Our Weekly Picks: October 12-18
"Fuck California. You made me boring," South Dakota-born Erika M. Anderson declares defiantly on "California," the breakout single from her cathartic, crushing first proper release, Past Life Martyred Saints (Souterrain Transmissions, 2011). I find that hard to believe. Not the bit about our fair state — living in LA made me about as interesting as an insurance seminar. But the notion that anything could make the person who created this album boring seems completely implausible. An emotional haymaker of an album, the only thing less tedious than the ex-Gowns singer's lyrics — dealing with topics like self-mutilation, drug addiction, violence, and sex with stunning, often uncomfortable clarity and candor — is her exceptionally versatile musical palette. Anderson tosses touches of drone, punk, indie, folk, and noise rock into a sonic stew that veers as wildly as her moods. If this is what a boring EMA sounds like, I shutter to think what an engaged one could do. (Dan Alvarez)
With Sister Crayon and Alexis
8 p.m., $12 The Independent 628 Divisadero, SF
There goes Oakland's Mary Roach, delving into the scientific questions we all ponder (and some we're not smart enough to think of). In the past, she's brought readers on her fringe forays into sex, dead bodies, and the afterlife. Her latest book, Packing for Mars, explores the weird, the unsavory, and the absurdity found in astronaut space exploration and on-earth preparation. What are the health risks associated with cramped space shuttles without showers? What does dispelled urine look like in space? In Packing, named the 2011 selection for One City One Book: San Francisco Reads, Roach provides the answers in grisly and entertaining detail.(Kevin Lee)
7:30 p.m., free
1644 Haight, SF
"Flight of Poets"
Does a pinot grigio complement Matthew Zapruder's charismatic poems, or would a spicy zinfandel? How about Jane Hirshfield's disciplined lines and forceful resolutions, do they call for a bold merlot? Wine steward Christopher Sawyer puts these questions to rest at "Flight of Poets," LitQuake's poetry reading and wine bash, curated by Tess Taylor and Hollie Hardy. Sawyer matches a wine with each of the evening's poets, including Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Robert Polito, Rachel Richardson, and C. J. Sage in addition to Zapruder (Come On All You Ghosts, 2010) and Hirshfield (Come, Thief). In the words of Charles Baudelaire: "It is time to be drunk!" (James H. Miller)
7 p.m., $15
562 Sutter, SF
Daniel Francis Doyle
When his band broke up in 2005, Austin, Texas's Daniel Francis Doyle needed a quick fix for performing live. He began experimenting with guitars duct-taped to amps and quickly evolved into a noisy force to be reckoned with. The one-man music machine uses a loop pedal, drum kit, and headset microphone to make a ruckus that's frenetic, exhausting, and surprisingly melodic. After developing a respectable body of solo work, he's come full circle — writing and performing with a backing band as well. Catch him shredding solo and showcasing collaborative work in a single fun-filled evening at Club Paradiso. (Frances Capell)
With Clarissa, and Hazel's Wart
8 p.m., $5
2272 Telegraph, Oakl.
Novelist Paul Auster called him "a ravaged, burnt-out writer who had run aground on the shoals of his own consciousness;" Norman Mailer said he wanted to be "dictator of the world." At any rate, everyone who knew H.L. "Doc" Humes agreed that he was a genius. Co-founder of The Paris Review, and author of two lauded political novels, Doc was integral to New York's literary and jazz scenes in the 1950s. However, in the 1960s, Doc plunged into madness and paranoia, started ranting about government conspiracies, and gave up writing altogether. Doc (2008) is the documentary directed by his daughter, Immy. With interviews with Auster, Mailer, Timothy Leary, and others, the film traces the life and times of this eccentric genius. (Miller)
7:30 p.m., $12
275 Capp, SF
Musical evolution can be risky. For every storied success, there's a fan-alienating failure. Thankfully, Enslaved belongs in the former category. Though begun in 1991 as a traditional Norwegian black metal outfit, the Bergen-based band gradually began introducing textural flourishes, epic, narrative arrangements, and tasteful clean singing. Now they rank among the most fascinating, progressive-inflected extreme metal bands in the business. Headlining a full American run should show off the quintet at its enveloping best — who says songs about Vikings can't be psychedelic? Haunting, costumed buzz band Ghost had to drop off the bill due to visa issues, but Enslaved's copious talent should staunch all complaints. (Ben Richardson)
With Alcest, Junius, and the Swizard
7:30 p.m., $17
333 11th St., SF
It's been nine long years since the publication of Jeffrey Eugenides' ambitious, Pulitzer winning epic, Middle Sex (2002), and eighteen years since his stunning debut, The Virgin Suicides (1993), which makes the author's new novel, The Marriage Plot, without a doubt one of the most anticipated of the decade (by those who have a good memory anyway). The Marriage Plot probes the lives of three Brown University seniors in the 1980s — Mitchell, Leonard, and Madeline — and the love triangle that emerges between them over the course of one year. At this free event at Books Inc., Eugenides (at long last) reads from his new novel. (Miller)
7 p.m., free
Books Inc. Opera Plaza
601 Van Ness, SF
Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
It comes as no surprise that British folk-punk singer-songwriter Frank Turner is rapidly ascending as a cult hero here in the States. Though he often references geography, you don't have to be from Winchester to identify with the punk poet's themes of mortality, self-deprecation, and living life to the fullest. Prior to the release of his fourth album England Keep My Bones (Epitaph), Turner toured North America, completely selling out every date. Now the hardcore singer turned folk-troubadour returns to San Francisco with backing band the Sleeping Souls for a rowdy, beer-soaked night to remember. (Capell)
With Andrew Jackson Jihad and Into It. Over It.
8:30 p.m., $16
333 11th St., SF
"An Afternoon of Soccer Culture"
Soccer fans — football fans elsewhere in the world — might know Simon Kuper thanks to his Freakonomics-styled best-seller Soccernomics. In his latest, Soccer Men, the veteran sports journalist compiles the profiles he's written over the past 15 years for papers like the Financial Times and the Times of London. Though the chapter titles are a superstar roll call (Messi, Rooney, Drogba, etc.), there's no fawning here; instead, Kuper offers thoughtful, witty insights into what makes a particular player (or coach) valuable, distinctive, or well-liked (or hated) by the masses. He hits up local footy hotspot Edinburgh Castle to discuss "the beautiful game" with San Francisco author Alan Black (The Glorious World Cup). Only 970-something-ish days until Brazil 2014! (Cheryl Eddy)
3 p.m., free
Edinburgh Castle Pub
950 Geary, SF
"The Hula Show"
A sort of armchair travel, Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu's The Hula Show 2011 stops in India, Samoa, Turkey, Spain, and Wai'anae, blending traditional and contemporary forms of hula. The group brings the art back to California with a suite of chants called Hanohano Kapalakiko, which illustrate the bond between Hawaii and San Francisco. Following opening weekend of The Hula Show, performances on Oct. 22 and 23 feature guests from the Golden Gate Men's Chorus. If you can't make the trip to Hawaii this month, pick up a one-way ticket to The Hula Show, for a small taste of the culture. (Julie Potter)
8 p.m. also Sun/16, 4 p.m., $35–$45
Palace of Fine Arts Theater
3301 Lyon Street, SF
JFK of MSTRKRFT
Jesse F. Keeler, perhaps better known as JFK to fans of MSTRKRFT and Dim Mak Records, has not been neglecting his dance floor duties. Even while reuniting with Sebastien Grainger for the highly anticipated Death From Above 1979 reunion tour, JFK has been putting in time on the decks, frequently double slotted at festival dates. DFA 1979 is easily one of the biggest draws of this year's Treasure Island Music Festival and JFK will follow the band's sure to be frenzied dance-punk (emphasis on punk) performance on T.I. with a live DJ set back at Mezzanine, which will likely contain some extremely headbanging electro floor stompers. (Ryan Prendiville)
With Chain Gang of 1974, Sticky K, and DJ Morale
9:30 p.m. Doors, $20
444 Jessie, SF
A Korg-load of brainiacs are still making techno in this town (yay!). But how many of those brainiacs are merely getting in the way of their machines? "There's something beautifully pure about techno. Too pure. That pristine, precise sound needs to be undermined, soiled and sullied. Electronic dance music usually relates a narrative that is predictably written. The only way I see out of this trap is to be more of a mediator between the machines as they each take turns telling their own side of the story: sometimes harmonious, sometimes revelatory, often conflicted." That's Marc Kate (a.k.a. Silence Fiction, a.k.a.Husband), one of SF's more vital underground fixtures, whose latest, kind of spooky incarnation as Never Knows channels a tasty bank of live equipment as it folds old-school goth atmospheres into sweeping techscapes. Ensorcel much? Strap in for his debut at the essential, experimental monthly O.K. Hole party. (Marke B.)
With Water Borders and Total Accomplishment
9 p.m., $5
853 Valencia, SF.
Iconoclastic. Idiosyncratic. Inimitable. Whichever "i"-adjective you prefer, Opeth has long occupied its very own metal subgenre, blending limber, tuneful death metal with progressive excursions and mournful clean singing. Despite melodic accomplishments, the music was often quite heavy, which is why Heritage, the band's brand-new album, came as a surprise. Largely abandoning distorted guitars, Opeth perplexed critics and fans by releasing a full-fledged 70's prog album, leaning heavily on organ parts and mastermind Mikael Âkerfeldt's dulcet vocals. A national tour should help head-scratching headbangers embrace Opeth's new direction, combining King Crimson-style epics with the band's blast-beaten back catalogue. (Richardson)
8 p.m., $27
982 Market, SF
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