Remember Madonna wannabes, those throngs of teenage girls in fishnet stockings and neon-pink tops, with huge bows in their blond hair and three inches of dark roots? Honestly, we're surprised we haven't seen more revivals of this 1980s cultural hiccup, but then again, some things are meant to die and stay dead.
Such a sentiment undoubtedly offends not only the bachelorette party in wannabe get-ups we spotted at the Mandonna show, but also filmmaker/singer/ former presidential candidate Madeline Minx. This razor-tongued would-be pop star is the most enduring ersatz Material Girl on our radar, and certainly the most straightforward. On her Web site, she says (in an interview with Film Threat magazine) that when she discovered the woman now known as Esther, "I lost interest in just being the female Woody Allen slash Lucille Ball; I wanted to take off where Madonna left off -- i.e., become the next socio-political cultural sexio icon of a generation. The problem was, she didn't leave off anywhere." Stymied but not paralyzed, Minx instituted Pushy, an art movement, poptronica act, and television show.
Called "the Real World with more attitude and neuroses" by SF Weekly contributor Dan Strachota, Pushy TV's programming focuses on Minx's real-life trials and tribulations (such as her inability to hold a non-pop-star job) and presents skits like "ElimiMate." Tonight Minx celebrates the DVD release of The Best of Pushy TV, Volume 1; the entertainment includes screenings, an auction, and music by DJ Gym Sox at 7 p.m. at the Rx Gallery, 132 Eddy (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $3; visit www.madelineminx.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Send in the Clowns
The L.A. lodge of the Cacophony Society's sidesplitting experiment with clown porn -- as documented by HBO's Real Sex -- was my first encounter with the unexpected turn-ons of smudged greasepaint and big red rubber noses. Tonight the warped minds behind "Mondo Porno" pay tribute to this fetish with three rings of circus sleaze. The clown-on-clown action starts early, with a viewing of a hard-core flick called, uh, Clown Porn, followed by Vau de Vire's aerialists, burlesque dancers Kellita and Lily LeRouge, and raucous rock from bands like Girlfriend Experience and Thee Merry Widows. The pratfalls begin at 8:30 at the Cat Club, 1190 Folsom (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 431-3332 or visit www.mondopornoparty.com.
-- Jane Tunks
For the love of dance
The Freeplay Dance Crew hip hop troupe is 15 members strong, and offstage many of them are dance teachers and gym instructors -- which bodes well for the group. When you're at the gym taking a hip hop class, envying the instructor's perfect moves and obedient body, don't you sometimes wonder what he does for fun? (Not like that, naughty!)
The company's Web site explains that founders Joshua T. Klipp and Jonathan de Lima started Freeplay for "adults who spent working hours daydreaming about the opportunity to be a part of a hard-working and dedicated dance company." Since most people spend working hours dreaming of beer and television, I applaud the Crew sight unseen. Tonight, catch the high-energy show "Out Of Bounds," which also features spoken-word performances and music by DJ Garcia, at 9:30 at Ruby Skye, 420 Mason (at Geary), S.F. Admission is $15-20; call 693-0777 or visit www.freeplaydance.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Twelve rooms of revelry at the Old Mint
A sure sign that spring is at hand is all the Burning Man fund-raiser invites that start cluttering up our inboxes. Tonight we suggest you forgo the year-round worship of Black Rock City to revel in the here and now at the Spectra Ball. In a preview of next month's multidisciplinary ArtSFest, hundreds of costumed attendees are expected to wander through the ghostly hallways of the Old Mint. Suckers for the circus and its innumerable variations, we're most excited about the Velocity Circus' extraterrestrial shenanigans, the stilt walkers from the Carpetbag Brigade Theatre, and Xeno's acrobatics. Asian-American storytellers Eth-Noh-Tec, indigenous artists the Akat Dance Troupe, and the teenage poetry slammers from Youth Speaks round out the bill. The carousing begins at 8 p.m. at the Old Mint, 88 Fifth St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $40-100; visit www.artsfestsf.org.
-- Jane Tunks
Niagara, Not Falling
Former punk singer Niagara is definitely a diva. One of the few women associated with art magazine Juxtapoz, she paints mean ladies in a sharp comic-book style. Her best-known image may be That's for Your Bad Manners, which shows a gal holding a smoking tommy gun. This is our kind of diva. "Beyond the Pale" is an exhibit of Niagara's latest series, dedicated to opium and absinthe. The opening reception starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 9 (and the show continues through May 6), at the Shooting Gallery, 839 Larkin (at O'Farrell), S.F. Admission is free; call 931-8035 or visit www.shootinggallerysf.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser