This Week’s Picks: January 15 – 21, 2014

Pub date January 14, 2014

Word spears to pierce the stoniest of hearts



“Ravishing, Radical, and Restored: The Films of Jack Smith”

Legendary underground filmmaker Jack Smith gets the Technicolor-red carpet treatment in this series co-presented with the San Francisco Cinematheque, which screens sparkling 16mm restorations of his films, plus two Smith-centric documentaries. First up is his best-known work, Flaming Creatures (1962-63), a film so “obscene” and “orgiastic” it was, of course, banned upon release. Upcoming programs include Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis (2006), Mary Jordan’s excellent doc, and unfinished extravaganza Normal Love (1963-65), which just may convert you to the church of Maria Montez — Smith icon and star of 1944’s lavishly camp Cobra Woman. (Cheryl Eddy)

Through Jan. 30

Flaming Creatures tonight, 7:30pm, $8-$10

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF



Reflecting China in a California Vision

Tired of hearing the same old techno-dystopian nay-saying about San Francisco’s growth? Get thee to our dear city’s urban planning think tank, SPUR, for some solutions-oriented and original thoughts about how we might skim some brilliant urbanization ideas for another booming place — China. For anyone who’s keeping score on high-speed rails: China, more than 6,000 miles of active tracks; California, zero, but maybe 520 miles in 2029 if we’re lucky? With our state’s population projected to grow about 30 percent by 2050, it’s time we start taking notes. (Rebecca Huval)

6pm, $10 for non-members/free for members

SPUR Urban Center

654 Mission, SF



Fresh and Freaky Fiction

George Saunders sits on a make-believe throne as the king of the short story of our time. His writing often takes us into a futuristic, dystopian Midwestern America, where completely average and unusual events converge in dry, hilarious, and sometimes disturbing ways. Karen Russell dances ahead of the Pied Piper to the lyrical composition of her own prose, which flows and sings and rushes like water. Her writing lures readers into her wild imagination, be it the marshes of the deep South or the thorny forest behind Madame Bovary’s backyard. Together, these authors create dynamite, discussing their out-of-bounds genres, surreal realities, and literary inspirations. (Kaylen Baker)

7pm, $25-45

JCCSF Kanbar Hall

3200 California, SF





YBCA presents Wayne McGregor

I can’t think of a choreographer, besides Mark Morris, who so easily moves between Ballet — SFB will reprise his Borderlands on Feb. 18 which is influenced by Josef Albers’ color studies—and Modern Dance—he has his own Random Dance Company—as Wayne McGregor. His work is conceptually so far out that your brain begins to vibrate; his dancers are out of this world and yet so very human. It’s a fascinating approach to what the human body—the complete dancer—can do. For its second SF appearance, Random will present the West Coast premiere of Far, based on McGregor’s reading of a historical analysis of the Enlightenment. No need to get out your history books, just stay tuned. (Rita Felciano)

Jan.17/18, 7:30pm, $30-60

Jan. 19, 2pm

Lam Research Theater, YBCA

700 Howard, SF



Bad News

Replicant Presents’ electronic and experimental noise reaches into Oakland again with a dose of “weird core,” industrial and straight-up sounds out of a horror-film soundtrack. BR-OOKS will have the home-court advantage and push the boundaries of any genre, then the more palpable Names will bring a dancier, more rhythmic approach, while maintaining roots in the realm of noise. But the true industrial strength will be heard when Bad News takes over. This commanding SF/LA guitar and synth duo, composed of Sarah Bernat and Alex Lukas, should whip you into shape with sounds of precision and perfection. But before they totally slay you, you’ll reflect on any angst past or present and why it feels so right. Look for their new material in 2014! (Andre Torrez)

With Names and BR-OOKS

9pm, $7

The Night Light

311 Broadway, Oakland



Big Trouble in Little China

Once upon a time, a big-mouthed big-rig driver named Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) barreled into San Francisco’s Chinatown on the Pork Chop Express — and blundered into a strange world controlled by Lo Pan (James Hong): crusty old businessman by day, evil magician by night. And thus begins Big Trouble in Little China, John Carpenter’s wacky, Western-comedy-martial arts extravaganza, which was way too high-concept (or just too insane) for audiences in 1986 but achieved immortality thanks to the wonders of home video and late-night cable. Fittingly, it has a three-night stand in the Clay’s midnight series, so you’ll have plenty of time to prep your favorite quotes. “The check is in the mail!” (Eddy)

Through Sun/19, midnight, $10

Clay Theatre

2261 Fillmore, SF





Edwardian Ball

Legendary illustrator Edward Gorey created a delightfully ominous world full of creepy curiosities out of pen and ink, inspiring and entertaining generations of fans. Celebrating and honoring his work, the 14th Annual Edwardian Ball & World’s Faire offers revelers the chance to travel back in time. Partygoers dress in fantastic Edwardian period fashion, gothic attire, and steam punk costumes that look like they could have stepped from the pages of Gorey’s books. Expect a wide variety of live entertainment, including music, dancing, games, circus performances, and even a stage show re-creation of one of his stories at this truly one-of-a-kind event. (Sean McCourt)

8pm, $40-$95

The Regency Ballroom

1300 Van Ness, SF



An Evening with Big Tree, Idea the Artist, and The Parmesans

They may hail from Brooklyn, but Big Tree members have taken root in the Bay Area if the latest single off of their EP My, How You’ve Grown is anything to go by. With the song recorded at Tiny Telephone and the music video shot and edited by local media group Three Thirds Visual, “Like a Fool” is the product of an inspiring setting, as well as the inspiring emotion of frustration. The band is releasing the track for the low price of free, and what better way to say thank you than to join them for a night of some of the best indie music the Bay Area has to offer? With Idea the Artist’s tremulous, heartfelt melodies, and The Parmesans’ harmonious, bluesy folk on strings, listeners are in for an evening of moving tunes. (Kirstie Haruta)

8pm, $7-10

Brick & Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission, SF





“In the Name of Love”

Music played a key role in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings, and today, amid his legacy of nonviolent protest and charismatic speechmaking, songs like “We Shall Overcome” remain an important part of his civil rights message. Appropriately, much joyful noise will ensue at Living Jazz’s 12th annual tribute to the humanitarian. Talents on tonight’s bill: “rebel soul” singer-songwriter Martin Luther McCoy; the acclaimed Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra with guest vocalist Faye Carol; the 55-member Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir; the 300-member Oakland Children’s Community Choir; and the Oaktown Jazz Workshops. (Eddy)

7pm, $8-$23

Oakland Scottish Rite Center

1547 Lakeside, Oakl.



Queer/Trans* Night

Celebrate being queer in the New Year with Gilman’s first Queer/Trans* Night of 2014, when MC Per Sia hosts a night of hard-hitting punk from some of the coolest queers in Bay Area music. The show features masked trio Moira Scar, San Cha, DADDIE$ PLA$TIC, Oakland punks Didisdead, post-punk duo Bestfriend Grrlfriend, and Alice Cunt all the way from LA. Show goers can also look forward to DJ Johnny Rose and a video booth by Lovewarz. This is a safe and sober show, so leave the booze and drugs at home, as well as any racism, misogyny, transphobia, or homophobia. (Kirstie Haruta)

5pm, $5 + $2 membership

924 Gilman St.

924 Gilman, Berkeley






Winter Fancy Food Show

Three Twins sea salt caramel ice cream. Fava Life hummus. Bacon Hot Sauce. Camembert from Caseificio Dell’Alta Langa. Moon Dance biscotti. Amella caramels. Drooling yet? We’ve only just begun — these food items represent just a handful of the 13,000 producers coming from all over the globe to display their edible wares at the 39th annual Winter Fancy Food Show. This year, 360 food artisans represent California, showing off everything from luscious micro-greens to rainbow-colored, homemade kombucha. Whether you’re a home cook or a Michelin-starred-restaurant buyer, this market is great for stocking up on strange, rare, and quality food items, discovering in-state artisans, and creating new ideas for your next cooking adventure. (Kaylen Baker)

10am-5pm Sun-Mon, 10am-4pm Tues, free entrance

Moscone Center 747 Howard, SF Bringing the Noise for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. If you want to feel the power of King’s legacy on MLK Day, look no further than the fierce spoken word from literary organization Youth Speaks. These teens spin rhymes that will make you bristle at the sorry state of the world and might even inspire you to start a protest. They’ll also have you wanting to smack your younger self around for playing video games instead of forging word spears sharp enough to pierce the stoniest of hearts. See the future of activism for yourself at this annual celebration. (Rebecca Huval) 7-9pm, $5 youth/$10 adults Nourse Theater 275 Hayes, SF TUESDAY 1/21 Armistead Maupin “Mary Ann Singleton was twenty-five years old when she saw San Francisco for the first time.” So begins the famed Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin, originally a serialized fiction project for The San Francisco Chronicle, depicting the impressions and day-to-day discoveries of a fresh young newcomer to San Francisco in the ’70s. Amassing fans through its humor, quick chapters (the perfect Muni bus-stop read), and on-point depictions of diverse, vibrant characters in three decades and eight novels, Maupin has finally drawn the story to a close, in the recently published The Days of Anna Madrigal. Find out how 92-year-old transgender landlady Anna Madrigal has been keeping busy by coming down to Book Passage, and get a copy signed by Maupin himself. (Kaylen Baker) 12:30pm, free Book Passage 1 Ferry Building, SF