This week, when the weather is right, SF designer Ishky will coordinate a massive 3.14-ecetera to be written by five planes over the Bay's skyscape. The work heralds the arrival of Zero1 Biennial, sure to be a different look at Silicon Valley. SFMOMA, Headlands Center for the Arts, and Stanford will all be participating in the tech-art fest, but "Seeking Silicon Valley" is a good place to start exploring. Artists from 11 countries have created innovative odes to computerlandia at Zero1 Garage, a specially-designed new permanent art space in San Jose. Expect virtual tunnels connecting cross-Atlantic museums and the first dot com rise and fall, as interpreted through shots of a vertiginous Argentinian mountain. (Caitlin Donohue)
Through Dec. 8, Various times and Bay Area venues
"Seeking Silicon Valley"
439 First St., San Jose
Like a gloomier incarnation of Julia Holter, or PJ Harvey with a stoner-goth edge, Chelsea Wolfe has a knack for sounding like everyone and no-one else, all at once. On last year's Apokalypsis, her wispy, high-pitched vocals stood in stark opposition to the record's sonic atmosphere: robust, foreboding drums and guitars a la Slint, wrapped up in lush electronics, layers upon layers of reverb, and the vague ethos of the hypnagogic pop movement. One of those "weird" records whose weirdness is rendered highly palatable by its confident execution, Wolfe's debut was one of last year's most compelling rock statements. (Taylor Kaplan)
With Crypts, Dia Dear, DJ S4NtA_MU3rTE, DJ Nako
155 Fell, SF
Should your post-convention feminist outrage still be clouding the edges of your vision, mark your calendars for a weekend of smart, sex-positive female-made films and readings at YBCA. Tonight, take in multimedia memoir presentations by adult industry stars-authors Oriana Small and Lorelei Lee, then a documentary on SF strippers' fight for justice in the workplace by Hiwa B., an ex-dancer herself. Later this weekend, Madison Young's doc on her first year as a mama in SF sex culture awaits (Sat/14), and Mollena Williams' interactive short on the ways racism can emerge in the world of BDSM play (Sun/15). Forget "legitimate rape," it's time to start developing our own vision of the way we want the world to work. (Donohue)
Through Sun/15, $10/screening
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission, SF
The Bay Area is overloaded with ambient electronic acts inviting you to lose yourself in their Pink Floyd-on-codeine haze, but Nommo Ogo's attention to detail sets it apart from the pack. Balancing old-school, Cluster-meets-Zelda synth tones with live guitars, field recordings, jittery percussion, and the occasional buried vocal track, its records are unusually dynamic, and compositionally advanced, for "ambient" fare. This Thursday, the Oakland-via-Anchorage outfit will unleash some new material, as it celebrates the release of its forthcoming LP, Endless Dream, at Bottom of the Hill. Will the new album follow the sturdy progression of the back catalogue, or will it present a bold change of direction? (Kaplan)
With Candle Labra, Secret Sidewalk
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., SF
You have one chance this weekend to wish John Cage a Happy 100th Birthday. With a razor mind, often barely visible behind his affable façade, Cage and Merce Cunningham turned inside out cherished traditions about listening and seeing. A European composer once asked Cage whether it was not difficult for him write music so far away from the Tradition. His reply: "it must be hard for you write music so close to the Tradition." PICO: Performance Indeterminate Cage Opera, based on Cage's Fontana Mix — less a score than a manual for proceeding — is a very Cagean enterprise with live and recorded music, three channels of video, 20 plus dancers, and audience participation (should you be so inclined). PICO also pays tribute to kindred spirits Marcel Duchamp and Nam June Paik (Rita Felciano).
Berkeley Art Museum
2626 Bancroft Way, Berk.
Who needs restraint, or tastefulness, when you've got Rustie? Like fellow producers Hudson Mohawke and Lone, the Glasgow-based beatmaker specializes in a high-gloss brand of dubstep-tinged electronica that overwhelms with its kitchen-sink approach. Much like an alternate Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack, as envisioned by the venerable Warp imprint, his debut LP, Glass Swords, was one of 2011's most ecstatically go-for-broke records. Garish, fluorescent synths compete relentlessly for the spotlight, anchored (just barely) by grooving, thrashing percussion, on a hugely celebratory record with the irresistible energy of a basketful of puppies. One can only imagine the potential of Rustie's maximalist approach in a live setting. (Kaplan)
With Kode9, Obey City, Anna Love, Dreams, Dials vs. Bogi, The Slayers Club Crew
1015 Folsom, SF
Everyone's heard of 1977's Suspiria, but Dario Argento's filmography is full of should-be horror classics — including 1985's Phenomena, which returns to Suspiria's boarding-school milieu but shifts the action to Switzerland, where the new girl in class is the troubled daughter (Jennifer Connelly) of a movie star. She sleepwalks, she communicates with insects, she befriends a local professor (Donald Pleasence, Halloween's Dr. Loomis) and his chimpanzee companion, she runs afoul of the local murderer ... man, growing up is tough! With lamé'd costumes by Giorgio Armani and songs by Iron Maiden, Motörhead, and Argento faves Goblin, Phenomena is a gloriously '80s relic. It screens with animated classic The Iron Giant (1999) and young Connelly's Muppet-tastic breakout film, 1986's Labyrinth. (Cheryl Eddy)
"Midnites for Maniacs: Trix Are For Kids Triple Bill"
429 Castro, SF
After starting his career on Russell Simmons's Def Comedy Jam in the '90s, J.B. Smoove has since solidified his status as a foolproof secret weapon within the comedy world. Uncredited appearances and writing work on Saturday Night Live, in addition to scene-stealing supporting roles in films such as Pootie Tang, helped land him his current role as Leon ("Pepitone, Pepitone!"), Larry David's opportunistic house guest/sidekick on recent seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm. As a stand-up performer, Smoove combines physical comedy with hilarious storytelling, courtesy of his unmistakable vocal delivery. (Landon Moblad)
8 and 10:15pm; Sat/15, 7:30 and 9:45pm, $25
Cobb's Comedy Club
915 Columbus, SF
Nashville, Tenn.'s Los Straitjackets have been pairing genuine musicianship with over-the-top gimmick for more than 20 years and 11 studio albums. True, quality songwriting and matching costumes sounds oxymoronic, but Los Straitjackets defy common sense. The foursome plays instrumental, surf-inspired rock music, with an extensive list of covers, including "Deck the Halls" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit," but their original material is where the band shines. During performances, they dress identically in all black with gold Aztec-inspired medallions, differentiated only by customized luchador masks. Not to worry, they also have synchronized choreography. (Haley Zaremba)
With Daddy-O Grande, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys
Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell, SF
Now, San Francisco cherishes an exceptional portion of the world's most glamorous and inventive faux queens. But in 1995, when Diet Popstitute and Ruby Toosday unleashed the Faux Queen Pageant, there were few outlets for "drag queens trapped in women's bodies." The doors FQP helped throw open make its 2012 reincarnation all the more intriguing, as SF's big and brassy faux queen contest returns under the auspices of Bea Dazzler, Holy McGrail, and the Klubstitute Kollective. With MCs Leigh Crow (as Captain Kirk) and Trixxie Carr at the helm, and a firmament of local star judges (Heklina, Fauxnique, Birdie Bob Watt, Cricket Bardot, Ruby Toosday, L. Ron Hubby and Deena Davenport), Faux Queen Pageant: The Next Generation promises to take you where no woman has gone before. (Robert Avila)
375 Eleventh St., SF
Veteran New York Times opinion and food columnist Mark Bittman claims he's not a chef and he's never been professionally trained. Yet, his How to Cook Everything is recognized as a veritable recipe bible for curious home chefs. Bittman, nicknamed "The Minimalist" for his unfussy approach to cooking, delves even further into the fundamentals with this year's updated How to Cook Everything: The Basics. The newest edition is an encyclopedia of tips, ranging from how to set up a pantry to how to tell when particular foods are done cooking (always important for those house parties). As if writing for the Times and authoring more than a dozen cookbooks was not enough, The Minimalist debuted his new Cooking Channel show of the same name earlier this fall. (Kevin Lee)
In conversation with Jessica Battilana
401 Van Ness
Thanks to a string of hit singles such as "Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful?" along with starring roles in several films, including Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, acting opposite Tom Waits, British singer Paloma Faith is a noted star over in her native UK. Fusing modern pop with sultry '50s rock sensibilities and a classy, retro-inspired look, the 27-year-old Faith is hitting the United States for her first ever tour, in support of her new album, Fall To Grace. Fans can be sure that next time she comes around, it will be in a much bigger venue. (Sean McCourt)
155 Fell St., SF
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