Our Weekly Picks: January 9-15

Pub date January 8, 2013


RADAR Reading Series

Like a literary-focused Parisian salon, but with vibrant SF genderfucking and homemade desserts, this monthly showcase of emerging, underground writers and artists is routinely the most enticing potpourri of need-to-know talent. The RADAR Reading Series is part of local treasure/Sister Spit(ter) Michelle Tea’s nonprofit, RADAR Productions. This time, there’s visual artist D-L Alvarez, Gaga Feminism author Jack Halberstam (who writes often of gender queerness, pop culture, and bad TV), transnational interdisciplinary artist and cultural organizer Favianna Rodriguez, and author Grace Krilanovich — whose 2010 debut novel, The Orange Eats Creep,was named one of Amazon’s top science fiction/fantasy books that year. With Tea hosting the follow-up Q&A, you know there will be cookies on hand. (Emily Savage)

6pm, free

San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch

Latino Reading Room

100 Larkin, SF



“Unknown but Knowable States”

Dorothea Tanning’s surreal paintings provide a window into the female subconscious with as much style and punch as her male contemporaries. There will be a few of these crisp, symbolic painting in the upcoming exhibit, Known but Unknowable States, but it will also show a different side of her work — one that could easily fit in with ethereal figure painting seen in contemporary art. The most striking works are what she called “prism” paintings, which twist the female form into abstract visions with soft brushwork and unique color combinations. To go along with these will be some of her soft sculptures of strange creatures made of fabric, fur, and a sewing machine. (Molly Champlin)

Through March 2

Opening reception, 5pm, free

Gallery Wendi Norris

161 Jessie, SF

(415) 346-7812



The Art and Legacy of Crime Photographer Weegee

It should come as no surprise that Eddie Muller took a shining to the work of 1930s and ’40s press photographer Arthur Fellig, a.k.a. Weegee. Muller’s the founder of the SF Noir Film Festival, whose hardboiled flicks go perfectly with Weegee’s steely-gazed shots of crime scenes. The photographer is widely credited with bringing aesthetic concern to crime scene photography. Today, Muller explains why the man’s work still matters now, in the era of Instagram and meme mania, with this talk, punctuated by video interludes. (Caitlin Donohue)

6:30-8pm, $5

Contemporary Jewish Museum

736 Mission, SF

(415) 655-7800



“Risk is This…”

If you want to see what Cutting Ball Theatre’s next season might look like, you’d do well to check out this season’s new experimental plays festival, “Risk is This….” Past festivals have foreshadowed full productions of some of Cutting Ball’s most memorable pieces including Marcus Gardley’s “…and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi” and Eugenie Chan’s “Tontlawald”, and this year’s lineup looks to be just as full of future potential, with new plays written by Sean San José, Dipika Guha, and Basil Kreimendahl, plus exciting new translations of Alfred Jarry’s “Ubu Roi” and the Capek brothers’ “Insect Play.” Presented over five weekends of staged readings, the five plays range topically from transgenderism to crack-cocaine to the corrupting influence of power — which certainly sounds like the very definition of risk to us. (Nicole Gluckstern)

Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 9

8pm, free–$20 donation

EXIT on Taylor

177 Taylor, SF

(415) 525-1205



“Alfred Hitchcock: The Shape of Suspense”

Alfred Hitchcock is just coming off his best year in decades, with a biopic starring Anthony Hopkins and the news that his 1958 psychological drama Vertigo leapfrogged past the almighty Citizen Kane (1941) in at least one “best films of all time…ever…full stop” poll of influential film critics. Not bad for a guy who died in 1980. The Pacific Film Archive shines a well-timed spotlight on the prolific Master of Suspense with an extensive retrospective of works well-known (1954’s Rear Window, 1959’s North by Northwest, 1960’s Psycho, and — of course — Vertigo) and more obscure (1931’s Rich and Strange, 1937’s Young and Innocent, 1947’s The Paradine Case) — not to mention often-overshadowed underdogs like the series kick-off film, made by Hitch in his pre-Hollywood days: 1935’s The 39 Steps. (Cheryl Eddy)

Through April 24, 7pm, $5.50–$9.50

Pacific Film Archive

2575 Bancroft, Berk.



Mister Lies

Nick Zanca played in several punk bands in high school until he was introduced to electronic music and production in college. This happened about a year ago. Since then he’s caused quite the stir, catching a record deal and tour as Mister Lies. The deep, almost spiritual electronica, or “experimental avant-garde pop” as he prefers, draws inspiration from diverse artists — spanning Steve Reich to Missy Elliot. His generally downtempo vibe might be better scheduled at four in the morning. But hey, there’s no right time to unwind your mind a bit, particularly when it’s Mister Lies’ gospel-infused sound paired with the smooth dream pop of San Francisco local, Giraffage. (Champlin)

With Some Ember

9:30pm, $12

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., SF

(415) 621-4455



“Rituals of Water”

The most recent work of local artist, Rodney Ewing, manages to distil a lot of history and ideas into a coherent show about water. This theme is embedded even in the creation of the art: the large scale paintings are made of ink, salt, and mostly, water. Through figures and words that seem to be dissolving on paper, he looks at four moments in the history of African American people, the transatlantic slave trade, baptism, civil rights, and Hurricane Katrina. Though his works are heavily political, they don’t seek to make a statement. Instead they perform a sort of ritual in which the viewer and artist strengthen African history by reclaiming memories and stories once lost through diaspora. (Champlin)

Through March 1

Opening reception, 6pm, free

IcTus Gallery

1769 15th St., SF

(510) 912-0792



Mary Armentrout

Old Will wasn’t exactly thinking about installation pieces when he proclaimed, “all the world’s a stage.” Still there is something about the connection between “living” and “performing” that today many dance artists explore by stretching that fragile tie between the two. One way is by abandoning the proscenium theater for more flexible environments. Few, however, go as far as the ever adventuresome Mary Armentrout who is traveling her “reveries and elegies,” essentially a solo piece for herself, from two Oakland locations first to CounterPULSE this weekend, then (Feb. 23-24) to Bakers’ Beach. Each time she shows these “reveries,” she will do the same, of course, not at all. Ideally one would see the whole cycle but since Armentrout has assembled the piece from fragments, fragments is what we’ll get. And that’s OK. (Rita Felciano)

Also Sun/13, 4:15pm, $20


1310 Mission, SF

(510) 845-8604




Newish Bay Area band Kicker features members of Neurosis, Filth, and Dystopia, and sounds like late ’70s anarcho-punk à la Subhumans. Which makes perfect sense, really, as lead vocalist Pete the Roadie grew up in England, went to the same school as Subhumans and Organized Chaos, and has been a part of the worldwide punk scene since that formative year of ’77. Really need another reason to go to this $5 Bender’s show? OK: Bad Cop/Bad Cop — the LA rock’n’roll band with members of Cocksparrer tribute act Cunt Sparrer — opens the whole thing up. (Savage)

With Pang!

10pm, $5


800 S. Van Ness, SF

(415) 824-1800



The Great American Pop-Up

The Great American Pop-Up is back. Because who wants to make dinner on a Monday night? At the first installment, patrons scarfed chocolate raspberry cookies, sustainable sushi, and salty spiced sausages. At this second round — again inside the iconic Tenderloin site, recently named one California’s most beautiful music venues — a few of those patron-pleasing vendors will return: sustainable sushi via Rice Cracker Sushi, Asian fusion dishes via Harro-Arigato and Ronin, along with Dora’s Donuts and Donna’s Tamales. The house Chef James Whitmore will be whipping up dishes, and there will be some crafty vendors including a Yes & Yes Designs booth, should you be in the market for one-of-a-kind jewelry made from recycled books as a delicious side dish to your sushi. DJs Children of the Funk will provide the background beats to your fine (club) dining experience. (Savage)

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF (415) 885-0750



Shabazz Palaces

The retro-future of space hip-hop is here, in disparate senses among headliner Shabazz Palaces and opener Ensemble Mik Nawooj. Led by Palaceer Lazaro — formerly of jazz-rap group Digable Planets — and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire, Seattle’s Shabazz Palaces are part of a cosmic collective of forward-thinking artists, including Sub Pop labelmates, THEESatisfaction. Their latest release, 2011’s Black Up, was a vortex of jazz, soul, and rap with African percussion keeping the beat. And then there’s Ensemble Mik Nawooj, the East Bay crew behind that alternate universe chamber hip-hop opera, Great Integration, a similarly genre-busting production that follows five malevolent lords who control the physical world, and the assassin who slays them. Prepare to elevate your mind. Countdown to launch. (Savage)

With Ensemble Mik Nawooj, Duckwrth, DJ Orfeu

9pm, $15

New Parish

579 18th St., Oakl.

(415) 371-1631



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