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House of Tudor 

Balls Blue and Black, a small slice of European Motorsport decadence, and '70's-style hard rock with a beer gut

Wednesday, May 28 2003
Folks seem unusually irritated by this year's Black and White Ball, as if the $200 ticket to see Joan Jett, Deborah Harry, Buck Owens, Pete Escovedo, Berlin, and Morris Day & the Time was a personal affront to every clod caught off guard by the implosion of an ephemeral economy; as if this year's society benefit was to be the catalyst for unrest between the haves and the have-nots and the oft-ignored used-to-haves; as if someone, somewhere, was looking for a really good excuse to throw a theme party .... The first annual Blue Collar Ball will be hosted by the 500 Club, one of the few hipster hangouts qualified for the task since it opens in the a.m. for the carpenters' rush hour, and the Black and Black Ball will be co-presented by "New Wave City" and SinProductions ("Sin" and "Slick") at DNA. Both events request evening attire and finery (though, I'm told, if you wear a tux to the Blue Collar Ball, you're likely to get rolled for your milk money). Black and Black promises lush visuals, spooky tunes, a "Black Cat" fashion show, and a "Fade to Black" costume contest; Blue Collar promises roadhouse rock, cocktail wieners, and a few guys running around in welders' masks. The Blue Collar Ball will be held on Friday, May 30, at the 500 Club (17th Street & Guerrero) at 9 p.m. Admission is free (unless you're in a tux); call 861-2500. The Black and Black Ball will be held on Saturday, May 31, at the DNA Lounge at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12; call 675-LOVE.

This week, the beau monde and the international jet set begin their migration to the French Riviera, with the most privileged staking claim to the balconies and gardens overlooking the narrow winding roads of Monaco. This tiny monarchy -- the second smallest independent state in the world -- encompasses but one square mile of rocky, sun-bleached terrain along the azure lip of the Mediterranean, but it is home to one of the most widely anticipated and thrilling auto races of the year. The Monaco Grand Prix, which roars through the city streets of the Monte Carlo district just as it did in 1929, is a 78-lap circuit fraught with dark tunnels, hairpin curves, steep inclines, and bumpy terrain (not to mention plaza fountains, luxury hotels, casinos, and swimming pools, which must be circumvented at speeds reaching 170 mph) -- and, since spectators seat themselves but a few yards away from the road, there is little margin for error. The Monaco Grand Prix is the only "street race" still on the Formula One calendar, and to my mind it is the only race worth watching televised; it should be treated as an event, complete with white linen pants, big sunglasses, and little cocktail umbrellas. The Motorsport Weekender begins with a vintage, sports, and GT race car rally, which will tool from San Francisco to Sears Point for the Wine Country Classic Vintage Car Races; on the following day, all the gearheads, greasers, speed demons, and car nerds will reconvene at 330 Ritch for the big race. The club is supplying a barbecue pit, large-screen TV, free foosball and pool, vintage race videos, chips and dip, and the largest 1/32-scale slot car track in the city; you need only bring a slab of meat and a little class to create a small slice of European decadence right here at home. DJs Kirk, Taka, and D-Mitchell will spin northern and classic soul after the race. The Motorsport Weekender kicks off on Saturday, May 31: Drivers meet at Mel's Drive-In (2165 Lombard) at 8:30 a.m., and the caravan departs at 9:15 a.m. (maps and doughnuts provided). Qualifying races begin at Infineon Raceway (formerly Sears Point) at 1:15 p.m. A ticket to the track is $20, but the scenic drive is free; call (800) 870-RACE. The Grand Prix Barbecue will be held on Sunday, June 1, at 330 Ritch starting at noon; live coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix begins at 1 p.m. Admission is free, and the first 25 spectators receive a free pint; call 522-9558.

If muscle cars are more your speed, Camarosmith has four on the floor, a 426 Hemi, and can do 0 to 125 in 11.4 (sorry, I've always been more of a Dodge girl); usually, though, it cruises at a low, rumbling 69 mph. Sporting former members of Zeke and a formidable singer with healthy lungs and a mean harmonica, Camarosmith plays '70s-style hard rock with a beer gut. If you were booking the Hells Angels' clubhouse Memorial Day party, this would be your headliner. Camarosmith supports Zeke on Monday, June 2, at the Bottom of the Hill with the Hitch opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 621-4455.

Like naive child geniuses alone at play, the French trio DAT Politics transforms granular loops into spirals of licorice jump rope; the threesome skips through fields of data glitches, hopscotches with metronomes, and turns computer infractions into schoolyard kaleidoscopes. It's little surprise that local Wunderkinder such as Kid 606, Matmos, and Blectum From Blechdom have taken an interest in contributing to DAT Politics' recent album, but unlike its San Francisco playmates, the French team seems oblivious to the dark edges implicit in digital building blocks. It takes the pretty colors for granted and leaves the marveling to us. DAT Politics performs at the two-year anniversary of "Under the Radar" on Tuesday, June 3, at Julip with Lesser, Blevin Blectum, Lance Grabmiller, and DJs Wobbly and Zygote opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 474-3216.

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Silke Tudor


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