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Night & Day for the week of February 12-18, 2003 

Highlights of the SF Weekly.

Like the rest of us, local artist Dianne Platner is well-acquainted with the cardboard signs that some homeless folks hold up on sidewalks and at intersections throughout the city. But instead of doing what most of us do -- walk away or offer pocket change -- Platner created Encampment, a video documentary and installation of 75 8-by-14-inch miniature cardboard dwellings constructed from those pithy pleas. Inspired by the provisional cottages built after the 1906 earthquake and fire, Platner's structures put such hand-scrawled messages as "Anything Helps, Even a Smile" or "Thank You, God Bless" front and center. Meanwhile, video monitors scattered throughout the makeshift camp play taped interviews with people who live on the streets. The exhibit opens tonight with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 (and runs through March 23) at the S.F. Arts Commission Gallery at City Hall, Lower Level, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl., S.F. Admission is free; call 554-6080 or visit

Once upon a time, raconteurs spun yarns by the light of a fire. Nowadays, they're more likely to tell tales via computer than through word-of-mouth. At the forefront of this electronic movement lies Berkeley's Center for Digital Storytelling, which has paved the way for modern-day narrators to bring their stories to life using technology. Founded by the late media producer Dana Atchley, Joe Lambert, and Nina Mullen, the nonprofit celebrates 10 years of crafting high-tech home movies (and teaching others how to do so) with "Voices/Known," a showcase of spoken word, solo performance, and music. The event features local luminaries such as interdisciplinary artist Guillermo Gomez-Peña, choreographer Scott Wells, and Web designer Derek Powazek (creator of {fray}, an online collective of writers and artists). A reception starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by performances at 8, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $15-25; call (510) 548-2065 or visit

Bay Area—based choreographer Cheryl Chaddick wears many, uh, shoes. A vital part of the S.F. dance scene for almost two decades, she's the founder and artistic director of the successful Company Chaddick. She also moonlights as a psychic, a skill that makes her particularly well suited to investigate the less tangible aspects of humanity in "Beneath the Surface," an evening of premieres and reprises. Chaddick often walks a fine line between the cerebral and the physical, and in these pieces she uses both approaches to root out human nature. Interiors, for example, employs athletic movement, anecdotes, and confessions to illustrate how complacency puts a damper on individual growth. Similarly, Wasted combines a relentless, high-speed tempo and fancy footwork to expose the go-go pace of modern life. Tonight's performance starts at 8, followed by a talk with Chaddick and company members, at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. "Beneath the Surface" continues through Sunday. Admission is $17; call 863-9834 or visit

Letting it all hang out is one way to generate sexual tension. However, as the lusty ladies in the old-fashioned burlesque The Velvet Hammer know, there's something to be said for keeping the mystery alive. Initially clad in elaborate get-ups full of sequins and marabou, troupe members then strip down to their skivvies, but never bare all. The brainchild of Michelle Carr, the Hollywood-based revue has its roots in SoCal hipsters' attraction to all things retro. Accordingly, The Velvet Hammer is faithful to the ancient art of striptease, replacing explicit T&A displays from the average topless joint with coy acts like Ming Dynatease's re-enactment of the Rapunzel fairy tale or the High Plains Harlots' bullwhip routine. Best of all, this bevy of beauties claims to be all-real: no silicone-enhanced broads here. Show times are 8 and 11 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Tickets are $25; call 885-0750 or visit

The fab four who make up New York City's Interpol may look like they've just stepped off the cover of GQ, but they're not all style with no substance. Beneath those pinstripe suits, skinny leather ties, and mod haircuts are regular rockers striving to make music that's as polished as their appearance. Formed in 1998 while three of its members were New York University undergrads, the foursome became the focus of much industry hype after relentless touring abroad and the release of Turn on the Bright Lights, Interpol's debut album on Matador. Frontman Daniel Kessler's vocal style is eerily reminiscent of Joy Division's Ian Curtis, but comparisons to the British post-punk outfit only distract us from noticing Interpol's musical chops. These boys don't regurgitate '80s post-punk and new wave; they breathe fresh life into those genres with driving guitar riffs and lush production. Fashion plates? Perhaps, but not fashion victims. This quartet is more than just a passing trend. The Warlocks and Mellowdrone are also on tonight's bill, which starts at 8 at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $17.50; call 346-6000 or visit

Women-in-prison flicks may be filled with clichés -- the lascivious, masculine guard; the requisite shower scenes; the catfights -- but we can't help loving them. Steve Sekely's 1943 war drama Women in Bondage was a precursor to the "chicks in chains" genre, and as a result it's more chaste than such '70s classics as Caged Heat. However, the Hungarian director also gave us Revenge of the Zombies, so it's not surprising that Bondage isn't entirely straight-laced; it campily chronicles the plight of incarcerated lovelies at the hands of their Nazi oppressors. Nazis also figure in the mistreatment of the poor girls forced to service the members of the Shanghai Officers Club in William Rowland's 1948 shocker Women of the Night. Both movies screen, tonight only, at the Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $4-8; call 863-1087 or visit for show times.

I'm not sure how West Coast moms deal with their untidy offspring, but when I was a kid in New York my mother bullied me into picking up after myself with threatening comparisons to the infamous Collyer brothers, eccentric recluses who filled their Harlem mansion with an estimated 136 tons of junk. Playwright Richard Greenberg chronicles the downfall of Homer and Langley Collyer in The Dazzle, ACT's latest production. Though Greenberg admits in his author's note that he knows "almost nothing" about these legendary pack rats, he uses their story as a springboard to delve into issues of sibling rivalry and codependency. In his version, Langley is a promising concert pianist who becomes fixated on the stuff of everyday life, cramming his house with old newspapers, books, medical specimens, pianos, and the skeleton of a car. The more sophisticated Homer is better off, but not by much. Though he longs for a life of passion, he becomes his brother's keeper, largely as a development of his own neuroses. The Dazzle previews tonight at 8 (and runs through March 16) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $11-61; call 749-2228 or visit


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