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House of Tudor 

The S.F. Mad Benefit: Help a dude who blew his face off with a confetti cannon

Wednesday, Feb 11 2004
There's a direct conduit between San Francisco and Brooklyn. On a recent trip while walking through my best friend's irrevocably Polish neighborhood, I ran into four San Franciscans in the space of six blocks. We waved and kept walking as if it were to be expected. My friend shook her head and said, "Hey, this is my town, Tudor." To which I replied, "Hey, this is Brooklyn." There are 90 different ethnic groups in Brooklyn (not including San Franciscan), 1,600 miles of street, nearly 3,300,000 potholes, and only one Madagascar Institute. The Madagascar Institute is like a slice of home, or heaven, if heaven is a place where you spill blood, sweat, tears, and elbow grease to create a sneak of giant metal weasels in hopes of changing your official institute title from "monkey" to "artstar." In the grand style of San Francisco's holy fools, Madagascans encourage education through the creative navigation of disaster, but they also offer an array of classes for the timid -- everything from sewing to auto repair -- and a slew of ongoing large-scale projects around which to wrap one's newfound monkey mind and hands. Want to star in your own Broadway musical? Hang out at the Madagascar Institute and you will (of course, by "on Broadway," they mean on Broadway). Want to travel to the Robodock or Glastonbury festivals with a bunch of overcaffeinated, confetti-cannon-wielding maniacs? You can. Except for the confetti cannon bit. Truth is, the confetti cannon, which was being developed by Madagascar founder Chris Hackett, recently blew up in Hackett's face. Adding insult to injury, the explosion of said cannon drew the attention of the NYPD's Joint Terrorism Task Force, which descended on Madagascar to confiscate much of the institute's tools and equipment. The NYPD has since acknowledged Hackett's long-standing contributions to the community, and the fact that the cannon was designed to shoot confetti, but the little issue of massive facial reconstruction remains. To that end, like-minded artists from the left coast (many of whom have performed for and with Madagascar) are coming together to raise money for medical expenses, and to show their support for their East Coast home away from home. The S.F. Mad Benefit features performances by Cyclecide Bike Rodeo, the Phenomenauts, Attaboy & Burke, Mongoloid, and the Beanweevils, as well as film presentations by Survival Research Laboratories, Seemen, and various Madagascar Institute artists, plus appearances by Kid Beyond, the Mobb, and the Mobile Strip Club; DJs Laird, Shapeshifter, PussPuss, Adam Ohana, and Robb Rayle will spin from midnight until 5 a.m. The S.F. Mad Benefit will be held on Friday, Feb. 13, at SomArts (934 Brannan at Eighth Street) at 9 p.m. Admission is by donation (imagine getting shot in the face, and then whine for your change); call 552-2131.

Also riding the underground transcontinental railway from Brooklyn to San Francisco, "Duality: When East Meets West" presents Professor Shehab, Dub Gabriel, and Dr. Israel's Brooklyn Jungle Soundsystem. As unequivocal masters of Eastern dub, any one of these artists would be worth the price of admission; together, they will generate a night of urban mysticism and temple beats unparalleled, even by previous "Duality" parties. Professor Shehab -- founding father of Wordsound Recordings, the Baraka Foundation, and the Middle Eastern dub movement as a whole -- has released works by Genesis P. Orridge, Robert Anton Wilson, Paul Bowles and Brion Gysin, Umar Bin Hassan, Dr. Israel, and Mark Pistel as well as his own metaphysical soundscapes created by the Baraka Orchestra and Samsara Sound System. His most recent offering, Ritual of Carousel, is both gritty and sublime, conjuring the dusty alleyways just outside the incense's reach. As Shehab's most promising progeny, Boston-born Dub Gabriel discovered his heart's home in New York, where for the last four years he has been producer and main draw of the now-legendary Brooklyn Massive parties; his hypnotic and hookah-laden beats have become such a significant part of the landscape that even wanks like Britney Spears, Natalie Portman, and Denis Leary have paid him to lend cred to their private parties. As one of the first recording artists to combine hip hop, jungle, and reggae, Dr. Israel needs little introduction. Between touring with Bill Laswell and Jah Wobble and making guest appearances on records for Sepultura and Rancid, Dr. Israel moonlights with the Brooklyn Jungle Soundsystem, a collective that heats up late-night club gigs and college workshops with equal parts instinct and inspiration. Our own DJs Soulsalaam, Sep, and Shawna will also be performing along with Mark Deutsch at "Duality," held on Friday, Feb. 13, at 111 Minna at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15-25; call 974-1719.

The first installment of "3 Drops of Blood," the semimonthly performance night curated by Ali Tabatabai, includes Gamelan Sekar Jaya, the world's pre-eminent off-island Balinese gamelan orchestra; Koichi Tamano, founder and director of Harupin-Ha Butoh Dance Theatre; Nanos Operetta, a new music ensemble that combines elements of ethnic music, film scores, modern chamber orchestration, cartoon themes, and cabaret into meditations on the themes of love, disease, and revolution; Melissa Wolfmann, a soprano who has performed with the Fresno Philharmonic, California Opera, and Sofia Grand Opera in Bulgaria, and at the San Francisco NOW Music Festival and Operafestival di Roma; and Pamela Wunderlich, a performance artist and stilt-dancer who has presented her complex portraits of women at the Other Minds New Music Festival, Bumbershoot, and the Los Angeles Zoo. Individually, these artists are spellbinding; together, they will transform your notions of a night out. (It is worth noting that renowned Japanese author Yukio Mishima once considered Koichi Tamano in possession of the most perfect body of all butoh dancers in Tatsumi Hijikata's studio. For his part, Hijikata, the founder of butoh, called Tamano "the bowlegged Nijinsky.") "3 Drops of Blood" will be held on Friday, Feb. 13, at 12 Galaxies at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12-15; call 309-9240.

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Silke Tudor


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