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Night + Day 

Wednesday, Apr 22 1998
April 22
Air Supply National Public Radio's Fresh Air host is expected to provide some answers along with the questions at "Terry Gross and Orville Schell: A Conversation on the Media," when Schell, the dean of UC Berkeley's J-school grad program, takes over the interviewer's chair. Ever since she began hosting the program 25 years ago in Philadelphia, Gross has done homework on celebrity guests like Arthur Miller and Diane Keaton, familiarizing herself with their work so that she can ask them smart questions, which in turn tend to elicit thoughtful answers. Journalists are supposed to do their homework, of course, but too many glossy infotainment programs, too many cringe-inducing queries and packaged replies, are evidence that entertainment news has become particularly susceptible to lazy reporting. Gross and Schell talk technique and other media-related issues beginning at 8 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $8-16; call (510) 642-9988.

April 23
Below the Beltway Poor Bubba just can't get no piece, make that peace, thanks to Gross National Product's Sex, Lies, & Zippergate: or Yet Another Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, which lampoons affairs of state. GNP "Unartistic Director" John Simmons, the Zelig of political satire, has surfaced on the BBC as George Stephanopoulos and on E! as Janet Reno; longtime collaborator Christine Thompson, of Theater of the Deranged, and Chris Pray of the Committee join him in this show's multiple role-playing. The Washington, D.C.-based troupe, not to be confused with the Washington, D.C.-based political satire troupe Capitol Steps, whose show died an ignominious death here last summer, is an 18-year-old D.C. standby and star of five PBS specials. GNP temporarily relocates to the Bay Area with a collection of sketches, political impersonations, and audience-inspired improv drawn from headlines about Monica, Hillary, Kenneth, and the rest of the usual suspects. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and runs through May 2) at the Plush Room Cabaret, 940 Sutter (at Hyde), S.F. Admission is $20; call 885-2800.

April 24
Waxing Horrific Recognizing the intrinsic freakiness of wax museums, the Network Theater has created Waxworks, a musical comedy mystery set in a wax museum. Grimby, a nighttime janitor with an overactive imagination and a dramatically significant moniker, spooks himself by imagining that the wax figures in the museum's Rogue's Gallery -- Lizzie Borden, the Boston Strangler, et al. -- have come to life. When a thief breaks into the museum, he sets off a comedy of errors and a psychological meltdown among viewers who think celebrities rendered in wax is bad, and wrong. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and continues through May 31) at the Alcazar Theater, 650 Geary (at Jones), S.F. Admission is $32.50-35; call 441-4042.

Stand and Deliver On April 3, Rube Waddell played their last hootenanny at the Mission Leed's; the shoe store went out of business and the band, which had attracted throngs of fans and curious passers-by with semiregular weekend shows out on the sidewalk in front of the display windows, jokingly announced free admission for anyone who arrived bearing spare pairs of shoes. With the end of that nearly 2-year-old era, the group, known for foot-stomping renditions of sea chanteys and wild-eyed blues played on harmonica, ukulele, and found instruments like slabs of metal, is setting its sights on other gigs and the release of its CD-in-a-can, StinkBait, this summer. Tonight they'll reunite with spoken-word artist Beth Lisick, whom they backed up at last summer's Making Waves Festival as she tore into girdles and other suburban concerns with selections from her book Monkey Girl. Granfaloon Bus join in with a set of urban blues; the show begins at 9:45 p.m. at the Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck (at Prince), Berkeley. Admission is $6; call (510) 841-2082.

April 25
On Broadway Mum's the word on most of the special surprise guests and performances in the works for the Broadway Studios Second Anniversary Party, but party planners will say that after a VIP wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres session promising celebrity sightings (the mayor has been invited; so has Don Johnson), the doors will open to the public and the show will begin. Confirmed acts include Work That Skirt instructors Rob and Diane in a swing dance exhibition and Jay Alexander's New Swing Circus doing their speak-easy-styled vaudevillian jazz show complete with fire-eaters and trapeze artists. Dueling dance parties, with DJ'd swing in the back and disco in the front to live music by Funkatraz, cap off a busy night in the old art deco ballroom. The reception begins at 7 p.m., followed by the show at 9 p.m. at Broadway Studios, 435 Broadway (at Montgomery), S.F. Admission is $10; call 291-0333.

Solidarity and Free Bagels The goth music stage has been canceled but the rave tent and carnival are still a go as Food Not Bombs celebrates its 18th anniversary with the annual Soupstock festival. Besides providing free vegetarian meals to protest groups and the homeless, the group has declared its support for Chiapas, Mumia, Peltier, and feminism, and its resistance to police brutality and bombing Iraq. With such a broad range of concerns, it follows that FNB would want to attract a broad range of people, and to that end, dozens of activist groups will be staffing information tables on multiple causes at the festival, which also includes free food, poets, valet bike parking, and speakers from the Eviction Defense Network and the Save Ward Valley Coalition. Storm & Her Dirty Mouth, Little White Radio, Culture of Rage, Shelley Doty, and X-Tex play live at the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Band Shell, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free; call (650) 985-7087.

April 26
Mazel Tov! Israeli violinist Yair Dalal and New York's country-ish "desert rock" collective Inasense headline Beyond Tel Aviv, a South of Market festival celebrating Israel's 50th birthday. Dalal, who also plays ethnic blues on the oud, is a natural choice for the event, an eclectic international gathering where trapeze artist Air Male flies overhead, DJs Mongrel and Sloppy J play salsa, world music, and funk in one corner, and Positive Sound Massive offer live dancehall reggae in another. Israeli food and beer will be served and an Israeli trivia contest takes place between the poetry slam and a set by comedian Dan Rothenberg. The show begins at 9 p.m. at the Paradise Lounge/Transmission Theater, 1501 Folsom (at 11th Street), S.F. Admission is $8-13; call 281-0839. Dalal also plays at "World Music Sundays" at 8 p.m. at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 863-9834.

April 27
Saxomaphone Bulgaria's most famous saxophone player is Yuri Yunakov, and well, now you know. More specifically, Yunakov is famous for Bulgarian wedding music, a form he helped introduce to the States, where it caught hold so well on the folk and world music circuits, and among expatriate Eastern European circles, that Yunakov's dance card has been full of concerts and private parties ever since he emigrated from Bulgaria to New York. Bulgarian wedding music extends beyond weddings; it's played at baptisms and housewarmings and other landmark community events, and since musicians began amplifying the folk tradition back in the late '60s and early '70s, the young people have warmed to it the way they've embraced its cousin, klezmer. With electric guitar and bass, accordion, sax, and clarinet, and a trap drum to set the backbeat, Yunakov and his band run through traditional and modernized wedding songs and line dances at "Gypsy Fire," a concert double-header with the Slavonian Traveling Band, which opens with set of Eastern European Gypsy songs. The show begins at 4 p.m. at the Slavonic Cultural Center, 60 Onondaga (at Alemany), S.F. Admission is $10; call (408) 984-8223.

Car Jamming The crackling report of drums in "Matador," overlaid with charging brass and shouts of "Hey! Hey!," announced the arrival of Buenos Aires band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs in Europe and Latin America, where the song became an unqualified hit. Here in the U.S., "El Matador" found its way onto the Grosse Pointe Blank soundtrack amid Clash and English Beat songs, and one of rock en espanol's biggest names, with 10 albums and a Grammy for best Latin rock to its credit, made serious inroads among non-Spanish-speaking listeners. It looks like the time finally came for Eugene, Ore.'s Cherry Poppin' Daddies as well: After playing third-wave ska and swing in smaller Pacific Northwest clubs while Nirvana were out conquering the world, the band eventually attracted the attention of swing revivalists, and now two years later their song "Zoot Suit Riot" has broken on commercial radio and MTV. Yeska open for both bands at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $15; call 346-6000.

April 28
What If God Wore Scuba Gear? The druggy electronic universe crafted by God Lives Underwater for their album Life in the So-Called Space Age bears only passing resemblance to life in L.A., which the band now calls home, and almost none at all to rural Pennsylvania, from whence GLU singer/guitarist/keyboardist David Reilly and guitarist/keyboardist Jeff Turzo came. Pink Floyd fans will recognize this place and Pink Floyd detractors won't mind it; Radiohead fans might find it comfortable. The sinuous dance grooves of "From Your Mouth" shift into the otherworldly melody of "Can't Come Down," hinting at pharmaceutical use and related paraphernalia, like love and pain. Elsewhere, pounding electronic beats build into a roar of white noise, laden with the crunch of guitars and nebulous crackly static that sounds like the spaces between stations on a radio dial. Fluorescein open the show at 9 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $7; call 885-0750.

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Heather Wisner


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