Our Weekly Picks

Pub date November 18, 2009



The Walworth Farce

Ever since his 1996 teen psychopath romance, Disco Pigs, Edna Walsh has been delivering unnerving plays of unusual verve, full of whimsy and deep dysfunction, crazy Gaelic cadences, the wit and high lyricism of the low of brow. We don’t see enough of it over here, which is all the more reason to catch Druid Ireland theater company’s production of Walsh’s The Walworth Farce, courtesy of Cal Performances. Not since Joe Orton have the traditional outlines of this classic comedic form been so over-amped and even over the line, downright weird and sort of dangerous. You are correct: this is in-your-farce theater. (Robert Avila)

8 p.m. (continues through Sun/22), $72

Zellerbach Hall

Bancroft at Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus, Berk.

(510) 642-9988




Second Annual Erotic Art Exhibition Tour

Featuring 120 international artists, body painting, live music, and a fashion show with more nip than slip, the Erotic Art Exhibition Tour promises to be much sexier than shopping for tofurkey and stuffing that doesn’t taste like puke. This year’s ARTundressed theme is "Illumination," and it presents the winning artists from the Erotic Showcase 2009 competition. Indulge your voyeuristic tendencies and benefit the American Foundation for AIDS Research by attending Saturday night’s Silent Art Auction. Then grab something white, red, or leathery, and head to the thematic "The Good, the Bad, and the Kinky" after party. (Lorian Long)

6 p.m. (through Sat/21), $45

California Modern Art Gallery

1035 Market, SF

(415) 716-8661



Justin Quinn: "Keep Out This Frost"

In an obsessive, Oulipian gesture, artist Justin Quinn constrains himself to the oft-used and abused letter E in his second solo show at Cain Schulte Gallery. Rather than playing off the letter’s relation to the party drug, top of the optometrist’s eye chart, or various corporate logos, Quinn delegates his E‘s to transutf8g the chapters of Melville’s Moby Dick. In substituting the particular for the ubiquitous, Quinn makes up for lost meaning through charged typographical flair that takes on a narrative all its own. If this isn’t enough Moby Dick for you, you can also check out a group show of visual responses to the classic at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. (Spencer Young)

Continuous through Dec. 23

6 p.m., artist talk at 7 p.m.

Cain Schulte Gallery

714 Guerrero, SF

(415) 543 1550




The Finns are curators of the strange, adapting the metal conventions of their Scandinavian neighbors and adding a good deal of idiosyncrasy. Helsinki’s Ensiferum embodies this trend, churning out martial, aggressive death metal augmented by keyboard flourishes, Ennio Morricone worship, harmonized vocals, and an army of folky, epic melodies. Their new album From Afar (Spinefarm) features the band at its grandiose best, and the war-kilted warriors prove themselves equally adept at atmospheric arrangement and straightforward, razor-wire riffing. Billed as the "Tour From Afar," this is their first headlining run stateside — prepare for battle. (Ben Richardson)

With Hypocrisy, Blackguard, Lazarus A.D.

8pm, $22

DNA Lounge

375 11th St., SF




Adam Savage: "My Dodo — History and Personal Reflections"
Magical werewolves, flightless fairies, and the raphus cucullatus (dodo bird)? Once thought to be a farcical myth, the extinct dodo is now fondly recalled — not just by Lewis Carroll fanatics, but by Mythbusters maven Adam Savage, an official model-maker of dodo bird skeletons. At this lecture by Savage, audience members are free to filch tidbits of information about this once illustrious and very real avian phenom. (Jana Hsu)

7–9 p.m., free

The Bone Room

1573 Solano, Berk.

(510) 526-5252




Down and Dirty Dance Series

The name of Dance Mission Theater’s latest dance series is somewhat hyperbolic, because the 11 scheduled companies aren’t known for being particularly subversive. But the series itself is more than welcome. A showcase primarily for local artists that doesn’t force them to go through an onerous vetting process is a fabulous idea. Dance Mission’s request was as simple as can be: explain in 500 words or less why you should be in the series. Three companies fill the first of five weekends. Christy Funsch is a tough thinker and independent dancer whose White Girls for Black Power is draws from Malcolm X and grrrl rock. The French-born, New York City resident and butoh artist Vangeline also brings feminist principles to her visually seductive dances. Dance Elixir will show rep and new work, informed by choreographer Leyya Tawil’s recent sojourn in the Middle East. (Rita Felciano)

8 p.m. (Funsch and Vangeline); Sat/21, 8 p.m. (Funsch and Vangeline); Sun, 6 p.m. (Vangeline and Elixer); $15–$18

Dance Mission Theater

3316 24th St., SF

(415) 273-4633



Naked Lunch 50th Anniversary Weekend

Sadly, my only Naked Lunch experience thus far has been an encounter with David Cronenberg’s 1991 film adaptation, at age 13. Sadder still, I only saw the scrambled version, because Showtime didn’t come with basic cable. I did, however, watch it in its distorted, striated entirety because — beyond its suggestive, sexy title — it offered to threaten my worldview. And threaten it did: bugs and vacuum cleaners and typewriters have never quite looked the same. The 20 participants, including DJ Spooky and Stephen Elliott, within this commemorative weekend of critical analysis and readings likely have more sophisticated accounts of William S. Burroughs and his seminal work. Still, I anticipate loads of raunchy debauchery. (Young)

7 p.m. (continues Sat/21–Sun/22 at other venues), free

San Francisco Art Institute Lecture Hall

800 Chestnut, SF

(415) 362-8193





San Francisco Hip-Hop DanceFest

You’d think that after a decade, the San Francisco Hip-Hop DanceFest would have settled into a comfortable, complacent groove. Not so — this amazing event stretches ever wider to pull in new companies, adding personal and national perspectives. For the first time, a mixed-ability company, Ill-Abilities, is representing. New acts are traveling from South Korea, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Norway. The crews’ names include Last For One, Deep Down Dopeizm, Plague, Bad Taste Cru, Smash Bro’z Hip Hop, and B-Boy Spaghetti. Nothing wrong with their verbal imagination, now let’s see how it translates to kinetic energy. More than welcome back, of course, are "old timers" Mop Top, DS Players, Soul Force Dance Company, and Funkanometry. (Rita Felciano)

8 p.m.; also Sat/21, 8 p.m.;

Sun/22., 2 and 7 p.m.; $35

Palace of Fine Arts

3301 Lyon, SF




San Francisco Bicycle Ballet

What exactly is a bicycle ballet? Find out tonight by witnessing the San Francisco Bicycle Ballet, a team of synchronized bike riders best viewed from above. Founded in 1996, SFBB has kept its pedals to the metal, or at least some forms of rock music, thanks to its own band, the Spoke Tones. Tonight’s performance also includes the bands Molten Grog, Charbo, and Chump. (Hsu)

8 p.m., $8 (free vegan spread)

Dogpatch Saloon

2496 3rd Street, SF



Tim Miller: Lay of the Land

You wouldn’t call it straight talk exactly, but queer performance artist Tim Miller has a talent and penchant for speaking his mind. Internationally known for his vigorously, hilariously, even enchantingly outspoken solo performance pieces, his concerns remain socially activist and largely American (he’s even one of the "NEA Four," artists targeted for funding assassination by D.C. wing nuts, surely worth a patriot merit badge if not a rent check). His latest, Lay of the Land, is a "state of the queer union," a clarion call to arms and legs and other appendages, and — presently on tour across said land — it touches down at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts this weekend. (Avila)

8 p.m. (also Sat/21, 8 p.m.), $25

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum

701 Mission, SF

(415) 978-2787




Episco Disco: Bronze and Kamau Amu Patton

Apparently Bronze isn’t being ironic by labeling itself "religious" on its MySpace page. Bands usually sidestep genre affiliation on MySpace by claiming no style or, through the safe security of self-effacement, a ragtag of disparate and insincere stripes like "melodramatic/tropical/metal." But given that this show is at a cathedral — a legitimate designator of religion — I’m guessing Bronze’s devotion is for real. Sure, it could all be part of its shtick, or a joke gone too far, but anyone who’s seen them play knows they command reverence. With slippery psychedelic grooves that faithfully and graciously point to Silver Apples and visuals by Goldie winner Kamau Amu Patton, there’s potential here for raised arms and hallelujahs, granted those pews get filled. (Young)

7–10 p.m., free

Grace Cathedral

1100 California, SF

(415) 749 6300




Thao with The Get Down Stay Down

On the title track of Know Better Learn Faster (Kill Rock Stars), Thao Nguyen lustfully (and more than a little desperately) sings, "I need you to be /better than me /you need me to do /better than you." Nguyen’s romantic tendencies involve a kind of self-loathing that only she can make precious with lyrics like daggers thrown at a shiny backdrop of plucky guitars, blaring horns, and achy vocals. "What am I /just a body in your bed?" she asks with a punk’s sneer on "Body," before admitting "Won’t you reach for the body in your bed?" This is music to listen to when you’re sleeping with someone you shouldn’t be sleeping with. But disastrous love tastes a lot sweeter when you have a soundtrack like Thao with the Get Down Stay Down to listen to as you drive over train tracks in the middle of the night, telling yourself you’re not going back, and then turning around at the next stoplight. (Long)

With the Portland Cello Project, David Schultz

9 p.m., $17

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF





Pirates are honorary heathens, and none are more worthy of honor than Scottish pirate-metal sensations Alestorm. The pick of the Heathenfest litter, the Perth-based band has terrorized landlubbers the world over with their freebooting chops and foc’sle-ready melodies, the latter courtesy of singer/keyboardist Christopher Bowes, who wields a mighty keytar to get the peg-legs tapping. 2009’s Black Sails at Midnight (Napalm) made good on the promise shown by debut offering Captain Morgan’s Revenge (Napalm), and there is surely more plunder in store for the quartet as they ply the high seas and highways of the land. (Richardson)

With Eluveitie, Belphegor, Vreid, Kivimetsan Druidi

$22, 7:30

DNA Lounge

375 11th, SF





Bo Dixon in the Flesh

Hair has gotten a bad rap during certain eras of gay porn, but it’s been back with a vengeance in recent years, as baby-oil-slick twinks began sharing shelf and site spaces with men with an "edge." While Bo Dixon was a skinny toothsome kid at his college graduation, more recently he’s proven that hairiness is sexy. This former COLT Studio model is a serious bodybuilder, and he’ll be showing off his bronzed, fleshy, hairy strength at a calendar-signing for the brand-new Bo Dixon: Reinvented calendar. (Hsu)

7:30 p.m., free

A Different Light

489 Castro, SF

(415) 431-0891


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