This Week's Picks: December 25 - 31, 2013


Spawning the "Condescending Wonka" meme


Contemporary Jewish Museum Community Day

For those who don't celebrate Christmas (and for those who do, but know the kids will have ripped through their Santa harvest and be climbing the walls by noon), the Contemporary Jewish Museum opens its doors for its annual free Community Day. Here's your chance to check out new exhibit "Frog and Toad and the World of Arnold Lobel," filled with illustrations from Lobel's gentle tales, including 1970's Caldecott Honor-winning Frog and Toad are Friends. In addition, there'll be a "Frog and Toad Studio" for crafting character puppets, and performances by puppet-wielding group the Pop Ups (at 11:30am, 1pm, and 2:30pm; space limited, with tickets available on a first-come, first-serve basis). (Cheryl Eddy)

11am-4pm, free

Contemporary Jewish Museum

736 Mission, SF


Kwanzaa San Francisco

Celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith — at San Francisco's eighth annual honoring of the week-long holiday. Each event takes place at a different venue (most are in the Fillmore or Bayview neighborhoods), and each will feature both candle-lighting ceremony and live entertainment, with an eclectic array that includes a reggae band, spoken word artists, a gospel choir, dance performers, and more. (Eddy)

Through Jan 1, free

Today, noon

San Francisco City Hall

1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place, SF

Also today, 7pm, West Bay Conference Center

1290 Fillmore, SF

FRIDAY 12/27


Some know Blatz as an awful, awful beer. Others know Blatz as a '90s East Bay band. As 924 Gilman rats, they played punk that incorporated anarcho and crust elements. The band existed from 1989 to 1998, and the band's pinnacle was a split with fellow Gilman-ites Filth — appropriately named The Shit Split. Now they reunite for one evening of aged punk bliss, to support a fellow aging punk in his time of need. Mike-O the Psycho, of Filth, has cancer. Tonight, Blatz, along with Special Forces, Death March, Aspbergers, and World of Shit, take the stage to help offset Psycho's medical bills. Come help support a Gilman rat in need. (Erin Dage)

With Special Forces, Death March, Aspbergers, World of Shit

7pm, $5-$20 (plus $2 annual membership)

942 Gilman, Berk.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

No, not Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the garish Tim Burton-Johnny Depp take on Roald Dahl's beloved children's book. We're talking 'bout the 1971 version — scripted by Dahl, directed by Mel Stuart, and starring Gene Wilder as the eccentric, exacting candy maker. Wilder's iconic performance has proven enduringly popular — even spawning the versatile "Condescending Wonka" meme — but the rest of the film (chockablock with surreal elements and singing Oompa Loompas) holds up admirably, too. If you haven't yet checked out a movie at the gorgeous, Art Deco Paramount, here's your chance. Snozzberries never looked (or tasted) so good. (Eddy)

8pm, $5

Paramount Theatre

2025 Broadway, Oakl.

Devil Makes Three

For more than a decade, Santa Cruz trio Devil Makes Three has blended classic country, ragtime, bluegrass, folk, and more with its own fiery attitude and approach, creating a sound and style that captures the magic feel of a dusty old 78, but with an immediacy and newness that translates from records to raucous live shows without missing a beat. The band's latest album, I'm A Stranger Here, was produced by Buddy Miller and showcases the group's infectious, booze-stained lyrics and American roots-influenced music — a potent combination that just might lead you to think its members made some sort of a deal down at the crossroads. (Sean McCourt)

9pm, $25


1805 Geary, SF

"Well-Strung: The Singing String Quartet"

Hey girl. I know you think you're not that into classical music. But Mozart's white wig had nothing on our slick 'dos. Chopin may have owned a pistol, but we've got two guns each on our string-caressing arms, and they come ready-cocked. Vivaldi made music for Four Seasons, but the four of us can keep you warm all year long, as long as you don't mind a little serenading with an accompaniment from our violins, viola, and cello. How about some Adele? Rihanna? Yeah, we can do that with a bow, and unlike Legolas, our bows make love, not war. Did you know that a quartet is just another word for a foursome? Girl, we're Well-Strung, and we're, well ... strung, so you should check us out at Feinstein's this weekend. (Kaylen Baker)

Tonight, 8pm; Sat/28, 7pm, $25-$40 ($20 food and beverage minimum)

Feinstein's at the Nikko

Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF


"America's Next Top Bachelor Housewife Celebrity Hoarder Makeover Star Gone Wild!"

With a show contained under the best combo-platter title since 1996 Wayans brothers classic Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, the Kinsey Sicks ("America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet") return to San Francisco to celebrate 20 years in the comedy-crooning biz. Armed with sky-high hair and smooth, four-part harmony, Rachel, Winnie, Trixie, and Trampolina negotiate the world of reality TV — a topic they can sing about with authority, since they made a memorable appearance on America's Got Talent. This Castro gig will feature special guests, plus a moderated discussion presented by the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center of the SF Public Library, which will host a Kinsey Sicks exhibit next year. (Eddy)

8pm, $25-40 Castro Theatre

420 Castro, SF

"Champions of Magic Live!"

It sure was a busy year for prestidigitation, with high-profile TV appearances by David Blaine and Criss Angel, plus films like Now You See Me, Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay, and (my personal favorite) Magic Camp. But nothing can really take the place of seeing magic performed live, particularly when it's done with such skill and flourish as the award-winning posse collected in this show: SoCal's Christopher Hart and Dana Daniels, Las Vegas' Jason Andrews and Mark Kornhauser, and SF's own Jade — the lone female in the group. If that's not enough to lure you, a promo video suggests props will include a talking dog. Abracadabra, indeed! (Eddy)

Tonight, 7:30pm; Sun/29, 2pm, $20-$60

Julia Morgan Theater

2640 College, Berk

Club Chuckles 10-Year Anniversary Bash

Any comedy night founded by Hemlock Tavern booker Anthony Bedard — keeper of the hilarious @Folder_Rock Twitter account, famed for highlighting cringe-worthy excerpts from band press releases — is destined to be a good time. So it's no surprise that Club Chuckles (which had to instill a "10-drink maximum policy in the wake of a heckler uprising") is still going strong after a decade. Tonight, toast the comedy night that hosted early gigs by future stars like Reggie Watts and Amy Schumer by gathering 'round for an all-star gaggle of current CC faves: Chris Thayer, Donny Divanian, Caitlin Gill, Sean Keane, Jesse Elias, Joey Devine, Couples, musical guests Freakotronic, and others. Here's to 10 more years! But not 10 more drinks. At least not in one night. (Eddy)

9pm, $5

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF

SUNDAY 12/29


While many of the early hardcore punk bands to emerge from California came from established music centers and big cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, BL'AST! formed in the early '80s in Santa Cruz, and quickly started releasing music on influential SST Records. The band ultimately met its demise in 1990, and performed a handful of reunion shows in 2001 — but now Bay Area fans have the chance to hear new music and see the group live once again — original members singer Clifford Dinsmore and guitarist Mike Neider got back together earlier this year and remixed a batch of old, unreleased tracks with Dave Grohl. The result, released as the excellent Blood, found them returning in fine, ferocious form. (McCourt)

With Neurosis, Yob, the Body

8pm, $30

Regency Ballroom

1290 Sutter, SF


Japanese New Year's Bell-Ringing Ceremony


Tonight, you'll be knocking back champers like a champ, but there's something to be said for devoting some of your pre-debauchery New Year's Eve time to quiet reflection. Or not-so-quiet reflection, in the case of the Asian Art Museum's 28th annual ceremonial bell ringing, in which a 2,100 pound, 16th-century Japanese bronze bell clangs loudly 108 times. Why the seemingly random number? Some Buddhists believe that's the number of earthly temptations that must be overcome to achieve total peace of mind. For everyone else, the ceremony is more symbolic; there'll be a purification ritual led by Rev. Gengo Akiba, followed by a hands-on bell bonanza to help participants "leave behind the bad experiences, wrong deeds, and ill luck of the previous year." As you might expect, this clean-slate opportunity is a popular one, so make sure you arrive by noon to get a chance to participate. (Eddy)

11:30am-1:30pm (arrive by noon), free with museum admission ($8-$12)

Asian Art Museum 200 Larkin, SF