Sonic Reducer

Video Mutants: Booby call

Lost in bizarre pop idolatry with artist Mike Kelley
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Who can bring together cast-off crocheted critters and KISS? Early '70s Ann Arbor, Mich., art noise and the Whitney Biennial? Vampires toiling in cubicles and Sonic Youth's 1992 album Dirty (DGC)? Mike Kelley, man, can.

Ouch — the allusions get bumpy after almost three hours of mind-altering video candy. Read more »

Pop op

The wall-worthy whimsies of Devendra Banhart. Plus Pale Hoarse and Movie Night
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER "Omigod, I totally love that." A doll-faced, teenage dead ringer for Zooey Deschanel gawks dreamily at a dabbed dwarf cactus drifting off the edge of a cream-colored sheet of paper — jaw a-dangling, china blue eyes a-gobbling. Read more »

Rain on me

Zion I's Amplive gets tossed into In Rainbows lockdown. Plus: Thao Nguyen, David Daniell, Rickie Lee Jones, and more
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER How can two goods get mashed so bad? How can an act of generosity get so twisted? What sort of storm hath Radiohead wrought? And in an age of easy digital reproduction and reappropriation, a mashup era, what kind of rights do listeners have regarding music disseminated, seemingly so freely, online — namely, the United Kingdom band's In Rainbows album? Read more »

Whatever!?

Parsing the homophobia of "UR So Gay"
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Does post-postirony still really translate as ... irony? Or does any freaking thing matter at all, because the smirking, snarky '80s are so very back that we're backpedaling madly in our kooky plastic-and-who-really-cares-about-that-legendary-flotilla-of-plastic-in-the-Pacific-Ocean kiddie pool with what-the-hell carelessness, basking in apathy and gloss? Does that mean we're ready to embrace our inner bigot? The jerkiest, knee-jerk reactionary responses from back in Grandpappy's day, namely the Ronald Reagan era? Read more »

There will be blood

Rockin' New Year's
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Kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Bay Area, puh-leeze: can you get up, pull your shirt back over your treasured chest, trot your bad 'elf over to the bar, and fetch me another New Year's Eve teeny pomegranatini? I like them wet and wild and deliciously unsettling, like an extrabratty, ultraseasonal, El Nino–style holiday storm, or like the $1.99 drugstore silver glitter paint I dab on Bay-bee's claws. Read more »

Band together for 21 Grand

Keep innovative arts programming alive, confunnit! Plus: upcoming shows!
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER "Fuck New York. I can stick it out longer. I've got a masochistic streak!"

Cue divine, mad laughter. Read more »

Turn up the volume

Wax Poetics Anthology, Volume 1, Ptolomaic Terrascope, and other wordy bulwarks against the violence of the season
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER I read the news the other day, oh boy, and the dimming days of early winter appear to have gotten darker: the Xmas lights have begun to twinkle down my street, above the Red Poppy House, but they can't draw attention away from the little shrine of bedraggled plastic balloons and dampened candles around the corner dedicated to 21-year-old Erick Balderas, who was shot to death at Treat Avenue and 23rd Street on Nov. 18. Read more »

My Xmas Muzak or yours?

Sweatin' the C-word with Patti LaBelle, Dokken, the Isley Brothers, Green Day, and more. Plus: Bucky Sinister
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Santa Baby, I wanna know: when did holiday music get hijacked by small children and their grandparents? At least that's what it looks like perusing this year's yuletide Brandy Alexander coasters: there's The Coolest Kidz Bop Christmas Ever comp (Razor and Tie) for the ankle gnawers, and then there's the reissued My Favorite Time of the Year (Rhino) by Dionne Warwick (dang, D, why did you lose your way from Burt Bacharach?) for their doting oldsters. But what became of the holiday music product for everyone between 18 and 48? Read more »

Gobblin' Cobain

Focus on his words in Kurt Cobain about a Son and on his face in Unplugged in New York
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER For too many, Thanksgiving is all about high-priced, high-stress flights home for the holidays, foul fowl, sad slipcovers, and relatives who rove the spectrum from irksome to inspirational. Why the last? I have to say that one miserable Turkey Day spent on the outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa, meeting a squeeze's enraged and estranged parents while his jock brother dented my Geo Metro during a show-off game of tag football brought me closer to thoughts of suicide than ever before. Read more »

Man with a mission

Memorial for a beloved anarchopunk legend. Plus: Xiu Xiu shimmies for AIDS orphans
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER J Church's Lance Hahn was possibly the only vocalist-guitarist ever to front a punk band wearing slippers (translation for mainlanders: flip-flops). A longtime presence in the Mission District anarchist punk scene until his move to Austin, Texas, in 1999, Hahn died down south Oct. 21 at 40 from complications after a lengthy battle with kidney disease. Read more »