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The Rio Frisco 

Brazilians of dancers

FRI 8/22

Funk-rock trio Bat Makumba claims on its Web site to follow the "tradition of cultural cannibalism that so well describes modern music in Brazil." This depiction goes a long way toward explaining the deep and abiding affinity coastal Californians seem to have for our Carnaval-celebrating buddies: We all like to steal other people's music, wear skimpy outfits, and dance our asses off.

Named for a 1970s-era tropicalia song written by Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso and made popular by Os Mutantes, the group makes good on the cannibalism threat by mixing traditional Brazilian styles like ijexá, baião, and maracatu with international favorites including samba and reggae. You'll have a chance to revel in the results at tonight's performance: Supplemental percussionists the California Brazil Camp Allstar Bateria, with Rio-based drummers Jorge Alabe and Boca Rum, join regular band members Alex Koberle (guitar), Carl Remde (bass), and Emiliano Benevides (percussion); DJ Vanka keeps it hot between sets. Non-shaking butts are subject to banishment, starting at 9:30 p.m. at Studio Z, 314 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10; call 252-7666 or visit
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Laughing With the Big Dogs

SAT 8/23

Could anything be funnier than watching your boss trip headfirst over a chair? We're not sure about that. But the Doghouse Comedy Jam may come close. The one-night-only star-studded stand-up blowout is an annual event for radio station WiLD 94.9-FM, each year featuring some of the finest comics in the business. This year the main attraction is the wry Dave Chappelle, star of Comedy Central's Sunday night sketch-comedy Chappelle Show and criminally underrated movies like Half Baked and Undercover Brother. Backing him up are In Living Color's Tommy Davidson, whose slapstick timing earned him starring roles in 1997's Booty Call and the 1998 Jada Pinkett Smith vehicle Woo, and Latino funnyman Carlos Mencia, best known for his turns on cable network Trio's Uncensored Comedy: That's Not Funny and the Disney Channel series The Proud Family. A roster of four more jokesters and appearances by J.V. and other Doghouse DJs round out the bill. Show time is 7 p.m. at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre (at Rengstorff), Mountain View. Tickets are $33.50-63.50; call (650) 967-3000 or visit
-- Andrea Renee Goode

A Family Tradition
All that dance

FRI-SAT 8/22-23

It's a mother and child reunion this weekend, as local choreographer Robert Henry Johnson celebrates the decade anniversary of his award-winning dance company by teaming up with Bay Area jazz diva Lady Mem'fis (also known to Johnson as "Mom") for an evening-length duet of song, dance, and spoken word. The show, "Duchess and the Dancer," is about retracing the African-American experience.

In contemplating his -- and his people's -- past, Johnson has found that the less-than-loose lips of generations before him have left behind boundless mysteries, so he uses the arts of movement and song to travel through time, exploring his ancestry. "It really is a search into my lineage," he said recently via telephone, "to find out who the ancestors were who sang and danced and passed this gift down."

In the first act, the familial duo performs two world premieres, which recall the first five years of their respective lives -- Lady Mem'fis' childhood in the Louisiana swamplands and Johnson's San Francisco youth spent immersed in his mother's world of music. The second half of the show kicks off with acclaimed Oakland-based choreographer Laura Elaine Ellis' Solitary Moments/Escape Me, a work about African-American generational "curses," originally created for three women, here redesigned for Johnson as a solo. Letters to Jesus is a contained, 11-minute solo about prayer. Capping the evening is an excerpt from Johnson's new play, Simmie, with some improv mixed in for good measure. Check out the family affair both days at 8 p.m. at the Buriel Clay Memorial Theater, 762 Fulton (at Webster), S.F. Tickets are $20; call 621-3778 or visit
-- Karen Macklin

Everything But the Mag

FRI 8/22

Kitchen Sink, "The magazine for people who think too much," is hosting its first Indie Mag All-Stars Party -- an event, let's say, for people who read too much. With writers from Bitch, Comet, The Believer, and several other smarty-pants local publications set to appear, the event looks like it's got the right name. This celebration of the publication of KS No. 4, the "Blue Issue," includes music by Joanna Newsom starting at 8 p.m. at Adobe Bookshop, 3166 16th St., S.F. Admission is free; call 864-3936 or visit
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Larsen Up

WED 8/20

Functioning as yet another cog in the rock machine of Olympia, Wash., Al Larsen (ex-Some Velvet Sidewalk) storms the stage in our town tonight. He is joined by drummer Don Blair, playing, the duo's e-mail explains, "a pair of Chinese barrel drums from a 1930s cruise ship." The Music Lovers open at 10 p.m. at the Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, S.F. Admission is $5; call 923-0923 or visit
-- Hiya Swanhuyser


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