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Experi-Metal Maelstrom 

Sweden's Meshuggah reinvents heavy metal

TUES 4/29

Even the heaviest of bands can have a tough time opening for headbanging stalwarts Slayer. But when Swedish quintet Meshuggah shared the stage with the satanic juggernaut in 1998, the audience's collective "Slayer!" chants and upraised middle fingers quickly transformed into slack jaws and goat-horn salutes. Founding guitarist Fredrik Thordendal and singer Jens Kidman have been mixing math-rock angularity, experimental-jazz time signatures, and the bludgeoning force of thrash and death metal with revolutionary results since the late 1980s. Meshuggah's 1995 opus, Destroy Erase Improve, announced the band as one of the most daring outfits in metal. Its latest album, Nothing, continues to elevate the quintet's brutal science.The equally challenging Vancouver-based band Strapping Young Lad is also on the bill. Led by vocalist Devin Townsend and powered by drummer Gene Hoglan, SYL kicks up a grinding wall of noise guaranteed to kill houseplants. Unlike most of its industrial-metal brethren, however, the act possesses a keen sense of humor: Its 1997 live EP is titled No Sleep 'Til Bedtime. Doors open at 8 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $16-18; call 522-0333 or visit -- DavePehling

Toy cameras invade S.F.

SAT 4/26

Many artists try to retain a child's sense of possibility and wonder, while many children try to get the coolest possible toys. So far the happiest meeting of these two forces is -- according to artist Gerry Fialka and a lot of his friends -- the video camera for kids called the Pixelcam. To celebrate the device's many creative uses, Fialka presents the 12th incarnation of his annual PXL This film festival. Eight artists are featured in this edition of Other Cinema's "Media Ecology Super Session," among them Ellen Lake, whose piece focuses on the famous Rubber Band Ball of Guerrero Street. Also on the bill are the organizer's own documentary on the creator of the PXL 2000, James Wickstead, and a groovy shot-in-S.F. TV commercial for the camera. Screenings take place at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890. -- Hiya Swanhuyser

Clothes Horse

FRI 4/25

Local fashionistas have a serious ax to grind, and who can blame them? Not only must they defend their Birkenstock-wearing neighbors to uppity New Yorkers; they've also got to deal with fickle weather and dolts who don't know Prada from Miu Miu. Which is why these stylish folks might not be too pleased with us for giving away one of their biggest secrets: To avoid looking like every Marina chick cloned at the Gap, they get their duds straight off the runway at Counter-Couture, an annual fashion show and minimarket featuring up-and-coming designers like Minnie Wilde, Dema, and Venus Superstar. Start shopping at 8 p.m. at Mezzanine, 444 Jessie (at Mint), S.F. Admission is $20; call 695-9100. -- Lisa Hom

Lovely and Amazing

FRI-SAT 4/25-26

The burlesque revival: feminist or anti-feminist? The debate rages, no doubt even among the shimmiers and shakers themselves. The show, San Francisco's Famous Burlesque Revue, must go on regardless, but sources say a lot of dancers think it's an empowering form of self-expression. The Cantankerous Lollies, Kitten on the Keys, and Hot Pink Feathers join many others at Broadway Studios. Call 626-8436 or visit -- Hiya Swanhuyser


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