One particularly vicious literary pillager was very busy at the San Francisco main library in 2001. Within just a few months, staffers found more than 600 damaged books on topics ranging from gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues to feminism to HIV/AIDS. The despoiler (later arrested for a hate crime) slashed and gouged the books so thoroughly they had to be discarded -- giving James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center Program Manager Jim Van Buskirk an interesting idea: Why not make good out of bad by transforming the defaced books from garbage to art? He began contacting local artists and sending out the spoiled volumes, fielding hundreds of requests from concerned craftspeople all over the world. Less than three years later, the monumental 200-plus works that make up "Reversing Vandalism" are on view at last.
Van Buskirk says the project is pleasing not only on an emotional level -- how appropriate it is for the queer community to take back something intended as an insult -- but also on a visual one, with a diverse array of pieces illustrating themes of prejudice, censorship, hatred, and courage. Local photographer Daniel Nicoletta's deconstructing destruction> uses collage to compare the vandalism to Nazi book burnings, while Larry Aleshire's Untitled makes a statement about preservation and security by placing a shredded book in liquid within a jar apparently intended for scientific specimens. The exhibit opens with a reception starting at 2 p.m. (the show runs through May 2) at the Main Library's Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room, 100 Larkin (at Grove), S.F. Admission is free; call 557-4400 or visit www.sfpl.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Most pop-punk stalwarts have cadged riffs from a long lineage that begins with the Ramones, continues through to the Dickies, and then branches out to include the Toy Dolls, Screeching Weasel, and others. Formed in 1986, the at-the-time topically named Mr. T Experience continues to carry the torch for benign musical thievery, with songs cribbed from the Monkees and other bubblegum stars. As a pop band rising while the nation leaned towards hardcore, Mr. T was often considered gimmicky and lightweight. But 18 years and many restylings later, the group is back with a new album, Yesterday Rules. Come feel the long-lasting love starting at 9 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $12; call 255-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com.
-- Kevin Chanel
Women With Guitars
Delving into chick rock
Back in the '70s, women who liked women hummed along to songs by Holly Near and Meg Christian, both of whom combined gentle melodies with fiery lyrics to create the feminist folk that became a rallying point for the burgeoning lesbian movement. And so it went for a few decades, with singer-songwriter ladies headlining women's music festivals with practically indistinguishable acts. But then the '90s rolled around, and a new generation that didn't relate to the chanteuse thing started making its own "riot grrrl rock" -- typified by bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile -- and split the women's music scene wide open.
Filmmaker Dee Mosbacher explores the rise and range of female-friendly music with her documentary Radical Harmonies, which screens at 4 p.m. (and again at 6:30) at the SF LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market (at Octavia), S.F. Admission is a $5 suggested donation, free for members; call 865-5555 or visit www.sfcenter.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Man Meets Machine
Domo arigato, rockin' roboto
There comes a time when a musician reaches an emotional and physical limit concerning his human bandmates and their pesky opinions and egos. A man who goes by the name JBOT hit his threshold, and instead of giving up on music forever, created a band that would never haunt him with such inconveniences as hurt feelings and fisticuffs -- a band that he could control. His group isn't made of flesh and blood: It's comprised of robots. Unfortunately for this silly human, the machines reportedly turned the tables and made him their slave; his creation became his nightmare. DRMBOT 0110, GTRBOT666, AUTOMATOM and the other manmade contraptions of Captured! By Robots perform loopy pop-punk while JBOT does their musical bidding on his keyboard-guitar. Watch some metal at 8 p.m. at Studio Z, 314 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $8; call 252-7666 or visit www.studioz.tv.
-- Sunny Andersen
Takes All Kinds
Combined Art Form Entertainment (C.A.F.E to its friends) is an organization that does just what it sounds like it should: In this case, putting together an amalgam of live and filmed pieces called Stories of San Francisco. The evening encompasses a series of short stories and monologues by playwright Vonn Scott Bair, several mini movies -- 4732 by Ezra Chowaki, And Another Thing and Office Furniture by acclaimed Bay Area ensemble Rebecca Salzer Dance Theater -- and filmwork from a few local improv troupes. The multimedia experience begins at 8 p.m. at the Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), S.F. Admission is $10; call 896-6477 or visit www.cafearts.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser