Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Fresh hedonism and sound artifacts

Bill Owens and Christian Patterson shoot for skin, sin, and salvation
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America's holy trinity — beer, barbecue, and the Bible — forms a belief system of carnivorous consumption and garish glitz in recent photographs by Bill Owens and Christian Patterson, well paired in concurrent exhibitions at Robert Koch Gallery.

Owens's "Flesh," with its uncomfortable close-ups of pork parts and gnashing teeth, picks through gristly ribs, charred bacon strips, and headless mannequins, revealing an eat-or-be-eaten society starved for gustatory and spiritual succor. Read more »

Splendor in the ass

Sara Thrustra's Ten Pictures and Two Pin-Ups calendar
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365 NAKED DAYS I didn't care if 2006 was half over when I discovered artist Sara Thustra's poster-size, silk-screened and stitched butcher-paper calendar last year. Stuffed with a zine and riddled with mythical critters, a hairy hippie Adam and Eve, and a monstrous Paul Stanley–esque rock 'n' roll hydra head, it was so handsomely handmade — the paper-ephemera equivalent of a fun-loving, snaggletoothed boy toy with dirty locks who sews his own clothes — I had to have it anyway. Despite the handful of calendars dangling on my walls, I'm always late. Read more »

Sex on wheels

The 2007 "At Your Service" bike messenger calendar
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FIXED-GEAR FIX Mr. July, bare chested, coyly toys with a Rubik's Cube, the waistband of his Champion boxer-briefs just visible above his brown leather belt with a "Philadelphia Freedom" buckle. Mr. November, sandwiched between two Muni cars, has his T-shirt pulled up to just above his nipples, revealing washboard abs and a plethora of tattoos. Mr. February gazes longingly over the Mission rooftops, one slippered foot swinging like a come-on over the edge.

What do they have in common besides month-based nomenclature? Read more »

Attraction is hell

Manuelito Biag's The Shape of Poison solidifies his standing as a choreographer on the rise
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REVIEW Rarely does ODC Theater pack them in the way it did Feb. 2 for SHIFT Physical Theater's first full-evening piece, The Shape of Poison. Manuelito Biag has been making work for close to 10 years, but the buzz has really picked up since 2003, when he presented the anguished Giving Strength to this Fragile Tongue. With Poison, developed as an artist-in-residence project at ODC, he has created a work about the inarticulate, often unacknowledged forces that shape our realities. Read more »

Doin' the 'Dance

Taking stock of Sundance
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Sundance has become a spectator business event, like the weekly box office returns. This year turned out to be a surprise bull market when the same buyers who went in saying there was little of apparent commercial appeal on the program wound up spending tens of millions in an acquisitions frenzy. I didn't get to see Son of Rambow, an '80s nostalgia piece about action movie–obsessed kids that earned a cool $8 million distribution deal. But that movie at least sounds like real fun. Read more »

Jesse Hawthorne Ficks's Sundance picks (so far)

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Manufactured Landscapes (Jennifer Baichwal, Canada). Easily the best film at Sundance, this moving portrait of Edward Burtynsky's photographs shakes your views on the progress of humanity to the point of speechlessness. While the photos show how humans have drastically altered the earth through their obstructions — ranging from massive recycling landfills to factory lines with thousands of workers creating millions of tiny plastic objects — Baichwal's film brings these conflicts to life in a complete, breathtaking manner. Read more »

Pillow talk

Storytelling makes for gripping theater in Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman
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The cold air these last weeks has played foul-weather friend to a couple chilling stage stories about serial child killers — one of them is even called Frozen. Both were recently toasts of Broadway too, though only one includes scary little apple men (not to mention the titular figure of a giant fellow made of soft cushions). Read more »

WOW now

Molissa Fenley highlights the second program of a growing festival
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Every January the Women on the Way Festival throws a spotlight on the performing arts as practiced by the female of the species. Not that producer Mary Alice Fry has to dig very deep in the field of dance, which is still heavily dominated by women. (For the moment we have to leave the reasons to sociologists — or perhaps psychiatrists.)

If this year's second of three programs is any indication, the festival's move from a tiny space on Ninth Street to Dance Mission Theater a couple years ago has blunted its funky edge. Read more »

Hairdresser on Fire

Local locksmith Joe Hamer picks Golden Globes poufs
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GOLDEN CLIPPERS "I'm all about spreading my message," local mane maestro Joe Hamer gushes breathlessly over the phone from his car en route to his Petaluma flagship salon. "And my message is beautiful, shiny, healthy hair."

Hamer's just flown in from teasing celebs' tresses at the Golden Globe Awards, as part of the beauty team in Showtime's red carpet perk-up pit stop for volume-compromised VIPs — a freebie fluff tent for the rapidly flattening fab. "I know you want those names," he intones tantalizingly. Read more »

His world or yours?

Scarface: The World Is Yours
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Scarface: The World Is Yours

(Vivendi Universal; Windows XP, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Sony PSP)

GAMER One nice thing about Scarface: The World Is Yours is that although it is a first-person shooter–adventure game, there is no sewer level. It doesn't matter what the story line is: at some point, dude is going into a sewer and tromping through ankle-deep water with rats skittering around.

Scarface doesn't bother with that. It's more interested in having you sell cocaine and brutally murder people, like a good game should do. Read more »