This Week's Picks: November 6 - 12, 2013



Dirty squeeze.



The Big Book of Orgasms

"Although not all humans can eroticize all things, humans as a species can eroticize anything." Oh? Well, why don't you take half a minute (that's all it takes) to reread that sentence from Rachel Kramer Bussel's prologue to The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories (Cleis Press). We humans can eroticize anything. Feeling better? You should. And whether you're an erotica regular, a dedicated lover, a dirty squeeze, or an orgasm virgin, you should go test out this theory Wednesday night by listening to contributors of Bussel's pansexual anthology read their stories aloud. (Kaylen Baker)

6:30pm, free

Good Vibrations

1620 Polk, SF

(415) 345-0400



Mazzy Star

Santa Monica's Mazzy Star has been teasing its fans with promises of a fourth album since 2000 — and even then the album was long overdue. Nearly two decades after its last album, Among My Swan, Mazzy Star has really, truly, finally dropped its long-fabled follow-up, Seasons of Your Day. Mazzy Star was seminally important to '90s shoegaze, and its dark influence is still audible in bands like the Dum Dum Girls and Beach House. The best part about its new album is that while other bands have taken Mazzy Star's sound and retrofitted it, the band itself has not changed a bit. Seasons of Your Day seamlessly picks up where the band left off in 1996. Hope Sandoval's haunting voice is still as achingly gorgeous as ever, and you don't want to miss your chance to hear it in person tonight. (Haley Zaremba)

With the Entrance Band, Mariee Sioux

8pm, $35


982 Market, SF



French Cinema Now

The San Francisco Film Society's journey 'round the world of cinema continues with this week's "French Cinema Now," hot on the heels of programs showing work from Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Taiwan (with Italian and Bay Area spotlights to come). The biggest draws here are probably closing-night selection Bastards, the hot-off-the-festival-circuit latest from Claire Denis (2009's White Material, 2008's 35 Shots of Rum, 1999's Beau Travail), as well as writer-director-actor Valeria Bruni Tedeschi's A Castle in Italy, a semi-autobiographical tale co-starring her former paramour Louis Garrel. (Cheryl Eddy)

Through Sun/10, $10–$25

Clay Theatre

2261 Fillmore, SF



Guide for the Modern Bear

Kick off SF Bear Pride 2013 with the authors of the essential bear manual. Head over to Books Inc. in the Castro with your copy of Guide for the Modern Bear, or pick one up when you get there, and get it signed by authors Travis Smith, the "mid-century modernist guru" himself, and Chris Bale, an "urban living and interior design ace." Not a bear? Perhaps you're an otter. Or maybe a wolf. Not sure? This is the perfect opportunity to find out! Arrive fiercely in your favorite flannel, consult this guide on bear life, work, and play, and speak with the experts themselves, who are sure to impart as much wisdom and wit as they have bound in their book. (Kirstie Haruta)

7:30pm, free (book is $19.99)

Books Inc.

2275 Market, SF

(415) 864-6777



"Kirk Hammett Double Feature"

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has long been known as a horror film aficionado, amassing an extensive movie memorabilia collection of original props, costumes, and posters over the years — much of which was featured in last year's book Too Much Horror Business. The Bay Area native will be hosting a special double feature of the classic Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff films White Zombie (1932) and The Black Cat (1934), while also showing off some original screen-used props from the flicks and other items from his collection. It all goes down at tonight's spooky showcase that benefits the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation, the nonprofit that runs and maintains the city's historic Balboa and Vogue theaters. (Sean McCourt)

7pm, $35–$125 for VIP

Balboa Theater

3630 Balboa, SF

(415) 221-8184



Wanda Jackson

When Wanda Jackson first went on tour in 1955, she shared the bill with a young man who quickly became a major musical influence and (for Jackson, at least) a romantic partner. This guitar-slinging fella, named Elvis Presley, helped her transition from country music to a newer, faster, more raucous genre later described as rockabilly. Jackson pioneered the genre, earning her the title of the Queen of Rockabilly and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an "Early Influence." Now well into her 70s, the Queen still reigns supreme. While Jackson can't hit all of the high notes anymore, she's still full of enough piss and vinegar to put performers more than half her age to shame. (Zaremba)

With the Swinging Doors

9pm, $28


777 Valencia, SF

(415) 551-5157



"An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth"

On Jan. 21 of this year, while passing far above the very spot you're standing on now, Col. Chris Hadfield tweeted, "San Francisco Bay Area. The sun glint really shows the water and cloud flow patterns." Hadfield's thoughtful, scientific observations from the International Space Station captured a certain poetic glory of Earth (not unlike the omnipresent, stunning visuals of the orb in Alfonso Cuarón's recent thriller Gravity, a film that Hadfield recently saw and heckled during an Ontario screening), as well as the hearts of nearly a million Twitter followers down below. Back on land, Hadfield talks about his survival tactics as an astronaut: how to enjoy the flight while always being prepared to fight. He leaves us with a renewed awe and fresh perspective as inhabitants of this planet we call home. (Baker)

7pm, free

NASA Ames Research Center

200 Dailey, Mountain View

(415) 894-0545



WERK! Performance Festival

In more abundant times, Werk Collective's four artists — Alyce Finwall, Tim Rubel, Samantha Giron, and Ashley Trottier — probably would've produced their own full-evening programs. But we live in an era of scarcity, and sharing has not only become an economic reality but also a way of overcoming the isolation artists (dancers in particular, who depend on "other bodies") experience. For us, the audience, shared evenings are a good deal: You get two for the price of one. This mini-festival presents four programs, each with a different set of two pieces at a time. Expect works to revolve around uncertainty and struggle on wobbly ground but also persistence, toughness, and survival. (Rita Felciano)

Through Sun/10, 8pm; Also 4pm Sun/10, $20

Dance Mission Theater

3316, 24th St. SF



San Francisco Transgender Film Festival

The 12th annual incarnation of one of San Francisco's most popular smaller festivals posts up at the Roxie Theater this year, packing five programs into three days and presenting films from over 10 countries. Tonight's 8pm kickoff is a program of international transgender shorts; tomorrow, there'll be another program of shorts and a tribute to late filmmaker and festival co-founder Christopher Lee (in an adults-only presentation). Sunday, another program of shorts is followed by feature One Zero One, a documentary profile of two artists, including the self-proclaimed "world's shortest drag queen." Pro-tip: this festival always sells out, so advance tickets are highly recommended. (Eddy)

Through Sun/10, $12–$15

Roxie Theater

3117 16th St, SF




When did the digital SLR get swapped for the smartphone camera? Was it when your buddy came back from Peru with an incredible slideshow taken on his cell while summiting Huascarán Sur? When your sister decided to Instagram her breakfast pretzel? Or when you realized your zoom lens was just too damn bulky to carry on a bike? Regardless, the smartphone camera has become a tool to take seriously, and the proof lies in the pictures. Opening exhibition "100-50-1" explores this revolutionary photographic field by showcasing 100 portraits conceived on smartphones by 50 of the most innovative budding and professional mobile photographers today. (Baker)

6:30pm, free

New Black

1999 Bryant, SF

(415) 621-2344



Women's Audio Mission 10th Anniversary Party

Let's survey the breadth of bands playing this here anniversary party: There's surfy teenage quartet the She's, Mariachi Femenil Orgullo Mexicano (the Bay Area's only all-female mariachi crew), soulful East Bay post-punk trio Little Sister, and DJ Sep, the founder and main resident of Dub Mission, one of the longest-running dub and reggae parties in the US. What do they have in common? They're all led by powerful musicians and singers of the female or female-identified persuasion. And the lineup is fitting, as this diverse sonic spectacular is for Women's Audio Mission, a music production and recording organization geared toward helping women realize their full potential in the music world. Celebrate the org, the ladies, and the scene tonight at WAM's big party at El Rio. (Emily Savage)

3-8pm, $10 donation

El Rio

3158 Mission, SF



Stillwell Student Exhibition

Named for the watercolor and oil painter Leo D. Stillwell, whose entire body of work came into the possession of SF State after his untimely passing (age 22), the 26th annual Stillwell Student Exhibition will feature work by undergraduate and second-year master's of fine arts students, as well as a selection of Stillwell's own art. The selected student work this time around includes a large variety of media, from video and photography, to sculpture and ceramics, to printmaking, textiles, metal, and more. All undergraduate student work is peer-juried. Support these artists and enjoy some refreshments at the opening reception, and revisit the stunning array of work at the gallery through Dec. 5. For an extra treat, visit Salon des Refusés to see art that didn't make it into the primary show. (Haruta)

Opening reception 4pm, free

Regular gallery hours Wed.-Sat., 11am-4pm

SFSU Fine Arts Building, Room 238

1600 Holloway, SF

(415) 338-6535