After more than two decades, Los Lobos continues to be one of the finest exports of Southern California. Since its early days, the band has fused rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues, and traditional Spanish and Mexican music with unwavering skill and humor, garnering the attention of gringo audiences long before rock en español was a popular idiom. The rerelease of the group's 1977 debut, Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles (Just Another Band From East L.A.), is testament to the combo's early genius. Full of graceful, acoustic treatments of traditional Mexican folk songs that are at once funny and reverent, the record is essential to any lover of Los Lobos, or folkloric music in general. In celebration of the reissue, Los Lobos has been performing many of these rancheros and boleros unplugged -- a rare treat. Los Lobos performs on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15 and 16, at 9 p.m. at the Fillmore. Tickets are $29.50; call 346-6000.
From blasthaus and Fabric8.com, the purveyors of all that is hip and technologically savvy, comes the South of Market Rhythm and Technology Bazaar (s.m.a.r.t.), a shopping experience that includes dozens of cutting-edge visual artists, clothing designers, and record labels. While you browse and learn, DJs will spin records that your more fashionable friends would recognize. After the bazaar, New York City N'ICE DJs Holmar Filipsson and Graham will spin until 2 a.m. s.m.a.r.t. will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 16 and 17, at Joypad (78 Minna) from noon to 6 p.m. Tickets are $5-8; call 789-7690.
Even at this late date, the 420 people who were arrested during the protests at the Philadelphia Republican National Convention this summer are still enduring lengthy legal battles, many in conjunction with the rough treatment they experienced during their incarcerations (see the Independent Media Center of Philadelphia Web site, http://phillyimc.org, for details). Basically, it's the usual allegations of police brutality: beatings, torture, isolation, threats of rape, and the denial of basic rights. Just the sort of things that get Songs for Emma really worked up into a lather. Named for Russian-born anarchist Emma Goldman, and following in the musical tradition of early Billy Bragg and the departed Redskins, Songs for Emma attempts, at best, to inspire and educate and, at least, to give working-class mugs a chance to think about social justice while kicking back with a pint of beer. Using unfussy, rough-hewn rock 'n' roll and Tommy Strange's coal miner's growl, Songs for Emma wages plaints against book burning, capitalism, racism, union busting, homelessness, and police brutality without seeming precious or condescending. And the band puts its money where its mouth is. This show, featuring the Fleshies, Songs for Emma, Human Beans, and Haymarket, is a benefit for the legal defense of the RNC 420 and will be held on Sunday, Dec. 17, at the CW Saloon at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 or more; call 974-1585.
Since its construction in 1914, the Redstone Building, as it's lovingly known by tenants and patrons, has harbored countless service organizations and nonprofit arts groups. Currently it supplies a habitat for such sundry enterprises as Hard Hat Construction Magazine, Luna Sea Women's Performance Project, Homeless Children's Network, Sweat Magazine, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Lab, Homes Not Borders, El Teatro de la Esperanza, Outsider Enterprises, and numerous other small businesses, nonprofits, and artists' studios. Of course, the current owners of the building want to sell it, but they have been kind enough to give the existing tenants time to raise collective funds to secure the building for its long-standing function in the community. It's not easy. And it's not cheap. "All We Want for Christmas Is the Redstone" is a performance benefit for the Redstone Tenants Association, featuring spoken word artists Beth Lisick, Jime Salcedo-Malo, James Tracy, and Peter Plate; musicmakers Pamela Z, Dr. Friendly's Fractal Circus, San Francisco Labor Choir, and DM Feelings & the Grid; presentations by the Video Activists Network and the Sisters; and short speeches by the San Francisco Labor Council and the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition. You may not know it, but you'd miss the Redstone if it were gone. "All We Want for Christmas" will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at the Lab (2948 16th St.) at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7-100; call 864-8855.