Our weekly picks

Pub date November 24, 2009



Sex Worker

In the current folds of neo-psychedelia, kids don’t require drugs to lose their shit. They need only close their eyes and wait for the neon to swirl, the monologues to multiply. Sex Worker, the solo effort of Daniel Martin-McCormick of Mi Ami, is one such manifestation of this hide-and-seek schizo entanglement, where fits of stretched, ethereal sound get densely layered with Martin-McCormick’s fractured vocal tantrums. Actually, I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m basing this on two MySpace songs. The truth is, you’re still in town. And you didn’t go home to Utah (or some other whoopee cushion state) because you thought staying in SF during the holiday would be more entertaining than having that same conversation with that same uncle over the same plate of Jell-O and mashed potatoes. And you’re right. This is guaranteed to be more exciting. (Spencer Young)

With Psychic Reality, Jealousy

9:30 p.m., $6

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF



Ara Peterson: "Turn Into Stone"

Not every artist who has representation has it from a gallery that’s a near-ideal showcase for her or his work. But such is the case for Ara Peterson, whose large-scale experiments with form and color are given the right amount of white space by Ratio 3. "Turn Into Stone" is composed of two bodies of work. The first is a series of backgammon tables designed and created by Peterson and his father, Jack. In terms of influence, these pieces extend patrilineal influence yet further, drawing from the youngest Peterson’s memories of his great-grandfather’s ceramic paintings. The 21-century Albers extended lines of color — or, to use the artist’s phrase "long impervious vibes" — in the other body of work make for a good wood-and-acrylic-paint contrast with Marcus Linnebrink’s current epoxy resin and pigment pieces at Patricia Sweetow Gallery. And that’s not even getting into the show’s giant intestinal orange tubes. (Johnny Ray Huston)

11 a.m.-6 p.m. (continues through Dec. 19), free

Ratio 3

1447 Stevenson, SF

(415) 821-3371



San Francisco Gourmet Chocolate Tour

If you’re in the mood for a culinary adventure, you’ll likely love-love-lovey Gourmet Walks’ three-hour tour devoted to treats by local artisan chocolatiers. You might be looking for petit fours of bitter chocolate rust. Or perhaps you’re the type to appreciate crepe de chine encrusted with whole goji berries from your local farmers market, or you’re one of the growing number of dog owners looking for some white chocolate-covered canine biscuits. Maybe you just like chocolate. If any of the above apply, you’ll a chance to encounter a newsstand with 200-plus candy bars and a Swiss place beloved by the mighty Oprah on this jaunt. Oh, and you’ll definitely get a free cup of piping hot cocoa. (Jana Hsu)

10:30 a.m. (also Fri., 10:30 a.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.), $49

Union Square to waterfront, SF

(800) 838-3006




Del Tha Funkee Homosapien

Who is the cousin of Cube, the secret Native Tongue, the psychedelic seer, the time-traveler who had been to 3030 and back before he even met Gorillaz? Dude, it’s Del tha Funkee Homosapien. In addition to a footwear project with Osiris Shoes, Del’s been putting out recordings at a furious pace of late: the latest — after this year’s self-released Funkman and Automatic Statik — might be Parallel Uni-verses (Gold Dust) a collabo with Tame One of Artifacts. The man who prices his music in response to the economy brings his stimulus package to the stage tonight. (Huston)

With Bukue One, Serendipity Project, Hopie Spitshard

9 p.m., $19–$22

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF

(888) 233-0449




The Velveteen Rabbit

In a time when babies are practically born with electronic hamsters to pet and Transformers to hug, one wonders whether there still is place in a child’s life for a velveteen rabbit that loses its whiskers and a practically tail-less toy horse. The success of ODC/Dance’s now 23-year-old The Velveteen Rabbit proves that there are plenty of kids, parents, and grandparents who see the fun and heartache in this lovely story about love, loss, and growing up. Of course, it helps that ODC went for quality when they first scratched the money together for a production of this evergreen: KT Nelson for choreography, Benjamin Britten for music, Brian Wildsmith for costumes and sets, and our own Geoff Hoyle for narration. Margery Williams’ story may be a classic, but so is ODC’s translation to the stage. (Rita Felciano)

2 p.m.(through Dec. 13), $10–$45

Novellus Theater

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF

(415) 978-2787




The first time I saw Peaches was by accident. She somehow snuck herself onto a tour with …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, a solid yet serious emo rock band. Peaches, too, was solid — or ripe, rather — but only semiserious, and she was neither emo nor rock (despite the suggestion of her most successful song to date, "Fuck the Pain Away"). She was more electroshock than electroclash, dancing provocatively to simple but catchy prerecorded tracks and flaunting giant rubber dildos while Germanic pubic hair spilled out her kid-sized leotard. Since then I’ve learned that it’s imperative to abandon your dull, serious self at a Peaches show. Otherwise she’ll find you in the crowd and call you out by slapping your face with God knows what. (Young)

With Amanda Blank, Wallpaper

9 p.m., $25

Regency Ballroom

1290 Sutter, SF



The Great Dickens Christmas Fair

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair aims to take attendees back to the era of the author’s novels, not to mention the holiday season of one of his more popular tales. But it also is a Bay Area tradition that carries its own history, dating back to 1970. The fair has more than its fair share of devoted attendees — among them Father Christmas, Ebeneezer Scrooge, the Cratchit Family (including Tiny Tim), Oliver Twist, Mr. Pickwick, and perhaps even Charles Dickens. They know the truth: nothing’s better for the body than a hot toddy. (Hsu)

11 a.m.–7 p.m. (through Dec. 20)

$10–$22 ($25–$55 for season passes)

Cow Palace Exhibition Halls

2600 Geneva, SF

(800) 510-1558



"Otto Preminger: Anatomy of a Movie"

He came from Vienna, and he conquered Hollywood. Well, it took a hot minute — occasional thespian Otto Preminger was also cast as a Nazi in multiple films. But directing was his true talent, and he proved a master in multiple genres: 1944 noir Laura; 1947 Joan Crawford melodrama Daisy Kenyon; 1959 courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder; 1962 political thriller Advise and Consent; 1957 historical biopic Saint Joan, starring a then-unknown Jean Seberg (who later played the enfant terrible in 1958’s Bonjour Tristesse); 1955 Frank Sinatra junkie drama The Man with the Golden Arm; and 1955’s Carmen Jones, with Dorothy Dandridge leading an all-African American cast. This Pacific Film Archive series, loaded with restored and rare prints of all of the above and more, also tosses in a couple of unclassifiable gems: 1965’s Bunny Lake is Missing (whodunnit?) and 1968’s Skidoo (LSD dunnit!) (Cheryl Eddy)

7 p.m. (Laura) and 8:50 p.m. (Fallen Angel), continues through Dec. 20; $5.50–$9.50

Pacific Film Archive

2575 Bancroft, Berk.

(510) 642-5249



Secrets of the Shadow World

Season’s greetings from George Kuchar! San Francisco’s busy underground laureate is featured in a recent documentary portrait, an upcoming SF Cinematheque program of vintage 8mm restorations, and Yerba Buena’s "Tropical Vultures" exhibit. Visit Yerba Buena this Saturday and your gallery admission is good for a special screening of Secrets of the Shadow World (1989-1999). A prime slab of the Kucharesque, this Rockefeller Foundation-funded (!) paranormal video dive incorporates reconnaissance with John Keel, the recently deceased author of 1975’s Mothman Prophecies, along with essayistic inquiries into the ontology of digital imagery and Sasquatch droppings. (Max Goldberg)

2 p.m., Free with Gallery Admission

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF




"You Are Her: Riot Grrrl and Underground Female Zines of the 1990s"

Matt Wobensmith’s zine shop Goteblüd was the toast of the town at this October’s New York Art Book Fair, with Holland Cotter of The New York Times singling it out in a report on the event. Wobensmith has already shared a lion’s-size library of queer zines with curious local paper tigers via Goteblüd’s first local show — now, it’s the paper tigresses’ turn for a treat, thanks to "You Are Her," a pretty much astonishingly expansive — though not if you know Wobensmith’s dedication to the cause — collection of riot grrrl and other female-centric 1990s zines available for viewing and reading. Behold copies of Bikini Kill, Double Bill, Girl Germs, Hey Soundguy (by Corin Tucker), I Heart Amy Carter and Jigsaw (by Donna Dresch), my first love Teenage Gang Debs, and Way Down Low. Behold Sassy in its glossy glory. Be glad you live in SF, where you can see this stuff for real — for realz. (Huston)

Noon–5 p.m. (show continues through Jan. 2010), free


766 Valencia, SF




"What About Me?!: New Faces in Contemporary Self Portraiture"

First off, kudos to the Peanut Gallery for its name. Second, the young space’s latest show has a strong sense of variety. At a glance, what I really like are the vast differences between Dean Dempsey’s colorful backlit image of himself times five post-racketball in a locker room; Richard Bluecloud Cataneda’s black-and-white vision of himself times nine in street, ceremonial, and clown guises; and Susan Wu’s 10 card-size drawings that render her face, disembodied, as masks of a sort. These contrasts demonstrate the breadth and potential of contemporary self-portraiture rather than its narcissistic pitfalls. (Huston)

Noon–6 p.m., free

The Peanut Gallery

855 Folsom, #108, SF

(415) 341-0074




Conspiracy of Beards

Few beards exist in the 30-man a capella choir Conspiracy of Beards. This is not surprising, considering they sing the songs of Leonard Cohen, who seems to prefer the scrape of a razor to any soft cushion. If you were rich (or desperate) enough to pay the $90 ticket fee to see Mr. Cohen back in April at the Paramount in Oakland, then you know it was for the words. A poet dressed in a musician’s clothing, Cohen is most potent when his lyrics do all the songs’ work, which they usually do. The a capella setup of Conspiracy of Beards proves to be genius when you hear 30 men singing "Giving me head on the unmade bed." Cohen’s signature synthpop sound is delivered courtesy of the bass vocals on songs like "First We Take Manhattan" and "Tower of Song." And "Famous Blue Raincoat" is more ominous than sad. Don’t be surprised if the Cafe Du Nord suddenly becomes a cathedral. (Lorian Long)

With StitchCraft, King City

8:30 p.m., $10

Cafe Du Nord

2170 Market, SF

(415) 861-5016

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