Thursday, May 19, 2005
For many photographers, light is an obsession. Hungarian-born Bauhaus artist Lázló Moholy-Nagy turned that obsession into a radical invention in the 1930s: the light-space modulator. Slightly reminiscent of the flux capacitor from Back to the Future, Moholy-Nagy's strange contraption consists of circular, perforated metal structures, pieces of glass, and brightly colored bulbs. But it's not a time machine; rather, it projects light and shadows onto a blank wall to explore the nature of light. You can see the LSM in action in the artist's movie Lightplay: Black/White/Gray, which was made with the device. Lightplay and four of Moholy-Nagy's other pictures, along with French filmmaker Louis Delluc's impressionist melodrama Fever, make up the program in S.F. Cinematheque's "Early Avant-Garde: Films by Moholy-Nagy and Delluc. " Viewing starts tonight at 7:30 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third St.), S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 552-1990 or visit www.sfcinematheque.org.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Good, honest indie rock is Earlimart's forte and signature. Frontman Aaron Espinoza's reedy voice, gentle lyrics, and music geekery aren't busting down any genre's walls, but on Treble & Tremble, the group's fourth full-length recording, it's obvious that those walls are sound and house something precious. "Heaven Adores You," for example, is a catchy, keyboard-spiced croon you'll hum for days, whereas "Burnin the Cow" is revved-up, full of fuzz, and quite possibly a secret ode to underground pop genius Daniel Johnston. Earlimart does have one element that's a little odd: a female bass and keyboard player who doesn't sing. College radio has been dreaming of this SoCal band for decades. Okkervil River and Richard Swift open at 9 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $13-15; call 255-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
People often remember Cassandra, the mythical princess of Troy, for her gift of foretelling the future. But back in the day, being a know-it-all was more of a curse than a blessing. After refusing to sleep with Apollo, she was condemned by him to a life without credibility. The result: She became known as a loon. At the end of a life of being beaten and raped, she was murdered by her master's wife -- and she probably saw it all coming. Now this classical tragedy gets reinterpreted through a queer female perspective in Spit/Kiss, courtesy of Jon Sims Center AIRspace artists Corrie Baumgardner, Terre Parker, and Mica Phelan. The show starts tonight at 8 at the Jons Sims Center for the Arts, 1519 Mission (at 11th St.), S.F. Admission is $10-15 on a sliding scale; call 554-0402 or visit www.jonsimsctr.org.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Most karaoke nights call to mind only one thing for us. When we're not plugging our ears against the sounds of Wham! we're remembering that someone once told us that Mariah Carey has a face "like a kneecap." We try to avoid thinking about Ms. Carey at all for this reason, but at karaoke, she is unavoidable. Punk Rock Karaoke does not wield this threat; instead, it offers the welcoming scenario of a seasoned live punk band backing up singers who may choose from a wide variety of classic tunes, none of them popularized by Mariah Carey. (Think the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" or the Dead Kennedys' "California Über Alles," which ought to get a workout.) Members of NOFX, Agent Orange, the Circle Jerks, and others have the skills -- all you need is the courage. Rock out at 8:30 p.m. at Café Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $12; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Tayari Jones' first novel, Leaving Atlanta, caused something of a ruckus when it came out several years ago; critics said it was full of beautifully turned phrases, and readers said it captured the feeling of being 10 years old. The book won awards, got shimmering reviews, and set the author up for something every successful young artist must dread: sky-high expectations for her sophomore production. With the recent publication of Untelling, we'll find out how she did. Fortunately, early press says the story of a woman facing guilt, pregnancy anxiety, and a traumatic past more than lives up to that early potential. Jones reads and signs copies of Untelling at 12:30 p.m. at Alexander Book Company, 50 Second St. (at Market), S.F. Admission is free; call 495-2992 or visit www.alexanderbook.com.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Add music to comedy and the result is not always musical comedy. In the case of Hard 'n Phirm, we're not sure what it is, but we sure do like it. The duo of Chris Hardwick and Mike Phirman recently released a CD called Horses and Grasses, which semifamously contains "Rodeohead," a medley of Radiohead tunes performed in bluegrass style. In a telling interview with Severe magazine, Phirman described the pair's sound this way: "We actually love music itself as much as we love using it to confuse people." Dan Gabriel and Ryan Stout open at 9 p.m. (the show continues through May 28) at the Punch Line, 444 Battery (at Clay), S.F. Admission is $10; call 397-4337 or visit http://sf.punchlinecomedyclub.com.
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