Remember that weird (yet kinda cute) hippie chick who climbed a tree in California and lived in it for a while? Betcha can't remember her name. All right then, here's help: She's Julia Butterfly Hill. But good guess. In an effort to become more than just the answer to a "Current Events" question in the '90s edition of Trivial Pursuit, the environmental activist has founded the Circle of Life Foundation, a Bay Area- based nonprofit promoting the perspective that social justice, human rights, and environmental sustainability are universal concerns, and that the dilemmas associated with those issues can be solved if we'd only take a moment to use our collective brains.The first step in using those brains is listening to the wise words of actor and protester Woody Harrelson, who joins noted cultural critics Andy Dick and Flea as speakers at the We the Planet concert, a "music and activism festival" in Golden Gate Park. In addition to the many speakers on hand, the fest includes a varied musical lineup, with performers ranging from Alanis Morissette and Bonnie Raitt (each playing acoustic sets) to hip-hoppers De La Soul and the Coup, plus altrock trips down memory lane from Concrete Blonde (for those old-timers who still remember the halcyon 1980s) and Cake (for those who prefer their nostalgia 1990s-flavored).
The concert is the first prong in a many-citied attack planned for the fall, when the speakers will also include Jello Biafra, Alicia Silverstone, and Patch Adams (the real one, not Robin Williams) at various stops along the way. This weekend's show involves several other activist speakers, like Aya DeLeon and Medea Benjamin, whose names will be known primarily to those who are already well aware of the concert, but perhaps not to those who are only reading this because Woody Harrelson's name caught their eye.
It should be noted that in addition to maintaining a no-dogs policy, the festival prohibits the sale of alcohol on the grounds, and attendees aren't allowed to bring their own. It might also be worth reiterating, however, that one of the speakers on Sunday is Harrelson, who's known to be quite vocal about his fondness for certain substances. Enough said. The concert runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Golden Gate Park's Speedway Meadow, John F. Kennedy Drive & 25th Avenue, S.F. Tickets are $15-20; visit www.wetheplanet.org. -- Scout Davidson
Live Music, Silent Movie
One thing about silent pictures is that they're just so, well, silent. But that won't be the case when Nashville's ever-evolving ensemble Lambchop brings its hauntingly beautiful music to town to accompany a cinematic masterpiece by F.W. Murnau (the stylish German director of Nosferatu, The Vampire, and Faust). Released in 1927, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans has long been considered by critics to be one of the greatest films ever made. In Murnau's first American feature, a married farmer is lured by a "big-city seductress" to commit the most devious of acts in order to be with her. He's torn by temptation, and his moral struggle is not to be missed. To complement the melodrama and the stunning visual poetry that is Sunrise, Lambchop aurally transports you to its own land of artistic experimentation, throwing jazz, country, soul, and more into a blender and puréeing them into a delectable musical delight. Presented as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival, it's a once-in-a-lifetime combo for film and music lovers alike. Show time is 7 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (at Market), S.F. Admission is $18-20; call 621-6120 or visit www.castrotheatre.com. -- Sunny Andersen
When I get bored with my physical appearance, I experiment with a new shade of lipstick or ask my hairdresser for some subtle highlights. Playwright and actor Sarah Jones modifies her gender and her ethnicity. The quick-change artist doesn't suffer from multiple personality disorder; rather, she has a talent for role-playing, which she shares in her one-woman show, Surface Transit.By donning a scarf and glasses or by deepening her voice and altering her facial expression, Jones embodies eight New Yorkers, morphing from a homeless black woman to a Russian immigrant to a racist Italian-American cop before our very eyes. The play tackles such weighty themes as religion and sex, which could have translated into an evening of PC preaching, but doesn't. Jones pulls off her politics with humor and sass. Surface Transit previews at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday, at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison (at Shattuck), Berkeley. Tickets are $38-54; call (510) 647-2949 or visit www.berkeleyrep.org. -- Lisa Hom
A Very Zeeky Girl
A lot of crazy people aren't very nice. They don't want to talk to you or make friends with you; they just want you to leave them alone so they can glue pennies to every surface in their mobile home. Fair enough, but Zeek Sheck, a persona taken on by one of the members of the band that goes by the same name, is much more inclusive. Listen to our music, she seems to say, and join in our face-painting and jumping around banging on things. The world has gone to shit in a shitbasket, the band appears to think, so why not just live somewhere else? To that end, the group describes an elaborate, nonsensical mythology in the liner notes of its latest album, Zemag Daeh. Oh, and the music? Bleepy, scratchy, bompy instrumentals that all but obscure whispery, high-pitched, foulmouthed stories on subjects like, say, ants. Snowsuit, Lo-Fi Neisans, and Full Moon Partisans open at 9 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $7; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com. -- Hiya Swanhuyser