Our weekly picks

Pub date March 9, 2010



Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Today, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is as much Judith Jamison’s company as it was Ailey’s. Having reluctantly taken on the company’s artistic directorship after Ailey’s death, Jamison has led the troupe for the last 20 years with remarkable perspicacity and skill. Jamison may not be a great choreographer, but she is a great company director and dance visionary. This anniversary season sports three Bay Area premieres. Borrowing the title from Jamison’s autobiography, Ronald K. Brown, something of a visionary himself, set his new Dancing Spirit in her honor. Company dancer-choreographer Matthew Rushing’s Uptown looks to the Harlem Renaissance for inspiration. Finally, Jamison contributes Among Us (Private Spaces: Public Places), a series of vignettes set to a jazz score by Eric Lewis. (Rita Felciano)

8 p.m. (through Sat/13), $36–$62

Zellerbach Hall

UC Berkeley campus, Berk.

(510) 642-9988




Pepe Moreno

Exploring the life of one of the most iconic characters in the history of comic books, the new "Batman: Yesterday and Tomorrow" exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum spotlights Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting alter-ego, starting from his creation by artist Bob Kane and running through his many transformations over the years. Groundbreaking artist Pepe Moreno will be on hand tonight to discuss his revolutionary 1990 graphic novel Batman: Digital Justice, which was written and illustrated using computer hardware and software — one of the first such endeavors undertaken in the comics world. (Sean McCourt)

7 p.m., $5 donation requested

Cartoon Art Museum

655 Mission, SF

(415) 227-8666



Thirsty Bear Beer Tasting

I’m hardly the first person to hop on the eat-everything-organic bandwagon. But when you live in San Francisco, it’s only a matter of time before you start shopping at farmers markets in hopes of finding the perfect toxin-free mango or avocado. Now you can add "organic beer connoisseur" to your list of titles by attending Thirsty Bear’s free organic beer tasting and workshop. You’ll learn all there is to know about sustainable brewing techniques, and get to sample some of the tastiest beers immediate area has to offer. (Elise-Marie Brown)

12-1:30 p.m., free

Green Zebra Environmental Action Center

50 Post, SF

(415) 346.2361



A Sunny Day in Glasgow

A Sunny Day in Glasgow wants you to rethink shoegaze. The Philadelphia trio layers their instruments in a manner that resembles a 21st-century Cocteau Twins, but their wall of sound is never as heavy, aiming instead for a sunny pop atmosphere you wouldn’t expect from the genre. Sometimes the accompanying vocals by Annie Fredrickson and Josh Meakim are maddeningly hard to make out beneath the waves of sound, but then they emerge clearly at just the right moment, like a breath of fresh air. Last year’s sophomore album Ashes Grammar (Mis Ojos Discos) was a sprawling mega-mix of moods, with songs bleeding into songs willy-nilly, and it’s safe to figure that their live show would reflect such a singular aural experience. If the critical reactions to Ashes Grammar are any indication, chances are good A Sunny Day in Glasgow won’t be performing in spaces as tiny as the Hemlock for long. (Peter Galvin)

With the Gold Medalists and Apopka Darkroom

9 p.m., $8

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF

(415) 923-0923



Free Party for Experience Hendrix Tour

Inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s significant contributions to the music world, his father formed Experience Hendrix, a series of tribute concerts. Debuting in 1995 at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Arts and Music Festival, the show has been on the road ever since. The tour comes to the Warfield tonight with a lineup that includes Band of Gypsys’ original bassist Billy Cox, along with Joe Satriani, Kenny Wayne Shephard, Eric Johnson, Susan Tedeschi, and Jonny Lang. Before the show, Hard Rock Café hosts a party with a raffle for tickets and transportation to the show. (Lilan Kane)

4 p.m., free

Hard Rock Café

Pier 39, SF

(415) 956-2013




The Temper Trap

Although these guys were featured in (500) Days of Summer, don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re strictly light and whimsical. Just reminiscing on the first time I saw them gets me giddy inside. Drumsticks flew everywhere, and Dougy Madagi whaled uncontrollably in the mic as the crowd absorbed every drop of their soaring energy. Let’s just say these guys know how to put on a serious show. Now the Melbourne, Australia rockers are making their second trip here as headliners. (Brown)

9 p.m., $22.50

The Fillmore

1805 Geary, SF

(415) 346-6000



Dave Attell

You wanna know why you’ve never seen television commercials for Jägermeister? Dave Attell knows a few good reasons. Attell is perhaps best known to mainstream audiences for his stint hosting Comedy Central’s Insomniac, a hilarious late-night, booze-fueled TV program where he explored what to do in various cities while on tour. This weekend the sometimes abrasive but always gut-bustingly funny comedian brings his high-proof standup to the city for the weekend, covering a variety of topics, including the aforementioned elixir and its propensity for instigating debauchery. (McCourt)

8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. (also Sat/13) , $35.50

Cobb’s Comedy Club

915 Columbus, SF

(415) 928-4320




How many modern dance companies do you know with two in-house choreographers? These ensembles usually swim an eclectic rep or feature the work of a single artist. ODC/Dance is very much the exception because of KT Nelson and Brenda Way, two dance-makers who couldn’t be more different in terms of style, artistic temperament, musicality, and sources of inspiration. Every season offers at least one new piece from each. This year, Way is working with composer/performer Pamela Z on Waving Not Drowning (A Guide to Elegance), a response to a 1963 manual on etiquette. Nelson turns to Mozart’s glorious Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor for Labor of Love, in which she explores what she calls "committed adult love" — the stresses and joys experienced by couples in relationships. (Felciano)

March 12/ 7 p.m. (through March 28), $15–$45

Novellus Theater

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF

(415) 978-ARTS




Martin Lawrence

Damn, Gina! Even if he’s fallen off your radar after donning the "Eddie Murphy fat suit" in Big Momma’s House (2000), you have fond memories of Martin Lawrence from such early comedic ventures as the TV series Martin, the host of HBO’s Def Comedy Jam or the tabloid field-day "Running Down Ventura Boulevard Yelling at Cars." In 2010, Lawrence is taking a break from film and returning to his roots with a stand-up tour, where his manic delivery really has room to breathe. Though he often finds himself an easy target, there is no doubt Lawrence is a huge star and these tickets are going to sell out — so get to steppin’! (Galvin)

8 p.m. (also Sun/14), $42.75–$77.50

Paramount Theatre

2025 Broadway, Oakl.

(510) 465-6400



E.C. Scott

E.C. Scott works a crowd, inciting laughter and tears. Atlantic Records’ cofounder Jerry Wexler praised her as "one honest-to-God soul singer." She’s become a major staple in the blues circuit in the Bay Area and beyond. Scott grew up singing in St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland and cites gospel as a major influence. She’s shared the stage with Lou Rawls, Ray Charles, Patti Labelle, and John Lee Hooker, and in 1994, signed a multirecord deal with Blind Pig Records that resulted in a Downbeat award and W.C. Handy nomination for Soul/Blues Female Artist of the Year. (Lilan Kane)

8 p.m., $20

401 Mason, SF.

(415) 292-2583



Youth Brigade

Formed by brothers Adam, Mark, and Shawn Stern in 1980, Youth Brigade made its mark on the early California punk scene with empowering anthems like "Fight to Unite" and DIY action. The trio started the Better Youth Organization to promote shows and put out records for themselves and their friends’ bands. Thirty years later, the group still plays with raw, rebellious energy and spirit. The sprawling new box set Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records chronicles their efforts. (McCourt)

9 p.m., $18


333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333




Scarlett Fever

Local fans of punk, rockabilly, hot rods, burlesque, and more join together today for a very special cause — the annual "Scarlett Fever" show, an all-day benefit for Scarlett James, teenage daughter of Rosa and Bob James, who suffers from Rett syndrome, a childhood neurodevelopmental disorder that leads to the loss of many motor skills. The annual event helps pay for her care and raises money for research into the disorder. Her father is a veteran musician (playing in Del Bombers) and each year has enlisted the help of some stellar talent. Today’s event includes Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Boys, Three Bad Jacks, Stigma 13, Ghost Town Hangmen, plus live burlesque — courtesy of Hubba Hubba Revue — and raffles, including one for a new custom motorcycle. (McCourt)

1 p.m., $15

DNA Lounge

375 11th St., SF

(415) 626-1409




Remembering Playland at the Beach

If you haven’t yet met Laffing Sal, it’s time for you to take a trip to (dreaded) Fisherman’s Wharf and the (free) Musée Mécanique. As every self-respecting San Franciscan knows, Sal once presided over the Funhouse at Playland at the Beach, an amusement park along Ocean Beach that had its heyday in the 1910s and ’20s (but didn’t close until 1972). The most famous film to feature Sal’s terrifying cackle is 1948’s The Lady From Shanghai — but no doubt you’ll get an earful in Tom Wyrsch’s brand-new doc, Remembering Playland at the Beach, which is stuffed with archival footage, photographs, and interviews. Appropriately, the film debuts at the Balboa, just blocks from the former site of Playland’s famous midway. (Cheryl Eddy)

7 and 9:15 p.m., $6.50–$9

Balboa Theatre

3630 Balboa, SF

(415) 221-3117



Palestine Cinema: A Shorts Program

The Red Vic has partnered with the Arab Film Festival for a tempting "second look" at a series of short works by a new and international generation of Palestinian filmmakers, originally screened as part of AFF 2009. Topping the lineup is Riyad Deis’ Swesh Swesh, set during the Arab Revolt in Palestine in 1936–39, as a farming family reluctantly harbors a revolutionary fugitive and finds its traditional beliefs challenged in the resulting exchange. The one-night-only program also includes Lesh Sabreen by Bay Area–trained Muayad Alayan (and shot by SF filmmaker Christian Bruno). It focuses on a young couple trapped, literally, between the wall of Israeli occupation and their families’ own conservative mores. (Robert Avila)

7:15 and 9:15 p.m., $6-9

Red Vic Movie House

1727 Haight, SF

(415) 668-3994


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