Our Weekly Picks



Paul Taylor Dance Company

In July, Paul Taylor will be 83. He founded his company in 1954. He has danced with Balanchine, Graham, and Cunningham. With Trisha Brown out of the picture, he is the last of the giants of American Modern Dance left standing. He has long entered the classroom on American dance, and yet he keeps working as if there were no tomorrow. Maybe there isn't. His dances are gorgeous to look at, yet many of them cut like a scalpel through what Taylor sees a hypocrisy in patriotism, the family structure, social justice, and gender roles. His musical world is huge, ranging from Bach to Piazzola, Stravinksy to the Andrew Sisters. During this engagement the company will present three programs with eight works, half of them new to SF. Who can compete with that? (Rita Felciano)

Wed/1-Sat/4, 8pm; Sun/5, 2pm, $35–$60

Lam Research Theater

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

700 Howard, SF

(415) 978-2787



Michael Lewis

Financial scribe Michael Lewis gained pop culture fame with his sports books-turned-movies. Even so, Moneyball and The Blind Side are, at their core, business stories that delve into the (often incorrect) assumptions of appraising the physical traits and skill sets of athletes. The Berkeley-based writer established himself with Liar's Poker, in which he described his personal experiences working in the infantile culture of Wall Street and debunked how traders were making millions selling junk bonds and mortgage bonds — in 1989. Last year, Lewis penned an in-depth Vanity Fair profile of President Barack Obama after obtaining six months of access to the White House, the president and members of his inner circle. (Kevin Lee)

In conversation with Dacher Keltner

7:30pm, $27

Nourse Theatre

275 Hayes, SF

(415) 392-4400





Brad Howe

Alexander Calder's mobiles were perfect for the mid-20th century. Colorful shapes that hung in an ordered disarray took up the aims of modernism to resist tradition, banish realism, and do something new. But nowadays, though they fit beautifully in the galleries of great museums, Calder's art doesn't engage the big bad world of rapid connectivity defined by Twitter, Google, and high-speed travel. Brad Howe's does. Taking up the mobile and sculpture, the artist updates the legacy of colorful shapes by adding more chaos, color, and whimsy. At the Caldwell Snyder Gallery, you'll see works that are perfect for the 21st century. (Laura Kerry)

Through May 31, free

Caldwell Snyder

341 Sutter, SF

(415) 392-2299



Cowboy Junkies

Cowboy Junkies are influential in the genre of Americana music. They also happen to be Canadian. All irony aside, almost three decades after their formation, the Junkies continue to embody solid, humble songwriting and lo-fi acoustics, a welcome respite from the overproduced hip-hop and overwrought indie rock of contemporary music. Margo Timmins' haunting alto voice remains as exquisite and heartbreaking as it was in 1985, while the band's cohesion and form has only improved. It takes a special band to survive decades of music industry tumult, and a truly extraordinary band to do it with style and grace. (Haley Zaremba)

10pm, $32


1330 Fillmore, SF

(415) 665-5600




CounterPULSE May Day

If you live in a northern climate, you understand why May Day celebrations were important. Finally, the ground had warmed enough to plant tomatoes. Enough of a reason to pick up some ribbons and wind yourself around a pole. We are no long an agricultural people so May 1 has become an occasion to honor all kinds of labor by men and women around the globe. What better date — or dates — to bring together local arts workers who with their sweat (after all, most of them are dancers) "feed" us year round. And May 1 happens to be CounterPULSE's eighth anniversary — not very old, but could we imagine the City without this place that is so wide open to experimentation and nourishes artists and audience alike? Over 20 of them have offered to perform in this combined festival-fundraiser. Check out the impressive line-up on the website. (Felciano)

Through May 5

8pm, $35 and up


1310 Mission, SF

(415) 626-2060



murmur in the inventory

Reason number 567 I love San Francisco: a publicist I've worked with for years — receiving her press releases regarding Cutting Ball Theater and other arts organizations — also happens to be a widely published, prizewinning poet. Erica Lewis' third collection, murmur in the inventory, came out a few months ago on contemporary poetry imprint Shearsman Books. The author describes the work in murmur as being about "fragmentation, being haunted, and how sometimes you are your own ghost;" fellow SF poet Cedar Sigo calls it "gorgeous and arresting." Get to know this multi-talented writer at two Oakland readings this week. (Cheryl Eddy)

Tonight, 7:30pm, free

Studio One Art Center

365 45th St, Oakl.


Sat/4, 5pm, free

Aggregate Space

801 West Grand, Oakl.




Alice Russell

Before neo-soul Brits Adele and Amy Winehouse invaded our shores, there was Alice. The Suffolk, England native has been belting out full-bodied numbers in Aretha Franklin-style since the early 2000s. DJs ranging from DJ Scruff to Fatboy Slim have looked to Russell for upbeat collaborations, while the electronic jazz producer Quantic and Russell paired brilliantly for their warm and inviting Look Around the Corner released last year. Her most recent, To Dust, showcases Russell's entire range, from the dance-pop of "Hard and Strong" to the Erykah Badu-like fusion of R&B and hip-hop in "Twin Peaks." (Lee)

With the Shotgun Wedding Quintet, DJ Carnita

9pm, $20


444 Jessie, SF

(415) 625-8880





The latest developments surrounding oOoOO are shrouded in mystery. Here's what we do know: oOoOO is San Francisco-based experimental chillwave producer Chris Dexter. Dexter launched a new record label in April called Nihjgt Feelings that is allegedly based in "the Turkish island of Bozcaada" according to the label's Facebook page. Dexter's debut album Without Your Love is set to be released on the new label this June. This show is supposed to be a full preview of said album, and if the online samples are anything to go by, it should be a spacey, haunting doozy. As opener, LA's Groundislava brings his own mix of odd blips, video game effects, and old-school house sounds. (Lee)

10pm, $15

Public Works

161 Erie, SF

(415) 932-0955



"Cuatro de Xylo"

After taking a year off of building one of their massive art installations for Burning Man last year, the Flaming Lotus Girls are coming back strong this year with Xylophage, a massive tree stump sprouting mushrooms, light, sound, and evocative symbolism. Since embedding myself with the FLGs in 2005 for a Guardian cover story ("Angels of the Apocalypse," 8/17/05), we've enjoyed watching this beloved local crew go on to international acclaim for work on and off the playa. The Flaming Lotus Girls got a big art grant from Black Rock City LLC this year to build Xylophage, but as usual, it only covers about half the cost of this ambitious installation. That's where you come in. Come join the FLGs at their Hunters Point workspace, marvel at their many creations from over the years, enjoy some beer and BBQ, and chat up these gorgeous creatures as they poof some fire for you. Poof! (Steven T. Jones)

2-10pm, $5-$20

Box Shop

951 Hudson, SF





A lot of today's electronic and indie music whiz-kids-of-the-moment could boost their creative staying power if they experienced more live performances of some of the music that inspired their forebears. The hypnotic, polychromatic bell-like sound of the traditional Balinese gamelan orchestra has influenced innovators from Sonic Youth to Derrick May. (Fun fact: the first recorded instance of a gamelan played at a rave was in 1997 in Santa Cruz.) The Bay's spectacular, and spectacularly huge, Gamelan Sekar Jaya ensemble, in collaboration with "bronze orchestra" Gong Kebyar, draws together 40 of its musicians and dancers for "Warna" — a word meaning both "color" and "caste." The program will explore "the playful melodies and dances of Balinese villages and delve into the arts nurtured by the powerful kings of Bali" in an explosion of sight and sound — which is exactly the kind of exploration we like. (Marke B.)

7:30pm, $10-$20

Julia Morgan Theater

2640 College, Berk.




SF Made Week

We love the work that SF Made has done bringing together and providing resources to people who use our shockingly lovely surrounds to make useful consumer items. This week, the trade association gives the public a passel of ways to get to know its members. Set to coincide with the city-wide Small Business Week, SF Made is sponsoring seven days of factory floor tours at local manufacturers DODOcase, Rickshaw Bags, sex toy creators Crave, McRoskey Mattress, Bi-Rite, and more. Plus educational panels for would-be entrepreneurs, and SF Made's annual fundraiser evening, which takes over Heath Ceramics' new Mission factory Mon/8. (Caitlin Donohue)

Through May 12

Various SF locations




"Untenable Dynamism"

Imagine looking at a city from the window of a plane. At first glance, the buildings and streets appear static and comforting. As you approach though, everything begins to move; lights flicker, cars travel, and people begin to take shape with the tiny movements of their remote lives. In the SF Art Institute's show, "Untenable Dynamism," the city comes alive. The prints, videos, and installations of artists Maya Smira and Monika Lukowska show that a city is not just solid buildings and a comprehensible population within, but complex and ungraspable dynamics between humans, technology, and industries. Not only will you see great art at the Diego Rivera Gallery, but like the view out the plane window, your perspective may change. (Kerry)

Through May 11

5pm, free

San Francisco Art Institute

800 Chestnut, SF

(415) 283-7754



Wild Style

Relax all of your conventional methods of film criticism for a minute (or 82 of them). What makes Wild Style compelling isn't the convincing acting or gripping love story plot. Exactly 30 years after its release, the movie's portrayal of graffiti, break dancing, and the novel art of scratching and rapping provide a fascinating glimpse at the history of a musical movement. For high budget drama, go elsewhere, but for a rare look at Grandmaster Flash on obsolete turntables and a reminder of a time when rap lyrics included phrases such as "follow your dream until it's fulfilled," come to the Contemporary Jewish Museum's screening of Wild Style. (Kerry)

2pm, free

Contemporary Jewish Museum

736 Mission, SF

(415) 655-7800