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Robert's Rocket? 

Fine art, low brow

Wednesday, Nov 2 2005
SUN 11/6

The fate of comics artists is often absurd: While eternal fame goes to people like Roy Lichtenstein who "comment" on the genre, infamy, protests, and letters to the editor follow Robert Williams, a skilled artist who made the mistake of adoring the form and mucking around in it throughout his early years. Of course, Williams has thrived off screwing the establishment, from working for underground Zap Comix to startling parents with his robot-rape image on the cover of Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction. His paintings have been called every name in the book (violent, sexist, homophobic), jeers that haven't been tempered by art-world accolades. In 1993, while the other Robert (and fellow Zap artist) was buckling into the cinematic rocket Crumb, Art in America bestowed the phrase "authentic kitsch" on Williams' work. Lately, though, his wildly colorful pieces -- which are oil on canvas, not ballpoint pen -- are getting their proper due, and the book Through Prehensile Eyes, featuring 58 recent paintings, should keep the debate simmering. A slide show and signing starts at 4 p.m. at 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 974-1719 or visit
-- Michael Leaverton

Nice Haircut
Generosity is the new black

SUN 11/6

If you'd played your cards right, you could have made sure that every dollar you spent over the last month went to Hurricane Katrina relief. We've seen dinner specials, book sales, concerts, dog grooming -- you name it. Except this: "Haircuts for Hope" is a "cut-a-thon" at which all the proceeds from your new do go to the Red Cross, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and Oakland 2 New Orleans (a local grass-roots relocation effort). The host salon's scissors superstars join guest cutters from Color Box and On Mars, and there's a raffle for beauty products, personal training, and fancy clothes. A huge bonus for those of us who want a haircut, are bad at planning ahead, and are eager to help: No appointments are necessary. The snip-snip starts at 11 a.m. at Glama-Rama, 417 South Van Ness (at 15th Street), S.F. Price of cuts varies; call 861-4526 or visit
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

He's Been Bugged
High-tech paintings

ONGOING 11/3-12/10

He's endlessly fascinated with rotational symmetry, he's riveted by stark contrasts, and he thinks he's more precise than a computer. Paul Paiement is an interesting artist for many reasons, not least that he appears to be right about that last one. In his exhibit "Hybrids 4.0," he uses a very old technique, egg tempera, to render advanced technologies (a computer mouse, a space station) crossed with bugs. The results look like psychedelic scientific illustrations, until you notice that one of the butterfly's wings is really a golf club. "Hybrids" opens Thursday at 5:30 p.m. (and runs through Dec. 10) at the Heather Marx Gallery, 77 Geary (at Grant), Second Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 627-9111 or visit
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Bite the Ballet

ONGOING 11/4-13

Lines Ballet is rightfully famous for innovating in a hidebound world: classical ballet. Convinced that the old French steps can take on more vibrant tones, Artistic Director Alonzo King brings the company home with a collaboration called The Moroccan Project, starting at 8 p.m. on Friday (and continuing through Nov. 13) at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $20-50; call 978-2787 or visit
-- Hiya Swanhuyser


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