Thursday, September 16, 2004
Vancougar (from guess where?) gets compared to the Shangri-Las a lot. The comparison is valid, especially considering the band's often-throbbing beat, shout-chant backup vocals, and catchy tunes. We don't know for sure that these four Canadians rely as heavily on eyeliner and hairspray as the 1960s girl group did, but they're just as cute and a lot more complex. Vancougar has, in fact, already amassed a following of rocker-boy groupies "up there," guys who admire the 'coug's fine musicianship -- and who've probably also noticed that most of the band is stacked. That's not just our opinion, either: It came straight from the mouth of lead singer, guitar slinger, and songwriter Eden Fine Day, author of such fine tunes as "Credit Tard," who describes the act's overall sound as "Blondie doin' Elvis Costello in the back of Robert Pollard's car while listening to the Shangri-Las." The Holiday Band shares the bill starting at 10 p.m. at the Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk (at Post), S.F. Admission is $5; call 923-0923 or visit www.hemlocktavern.com.
Friday, September 17, 2004
Though the kitschy fetish for fruit-juice-and-rum cocktails with little umbrellas in them, Martin Denny's "jungle" music, and ersatz Polynesian art of the late '50s and early '60s was a widespread American fad, tiki culture has deep roots in the Bay Area. After all, it was here that Victor Bergeron opened what would become the influential rum-peddling restaurant chain Trader Vic's in 1932. So it's no surprise that San Francisco would be the home of "Tiki Art Now!," a huge (and really, really colorful) exhibition of "neo-primitive" works curated by Tiki News impresario Otto von Stroheim. Get a load of leopard girls, carved idols, bare-breasted hula dancers, and artist Shag's "cocktail culture" illustrations when the show opens tonight -- with a sure-to-be-packed reception featuring island-compliant nibbles -- at 7 p.m. (the exhibit continues through Oct. 9) at the Shooting Gallery, 839 Larkin (at O'Farrell), S.F. Admission is free; call 931-8035 or visit www.shootinggallerysf.com.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
One of the particularly neat things about living in a tiny, compact city is the ease with which you can stumble from one bar to another. But hitting 10 bars before last call is not something you want to do alone, unless you plan to end up like one pathetic drunk of an ex-friend of ours who wound down one spree by tripping over the skirt of his thrift-store wedding dress, falling into a gutter with a broken ankle, and getting busted by the SFPD for the cocaine in his pocket. Nice! Instead, pal around with a crowd of new drinking buddies at the North Beach Bar Run, a joyfully tiddly lurch through 13 establishments in a mere four hours. Your $5-8 admission buys you a map, a wristband that entitles you to drink specials, and a posse of fresh booze-bound cronies. The crawl begins at 4 p.m. at the Northstar Cafe, 1560 Powell (at Green), S.F. Call 515-5222 or visit www.crawlsf.com.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
It's not enough, apparently, to convene just one underpants-only group bicycle ride. Critical Ass organizer Brian Caraway looks forward to the event's nationwide expansion. "This time, it will be National Ass," he tells us by phone, "with people in Brooklyn and Portland participating on the exact same day." The bizarre bike outing began in New York as an affectionate spoof of the monthly Critical Mass ride; Caraway points out that the San Francisco tour "is like coming full circle, since this is where Critical Mass started." How strict is the undress code? "Strict," Caraway says without hesitation. "But whatever you consider undergarments is OK." After a brief disagreement about tights and T-shirts (he thinks they're underwear; we don't), he further clarifies, "It doesn't have to be full lingerie." Ride like the wind, starting at 1 p.m. at the 16th Street BART Station, 16th & Mission streets, S.F. Participation is free (but you have to buy your own beer); e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Remember when Nirvana struck audio gold with Nevermind and a slew of A&R folks started scouring the Seattle clubs for the Next Big Grunge Thing? Well, the same thing has happened on a smaller scale in Detroit, home of so-called rock 'n' roll saviors the White Stripes, mostly thanks to lead singer Jack White's Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit compilation. But for some reason, no major label has yet scooped up the finest of the current Rock City indie acts, the sonic alchemists known as the Hentchmen. On the trio's latest release, Form Follows Function, it jitters and shakes through a sizzling lineup of tracks, sounding like a low-fi '60s garage band interpreting old Seeds and Replacements tunes. Tonight the Hentchmen join saucy girly-rockers the Bobbyteens in opening for Japan's the 126.96.36.199's at 9 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $10; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
When Westerners hear anything about Muslim culture, it's typically outsider alarmism. But a work in which we actually hear from those who live in a religious regime and under the veil is all too rare. And that's why Marjane Satrapi's new graphic novel, Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return, is all the more amazing. Satrapi's autobiographical cartoons trace her life from the time she fled Iran's fundamentalist culture (chronicled in her first book, the best-selling Persepolis) to live a life of wild freedom, absurd prejudice, and abject hunger in Austria to the years after she returned, homesick, to the country of her birth, fully aware of the privileges -- and the disadvantages -- she left behind. Climb inside the mind of a courageous, conflicted woman when Satrapi reads from Persepolis 2 at 12:30 p.m. at Stacey's, 581 Market (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 421-4687 or visit www.staceys.com.
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