Inspired by David Henry Sterry's autobiography, Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent, the solo-play Chicken: A 1-Ho Show follows the emotional migration of the 16-year-old author, who moves from the suburbs to Los Angeles for school, but winds up face down in a dumpster, with a bleeding ass. Luckily, Sterry is rescued by a kindly old pimp who teaches him how to be one of the best whores in Beverly Hills. While such painfully lucid memoirs have become disturbingly unexceptional over the years, Sterry's style is anything but. Graced with insight and empathy -- for his own rage, for his family, and for the wealthy female clients whom he serves -- Sterry finds a literary rhythm as fluid and alluring as the strut of his "nuthugging elephantbells." Combine this with a sense of humor as bright and ridiculous as a "blood-engorged wangdangdoodlehammer," and you have material that is ideal for stage and screen. Thankfully, Sterry has some experience in that department as well, having appeared as an actor alongside Michael Caine, Will Smith, Milton Berle, and Robin Williams. Chicken: A 1-Ho Show will play Thursdays through Saturdays through March 1 at the Marsh (1062 Valencia near 22nd Street) at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10-15; call 826-5750 or go to www.themarsh.org.
Not every 10-year-old boy would be happy about receiving a cheesy mall-organ for his birthday, but Scott Wexton was not every boy. Still, although he loved the instrument's quivering oompah sound, adolescent humiliation took its toll. For many years, Wexton sublimated his true passion with more readily accepted fare, playing keyboards for jazz, goth, and noise rock outfits, but the Voodoo Organist, Wexton's unshackled alter ego, could only be kept in the shadows for so long. As the millennium turned, the Voodoo Organist reared his sinister head, and Wexton hit the road accompanied only by a big box of glow-in-the-dark skulls and a 100-pound Yamaha YC-25. Inspired equally by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, crazed '50s one-man band Hasil Adkins, and '60s French space-pop pioneer Jean-Jacques Perrey, the VO writhes and roars over his keys, playing horror-show blues laced with psychedelic grooves, sci-fi warbles, and fluffy absurdity. The Voodoo Organist performs with Mr. Lexicon on Friday, Jan. 17, at the Tempest at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 495-1863. He also plays on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Stork Club in Oakland, with Pidgeon opening at 9 p.m. Admission is $5; call (510) 444-6174.
As one of the most finely executed tributes to the macabre delight of Edward Gorey, the annual Edward Gorey Edwardian Ball brings together beleaguered waifs, lush orchestras, Victorian prose, and lovers of black humor. This year's gathering features parlor games by Puppets and Pie, an Edwardian dungeon hosted by New York City's Abby Ehmann, Gorey-inspired fashions by Philadelphia's Delicious Corsets and Los Angeles' SubCulture Array, back-room naughtiness supplied by L.A. club luminaries in Miss Kitty's Filthy Family, cycle demons from Cyclecide's Jay Brommel, and, as always, a midnight re-enactment of one of Gorey's gory little tales by Rosin Coven and the Pagan Lounge. I can promise the music will be lovely, the environment dreary, and the guests stunning. The Edward Gorey Edwardian Ball will be held on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Cat Club with DJs Slick, Margo, Shane, and Jay T Tempura opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $15, or $12 in appropriate attire; call 431-3332.
Now that allegations that the Clash's Joe Strummer died of John Entwistle Disease have been laid to rest, we can look back on happier times with "A Night of Clash Consciousness." In tribute, Luke James, the 6-foot-9-inch frontman of '70s Birmingham new-wave outfit Fashion, will perform Strummer covers; DJ Mark Walshe will spin Clash numbers; and Phantom Patient will present dub remixes of tracks by the sorely missed band. Castle Stage Productions' ever-growing roster of literary friends will share five-minute memories of Strummer and the Clash; CDs and videos will be raffled off. The tribute takes place Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Edinburgh Castle at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 885-4074.
The Grand National Roadster Show is the oldest and most widely recognized specialty car exhibition in the country, offering 42 hours in one weekend in which to gaze in wonder at mechanical masterworks like Dean Bryant's 1954 Green Rocket, the "World's Most Beautiful Custom Roadster." After standing in the presence of such rare beauties, it's difficult to return to the real world, where dullards don't understand how a 1937 Ford Baron Phaeton transcends the term "automobile." Since it's important to decompress with people who understand you, the "Bellyscrapers BBQ" serves as an afterparty for those with chrome still twinkling in their eyes. Jesse Dayton and the Dusty 45s provide background music for the complimentary oyster barbecue on Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Parkside at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 503-0393. The 54th annual Grand National Roadster Show takes place Friday through Monday, Jan. 17-20, at the San Mateo County Expo Center (2495 South Delaware St.). Tickets are $15; call (650) 574-3247 for hours.