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House Of Tudor 

The Make-Up, Ute Lemper, Erotica USA

Wednesday, Apr 12 2000
The Make-Up is not your average garage band. Led by the odd but acute intellect of Ian Svenonius -- whose voice vacillates between gritty exhaustion and breathy falsetto -- the Make-Up's members are revivalists in a bizarro world of their own fabrication. Among other things, Svenonius believes that rock 'n' roll is a CIA-funded operation used to alienate people from ideology, and volume is the illusion of power. That is not to say Make-Up shows are sedate, quiet little affairs. Quite the contrary -- they are seething displays of "gospel ye-ye," an ever-mutating combination of organ-and-bass-dominated grooves, '60s-style pop, and devout testifying. The Make-Up's latest record, Save Yourself, is the band's most accomplished yet, featuring thicker washes of psychedelica and Svenonius' continued obsession with the doom of childbirth and redemption of the spirit, but it's still a pale reflection of the Make-Up's live show. Svenonius would have it no other way. The Make-Up performs Wednesday, April 12, at the Great American Music Hall with the Spores and Subpoena the Past opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8.50; call 885-0750.

A statuesque femme fatale with skintight latex uniforms, severe platinum hair, and intimidating shoulders, Ute Lemper doesn't look like the kind of gal you would normally find singing in a symphony hall, but those Germans are a wild bunch, and Lemper sings like an angel. Onstage, she writhes and contorts, crawls and cavorts, reaching pinnacles of humor and depths of despair rarely straddled since the dissolution of the Weimar cabaret. Already proven a master of Kurt Weill- and Bertolt Brecht-era song, Lemper has most recently turned her considerable attentions to more contemporary songsmiths on Punishing Kiss. Here, we find songs by Divine Comedy, Elvis Costello, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and Philip Glass painted with a broad, cinematic brush, brighter and shinier than one might expect, but no doubt slightly chilling live. Ute Lemper performs with a five-piece ensemble on Thursday, April 13, at Davies Symphony Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12-52; call 864-6000.

With hundreds of vendors peddling everything from videos to fetishwear and electrolysis, Erotica USA recently made quite a splash in milquetoast towns like New York and London, but when it comes to sex, San Francisco is tough to impress. Hell, this was the birthplace of the topless bar. Knowing that, Erotica USA has put together a show with live dancers and speakers such as dominatrix educator Mistress Midori, pleasure activist Annie Sprinkle, sexologist Dr. Carol Queen, former adult film star Candida Royalle, and Libido: The Journal of Sex and Sensibility co-founders Dr. Jack Hafferkamp and Dr. Marianna Beck. Erotica USA will run Thursday through Sunday, April 13-16, at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Doors open at 11 a.m. for lecture series ticket holders, at noon for fetish consumers. Tickets are $20-150; call (877) 608-4033.

Now that you are well-outfitted and well-lubed, slink over to the Carnival of Sin for a little knife, whip, fire, snake, and nail play, as well as a burlesque revue, an oddity museum, and horrifying games of chance, like rat roulette and cockroach racing. Carnival of Sin will be held on Thursday, April 13, at Club Cocodrie with DJs Bruddha and Ticus spinning creepy tunes at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 986-6678.

For anarchists, the online dissemination of information seems more boon than bane, given the low cost and broad reach, but an online exchange completely lacks the fierce immediacy of a heated dialogue surrounded by real-life books, which can be yanked fitfully from shelves and rifled furiously to prove a point. I want raised voices, torn pages, hurled diatribes, and book-pounding from my anarchists. I want to look into their wild, hope-filled eyes and steal their treaties. I want to go to the fifth annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. Last year, people came from all over the country to snarl, gripe, and ponder as sweet-faced gutter punks passed out on the lawn. It was great. This year, Grammy-nominated singer/writer/storyteller Utah Phillips will perform; Lockdown America author Christian Parenti, Future Primitives author John Zerzan, Philosophy of Punk author Craig O'Hera, and the directors of the Kate Sharply Anarchist Library and Archives of Great Britain will speak, among others. The Anarchist Book Fair will be held on Saturday, April 15, at the San Francisco County Fair Building (Lincoln & Ninth Avenue) in Golden Gate Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free; call 431-8355.

"Welcome to the new sound of the Venezuelan gozadera, a fusion of different elements of Latin dance and sex culture," says a luscious airline-attendant voice on Los Amigos Invisibles' 1998 Luaka Bop release, before a raucous man's voice pours out of a nearby bar followed by a loping synth line that bursts into a hyperfunk shakedown with a Latin float and disco twist. Inspired, in part, by the Brand New Heavies, old cha-cha records, and a desire to fill the dance-floor void between salsa and rock en español, Venezuela's Los Amigos utilize every style in the butt-shaking pantheon of musical history, creating a super-suave, open-shirt-collar party vibe that will not stop until the sun is creeping through the blinds. Los Amigos Invisibles play Saturday, April 15, at the Justice League at 10 p.m. Tickets are $12-15; call 289-2038.

About The Author

Silke Tudor


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