This Week’s Picks




SF Ocean Film Festival

The City by the Bay has a long history of film festivals. But it wasn’t until 2004 that one concentrated on this area’s oceanographic connections. Hosting more than 50 films, the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival has documentaries on marine life and environmental science, surfing videos, experimental and animated productions, and more. Crowd favorites include a program dedicated to sharks and a chance to meet the filmmakers who work among the denizens of the deep at an Aquarium of the Bay fundraiser. (Sean McCourt)

Various times (Sun/7), $8–$12

(filmmakers reception, $60; festival and VIP passes, $85–$175)

Theatre 39 and Aquarium of the Bay

Embarcadero and Beach, SF.

(415) 561-6251


Shantala Shivalingappa

Rarely seen in the Bay Area, Kuchipudi is one of the great classical Indian dance forms. Taking its name from the village in which it was “born” in the 15th century, it’s related to Bharatanatyam but is more theatrical, using fast and often airborne footwork. Shantala Shivalingappa is a Madras-born, Paris-raised dancer who has worked with Maurice Bejart, Peter Brook, and Pina Bausch. Her piece Gamakaone definition of which refers to Indian music’s shimmering quality — is a solo that Shivalingappa developed with her four musicians. One hopes it includes a part in which the Kuchipudi dancer performs on the rims of a brass plate. (Rita Felciano)

8 p.m, $27–$39

Herbst Theatre

401 Van Ness, SF

(415) 392-2545


Doug Carn and Black Jazz Reunion

In the early 1970s, pianist Gene Russell founded Black Jazz Records in Oakland. Branching away from traditional jazz, the label was inspired by African-American political and spiritual movements taking place at the time. One of its most successful acts was pianist and composer Doug Carn. Better known as half of the duo Doug and Jeane Carn, he has sold more records than Dave Brubeck and Ramsey Lewis. Introduced to music at a young age by his mother and an uncle, Carn has studied piano, alto sax, and also oboe. His adaptations of Coltrane’s classic “A Love Supreme” and Horace Silver’s “Peace” are creative and lyrical. (Lilan Kane)

8 and 10 p.m, $10–$18


510 Embarcadero West, Oakl.

(510) 238-9200




Luxury Items

Monique Jenkinson, a.k.a. Fauxnique, is a master of lipsync. But I’m excited to hear what she has to say in her new show. In between the bravura dynamic dance moments of Faux Real, Jenkinson made her past into present-time conversation with the audience, and did so with offhand ease. This time, she’s digging into cultural obsessions. I’ve heard that Luxury Items includes a eulogy for newspapers — from the perspective of a hoarder. (Johnny Ray Huston)

8 p.m. (through Feb 21), $10–$20


1310 Mission, SF

(415) 863-9834


“After Dark: Sexplorations — Exploring Nature’s Reproductive Strategies “

Throw the word sex in front of any event title and folks will flock. So maybe the people at the Exploratorium are on to something with the latest installment of its “After Dark” lecture series. For one night, anyone old enough to legally down a good old glass of hooch can learn why Viagra only works for men, whether it’s possible to orgasm with just your thoughts, and how sex toys do their magic. Think of it as the sex ed class you always wanted to take but never did. Mary Roach, author of Bonk, will be on hand to pass on some expertise. (Elise-Marie Brown)

6 p.m., $15 (free for members)

McBean Theater


3601 Lyon, SF

(415) 561-0363


Sacred Places

Let those critics who would universalize their disillusionment (however well-founded) into “death of cinema” bromides see Jean-Marie Téno’s marvelous essay-film Sacred Places. A few minutes observing Nanema Boubacar’s neighborhood cine-club, located in a poor district of Ouagadougou, and they might let up. Like Agnès Varda, Téno prefers pondering large questions on the move. Here, he reexamines the founding principles of African cinema in a split-portrait of Boubacar, a struggling entrepreneur (in Burkina Faso, too, it’s more difficult to procure African titles than the latest Hollywood blockbuster), and Jules Cesar Bamouni, a djembe maker who draws the same links between filmmaking and the griot tradition that were so important to Ousmane Sembène. (Max Goldberg)

7 p.m., $9.50

Pacific Film Archive

2575 Bancroft, Berk.

(510) 642-1412


Movie Night at SFO

Like most people in the Bay Area, I’ve only gone to San Francisco International Airport to pick someone up or fly away (usually to a warmer destination). Basically I go there to handle business, maybe grab a bite, and leave. But now this aviation destination is giving a reason to visit sans luggage — free movie nights.Tonight SFO screens The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club. The 2009 documentary delves into the work of Florence “Pancho” Barnes, Hollywood’s first female stunt pilot. Writer-producer Nick Spark and director Amanda Pope will be on hand. (Brown)

6 p.m., free

SFO Aviation Museum

SFO, International Terminal, Level 3

(650) 821-9911


Ronald K. Brown/Evidence

Nick Cave is back. Sort of. If you missed Ronald K. Brown’s response to Cave’s mysterious masked figures last year, here is another opportunity. The work, now called Journey, opens this remarkable dancer’s return engagement. Brown’s work thrives on an underground stream of spirituality. He started his Evidence company at 19, and his voice and his polyglot dance vocabulary have only become more personal and burnished. Brown is very much a 21st century artist. New on this program will be the all-male 2008 Two-Year Old Gentlemen, which explores the relationships that men develop with each other. The gorgeous 1999 piece Grace has a good chance to become Evidence’s Revelations. (Felciano)

8 p.m. (through Sat/6), $30

Novellus Theater

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF

(415) 392-2545


Fabrik: The Legend of M. Rabinowitz

Jim Henson made a mark with his lighthearted use of puppets, or should I say Muppets. But Wakka Wakka Productions, a visual theater company from New York City, is a far cry from Kermit the Frog. Instead of presenting mirthful sketches, this nonprofit uses hand-and-rod puppets to unfold dark tales of valor and resilience. Inspired by Yiddish and Nordic folktales, Fabrik tells the story of Moritz Rabinowitz, a Polish Jew who publicly voiced his opposition to anti-Semitism during the rise of Nazi Germany. (Brown)

8 p.m. (through Sun/28), $20–$34 (pay-what-you-can Thurs/4)

The Jewish Theatre San Francisco

470 Florida, SF

(415) 292-1233

FRIDAY (5th)



San Francisco Beer Week

The Bay Area is a treasure trove of microbreweries and their thirsty followers — a perfect combination for San Francisco Beer Week, which, despite its city-centric name, hosts events throughout the greater Bay Area, including a variety of tastings, food pairings, meet-and-greets with brewers, and live entertainment. The festival kicks off with an opening gala at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Over the next 10 days, breweries including 21st Amendment, Beach Chalet, Speakeasy, Seabright, Santa Cruz Mountain, Anchor, and Thirsty Bear share their best suds. (McCourt)

5–9 p.m. opening gala, $55–$65

Various locations (through Feb. 14), prices vary


Wonderland: A Tim Burton Ball

If only I could live in Tim Burton’s world, with misfit heroes and a Danny Elfman soundtrack. I’d cast Winona Ryder as my best friend, Helena Bonham-Carter as my kooky artistic mentor, and Johnny Depp as … well, you know. I’d be darkly beautiful and I’d dance beneath ice sculpture snow. Too bad movies aren’t reality. Nonetheless, Brian Gardner — founder of Swing Goth and lover of all things modern and macabre — is doing his best to close that gap. This week he hosts an ambitious event dedicated to Burton, just in time for the media blitz that’s about to have everyone saying Alice rather than Avatar. (Molly Freedenberg)

9:30 p.m. $15–$20 ($5 extra for pre-event dance class at 7:30 p.m.)

DNA Lounge

375 11th St, SF.

(415) 626-1409


Irma Thomas and the Professionals

Do you know what it means to be the Soul Queen of New Orleans? Big Easy native Irma Thomas has been pouring her heart into the soul circuit for the past five decades. She celebrates this half-century anniversary with the Rounder Records release The Soul Queen of New Orleans: 50th Anniversary Celebration. People love and know Thomas for tunes, but she also opened her own club, Lion’s Den, in the 1980s. She headlined frequently there until Hurricane Katrina brought disaster. In 2007, Thomas’s After The Rain (Rounder/UMGD) brought her first Grammy. (Kane)

8 and 10 p.m. (also Sat 2/6), $30


1330 Fillmore, SF

(415) 655-5600


“Article X”

The starting point for the artworks in this show is not the X, but the X’s center: that crucial yet vapid intersection where form meets function. It is here that photographer David Trautrimas and sculptural artist Kristina Lewis originate with the ordinary: household kitchen appliances and high heels, respectively. Lewis’ reassembled high heel sculptures, which hint at sculptural artist Brian Jungen’s series of Nike Air Jordans-turned-aboriginal masks, tease and fray the ends of X. (Spencer Young)

5–8 p.m. (continues through March 20), free

Johansson Projects

2300 Telegraph, Oakl.

(510) 444-9140





In recording his group Dawes’ debut album North Hills (Ato Records/Red), Taylor Goldsmith said that he wanted the inherent quality of the instruments to come across. Perhaps the greatest instrument Dawes has is Goldsmith’s voice, which is infused with a soulful timbre. Influenced by Otis Redding and James Brown, Dawes produces a warm country rock that incorporates tight drumming from Goldsmith’s younger brother Griffin. The sound feels initially familiar, and carries a hint of early 1970s Creedence. But with personal lyrics and a lush mix of instrumentation, Dawes manages to pull in the listener. Which is good for everyone. (Adam Lesser)

With Cory Chisel and Wandering Sons, Jason Boesel

9 p.m., $12

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011


Broun Fellinis play Zeppelin

Broun Fellinis has been bending genres, defying categorization, and blazing artistic trails since their foundation in 1991. Deeply embedded within the creative landscape of our fair city, this righteous jazz trio is known for conjuring acoustic spaces that transcend genre. My question is, what will it do with Led Zeppelin? When you match Zeppelin’s brand of distinctive debauchery in the musical realm with the imaginative hands of Professor Boris Karnaz, Black Edgar Kenyatta, and Kirk the Redeemer, the result can only be good, maybe great, if not historic. What? You don’t like cool stuff? Sure you do. You should go. (D. Scot Miller)

10 p.m., $10

Coda Jazz Supper Club

1710 Mission St, SF

(415) 551-CODA

MONDAY (8th)



Marcus Books’ 50th Anniversary Fundraiser

Literacy is a gift most take for granted. It allows you read about this event right now. You can help other people learn how to read by attending this fundraiser, a music and literature showcase that benefits Marcus Books’ Scholar Book Club nonprofit literacy program. The evening’s host, spoken word artist Scorpio Blues, has been featured on BET, on HBO’s Def Poetry, and is also the CEO of Hot Water Cornbread, a spoken word and entertainment management company in Oakland. Her group the Hot Water Cornbread All Star Poets performs as well. (Kane)

With Blayze, Pop Lyfe, HWCB Poets

8 p.m., $15–$20


1330 Fillmore at Eddy, SF

(415) 655-5600


St. Vincent

St. Vincent’s Jane-of-all-trades Annie Clark cut her teeth playing with the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, so there is no doubt she has the experience to deliver a live show worthy of her sophomore album Actor (4AD). Tender and tough, Clark may appear to draw from the singer-songwriter well, but dashes of menace and complexity separate her intricate pop songs from run-of-the-mill balladry. Considering Actor was written and recorded by Clark using GarageBand, here’s your chance to enjoy the lush tunes with a full ensemble. (Peter Galvin)

With Wildbirds and Peacedrums

8 p.m., (doors: 7 p.m.), $20

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750

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