Thursday, September 11, 2003
Understandably, our government panicked after 9/11. With smoking proof of the seriousness of anti-U.S. terrorists in front of them, the feds responded hastily. The USA PATRIOT Act, a far-reaching decree that made it easier for any executive-branch employee to peek into the clandestine electronic communications of anyone suspected of wrongdoing in a federal case, was passed with little public debate mere months after the attacks. Is the Act just the protection our beleaguered country needs? Or is it a useless and dangerous intrusion into our private lives? The "Patriot Act Panel" of illustrious pundits both conservative and leftist debates the merits and constitutionality of the controversial legislation on this bleak anniversary day. The discussion starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is $10-18; call 597-6701 or visit www.commonwealthclub.org.
Friday, September 12, 2003
No matter how hot Rosanna Arquette looked in leg braces, Crash was a pretty crappy movie. Nonetheless, no cinematic excursion had done such an apt job of exploring the electrifying power of automotive mayhem -- the roar of the engines, the grinding of metal on metal, the thrilling destructive potential of speed. This weekend Yerba Buena pays tribute to the vehicular fetish with "Appetite for Destruction: Three Magnificent Obsessions," three evenings of paeans to the pleasures of motor mania. Tonight's outing, the rarely screened documentary Speedo, is an astonishing portrait of demolition-derby demon Ed "Speedo" Jager, who claims to be as addicted to smashing up cars as a meth addict is to white powder. The celluloid unspools Fridays at 7:30 (through Sept. 26) in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Screening Room, 700 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $3-6; call 978-2787 or visit www.yerbabuenaarts.org.
Saturday, September 13, 2003
When a composer whose work contains hints of Cantonese opera, Gregorian chants, and the indigenous musics of Mexico, Indonesia, and Africa met up with a choreographer known for setting his ironic pieces to music ranging from Baroque classical to country twang, the collaboration had to be artistically fruitful. Since 1991 the Mark Morris Dance Group has set some of its most outré dances to Lou Harrison's music. Tonight Morris and company pay tribute to the recently deceased Harrison with an evening of movement accompanied by the composer's works. The repertory program includes Morris' latest solo work, Serenade, a takeoff on flamenco with East Indian percussion, as well as the powerful, shamanistic guitar- and piano-scored Grand Duo. The performance starts at 8 (also 3 p.m. tomorrow) at Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $32-56; call (510) 642-9988 or visit www.calperfs.berkeley.edu.
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Given the amount of traffic snarling San Francisco's streets, it's rare that a bicyclist has an opportunity to really let 'er rip, tearing up and down hills or along a straightaway with safety-be-damned, heart-palpitating speed. But today more than 200 of the world's top cyclists seize their chance during the third T-Mobile International races. Though we prefer the event's former name -- the San Francisco Grand Prix -- the contest itself is still an exciting two-wheeled spree featuring women's and men's teams taking long, competitive laps throughout town to battle for $65,000 in prizes. Even more exciting: Five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is set to compete in the gents' 104-mile race. The kickstands come up at 7:30 a.m. starting at Embarcadero & Market, across from the Ferry Building, S.F. Admission is free; visit www.sanfrancycling.com.
Monday, September 15, 2003
Courtney Love takes her shirt off to play drums. Glitter bombs explode, snow falls on the audience, and people spit blood. Like it or not, these are the kinds of events that surround Fischerspooner performances. Inside the spectacle, the electronic music made by Casey Spooner and Warren Fischer, while compelling, isn't the highest priority. After all, it has to compete with the wildness of goth-camp costumes, Mad Max makeup, and German-cabaret choreography put on by battalions of dancers, plus the elaborate sets and lighting schemes cooked up by teams of stage artists. All the same, the band has fans around the world, won on the basis of Internet-based music files alone: Sigue Sigue Sputnik it ain't. And hey, David Bowie likes it. Choose your attire accordingly for the 9 p.m. show at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Kenna opens. Admission is $20; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com.
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Since 1996, multitalented dancer/ actor/director/producer Mary Alice Fay has been pulling together "Women's Work," a bimonthly series of live theater, dance, music, and multimedia performances created by the XX-chromosomed. More than 800 female artists have graced Venue 9's small stage over the years, creating an unmatched yet bargain-priced panoply of entertainment that's long been one of the spot's strongest draws. The cool thing about the series is its variety: Patrons go to see a comedian or watch a friend appear in a one-act play and emerge surprised at how much they enjoyed the accompanying dance performance or spoken-word piece. See for yourself in tonight's offering, which combines local stand-up comic Dattner's satiric short film Comedy: The Other Black Gold and Eleanor Scott's one-woman, multicharacter play Date Me with the activist-friendly music of Joani Rose & Friends and dancer Sara Sass' work Wallflowers. The show begins at 8 at Venue 9, 252 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $8-10; call 289-2000 or visit www.venue9.com.