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Little Town of Bedlam 

When the holidays are a drag

WED-THURS 12/22-23

Hitler jokes and songs with titles like "Anal Warts" might not be your thing. But if you enjoy corny gags about drug use and butt love, Oy Vey in a Manger might be a good antidote to the season's faux kindness and warmth. The Kinsey Sicks are a "dragapella quartet" whose deep disrespect for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and assorted other December traditions has been carefully molded into this annual musical. Reinventing familiar tunes (especially carols), the Sicks have offered gems in the past including "Jews Better Watch Out," "A Lay in a Manger," and "It's Crystal Time in the City."

As four friends sit around their apartment and wait for party guests who don't seem to be arriving, they tell stories, essay new outfits, and belt out those truth-telling songs. It's all very funny, but the show's real engine is the incredible talent of the people onstage: They may not appear to have much reverence for religion, "family values," or sobriety, but they obviously bow to the gods of rehearsal, singing lessons, and stagecraft. See Oy Vey at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday (the show is off for Christmas but continues next week through Dec. 31) at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Admission is $30-35; call 861-8972 or visit

-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Punk TV
Clash vids at ATA

WED 12/22

I can't be the only one who took advantage of the recent 25th-anniversary rerelease of the Clash's seminal album London Calling to replace a worn-out old vinyl copy with a spiffy new CD. Washed clean of buzz and hiss, tracks like "Spanish Bombs" and "Train in Vain" shine anew, full of spitting, smartass lyrics decrying everything from decaying late-'70s Thatcherite England to faithless women, plus melodies that make you want to drag out your safety pins and bondage pants. Supplement your listening pleasure at "DIY Joe Strummer Night," a Clash-centric evening of video treats, including a screening of The Last Testament -- The Making of London Calling, 45 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage of the group at its peak. Also on the menu are rare music videos of "London Calling," "Clampdown," and other classic tunes. Get chummy with the only band that matters at 8 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call 824-3890 or visit
-- Joyce Slaton

Get Up Off That Thing
Free funk at the Boom Boom Room

MON 12/27

Many locals consider the Boom Boom Room just an intimate place to hear roots-y bands, but insiders know the real draw: Proprietor Alex Andreas has a thing for musical alchemy, and bringing together members of various outfits to collaborate live onstage has earned him a national rep. Tonight's soul/blues supergroup, Bohemian Knuckle-Boogie, is a club regular for a good reason -- Michael "master-blaster" Pitre (formerly of Boomshanka) blows one mean funky trumpet, while his cohorts (culled from groups like Steve Lucky and ALO) keep the steady beats coming. Listen up at 9:30 p.m. at 1601 Fillmore (at Geary), S.F. Admission is free; call 673-8000 or visit
-- Joyce Slaton

Wrecking Ball

WED 12/22

Maybe it's the evocative name: Riding a train is tough enough, but riding a wreck is exactly how we feel sometimes. Whatever it is, it's getting the Trainwreck Riders an awful lot of shows around town lately. "Welcome to the Barbary Coast" is a country/folk/punk show featuring the Riders as well as High Noon and the Collaborative Art Insurgency at 9 p.m. at Studio Z, 314 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $5; call 252-7666 or visit
-- Hiya Swanhuyser


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