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This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Though many old-school rock critics dismiss electronica as soulless and repetitive, the electro-beats that started on the dance floor in the 1990s are twining vinelike into multiple strains of popular music, transforming hip hop into breakbeat, primitive rock into speed-garage, and new wave into electroclash, among other mutations. The San Francisco Electronic Music Festival celebrates digi-music in its multitudinous forms with five nights of performances by groundbreaking New York and local artists. Tonight's portion of the fest features live sounds from four diverse musicians, including the creepy, fairy-tale ditties of local music manipulators Hans Grüsel's Kränkenkabinet and the unorthodox traditional tunes of Noo Yawker Dan Joseph, who combines roots-music instrumentation with taped beats. The noise starts at 8 p.m. and continues each night through Sunday at SomArts, 934 Brannan (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is $9-15, or $40 for a five-day pass; visit for a full schedule.

Thursday, July 24, 2003
Diane Arbus, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson: These are names that make a photophile's eyes light up. Throw in Imogen Cunningham and Weegee, and that's it -- a true lover of pretty pictures wants to know where, when, and how much. "Photo San Francisco"'s collection, culled from a whopping 70 galleries and private archives, pulls its pics from the mid-19th century to yesterday, and its styles from classic black-and-white still lifes to freaky color-saturated Bollywood song-and-dance shots. Curators and collectors take note: This is no museum exhibit -- all this eye candy is for sale, and what good is money when you could own a Man Ray? The opening reception, a benefit for the Fort Mason Historic Preservation Fund, begins at 6 tonight. Admission is $50. The show opens to the public tomorrow and continues through Sunday at the Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $15-25; call 345-7575.

Friday, July 25, 2003
A trail of crushed dreams from here to Hollywood attests that it's not easy being a filmmaker. Just making a movie can eat up millions, and that's only the first battle. Once the thing's made, it has to be distributed and marketed if anyone's going to see it. It's that last part that has forced local indie director/ cabdriver Peter Kirby to some desperate DIY measures, such as advertising his short works Self-Portrait, The Hunter, and the documentary San Francisco Taxicab with hand-lettered signs in laundromats. But finally Kirby is getting some play with a screening of his new short, Skating & Things II The Seasons of Skating. The digital video features young skateboarders on a "path of destruction," as Kirby puts it in his promo copy, backed with music from local bands. Skating starts at 7:30 p.m., followed by shorts by other local filmmakers, at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is free-$4; call 824-3890 or visit

Saturday, July 26, 2003
Amber Morrow's boyfriend is dead, but she still wants to break up with him. The fact that her parents worship him as a messiah is irritating, too -- she must find out, as they say, how to deal. The Cutting Ball Theater's world-premiere production of Kevin Oakes' The Vomit Talk of Ghosts will hopefully stick close to the troupe's stated mission to "reveal a poetic truth as opposed to a realistic or naturalistic one," because as the plot stands, we don't want to know what "really" happens when you channel a guy, have sex while he's possessing you, and then try to dump him. But given that this group isn't afraid of heavy experimental-theater hitters like Vladimir Mayakovsky (Cutting Ball produced the Russian futurist's Mayakovsky: A Tragedy), it can probably pull the poetic truth out of anything. The curtain rises at 8 tonight (and Vomit Talk continues through Aug. 16) at the Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor (between Eddy and Ellis), S.F. Admission is $12-20; call 419-3584 or visit

Sunday, July 27, 2003
Though most people can appreciate the sight of a ballerina twirling on her toes and leaping weightlessly through the air, actually attending a ballet is a somewhat rarefied culture-vulture experience, in the same category as opera, the symphony, and $1,000-a-plate disease-benefit balls. The Stern Grove Festival, however, isn't satisfied with leaving ballet as exclusive entertainment for the mega-moneyed. It brings dance to the people today when the San Francisco Ballet performs George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, Peter Martin's The Waltz Project, and Natalia Makarova's staging of Paquita in a free outdoor show. Don't forget your blankets and your wine and cheese -- or beer and pizza, if that suits you better. The show starts at 2 p.m. at Stern Grove, 19th Avenue & Sloat, S.F. Admission is free; call 252-6252 or visit

Monday, July 28, 2003
You're so hip, you already know this: Monday is the new Saturday. Well, not exactly. Monday is the new Thursday, which was recently the new Saturday. What we're trying to say is, the weekend is hella tired, and everyone goes out on Monday now. So where are you going? You're going to "Tranquility Base," for the perfect night on the town. Come home from work, turn the doll face up to 11, and be prepared to shake it, not break it. DF Tram spins beautiful music of the free-form lounge/ambient soundscape/grooves type, so you can dance the school night away starting at 10 p.m. at 26 Mix, 3024 Mission (at 26th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 826-7378 or visit

Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Music journalist Richie Unterberger became the patron saint for fans of obscure rock with 1998's Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll, the book whose profiles of and interviews with cult musicians like Syd Barrett, Love, and the Raincoats were so essential that it's nearly impossible to find a rock critic without a well-thumbed copy. He followed up Legends with a lovingly researched look at folk rock, Turn! Turn! Turn!: The '60s Folk-Rock Revolution, which gave enthusiasts something to chew on with its dossiers on underappreciated early groups like the Farinas, Tim Buckley, and Ian & Sylvia. Unterberger has dived into folk's fertile waters once more with his new Eight Miles High: Folk-Rock's Flight From Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock, which covers the movement from Arlo Guthrie to the Byrds. Hear selections from Eight Miles High at 7 p.m. at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Cole), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-8688 or visit


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