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House of Tudor 

Crimp your hair and borrow your dad's Chevy: You've been invited to Kunst-Stoff's "The Prom"

Wednesday, Feb 18 2004
With more than a nod to the cream of the pop-punk bands of the 1970s, the Briefs have glommed on to the bygone era with no intention of letting go until every one of their heroes – the Adverts, the Vibrators, the Rezillos, the Undertones, perhaps even Wreckless Eric and Tenpole Tudor – has been properly plumbed and praised. Their most recent album, Off the Charts, features a very literal tribute to the Adverts in the form of "(Looking Through) Gary Glitter's Eyes," a revision of "Gary Gilmore's Eyes," which is only slightly more superficial than the original but much funnier given the excessive British accents. And therein lies the saving dignity of the Briefs: their absolute determination not to take themselves seriously. The fact that they can play angular, three-chord punk better than most bands, now or then, does not change the more essential facts that the Briefs are absurd and they're having fun. And if there's one thing you should know about this group, when it has fun, everyone has fun. The Briefs support Youth Brigade on Friday, Feb. 20, with the Street Dogs and Jackass opening at 8:30 p.m. at Slim's. Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door; call 255-0333 or go to

While musique concrète – composition created through the manipulation, interpretation, and fusion of prerecorded sound fragments, both musical and environmental – was invented in 1940s France, its proliferation owes a debt to the San Francisco Tape Music Center of the 1960s. Through the motivation and inspiration of vanguards like Ramon Sender, Terry Riley, Morton Subotnick, Donald Buchla, and Pauline Oliveros, "tape music" – electronic compositions that consist of "concrete" sounds as well as synthesized music fragments altered through changes in pitch, duration, and amplitude – was presented to the public accompanied by light projections, human theatrics, live musicians, and interactive tape systems. Aside from exploring innovations in the electronic musicmaking process, from Oliveros' unique tape-loop and delay systems to Buchla's first analog synth, the SFTMC paid meticulous attention to the "diffusion" of these artists' music – the conveyance of their work and the physical context in which it was heard – turning these considerations into a creative facet of their live performances. It is with a similar deference and attention to the forte and frailty of speakers and space that the New San Francisco Tape Music Center – California's foremost exponent of the live diffusion of tape music – presents the seventh annual San Francisco Tape Music Festival, three days of new and classic audio art distributed across a 16-channel surround-sound system carefully honed and positioned within a studied site. It is likely that few of us have experienced Steve Reich's "It's Gonna Rain" or the Beatles' "Revolution 9" to the fullness of their potential. This will be your chance. Current compositions such as Thom Blum's 2004 "Cycle" and Erdem Helvacioglu's 2003 "Wandering Around the City" will be offered, along with seminal works like Luciano Berio's 1958 "Thema (Omaggio a Joyce)," with strange and beautiful stopovers along the 45 years in between. The S.F. Tape Music Festival will be held Friday through Sunday, Feb. 20-22, at Cell Space (2050 Bryant near 18th Street) at 8:30 p.m. nightly. Tickets are $10 per night or $25 for a festival pass; call 614-2434 or go to

As a dance-theater company that presents experimental "art forums" that transcend the barriers of various dance techniques while transgressing the fourth wall between artist and audience, Kunst-Stoff has created a number of beautiful works, such as 2002's SuperVision, a turbulently physical multimedia piece that employed surveillance cameras and hidden microphones, projecting the sound and movement of the crowd into the production. In order to raise funds for its sixth home season, Kunst-Stoff asks supporters to reinterpret, re-create, or rework "The Prom" of their preferred imagination. Kunst-Stoff will spike the punch, provide a kissing booth, a photographer, a coterie of well-dressed chaperones, and the opportunity to be crowned king or queen. You will provide the dance-floor humiliation of your chosen era before and after performances by Kunst-Stoff's own Kara Davis and Juliann Rhodes, S.F. Opera's Erin Neff, and the dub band Guerrilla Hi-Fi. And we'll all wonder where we left our underwear in the morning. "The Prom" will be held on Sunday, Feb. 22, at the ODC Theater (3153 17th St. at Shotwell), where Kunst-Stoff is currently company in residence, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 863-9834 or go to

Among the sanguinary rat pack that includes the Phantom Limbs, the Vanishing, Sixteens, and Black Ice, the Holy Kiss must be counted as the most stylish but least polished. Singer/guitarist Matty Rue Morgue shambles through the band's new double 7-inch, Rising, like a belligerent derelict in a velvet waistcoat, his grumbling warbles turning to dramatic slurs as Nick Ott pounds his drums and organ keys to an overwrought crescendo of poignancy, and bassist Dawn Hillis barely leaches through the marshy terrain. Desired comparisons to the Birthday Party and early Cramps would not be overreaching, but they would be overeager; as of yet the attitude and atmosphere have been realized without the musicality. The Holy Kiss performs on Sunday, Feb. 22, at Bruno's with Spector-Protector and DJ Stain Pink opening at 9 p.m. Admission is $5; call 648-7701 or go to And at Noise Pop, opening for the 400 Blows and the Coachwhips on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Kilowatt. Tickets are $8; call 861-2595 or go to

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Silke Tudor


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