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Wednesday, Nov 29 1995
november 29
Wonderful Weslia Fresh from an extended stay at New York's Algonquin and a show-stealing appearance at a Carnegie Hall tribute to Frank Sinatra, Weslia Whitfield brings San Francisco the cabaret it desperately craves but rarely receives with her new show, Street of Dreams. Whitfield sings material by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, and Harry Warren. You can hear her at 8:30 p.m. (continuing through Dec. 31; shows at 8 and 10 p.m. on Dec. 31) at the Plush Room in the York Hotel, 940 Sutter, S.F. Tickets are $15-20 ($45-65 on New Year's Eve); for reservations call 885-2800.

Obsessive-Compulsive An Oreo twist-off contest, a Tetris tournament, a needlepoint workshop, and a StairMaster championship are among the activities planned for "The Fix," an "evening of obsessive activities" in conjunction with the new juried exhibition "Obsession." People who prefer analysis to competition can amuse themselves with infomercials and drive-by therapy (provided by local shrinks). The compulsive fun begins at 8 p.m. at Southern Exposure, 401 Alabama, S.F. Admission is $3-5 (free if you bring a 1-quart jar of change); call 863-2141.

Variety Is the Spice of Life "Tendencies: New Art From Mexico City" showcases diversity, emphasizing the ways in which history and culture overlap. The group show, featuring eight artists, includes Marco Arce's David Hockney parodies, Daniela Rossell's large color photos of the rich and snooty, Rodrigo Aldana's scatological silk screens, Aurora Boreal's skewed wedding portraits, and the extreme minimalism of Yishai Jusidman's white-on-white paintings. Scope things out from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (through Jan. 21) at the S.F. Art Institute's Walter/McBean Gallery, 800 Chestnut, S.F. Admission is free; call 771-7020.

november 30
Funny Girls Though Janeane Garofalo and Julia Sweeney both have regular film and TV gigs, they're still doing stand-up. Garofalo (who co-stars with Uma Thurman and Bill Murray respectively in a pair of upcoming flicks) and Sweeney (whose It's Pat deserved better than box-office-bomb status) are both in recovery from Saturday Night Live stints; they work the crowd at 9 p.m. at Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $9; call (510) 762-2277.

Bloodthirsty Ballet Originally slated to appear at a theater in Half Moon Bay, Perspective Dance Theater's ballet adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula exploded when a cast member felt an onstage attack during rehearsal by director/star David Livingston was a bit too realistic. After a series of disagreements with the This Side of the Hill Players of Half Moon Bay, Livingston and his cast -- well, most of the cast -- have moved to San Francisco. See what the bloody brouhaha is about at 8 p.m. at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, S.F. Tickets are $15; call 621-7797.

december 1
Imitation of Life Both as critic and as creator, Warren Sonbert influenced Bay Area filmmaking until his death last year. In conjunction with A Day Without Art -- an annual event honoring artists and friends of art lost to AIDS -- Pacific Film Archive will pay tribute to Sonbert with a screening of two of his lyrical montage works: Noblesse Oblige and Short Fuse. They'll also screen There's Always Tomorrow, by Sonbert's favorite director, melodrama master Douglas Sirk. (Starring the queenly Joan Bennett, the film is a typical Sirkian assault on hollow, artificial domesticity that Sonbert called "shattering.") The curtains part at 7:30 p.m. at 2625 Durant, Berkeley. Tickets are $5.50; call (510) 642-1124.

Sounds vs. Silence A benefit for the proactive, nonviolent East Bay branch of ACT UP and the current fight for single-payer health care, Rock Against AIDS brings together S.F.'s best-known lesbian (Tribe 8) and gay (Pansy Division) punk rockers. Wankin' Teens, Stone Fox, Eric Core, Joan Jett Blakk, Pussy Tourette, Patsy Cline, and Mayor Surely Mean also sashay and stomp across the stage at 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman, Berkeley. Admission is $5-7; call (510) 568-1680.

Fancy Feet International Hahbi 'Ru Dance Ensemble performs Middle Eastern dances, Harambee Dance Ensemble performs Pan-African dances, and Los Flamencos de San Francisco perform flamenco at "The Best of Ethnic Dance." Visually, audiences can expect colorful, shiny costumes; aurally, they can expect live music featuring traditional wind instruments and drums. A benefit for Project Open Hand, the program starts at 8 p.m. (also Saturday) at Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Admission is $15; call 392-4400.

Prisoner Cellblock H It's hard to imagine a female caged-heat potboiler without a naive first-timer, an aging stripper, a fallen debutante, and, last but not least, a sadistic matron. Luckily, all of the above stock characters are present in Artfull Circle Theatre's Women's Prison Christmas, along with a few extra treats -- an "immaculate" conception and a festive riot. Written and directed by F. Allen Sawyer, the show starts at 8 p.m. (continuing through Dec. 23) at New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $15; call 861-8972.

Decadent Disco Nunn Donna Summer hits that high note and stays with it (and stays with it ...) on "Last Dance," the Oscar-winning pop smash featured in the 1978 discomedy Thank God, It's Friday. Basically a 90-minute cinematic ad for Summer and other artists on Casablanca Records, T.G.I.F. doesn't have the dramatic depth of Saturday Night Fever (what does?), but it does have Terri Nunn of Berlin, acting as well as she sings; Debra Winger and Jeff Goldblum co-star. Preceded by a 7 p.m. party, the historical document screens at 8:30 p.m. at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 824-3890.

december 2
Sound Attacks Goin' On For some people, the only revolution in music is the spinning of a turntable or a disc player, but others approach noisemaking as an inherently (and overtly) political act. Members of the latter group -- including writers Hakim Bey and Tricia Rose and musicians Billy Bragg, Negativland, and Jean Smith -- contribute to Sounding Off! Music as Subversion/Resistance/Revolution, a new book published by Autonomedia. Earth First! troubadour Darryl Cherney, singer/songwriter Lisa Palty, and others will perform at a release party for the tome at 9 p.m. at Komotion International, 2779 16th St, S.F. Free; call 861-6423.

Chip Off the Old Rock Wang Lu Huan turns rocks into snakes, amphibians, and insects -- through the magic of sculpture. Also gifted in painting, calligraphy, and poetry, the artist describes and demonstrates the sculpting process -- from selecting the stone to observing and carving the subject -- in conjunction with the current exhibition "Lu Huan: Stone Carvings by a Chinese Master." The presentation lasts from 1 to 4 p.m. (also Sunday) at California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 750-7145.

Have Some Faith Not only is Alison Faith Levy a powerful rock singer, inside sources say she does an amazing karaoke rendition of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights." Levy's group, the Alison Faith Levy Rock Show, will play at the release party for its new single, "The Scientist." Also featuring the Loud Family and experimental/industrial films curated by Danny Plotnick, the shindig starts at 9 p.m. at Hotel Utah, 500 Fourth St, S.F. Tickets are $5; call 821-9322.

Artsy Craftsy A benefit for the Women's Building, the 1995 Celebration of Craftswomen showcases 280 artists over two weekends. The largest art deco sale in the country, the Art Deco '50s Holiday Sale includes furniture, art, clothes, and other collectibles from over 200 dealers. The Celebration of Craftswomen runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday, through Dec. 10) at the Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Tickets are $4-5; call 361-0700. The Art Deco '50s Holiday Sale lasts 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday) at the Concourse Exhibition Center, Eighth St & Brannan, S.F. Admission is $5; call 599-3326.

Do You Know the Way to San Jose? The second installment in a four-part series co-curated by the Whitney Museum of Art and the San Jose Museum of Art, "American Art 1940-1965: Traditions Reconsidered" includes major surrealist, abstract expressionist, pop, and minimalist works. The exhibition features pieces by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. You can see it from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at San Jose Museum of Art, 110 South Market, San Jose. Admission is $3-6; call (408) 294-2787.

december 3
Trumpet Tribute Don Cherry made his musical debut with the Ornette Coleman Quartet at a time -- the late '50s and early '60s -- when Coleman was introducing his theory of harmolodics to skeptical musicians and listeners. Though Cherry's pocket trumpet sound is usually associated with his Coleman sojourn, his musical explorations extend to other instruments and continents. Influenced by the different scales in Japanese and Indian music, Cherry contributed to some of the ECM label's most innovative recordings. John Handy, John Tchicai, Father Amde Hamilton, Multi Kulti Trio, and Jai Uttal headline a tribute to Cherry, who died last month at 58. The music lasts from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Medina, 1015 Folsom, S.F. Free; call 789-8467.

december 4
Goat's-Eye View The New York-based Wooster Group is a teletheater ensemble featuring Willem Dafoe, Spalding Gray, and the late Ron Vawter. The ongoing "Modus Mondays" series presents three made-for-video works by the group: Rhyme 'Em to Death, which reconstructs the trial in Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame from the persecuted goat's perspective; White Homeland Commando, a TV cop show satire; and Flaubert Dreams of Travel But the Illness of His Mother Prevents It, which has a long title. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. at Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, S.F. Free ($4 donation requested); call 346-6456.

Brain Battles In a two-part essay for the New York Review of Books last year, Frederick Crews not only attacked "recovered memory," but used the phenomenon as a start-off point for a scathing critique of Freudian psychology. Analysts' and patients' angry responses to Crews (and Crews' responses to their responses) are also included in The Memory Wars: Freudian Science in Dispute, a lit-psych brouhaha equal to any writings by Janet Malcolm -- who once called Crews a "neo-Freudophobe" -- on the subject. Hear Crews at 7:30 p.m. at Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck, Berkeley. Free; call (510) 486-0698.

Cuckoo Ken Three interesting things about Ken Russell's Crimes of Passion: 1) An MTV parody in which plenty of cutlery is thrown into a swimming pool; 2) Anthony Perkins as a perverted minister with a penchant for deadly steel dildos; 3) Kathleen Turner (as a prostitute) sodomizing a cop with his own baton. See these three things and one of the whiniest performances in celluloid history (by Annie Potts) in the latest installment of the Castro Theatre's "Flesh & Blood: Sex, Violence, & Censorship" series at 9:15 p.m. at Castro & Market, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 621-6120.

(Butches and) Femmes on Film Lesbian cinema -- past and present, Hollywood and underground -- is the focal point of two programs compiled by Frameline's Jenni Olsen. "Girls by the Bay" showcases shorts by local filmmakers; topics include love, sex, death, country music, Green Acres, and the erotic use of upholstered furniture. "Looking Butch: A Rough Guide to Butches on Film" includes clips of Julie Harris' lonely little in-between in The Member of the Wedding and the ultimate butch brawl: Joan Crawford vs. Mercedes McCambridge in Johnny Guitar. "Girls" plays at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Monday and "Butch" plays at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Roxie, 3125 16th St, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 863-1087.

december 5
Ethnic Erotics Taking a cue from the recent African-American anthology Erotique Noir, On a Bed of Rice: An Asian-American Erotic Feast features hot 'n' heavy writings by 65 authors. Nine of those contributors -- including Junglee Girl author Ginu Kamani and Charlie Chin -- join editor Geraldine Kudaka at a book reading/party from 8 to 10 p.m. at Intersection for the Arts, 496 Valencia, S.F. Free; call 626-3311.

About The Author

Johnny Ray Huston


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