Music Festival

Spooked sounds 2: more lost albums and forgotten performances for Halloween


Pussy Galore – and scares galore.

By Erik Morse

Let’s pick up where the first installment of “Spooked sounds” left off: here are a few more notorious sonic “events,” which constitute a spectral and alternative history in recorded music’s century long canon. The more cryptic, the more incredible and the more emphatic the anecdote, the scarier the sounds. Try playing some of these at your next Halloween party and see just how spooked your guests will get.



Unit Delta Plus and the Beatles – Million Volt Light and Sound Rave, London, 1967

Founded as a cooperative of sorts by electronic musicians Delia Derbyshire, Brian Hodgson, and Peter Zinovieff as early as 1965, Unit Delta Plus was an experimental adjunct to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop during the height of “swinging” London’s musical and multimedia explorations.

Using their knowledge and gear from the BBC days and marrying it to a more edgy, psychedelic sensibility, Unit Delta Plus hoped to accomplish an aesthetic saturation of sight and sound not unlike that being similarly developed at New York’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable or San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium. With Zinovieff’s Putney townhouse as their headquarters, the members of UDP began experimenting with complex tape music and primitive EMS synthesizers. By ’66 they held a music festival in Berkshire, reputedly the first ever dedicated solely to electronic music. Although the crowd was composed mainly of academics and musicologists, the festival was a major success and catapulted Unit Delta Plus into the center of the London underground.

Jack Davis, 1940-2007



Jack Davis was a relentless and often unheralded advocate for underfunded, outflanked, and ignored artists, community groups, social movements, and others shunted aside by mainstream venues and the art establishment.

Davis died Sept. 23 at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia from injuries sustained in a car accident. He was born Nov. 16, 1940, in Phoenix, Ariz., and came to California to attend the University of Santa Clara and San Francisco State University in the late 1950s and ’60s. He studied theater arts in Northern California, then was one of the directors and founding actors of the South Coast Repertory in Orange County. He married Judith Watson and returned to San Francisco in 1968.

Well known in the underground art world that he helped pioneer, Davis was a pivotal figure in the growth and public awareness of hundreds of uniquely San Francisco creative projects. For nearly 20 years he was director of the SomArts Cultural Center, which provides classrooms and work space for community-based programs and theater and gallery access to nascent and established artists.

But his contributions went far beyond SomArts. He and Rene Yáñez helped found CELLspace, a unique community and cultural center in the Mission. Davis was an early supporter of Burning Man and hosted its parties, meetings, and large-scale events at SomArts. He also provided technical support and counsel for the Day of the Dead and other San Francisco street events.

Under his leadership SomArts hosted myriad edgy and unconventional troupes and shows. Davis hosted early events by Survival Research Laboratories, which essentially created the machine-and-fire art scene that is now renowned around the world. Davis would often need to run interference with the Fire Department and other authorities who were concerned about the SRL’s seemingly dangerous experimentation.

Davis assisted in the evolution of that scene at every step, recently providing support services so the Flaming Lotus Girls could bring their massive Serpent Mother project to the "Robodock" festival in Amsterdam last month. Other SomArts projects Davis facilitated include the offbeat Naughty Santa’s Black Market, the Queer Arts Festival, Balinese shadow theater, DadaFest, the SF Electronic Music Festival, and the SF Indie Fest.

Davis also helped win national recognition for the alt-art movement by working with Eric Val Reuther, a panelist for and consultant to the National Endowment for the Arts, to bring many worthwhile (and underfunded) groups to the attention of the NEA. Davis also cofounded the Neighborhood Arts Program National Organizing Committee and helped set up its West Coast office in San Francisco.

Among the community-based groups Davis helped establish were the Bayview Opera House, the Native American Cultural Center, the Mission Cultural Center, and the Western Addition Cultural Center. He helped create a theater at Lone Mountain College, was director of Intersection for the Arts, and organized the San Francisco Blues Festival with Tom Mazzolini. In the summer Davis and his son Hayden and their friend Ernie Rivera built stages and performance areas for street fairs and other events.

As director of Intersection for the Arts, Davis hosted many unknown performers who went on to acclaim in the larger world of theater, including Diane di Prima, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Carroll, Ntozake Shange, Bill Irwin, Paul Dresher, and Rinde Eckert. Other groups Davis supported include the SF Mime Troupe, the Farm, the Pickle Family Circus, Make a Circus, and Dance Mission. Davis and George Coates were cofounders in the 1980s of the San Francisco International Theater Festival, which brought the early work of Spaulding Grey and others to the public’s attention.

"Jack was unflappable — nothing threw him," Coates once told me.

Davis lived on a houseboat — one of three he built over the years — with his daughter, Sarah, and his son-in-law, Shawn Lytle, in Mission Creek in San Francisco’s China Basin. As the longtime president of the Mission Creek Harbor Association, Davis fought developers and bureaucrats in a never-ending battle for the right of an organic, human-scale community to simply exist in this city. Many a weekend afternoon Davis could be found tinkering away on his or perhaps one of his neighbors’ boats. Due in great part to Davis’s efforts, Mission Creek remains one of San Francisco’s garden spots, even while surrounded by new development.

Davis was seen as a Buddha-like figure in the often-fractious world of community arts and politics. He was a bear of a man who exuded a preternatural calm. Composer, producer, and photographer Doug McKechnie noted once after a particularly rough MCHA meeting, "I was in awe of his ability to get things done with such grace, style, and simplicity. He could come into a crowd of bickering people, and they listened."

Davis was also instrumental in rejuvenating the Bay View Boat Club. "One day in 1984, Jack called me up and said, ‘Meet me at the Bay View Boat Club,’>" McKechnie said. "He showed me around the place and said, ‘I think this place has tremendous potential. Let’s join and see what we can do.’ Jack talked the club into having a special, one-year membership drive that allowed people who didn’t have a boat to join. We called everyone we knew, and before you could say ‘Bottle of beer’ the club had 200 new members, all of whom eventually got boats. Jack was elected commodore two years later and set the model for what is still one of the most astonishing, real, funky places in the world."

Davis is survived by his wife, Noriko Tanaka; ex-wife, Judith Davis; daughter, Sarah Coseby Davis; son-in-law, Shawn Lytle; son Arthur Fumiko Davis; daughter-in-law, Tesa Davis; grandchildren, Jordan Alexander Davis, Jacquelyn Rae Davis, and Olivia Davis Lytle; brother, Bill Davis; sister, Lynn Davis; and cousins, Patty Costello, Martha de la Cruz, and Amy de la Cruz. Jack’s mother, Jean Davis Mueller, age 94, resides in Scottsdale, Ariz. His son Hayden Carlos Davis died in 1999.

A celebration of Jack Davis’s life will be held Nov. 18 at the SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan, SF, from 3 to 8 p.m. The family is establishing a scholarship fund for Arthur Davis. For information visit

Jack Davis will be deeply missed by all who were touched by his calm, generosity, and soothing presence over his 40-year involvement in Bay Area arts. 2

Mike Noland and Charlie Gadeken contributed to this report.

Smokin’ grass


San Francisco’s biggest – and likely best – free outdoor music festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, returns for year seven, boasting such performers as Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, T Bone Burnett and friends like John Mellencamp, Los Lobos, Gillian Welch, the Knitters, Nick Lowe, Boz Scaggs and the Blue Velvet Band, the Flatlanders, Teddy Thompson, Hazel Dickens, the Mother Hips, Heartless Bastards, Steve Earle – the list goes on. Check out some of our favorites:

Bill Callaghan

Emmylou Harris

Charlie Louvin

The Mekons

John Prine

The Sadies


The free festival happens Oct. 5, beginning at 3 p.m., and Oct. 6 to 7, starting at 11 a.m., at Speedway, Lindley, and Marx meadows in Golden Gate Park, SF. For more information on all of the performers and events, go to

Moments to treasure – at guess where!


I got my eye on the isle. Photo by Sofia Ramirez.

By Kevin Lee

First off, I have to say that the folks behind the inaugural Treasure Island Festival did a spectacular job and this year’s event must be considered a success: Treasure Island could be considered a “cozy” outdoor music festival, simultaneously intimate and spacious.

Saturday, Sept. 15, I showed up fashionably late which meant I missed local act Zion I. But I did
manage to see Ghostland Observatory, a frenetic Austin duo that pulsated with vigor – thanks to the vocals of Aaron Behrens and loopy, electrified beats of Thomas Ross Turner. Ghostland impressed the early-afternoon crowd and likely garnered many a new Bay Area fan.

Local artist Kid Beyond dropped some lyrical inspiration before launching into an up-tempo set,
part techno beats, part jungle, and part slick vocals. I had the chance to briefly talk to KB after his set, and he mentioned that one of his lyrical inspiration is Hafiz, a Persian poet from the 1300s. How about that for drawing on the past?

MIA: I admit, she put in a full-on effort to get the crowd moving. Midway through her set, she implored female fans to climb onstage – 30 random girls followed suit and began dancing the only way you can while sharing the stage with MIA. A couple of tracks later, she clambered 10 feet up on the lights scaffolding with cordless mic in one hand, belting lyrics. Mind-boggling displays of showmanship.

Treasure Island fest – another view


Pulling it together: Doug Martsch of Built to Spill at Treasure Island fest. All pics by Kimberly Chun.

By Steven Touchton

This past Sunday was the first time anyone had ever rented out West Oakland’s DeFremery Pool in order to throw a late afternoon pool party featuring spazzy bands. Since it was a private rental, you could only attend by purchasing advance tickets from the Club Sandwich Bay Area Web site. It nearly sold out. The weather was perfect for the occasion.

My band KIT shared the bill with Los Angeles’s Captain Ahab and Foot Village, as well as local band Cell Block. Cell Block, which includes people from Ex Pets and Coughs, got things going with their brand of aggro-distorto noisy hardcore. People were already pumped just to be at an event like this, and Cell Block’s set just ramped up the excitement level that much more.

Foot Village are a vocals-and-percussion-only quartet who stole the show, in my opinion, with a sweat-drenched set of primal energy. Captain Ahab (winner of the Snakes on a Plane-song competition) closed it out, rave style. He brought along a fancy sound system and a dancer guy whose job is to “sexually harass” dudes in the crowd while singing along sans microphone. The dance-party covers included a Vocoder-soaked version of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8ter Boy.”

Earlimart wear their fall colors.

Most of those who attended left this party excited and energized, making plans for one of the post-show hangouts that ensued. But I had to load out my gear and take off right away, skipping the after-parties, in order to catch Built to Spill at the Treasure Island Music Festival.

More treasures from the Island


By Molly Freedenberg

Still a little fuzzy on what the Treasure Island Music Festival was like? Think blue skies, a slight breeze, and the scenes yours truly captured below.

Not even the brief power blackout could ruin Zion I’s upbeat, playful mood. When the sound and video stopped working, the freestylin’ MCs just worked harder to keep the crowd going.

Treasure Island was just right


By Molly Freedenberg

Imagine a concert held in your college quad, add a gorgeous view of the Bay, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what the Treasure Island Music Festival was like this weekend. Organizers were smart enough not to be overly ambitious, either with the space or the lineup, so that the fledgling fest fit just right inside its britches: two stages appropriately far apart so you never felt crowded nor lonely, enough vendors and bathrooms so no line was ever very long, and just enough musical acts to fill two whole days without overlapping each other (which, by the way, is the Number One Best Thing about TIMF. And after five years of Coachella I’m-missing-something anxiety, I should know).

Highlights of Saturday’s hip-hop and electronica heavy lineup:
*Zion I’s high-energy freestyling, which continued through a brief blackout, and their DJ manipulating a Playstation controller like a turntable.
*The moments when Honeycut sounded like an American version of Kinky.
*Everything about Kid Beyond’s U2-meets-Nine Inch Nails beatboxing.
*The gold lame pants only M.I.A. could pull off.

It’s really too bad if you missed it, because this one was so successful, next year’s is bound to be a zoo.

Note: Stay tuned tomorrow for more photos and commentary.

Feelin’ groovy: Ben Lomond Indian Summer Music Festival report


circles sml.bmp
Circles sweethearts in Ben Lomond. All photos by Hannah Barr-DiChiara.

By Max Goldberg

With the Bay Bridge closed and Golden Gate Park rolling in 40-year-old patchouli, some local pleasure seekers headed south for the Santa Cruz Mountains where SF impresario Arvel Hernandez threw the first annual Ben Lomond Indian Summer Music Festival from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 at Henfling’s Firehouse Tavern. This summer of love was a hot one indeed, with highland temps cresting 100. Collective skin stickiness and caravans for creekdipping sessions were the order of the day. Evenings were for replenishment, singer-songwriters, sandwiches, a slice of lemon, and, eventually, a peaceful bedding down in the cricket-charmed night.

Hernandez did a wonderful job overseeing schedules and camping, making this festival of friends seem extra…friendly. The mixing of the beaded and bejeweled with some seriously leathered biker dudes and wooly barflies was sometimes weird but totally peaceable, my knee-jerk visions of Altamont redux proving unfounded. If anything, the locals just wanted to dance, something I could relate to after a pretty steady run of whispers and drones: just because you fly the freak flag doesn’t mean you’re excused from party anthems, soul stirrings, and a beat, ya heard?

ship sml.bmp
Ship bros.

But enough of that, let my praise spill over. Martin Salata (formerly of the White White Quilt) began Saturday, stretching out some diamond blues with Circles, a new project with recordings and shows forthcoming. A botched sound job left some holes in the arrangements, but the centrifugal groove-design was apparent and had me thinking vintage Dr. John and Hawkwind. Humbled by the heat, Guardian “Class of 2007” playboys Ship played their song-quilts more plaintively than usual; the heady light of the afternoon sun crowned these angels.

joseph's stomp sml.bmp
Joseph Childress gets political.

Barn Owl’s skyscraping drone was the perfect match for the sudden cool of Saturday evening. Spirits awoken, we dug in for the nighttime jamboree. Wymond and His Spirit Children’s nice spin of hippie-glam gave way to a pin-drop performance by SF-by-way-of-Colorado troubadour Joseph Childress. I’ve seen Childress several times, but never this commanding and assured: keeping a tight leash on the vocal tics and guitar thrashings, allowing room for the natural ebullience of his verses and melodies to send Henfling’s soaring.

Calling all island girls



SONIC REDUCER Oh, island music — the soft swish of silky trade winds, the gentle rustle of swaying palms, and the way-organic click-hop drone of crickets. From where I’m lounging at press time, in a humid picture-postcard tourist paradise outside the ’20s-era pink pachyderm of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, it’s also the sound of a few bruddahs playing a 12-string and electric bass version of "Brown-Eyed Girl." That was my island soundtrack growing up in Honolulu, along with the music of the Rascals and Earth, Wind and Fire, though surprisingly little Beach Boys, who had the vocal interplay Hawaiians adored but sounded like they probably didn’t really surf.

The Beach Boys just liked the idea of it, but then, don’t we all, buying into the seductive constructs of island fantasias, though we native born have always had a complicated hate-love relationship with the visiting cultural imperialists who drive the tourism-focused economy. Little surprise locals use the term transient like it’s a dirty word.

Speaking of island music, locally we have the Treasure Island Music Festival, the first two-day music event of its size on the human-constructed isle built to boost San Francisco pride by proximity and buoy the 1939 World’s Fair. The lineup, by the way, banishes memories of pop-period Van Morrison (though not fond thoughts of Hawaiian music materfamilias Aunty Genoa Keawe, who still plies audiences with her dulcet falsetto every Thursday at the Waikiki Marriott’s Moana Terrace) and includes Modest Mouse, Thievery Corporation, Spoon, Built to Spill, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, M. Ward, Gotan Project, MIA, Ghostland Observatory, Dengue Fever, and Mocean Worker, in addition to a bevy of talented locals like DJ Shadow (with Cut Chemist), Two Gallants, Zion-I, Honeycut, and Trainwreck Riders.

Noise Pop founder and IODA CEO Kevin Arnold, 38, told me the event has been a long-cherished dream for himself and Noise Pop co-organizer Jordan Kurland. The organizers had expanded NP in the past, to Chicago, before pulling back; they’re now venturing out again, working with Another Planet Entertainment. And why this fantasy island? "Because it was there," Arnold says. "We spent a lot of time looking around San Francisco and where people have been able to stage concerts in the past and make the event stand out. The island has all of that going for it: the location is pretty idyllic and beautiful, and it seemed like a fun thing to do."

Arnold and Kurland had come to a turning point with Noise Pop 14, and lately, he says, "we felt like it was time to really go for it and see if we can expand and actually make some money on what had been a large hobby for a long time. [Noise Pop] had broke even but had not done much more." So they took a loan out, hired staffers like general manager Chris Appelgren, Lookout! Records’ last head, and are now — in addition to coproducing a series of music-oriented City Arts and Lectures talks — putting on an event that, at an estimated 10,000 attendees per day, threatens to consolidate SF’s rep as a ground zero for must-catch music fests. And who can resist the chance to see these acts with an open-air backdrop of the city, glistening across the water? "I think for a lot of people, it’s this big question mark in the middle of the bay — what is it?" Arnold says, recalling that he witnessed a Robot Wars event there a decade ago but has never tangled with the military police once positioned there (ask a certain Oakland hip-hop star about that). "I think it’s a neglected space, and it’ll be good to educate people about what the island is."

SHAPE-SHIFTING CLUBLAND Venues come and go and morph radically — hey, maybe Treasure Island will become our next no-parking Speedway Meadow. Thus, while the Make-Out Room has been getting a makeover, to be unveiled Sept. 7, and scales live music back to Fridays to Sundays, word comes from D’Jelly Brains’ John Binkov that legendary SF punk joint Mabuhay Gardens will reopen at 443 Broadway, under the aegis of punk and metal bookers Tambre Bryant and Tonus Atkins. D’Jelly Brains join Victim’s Family member Ralph Spight’s Freak Accident for the revived Fab Mab’s first show Sept. 7. "Hard to believe," he e-mails. "Went by there to check it out last night. Locked and shuttered…. But at least no sports bar, yuppie tunnel crowd, meat market."<\!s>*


Sept. 15–<\d>16, 12:30–<\d>10 p.m.; $58.50 per day, $110 for a two-day pass


With D’Jelly Brains and the Radishes

Fri/7, 9 p.m., $8

Mabuhay Gardens

443 Broadway, SF


Are Tinsel Town train wrecks responsible for Austin, Texas, band Okkervil River’s latest CD, The Stage Names (Jagjaguwar)? Inspired by documentaries about Clara Bow, various show folk, and the poet John Berryman, vocalist-guitarist-songwriter Will Sheff wrote the album in a cheap rental in Brooklyn, a vast change from the rustic origins of 2005’s Black Sheep Boy. There, he found several lyrical themes running through the songs, concerning "having to be a fan and having to do with entertainment and what happens to you when you’re on the furthest extreme of life after entertainment. But it wasn’t necessarily as if I was trying to make some sort of finely tuned point, because if I wanted to do that I would write an essay and post it on the Internet."

To read the full interview, see the Noise Blog at


Wed/5, 8 p.m.,$13 (sold out)


628 Divisadero, SF

Also Thurs/6, 6 p.m., free

Amoeba Music

1855 Haight, SF

Trust anyone over 50?



SONIC REDUCER As the summer squeezes out its last warmish days, we can safely say that we’re glad for one thing: that with the end of the season comes those last nagging reminders of the Summer of Love, all that was great and good about hippie Frisky, the perpetually remarketable, oh-so-remarkable boomer musical legacy, and how radical it was that so many acolytes drifted here four decades ago to gobble acid and find themselves. Yet are we in the clear to say that we’re all a bit weary of the free-floating miasma of hype? By Jerry’s beard, it happens only every five to 10 years, when the once anti-establishment boomer establishment turns on, tunes in, and pats itself on the back yet again as the 25th, 30th, or 45th anniversaries roll around. I know an overweening sense of self-importance seems to be an intrinsic part of one’s duty as an American citizen, but has there ever been a more self-congratulatory generation than the one that birthed the Summer of Love? Can we now unofficially rename it the Summer of Self-Love? Can I be excused from the creaky, walker-bound group grope that will accompany the big five-oh?

Yep, hippie-bashing, at this queasy, war-wracked juncture, is a tired, predictable, oft-rightie-instigated contact sport that’s far too easy to indulge in. Still, has there ever been a wave of so-called progressives so determined to look back, so intent in repackaging their relics for resale? You can stuff mewling protests against ageism in your tie-dyed Depends. Boomer rockers have been so busy crowing from the rooftops about their accomplishments for so many years that they’ve failed to notice how incredibly bored youngsters — and even not-so-young ‘uns — have become with Grandpappy’s zillionth sing-along to "Love Me Do." Indeedy, nothing can ever compare to your old-time rock ‘n’ roll, your first trip, orgy, no-nukes protest, Jell-O wrasslin’ bout, ad infinitum. But must we still hear about it? This from the same gen, captains helming a capsizing music industry, that turned the phrase “classic rock,” that has insisted on recognizing every anniversary of ’60s-era recording classics, from the Beatles to Sly Stone to Jefferson Airplane to brrrzzzzzzz …

Grrrzzzdhoooh-ha! Oh, were you saying? By the way, when the music’s over — turn off the light, OK? I know hippies weren’t the ones to self-aggrandizingly dub themselves the Greatest Generation. And perhaps we’ve all come to expect far too much from our self-promoting, self-obsessed, yet always self-critical forebears. Yet when word of bickering between competing SF Summer of Love events in August began drifting hither — rumors that Summer of Love 40th Anniversary producer Boots Hughston tells me are simply that: rumors (“We’d been promoting Summer of Love for a year and a half. They had been working on the Hope and Beyond AIDS project in other countries, but this year they decided to change the name of the event — we have a lot of respect for them”) — it seemed like a little peace was in order. After all, the entire purpose behind the Sept. 2 event, Hughston explains, is to “remind people there are other things rather than taking over other countries and going to war over oil — like compassion and understanding. Why not remind people where it all began in 1967?” That’s why Hughston says Country Joe McDonald, Taj Mahal, Canned Heat, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and others are performing free, in between the spiritual and political speakers.

Good intentions go far with even crankaholics like yours truly. But how did the event — which could have used some younger, relevant artists indebted to the San Francisco Sound in its lineup (look for a sampling at this weekend’s Ben Lomond Indian Summer Music Festival) — come to fall on the very day most of its younger demographic might be burning elsewhere? “There is a strong synergy between us and Burning Man, you’re right,” Hughston says. “But you can always go to Burning Man, and you can’t always go to the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love.” He believes some burners will be leaving early to return for his 40th event. Smokin’.


Sun/2, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., free with flower

Speedway Meadow, Golden Gate Park, SF


One of the most seriously wonderful folk-rock LPs to come down the pike of late has to be Marissa Nadler’s Songs III: Bird on the Water, out last year on UK’s Peace Frog label and recently picked up for US distribution by Kemado. It’s anything but a purist artifact — "The reverb probably gives it that haunting quality. It’s something I’ve always used in abundance on my voice to many people’s distaste," Nadler, 26, says with a laugh, speaking from outside Boston.

Alas, Nadler has often struggled with intense shyness in presenting her creations. "Maybe it’s a masochistic thing that I want to put myself through the pain of performing," the songwriter says. "But at no point is the first song easy." Ever considered Blues Brothers–style shades? "I’ve definitely thought about it," she confesses.


Wed/29, 9:30 p.m., $8

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF



Is this where today’s summer lovers are really headed? Bay Area and Los Angeles creatives like Entrance, Paula Frazer, and Mammatus converge. Fri/31–Sun/2, $12–$18 per show; $40–$45 three-day pass. Henfling’s Tavern, 9450 Hwy. 9, Ben Lomond.


D-day for Bey? Fri/31, 7:30 p.m., $75.95–$143.57. Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakl.


Sweetwater stemmed? The Bay Area singer-songwriter bids farewell to the historic club with its last show, the day before it shutters due to a drastic rent increase. Fri/31, 9:30 p.m., $15. Sweetwater Saloon, 153 Throckmorton, Mill Valley.


Paws for LA’s feral chamber post-punkers. Fri/31, 9:30 p.m., $6. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF.

Switching sides



CHEAP EATS The whole time that Earl Butter was with us, from New Hampshire to New York to Michigan, there was something I wanted to ask him but couldn’t quite put into words. That is, until he and Phenomenon hugged me good-bye and drove away, leaving me, at 44 years old, for my first time ever at camp.

Then, as soon as it was too late, the fog lifted from my sentence and the wording was clear and succinct: "How do I learn hopelessness?" Huh? Help me. Bankrupts, scofflaws, dock rats, bottle dwellers, how do you give up and get on with it? Stop writing poetry and start living poetically. Be the poem, or the ball, or the song.

I crunched back into the woods and set up my tent. As usual, I pitched it as far away from everyone else as possible. And every day I kept moving it farther and farther away, until I wasn’t even sure I was in Michigan any more.

What do you do at camp? Besides feeling lonely and displaced, I mean, and plotting your way back to town, to a phone, so you can call your mommy or daddy and say, "Uncle! Come get me! Please!"

Well, the purpose of Camp Trans is to protest the official policy of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival re trans women inclusion. However, nobody exactly knows exactly what that policy is! It’s the most beautifully twisted blur of swirliness since the US military’s famous "Don’t ask, don’t tell" masterpiece. To the best of my chicken farmerly understanding, trans women are, in theory, not welcome. They are asked but not forced to respect the festival’s womyn-born-womyn, cluck cluck. In practice, however, no one’s going to check your jeans or genes. You buy a ticket, you’re in. Some people might be mean to you, and their meanness might be backed by policy, but hey, welcome to the world. Right?

Right. So, Camp Trans aims to change all that. Peopled mostly, I think (but didn’t count), by trans men showing support for their homemade sisters, and open to anyone anywhere on or off the gender spectrum, Camp Trans is young, and strong, and beautiful, and diverse, and brilliant, and radical, beautiful, and very well educated, and young, and the main strategy, to the best of my chicken farmerly understanding, is to have 10 times as much fun as the festies do, and for 300 times cheaper, until people start switching sides and the Michfest bigwigs get real.

Off the top of my head, it’s my favorite political strategy ever. I say this without a trace of facetiousness, I swear, and as the least politically active person in the world, give or take Lars Fiffick.

By the end of the week I had a new favorite singer-songwriter (Lost), a new favorite spoken wordster (Katz), a new favorite lightbulb eater (Emily), and a new favorite lap dancer (Alex). All around me people were making out with other people, laughing hysterically, talking intensely, hugging, playing, partying, holding hands, and womyn-born-womyn from the festival kept crossing the road and saying, "Wow, it’s funner over here."

Personally, I can speak for the food. I did have lunch on Michfest one day. First I tried to sneak in through the woods but got busted. Then I tried to talk my way in at the entrance, where the problem wasn’t gender but economics. Somehow $310 seemed like a lot to pay for a vegetarian lunch. I told them I had a friend in the kitchen (which was true) and that I just wanted to see her (which was true) and eat lunch (which was true). I swore I didn’t want to see any shows (which was true) and wouldn’t stay on the land for one second longer than necessary to masticate my food in a manner conducive to healthy digestion and tranquility.

Then, when the truth didn’t work, I tried lying. "OK, you got me. I’m a journalist," I said. "I’m a food writer. I’m doing a piece on the food here and at Camp Trans."

They were so fuckin’ friendly! They said, "Oh, we have the food right here. It’s what’s for lunch." And they started dishing me out an awesome bean salad and a pasta salad with black olives in it, and a cream cheese sandwich, and a nectarine.

I sat on a hay bale, under an umbrella, and everything was great, but with apologies to my actual friend in the actual kitchen, the food was better, spicier, and healthier at camp. And I’m talking not just vegetarian, but vegan! How can it be?

One word: beets. Beets, and I did have a huge bag of beef jerky in my tent, without which I would have died.<\!s>*

Fall Arts: Outrageous stages



AUG. 31

Beyoncé Will our dream girl arrive on a palanquin amid tossed rose petals? Or re-create the Guess jeans Brigitte Bardot zombie on the cover of B’Day, hoisted atop a blossom-spouting bidet? Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakl. (415) 421-TIXS


San Francisco’s Summer of Love 40th Anniversary Concert C’mon, people, now, smile on your brother and skip Burning Man, find a flower, and get in free to this concert. Behold survivors Country Joe McDonald, Taj Mahal, Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers, Canned Heat, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jesse Colin Young, Michael McClure and Ray Manzarek, Brian Auger, the Charlatans, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, Dickie Peterson of Blue Cheer, and many more unusual suspects who may or may not remember that actual summer, flashbacks permitting. Speedway Meadow, JFK and Crossover, Golden Gate Park, SF.

SEPT. 3–4

Brian Jonestown Massacre The übertalented, longtime San Francisco psych-rock train wrecks return, dig? Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF. (415) 771-1421,


Bebel Gilberto Brazil is hot — Vanity Fair says so. Fillmore, 1805 Geary, SF. (415) 346-6000,

Rilo Kiley Love their precocious story-songs or cringe at the lyrics? Put them under the black light to peruse the new wardrobe, album, and outlook on the old winsome farmers. Warfield, 982 Market, SF. (415) 775-7722

SEPT. 15

Colbie Caillat The husky-voiced Jessica Biel look-alike attempts to break the Jack Johnson mold — maybe. Fillmore, 1805 Geary, SF. (415) 346-6000,

SEPT. 15–16

Treasure Island Music Festival Yaaar, blow me down some Golden Gate International Expositions! What it is about Treasure Island that brings out the barnacle-encrusted, vision-questing soothsayer in us? No wonder Noise Pop and Another Planet have touched down on the once-forbidden isle, transforming it into the site for one of fall’s biggest rock, pop, and dance music fests. Spoon, Gotan Project, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist, MIA, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, M. Ward, Two Gallants, Ghostland Observatory, Kinky, Zion-I, Earlimart, Flosstradamus, Au Revoir Simone, and more establish a beachhead, while Built to Spill and Grizzly Bear spill over into shows at the Independent and Mezzanine. Gurgle, gurgle.

SEPT. 17

New Pornographers Is AC Newman still spending his free hours with his SF lady friend? Prepare yourself for new porn pop from the New Pornographer: Challengers (Matador). Warfield, 982 Market, SF. (415) 775-7722

SEPT. 18

Peter Bjorn and John Scandinavian whistlebait keep blowing up. Warfield, 982 Market, SF. (415) 775-7722

SEPT. 21

Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem The Fire this time? DFA’s big kahuna is playing at my house. Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Pkwy., Mountain View. (650) 541-0800,

The White Stripes What rhymes with "sticky stump"? The duo let the healing begin in Mexi-witchypoo getups, with biting story-songs and sexed-up nesting instincts. Greek Theatre, UC Berkeley, Gayley Road, Berk.

SEPT. 21–22

Amy Winehouse and Paolo Nutini The big-haired "Rehab" vixen reunites with her Scottish scrapper of a tourmate. Warfield, 982 Market, SF. (415) 775-7722

SEPT. 22–NOV. 30

San Francisco Jazz Festival SFJAZZ is jumping in honor of its 25th anniversary fest, starting with guitar genius John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension and continuing with Ornette Coleman, Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders, Ahmad Jamal, Ravi Shankar, Caetano Veloso, Les Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Youssou N’Dour, Tinariwen, Cristina Branco, Vieux Farka Touré, the Kronos Quartet with Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, and the Bay’s own Pete Escovedo. Gasp. Various venues.

SEPT. 23

Alice’s Now and Zen The battle of the Brit crooners ensues. Soldier boy James Blunt tussles with body-painted vixen Joss Stone as the Gin Blossoms look on helplessly. Sharon Meadow, JFK and Kezar, Golden Gate Park, SF. (415) 421-TIXS,

SEPT. 27

Arctic Monkeys The ingratiating punky popsters emerge from a deep freeze. Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove, SF. (415) 421-TIXS,

SEPT. 28–30

San Francisco Blues Festival This year’s looks like a doozy, bluesy outing, starting with the free kickoff performance by Freddie Roulette and Harvey Mandel at Justin Herman Plaza, before moving on to movies at the Roxie Film Center and Fort Mason performances by vocalist John Nemeth, boogie-woogie keymaster Dave Alexander, hot ‘n’ sacred Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Allen Toussaint, the Carter Brothers, Fillmore Slim, and Goldie winner Jimmy McCracklin. Great Meadow, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF.

OCT. 5

Daddy Yankee Reggaetón’s big daddy, né Raymond Ayala, brings newfound hip-hop roots on the road. Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Pkwy., Mountain View. (650) 541-0800,

The Shins Wincing the night away. Greek Theatre, UC Berkeley, Gayley Road, Berk.

OCT. 5–7

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival Get your spot in the shrubbery now: after drawing 750,000 last year, our hoedown overfloweth with the usual generous array of country, bluegrass, and roots roustabouts, including Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Los Lobos, Doc Watson, Charlie Louvin, Keller Williams, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Nick Lowe, Michelle Shocked, Boz Scaggs and the Blue Velvet Band, Gillian Welch, the Flatlanders, Jorma Kaukonen, Bill Callahan, the Mekons, Dave Alvin, and Blanche. Golden Gate Park, Speedway, Marx, and Lindley meadows, SF.

OCT. 6

Download Festival Break out the old smudgy eyeliner: the Cure have been found. Then upload shed-friendly modern rockers like AFI, Kings of Leon, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, She Wants Revenge, Metric, and the Black Angels. Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Pkwy., Mountain View. (650) 541-0800,

OCT. 8–9

Beirut Bold and brassy. Sprawling and sassy. Herbst Theatre, War Memorial Veterans Bldg., 401 Van Ness, SF.,

OCT. 9

Genesis "Turn It On Again: The Tour" — please, don’t. HP Pavilion, 525 W. Santa Clara, San Jose. (415) 421-TIXS,

OCT. 17

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony Re-create martial bliss-hell? El Cantante go for that! Mennifer — that just doesn’t have the same ring — undertake their first tour together. HP Pavilion, 525 W. Santa Clara, San Jose. (415) 421-TIXS,

OCT. 20

Interpol We’re slowly warming to the cool rockers, who are sure to have their jet-black feathers ruffled by the Liars. Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove, SF. (415) 421-TIXS,

DEC. 6

Tegan and Sara So jealous of those who got to see them at Brava? Bet it stung. All you get is this, the last performance of their fall US tour. Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, Lower Sproul Plaza (near Bancroft at Telegraph), Berk.

Bay Area fall fairs and festivals


Summer may technically be on the outs, but don’t put away your baggies, huarache sandals, and that bushy, bushy blond hairdo just yet, all you Gidgets and Big Kahunas out there: it’s still Surfin’ USA in the Bay. Hell, summer doesn’t even start in San Francisco until September at the earliest. You can wax up the board and get busy, stuff the kidlets into the Woody, and hit one of the bevy of cool fiestas listed below, or maybe just lay out on a towel in Dolores Park, waiting for a wayward Lothario or Lothariette to rub cocoa butter on your fleshy hind regions. Ah, how good do we have it in the Sucka Free City?

AUG. 25

Jazzy Tomatoes Berkeley Farmers’ Market, Center at MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley; (510) 548-3333, 10:30am-3pm. Free. This collaboration between the Downtown Berkeley Jazz Festival series and the Berkeley Farmers’ Market features the sounds of local mandolinist Mike Marshall and Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto, plus the flavors of Venus Restaurant’s Ann Murray.

AUG. 25-26

Bodega Seafood Art and Wine Festival Watts Ranch, 16855 Bodega Ave, Bodega; (707) 824-8717, Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm. $8-12. The sleepy village where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds hosts this celebration of the best beer, wine, and seafood California has to offer. Sip on a Cline Cellars pinot noir and enjoy albacore wrapped in bacon while taking in the sounds of Marcia Ball’s Texas-style roadhouse blues.

Golden Gate Renaissance Festival Speedway Meadow, Golden Gate Park, SF; (415) 354-1773, Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm. $5-15. Stilt walkers, fire-eaters, jesters, jousters, knights, peasant wenches, and Shakespeare fetishists abound in the fourth installment of this medieval fair. Amid the feasting and storytelling, you’ll get a chance to practice your chivalry and maybe ride a horse.

AUG. 26

Arab Cultural Festival County Fair Building, Ninth Ave and Lincoln, Golden Gate Park, SF; 10am-7pm. $2-5. Hikayatna (Our stories) is the theme for this year’s Arab Cultural Festival, featuring a bazaar with jewelry, henna, and Arab cuisine, as well as assorted folk and contemporary musical performances.

Taste of Marin St. Vincent’s School for Boys, 1 St. Vincent Dr., San Rafael; (415) 663-9667, 4-10pm. $150. Dedicated to supporting and promoting the exquisite food that is grown and produced in Marin, this event features a silent auction, chances to meet the farmers and chefs, and an elaborate sit-down dinner. Soulstress Maria Muldaur provides the musical entertainment.

AUG. 31-SEPT. 2

Monterey Bay Reggae Fest Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey; (831) 394-6534, The sprawling Monterey County Fairgrounds plays host to this annual festival featuring the liveliest of modern reggae acts. Eek-a-Mouse, Mighty Diamonds, and you-know-who’s brother, Richard Marley Booker, are just a sample of this year’s lineup.

SEPT. 1-3

Art and Soul Oakland Frank Ogawa Plaza and City Center, 14th St. and Clay, Oakl; (510) 444-CITY, 11am-6pm. $5. The seventh incarnation of this annual downtown Oakland festival includes dance performances, lots of art to view and purchase, an expanded Family Fun Zone, and a notably eclectic musical lineup: big-name performers include Lucinda Williams, Against Me!, the Legendary Fillmore Slim, Johnny Rawls, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

Sausalito Art Festival Army Corps of Engineers-Bay Model Visitor Center and Marinship Park, Sausalito; (415) 331-3757, Check Web site for times. $5-20. The Sausalito waterfront will play host to hundreds of artists’ exhibits as well as family entertainment and top-notch live music from the likes of Jefferson Starship and the Marshall Tucker Band.

SEPT. 1-23

Free Shakespeare in the Park Presidio parade ground, SF; (415) 558-0888, Sat, 7:30pm; Sun and Labor Day, 2:30pm. Free. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream gets a brilliant rendition under the direction of Kenneth Kelleher on the outdoor stage. Families fostering budding lit and theater geeks should take note.


Cowgirlpalooza El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF; (415) 282-3325, 3-9pm. $10. This sure-to-be-twangy evening on El Rio’s patio features music by the most compellingly country-fried female musicians around, including Kitty Rose, Starlene, Axton Kincaid, Burning Embers, 77 El Deora, and Four Year Bender.

SEPT. 5-9

San Francisco Electronic Music Festival Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida, SF; 8:30pm. $12-16. The seventh in an annual series of weeklong electronica parties. Fred Frith, Annea Lockwood, Univac, and David Behrman round out this year’s lineup.


911 Power to the Peaceful Festival Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, SF; (415) 865-2170, 11am-5pm. Free. This event calling for international human rights and an end to bombing features art and cultural exhibits and a talk with Amy Goodman, as well as performances by Michael Franti, the Indigo Girls, and DJ Spooky.

SEPT. 8-9

Bay Area Pet Fair Marin Center, 10 Ave of the Flags, San Rafael; (415) 229-3174, Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm. $5-7. This event does double duty as a celebration of companion animals and a venue for a massive pet adopt-athon, so bring the kids and the dog.

Brews on the Bay Jeremiah O’Brien, Pier 45, SF; 12-4:30pm. $8-40. Beer tasting, live music, and food abound at the San Francisco Brewers Guild’s annual on-deck showcase.

Chocolate Festival Ghirardelli Square, 900 N Point, SF; 12-5pm. Free. An indisputably fun weekend at the square includes chocolate goodness from more than 30 restaurant and bakery booths, various activities for kids and families, and a hands-free Earthquake Sundae Eating Contest.


Solano Avenue Stroll Solano between San Pablo and the Alameda in Berkeley and Albany; (510) 527-5358, 10am-6pm. Free. The long-running East Bay block party features a clown-themed parade, art cars, dunk tanks, and assorted artsy offerings of family fun, along with the requisite delicious food and musical entertainment.

SEPT. 15-16

Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival Old Mill Park, Mill Valley; (415) 381-8090, Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm. $7. Dig this juried show featuring original fine art, including jewelry, woodwork, painting, ceramics, and clothing.

Wisdom Festival Fort Mason Center, SF. (415) 452-0369, Sat, 10am-8pm; Sun, 10am-7pm. $8-$55. This fest features interactive panels, workshops, symposiums, and lectures, all geared toward your inner Shirley MacLaine.

SEPT. 22-23

Autumn Moon Festival Grant between California and Broadway and Pacific between Stockton and Kearney, SF; (415) 982-6306, 11am-6pm. Free. At one of Chinatown’s biggest annual gatherings you can see an acrobatic troupe, martial artists, street vendors, and, of course, lots of moon cakes. I like the pineapple the best.

SEPT. 28-30

A Taste of Greece Annunciation Cathedral, 245 Valencia, SF; (415) 864-8000, Call or check Web site for time. $5. Annunciation Cathedral’s annual fundraising event is an all-out food festival where you can steep yourself in Greek dishes, wine tasting, and the sounds of Greek Compania.

SEPT. 29-30

World Veg Festival San Francisco County Fair Building, Ninth Avenue and Lincoln, Golden Gate Park, SF; (415) 273-5481. 10am-6pm. $5. For those afraid of hamburgers, this event features speakers, live entertainment, and local cuisine of the meatless variety.

SEPT. 30

Folsom Street Fair Folsom between Seventh and 12th streets, SF; 11am-6pm. Free. The world’s largest leather gathering, coinciding with Leather Pride Week, features a new Leather Women’s Area along with myriad fetish and rubber booths. Musical performers include Ladytron and Imperial Teen, and comedian Julie Brown also will appear.

OCT. 3

Shuck and Swallow Oyster Challenge Ghirardelli Square, West Plaza, 900 North Point, SF; (415) 929-1730. 5pm. Free to watch, $25 per duo to enter. How many oysters can two people scarf down in 10 minutes? Find out as pairs compete at this most joyous of spectacles, then head to the oyster and wine pairing afterward at McCormick and Kuleto’s Seafood Restaurant, also in Ghirardelli Square.

OCT. 4-9

Fleet Week Various locations, SF; (650) 599-5057, Cries of “It’s a plane!” and “Now there’s a boat!” shall abound at San Francisco’s impressive annual gathering. Along with ship visits, there’ll be a big air show by the Blue Angels and the Viper West Coast Demonstration Team. And for the lonely among us, North Beach will be assholes and elbows with horny sailors and jarheads.

OCT. 4-14

Mill Valley Film Festival CinéArts at Sequoia, 25 Throckmorton, Mill Valley; 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley; Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth St, San Rafael; (925) 866-9559, Check Web site for times and prices. Documentaries and features of both the independent and international persuasion get screen time at this festival, the goal of which is insight into the various cultures of filmmaking.

OCT. 5-6

San Francisco Zinefest CELLspace, 2050 Bryant, SF; (415) 750-0991, Fri, 2-8pm; Sat, 11am-7pm. Free. Appreciate the continuing vitality of the DIY approach at this two-day event featuring workshops and more than 40 exhibitors.

OCT. 5-7

Berkeley Juggling and Unicycling Festival King Middle School, 1781 Rose, Berkeley; Fri, 5-10pm; Sat, 9am-10pm; Sun, 9am-5pm. Check Web site for prices. More balls than hands. More feet than wheels.

Pacific Pinball Exposition Marin County Civic Center Exhibition Hall, San Rafael; Fri 2-10pm; Sat-Sun, 10am-12am. $20-35. Focusing on vintage machines, this inaugural festival promises to extol all things pinball. I think you get in free if you’re a deaf, dumb, and blind kid who can play a mean pinball.

OCT. 6-13

Litquake Various locations, SF; San Francisco’s annual literary maelstrom naturally features Q&As and readings by a gazillion local authors, including Daniel Handler, Jane Smiley, Dave Eggers, and Ann Patchett. The gang is honoring local writer Armistead Maupin with a lifetime achievement award.

OCT. 11-14

Oktoberfest by the Bay Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; Check Web site for times. $25. One of the few places your lederhosen won’t look silly is the biggest Oktoberfest left of Berlin, where the Chico Bavarian Band will accompany German food and a whole lotta beer.<\!s>*


Pitchfork Music Festival Day 3: Just try keeping the Lidell on De La Soul


By K. Tighe

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Jamie Lidell rocks the synthetics. All photos by K. Tighe.

Sunlight danced off of Jamie Lidell’s Mylar-embellished headpiece as the Cambridge-born genre-bender yucked it up like only a Brit can. When not encased within his make-shift mechanical perch, Lidell contorted around the stage in a gold-embossed smoking jacket, giving the impression that this fringe-hugging impresario was something of an electro-soul shaman. An old hand at manipulating peripheral noise elements, Lidell pulls from an arsenal that includes a Theremin. He loops and layers. There was even a brief cameo by a handheld gong, though the fire power to reckon with is an achingly soulful, and relentlessly funk-filled croon.

Lidell was proof positive that the solo performers at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival lineup intended to shake things up. Still, no one was more vulnerable on stage than Stephen Malkmus. The former Pavement frontperson didn’t have any equipment to hide behind. His was a simple equation: a man, a guitar, the masses. It was a throwback to what festivals used to mean, back in the hippie days when an acoustic guitar could hit harder than a backline full of Marshall stacks. Malkmus delivered a stunning, if sparse, performance that included several Pavement songs. At the end of his set, he was even joined on drums by former Pavement drummer Bob Nastanovich.

Dressed for indie success: Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal.

It’s not a stretch to assume that Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes whiled away many childhood hours playing dress up and performing in front of a mirror. The anti-glam Abba-fetishists served up gimmick after sparkling gimmick, and the crowd ate it all up. A guitarist molting hot-pink wings, an acrobatic ninja flipping around the stage, and the trademark stilts that have brought many an Of Montreal up to the – ahem – next level filled out a disco-perverted performance. Barnes’s frequent costume changes culminated in a risqué ensemble of black-leather corsetry that elicited an expected chorus of whistles and shrieks from a starry-eyed audience. The whimsical Georgia group finished with a flourish: an encore of the Kinks “All Day and All of the Night” that sent the crowd into the requisite hysterics.

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“Think pink!” think Of Montreal.

Across the park, the New Pornographers closed out the Connector Stage with their token take on power-pop. Ingratiating themselves to longtime fans by throwing in plenty of tracks from their upcoming album, Challenger (due in August on Matador), the Pornographers did not disappoint.

When the sun started to go down, the vendors were busy packing up, the crew was beginning to strike equipment, and the toilet paper that had been conspicuously absent from the port-a-johns revealed to have been strewn about the now-empty lawns in front of the Connector and Balance stages, I began to wonder how the hell the Pitchfork peeps think they can wrap this thing up. Seventeen thousand people who have just had the shit rocked out of them are clustered around the Aluminum Stage – the gigantic AV screens are all running the same anticipatory feed, and the act to close this fest better damn well live up to the hype.

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The Pitchfork crowd was utterly smitten with De La Soul.

Enter De La Soul. Wait, sorry, enter De La Fucking Soul! This comes as a booking no-brainer in hindsight. How do you impress hoards of elitist music-enthusiasts when you’ve spent three days hiking up the precedent? By booking a band that doesn’t care if it impresses anyone. By booking De La Fucking Soul to get on stage, have a good time, and remind everyone about what sparked that passion for music in the first place. The set largely consisted of well-worn tracks from 1989’s 3 Feet High and Rising, and the minute that DJ Maseo started bouncing around stage, all arms were in the air bouncing along with him. With Posdnuos and Trugoy egging everyone on from behind their self-inverted mics, no one stood a chance.

The boys starting chiding each other – quipping about their ages between songs, throwing out sarcastic jabs at A Tribe Called Quest – and it was clear that there was no agenda afoot, save rocking the fuck out of everyone in earshot. The sound-related shortcomings that had been plaguing every stage all weekend must have sparked some kind of karmic fury, because De La Soul was working at volumes that hadn’t been present all weekend.

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Lo, De La.

When DJ Maseo stopped scratching and announced that, because of his age, he could no longer hold his bladder and had to take a bathroom break, the crowd didn’t seem to get the joke. Then Maseo announced that he had a replacement in mind and brought out Prince Paul – iconic hip-hop legend and producer of 3 Feet High and Rising – and the audience went positively ape. Paul’s appearance prompted dozen of normally cooler-than-thou VIP laminate holders to jump the fence into the All Access area and shake it with the stagehands.

During all the commotion, Trugoy came to the side of the stage to ask the hundreds of press, agents, publicists, and artists, “What are you guys supposed to be?” With the over-eager shout of “VIP” he got in response, he laughed into his mic, and repeated it to thousands in front of the stage, which was, of course, answered by a chorus of boos and hisses. “We’re just gonna call you guys special fans over here. Now, we know you’re the movers and shakers of the industry – but these…,” he said, gesturing to the masses, “…these are the hip-hop people.” For a brief moment, that old rock ‘n’ roll adage – you know, we’ve got the amps; you’ve got the numbers – took over, as the general admission audience screamed their heads off.

Sweet Youth



SONIC REDUCER "It was a period where you thought anything could happen," Thurston Moore once told me, talkin’ ’bout the early ’90s alternative rock scene spawned by Sonic Youth’s widely regarded masterpiece, Daydream Nation (DGC, 1988).

One might say the MTV-coined catchphrase "Alternative Nation" went as far as to take its cues from SY’s double disc, which was self-aware enough to dub a track "The Sprawl" and heady enough to venture into the big-statement two-LP turf also being hoed by once–SST kindred Minutemen and Hüsker Dü. Honestly, back in those hazy days, I recall giving it a handful of spins, sensing the distinct odor of a masterpiece, and immediately stopping playing it. Daydream was much too much, too rich for my blood, too jammed with the brainy, jokey pop culture ephemera that had riddled Sonic Youth’s LPs up to that point — positioned as the polar opposite of a hardcore punk 7-inch, which was short, sharp, and built for maximum speed. Yo, you’d never catch Minor Threat doing a double album. Instead Daydream thumbed its nose at the closeted cops in the mosh pit and unfurled like a dark banner announcing: We can’t be contained by your louder, faster, lamer rules. We’re gonna speak to a imaginary country — off Jorge Luis Borges’s and Italo Calvino’s grids — of naval-gazing, candle-clutching misfit visionaries looking for clues in trash cults, Madonna singles, and the burned-out butt end of the Raygun-era ’80s.

Now nearly 20 years old, Daydream — recently given the deluxe reissue treatment with an additional disc of live tracks — brings back memories of prophesy and triggers reminders of mortality. Around the time it first came out, I recall ranting to kindred record store clerks — and anyone who stumbled into my predated High Fidelity daydream — how everything will change when Sonic Youth meets Public Enemy. And it sort of did on Daydream, coproduced by Nicholas Sansano, who engineered PE’s ’88 masterwork It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def Jam).

Apparently we were also talkin’ ’bout nation building back then, finding a face and a place for a generation still living at home and struggling for an identity. Imagining a meeting of the most powerful forces in American rock and hip-hop seemed like the next best thing to moving out — and it foreshadowed Goo and touring collaborations to come. Little did I — or Moore — realize that a dozen years after Daydream Nation, the meeting of rock and rap would degrade into what Moore described as "negativecore" and rap-metal units like Limp Bizkit and debacles like Rapestock 2000. Daydream Nation offered a whole other, embracing view of a youth revolution with its opening track and college radio hit "Teen Age Riot." Sonic Youth had dared to write an anthem for a new age of kids, tagged with Kim Gordon’s "you’re it!" — and everyone was on the same page, stoned on Dinosaur Jr.–style Jurassic distortion and thinking-Neanderthal riffs and racing as fast as they could through dreamlike pop pastiche, as embodied by the accompanying video, a kind of decades-late Amerindie response to "White Riot" or "Anarchy in the UK."

On Daydream pop hooks emerged for the first time alongside the ever-coalescing SY aesthetic, with euphoric, charging chord progressions seemingly unrooted to the blues, and the way the group would open into intentionally pretty passages, flaunting the delicate uses of distortion and a feminized rock sensibility. We were all dreaming of Nirvana, a fringe seeping into the pop marketplace. Honestly though, listening to that Daydream again, I couldn’t help but be disappointed. Its brute approach has become a part of ’90s rock’s wallpaper — as Moore confesses in the reissue notes, black metallists have even owned up to copping licks from " ‘Cross the Breeze" — and therefore perhaps sounds more pedestrian. The triptych of "Hey Joni," "Providence," and "Candle" now sounds more charged than "Teen Age Riot" and "Silver Rocket," and I can’t help but think that Sister may be a stronger, more concise album. Perhaps we’re still too close to the stalled staling of the Alternative Nation, though maybe the faded nature of Daydream Nation is tagged to its very status as a classic — how does one pump life into, say, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?

It does help, however, to play it loud. *


Thurs/19, 8 p.m., $35

Berkeley Community Theatre

1900 Allston Way, Berk.


There was a time when the Bay’s Lovemakers looked like they were going to get all the love nationally — an Interscope deal tucked neatly into their back pocket and a heavy-breathing following around town. So what happened?

"Interscope asked us if we wanted to do another record," vocalist-guitarist Scott Blonde says from Oakland, "and we said no, because our A&R guy was obviously really into us and he and his assistant worked really hard for us, but it didn’t seem possible to get Brenda Romano, who runs the radio department, to get into it enough to put it ahead of 50 Cent and Gwen Stefani." He chuckles.

These days, the band members are focusing on making love on their own terms: their Misery Loves Company EP comes out July 24, the first release on San Francisco’s Fuzz label.

"Obviously we got more cash dollars’ support on Interscope," vocalist-bassist-violinist Lisa Light adds from the Mission District. "But the thing is the way it gets spent. Interscope would spend $5,000 doing stupid things — in bad taste a lot of times too. Not only were you embarrassed by the dumb posters they did, they weren’t in the right places. We’ve been able to hire a radio promoter and a cool PR company. It’s all about finding the people who actually care. You cannot pay for that at all."

"We’re looking at the future of music a lot, and selling CDs isn’t really part of the future seemingly," Blonde continues. "So it’s kinda about coming up with really innovative ways of getting our music out there in the biggest way possible." He says the Lovemakers have already gotten more radio ads on stations like Los Angeles’s KROQ for the first single off Misery than anything off their major label release: "We thought Interscope was going to be our ticket."


Sat/21, 9 p.m., $18

Bimbo’s 365 Club

1025 Columbus, SF



Are more listeners seeking out music’s edgier tones? Edgetone New Music Summit mastermind Rent Romus believes that’s the case. "I’ve been running the Luggage Store series for five years now — last night we had 70 people," he told me. "It’s not about the hit song but about performance and performers." His fest has that critical mixture of daring performers: SF trumpeter Liz Allbee and bowed-gong player Tatsuya Nakatani, Wobbly, Darwinsbitch (sound artist–violinist Marielle Jakobsons), instrument inventor Tom Nunn, High Vulture (with MX-80 guitarist Bruce Anderson), Hammers of Misfortune vocalist Jesse Quattro, Eddie the Rat, and the Gowns. July 22–28. See for schedule


The noisy Boise, Idaho, bass-drum duo waxes darkly on Sea of Sand (Olde English Spelling Bee). Wed/18, 9:30 p.m., $5. Edinburgh Castle Pub, 950 Geary, SF. (415) 885-4074,


Sept. 11’s Our Ill Wills (Merge) is unveiled by Sweden’s shouters. Wed/18, 9 p.m., $15. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF.


Rilo Kiley keyboardist Shana Levy charts a sweet indie pop course with her debut, The Chaos in Order (Yardley Pop/GR2). With Oh No! Oh My! and the Deadly Syndrome. Wed/18, 8 p.m., $12–$14. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF.


Three number one albums strong, the tuneful Aussie rockers muscle onto the US scene with Convicts (Yep Roc). Wed/18, 8 p.m., $13. Slim’s, 333 11th St., SF.


The blues vocalist and harp player bubbles up with Magic Touch (Blind Pig). Fri/20, 8 and 10 p.m., $15. Biscuits and Blues, 401 Mason, SF. (415) 292-2583,


The Mission’s Jazz Mafia collectivists bring out the big guns for their CD release get-down. With Crown City Rockers. Fri/20, 9 p.m., $15–$18. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF.


Love Jill Olson’s "I’m Not the Girl for You" off the SF C&W combo’s new We Never Close (Ranchero). With Big Smith and William Elliott Whitmore. Sat/21, 9 p.m., $15–$17. Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell, SF. $15-$17.

Pitchfork Music Festival Day 2: Life-changing moments with Yoko Ono, Cat Power, Dan Deacon, Battles, Girl Talk…


By K. Tighe

chan sml.bmp
The power of Cat Power. All photos by K. Tighe.

To kick-off the Pitchfork festivities on Saturday, July 14, I decided to check in with some Bay Area denizens.

I’d been hearing excited murmurings about cheap subscriptions to Ready Made magazine, so I headed over to see how the Berkeley publication was faring in the Chicago heat. The corner booth was swarmed with people eager for a turn at custom-designing their own organic T-shirts. Mike Senese, the magazine’s product and online manager, made the trip out from California to organize a crew of local volunteers. This was Ready Made‘s second year at Pitchfork, and Senese explained that they’ve decided to offer festival-goers the chance to get a year’s subscription for only $5. It’s a huge hit. According to Senese, the booth has been constantly busy between the T-shirt making and subscription-peddling — he’s barely had time to see any of the bands.

readymademike sml.bmp
Ready Made’s Mike Senese spreads the T-shirt-making word.

Next I checked in with Cory Brown, founder of Emeryville’s Absolutely Kosher Records. Brown and his two little nephews were busy doling out T-shirts and albums to ecstatic festival-goers, but he managed to find a few minutes to tell me that all of the AK bands — across the board — are selling really well. At the fest for a third year, the AK was now joined by hoards of other small imprints from coast to coast in the WLUW Record Fair tent.

absolutely kosher sml.bmp
Absolutely Kosher honcho Cory Brown chillin’ with chillen.

Later I headed over to the FlatStock Poster Convention on the other side of the park to check in with Terrance Ryan, a.k.a., Lil Tuffy, San Francisco’s premier rock poster artist. Tuffy told me he was doing well, selling many posters, and having fun. A quick look around at the other vendors — who are all extraordinary — solidifies in my mind that SF does it better: Lil Tuffy’s prints were one of the highpoints of the convention for me.

liltuffy sml.bmp
Lil Tuffy peddles his posters.

Finally it’s time to take in some music. I head over to the Aluminum Stage, where Grizzly Bear is about 10 minutes into their set. Having been underwhelmed by the band in the past, I wasn’t really expecting much from their mid-afternoon slot. With a sweeping, ethereal momentum that seemed to sprout out of some deep flirtation with rock opera, the Brooklyn quartet positively thrived in the festival environment. The drummer seemed to be working on about 13 internal metronomes, anchoring a set list largely pulled from their 2006 album, Yellow House. A flourish of delicate melodies were layered over the driving rhythm, and the whole thing sounded like an experiment in wrangling chaos. The end result was so charged, I’m surprised the band didn’t collapse after the final song. I suspect they at least had to go bury their feet in the earth of Union Park to ground themselves after such a stellar showing.

The sassy genre-spanning spastics Battles christened the cooling weather with an unabashedly raucous shit storm. Pulsing with hipster smugness, the New York prog-electro-funk-metal-kitchen-sink group pounded through an unsurprisingly mind-melting set to an audience that just couldn’t get enough. Sewn into the fabric of Battles’ success is their ability to produce sound that seems to shed irony. Indeed, the festival crowd was coated with a heavy gloss of the stuff, igniting a theme of “Fuck being cool — let’s just dance!” for the duration of the evening.

That’s Pitchfork Music Festival you’re soaking in!


By K. Tighe

pitchfork sunset.bmp
The sweet Chicago sky. All photos by K. Tighe.

When the folks at Pitchfork decided to add an extra day to this year’s festivities, I doubt anyone suspected this. As the lineup for the July 13 kick-off evening was announced, jaws across the blogosphere dropped. In collaboration with All Tomorrow’s Parties/Don’t Look Back, Pitchfork Music Festival was packed with ringers: Slint, GZA, and Sonic Youth all performing their most important albums in their entirety on the same soil, in Chicago’s beautiful Union Park.

As I walked through the press gate of the festival an hour before the first band was set to begin, a lingering air of “Holy shit, are we really going to see this tonight?” hovered above the crowd. The lawn in front of the Connector Stage was full with people chomping at the bit to see Slint open the event. Across the park, the Sears Tower loomed large behind the Aluminum Stage, where crowds were already busy defending prime spots for later performances from GZA and Sonic Youth.

Knowing it would be awhile before any rock began to ensue, I decided to explore the community that had sprouted for the weekend.

‘Nuff said.

It seems that the only presidential candidate with guts enough to rock the vote — or should we say Barack the vote? — was Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Sure, there might be a little hometown heroism explaining his booth, located directly across from a satellite Whole Foods Market doling out bento boxes to hungry, hungry hipsters. Volunteers were busy spreading the Obama love, signing people up to vote, and selling some kick-ass Obama ’08 merchandise.

A conversation about Barack always makes me feel warm and fuzzy — as does shopping for records, so I high-tailed it over to the WLUW Record Fair. A bit overwhelming, the record fair is one of the largest structures on the grounds. It’s no Amoeba, but the fair does offer a pretty good selection of new and used vinyl, and a great way to kill time between sets. Adjacent to the vinyl-junkie fix, is the Department Clothing and Crafts fair. A bunch of Chicago crafters set up booths selling various handmade wares. Festival-goers were snatching up jewelry, iPod-holders, and obligatory mini-buttons. I noticed that someone had figured out how to make fruit bowls out of melted records, which left me pretty hot and bothered for a second.

Next, it was time to head over to the Connector Stage to hear Slint play their 1991 album **Spiderland** live. Slint seems like an unusual choice to kick off such a festival: the minimalist Louisville rock band packs a lot of punch, but it’s the low-key kind. No danger of the Kool-Aid man bursting through a wall at any point during their set. In addition, the idea of hearing the highly influential **Spiderland** in stark daylight is a bit confusing. Most people in the crowd are probably accustomed to crouching in the fetal position in the corner of a dark room, breaking the pose only to flip the record. When singer-guitarist Brian McMahan took the stage in wraparound sunglasses, some preconceptions were shattered. When the band played the Great American Music Hall last year, they set a pretty high precedent for themselves.

Slint glints like crazy, opening the Pitchfork fest.

As they took the stage on July 13, people cheered like crazy, and the guy in front of me almost had a heart attack. The set was very casual, and the crowd went into hysterics during every break between songs. By the time McMahan began howling, “I miss you,” at the end of “Good Morning Captain,” it became clear why **Spiderland** has remained a critic’s darling for so many years — a powerful, beautiful album that hasn’t lost one iota of its luster. Today, it positively glimmered under the Chicago sun.

Tattoo you


CHEAP EATS She had tattooed knuckles. One hand said PORK and the other said CHOP. I expressed my adoration, and she said, "You should see the other ones."

"Should I?" I asked.

She has a girlfriend in Canada. This was not a date but a business meeting.

Business = new favorite Vietnamese restaurant. Pho Clement, between, I think, Third and Fourth avenues on Clement Street. One hundred and seventy things on the menu, not counting appetizers and sandwiches.

Over two bowls of soup big enough to paddle two small canoes in, I said to my new friend Pork Chop, "What else ya got?"

"Bacon," she said. I think she said it was on her stomach, but I kind of passed out at that point, and when I came to we were making whole different sentences.

Something about Michigan. Turns out, thanks to Pork Chop’s encouragement, I am going to go there this summer for that wimmin’s music festival. Pork Chop works in the kitchen and has been attending the festival for six or seven years. Says it has changed her life.

I’m sure it will change mine too. For one thing, I won’t be as pretty as I am now, what with black eyes, broken teeth, and every manner of structural damage.

Oy, the things we do for a story, eh, fellow hard news reporters and investigative journalists? I tell you. I for one am not a fan of pain or mosquito bites. Yet there I will be, in Michigan in August, getting my ass kicked by both bugs and backward-thinking lesbian feminist separatists. Ah, but someone’s gotta go see what these girls are having for dinner, and there’s no question I’m the tranny for the job.

Oh: I say backward-thinking because their definition of wimmins is stuck all the way back on what Mr. Doctor had to say about it, overriding all present tense appearances to the contrary. Because everyone knows that the last-century medical profession, or in other words, "the Man," interprets reality more accurately and certainly more definitively than we do, its living and kicking and messy subjects, prone as we are to the pesky revisionism of tick tick time, the great editor.

To review: trans men welcome, beards and testosterone and homemade wieners and all; trans women, no, nope, not welcome, sorry.

But now I have a friend on the inside. In the kitchen. With tattoos! And I don’t know why I love soup so much, but with all due respect to pork, if I could have tattoos on my knuckles I think they would say SOUP and SOUP. Big bowl of steamy, sopping noodles on my belly … but it’s always only a dream because as much as I love tattoos, and seeing them on other people and thinking about them on me, and soup, I can’t take the pain, personally, like I said.

So … "Do you regret any of them? Your tattoos?" I asked.

Her bowl of pho was way bigger than my hot and sour shrimp soup, yet she was almost finished and I was just getting started. I’m a slow eater.

She thought about it. "No," she said, finally, tentatively. Then: "Maybe ‘pork pies’ instead of ‘pork chop.’"

But that’s editorial. That ain’t regret.

Pork butt, pork buns, pork soup, pork meat, pork beef, more pork, I thought, savoring my pineapples, tomatoes, and celery. Sometimes with shrimp and sometimes with catfish, I’ve been ordering canh chua for as long as I’ve been eating in Vietnamese restaurants, and it hadn’t occurred to me until now to ask for noodles too.

The waitressperson had seemed delighted by this suggestion, and I was certainly delighted by the outcome. Only it came out in two separate bowls, and one reason I was so far behind was because it took me 10 minutes to decide whether to add the noodles to the soup, or the soup to the noodles.

Anyway, it was great, and nobody was in no hurries. And I left when I left with a sloshy stomach that worked weirdly well on the soccer field. At least at first. I scored a goal early, then kind of went to sleep in the grass and dreamed about doughnuts. *


Daily, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.

239 Clement, SF

(415) 379-9008

Takeout available

Beer and wine


Wheelchair accessible

Hiss Golden Messenger



Photo by Terri Loewenthal

The Golden Messenger String Band (an augmented Hiss
Golden Messenger lineup) will be performing at The
Rickshaw Stop on Thursday evening as part of this
year’s Mission Creek Music Festival. HGM plays about
9:00 or so (second on the bill). Also on the bill are
Caves, Michael Zapruder’s Rain Of Frogs, Harbours, and
Rykarda Parasol. That’s a lot of fantastic music for
$10. Expect some long tones.

Thursday, May 10th
$10 8 PM show start
@ The Rickshaw Stop – 155 Fell Street

Also, the fully electric version of Hiss Golden
Messenger will be playing some Northwest shows next
week. These are as follows:

Thursday, May 17th @ The Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
Friday, May 18th @ Doug Fir Loung, Portland, OR
Saturday, May 19th @ River City Saloon, Hood River, OR

All of these shows are in support of our good friends
The Mother Hips, who have a fantastic new record out.
Tell a friend.

I hope to see you there.

-M.C. Taylor

P.S. I will also be sitting in on a few songs with my
friend P.G. Six on Saturday, May 12th, at the Swedish
American Hall, in support of Gary Higgins. This is
also part of the Mission Creek Music Festival. P.G.
also has a fantastic new record out.

Not Coachillin’



SONIC REDUCER “I can’t believe you slept through the police helicopter above the tent at 3 a.m. and the megaphone going, ‘Disperse immediately or you’ll all be arrested,'” tentmate Fluffy marveled the day after another ear-busting night of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival’s unofficial after-party scene in the campgrounds. It was only 8 a.m., though the sun was already beating down relentlessly like our heedless neighborhood drum circle.

I’ve snoozed through my share of lousy plays, bad bands, and crappy circuses, but I never thought I’d slumber through the 24-7 thrills at the Empire Polo Fields. And the chopper was just the chaser to April 28 trance headliner Tiesto, who began his loud set, pompously booming out over our not-so-fair tent city of spring breakers and Euro tourists, with “In the beginning there was the earth….”

We’re gonna have to sleep through the history of the planet, was my last thought as I drifted off.

O Coachella, don’t you cry for me, ’cause I’ve come from Alabama Street with a heat rash on my knee — and doubts about making the scene at the festival despite the fact that about 160,000 brave music fans were expected to face down the desert swelter as the event swelled to three days.

At this juncture, Coachella might be described as a music festival on steroids: it’s a carnival for 18 and overs with rides, art installations, dancers, and completely insane people wearing full-body chicken costumes in the 110-degree heat, though still boasting a comprehensive bill of today’s so-called hot bands. It’s your one-stop smorgasbord for music lovers, who will happily chat you up about the performer they deemed the most mind-blowing the previous night or the last Rage Against the Machine show they caught.

And they got what they came for: the Björk shroom headdress; the crazed buzz rising from such festival circuiteers as Amy Winehouse and Klaxons; solid pop from Jarvis Cocker and Peter Bjorn and John; show-stopping performances by DJ Shadow, CSS, Arcade Fire, and Konono No. 1; and the rattle of reunion bones by an amped and antic Rage Against the Machine, glowering and balding Jesus and Mary Chain, and, er, Crowded House. You couldn’t go amiss if you stuck to the desert to-do’s rave roots and entrenched yourself beneath the mirror ball, video screens, and pink and blue lights of the Sahara tent: the performances there by Justice and LCD Soundsystem connected with the crowd with a screw-it-all exuberance.

But the untold story lay far away from the press tent and Palm Springs love nests — in the crowded, brutal heat of the campgrounds next to the performance area. Is it possible to review a camping trip? In what seemed like a dusty, straw-strewn football field with thousands of other wake ‘n’ bakers? I spent far too much time taking refuge from the nonstop heat at the campground’s cybercafé, where hundreds of shirtless boys and bikinied girls would miserably crouch, recharging their cells at a bank of outlets, sit stunned watching the Coachella film on a loop, or lie on the ground like clammy, comatose dead fish, waiting out the morning before the acts began in early afternoon.

The southerly discomfort led most campers on a lengthy hike from the tent city, past the obscenely grassy country clubs surrounding the polo grounds, to find refrigerated refuge and 40s at Ralph’s, the nearest supermarket, where people were literally chillin’ on store lawn furniture. Coachella: the fest that inspired global warming — and a post–<\d>Earth Day longing for air-con.

Organizers Golden Voice had a clue: they gave away free water sporadically and provided campers with free Internet use and showers. But there were too few laptops, the wi-fi was too erratic, and the showers were locked down too early — and you knew there was too little shade in general when audience members broiled in the sparse shadows of lemonade stands.

The crowd — weighted with Rage Against the Machine fans eager to see the band’s first concert in more than five years — was also heavy on the testosterone. But maybe that’s just the state of Rage love: the band never really seemed too underground to me but has historically worked to surface activist subversion via modern rock radio. And their audience was still boiling — and amazingly good-natured despite the sleepless nights. As for myself, I finally woke up hours after the helicopter early April 29 to the sound of a random dude shouting, “Whoo!” and yammering loudly in Portuguese to the tentizens the next flap over. Later I was tempted to put my own spin on Zack de la Rocha’s onstage suggestion that Bush and Cheney be “tried for war crimes and shot.” I know the 12-hour roller coaster ride of quality hallucinogens can be a bitch — but then, so can I: is it so wrong to want the early morning shouters and the dude with the air horn to be tried for crimes against humanity’s sleep schedule and shot? I’d settle for finding out where they were dozing it off and delivering a special whoo-gram of my own.

BOB DYLAN STUDIED HERE That’s the rumor, anyway, at the Blue Bear School of Music, which has seen Tracy Chapman and more than 20,000 other musicians come through its doors in the past 36 years. Executive director Kevin Marlatt told me the nonprofit’s second annual fundraiser — showcasing 2007 Grammy Lifetime Achievement winner Booker T. Jones as well as Blue Bear staffer Bonnie Hayes and Sista Monica — will include an appearance by the James Lick Middle School Band, the result of the organization’s efforts in the last year to get more involved in public school music education. Since it took over the James Lick music program and brought in 30 guitars, he says, more than a dozen bands have popped up at just that school. So Stax around for a good cause. *


Sat/12, 8 p.m., $45–$125

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF


Fab gadgets



SUPER EGO "We’re trying to reverse the great Berlin brain drain," DJ Solekandi of the Bay Area Beatdrop crew told me somewhat breathlessly. She was preparing to launch Filter.SF, the latest and so far biggest monument to the return of peninsular techno, an "official" Saturday monthly at Fat City, that would spill over — ecstatically — into 8 a.m. "Is that where my brain’s been draining?" I replied, emptying my scotch glass warily. "I honestly thought it was circling somewhere over the Hebrides."

But of course she was speaking of the years-long flight of local electro and techno talent to the undisputed club capital of the early Ohs. Reunification — and a city full of unguarded construction sites — definitely has its advantages. "Let’s face it: techno’s a dirty word here," Solekandi reminded me. "There’s still so much great electronic music evolving in the States, though, transcending itself, working the polyrhythmics. People are shocked that we’re fiddling with grooves at 120 bpm — we’re just as much in reaction to the whole ‘techno has to hit you over the head’ thing as everyone else. We don’t want to be pigeonholed. We’re into stripping all musical genres down, foregrounding different patterns and sequences, but not getting so heady or minimal that you want to stop and think — or jumping off the rails into breakbeat. We mainly started this party because we want to have someplace where people can dance all night. I mean, where did that go?"

Presumably through the Brandenburg Gate. In the "we" above, Solekandi’s including the other half of Beatdrop, her mate, DJ Kontakt. (She was a journalist in Budapest. He was a soulful loner in Toronto. When they met online, listening to Deep Mix Moscow Radio, it was love at first IM.) Solekandi then launches, as any fierce DJ would, into a rundown of her cutting-edge technical equipment: Tracktor software, Faderfox controllers from Robotspeak, Ecler Nuo4 MIDI mixer … Visuals by VJ Mike Creighton? Edirol V-4 Video Mixer, HP ZT-3010US laptop, custom VISP Flash-Flex-Apollo software, Wacom Intuos Graphire tablet …

Phew. When I hear tech heads, even hot ones, geek out over their digital apparatuses, I sink into languid bafflement. Suddenly, I’m a sultry ’60s housewife, lounging on my lime green sectional, slightly pinched by my girdle, nodding while Hubby blathers on about structural changes down at the aeronautics plant. Sounds complicated, darling. Shall I fix us another batch of martinis? May is officially techno month, however, with Movement, Detroit’s legendary electronic music festival (, drawing hundreds of thousands to the Motor City and Montreal’s gargantuan Mutek ( following hard on Movement’s gravel-pitted heels — so technology’s the ultra. Yet I’d naively thought that since techno and vinyl had been pushed from the clubs by laptops and mashups, iPods and electroclash, they would join forces in a retrofuture comeback assault. No can do, it seems. So rock on, techno mama!

"I hate the word Wii," my yummy pal Noel reflected at the recent LCD Soundsystem show when I told him about the latest DJ craze, WiiJing. "It’s just so … happy. Wii. Ugh."

WiiJing, you ask? Hell yes. You knew it was only a matter of time before some genius couch potato hacked their Wiimote to start mixing, as they say, Wiimotely. Well, that time is now, and DJ_! (pronounced "shift one") is that genius. He’ll be here May 12 at Bootie, debuting his skills to the mashup crowd. ("I’ll probably be mashing up my favorite video game themes — anything from Centipede to Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six," he claimed.)

I asked Turlock’s Obi-Wii Kenobi over the phone how he did it. "I basically used GlovePie to patch the Wiimote through a Bluetooth dongle into my Ableton Live," he replied. Again the gizmo glaze descended. Still, that must be one heck of a dongle! What’s the range on that thing? "About 15 feet, I think." I riffed on the WiiJ potential, now that DJs won’t be tethered to the decks. Refresh your cocktail midset! Stage-dive without any skips! Embed your Wiimotes into lightsabers and duel other WiiJs!

"Maybe," DJ_! said. "I’m happy just to be able to take a bathroom break." Now that’s putting the wee in Wii, no pun Nintendoed. *


Last Sat., 10 p.m.–8 a.m., $20

Fat City

314 11th St., SF


With DJ_!

Sat/12, 9 p.m.–late, $12

DNA Lounge

375 11th St., SF

(415) 626-1409

Summer 2007 fairs and festivals guide



ArtSFest Various venues; For its fourth year, ArtSFest presents a showcase of theater, dance, visual art, film, music, spoken word, and more. Through May 28.

Night Market Ferry Bldg Marketplace, along the Embarcadero at the foot of Market; 693-0996, Thurs, 4-8pm, through Oct 26. Marketplace merchants and farmers offer their freshest artisan foods and produce at this weekly sunset event.

United States of Asian America Arts Festival Various venues; 864-4120, Through June 30. This festival, presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, showcases Asian Pacific Islander dance, music, visual art, theater, and multidisciplinary performance ensembles at many San Francisco venues.

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival Yerba Buena Gardens, Third St at Mission; 543-1718, Through Oct, free. Nearly 100 artistic and cultural events for all ages takes place at the gardens this summer including Moroccan percussionists, Hawaiian ukulele players, Yiddish klezmer violinists, Balinese dancers, Shakespearean actors, Cuban musicians, and Japanese shakuhachi players.


Silicon Valley Open Studios Sat-Sun, 11am-5pm, through May 20. Check out Silicon Valley artists’ works and the spaces they use to create them at this community art program.

MAY 8–20

The Hip-Hop Theater Festival: Bay Area 2007 Various venues; Youth Speaks, La Peña Cultural Center, the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, and San Francisco International Arts Festival present this showcase of new theater works that feature break dancing, MCing, graffiti, spoken word, and DJ sampling.

MAY 10-20

Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival Various venues; The Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival features the best and brightest independent musicians and artists, including music by Vincent Gallo, Acid Mothers Temple, Edith Frost, and Gary Higgins. Literary and film events are also planned.

MAY 12

KFOG KaBoom! Piers 30-32; 817-KFOG, 4-10pm, free. Kick off the summer with this popular event featuring music, a spectacular fireworks show, food and drinks, and activities for kids. Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Guster, and Ozomatli perform.


Arlen Ness Motorcycles Anniversary Party Arlen Ness, 6050 Dublin, Dublin; (925) 479-6300, 10am-4:30pm, free. Celebrate the company’s fourth year in Dublin and 37th year in business with a display of the largest selection of Ness, Victory, American Iron Horse, and Big Dog Motorcycles in California, a walk through the museum, and a live music from Journey tribute band Evolution.

Beltane Pagan Festival Civic Center Park, 2151 MLK Jr. Way, Berk;, free. This year’s festival focuses on children and young adults and features a procession, performances, vendors, storytelling, an authors’ circle, and information booths.

Peralta in Bloom Spring Festival Carter Middle School, 4521 Webster, Oakl; (510) 655-1502, Due to a fire, Peralta’s spring festival will be held at a temporary home this year. Expect the same great live entertainment, carnival games, old-fashioned high-steppin’ cakewalk, free arts and crafts, and delicious barbecue as always.

MAY 13

Hood Games VI "Tender Love" Turk between Mason and Taylor; 11am-4pm. This celebration of youth culture features live skating and music, art, a fashion show, contests, and a raffle. Bonus: every mom who shows up for this Mother’s Day event gets a free skateboard.


Russian-American Fair Terman Middle School, 655 Arastradero, Palo Alto; (650) 852-3509, 10am-5pm, $3-5. The Palo Alto Jewish Community Center puts on this huge, colorful cultural extravaganza featuring ethnic food, entertainment, crafts and gift items, art exhibits, carnival games, and vodka tasting.

MAY 16–27

San Francisco International Arts Festival Various venues; (415) 439-2456, The theme for this year’s multidisciplinary festival is the Truth in Knowing/Now, a Conversation across the African Diaspora.

MAY 17–20

Carmel Art Festival Devendorf Park, Carmel; (831) 642-2503, Call for times, free. Enjoy viewing works by more than 60 visual artists at this four-day festival. In addition to the Plein Air and Sculpture-in-the-Park events, the CAF is host to the Carmel Youth Art Show, Quick Draw, and Kids Art Day.

MAY 18–20

Festival of Greece 4700 Lincoln, Oakl; (510) 531-3400, Fri-Sat, 10am-11pm; Sun, 11am-9pm, $6. Free on Fri 10-4 and Sun 6-9. Let’s hear an "opa!" for Greek music, dance, food, and a stunning view at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension’s three-day festival.

MAY 19

A La Carte and Art Castro St, Mountain View; (650) 964-3395, 10am-6pm, free. A moveable feast of people and colorful tents offering two days of attractions, music, art, a farmers’ market, and a special appearance by TV star Delta Burke.

Asian Heritage Street Celebration Howard between Fifth and Seventh streets; 321-5865, 11am-6pm, free. More than 200 organizations participate in this festival, which features Asian cooking demonstrations, beer and sake, arts and crafts, a variety of food, and live entertainment.

Family Fun Festival and Silent Auction 165 Grattan; 759-2815. 11am-5pm, free. Enjoy this second annual family event in Cole Valley, featuring a kids’ carnival with prizes, street theater, live music, refreshments, and a silent auction.

Oyster and Beer Fest Great Meadows, Fort Mason, Laguna at Bay; 12-7pm, $15-19 ($50 reserved seating). O’Reilly’s Productions presents the 8th annual festival celebrating oysters and beer, featuring cooking demos, competitions, and live performance from Flogging Molly, Shantytown, The Hooks, and more.

Saints Kiril and Metody Bulgarian Cultural Festival Croatian American Cultural Center, 60 Onondaga; (510) 649-0941, 3pm-midnight, $15. Enjoy live music, dance, and traditional food and wine in celebration of Bulgarian culture. A concert features Nestinari, Zaedno, Brass Punks, and many more.

Taiwanese American Cultural Festival Union Square; (408) 268-5637, 10am-7pm, free. Explore Taiwan by tasting delicious Taiwanese delicacies, viewing a puppet show and other performances, and browsing arts and crafts exhibits.

Uncorked! Public Wine Festival Ghirardelli Square, 900 N Point; 775-5500, 1-6pm, event free, wine tasting $40-100. This second annual wine festival features wine tasting, five-star chef demonstrations, wine seminars, and a chocolate and wine pairing event.


Cupertino Special Festival in the Park Cupertino Civic Center, 10300 Torre, Cupertino; (408) 996-0850, 10am-6pm, free. The Organization of Special Needs Families hosts its third annual festival for people of all walks or wheels of life. Featuring live music, food and beer, bouncy houses, arts and crafts, and other activities.

Pixie Park Spring Fair Marin Art and Garden Center, Sir Francis Drake Blvd at Lagunitas, Ross; 9am-4pm, free. This fair for preschoolers and kindergarteners features bathtub races, pony rides, a petting zoo, a puppet show, and much more.

MAY 19-20

Bay Area Storytelling Festival Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area, San Pablo Dam Road near Castro Ranch, El Sobrante; (510) 644-2593,

Sat, 9:30am-8pm; Sun, 9:30am-5:15pm, $8-65. Gather around and listen to stories told by storytellers from around the world at this outdoor festival. Sheila Kay Adams, Charlotte Blake Alston, Bill Harley and others are featured.

Castroville Artichoke Festival 10100 Merritt, Castroville; (831) 633-2465, Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm, $3-6. Have a heart — eat an artichoke. This festival cooks up the vegetable in every way imaginable and features tons of fun activities for kids, music, a parade, a farmers’ market, and much more.

Day of Decadence Women’s Expo Sedusa Studios, 1300 Dell, Campbell; (408) 826-9087, 1-4pm, $5. Twenty-five women-owned businesses exhibit their products and pamper their customers at this decadent event. Includes free services, champagne, refreshments, and a chocolate fountain.

French Flea Market Chateau Sonoma, 153 West Napa, Sonoma; (707) 935-8553, 10:30am-5:30pm, call for price. Attention, Francophiles: this flea market is for you! Shop for antiques, garden furniture, and accessories from French importers.

Himalayan Fair Live Oak Park, 1300 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 869-3995, Sat, 10am-7pm; Sun, 10am-5:30pm, call for price. This benefit for humanitarian grassroots projects in the Himalayas features award-winning dancers and musicians representing Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Mongolia. Check out the art and taste the delicious food.

Maker Faire San Mateo Fairgrounds, San Mateo; (415) 318-9067, Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm, $5-15. A two-day, family-friendly event established by the creators of Make and Create magazines that celebrates arts, crafts, engineering, science projects, and the do-it-yourself mindset.

Muscle Car, Hot Rods, and Art Fair Bollinger Canyon Rd and Camino Ramon, San Ramon; (925) 855-1950, 10am-5pm, free. Hats Off America presents this family event featuring muscle cars, classics and hot rods, art exhibits, children’s activities, live entertainment, and beer and wine.

Passport to Sonoma Valley Various venues; (707) 935-0803, 11am-4pm, $55 (weekend, $65). This first of its kind, valleywide event will provide visitors rare access to the many hidden gems of California’s oldest wine region. More than 40 Sonoma wineries are participating, and the cost includes unlimited tasting.

Sunset Celebration Weekend Sunset headquarters, 80 Willow Road, Menlo Park; 1-800-786-7375, 10am-5pm, $10-12, kids free. Sunset magazine presents a two-day outdoor festival featuring beer, wine, and food tasting; test-kitchen tours, celebrity chef demonstrations, live music, seminars, and more.

Spring Fling Open House Rosenblum Cellars, 2900 Main, Alameda; (510) 995-4100, Noon-5pm, $30. Try new and current releases at Rosenblum’s Alameda winery while enjoying wine-friendly hors d’oeuvres and music from local musicians.

MAY 20

ING Bay to Breakers Begins at Howard and Spear, ends at the Great Highway along Ocean Beach, SF; 8am, $33-40. See a gang of Elvis impersonators in running shorts and a gigantic balloon shaped like a tube of Crest floating above a crowd of scantily clad, and unclad, joggers at this annual race from the Embarcadero to the Pacific Ocean.


Jazz on Fourth Street Festival Fourth St, between Hearst and Virginia, Berk; (510) 526-6294, 11am-5pm, free. Local merchants present this annual outdoor music festival featuring Marcus Shelby Quartet, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Group, two Berkeley High combos, and the award-winning Berkeley High Jazz ensemble.

Niles Wildflower Art and Garden Show Niles Blvd at Main, Fremont; 10am-3pm, event free, garden tour $12-15. Take a self-guided tour of beautiful home gardens and enjoy the creative works of local artists.

MAY 24–27

Sonoma Jazz Plus Festival Field of Dreams, 179 First St W, Sonoma; 1-866-527-8499, $45-95. Thurs-Sat, 6:30 and 9pm; Sun, 8:30pm, $45-110. Head on up to California’s wine country for Memorial Day weekend and soak in the sounds of LeAnn Rimes, Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, and Harry Connick Jr.

MAY 25–28

Memorial Day Folk Music Camp Out Waterman Creek Camp, Santa Cruz County; (510) 523-6533. $7/night. Preregistration required. Camp and sing along with the San Francisco Folk Music Club. Everybody’s goin’!

MAY 26

Soul Jazz Festival Crown Canyon Park, 8000 Crow Canyon, Castro Valley; 12-8pm, $45-49. A one-day music event celebrating the worlds of jazz, funk, and soul. This year pays tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and features Johnny Holiday, Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets, and Ella Fitzgerald’s son, Ray Brown Jr.

MAY 26–27

Carnaval San Francisco Harrison between 16th and 24th streets; (415) 920-0122, 10am-6pm, free. The vibrant Mission District plays host to the best of Latin and Caribbean cultures and traditions with an array of food, music, dance, and art. The theme for this year’s carnaval is Love Happens, and it features speed dating at the Love Nest, a performance by Los Lonely Boys, and a parade on Sunday.

North American Cycle Courier Championship Speakeasy Brewery, 1195 Evans; 748-2941. Sat, 9am-2pm; Sun, 10am-1pm, free. This weekend-long celebration of bike culture features a race on a closed course that tests all areas of bike messenger skill.


Santa Cruz Blues Festival 100 Aptos Creek, Aptos; (831) 479-9814, 10am-7pm, $20-100. Rhythm and blues buffs beware. This annual festival, in its 15th year, showcases some of the most renowned acts of new and vintage R&B, soul, and blues rock, including Los Lonely Boys, Etta James and the Roots Band, and Little Feat. International food booths, juice bars, and beer make this event add to the appeal.

MAY 26–28

The San Francisco Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament and Festival Golden Gate Park’s Polo Field, SF; (415) 337-6630, 8:30am. This 20th annual premier event brings together 128 national and international teams of both genders for great soccer excitement.

MAY 26–JUNE 30

Bay Area Summer Poetry Marathon Lab, 2948 16th St, SF; (415) 864-8855, 7-10pm,. $3-15 sliding scale. Various Bay Area and national poets read their work at this event held throughout the summer.

MAY 27

Antique Street Faire Main St, Pleasanton; (760) 724-9400, 8am-4pm, free. This semiannual event sponsored by the Pleasanton Downtown Association provides more than a mile of antiques and collectibles displayed by about 300 professional dealers.

Art in the Vineyard Wente Vineyards Estate Winery, 5565 Tesla, Livermore; (925) 456-2305, 11am-5pm, admission free, wine tasting $15. Mark your calendars for the 35th anniversary of this popular event, featuring 40 talented multimedia artists in addition to music by Vested Interest.

Asian Pacific Heritage Festival Bay Area Discovery Museum, 557 McReynolds, Sausalito; (415) 339-3900,, free. Experience taiko drumming, the Marin Chinese Cultural Association’s Lion Dance Team, and other Polynesian and Pacific Islander arts groups, as well as traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipino cuisine in honor of Asian Pacific Islander Month.

Caledonia Street Fair Caledonia St, Sausalito; (415) 289-4152,, free. This fest boasts multicultural food, dance, music, and more than 120 arts and crafts vendors. Don’t miss out on the Taste of Sausalito luncheon and wine-tasting event featuring food and wine prepared by select Napa and Sonoma wineries and restaurants.

MAY 28

Stone Soul Picnic Cal State East Bay’s Pioneer Amphitheatre, 25800 Carlos Bee, Hayward; 1-800-225-2277, Doors at 10am, show at noon, $56-81.50 includes parking. KBLX Radio 102.9 FM presents its 10th annual R&B and soul music event, featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, the Whispers, the Dells, and Tower of Power.

MAY 29–30

BALLE Film Fest Wheeler Auditorium, UC Berkeley, Berk; (415) 255-1108, ext 112, 6 and 8:30pm, $10 for screening, $15 for night. Business Alliance for Local Living Economies presents a two-night film festival reutf8g to BALLE principles, including Everything’s Cool, a film about global warming, and Manufactured Landscapes, a documentary about China’s industrial revolution.


Contra Costa County Fair Contra Costa County Fairgrounds,10th and L streets, Antioch; (925) 757-4400, Thurs-Fri, noon-11pm.; Sat-Sun, 11am-11pm, $4-7, parking $3. Now 70 years old, this county fair has a little of everything. Daily sea lion shows, a man dressed as a giant tree, and, of course, clown acts, are just some of the events presented to fairgoers this year.

JUNE 1–10

East Bay Open Studios Various venues; (510) 763-4361, Open studios: June 2-3, 9-10, 11am-6pm; formal artists’ reception May 31, 6-10pm, free. For more than 25 years, the East Bay Open Studios have drawn more than 50,000 visitors to Pro Arts Gallery and various artist workspaces to support the work of local artists. The public can view exhibits, purchase artwork, attend workshops, and go on an art bus tour.

Healdsburg Jazz Festival Check Web site for ticket prices and venues in and around Healdsburg; (707) 433-4644, This ninth annual week-and-a-half-long jazz festival will feature a range of artists, from the George Cables Project and Roy Hargrove Quintet to the funky Louisiana-style Rebirth Brass Band and first-rate vocalist Rhiannon.


Berkeley Farmers Market’s Strawberry Family Fun Festival Civic Center Park, Center at MLK Jr, Berk; (510) 548-3333, 10am-3pm, free. Living up to its name, this festival is a guaranteed good time for the whole family. Highlights include environmental information booths, hands-on activities, delectable strawberry shortcake, and live performances by Nigerian Brothers, EarthCapades Environmental Vaudeville, Big Tadoo Puppet Crew, and Young Fiddlers.

Heartland Festival Riverdance Farms, Livingston; (831) 763-2111, 10am-7pm, $10 advance, $12 at gate. Celebrate a summer weekend by picking berries, taking farm and garden workshops, buying fresh produce from a farmers’ market, and enjoying live music at this family event.

Sonoma Valley Vintage Race Car Festival Sonoma Plaza, Sonoma; (707) 996-1090, 5pm, free entrance. Wine and food $30 in advance, $35 at the door. A gigantic taste explosion filled with more than 30 vintage dragsters, gourmet food, and wine samples.

Springfest 2007 Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 North San Pedro, San Rafael; (415) 499-8891, 1 and 5pm, $14-22. Marin Dance Theatre presents this spring program featuring various performances directed by Margaret Swarthout.

JUNE 2–3

Art Deco and Modernism Sale Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 Eighth St; (650) 599-DECO, Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 11am-5pm, $7-9. An extravagant art sale featuring pottery, books, art, vintage clothing, glass, furniture, and other accessories dating from 1900 to 1980.

Art in the Avenues Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, Ninth Ave and Lincoln; 10am-5pm. This annual exhibition and sale presented by the Sunset Artists Society brings together artists and art lovers from all over the Bay Area.

Great San Francisco Crystal Fair Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 383-7837, Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-4pm, $5. This year’s fair is sure to please anyone interested in mystical and healing arts. Check out the more than 40 vendors catering to all of your crystal, mineral, bead, and jewelry needs.

Union Street Festival Union between Gough and Steiner; 1-800-310-6563, 10am-6pm, free. This year marks the 31st anniversary of one of San Francisco’s largest free art festivals. In addition to more than 200 artists and 20 gourmet food booths, the event features activities that represent the history of the Union Street Festival, including a special photographic exhibit that shows Union Street as it was 100 years ago.


Marin Home Show and Benefit Jazz Fest Marin Center Exhibit Hall and Fairgrounds, San Rafael; (415) 499-6900, Sat, 10am-7pm; Sun, 10am-6pm, $8 (Sat tix include free return on Sun). Not only will there be hundreds of experts in everything from renovation to landscaping on hand to answer all of your home and garden questions, but there will also be live jazz acts to entertain you throughout the weekend. Proceeds benefit Marin County public schools.


Santa Cruz LGBT Pride March and Rally Starts at Pacific, ends at Lorenzo Park, Santa Cruz; (831) 427-4009, 11am-5pm, free. Join the largest gathering of queers and allies in Santa Cruz County. Stage lineup includes Frootie Flavors, Nedra Johnson, Twilight Vixen Revue, Horizontes, and Assemblymember John Laird. Valet bike parking provided.


Strollin’ on Main Street Party Main between St John and Old Bernal, Pleasanton; (925) 484-2199, ext 4, 6-9pm, free. Stroll down Main Street and visit vendor booths, a beer and wine garden, and a stage where featured band Drive will play.


Summer Sounds Oakland City Center, adjacent to 12th St/City Center BART Station, Oakl; Wed, noon-1pm, free. The Oakland City Center presents a weekly spotlight on an array of diverse musical artists.

JUNE 7–17

San Francisco Black Film Festival Various venues; (415) 771-9271, The festival celebrates African American cinema and the African cultural diaspora by showcasing films by black filmmakers and emphasizing the power of film to foster cultural understanding and initiate progressive social change.

JUNE 8–10

Harmony Festival Sonoma County Fairgrounds,1350 Bennett Valley, Santa Rosa; Fri, 12pm-9pm; Sat, 10am-10pm; Sun, 10am-9pm, $20-149. This year’s theme is "promoting global cooling" boasts an ecovillage offering tips for living and consuming, a well-being pavilion featuring natural remedies, and a culinary showcase of dishes using natural ingredients. Festival-goers can camp onsite and musical highlights include Brian Wilson, Erykah Badu, the Roots, moe., and Rickie Lee Jones.


Dia de Portugal Festival Kelley Park, San Jose; 10am, free. The Portuguese Heritage Society of California presents this annual festival featuring a parade, live music, food and wine, a book and art sale, and more.

Temescal Street Fair Telegraph between 48th and 51st streets, Oakl; (510) 654-6346, ext 2, Noon-5pm, free. This fair will feature live music, crafts, martial arts demonstrations and food samplings from local restaurants, including an Italian beer and wine garden, a tribute to days when the district once flourished with beer gardens and canteens.

JUNE 9–10

Italian Street Painting Festival Fifth Ave at A St, San Rafael; (415) 457-4878, ext 15, 9am-7pm, free. Street painters paint beautiful and awe-inspiring chalk artwork on the streets of San Rafael.

Live Oak Park Fair Live Oak Park, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 898-3282,, free. Is there a better way to revel in the summertime than to enjoy original arts and crafts, delicious fresh food, and live jazz by Berkeley’s Jazzschool all weekend long in beautiful Live Oak Park? Didn’t think so.

San Jose Gay Pride Festival Discovery Meadow, Guadalupe River Park, San Jose; (408) 278-5563, Sat, 10am-6pm, free; Sun, 10:30am, $15. This year’s San Jose pride celebration is two days’ worth of events, speakers, and music, including performances by the Cheeseballs, Average Dyke Band, and Smash-Up Derby. After the parade on Sunday, cruise vendor booths peddling their LGBT-friendly goods and services.

JUNE 9–24

San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon, SF; (415) 392-4400, Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2pm, $22-36. Performers from around the world converge at the Palace of Fine Arts to bring San Francisco a diverse selection of the world’s most talented dancers, including North Indian Kathak, Cantonese style Chinese lion dance, flamenco, and Middle Eastern belly dance.

JUNE 14–16

Transgender and Queer Performance Festival ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; (415) 863-9834, Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 7 and 10pm, $15. Fresh Meat Productions celebrates its sixth annual festival. This year’s artists perform traditional forms and path-blazing ones: hula, taiko, traditional Colombian dance, aerial dance, spoken word, rock ‘n’ roll, theater, hip-hop, and modern dance.

JUNE 14–17

CBA 32nd Annual Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival Nevada County Fairgrounds, McCourtney, Grass Valley; Ticket prices vary. Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Cherryholmes, the Del McCoury Band, Dan Paisley and the Southern Grass, Country Current, the US Navy Band, the Dale Ann Bradley Band, and John Reischman and the Jay Birds perform at this California Bluegrass Association bluegrass jamboree.

JUNE 14–24

Frameline31: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival Various venues; (415) 703-8650. The 31st annual film festival by and about the LGBT community continues with a whole new program of innovative queer cinema.

JUNE 15–17

International Robogames Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, SF; Noon-10pm, $15-20. Engineers from around the world return for the fourth annual event listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest robot competition. Featuring 83 different competitions, including 18 just for walking humanoids.

JUNE 16–17

North Beach Festival Washington Square Park, 1200-1500 blocks of Grant and adjacent streets; 989-2220, 10am-6pm, free. Touted as the country’s original outdoor arts and crafts festival, the North Beach Festival celebrates its 53rd anniversary with juried arts and crafts exhibitions and sales, a celebrity pizza toss, live entertainment stages, a cooking stage with celebrity chefs, Assisi animal blessings (Vallejo/Columbus), Arte di Gesso (Italian street chalk art competition, 1500 block Stockton), indoor classical concerts (4 pm, at National Shrine of St Francis), a poetry stage, and more.

San Francisco Free Folk Festival San Francisco City College, North Gym, 50 Phelan, SF; Noon-10pm, free. Folkies unite for the 31st anniversary of this festival that features local and national artists, dances, open mics, family events, and workshops.

San Francisco Juneteenth Celebration Art of the Fillmore Jazz Presentation District, Fillmore from Geary Blvd to Fulton; 931-2729, 10am-7pm, free. This Bay Area-wide celebration celebrates African American freedom while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures. Promoted through a community festival that celebrates and shares African American history and culture through music, the performing arts, living history, and other cultural activities. Seven full blocks of food, arts and crafts, and community and corporate information booths. Three stages of entertainment, educational speakers, and health and job fairs. All neighborhoods welcomed.


Marin Art Festival Lagoon Park, Marin Center, Ave of the Flags at Civic Center, San Rafael; (415) 388-0151, 10am-6pm, $8. More than 250 fine artists join in at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Marin Center. Look out for the stilt walkers!

Russian River Blues Festival Johnson’s Beach, Guerneville; (952) 866-9599, 10am-6pm, $45-180. Head on down to the river for this annual affair featuring Buddy Guy, Little Richard, Koko Taylor, Roy Rogers and the Delta Kings, Lowrider Band, Elvin Bishop, and many others. Festival organizers also invite attendees to indulge in wine tasting for a nominal fee.


Native Contemporary Arts Festival Esplanade at Yerba Buena Gardens, Fourth St and Mission, SF; (415) 543-1718, 12pm-3pm, free. This fest features amazing performances, plus kids can make their own dream catchers, baskets, and bracelets.

JUNE 17–AUG 19

Stern Grove Music Festival Stern Grove, 19th Ave and Sloat, SF; Sun 2pm, free. This beloved San Francisco festival celebrating community, nature, and the arts is in its 70th season.

JUNE 20–24

Sonoma-Marin Fair Petaluma Fairgrounds, Petaluma; $8-14. This fair promotes and showcases agriculture, while displaying the diverse talents, interests, and accomplishments of the citizens of California, especially the youth of Sonoma and Marin counties. Catch acts such as Cheap Trick, SHe DAISY, and Bowling for Soup on the main stage.

JUNE 22–24

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival Mendocino County Fairgrounds, 14480 Hwy 128, Boonville; Three-day pass, $125; camping, $50-100. Camp for three days and listen to the international sounds of Bunny Wailer, Toots and the Maytals, Luciano, Ojos de Brujo, Les Nubian, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars, Junior Kelly, Sugar Minot, and many others.


Alameda County Fair Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton, Pleasanton; (925) 426-7559, $4-9. Enjoy opening night fireworks, carnival attractions, a wine competition, a karaoke contest, an interactive sports and fitness expo, concerts, and oh so much more.


Dyke March Dolores Park between 18th and 20th streets, SF; (415) 241-8882, Rally at 3pm; march at 7pm, free. Head on out to march with the San Francisco chapter of this now internationally coordinated rally. A Dolores Park celebration and rally precedes the march.

JUNE 23–24

San Francisco Pride 2006 Civic Center, Larkin between Grove and McAllister; 864-FREE, Celebration Sat-Sun, noon-6pm; parade Sun, 10:30am, free. A month of queer-empowering events culminates in this weekend celebration, a massive party with two days of music, food, dancing that continues to boost San Francisco’s rep as a gay mecca. Do not under any circumstances miss the parade!


Danville Fine Arts Fair Hartz Ave, Danville; (831) 438-4751, 10am-6pm, free. The quintessential arts and crafts fair descends upon Danville each year, bringing with it fine food and drink, Italian-style street painting, and more.

JUNE 23–25

King of the Bay Third Ave, Foster City; 1pm, free. See the world’s top kiteboarders and windsurfers compete at this event.

JUNE 23–30

Jazz Camp West 2006 (510) 287-8880, This eight-day jazz program for adults and older teens features more than 100 classes taught by more than 45 nationally and internationally known artists.


Stanford Jazz Festival Various venues. (650) 736-0324, This acclaimed festival has been injecting Northern California with a healthy dose of both classic and modern jazz for more than three decades.


Concert in the Hills Series Cal State East Bay, Concord Campus, 4700 Ygnacio Valley Rd, Concord; (925) 602-8654, Free. This series celebrates its eighth season with performances by acts such as Dr. Loco and His Rockin’ Jalapeño Band, Aja Vu, Joni Morris, and Native Elements.


Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville; (707) 829-7067, Fri, 1pm-midnight; Sat, 10am-11:30pm; Sun, 11am-10pm, $55-160. This annual tribute to Northern California singer-songwriter Kate Wolf, who is credited with repopularizing folk music in the 1970s, features performances by Utah Phillips, Joe Craven and Sam Bevan, the Bills, and many others. Don’t miss the "Hobo Jungle Campfire," a nightly campfire on the creek shore with story swappin’ and song jammin’ aplenty.


23rd Annual Fillmore Jazz Festival Fillmore between Jackson and Eddy, 1-800-310-6563, 10am-6pm, free. Three stages of nonstop entertainment featuring top and emerging artists. Ten blocks of art booths and gourmet food.


Marin County Fair Marin Center, Ave of the Flags at Civic Center, San Rafael; (415) 499-6400, 11am-11pm, $11-13. This county fair stands above the rest with its promise of nightly fireworks, There will be many fun, new competitions to enter this year, including the Dancing Stars Competition, in which contestants may perform any style of dance — from tap to ballroom, salsa to boogie. Also not to be missed is the 18th annual "Creatures and Models" exhibit and the 37th annual "National Short Film and Video Festival," plus food and rides and other fun fair stuff.


Vans Warped Tour 2006 Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View; (650) 967-3000. 11am, $29.99. As Cities Burn, Bad Religion, Boys Like Girls, Coheed and Cambria, Escape the Fate, Pennywise, the Used, Funeral for a Friend, Revolution Mother, the Matches, and others perform at this annual punk music and culture event.

JULY 3–4

WorldOne Festival Cerrito Vista Park, El Cerrito; Mon 5pm, Tue 10:30am, free. Worldoneradio hosts a world music and culture stage in the park. The eighth annual event is produced as a public service and fundraiser for area nonprofits.


City of San Francisco Fourth of July Waterfront Celebration Pier 39, Embarcadero at Beach, SF; (415) 705-5500, 1-9:30pm, free. SF’s waterfront Independence Day celebration features live music, kids’ activities, and an exciting fireworks show.

JULY 5–8

International Working Class Film and Video Festival New College Roxie Media Center, 3117 16th St; Held annually to commemorate the San Francisco general strike of 1934 brings together filmmakers and labor artists from around the United States and internationally.


High Sierra Music Festival Plumas Fairgrounds, 204 Fairground Rd, Quincy; (510) 595-1115, 11am-11pm, $35-156. Enjoy your favorite jam bands on five different stages and at five different late-night venues, a kid zone, arts and crafts, food and drinks, beer, yoga, dancing, camping, and more. The lineup features performances by Xavier Rudd, the Disco Biscuits, Yonder Mountain String Band, Martin Sexton, and Les Claypool.


Marin Shakespeare Company Festival Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, Dominican University of California, Grand Ave, San Rafael; (415) 499-4488, Fri-Sun, varying times, $7-30. The Marin Shakespeare Company presents its outdoor festival featuring performances of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Henry IV, Part 1, and Henry IV, Part 2.

JULY 10–21

Mendocino Music Festival Various venues; (707) 937-2044, $15-45. David Lindley, Mollie O’Brien, the Chris Cain Quartet, and others celebrate the 21st anniversary of this classical and contemporary music festival.

JULY 12–15

World California Fest Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley; (530) 891-4098. $30-140. The 11th annual festival features eight stages and four days of music, with performances by everyone from Ani DiFranco to the Venezuelan Music Project. Camping is encouraged.

JULY 13–15

San Francisco Silent Film Festival Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, SF; (415) 777-4908, Call for times and prices. The Golden Age of the silver screen comes to life, complete with a swelling Wurlitzer.

JULY 14-15

San Francisco International Chocolate Salon Fort Mason Conference Center; Sat, 11am-6pm; Sun, 10am-4pm, $20. The first major chocolate show on the West Coast in two decades takes place this summer with the theme Chocolat, in honor of Bastille Day. Experience the finest in artisan, gourmet, and premium chocolate with tastings, demonstrations, chef and author talks, and wine pairings.


Los Altos Arts and Wine Festival Main and State, Los Altos; (650) 917-9799. Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-6pm, free. Enjoy original art and free entertainment while indulging in gourmet food and fine wine.

San Anselmo Art and Design Festival San Anselmo between Tamalpais and Bolinas, San Anselmo; 1-800-310-6563, 10am-6pm, free. The San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce brings this buffet of cooking, home, and landscape design to the masses.

JULY 19–29

Midsummer Mozart Festival Various venues; (415) 627-9141, $30-60. The Mozart-only music concert series features pianist Janina Fialkowska, the Haffner Serenades, and the Coronation Mass.


San Francisco Jewish Film Festival Various venues; (415) 621-0556, The world’s first and largest Jewish film festival has toured the Bay Area for 27 years.

JULY 21–22

Connoisseur’s Marketplace Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park; (650) 325-2818, 10am-6pm, free. This annual midsummer festival hosts live jazz, R&B, and rock ‘n’ roll as well as arts and crafts, chef demonstrations, international cuisine, and lots of fun for the kids.

JULY 27–29

Gilroy Garlic Festival Christmas Hill Park, Hwy 101, Gilroy; (408) 842-1625, 10am-7pm, $6-12. If 17,000 pounds of garlic bread isn’t enough of a reason to go, then all the other manifestations of this flavorful food are. Gourmet food and cook-offs, as well as free music and children’s activities, entertain you as you munch.


San Francisco Marathon Begins and ends at the Ferry Bldg, Embarcadero, SF; $110 to compete. Tighten your laces for 26.2 miles around the Bay. The less enthusiastic can run a half marathon, 5K, or "progressive marathon," instead.

Up Your Alley Dore Alley between Folsom and Howard, Folsom between Ninth and 10th streets, SF; 11am-6pm. Hundreds of naughty and nice leather lovers sport their stuff in SoMa at this precursor to the Folsom Street Fair.

AUG 3–5

Reggae on the River Dimmick Ranch, French’s Camp, Hwy 101, Piercy, Humboldt County; (707) 923-4583, $165-225. Further details pending. This year’s riverside roots and reggae fest features the Roots, Shaggy, Angelique Kidjo, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Mad Professor, the Itals, Eek-A-Mouse, Sierre Leone’s Refugee Allstars, and many others.

Reggae Rising Dimmick Ranch, French’s Camp, Hwy 101, Piercy, Humboldt County; $175 for a 3 day pass. Further details pending. This new summer festival will benefit various nonprofit groups in this southern Humboldt community and features Damian Marley, Sly and Robbie, Tanya Stephens, Fantan Mojah, and more.

AUG 4–5

Aloha Festival San Francisco Presidio Parade Grounds, near Lincoln at Graham, SF; 10am-5pm, free. The Pacific Islanders’ Cultural Association presents its annual Polynesian cultural festival featuring music, dance, arts, crafts, island cuisine, exhibits, and more.

AUG 9–12

Redwood Empire Fair Redwood Empire Fairgrounds, 1055 N State, Ukiah; (707) 462-3884, Noon-11pm, $3-6. Bring the family to this old-timey fair, complete with rides, food, and fun.

AUG 10–12

Comcast San Jose Jazz Festival Various venues; (408) 288-7557, $5. This three-day music festival hosts dozens of acclaimed musicians playing all flavors of jazz.

AUG 11

SEEN Festival 2006 People’s Park, Telegraph and Dwight, Berk; (510) 938-2463, 11:30am-5pm, $5 suggested donation. This year marks the 12th anniversary of this world music, reggae, and soul festival.

AUG 11–12

Nihonmachi Street Fair Japantown Center, Post and Webster, SF; (415) 771-9861, 11am-6pm, free. Japantown’s 34th annual celebration of the Bay Area’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities continues this year with educational booths and programs, local musicians and entertainers, exhibits, and artisans.

Pistahan Yerba Buena Gardens, 700 Howard, SF; 11am-5pm, free. The Bay Area Filipino festival of culture and cuisine features arts and crafts, live entertainment, food, and more.

Vintage Paper Fair Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, Ninth Ave at Lincoln, SF; (323) 883-1702, Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-4pm, free. Craft lovers will enjoy this fair, which presents works made from all kinds of paper — from photographs, postcards, and memorabilia to brochures and trade cards.

AUG 18–19

Solfest Solar Living Institute,13771 S Hwy 101, Hopland; (707)744-2017, "The greenest show on earth" is back for another year featuring exhibits about renewable energy, green building, ecodesign tools, organic agriculture, and much more.

SEPT 1–2

Millbrae Art and Wine Festival Broadway between Victoria and Meadow Glen, Millbrae; (650) 697-7324, 10am-5pm, free. More than 100,000 visitors will gather for this festive Mardi Gras-style celebration featuring R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, and soul music, as well as arts and crafts, food and beverages, live performance, and activities for kids.

SEPT 8–9

Mountain View Art and Wine Festival Castro between El Camino Real and Evelyn Ave, Mountain View; (650) 968-8378, 10am-6pm, free. Known as one of America’s finest art festivals, this vibrant celebration featuring art, music, and a kids’ park draws more than 200,000 arts lovers to Silicon Valley’s epicenter.


Solano Stroll Solano Ave, Berk and Albany; (510) 527-5358, 10am-6pm, free. The vibes are always mellow and the air filled with rhythm at the Solano Ave Stroll. In its 33rd year, the milelong block party will feature a pancake breakfast, booths, entertainers, a parade, and more, this year with the Going Green — It’s Easy! theme.


Expo for the Artist and Musician SomArts, 934 Brannan, SF; (415) 861-5302; 11am-6pm. This eighth annual event, sponsored by Independent Arts and Media, is the Bay Area’s only grassroots connection fair for independent arts, music, and culture, featuring workshops, performances, and networking.


California Poets Festival History Park San Jose, 1650 Center, San Jose; 10am-4:30pm, free. Celebrate California’s distinctive heritage of poets, poetry, and presses at this all-day outdoor festival. *

Compiled by Nathan Baker, Angela Bass, Sam Devine, Molly Freedenberg, and Chris Jasmin

Back to my Cribs


By Molly Freedenberg

Sure, British threesome the Cribs are pure indie rock. The boys’ striped shirts and messy haircuts won’t let anyone forget. But the danceable melodies, interesting arrangements, and sing-a-long hooks appear to be catapulting them into pop scene stardom (not to mention backing from Franz Ferdinand and a spot on the Coachella Music Festival roster). At least, that’s what I would’ve assumed before I saw them play before a disappointing crowd at the Independent last Wednesday, April 25.

Indie of all stripes. Photo by Molly Freedenberg.

Maybe the Cribs’ local fans were planning to see them in Indio a few days later. Maybe others missing the festival were drawn to see Coachella artists DJ Shadow or the Decemberists instead, who were both playing in the Bay Area on the same night as the Cribs. Or maybe I saw them in San Francisco before their time, like catching Amy Winehouse last year.

Whatever it was, the dance floor was noticeably empty – and its few occupants were noticeably unenthusiastic – as the band “oh, oh, oh, oh”-ed through “Martell” (from 2005’s The New Fellas) and their guitars noodled through “Men’s Needs” (from the Alex Kapranos-produced new album, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever).

And so the concert that was meant to minimize my Coachella envy – as this was the first in four years I haven’t attended the beast in the desert – instead only heightened it. Because as I hungrily devoured concert coverage (particularly NME’s) on Monday, I could only imagine what it would’ve been like to see the normally cute and compelling (but here, a bit bored) Cribs with a crowd full of people who actually cared. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Peeling out with Trans Am’s Phil Manley


Trans Am, dude. Powerful, proggy, electro, rockin’ – what don’t these guys do? Once based in DC, now living all over the place, all over your face, Trans Am rev up their tour tonight, April 21, at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF; (415) 621-4455. Zombi and Black Taj open the all-ages Green Apple Music Festival-sponsored show; the music starts at 10:00 p.m. Lay $14 down.


No doubt the venue is all-too-familiar sight for Trans Am-er Phil Manley, who might be found behind the mixing board on occasion. Manley moved to San Francisco a few years ago, and he took a little time out while tooling round South Carolina to chat recently. The friendly 33-year-old musician and audio engineer inquired about my recent car break-in, which scuttled our first attempt at an interview, and revealed that he too lives in the city’s Western Addition district. “I used to live in the Mission but there’s too many fixed gear bikes,” he said jokingly. “It actually doesn’t bug me, but I did see a funny bumper the other day – ‘One less fixie.’ Kinda hilarious and kinda harsh.”