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Shut Up and Listen 

A genre-crunching music fest

WED-SUN 5/14-18

This imaginary conversation was inspired by the San Francisco Alternative Music Festival:

No. 1: Hey, you got your punk in my jazz!

No. 2: Well, you got your jazz all over my punk!

No. 3: Shut up, both of you! This has nothing to do with established genres, even rebellious or highly creative ones. It's a celebration of difficult, important music. Don't pigeonhole it any more than that.

No. 1: Jazz encompasses all that and more, you ignoramus. Besides, jazz is a perfect segue for a lot of audiences from an accessible, cheesy Benny Goodman place to a stimulating, mind-expanding Sun Ra place.

No. 2: But jazz is moribund and appeals only to older people, whereas punk has always rejected its own labels and embraced the recklessness of youth, which is what it's all about.

No. 3: You are both idiot savant irritants to the general public, which I respect. But really, you must open your minds about music. Let's go see Arrington de Dionyso: He's a perfect amalgam of all this stuff, with his Tuvan throat-singing-inspired bass clarinet.

No. 1 and No. 2: Oh yes, yes! Arrington! He's completely off his nut! We love him!

Among the organizers, audience members, and performers at this fiercely theoretical event, one of the common threads seems to be a high level of education -- except for those too independent to submit to the onerous yoke of such formalities as classrooms. (Percussionist/banger-on-things Moe! Staiano comes to mind. It's rumored he's using actual drums these days, but you can't believe everything you hear.) Of the rest of these hypercreative types, though, it must be said that master's degrees in musical fields and day jobs doing complicated stuff with sound are not unusual. Is it a coincidence that those in the know are going to the SFALT Festival? We think not. Arrington de Dionyso, Thus, and Fred Lonberg-Holm perform Thursday night at 8 at the Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market (at Sixth Street), S.F. Admission is $12-60; call 241-0684 or visit for a complete schedule. -- Hiya Swanhuyser

Chick Humor
Laughs Served Up Kosher-Style

SAT 5/17

It's not Christmas yet, but the Kung Pao Kosher gals don't need a holiday to be heard. The company's annual Funny Girlz showcase is stacked with the hottest female comedy dishes from in -- and out of -- town. Included in the oh-so-multiethnic program are L.A.'s "Cha Cha Feminist," Maria Elena Fernandez, British Pakistani comedian Shazia Mirza (her first appearance on American turf), East Bay cop Amy Boyd, Diane Amos (aka the Pine-Sol Lady), and 87-year-old "sit down" comic and grandma Esther Weintraub. Oy. The foodless evening is billed as a smorgasbord, and rightly so. Go. Essen. Eat. Show time is 8 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Tickets are $20-25; call 522-3737. -- Karen Macklin

Mama Mia

THURS-SAT 5/15-17

Let's Pretend I'm Not Your Mother addresses childhood and adolescent sexuality, but more important, the play illustrates how those early experiences continue to fuck with us as adults. Erotic performance troupe Titillation Theatre and Paul Nathan, more commonly known as the MC of "Unkle Paul's Dark Kabaret," join forces to unleash this daring production on an unsuspecting public. The title comes from one racy tale, in which a woman introduces her young son to pornography; in another vignette, a woman partners up with her vacuum cleaner. Performances start at 9:30 p.m. (and run through June 21) at the Climate Theatre, 285 Ninth St., S.F. Tickets are $20-35; call 364-1411. -- Lisa Hom

Young Miss

FRI 5/16

Remember that creepy gal from high school, the one who wore too much black eyeliner and read Anne Rice? She can't compare to Emily the Strange, the morose goth girl created by Rob Reger and his Oakland-based company, Cosmic Debris. Emily began as an underground comic character, but has since blossomed into an Internet and fashion phenomenon with her own line of T-shirts and accessories. We all know she's a clever marketing gimmick, but that doesn't detract from her dark, mysterious ways. Reger introduces his new hardback, Emily's Secret Book of Strange, and hosts an Emily look-alike contest beginning at 7 p.m. at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight, S.F. Admission is free; call 863-8688. -- Lisa Hom


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