What's the value of underground music? If it doesn't aim to get major-label attention, doesn't want to get on TV or even make a million bucks, what's the point? Some people would say it has none. Others, a critical mass of them living, loving, and hanging out in the Mission District, would disagree. For the organizers of the Mission Creek Music Festival, making and enjoying music is freedom itself, and needs no external justification.
Underground music also operates an unregulated sonic black market, creating hybrids and innovations that could never exist if the traditional music industry had its way. This year's MCMF welcomes an astonishing 76 bands, most of them local, proving that shutting down practice spaces and venues didn't stop anyone from writing songs. Deerhoof's noise, Erase Errata's rock, and the Coachwhips' dirty garage are some of the best-known sounds, but the 20-odd shows also offer the excellently spazzed-out Lowdown, scene stalwarts Kung Fu USA, and country mouse Jolie Holland. Tonight's gigs are at 9 at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), and the Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk (at Post), S.F. Admission varies; call 923-0923 or visit www.mcmf.org for the schedule.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Art deco, art nouveau, moderne -- when whispered into a collector's ear, these words send a tickle up the spine and a hand toward the wallet. Collectors are a special breed: predators on the hunt looking for the elusive object of their affection, be it a commemorative statuette of Lady Liberty or Holt Howard salt and pepper shakers. The uncontrollable drive that these gatherers share is an addiction to the chase, the find, and finally, the buy. To quench the accumulator's thirst comes the 18th annual Art Deco Weekend by the Bay: nirvana for the deco-obsessed. Here, in one very large building, more than 200 vendors present a treasure trove of items from the art deco period (1900 to 1930) up through the 1960s. Bracelets and bric-a-brac, tables and trinkets, figurines and Fiestaware, all for the taking. If you're not quite one of the fanatical yet, this is a perfect place to find your passion ... at a price. Take your money to the Concourse Exhibition Center (635 Eighth St. at Brannan, S.F.) at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday. Admission is $8; call (650) 599-3326 or visit www.artdecosale.com.
-- Sunny Andersen
Queer as Folk
Pride Month kicks off with a Ball of fun
Two of the most vibrant and active communities in San Francisco (aside from those who voted for Ruben on American Idol) are undoubtedly its gay population and its artists. For the next month, these groups come together with all the color, electricity, and excitement of a fireworks show at a Crayola factory for the sixth annual National Queer Arts Festival, which is for many people the pride of Pride Month.
Like the diversity it celebrates, the National Queer Arts Festival includes something for everyone. There'll be art exhibitions, films, dance performances, drama, and even trapeze at each of the nine participating venues across the city. Highlights of this year's fete include stand-up comedy by three of the country's premier Latina queer comics -- Marga Gomez, Monica Palacios, and Carmelita Tropicana -- and the return of last year's hit cabaret Fresh Meat, which serves up a performance pupu platter of homo hip hop, tranny glam rock, and what's billed as the world's first transgender gospel choir. Of course, there's also a drag contest.
The festival kicks off on Saturday with the Q Ball!, an opening-night "gay-la" featuring live appearances by past and present performing artists, plus receptions for arts collective Point Blank's photography exhibition and Rudy Lemcke's large-screen video installation, The Forgetfulness of Being. The party starts at 6 p.m. at the SF LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market (at Octavia), S.F. Admission is free, but donations are welcome; call 865-5611 or visit www.queerculturalcenter.org for a complete schedule.
-- Jack Karp
Road trips are a rite of passage: Kerouac did it, and so did Britney. Now Sister Betty of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is doing it, too. During "Road Trip 2003," she'll cover approximately 9,000 miles in 40 days to raise money for various community groups. What can you do? Pledge a penny for every mile of the drive and bid Sister Betty adieu at today's "Bon Voyage Breakfast" of champagne and doughnuts, which starts at 8 a.m. at 195 Collingwood. Reservations are required; call 503-1556 or visit www.sisterbetty.org/roadtrip.
-- Lisa Hom
Scottish and Welsh
Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting hit us all where it hurt -- right in the kitten. If you, like most readers, feel ready for further punishment, the British author reads from his latest novel, Porno, tonight. Locals Alan Black and Luke James read their own stuff, and there's a screening of a BBC doc on Welsh's life. Catch it all at 8 at the Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary, S.F. Admission is $6; call 885-4074 or visit www.castlenews.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser