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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Night + Day: Calendar Picks for 5/21

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Alan Richard Bishop's The Brothers Unconnected, 8pm, $16-$18

Slim's - 333 11th St. at Folsom

When Sun City Girls member Charles Gocher Jr. died of cancer in February 2007, the underground music world lost one of its most enigmatically talented drummers. Gocher's talents were hardly limited to his kit, though: he was a wildly creative multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and video auteur, not to mention a beat poet with a never-ending font of provocative insight. With his passing, the uncompromising, stylistically variegated Sun City Girls ceased to exist as a band. Fellow Girls Alan and Rick Bishop considered Gocher their "other brother" and are honoring him with The Brothers Unconnected: A Tribute to Sun City Girls and Charles Gocher. Local Asiaphile band Neung Phak starts things off, followed by a 40-minute film of Gocher's video work, The Handsome Stranger, and an acoustic set of the Bishop brothers playing select Sun City Girls songs. — Mike Rowell

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Destroyer, Devon Williams, 8pm, $15

The Independent - 628 Divisadero at Hayes

“Arch,” “grandiose,” and “affected” are terms used by some music critics to condemn rock records, but Dan Bejar embraces these descriptors as positive attributes. As Destroyer, his vocals are often melodramatic and self-satisfied: Think David Bowie, Suede, and Robyn Hitchcock at their fullest-of-themselves. Sample song-title: “Shooting Rockets (From the Desk of Night’s Ape).” Oh, jeez! Why then is Trouble in Dreams so darn enjoyable? Perhaps because Bejar is the William Shatner of indie rock — he’s way over the top, but just self-aware enough to make it fun. He relishes self-righteous anger (“I’ve been living in America in churches of greed/It’s sick!” from “Dark Leaves Form a Thread”) and purple whimsy (“I gave you a flower because foxes travel light and a penny for your thoughts was never enough” from “Blue Flower/Blue Flame”). Musically, Bejar’s bittersweet melodies are orchestrated with crystalline guitars, billowing synthesizers, world-weary tempos, gauzy production, and melancholy ambiance. This, along with his gift for overstated poignancy, makes Destroyer a pleasure for lovers of precocious pop: a guilty one, but a pleasure nonetheless. —Mark Keresman

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Battle for Haditha

Roxie New College Film Center - 3117 16th St.

Nick Broomfield, known for his unseemly documentary portraits of Aileen Wuornos, Heidi Fleiss, and Courtney Love, brings a surprising dose of compassion to his third dramatic feature, Battle for Haditha, an Iraqudrama that straddles the line between blistering exposé and Spielbergian heart-tugger. The film recounts the events of November 19, 2005: Following a roadside-bomb attack, U.S. Marines massacred 24 civilians in the town of Haditha. Broomfield cross-cuts between the soldiers, the insurgents, and the victims, building considerable suspense and sympathy for all involved. Corporal Ramirez (played with conviction by former U.S. Marine Elliot Ruiz) suffers from nightmares but learns that he can't receive mental-health care until after he leaves Iraq; the Al Qaeda recruits are regular guys next-door, happy to take $500 in cash and a gallon of gasoline in exchange for a tutorial in improvised explosive devices; the collateral damage is a beautiful extended family, including a cute kid who adores chickens. Veterans of Iraq War cinema might recognize familiar traits—the heavy-metal machismo of Gunner Palace, the confessional testimonials of The War Tapes, the cri de coeur of Stop-Loss—but when the shit finally hits the fan, the results are emotionally bruising. —Anthony Kaufman

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Janine Kahn


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