Author Mark Dery has opinions. He also has observations, critiques, and a whole host of hypotheses about culture -- be it pop culture, subculture, or better yet, fringe culture -- as well as technology, media, art, cyber-everything, robots, and Madonna's toes. His numerous articles and essays, published in Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, and Suck, are essential reading for futurists and freethinkers, as are his book, Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century, and his pamphlet manifesto that launched a movement, Culture Jamming.
Luckily for San Francisco, Dery is also a globe-trotting lecturer. Local event-production group Blasthaus brings the wickedly intelligent writer to town for its Rx Lecture Series to speak on "The Sexual Grotesque: Pomosexualities and Robopathologies on the Web." The Web, of course, is a staggeringly wide arena for sexual niches like fetishes for amputees or the obese, and Dery discusses the implicit and explicit subtexts and politics of these darker backrooms of culture. His lectures often erupt into debates, or at least heated discussions, so come prepared. The potential flame wars begin at 8 p.m. at the Rx Gallery, 132 Eddy (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $10; call 474-7973 or visit www.rxgallery.com.
-- Marcia Gagliardi
Peek inside private lives
The private certainly feels public these days, from vivid government-generated accounts of a president's blow jobs to the oversaturation of neo-burlesque girls dancing around in their frilly underwear. But tonight the folks participating in the multimedia art show "Public vs. Private" push the boundaries of intimacy further than I've ever seen.
In a performance piece called Pubic Display of Affection, Tina Butcher rips open the crotch of her fishnets and tweezes her pubic hairs one by one. Though she performs this astonishing act in the privacy of the theater's bathroom, a live camera feed projects each pluck and grimace onto a large screen. In the gallery space, peeping toms can take a gander at Lacey Roberts' harnesses needlepointed with maxims like "Nothing comes between us," Heather Catalinich's 25 bottomless popcorn boxes, and Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle's three-hour-long kiss. Get up close at 7 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia (at 21st St.), S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890 or visit www.atasite.org.
-- Jane Tunks
The McCool Kids
Doobie, BB, Jaybird, and Horndog -- better known as the McCools -- form one of San Francisco's many drinking groups with a music problem. Under the influence of the Ramones, the Dickies, and the New York Dolls (in addition to a flood of beer), the group delivers a sound it describes as "drunk rock." Throw in four pairs of snakeskin cowboy boots, a pair of tight pants on singer Beth Allen of Loudmouths fame, and an eye patch on one of the guys, and you get the picture. The Lowdowns, the Secretions, and the Mouth-Offs share the stage tonight at 9 at El Rio, 3158 Mission (at Cesar Chavez), S.F. Admission is $7; call 282-3325 or visit www.elriosf.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
A Feminist's Father
Famous feminist Naomi Wolf lends credence to a pet theory of mine, which posits that the children of teachers are always interesting. In The Treehouse, Wolf describes the gentle, forward-thinking philosophies of her poetry-professor father and examines how those ideas have shaped her life. Wolf reads from Treehouse at 7 p.m. at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), S.F. Admission is free; call 441-6670 or visit www.bookstore.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser