Selector: May 29-June 4, 2013
John Hodgman has parlayed his starring role as the awkward PC in Apple Computer commercials into a multifaceted comedy career. The humorist typically portrays the authoritative know-it-all, dispensing faux expertise on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and through his trilogy of satirical almanacs titled Complete World Knowledge. Unsatisfied with conveying pseudo-information to the masses, quasi-legal expert (fake) Judge John Hodgman also adjudicates over everyday silly disputes on a weekly Internet podcast. His thoughtful, goofy, non-legally binding rulings are a regular feature in the New York Times Magazine. Adam Savage of Mythbusters' fame provides a clever and fitting foil. (Kevin Lee)
In conversation with Adam Savage
275 Hayes, SF
"Drinking/Songs: A Night of Beer and the Music That Goes With It"
I feel a beer coming on! Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and public radio's VoiceBox have joined forces for an "inter-active beer-tasting and live music event," i.e., a night of singing and musical revelry the way nature intended -- with frothy steins of that beloved thirst quencher known to barstool Pavarottis everywhere as a brewski. With musical entertainment from the Fill A Steins a cappella vocal music ensemble and a live discussion on the cultural history of this love affair between pipes and pints with cicerone Sayre Piotrkowski, the Fill A Steins, and VoiceBox's Chloe Veltman, there's even an added touch of class with your glass. (Robert Avila)
50 Mason Social House, SF
Skull and Bones NightLife
Like Halloween in springtime, the Cal Academy's popular Thursday evening nightlife event this time explores the creepier side of life — animal insides. At Skull and Bones, you can play like Indiana Jones — or at least, an amateur archaeologist — and watch volunteers assemble the bones of a skeleton, those of a juvenile offshore orca whale. Plus, Lee Post and Academy field associate/bone collector Ray "Bones" Bander will be on hand to answer the thorny questions, Icee Hot DJs Rollie Fingers and Ghosts on Tape will be spinning spooky tracks, and Paxton's Gate will have a station of treasures; if you've ever visited the Mission curiosities-flora-and-fauna shop, you know they'll have some good stuff on hand. This time, they'll show Jason Borders' skull art, and conduct a hands-on owl pellet dissection. SCRAP will have crafts at the ready, EndGames Improv will tickle your funny bone (ha! laughing already), and the planetarium will have a presentation on the "bones' of the Milky Way. It'll be a great way to bone up on the galaxy (sorry). (Emily Savage)
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr., SF
San Francisco Green Film Festival
The third San Francisco Green Film Festival opens tonight with a tale of true Bay Area environmental heroes. Nancy Kelly's doc Rebels With a Cause — first seen locally at the 2012 Mill Valley Film Festival and opening at the Roxie Fri/31 — offers an inspiring look at the Marin County activists who fought to preserve the NorCal coastline at a time when "conservation" was a dirty word. The rest of the Green fest's over 50 films include Bidder 70, about climate activist Tim DeChristopher; Jon Bowermaster's "fracktivist" tale Dear Governor Cuomo; and Kalyanee Mam's Cambodia-set doc A River Changes Course, which just picked up a much-deserved Golden Gate Award for Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival. (Cheryl Eddy)
Through June 5, $12 per film (passes, $100–<\d>$200)
Various venues, SF and Berk.
Call them loud, reckless, naïve — but don't call them cheap. Though cranking out a big garage rock is something Cheap Girls could do in their sleep — and well — they've been known to slow it down on the few tracks that showcase their pop side and tight vocals. Like on earworm "Her and Cigarettes," for example, it's hard to believe this self-ascribed power pop rock group from Lansing, Mich. is not a small acoustic trio. "I love her and cigarettes/we took the long way, so we could have another," whimpers vocalist Ian Graham in the song, embodying the wayward insecurities and heightened drama of adolescence itself. The group doesn't present its songs; it relives every single one right there on stage. (Hillary Smith)
With Make Do and Mend, Diamond Youth
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., SF
Walking Distance Dance Festival
Building on last year's Walking Distance Dance Festival, featuring local dance, ODC Theater Director Christy Bolingbroke has changed the formula. With a sure touch for vision leavened with reality, she has assembled a line-up that, with the exception of opening night, pairs locals with visitors. First up, however, will be Rachael Lincoln and Leslie Seiters, and Kate Weare and Company — once they were local, now they are visitors. Other fab choices are Nicole Klaymoon's House of Matter and ODC/Dance's Cut-Out Guy. New in town will be Brian Brooks (NY), and casebolt and smith (LA). You see each program in Studio B at ODC Commons and the B'way Theater across the Street. Amazing how much fun last year the simple act of walking from one venue to the other was. (Rita Felciano)
Fri/31, 7pm; Sat/1, 4pm, $20
ODC/Commons and B'way/ODC Theater, SF.
Hi Ho Silver Oh
The LA-based band Hi Ho Silver Oh converts even the toughest of listeners with its harmonies. Frontperson Casey Trela's vocals communicate a yearning I'm not sure I've felt before. The group's humor will lure you in almost as much as its sometimes giddy, occasionally melancholic sound. The band's affinity for good times shines through while performing great tracks, which makes for a set worth checking out. The video for the band's "My Confessor" displays just this. It profiles a spelling bee gone wrong, starring a washed out principal, juxtaposed with clean vocals, attractive guitar rhythms, and evocative lyrics — it's an encompassing reflection of the group. Hi Ho Silver Oh opens tonight for Mice Parade. (Smith)
Brick and Mortar
1710 Mission, SF
Jazzanova's Jurgen von Knoblauch
"This is one of Jazzanova's major talents: to combine pieces from very different musical genres. And the linchpin holding them together is generally soul." That's how Jurgen von Knoblauch describes his German supergroup Jazzanova, now approaching two decades of producing and performing a blend of jazz, boss nova, soul, Latin, deep house, and electronica. The collective's versatility means it can shift from individual DJs like founding member von Knoblauch spinning at nightclubs across Europe to a nine-person live performance band performing around the world. Von Knoblauch also maintains a music show on German radio with two of his fellow Jazzanova DJs and helps select new talent for the group's record label Sonar Kollektiv. (Lee)
With Fred Everything, Joey Alaniz
101 Sixth St, SF
Ludovico Einaudi avoids describing his music any one way; he likely wouldn't call it classical or modernist, because he feels a plethora of influences inform his pieces. It's likely if you attend one of his performances you too will have a tough time describing it in one phrase anyway. He offers viewers a cathartic experience — one that is felt on many levels — and takes them through the big emotions of ecstasy and doom, the same emotions Rothko was interested in conveying in his paintings. Like the famous painter, Einaudi's work is presented on a grand scale. He plays with a raw emotion seldom seen in similar pianists. The intrinsically deep, emotional tones presented in his performances are emphasized by his 11-piece band that includes a string section.(Smith)
7:30 p.m., $40–<\d>$85
982 Market, SF
No Regular Play
If you haven't heard of 'Play,' a monthly party put on by Listed Productions and the End Up, all you really know is that it's described as "recess for adults." Which is perfect if you, like me, have the Peter Pan syndrome that's particular to the Bay Area, holding down jobs but still holding onto acting like a kid the rest of the time. When I've been hula-hooping recently — on breaks, in the handicapped bathroom stall at work — I've been listening to Endangered Species by Wolf + Lamb compatriots No Regular Play, whose playful shows mix funky house with live vocals and fresh trumpet blasts. (Ryan Prendiville)
With Butane (Crosstown Rebels), Bells & Whistles (AYLI), Alex Blackstock (Less is More)
10pm-6am, $15 advance
401 Sixth St., SF
"The Globalization Trilogy"
For the last 12 years, local filmmaker Micha X. Peled's documentaries have exposed the human toll of corporate greed around the world.
The Rafael is showing the completed trilogy over the next week, with the filmmaker present at each screening. 2001's Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town chronicles the decimating impact America's favorite retailer (and arguably worst employer) has on local businesses. 2005's China Blue provides a rare, clandestine peek inside a Chinese garment sweatshop-factory. His latest Bitter Seeds ponders the epidemic of small-farmer suicides in India — over a quarter-million in 16 years — due to the impoverishing effect of genetically modified seeds from US agri-giant/villain Monsanto. (Dennis Harvey)
Through June 9, $6.50-10.75
Rafael Film Center
1118 Fourth St., San Rafael
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