Thursday, December 23, 2004
You go to a bar to dull the senses and carouse, to a restaurant to fill up and be seen, but when you need a tranquil space for alone-time with the newspaper and your laptop you head for a date with a barista. Our town boasts coffeehouses by the dozen, each with a different atmosphere. Do you crave upscale brasserie trappings (Café Niebaum-Coppola) or a crunchy vibe (People's Cafe)? Does your mood call for classical Euro (practically any North Beach java house) or something quirky (Brain Wash serves up lattes, live entertainment, and clean underpants)? Salute this alternate kind of diversity at "The Cafes of San Francisco: An Exhibition of America's Original Cafe Society," a cool collection of photos and info that documents the rise of S.F. cafe culture, culled from the book of the same name. The show runs through Jan. 2 at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 450 Powell (at Post), S.F. Admission is free; call 263-6800 or visit www.cafeandre.com.
Friday, December 24, 2004
What's that you say? You have no family obligations, no plans to be out of town, and no tree ritual this evening? Do we understand correctly that you're young and maybe cute? Well, then, the Matzo Ball wants you. A national event for Jewish singles between the ages of 21 and 49 looking to "meet people," the fancy to-do sounds like a swell shindig. Dancing, contests, giveaways, and other clubby fun is all geared to make you happy and put you in a flattering light. The organizers claim the party has been responsible for "over 1,000 marriages, and thousands of friendships" so far; who are we to argue? The ball drops at 8 p.m. at Ruby Skye, 420 Mason (at Geary), S.F. Admission is $20-25; call 693-0777 or visit www.rubyskye.com.
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Ah, Christmas. It's a time for special moments spent with loved ones, cheerful children, peace, harmony, good will, and joy -- and, if your dad happens to be the founder of the Church of Satan, it's the perfect evening to mock all that is holy and pure. "Karla LaVey's Black X-Mas" is nicely in tune with the values her father, Anton LaVey, preached, with a decadent lineup of noisy punk and art-rock bands, including the metal-tinged meanness of Graves Bros. Deluxe, spooky sci-fi sounds from Theremin Barney, an airing of Anton's composition "The March of Satan," and swinging organ from K-Rob, best known for providing the background sound at the "Ask Dr. Hal" show. Get set to sin at 9 p.m. at the Elbo Room, 647 Valencia (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is $6.66; call 552-7788 or visit www.elbo.com.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
The interview segments on The Daily Show really drag -- if only Jon Stewart would take a leaf from Howard Stone's book and ruthlessly mock guests rather than ask softball questions. Sir Stone has been plugging away with his uproarious live gig, The Howard Stone Show, for years, yet he doesn't pull in the accolades he deserves for such fun segments as "Mixed Nuts" (a lineup of damaged comics discussing their problems with ADD and bipolar disorder) and "Iron Balloon Chef" (in which clowns battle it out for balloon-twisting supremacy). Tonight's "Bitter Show" is a welcome release from holiday cheer. One-man orchestra Danny Dechi might include cracked Christmas carols in the repertoire he plays by whapping himself in the jaw with a No. 2 pencil. The talk show must go on at 8:30 p.m. at the Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. Admission is $15; call 522-8900 or visit www.comedyonthesquare.com.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Monday nights are lame. On the one hand, you're still pissed off that the weekend's over and you have to drag your ass out of bed at 6:45 for the next four days (particularly a mere two days after Christmas -- oh, where are those school vacations when you need them?). On the other, you're too tired to build up the head of steam you really need to go out and drink your troubles away. Why not hit the perfect compromise with a quiet evening of fun, free films at a snug and playful neighborhood bar? The company's friendly, the jukebox is sublime, and someone's got good taste in movies at Sadie's Flying Elephant, which shows flicks each week accompanied by gratis popcorn. Tonight you can raise your glass to classic punk with Penelope Spheeris' The Decline of Western Civilization -- a couple of $1 PBRs should complete your evening. Think of us from your barstool at 8 at Sadie's, 491 Potrero (at Mariposa), S.F. Admission is free; call 551-7988.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
The ridiculously fawning reviews ("Sensuous and steamy ... smooth and superbly entertaining" -- New York Post) for Forever Tango should clue you in: This is the good stuff. Argentine tango has been parodied so many times it's hard to remember that it's a complex, technical art, even as it inspires raw lust in audiences and dancers alike. Sure, it has its share of schmaltzy practitioners, but who are you to judge, America, with your passionate national tradition, the square dance? Featuring a posse of performers and a live orchestra that includes four of only 200 existing players of the accordionlike bandoneon (responsible for the globally recognizable sound of tango), the show is big and glittering and hot. It begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through Jan. 9) at the Post Street Theatre, 450 Post (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $39.50-80; call 321-2900 or visit www.poststreettheatre.com.
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