This Week’s Picks: May 14 – 20, 2014

Pub date May 13, 2014



KQED Presents an Evening With Ken Burns

Remember slowly drifting off while watching documentaries during history class on a warm afternoon? Well, if there’s anyone who can make a historical documentary interesting, it’s the great Ken Burns. If you’ve ever used iPhoto, iMovie, or Final Cut Pro, you’re familiar with “The Ken Burns Effect.” Known for bringing life to still photographs, the Ken Burns Effect is back with The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. Burns will present a sneak preview of his seven-part, 14-hour documentary after an onstage conversation about the film, which will premiere on PBS in September. The film takes the unique perspective of weaving together the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, illuminating the influential stories of how two presidents and a first lady played integral roles in shaping American history — from human and civil rights battles to the creation of National Parks to the defeat of Hitler. (Laura B. Childs)

7:30pm, $25

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6350




Rocking the robots

If you’ve never seen Sleepbomb do its thing at the band members’ main stomping ground, you’re in for a rare treat. This postindustrial improvisational band, made up mostly of Zeitgeist employees and regulars, will play a live soundtrack to Metropolis, the cult-classic silent film by German Expressionist filmmaker Fritz Lang. Sleepbomb has done live soundtracks to Metropolis and Nosferatu before in the Zeitgeist beer garden, and it’s always an eerie, artsy, urban, robotic, drunken good time. (Steven T. Jones)

8pm, donation-based


199 Valencia, SF




Anti-Nowhere League

British hardcore punk stalwarts the Anti-Nowhere League have made a name for themselves over the past three decades with an unabashedly aggressive and in-your-face approach, as evidenced by their signature songs “I Hate People” and the profanity-laced “So What” — the latter was even notoriously covered by Metallica. In a perfect pairing, Southern California punk icons T.S.O.L (True Sounds of Liberty), who became infamous for the police riots that would break out at their shows, and the tune “Code Blue,” an ode to the joys of necrophilia, join the bill for what promises to be one hell of show. (Sean McCourt)

With The Riverboat Gamblers and Dime Runner

9pm, $18-$20

DNA Lounge

375 11th St, SF

(415) 626-1409




Fou Fou fabulous

Fou Fou Ha, our favorite cartoon performance troupe, makes a big leap forward as it returns to its roots for its latest original show, In Living Colors. This psychedelic dance journey through an exotic world is described as “Alice in Wonderland meets the Forbidden Zone,” combining elaborate 3D pop-up sets and projections by Obscura Digital. It’s a new twist on the lively choreographed comedy that is classic Fou, but on an occasion that’s a little bittersweet for Mama Fou (aka Maya Lane) and the rest of Family Fou. The troupe got its start in this location back when it was CELLspace, the players kept it as their home during its evolution into Inner Mission, and now this looks like it will be Fou Fou Ha’s final performance in a space that is being shut down this fall and converted into condos. So come laugh, cry, dance, and laugh some more. (Jones)

9pm, DJ dancing until 1:30am

$25 advance, $30 door

Inner Mission

2035 Bryant, SF




Zion I

Last time Zion I was at the Independent was for a guest appearance during the venue’s 10th anniversary celebration. Tonight, the Bay Area indie hip-hop duo is back. Baba Zumbi and AmpLive of Zion I have been making music together for over 15 years. AmpLive brings the electronic dance beats that vacillate between reggae and drum ‘n’ bass, Zumbi carries the vocals with socially conscious lyrics. Originally formed in Atlanta, the Berkeley-based duo creates a relatable sound that’s difficult to define. Neither West Coast hip-hop, nor East Coast rap, the band’s musical influences remains deeply engrained in songs that deliver messages of unity and hope. (Childs)

9pm, $25

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421





Black Market SF Presents ‘Rendezvous’

Secrets, truths and lies…Black Market SF is hosting one of its legendary events tonight for the curious: Rendezvous. They say, curiosity killed the cat, but in this case, let your curiosity run wild. This clandestine discovery market will carry an assortment of local craft and food vendors as well as many secret activities to be discovered on the night of. Explore one of SF’s best-kept secrets in the intimate setting of the Folsom Street Foundry. If the city’s best craft artisans and food purveyors don’t pique your interest, an exclusive live set of up-and-coming acts will spearhead the dance party. This mysterious night will be one for the books. (Childs)

6pm-11pm, $8

Folsom Street Foundry

1425 Folsom Street

(415) 795-3644



‘Nomad: The Blue Road’

Many tribal people living on parched lands engage in ritualistic dances to encourage the falling of precious rain. Since water is the world’s most important and most endangered natural resource, we might as well try dancing. It just could help. For this weekend the bi-national Dance Monks, an interdisciplinary ensemble that works both in the Bay Area and Mexico, has enlisted local artists — Dohee Lee, NAKA Dance among them — to help out drought-stricken California. NOMAD: The Blue Road, takes audiences along the path of Strawberry Creek, Berkeley’s beloved small stream that still burbles and runs under the urban asphalt of downtown Berkley. The piece starts on the UC campus and winds its way along the creek’s trajectory with performances along the path. (Rita Felciano)

May 17-18, 11am, free

UC Berkeley Campus

Oxford and Center St, Berk.





Bay to Breakers people-watching

If you have friends participating in the race but, like so many of us, you also feel a local’s urge to get the hell out of town during Bay to Breakers weekend — or at least as far away from the costumed, beer-soaked debauchery as possible — get the best of both worlds by hitting one of the rival Hayes Street house parties along the course, with DJs, more than you could ever want to drink, and probably very little pressure to be athletic in any way. Alternatively, hit Alamo Square for an amazing view of some 30,000 people all making their way up the Hayes Street Hill. Just remember: The cops have pledged a zero-tolerance policy for public drunkenness this year. We’ll see how that all shakes out. (Emma Silvers)

All day, free

Throughout SF

Check for the official route and other events




Iggy Azalea

First things first, she’s the realest. The Australian beauty and hip-hop performer, Iggy Azalea, has been making waves in this hemisphere since her Clueless-inspired music video for her hit single “Fancy.” With sassy raps and catchy hooks about the glam life, Azalea’s sound is reminiscent of the “it” girls of the early 2000’s. Think Gwen Stefani’s vocals and Lil’ Kim’s beats, but this former model adds personal flair with her zero-fucks-given charisma and unabashed obsession with America. She’s opened for household names such as Beyoncé and Rita Ora, but since the release of her debut album, The New Classic, Azalea is on the prowl with her Monster Energy Outbreak Tour. (Childs)

8pm, $35

The Fillmore

1805 Geary, SF

(415) 346-6000


Ben Folds with the San Francisco Symphony

In the 17 years since his old band, Ben Folds Five, burst onto the national scene with “Brick” — likely the catchiest, most radio-friendly song ever penned about an abortion at Christmastime — pianist-singer-songwriter-storyteller Ben Folds has proven to be so much more than a flash in the pan. On this tour, he’s been performing solo with orchestras and symphonies around the world; if you’re not quite sure how his songwriting would stand up to such elaborate instrumentation, search for videos online of his performances with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra. This one-off show should be a treat for devotees of the singer’s nearly three-decade career as well as symphony fans — nothing like a little pop-rock-classical synergy on a Monday night. (Silvers)

7:30pm, prices vary, see website for details

Davies Symphony Hall

Grove between Van Ness and Franklin, SF



Write Club SF

Who says writing isn’t a contact sport? The monthly Write Club, which bills itself with the motto “literature as bloodsport,” pits local lit figures against each other in a competitive readings series, with writers arguing such topics as “snow vs. fire,” “ham vs. turkey,” and “Santa vs. Jesus.” This month’s will see six writers, including Caitlin Gill, Rachel Bublitz, and founders Steven Westdahl and Casey Childers arguing over topics such as “beginning” vs. “end.” The audience picks the winner, and proceeds go to a charity of the winner’s choice. Reading, arguing, a full bar — what’s not to like? (Silvers)

8pm, $10

Make-Out Room

322522nd St, SF

Damien Jurado

Serious Damien Jurado fans — and the folksy indie-rocker does seem to inspire a certain (well-deserved) fervor amongst a certain set — know the songwriter’s gift for storytelling owes as much to a willingness to get weird as it does to playing with narrative. Jurado’s latest release, January’s Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, is the third piece in a three-part collaboration with producer Richard Swift, and it shies away from neither the religious overtones nor the heady, spaced-out hero’s journey type of tale 2012’s Maraqopa laid out; it’s more stripped-down, if anything, so those themes are laid bare. Live, he’s known for making even large rooms feel intimate; this show shouldn’t disappoint. (Silvers)

8pm, $15

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF


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