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Punk Rock Chores 

Gilman Street: It's a dirty job

SUN 9/11

Anyone who's been to a show at 924 Gilman Street has probably wondered: Who cleans up at the "punkest place on Earth"? Is there a crusty janitor at the all-volunteer, all-ages club? A place that's been open for almost 20 years as a safe, alcohol-free venue for a dizzying array of punk rock bands must have some sort of system for scraping the grime off, right? It does -- and you are it. At the 924 Gilman cleanup day, you -- yes, you -- can sweep, mop, haul away junk, and otherwise get to know the building a little better. Longtime collective member and recent City Council candidate Jesse Townley let it be known that possible activities also include graffiti removal -- only from the floor, nothing to worry about. Afterward, the club offers free pizza to those who helped. If the phrase "We do not book racist, misogynist, homophobic, or major label bands" still blows your skirt up, go get some of that pizza. The work starts at noon at 924 Gilman (at Ninth Street), Berkeley. Participation is free; call (510) 525-9926.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Bonkers for Ballard

SAT 9/10

J.G. Ballard: Conversations is just that: 345 pages of banter from underground luminaries and the English writer Ballard, who has grown increasingly hip as the years pass (his 1973 novel Crash, turned into a 1996 movie by David Cronenberg, has become the last word on sex, death, and automobiles, assuming such a thing was needed). Published by RE/Search, J.G. Ballard: Conversations should not be confused with the company's earlier offerings, J.G. Ballard: Quotes and, simply, J.G. Ballard. The book release party, however, does much more than just celebrate the word: Along with readings, there will be an art installation organized by Mark Pauline of Survival Research Laboratories, screeching silver gelatin photographs from Ana Barrado, and a panel headed by RE/Search guru V. Vale. All of whom, quite appropriately, also appear in the book. What doesn't appear in the book is music inspired by the writer, of which there is apparently enough for DJ Mike Ryan to fill the night, which starts at 7 at the Hayes Valley Market, 580 Hayes (at Laguna), S.F. Admission is $5-10; call 362-1465 or visit
-- Michael Leaverton

The Metallurgists
The dizzying worlds of "Altered States"

ONGOING 9/8-10/1

If you've ever been on acid in a BART station, alone, terrified that the hunk of metal screaming past you will never end (and wasn't that Satan driving?), you've already got a bead on Trevor Traynor's work. In the group show "Altered States," Traynor's photographs of underground subway stations, all metallic sheen and harsh fluorescence, feature speeding trains blurred into futuristic strips of light or seamless slabs of steel. Riders wait on the platforms, strikingly detailed, oblivious to the passing chaos. It's a sci-fi world that already exists, seemingly ripped from an effects-laden movie but in reality given very little treatment. Amazingly, Traynor has shot subways in more than 15 cities worldwide (with more on the way); his other muse, the escalator, shows up with the same cold but alluring atmosphere of a dystopian world.

Jeremy Kidd captures a similar feel in his aboveground images of big buildings and bridges by employing a liberal dose of digital tweakery. "Structures are recreated, expanded, minimized, or deleted," he says on his Web site, and the resulting near-cubist renderings of his "dramatic architectural monoliths" echo the grandeur of the west's massive canyons and natural forms. Nate Pagel's videos complete the show, incorporating transit systems into a whirlwind of aural and visual collages.

The opening reception is at 6 p.m. Thursday (and the show continues through Oct. 1) at the Rx Gallery, 132 Eddy (at Mason), S.F. Admission is free; call 474-7973 or visit
-- Michael Leaverton

Full (of) Moon

SAT-SUN 9/10-11

We're all for the dancers, the parading, and the musicians at the Autumn Moon Festival. Bring on the street fair's Thanksgiving-like contemplation of mid-August harvest bounty and its celebration of lunar goddess Chang-O. But let's be honest. This festival means cakes: Those famous, delicious moon cakes in all their lotus paste and duck egg glory, in imitation of the moon's shape and color. Yummy! The cakes, and festivities, start at 11 a.m. both days in Chinatown, Grant & Sacramento, S.F. Admission is free; call 982-6306 or visit
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Wide Open

FRI 9/9

Second and fourth Tuesdays this year have provided some of the most tantalizing oratory this side of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. For the "Queer Open Mic"'s first anniversary, founder Cindy Emch gathers local poets, including slam queen Daphne Gottlieb and transgressive troubadour Michelle Tea. See the show at 8 p.m. at the Three Dollar Bill Cafe, 1800 Market (at McCoppin), S.F. Admission is $1-5; call 503-1532 or visit
-- Nirmala Nataraj


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