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Night & Day 

Wednesday, May 26 1999
May 26
Trouble in Mind Never say Mike Johnson doesn't have a sense of humor. Following the breakup of his marriage to Juned bassist Leslie Hardy, the dissolution of his musical partnership with Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis, and the abrupt end to his dealings with TAG (the label that released Year of Mondays), Johnson resurfaced with I Feel Alright, a collection of mostly melancholy ballads and a cover photo of some poor sap slumped face-down in front of a Budweiser. Johnson's otherwise compelling set last January at Noe Valley Ministry was beset by technical problems -- but somehow, adversity seems to work in his favor. Minus the egomaniacal Mascis, Johnson's talents as a first-rate crooner emerge: Like his Screaming Trees pal and frequent musical collaborator Mark Lanegan, Johnson's guitar work is lush and echoey, his husky baritone elegantly careworn, suggesting his admiration for Leonard Cohen (whose "Leaving Greensleeves" he covers here). Johnson shares a bill with former Hazel singer/guitarist Pete Krebs, who opens at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Amoeba Records, 1855 Haight (at Stanyan), S.F. Admission is free; call 831-1200. They'll play again at 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $6; call 647-2877.

May 27
Spin Cycle The intricate dance of bike messengers through downtown traffic requires the same sort of agility and timing, balance and speed, that propel the average dance piece. OnSite Dance Company choreographers Paul Benney and Jessica Lutes made that inevitable connection and have included actual bike messengers, and bikes, in the world premiere of their piece Freewheel. OnSite's MO is to stage athletic site-specific work, be it a roving tour of the "dance factory" that is ODC Theater or an alfresco performance in a parking lot. In this new hourlong work, they've transformed Yerba Buena into a velodrome in which the company -- along with messengers, kids, and a security guard -- will encircle the audience in an exploration of the two-wheeled lifestyle. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and continues Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10 p.m.) at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $13-15; call 978-ARTS.

Ewan, We Hardly Knew Ye Those krazy Klubstitute kids like to celebrate Valentine's Day with their "Whack an Ex" dummy, and prom season with boys in ball gowns, so naturally they've decided to salute a culturally and commercially momentous event like The Phantom Menace with a theme party called "Star Whores!" Alien makeovers in the Hi-Lite Zone and the Gay'lien Costume Contest put a gay spin on outer space; expect a few too many lightsaber jokes between the Area 69 probe and performances by the cast of Cyberotica! DJs Mars Galaxy and Quest/Vision send guests into orbit beginning at 10 p.m. at the Stud, Ninth Street & Harrison, S.F. Admission is free-$3.98; call 331-1500.

To the Moon! The antidote to hyped-up, watered-down, prepackaged, overproduced, and just plain wimpy rock finally arrives in the form of Portland trio Dead Moon. Husband-and-wife team Fred and Toody Cole have been playing garage rock the DIY way since 1964 (remember the Lollipop Shoppe's "You Must Be a Witch"? That was Fred). They record their albums in mono -- with the same Presto lathe used to cut the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" -- and use no effects other than a powerful amplified buzz, a head-bobbing backbeat, and a piercing wail, especially in the band's de facto theme song "54-40 or Fight." Together with drummer Andrew Loomis, they command a modest but fiercely loyal American following and a larger, more vociferous European contingent (the fact that they're big in Europe actually won them special mention in the New York Times Magazine). 440 Sixpack and Lost Goat offer support beginning at 9:30 p.m. at Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Texas), S.F. Admission is $7; call 621-4455.

May 28
Who's Your Daddy? Neanderthal Man seems more inclined to frequent Johnny Love's than one of our city's many fine museums, but he'll most certainly be hanging around "Missing Links Alive!," along with Cro-Magnon Man and many of their sloping-foreheaded brethren. Trace human evolution over the last 4 million years or so at this touring exhibit, which pairs scientific findings (compiled by some of the world's top paleontologists and anthropologists) with interactive displays and massive dioramas populated by moving and speaking Homo erectus and his predecessors. Art and artifacts from the Czech Moravian Museum, including the ancient Dolni Vestonice Venus sculpture, will also be shown. By way of introduction, paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey (daughter-in-law of Louis and Mary) discusses fossil findings in Kenya and the evolution of apes in the lecture "The Search for Our Earliest Ancestors," which begins at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the California Academy of Science's Morrison Auditorium, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 750-7097. "Missing Links Alive!" opens at 10 a.m. Saturday (and runs through Sept. 6) at the CAS. Admission is free-$8.50; call 750-7145.

May 29
The Lullaby of Broadway Like a live sampler of Broadway's best, the American Broadway Music Festival offers songs that are too rarely played without a Broadway musical behind them or a dance floor in front of them. A Duke Ellington centennial showcase with MoodSwing Orchestra and a live lindy hop demonstration open the monthlong series tonight; from there, fluegelhornist Dmitri Matheny leads a 17-piece big band through chestnuts from Gershwin, Ellington, and Count Basie (June 5); East Bay jazz musicians including Faith Winthrop and Ann Dyer run through "Night and Day," "From This Moment," and other hits from the Cole Porter catalog (June 12); and selections from Oklahoma!, Carousel, The King and I, and other Broadway standards spotlight the musical genius of Richard Rodgers and his lyric collaborators Hart and Hammerstein (June 25-26). The Ellington show begins at 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College (at Derby), Berkeley. Admission is $10-20; call (510) 883-7018 for a complete schedule of events.

Take a Stand Reconstitution, that newly popular educational reform method in which entire staffs are fired from poorly performing schools, is one way of dealing with the problem. Stand for Children Day '99, a family festival with kids' issues at heart, is proposing other, less drastic measures, including a Parents Bill of Rights mandating parental involvement in classrooms and policy-making, and a letter-writing drive reminding city officials to budget for kids' programs. It's not all politics today; parents and young'uns will be treated to live performances, snacks, and free passes to Zeum and the Carousel. The event begins at 1 p.m. at Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission & Third Street, S.F. Admission is free; call 239-0161.

May 30
Room to Rumba You can always spot the out-of-towners at our annual Carnaval Grand Parade and Celebration -- they're the ones pointing and giggling and loudly exclaiming over all the bare flesh and strategically placed sequins moving in vibrant, rhythmic waves down Mission Street. Tourist gawking aside, this is one of the most festive parties the city has to offer, a commingling of Caribbean and Brazilian cultures with soca and samba dancers shaking feathered finery, capoeira teams sparring in the street, crowd-pleasing soccer stunts and stilt walking, and one of the neighborhood's favorite non-Brazilian entries: the synchronized garbage-can dance done by trash collectors. The parade begins at 10 a.m. at Bryant and 24th Street, travels down 24th to Mission, then down Mission to 14th Street. Two stages offer salsa and merengue music at the festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Harrison between 16th and 22nd streets, S.F. Admission is free to both events; call 826-1401.

Queen for a Day The Catholic "Santacruzan" rite observed in the Philippines in May depicts Queen Helena's finding of the Holy Cross on which Jesus was said to have been crucified. As part of the traditional festivities, people dress as characters from the story and the Bible, including the Queens of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and Helena herself (who was later sainted and mothered the Roman Emperor Constantine). Wait, did someone say queens? The decidedly nontraditional Fiesta Santa-Cruise-an '99 puts the festival in a local context: Look for drama queens and such-like at this fund-raiser for local HIV/AIDS prevention programs. The Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Men's Chorus performs and traditional Filipino dishes will be served at the party, which begins at 4:30 p.m. at the California Club, 1750 Clay (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $10; call 292-3400.

Sound and Vision Prehistoric music video dates back far beyond Rod Stewart's "Tonight's the Night" to the turn of the century, when sheet music publishers used to promote songs at the local nickelodeon, with hand-tinted transparencies illustrating the lyrics projected against a wall as a singer sang the song live. Typically, a series of 14 to 16 images would be arranged in sequence, and audiences would be invited to join in the chorus, when the lyrics would be projected for them to follow. Record collector Eric Bernhoft hopes to recapture a bit of that era with "Illustrated Songs, Or: Edwardian MTV," a night of vintage large-scale slides and period recordings of long-ago Victrola hits like Irving Berlin's "We Have Much to Be Thankful For" (1913). Refreshments will be served at 7:30 p.m., followed by the show at 8:30 p.m., at Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez (at 23rd Street), S.F. Admission is $10 and proceeds benefit the California AIDS Ride and Positive Pedalers; call 885-3335.

May 31
Memento Mori In 1944, when an Allied submarine sank a Japanese sub without realizing that its cargo included British and Australian POWS, the U.S.S. Pampanito circled the wreckage and rescued 73 survivors. That's just part of the World War II-era lore, um, floating around the recently refurbished Pampanito, which hosts a Memorial Day Ceremony. A contingent of Bay Area vets and their families will commemorate the 52 submarines that perished in that war with the Lost Boat Ceremony, in which the sub's bell is rung and wives and widows symbolically drop 52 carnations into the bay, but curious members of the public are invited to attend and take a trip through the vessel. The event begins at noon aboard the U.S.S. Pampanito, Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf, S.F. Admission is free; call 561-6662.

June 1
And Your Point Is? Don't expect to escape the violence and mayhem of network TV by switching to PBS: The 12th season of the nonfiction film series "P.O.V." opens with Michael J. Moore's direct-from-Sundance documentary The Legacy: Murder & Media, Politics & Prisons. Moore slogs through the events precipitating the "three strikes" law, including the murders of Polly Klaas and Kimber Reynolds, whose fathers Marc and Mike were united by a common search for justice but bitterly divided over the law itself. To the chorus of supporters and opponents, Moore adds statistics on crime and punishment in California. The series continues with, among other things, Ricki Stern's award-winning film In My Corner, a doc on the 1999 Golden Gloves champion Joey Rios (June 22). The Legacy screens at 10 p.m. tonight on KQED Channel 9. Check local listings for "P.O.V." entries throughout June.

About The Author

Heather Wisner


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