japan. In the equally stunning Kuroneko (Black Cat, 1969), a different pair of women linked by a son gone off to war also prey on samurai: only this time, as vengeful, shape-shifting spirits. Shindo makes more than a few stylistic nods to Jacques Tourneur (especially 1942's Cat People) in this recently restored beauty, which dwells as much on the sorrows of the dead as it does on the terror the dead inflict on the living. (Matt Sussman)

2:30, 4:45, 7, and 9:15 p.m., $7.50–$10


429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6120



Yard Dogs Road Show

Two years since this glitter and glory bordello played its own show in the Bay? Egads! But jealous lovers we are not. YDRS felt the need to bring its vaudevillian stage presence to circus freaks around the country, so like the proverbial "thing," we loved it enough to let it go — and it has returned. High Times described the 13-member troupe as "an acid trip without the come-down" — the group stuffs into its hobo cornucopia cheery fanfare, sword swallowing, burlesque, a mystic man, handlebar mustaches, and Mission Thrift finery enhanced by their temporarily halted epic wanderlust. Dance off your Turkey Day paunch to the freewheeling frolics. (Donohue)

Fri/26–Sat/27, 9 p.m., $20


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421



The Velveteen Rabbit

Margery Williams' tale The Velveteen Rabbit has made many a child hope their most beloved toy might one day come to life — and for the past 24 seasons, the story of a boy and his adored stuffed rabbit has come to life itself, thanks to ODC Dance. Directed and choreographed by KT Nelson with music by Benjamin Britten, this dance adaptation features the talented artists of ODC as the madcap characters in this childhood favorite. With festive undertones and a classic narrative about enduring love and what it means to be real, The Velveteen Rabbit is the perfect way to ring in the holidays with the family. (Wiederholt)

Fri/26–Sun/28 and . 5, 12, 2 p.m.;

Dec.2–3 and 9–10, 11 a.m.; Dec. 4 and 11, 1 and 4 p.m.


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Novellus Theater

700 Howard, SF

(415) 978-2787




Nutcracker at Zeum

Is there a little one in your life who would love The Nutcracker but doesn't have the attention span to sit through a two-hour extravaganza? There is no better (or more affordable) way to make that first foray into Nut-Land — where brave little Marie lets the evil Mouse King have it — than Mark Foehringer's theatrically savvy and utterly charming Nutcracker at Zeum. The show runs 50 minutes and squeezes a tiny orchestra into the corner of the stage. The kids can watch scenery being moved. The story is beautifully condensed with dancers still shining in spiffy turns and floating leaps; Brian Fisher's Drosselmeyer is as mysterious and kindly as any seen on local stages. (Felciano)

Through Dec. 19

Sat.–Sun., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.;

also Sat., 4 p.m.,$25–$40


Yerba Buena Gardens

221 Fourth St., SF







Apparently deciding he needed to be even more of a badass, Nick Cave went ahead and added blues-punk outfit Grinderman to his repertoire as a songwriter, screenwriter, author, and film scorer. The group is all raw, sweaty, garage-rock drive, full of dirty-sounding guitars and some psychedelic touches sprinkled throughout. Grinderman includes three members of Cave's touring-recording band, the Bad Seeds, and is further proof that even now into his 50s, he isn't even thinking of slowing down. (Landon Moblad)

With Armen Ra

8 p.m., $29–$35


982 Market, SF

(415) 345-0900




SF Green Film Festival screening and launch party

Who's "greener" — the guy in the Haight who picks up cigarette butts, takes one arguable drag, then deposits them in an otherwise empty can? Or the innumerable Prius drivers? Not sure, but sometimes I turn green when everything from drinking coffee to buying stocks is considered candidacy for eco-martyrdom. What are we, leprechauns? Mythical creatures or no, it's good to understand what's going on in the world, and to get inspired to change it if it sucks. Tonight's kickoff event features a screening of Dive!, chronicling the romantic art of eating out of Dumpsters, plus short films, film clips, and trailers. Cocktails and conversation prescreening; proceeds help bring the films to the inaugural festival next March. (Kat Renz)

6 p.m.–9 p.m., $10–$20

Ninth Street Independent Film Center

145 Ninth St., SF

(415) 625-6100



Os Mutantes

Combing traditional bossa nova, samba, and tropicalia music of its native Brazil, with a sound heavily inspired by western rock from the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, Os Mutantes was one of the more adventurous psych-rock bands of the 1960s. The band has had its music covered and praised by such artists as Kurt Cobain, Beck, and Of Montreal. Front man Sergio Dias has remained active as a solo artist in Brazil, but the band, in any incarnation, hasn't really been on the map for more than 35 years. Now Dias is leading a new lineup with a new album in tow, resurrecting the Os Mutantes sound. (Moblad)

With Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

8 p.m., $27

Regency Ballroom

1290 Sutter, SF

1-800-745-3000 www.theregencyballroom.com  


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