This weekend you can scour cool handmade gift ideas, check out cute puppies and kitties in holiday-decorated windows, or dance in sweaty packs at a barrage of city clubs -- all for less than $10.
Mission Holiday Block Party @ Mission District (Fri.)
If any district in San Francisco knows about partying, it's the Mission. The third annual Mission Holiday Block Party includes 45 participating independent businesses -- many of them featuring live music, galleried art, and booze. A few highlights: wine bar and music by Sour Mash Hug Band at Five & Diamond, kombucha cocktails and a trunk show at Ruby, and free drinks and snacks at the Curiosity Shoppe. (Free, 5 p.m.)
Boom! @ Southern Exposure (Fri.)
What does the word "BOOM!" bring to mind? That Thomas Pynchon line about a jet engine tearing through the sky? The mics held by stiff-armed tall people on a soundstage? Art submissions responding to this ambiguous word were sought for a juried exhibition of work by local artists. Works have been judged by provocative political artist and curator Astria Suparak, the director of Carnegie Mellon University's Miller Gallery. Despite the competition element, the exhibition retains a collegial and inclusive tone by not requiring an entry fee and opening submissions to any artist who lives in Northern California. It's wide-open by design, emphasizing the gallery's desire for conceptual diversity and a wide array of viewpoints and media. (Free, 6 p.m.) -- Paul M. Davis
CANCELLED Silver Swans @ Milk (Fri.)
Electro-dance duo Silver Swans is made up of LoveLikeFire singer Ann Yu and producer Jon Water. That alone should give you a pretty good feel for the talent that lurks within. With heart-thumping beats and mesmerizing vocals, Silver Swans earn comparisons to Ladytron and the Knife. Their nightshade explorations stand out with tracks like "Heartbeat," off the band's debut record, Release the Ghost. The synth-y twosome plays Milk with Northern Key and Danny Lannnon. DJ Julie T and King of Cups spin between sets.
($8, 9 p.m.)
The Soft White Sixties @ Café du Nord (Fri.)
The Soft White Sixties had quite a year -- statewide tours, headlining at street food mecca Off the Grid, and a gig with the ultimate non-blonde, Linda Perry. Celebrate the vintage-sounding S.F. rock 'n' roll band's final show of 2010 by taking in a live performance at Café du Nord. The quintet plays with Wake Up Lucid. ($8, 9:30 p.m.)
Macy's Holiday Window browsing @ Macy's Union Square (Sat.)
SPCA holds court at Macy's Holiday Windows, the adoption event that absolves the store each year from so many consumer-culture wrongs, like the Wolfgang Puck outpost in the basement, by placing doggies and kitties in the holiday-themed window displays. (For those who need an instant fix, view three live streaming cams on the SPCA site.) We're certain any chance meetings between the two parties would be amicable -- nobody wants to see a puppy cry. (Free, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.) -- Michael Leaverton
Bazaar Bizarre @ Fort Mason (Sat. and Sun.)
We can't think of a better place to hunt down a last-minute quality handmade Christmas present for a loved one or that special someone. Bazaar Bizarre will host 150 booths and live entertainment inside Fort Mason this weekend, along with gourmet food carts and a cocktail party. Among the many vendors: t-shirt peddlers Gangs of San Francisco, cuddly toy creators The Felt Baron, and exquisite jewelry makers Feather and Branch. The roomy space will likely be packed with shoppers, so get there early to collect your loot. (Free, 12-5 p.m.)
Sophie Madeleine @ The Elbo Room (Sat.)
In her first ever California appearance, acoustic songbird Sophie Madeleine performs live at the Elbo Room as part of a free Bandcamp gathering. Bandcamp, as most music fans will know, is a popular website that lets bands post their music in a variety of easy-to-digest formats and directly connect with fans. Another way to connect artists with music lovers: Keep up free live shows such as this. (Free, 6 p.m.)
Hysterians @ RVCA Haight (Sat.)
Hysterians is an appropriate name for an act with wily surf lines and group holler-alongs. The San Jose trio soaks in 1960s sounds and spits them back out Black Lips-style. Hysterians plays a free show with Grandma's Boyfriend and DJ Mike Rios this Saturday at RVCA in Upper Haight.
(Free, 7 p.m.)
Andrew Bancroft and Michael Musika @ The Yoga Loft (Sat.)
Singer-songwriter buddies Michael Musika and Andrew Bancroft are
teaming up for a double headlining show at the Yoga Loft on Divisadero.
Both musicians will perform solo acoustic sets and read poetry aloud.
Bancroft is perhaps better known as his rapping alter-ego, Jelly Donut. ($5, 7:30 p.m.)
Night Beats @ Hemlock Tavern (Sat.)
Experimental Seattle boys Night Beats originally hail from Texas, and with their upbringing came a heavy influence of psychedelic Texas legends like the 13th Floor Elevators. Night Beats play Hemlock Tavern with Shannon and the Clams -- who are celebrating the release of their new Christmas seven inch -- and Outlaw ($6, 9:30)