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Night + Day 

Wednesday, Feb 24 1999
February 24
The Doubtful Guests Enigmatic artist Edward Gorey has spent much of his life illustrating the horror of the mundane with grimly hilarious pen-and-ink renderings. In Gorey's world, sofas are strangely menacing, ballerinas are wan and dispirited, and children meet violent ends, most famously in The Beastly Baby (through a messy explosion) and the Gashlycrumb Tinies, a rhyming alphabet song in which tykes perish from mysterious fits and crushing ennui. A recent resurgence in the availability of Gorey books and ephemera (calenders were big last Christmas) suggest that a new generation has discovered his work. The elegant Jazz Age couture of Gorey's characters and the macabre nature of their stories evidently appealed to goth pianist and torch singer Jill Tracy, who will perform in "The Enchanted Mannequins," a fashion show and salon inspired by Gorey's work. Tracy and members of her Malcontent Orchestra will be joined by fellow devotees Uncle Paul, a magician and performer; installation artist Maya Rattinger; and Horsey pianist Steven Moon, as models draped in Martini Mercantile period clothing pose in Gorey-styled vignettes. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Black Cat's Blue Bar, 501 Broadway (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is $7 ($5 for guests in Gorey-like attire); call 831-7421.

February 25
Doobie Doobie Do Dumb and Dumber creators the Farrelly Brothers love Zuba. After those arbiters of poor taste caught the band's act at an Aspen nightclub, Peter Farrelly asked them to contribute music to the bowling comedy Kingpin. He liked their songs "Imagine Freedom" and "I'd Have to Say (In the Butt Bob)" so much, he gave them a cameo appearance, then asked them to do something for There's Something About Mary. Now, nobody's suggesting that the Farrelly Brothers smoke a lot of pot, or that their fans might include potheads, or that pot figured into their movies in any way, but besides casting vocal hemp activist Woody Harrelson as a Kingpin lead, the Farrellys seem to have a powerful faith in a trio that High Times dubbed "Stoner Band of the Month." Did we mention that the group writes songs -- melodic, meandering, funk-lite songs with titles like "4:11" -- about pot? Zuba plays at 9 p.m. at the Red Devil Lounge, 1695 Polk (at Clay), S.F. Admission is $5; call 541-9678. They also play at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Elbo Room, 647 Valencia (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is $6; call 552-7788.

Pluckin' Good Six-string samurais put three-chord rock to shame at "International Guitar Night," where Chilean Latin jazz guitarist Oscar Lopez, a regular on the folk-music circuit of his adopted Canada, should draw a healthy crowd. Lopez coaxes rippling flamenco and rumba rhythms from his instrument, with dexterous displays of virtuosity. The bill also includes fellow Canadian Don Ross (who incorporates slapping, tapping, and hammer-ons into his playing style), Italian guitarist Antonio Calogero, and local strummer Brian Gore. The show begins at 8 p.m. at Freight and Salvage, 1111 Addison, Berkeley. Admission is $13.50-14.50; call (510) 548-1761. In a related note, blues guitarist and John Lee Hooker collaborator Roy Rogers (who was named for the cowboy star) demonstrates the fine art of bottleneck slide in a solo show of American roots music. Shana Morrison and Tom Rigney open at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $14; call 885-0750.

February 26
Going All the Way Sonya Delwaide has thrown her entire self into the full-length group concert "De la Téte aux Pieds (From Head to Toes)." The French-Canadian transplant not only put the show together, but dances in it and created new work subtly tailored to her other dancers' strengths and backgrounds. She took advantage of dancer Suzanne Gallo's richly varied technical experience to create a textured solo set to ritual chants from other countries, and for former Broadway hoofer Frank Shawl, she offers a solo about thwarted expectations. For the inventive, "differently abled" dancers of Axis Dance Company (and perhaps, their tongue-tied viewers), Delwaide created Chuchotements (Whisperings), which draws parallels between Baroque-era emphasis on protocol and the modern concern with political correctness. And with members of Compagnie de Danse L'Astragale, the theatrical modern dance company she helped found in Quebec, Delwaide herself takes the floor to explore the human need to meddle, in Les Voisins (The Neighbors). The show begins at 8 p.m. (also Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday) at ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $12-14; call 863-9834.

Ich Bin Eine Berliner The city's liberal politics and sexual decadence have trickled into its cabaret scene: Unless we're talking about San Francisco in the '90s, this must be "Berlin in the Twenties: Metropolis on the Edge." The two-day Humanities West lecture and performance program attempts to capture that fleeting but memorable era after World War I, when new political and social freedoms let German artists experiment with art, architecture, music, and theater, giving the world new performers like Marlene Dietrich and new works from dramatist Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill. Berlin chansonnier Tim Fischer, with his sultry voice and fluid gender identity, re-creates a Weimar-era cabaret show on opening night, following a slide lecture on the Berlin cabaret scene from University of Texas history professor Peter Jelavich. History professor David Large kicks off the following day's events with a lecture on literature and politics of the era; additional highlights include film historian Timothy Donahue Bombosch's lecture with film clips from The Blue Angel and Nosferatu, and soprano Lauren Carley's "Brecht/Weill Repertoire" concert. The program begins at 8 p.m. tonight and 10 a.m. Saturday at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $20-50; call 392-4400. It's worth noting, too, that Fischer's act will be the first when Josie's Cabaret reopens in March. According to owner Ron Lanza, the deal to sell the club, which shut down early in January, fell through. The club will be open nights only for dinners and shows through the end of the year, when the lease expires. Berlin Cabaret opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, followed later in the month by the Troubadour Theater Company's Butt Pirates of the Caribbean and Tom Orr's Sweet Parody! Call 861-7933 for reservations.

February 27
Dutch Treat To wring the most pleasure from Tulipmania, an annual waterfront display of over 35,000 tulips, we suggest the following: Bring a ukulele and serenade fellow viewers with "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," in honor of the late Tiny Tim (everyone will love it). Wear clogs. Buy, borrow, or steal a copy of Anna Pavord's pulse-quickening historical horticultural tome The Tulip: The Story of a Flower That Has Made Men Mad. Loudly announce, to nobody in particular, that tulips are a member of the lily family. And don't forget your fork -- tulip petals are edible. This riotous display of color, a harbinger of spring and a guaranteed antidote to the cabin fever brought on by late-winter drear, features 65 tulip types from the U.S. and Holland, including the parrot and fringed varieties. The display opens with a guided tour at 10 a.m. (and will be blooming through March 7) at Pier 39, Embarcadero & Beach, S.F. Admission is free; call 705-5500.

February 28
Chile Reception After former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in England last October on a warrant from Spain, an international debate over human rights and international law sprang from the question of whether he should be extradited to Spain and tried for his alleged involvement in the deaths of thousands of Chilean and Spanish nationals. Chilean author Ariel Dorfman is arguing favor of a trial, and this time, as they say, it's personal. Dorfman, a poet and playwright whose thriller Death and the Maiden was adapted to film, was a cultural adviser to Salvador Allende before General Pinochet's 1973 coup toppled that government and installed a 17-year dictatorship. After a series of harrowing escapes, Dorfman spent several years in exile, shuttling between the U.S. and South America, an experience he chronicles in his new book Heading South, Looking North. He'll discuss the significance of a trial to international democratic movements at "Bringing Pinochet to Justice," an address marking the 62nd anniversary of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the volunteer force that fought the Spanish dictator Franco. The program begins at 2 p.m. at the Calvin Simmons Theater, Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, 10 10th St., Oakland. Admission is $15; call 468-5870.

March 1
Motley Crew Ed Holmes usually gets the bad-guy roles in San Francisco Mime Troupe productions, where he is called upon to bellow and swagger and display a certain amount of bombast to rile up the crowd. It should be fun, then, to see Holmes on "bells, whistles, and vocals," his designated role in the theatrical music band The Series (formerly known as the Channel Serfs). Holmes' compatriots in this improvisational endeavor include Oaktown Blues Machine singer/bassist Andy Dinsmore, poet G.P. Skratz, and actor Geoffrey Pond (Subterranean Shakespeare/Shotgun Players, on vocals and percussion). Bob Ernst of the Blake Street Hawkeyes lays down percussion and blues harp as the band creates a folky spoken-word musical jam. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and continues on the first and third Mondays of the month through the millennium) at La Val's Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid (at Hearst), Berkeley. Admission is $5; call (510) 237-7415.

March 2
The Call of the Wighat Since musicals already require a certain suspension of disbelief, what with people bursting into song and all, Stephen Trask figured that a rock musical about an East German transsexual who moves to a Kansas trailer park after a botched sex-change operation would be as reasonable a premise as any. And so the off-Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch was born, with Trask's music and lyrics and a bewigged John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig, ne Hansel Schmidt -- the "angry inch" refers to what was left behind when surgery went awry. The show became a surprise hit, due in no small part to its glam-packed soundtrack, which combines the trashy camp of Rocky Horror with the operatic earnestness of Queen, salted with musical and lyrical references to Iggy Pop. Though the musical would be a perfect fit for San Francisco, there are no immediate plans to bring it here: the closest we can hope to come for now is a CD release party and Hedwig look-alike contest at "Trannyshack." Everyone who attends will receive a single of the show's opening number, "Tear Me Down," perhaps the first rock anthem to mention the Berlin Wall, and everyone who dresses as Hedwig will receive a CD soundtrack, T-shirt, and poster -- video footage of the show will screen throughout the evening, and look-alike contest winners receive an official Hedwig wig from the show's designer, Michael Potter. The contest begins at 10 p.m. at the Stud, Ninth Street & Harrison, S.F. Admission is $4; call 863-6623.

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Heather Wisner


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