Our Weekly Picks: November 16-22

Pub date November 15, 2011


Kiran Ahluwalia

Tuareg rock band Tinariwen continues to hit it out of the park this year, releasing a hypnotically raw new album, collaborating with TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe — and now working with Indo-Canadian singer Kiran Awluwali on her engrossing new disc Aam Zameen: Common Ground. Not that Awluwali needed the help, exactly: her enticing voice holds its own in both her own Punjabi-inflected compositions and the throaty tribal blues of the Sahara. She has also seamlessly incorporated Celtic fiddling, Persian gazals, Portuguese fado, Sufi qawwali, and Afghan rhubab into her previous releases — her eclecticism comes without preciousness. Emblematic is her version, with Tinariwen, of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s “Mustt Mustt”: “a song from the South Asian Islamic tradition performed with Muslims from Mali, Tinariwen.” And a gorgeous Canadian! (Marke B.)

8 p.m., $20

Yoshi’s Oakland

510 Embarcadero West, Oakl.



Unlike some other bands that emerged out of Manchester, England in the 1980s (Joy Division, The Fall), The Chameleons have remained relatively obscure. Formed in 1981, the band’s exotic strain of post-punk was perfected on its breathtaking debut, Script of the Bridge (1983). Script was an atmospheric album that featured some of the most interesting guitar work of the post-punk era thanks to Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding. “Second Skin” and “View from a Hill” were two swirling, heavily delayed tracks that remain astonishing feats. Since the band separated in 2003, lead singer and bass player Mark Burgess has started ChamelonsVox, a run off band (and a blessing) that stays true to the original. (James H. Miller)

With Black Swan Lane, James Oakes

9 p.m., $20

Cafe Du Nord

2170 Market, SF

(415)861 5016



“Block by Block”

Forget hushed indoor voices and audio tours. At the de Young Museum this weekend, Campo Santo and Sean San José will activate the space with the work of artists including hip-hop theater collective Felonious, and writer Junot Díaz. The roving performance adventure composed of dance, mixed-media, live music-mixing, beatboxing, spoken word movement, and projected visuals by Favianna Rodriguez and Evan Bissell brings a San Francisco block party inside the museum. Drawing from recent short stories and other original writings rooted in the New Jersey Dominican family life of Junot Díaz, Block by Block: The Pura Principle is the third Camp Santo work created with the writer. (Julie Potter)

Through Sat/19, 8 p.m., $15–$30

de Young Museum

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden, SF

(415) 750-3600



“Love Streams”

Yerba Buena screened John Cassavetes’s smoldering swan song four years ago, but it’s not likely you’ve seen it since. Love Streams remains unavailable on DVD, though it inspires strong allegiances: French impresario agnès b. named her production company after it, while Yerba Buena curator Joel Shepard simply calls it his favorite film. Cassavetes and his wife Gena Rowlands play brother and sister experiencing crises in different emotional registers. Their moment-by-moment performances earn every bit of wisdom and tenderness the hard way. (Max Goldberg)

7:30 p.m., $8

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF

(415) 978-2787



International Motorcycle Show

Have you a loved one who insists on riding their motorcycle in ill-advised conditions? Through light rain showers, perhaps, or after a solid Whiskey Wednesday at Bender’s? Make light of their foolhardy shenanigans with a trip to the International Motorcycle Show, where the two of you will drool over custom choppers — built-in gaping maws, anyone? — but also the tally-ho swaggadacio of “Around the World Doug” Wothke, who has ridden a 1948 Indian Chief around the world, and a Harley Sportster for completely unrecommended distances (the width of continents). Clutch post-ride Wothke quote: “I’m wore out like a two dollar whore on nickel night!”(Caitlin Donohue)

Fri/18, 4-9 p.m.; Sat/19, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun/20, 9:30 a.m.- 5 p.m., $10 one day/$24 three day pass San Mateo County Event Center 2495 South Delaware, San Mateo (650) 638-0745 www.motorcycleshows.com


Trey McIntyre Project

In the ballet world, Trey McIntyre is something of a phenomenon: a popularizer of an art that in some people’s eyes is weighted down by the cobwebs of history. But for this choreographer of over 80 works, ballet is just a language that can be augmented with anything from hip-hop to salsa, gymnastics to modern dance. Out of this twenty-first century lingo McIntyre very skillfully fashions dances that communicate with an easy physicality; quite simply, it’s lots of fun to watch, even when they tackle serious subjects. TMP is bringing three works: the ebulliently theatrical “Gravity Heroes,” “The Sweeter End,” which is dedicated to the people of New Orleans, and “Dreams” — set to the music of and as a tribute to Roy Orbison. (Rita Felciano)

8 p.m. $30-$68

Cal Performances

Zellerbach Hall, Berk.




DJ Harvey and Mike Simonetti

Have you heard DJ Harvey before? He’s been around for more than two decades now, and released the LP Locussolus earlier this year, but his sound does have special requirements: “You can’t understand the blues until you’ve had your heart broken by a woman or whatever, and you can’t understand my music until you’ve had group sex on Ecstasy.” At least that’s what he told his 19-year-old son (and later a CMJ interviewer.) Well, a quasi-Luddite (spinning vinyl and sometimes analog tape edits) with tastes at the crossroads of disco, house, and punk, Harvey’s music is almost as provocative (and unsubtly sexual) as his bold statements. He’ll be joined by Mike Simonetti, the tastemaker behind Italians Do It Better, home of Glass Candy and Chromatics. (Ryan Prendiville)

With Eug (Face)

9:30 p.m., $10-15

Public Works

161 Erie, SF

(415) 932-0955



Lucinda Williams

Proving that some things only get better with time, Lucinda Williams’ intoxicating blend of introspective songwriting and impassioned performing skills makes her one of the best musical acts out there. The 50-something singer continues to weave her twangy, soulful voice with a background of country, rock, folk and blues on her latest album, this year’s Blessed (Lost Highway), featuring standout tracks “Copenhagen,” “Convince Me,” and “Seeing Black.” While her records are excellent, live on stage is really the place to hear Williams—her shows are pure musical marathons; somehow raucous, soothing, cathartic, and celebratory all at the same time. (Sean McCourt)

With Blake Mills (Sat.) and Buick 6 (Sun.)

Through Sun/20, 8 p.m., $40


1805 Geary, SF

(415) 346-6000



“Fall 2011 San Francisco Underground Short Film Festival”

Sometimes, a killer title is your best weapon. Peaches Christ’s alter ego, Joshua Grannell, knows this (see: 2010’s All About Evil). Together with partner-in-crime and fellow local weird-movie champion Sam Sharkey (he’s pals with Tommy Wiseau!), Peaches returns to the scene of Evil (the Victoria) to roll out the Fall 2011 San Francisco Underground Film Festival. The fest features 33 films from every genre imaginable crammed into two programs, including the later “After Dark” segment featuring my personal favorite killer title of the group: Wizard Heist, from filmmaker Max Sylvester. And Peaches wouldn’t steer you wrong: the nine-minute film, about a quartet of sorcerers reuniting for one last score, is all that and a 12-sided die. “I need to know: are you going to get back on that unicorn with us, or are you going to let your beard fall off?” (Cheryl Eddy)

7:30 and 10:30 p.m., $15 ($20 for both programs)

Victoria Theatre

2961 16th St., SF




Back in its early 1990s heyday, Kyuss found success without the help of traditional venues. Instead, the band would rock the arid wilderness near its Palm Desert, Calif. home, turning on a gas-powered generator and playing its distinctive brand of swirling, down-tuned stoner rock until the juice ran out. Founding guitarist Josh Homme eventually departed to form Queens of the Stone Age, rubbishing talk of a reunion, but Kyuss has recently been resurrected without him. Rounded out by new guitarist Bruno Fevery, the four-piece embarked on a worldwide headlining tour, playing (mostly) indoor venues and delighting fans who thought their opportunity to see the influential band had gone for good. After languishing in stasis for more than a decade, Kyuss Lives! (Ben Richardson)

With the Sword, Black Cobra, Papa Wheelie

8 p.m., $30

Regency Ballroom

1300 Van Ness, SF

(415) 673-5716



Dirty Ghosts

Dirty Ghosts is a grimy quartet rising up from the gutters of San Francisco. Allyson Baker provides vocals, gnarly guitar riffs, and a bad attitude. Erin McDermott handles the bass, Jason Slota’s on drums and Nick Andre tackles the keyboard and sampler. Originally an in-apartment recording project, the band formerly included Carson Binks (who’s now in the Saviours) and Baker’s husband Aesop Rock, but when the Dirty Ghosts decided to get serious in 2010 and start playing live shows, Baker enlisted McDermott and Andre — Slota joined this year. A link to the band’s website recently popped up in my inbox with a direct warning — “They’re gonna be huge.” After listening to Dirty Ghosts’ single, “Shout It In,” I believe it. Heed the warning. Don’t sleep on this act. (Frances Capell)

With Dante Vs. Zombies and Phil Manley’s Life Coach

9 p.m., $8

El Rio

3158 Mission, SF

(415) 282-3325



Kimya Dawson

Kimya Dawson is much too candid of a songwriter to even think of separating her life as a new mother from her music. In 2008, the ex-Moldy Peach released an album of children’s songs, called Alphabutt. On her latest album, Thunder Thighs (released on her label, Great Crap Factory), Dawson returns in anti-folk mode to sing about the humbling experience of having a baby daughter, and looks back on her muddled past. “I walked with the sweats/I walked with the chills,” she sings on the 10 minute epic about recovering from addiction, “Walk Like Thunder.” Thunder Thighs even has some children’s songs, too. (Miller)

With Your Heart Breaks, Dave End

8 p.m., $15

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011



Laura Johnston Kohl

In her self-published book Jonestown Survivor: An Insider’s Look, Laura Johnston Kohl documents how, in 1970, she became a follower of Jim Jones, leader of the religious cult the Peoples Temple split between San Francisco and the South American country of Guyana. Jones became infamous in ’78 when he ordered more than 900 of his Peoples Temple followers to commit suicide by ingesting cyanide-laced Kool Aid. Kohl was away from Jonestown when the suicide order came. She spent the next 20 years recovering from the deaths of her family and friends and her so-called survivors’ guilt. Now, Kohl is an avid public speaker willing to share her tragic, life-altering experience with the world. (Kevin Lee)

7 p.m., free

Books Inc.

601 Van Ness