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Night + Day 

Wednesday, Aug 5 1998
August 5
Pressing the Flesh Rumors of the Fleshtones' demise have been greatly exaggerated, although widely perpetuated. It's not that the band stopped recording after the IRS glory days that produced Hexbreaker! and Roman Gods. But a few unexpected twists in the group's career -- personnel changes, albums released late or never distributed -- led many longtime fans to wonder if "super rock" was gone forever. "Super rock," of course, was the term that stuck to the high-octane garage rock the Fleshtones had been perfecting since Queens teen-agers Keith Streng and Peter Zaremba formed the band in a basement in 1976, inspired by local boys the Ramones. (MTV viewers may also remember Zaremba as the host of alternative music show The Cutting Edge.) With the addition of horns, harmonica, and James Brown's flair for showmanship, the Fleshtones' shows turned into roving twist parties: In Paris, their shouts of "Are you ready for super rock?" were greeted with cheers from wildly enthusiastic (and possibly confused) French youth, as recorded on Speed Connection (Live in Paris) Pt. 1 & 2. Noise guru Steve Albini and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck each produced a Fleshtones album, but with this year's More Than Skin Deep and its go-go backbeat, the band has returned to its super rock roots. They'll play an extended set at 9 p.m. at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $6; call 647-2888.

August 6
Let Them Snort Coke! The excesses of Louis XIV's court in Moliere's time (elaborate costuming and mannered nastiness, a surplus of wealth and ego) evoke a certain other debauched empire: Hollywood. Neil Bartlett, artistic director of London's Lyric Theater Hammersmith, milks the parallels in his adaptation of The Misanthrope, the French playwright's satire of social hypocrisy, which the comic theater ensemble Rough and Tumble stages locally. In Bartlett's adaptation, which takes place at a movie-industry insiders' party rather than in royal society, screenwriter Alceste must compete with two other players for the affections of Hollywood "it" girl Celimene. Business deals are brokered and relationships broken in a flurry of witticisms as the love lives of the party's other guests become ensnarled in the courtship battle. Rock trio 6 Eye Columbia will record original music for the show, which previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through Aug. 30) at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom (at Ninth Street), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 789-8532.

August 7
Girls on Film Blaxploitation film queen Pam Grier gets her due in Badass Supermama, and a housewife has a Pee-wee Herman-like adventure involving an all-girl bar and a handsome lady golfer in Good Citizen Betty Baker, two of the films playing this month at "La Lesbian A Lesbian Performance Series." Those films screen the latter half of a daylong movie marathon that begins at noon Aug. 16 and features shorts, documentaries, erotica, and discussions with local filmmakers. Juggler Sara Felder's winning comic solo show June Bride, about a traditional Jewish lesbian wedding, runs at 8 p.m. Aug. 22 and 23. The performance series begins at 8 p.m. tonight with stand-up comedians Elvira Kurt and Charlene Tapia at La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck (at Prince), Berkeley. Admission is $11-13; call (510) 654-6346 for ticket and schedule information.

August 8
Puppy Uppers Clomp! "Ooooh." Clomp! "Aaaah." Clomp! That's the sound (or a close approximation) of the Friskies Alpo Canine Frisbee Disc Regional Championships, the origins of which date back to 1975, a year after Ohio college student Alex Stein snuck his dog Ashley Whippet into Dodger Stadium, where he showed off Ashley's Frisbee disc-catching prowess between innings as a publicity stunt designed to win Ashley a screen test (it did). Frisbee disc-catching dogs competing in today's event will be rated on their flying leaps, midair catches, flips, spins, and speed; winners will be eligible for national competition and, ultimately, a lot of free dog food. During intermission, three-time world champion Sushi (led by owner Gary Suzuki) will demonstrate his winning form. A raffle and Frisbee disc tossing game for kids are also planned for the event, which begins at 9:30 a.m. in Sharon Meadows, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is free; call (888) 444-ALPO.

Duff Stuff Former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan was a struggling Seattle musician before Seattle even had a reputation as the struggling musician's capital. In 1982, McKagan formed 10 Minute Warning with drummer Greg Gilmore, who went on to play with Mother Love Bone. They never recorded an album and McKagan eventually left Seattle for L.A. After GN'R and Mother Love Bone imploded, McKagan and Gilmore re-formed 10 Minute Warning and released a self-titled debut album of old and new material mixed by Jack Endino and released this spring by Sub Pop. That McKagan's name and reportedly heavy power rock have been aligned with Seattle proto-grunge bands like Green River is a revelation; better still is that in 1981, 15-year-old McKagan drummed for most excellent punk-pop band the Fastbacks (they of the exploding drummer problem), with whom 10 Minute Warning plays at an Incredibly Strange Wrestling show. The Dragons also perform. It all starts at 9 p.m. at the Transmission Theater, 11th Street & Folsom, S.F. Admission is $12; call 861-6906.

This Is a Shtick-Up "Kung Pao Kosher Comedy" producer Lisa Geduldig, the woman who wisely decided that Hanukkah should be celebrated with comedy bits and a kosher Chinese feast, returns with "Feygelah Schmeygelah: An Evening of Queer Jewish Humor." What's so funny about being Jewish and queer? Phranc, the Jewish lesbian folk singer and former punk rocker who moonlights as a Neil Diamond impersonator, supplies answers in her music and onstage banter; Joan Rivers impersonator Patrick Ross does it with a sendup of the former comedian, with gay material written in Rivers' style. Juggler Sara Felder's June Bride show is funny but poignant, too, as she comes out to her father over the phone while struggling to escape from a straitjacket, and juggles knives while debating circumcision with her bride-to-be. Comic Dan Rothenberg and Geduldig also perform at the show, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $18-20; call 522-3737.

August 9
Feet First The program was drafted before choreographer Jerome Robbins passed away last Wednesday, so the San Francisco Ballet won't be dancing any of his work at Stern Grove, although it staged an excellent all-Robbins program this season. The company will, however, perform Western Symphony, the earliest American-themed work by Robbins' Russian-born colleague George Balanchine. With its square-dance formations, western folk-song medley, and wide-open-spaces expansiveness, the joyfully comic (and often corny) ballet is a good fit for an outdoor family show. The SFB will also perform Mark Morris' ensemble piece Maelstrom; Two Bits, with soon-to-be-departing principal dancer Evelyn Cisneros; and Swan Lake's "White Swan" pas de deux with the stellar Spanish import Lucia Lacarra and her fiance, Cyril Pierre. Emil de Cou conducts the SFB Orchestra at the show, which begins at 2 p.m. in Stern Grove, 19th Avenue & Sloat, S.F. Admission is free; call 252-6252.

Finger-Pickin' Good Flying V's and big hair may be scarce at the Acoustic Guitar Festival, but guitars and guitar players, ranging from rank amateurs to ranking virtuosos, will be plentiful. And the range of musical styles will be broad: The festival is broken down into afternoon workshops, like "Blues/Roots Fingerpicking Licks and Arrangements" with former Bo Diddley band member Steve James (Tuesday, 3 p.m.), and evening concerts featuring Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Janis Ian, and Kelly Joe Phelps, among others. Concerts are open to music lovers who don't play anything themselves, with admission set at $13.50 to 15. The Acoustic Guitar Festival runs today through Saturday, Aug. 15, at various times at Dominican College, 50 Acacia, San Rafael. Call 485-6946 for tickets and schedule information.

August 10
Butoh Bonanza Workshops begin today for the citywide San Francisco Butoh Festival, but the public won't really get in on the action until Aug. 15, when Canada's Kokoro Dance performs barefoot in the sand and surf of Ocean Beach, bringing into sharp relief how nature has shaped one of the dance world's most stripped-down, and simultaneously complex, forms. This is the only annual butoh festival in the United States; it commemorates the death of butoh founder Tatsumi Hijikata, who scandalized the Tokyo Dance Festival in 1959 with an experimental, theatrical form that resisted standard notions of beauty and embraced the grotesque in depicting everyday people in post-atomic Japan. Butoh still relies on physical veracity, of becoming the thing a dancer is dancing, even if it's a plant, or an otherworldly being, but dancers all over the world have expanded on Hijikata's vocabulary of twisted limbs and meditative pacing: Festival performers include Japan's Abe "M" Ria, who thrashes through space to white noise; the angular dance of Thailand's Katsura Kan; and the blind dancers of Japan's Yan-Shu company, whose director played a messenger in the Tokyo production of Peter Greenaway's The Pillow Book. The festival officially begins at 2 p.m. today with a workshop with Kokoro Dance at the San Francisco Ballet Building, 455 Franklin (at Grove), S.F. Pre-registration is required; call 252-1190 for information. The beach performance is held at 3 p.m. Aug. 15 on Ocean Beach at Lincoln; various programs continue through Aug. 28 at the Asian Art Museum, Fort Mason's Cowell Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Theater Yugen's Noh Space, all in S.F. Call the fest hot line at 252-1190 for a complete schedule of events.

August 11
The Boys Are Back in Town Comedians Damon Wayans and Scott Thompson are revisiting the circuit that launched their careers in television, which is where most of us came to know them. Damon, arguably the funniest member of the performing Wayans family, went from stand-up gigs to guest spots on Saturday Night Live before joining his siblings on the half-hour comedy show In Living Color. It was there he created memorable characters like the fey, finger-snapping movie critic of Men on Film; the abusive children's entertainer Homey the Clown; and Handiman, a disabled superhero who meted out justice to able-bodied abusers of handicapped parking spaces and bathroom stalls. Thompson is also known for his character work, in Kids in the Hall, a Canadian comedy show produced by SNL's Lorne Michaels and rebroadcast in the States on Comedy Central. Like Wayans, Thompson has done movies, but his sketch comedy characters constitute his most sublimely ridiculous work to date. He'll bring one of them, the philosophizing, ascot-wearing barfly Buddy Cole, to life in his one-man show "Mixology Monology." Wayans performs at 9 p.m. tonight (also 9 and 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday) at the Punch Line, 444 Battery (at Clay), S.F. Admission is $25; call 397-4337. Thompson performs at the Punch Line with opener Joe Klocek just prior to the Wayans gig, at 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 5 and 6, as well as 9 and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 7 and 8. Admission is $10-20.

About The Author

Heather Wisner


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