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Night & Day 

Wednesday, Apr 28 1999
April 28
Do the Sheffield Shuffle The band of elegant, lawbreaking ruffians chiming into the chorus of "Get Myself Arrested" ("I got a haircut, I got a silver tooth/ I'm gonna get myself arrested") sound almost nothing like the mariachi jazzbos of "Tijuana Lady," and yet, they are the same band: Gomez. These five boys from the U.K. upset the music world with their debut album, Bring It On, in a good way, taking home last year's Mercury Music Prize and inspiring raves from bewildered critics. True enough, theirs is an unusual and engrossing mix of crackly radio static, steel guitar bluegrass licks, pop harmonies bathed in shimmery feedback, and a sudden Morphine-like turn in "Love Is Better Than a Warm Trombone." You may have heard their cover of the Beatles' "Getting Better" in a TV commercial, but it really does get better than that. Find out when they play in-store at 6 p.m. at Amoeba Music, 1855 Haight (at Stanyan), S.F. Admission is free; call 831-1200. Mojave opens for Gomez at 9 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Harrison), S.F. Admission is $10-11; call 522-0333.

April 29
Hip Hop Hooray Like Savion Glover's tap dance blockbuster Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, Philadelphia hip-hop dance troupe Rennie Harris PureMovement finds its rhythmic roots in the African diaspora. The cartwheeling martial arts of Brazilian capoeira, low-slung West African dance, even the silky glide of the American swing-jazz era echo throughout the repertoire, though the company's technical vocabulary is built around sometimes astonishing modern movement -- popping, locking, stepping, break, house, and funk. PureMovement makes its San Francisco debut with ensemble piece Students of the Asphalt Jungle, solo work Endangered Species, and works in progress. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through May 2) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is $18-22; call 621-7797.

What a Dump! Mary Armentrout's four-hour performance installation Trash Dance Accumulation #1 is art, but it looks an awful lot like junk. As viewers come and go throughout the day, the choreographer/performer dances through a growing pile of dishes, clothing, trash, books, and furniture that threatens to hem her in or trip her up. Sitting on a chair becomes sitting on a chair on top of broken boxes, which becomes sitting on a chair on top of broken boxes piled with shoes and stuffed animals. Using increasingly complicated movement phrases and the gradual addition of objects, Armentrout builds a messy metaphorical look at our own lives, from an individual to a global scale. Trash Dance runs from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Luggage Store, 1000 Market (at Sixth Street), S.F. Admission is free; call (510) 845-8604. Armentrout reprises the performance at noon Saturday at Dancers' Group Studio Theater, 3221 22nd St. (at Mission), S.F.

April 30
Now in Odor-Rama Adam Rees is an artist whose preferred medium is the public prank. As Adam Industry, his portfolio thus far includes The ABCs of Adam Industry, an alphabetical list of taboo items tucked into daily papers under cover of early morning; Ice-Cream Industry ... Workout!, a video installation involving Cindy Crawford and dessert toppings; Porno-Glow screen prints; and Sucker Industry ... Adam Industry Sucks! lollipops. And now, "Scratch-N-Sniff," an interactive exhibit of 6-square-foot Scent-O-Maticª paintings. Viewers scratch the art, then lean in for a whiff of baby powder or gasoline, and if they like what they smell, they can purchase the painting for under $20 (did someone say sucker?). New York's Flaming East DJ Shu Amour spins tunes and drag diva Lady Trudi Va makes the rounds. The fun begins at 8 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is $5; call (510) 666-8450.

Who's Your Daddy? Sunny Southern California and the wholesome family shows of the '50s take further beatings in Marlene Meyer's comedy The Chemistry of Change. A hit off-Broadway this season, Meyer's portrait of a screwed-up family takes a closer look at women's relationships with men, children, and the rest of the world. Family matriarch Lee funds the family business by serial-marrying wealthy men, then siccing her four misfit adult children on them until they agree to a divorce and cash settlements. That all changes when she falls in love with Smokey, a mysterious, more-than-slightly satanic carnival worker who operates the Hell Hole and has horns where his hat should go. The West Coast premiere of the show opens at 8 p.m. at Actors Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. Admission is $18-20; call 296-9179.

May 1
An Off-La-Wally Experience What's funnier than a doddering old opera diva? A doddering old opera diva and her mute accompanist, or so it seems from the two-woman musical comedy show The Legend Returns. Like opera parodist Anna Russell, whose contributions included the helpful guide How to Write Your Own Version of Gilbert and Sullivan, New Zealanders Helen Moulder and Rose Beauchamp understand that the key to good parody is really knowing your subject -- in this case, opera culture. Moulder is flamboyant singer Cynthia Fortitude and Beauchamp is her slightly frustrated accompanist; together, they give us material ranging from "Verdi to virginity, from contralti to castrati," and promise "a very eunuch experience!" The show, which enjoyed successful runs at the Wellington Fringe and Nelson Arts Festivals in the women's home country, opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through May 16) at Josie's Cabaret, 3583 16th St. (at Market), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 861-7933.

Workers Unite -- Gimme a Light May Day/International Workers Day was established back in 1890, to commemorate the 1886 strike for an eight-hour workday and the labor leaders who were arrested and hanged because of it. The struggle for solidarity is far from over at today's local May Day celebrations: If you're a striking steelworker, you get Reclaim May Day/Reclaim San Francisco; if you're an oppressed pot smoker, you join the S.F. Million Marijuana March. The former celebrates May Day with a May Pole dance, a graffiti mural, and 15-foot puppets of famous labor leaders. The Exotic Dancers Alliance and homeless groups will dramatize their respective plights with street theater, and the S.F. Mime Troupe will unveil new work. A contingent of United Steelworkers on strike against Kaiser Aluminum will make an appearance, and Rainbow Grocery will be feeding folks at the celebration, which culminates in a procession through the streets. It all begins at 11 a.m. in Dolores Park, Dolores between 18th and 20th streets, S.F. Admission is free; call 626-2060. Meanwhile, pot smokers take to the streets for a Pot Pride Parade that begins at 4:20 (natch) -- participants are advised to arrive wearing costumes and bearing banners. The march will be preceded by a rally where the Toyes, Ten Ton Chicken, and Clan Dyken perform, and cannabis reform activists discuss urine samples, Dutch coffeehouses, and other pot-related topics. The rally begins at noon at the Civic Center Plaza, Market & Eighth Street, S.F. Admission is free; call 971-3573.

May 2
Bringing You the World That tepid mishmash of musical cultures sometimes known as world music has nothing to do with the Berkeley World Music Festival, where four excellent acts offer four distinct and lively sets of music from around the globe. You want dancing? They've got dancing: The West African Highlife Band, an all-star group comprised of former musicians from Fela Kuti's, King Sunny Ade's, and Hugh Masekela's bands, invokes the highlife music of Ghana and Nigeria with bubbly percussive patterns, rich vocal harmonies, and layers of electrified guitar pop. Conjunto Cespedes, meanwhile, traffics in Afro-Cuban dance rhythms, combining traditional son with rumbas, salsa, and mambo. Closer to home, the California Cajun Orchestra fires up the accordions and strings and swings through dance-hall standards from bayou country (Louisiana doesn't mind -- the CCO was the first out-of-state band to win honors from the Louisiana Cajun French Music Association). Ali Khan completes the bill with devotional Pakistani qawwali songs set deep into a hypnotic groove. The fest begins at noon at Telegraph and Durant in Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 649-9500. Jazz fans get theirs that same day at Jazz on Fourth, a benefit for Berkeley High Performing Arts. Mingus Amungus, Orquesta Ritmo y Armonia, the Dave Ellis Quartet, and the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble offer variations on bebop, funk, and Latin jazz. The show begins at 11 a.m. on Fourth Street (at Hearst), Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 526-6294. Of course, if it's mariachi music you crave, your best bet is this morning's Cinco de Mayo Parade, which snakes its way through the Mission in a brilliant wash of color and sound from Aztec and folkloric dancers, customized cars, and strolling musicians. The parade begins at 10 a.m. at 24th and Bryant streets and travels down Mission to 14th Street in S.F. Admission is free; call 552-1323.

May 3
Outside In "You are a good punk rocker ... you can really sing your ass off to the max. You are a good person," intones Wesley Willis in his song "Jello Biafra." An apt description, to be sure, and especially appealing since it comes from a 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound Chicago singer diagnosed with schizophrenia. The uneasy question that often precedes a Willis show is whether getting him up in front of a crowd is exploitive, but apparently the singing helps quell the voices in his head, and if Willis prefers singing before a live audience, we should be glad to have him. (The Dust Brothers and Mike D. are fans, as is Biafra: Willis' Greatest Hits, Vol. II, which contains the aforementioned song, was recorded on Alternative Tentacles.) Songs tend to begin with "Once upon a time" and devolve into fragments of commercial jingles, street noise, and a chorus where the main theme is bellowed repeatedly, all set to sprightly keyboard accompaniment. In the case of tracks like "They Threw Me Out of Church," it is inexplicably wonderful. The Katzenjammer Kids and Three Day Stubble open the show at 9 p.m. at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Texas), S.F. Admission is $7; call 621-4455.

May 4
The Way They Were The filmmakers whose stuff screens tonight at the "El Rio Outdoor Cinema Season Kickoff" have chosen a dizzying array of subjects at which to point their lenses: For Les Blank, it's been polka fanatics (In Heaven There Is No Beer?) and garlic aficionados (Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers); Jay Rosenblatt examined five 20th-century dictators in Human Remains (a Sundance Jury Award winner); and Danny Plotnick traced the less-than-meteoric rise of San Francisco band the Icky Boyfriends in I'm Not Fascinating -- The Movie. What the directors have in common, however, are local ZIP codes and the need to start somewhere. El Rio pinpoints exactly where in this collection of early works by these and other local filmmakers, many of whom will attend. The show begins with a barbecue at 7:30 p.m. at El Rio, 3158 Mission (at Precita), S.F. Admission is $5 and advance tickets are available; call 282-3325.

About The Author

Heather Wisner


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