This Week's Picks: November 20 - 26, 2013
Gossip! Guns! Girl power!
Shipwreck: The Hunger Games Edition
Erotic fanfiction writing gets competitive at Booksmith's monthly literary event, Shipwreck! Six writers are given a popular literary work to destroy in whichever filthy ways their hearts desire, and the audience votes for its favorite. This month's sacrificial prose is none other than Suzanne Collins' post-apocalyptic, YA novel The Hunger Games. Pregame for that midnight screening of Catching Fire with hilarious, smutty fiction and an open bar. All works will be read by Shakespearean Thespian in Residence, Sir Steven Westdahl, to ensure that voting is done fairly. The winning writer gets to pick the next ship to wreck and will defend his or her title. Will Katniss find time to choose between Peeta and Gale while she's, you know, fighting a war? Will Peeta and Gale choose each other? Anything is possible! (Kirstie Haruta)
1644 Haight, SF
Thursdays provide a portal to unpredictable adventures for those who wander into the weekly NightLife series at Cal Academy. This week's 21+ event, BiteLife, allows attendees to snack and sip while learning what the hell is happening while they snack and sip (internally). Get a backbone and learn about your guts from Gladstone Institute's associate investigator Dr. Katie Pollard. Guests will also be able view their own microbes with Academy researcher James Angus Chandler and dance their butts off to music by '80s-spinning soul-funk DJs, Sweater Funk, in the same night. Local, bite-sized, sustainable food from Earl's Organic Produce, Whole Foods, and 4505 Meats will be available for the gourmands in the crowd. (Hillary Smith)
California Academy of the Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr., SF
"Behind the Scenes: Randy Thom on Sound Design"
Music is the ultimate mood-setter, not only in our iPod, laptop, and stereo-spotted lives, but in the lives we escape to on the big screen. Academy Award-winning sound designer Randy Thom, who's worked on films ranging from Cast Away (2000) and The Incredibles (2004), discusses his use of sonic design to cut through the endless possibilities of noise, in order to set the stage, manipulate a mood, and craft a unique, cinematic story. He'll take examples from Wild at Heart (1990) starring Nicolas Cage, where an overtly sensual sound design, along with Angelo Badalamenti's entrancing score, transform the realism of a Southern fugitive romance into a lyric, tender escape. Stick around after the discussion to enjoy the film! (Kaylen Baker)
Pacific Film Archive Theater
2575 Bancroft Way, Berk.
Indie "super group" GAYNGS, dedicated to delivering a tongue-through-cheek tribute to '80s easy-listening R&B and white-suited soul, represented "The Gaudy Side of Town." This other project from Poliça's Ryan Olson must reside in the darker part of, well, Minneapolis. Its latest LP, Oh My Sexy Lord, sounds like something that crawled out screaming from the same sort of despairing (yet somehow cozy) pit Crystal Castles call home. A cavern crowded by an excessive amount of drums and haphazard wires supporting any number of laptops, controllers, and a Nintendo. (Plus a couch for guests like Justin Vernon or Har Mar Superstar to crash.) (Ryan Prendiville)
1850 Geary, SF
"Let Us Compare Chronologies"
Even if you are not doing aerial work — for which Joe Goode Annex's two-story ceilings are ideally suited — the studio's spaciousness makes it a welcome option compared to other local performance venues, which can too often hem the dancers in. Now with risers in place, even the sightlines have improved. Katharine Hawthorne, a fiercely intelligent thinker, debuted as choreographer at the Annex last February. She is now returning in a double bill with dancer-choreographer James Graham, still best known locally as a Gaga teacher. Calling their joint endeavor "Let Us Compare Chronologies," since both works examine the concept of time, Graham's quartet Guilty Survivor takes a look at what the 1980s represented in a gay man's life; Hawthorne's Timepiece delves into the connection of time to order and disorder. (Rita Felciano)
Through Sat/23, 8pm, $15–$30
Joe Goode Annex
401 Alabama St., SF
Though "the Writer" almost always calls to mind a solitary figure — J. D. Salinger wrapped in a blanket by his Cornish hearth, Jane Austen bent and scribbling over a desk — most writers agree that having a community of peers creates unparalleled motivation and feedback. The Grotto creates such a space, while offering classes to new writers on topics like the short story and the memoir. Come cheer on more than 50 of these fledglings as they each read fresh, cheeky three-minute snippets from a variety of works-in-progress. (Baker)
1 Ferry Building, SF
"All Good Things Must Come to An End"
We hear it for every lost keepsake, graduation, and heartbreak. Usually, the words fall short of comforting and land somewhere closer to stale. But SOMArts is breathing new life into the phrase with "All Good Things...," an ephemeral art exhibition featuring such pieces as a caramelized sugar installation, a sand mandala, and a massive camera obscura throughout the gallery that choreographs the sun's changing light. The opening reception will glorify transience with edible art, chess with melting pieces, and a performance piece in which the audience shatters dishes. The expression "once in a lifetime" has never been truer; the only record of the exhibit will be audience impressions dictated to cassette recorders. (Janina Glasov)
Through Dec. 21
SOMArts Cultural Center
934 Brannan, SF
9 to 5
Pour yourself a cup of ambition and head to the Castro for Peaches Christ's first tribute to 9 to 5, the 1980 comedy about three office mates (Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda) battling their sexist pig of a boss (Dabney Coleman). The movie has it all (gossip! guns! girl power!), so the stage show that accompanies the screening, Work!, should be one to remember, especially with Pandora Boxx (of RuPaul's Drag Race), Heklina, and Peaches filling the leads — three among few performers with hair bigger than Parton's. (Cheryl Eddy)
429 Castro, SF
Magic Makers Queer Art & Crafts Fair
Love arts and crafts? Tired of running up against heteronormativity and cultural appropriation in art spaces and craft fairs? Then join Magic Makers for a stunning array of arts and crafts in a safe, queer-friendly space. From the zines of womyn, trans*, genderqueer, API collective Moonroot, to the herbal remedies of Shooting Star Botanicals, to the dazzling accessories of burlesque beauty the Lady Miss Vagina Jenkins, Magic Makers will feature some of the Bay's craftiest queer artists. This fair is all about storytellers, healers, and dreamers, so come on out and support these friendly, socially aware creators, and get inspired to create something of your own. (Haruta)
Temescal Art Center
511 48th St, Oakl.
The Entrance Band
If the sometimes sing-song lyrics of this recent Mazzy Star opener feel superfluous (the latest maudlin goth single "Spider" off new album Face the Sun or earlier jam "Still Be There" being notable exceptions) it's to the credit of the instrumentals. Singer Guy Blakeslee's guitar, hung upside-down and strung in a manner that perhaps only he understands, singularly emits distinctive, appropriately captivating sounds. When given space to just play, as is the case on the latter half of "Fine Flow," Blakeslee exhibits exactly that, speeding off towards psych horizons and looping back on himself effortlessly. With drummer Derek James and bassist Paz Lenchantin fitting so comfortably in that groove with him, words often can't help but break the spell. (Prendiville)
With Raw Geronimo
777 Valencia, SF
In its purest form, pop music is the sound of growing up. It doesn't require a theory for what matters; if it feels significant, it must be. On Cokefloat!, the debut from Glasgow's PAWS, the lessons come quickly but at cost. Opening with "Catherine 1956," Philip Taylor regards the loss of his mother and her lasting words, "Toughen up because/Life goes on/You can't live your life in fear." If the ferocious fun trio fearlessly cribs its riffs from decades old alternative rock — Dinosaur Jr., the Breeders, Violent Femmes — at least it does that old guard justice. I'd like to say it sounds dated, but I must not have outgrown this yet. Does anyone? (Prendiville)
With Surf Club, Tiaras
Cafe Du Nord
2170 Market, SF
The Moth: "Temptation"
Temptation is otherwise known (at least according to the dictionary) as "the action of tempting or fact of being tempted, especially to evil; enticement, allurement, attraction." While the desire to do and obtain things is universally shared, this definition can't begin to explain why humans find evil so attractive, nor why our vices come to us in such personal, wrapped-and-beribboned shapes and sizes. Audience members at this round of the Moth StorySLAM should come with a their own tale of temptation in mind, because names will be pulled from a bag throughout the night, giving 10 people the chance to tell wicked, funny, failed, or won stories of allure for five minutes onstage. Each storyteller gets a score, and the winner gets a chance to perform in the GrandSLAM. (Baker)
161 Erie, SF