Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The House of Tudor 

Wednesday, Jul 21 1999
Led by the powerful, bombastic voice of Rik Slave, the Phantoms were a punk rock oasis in the funk- and blues-filled swamps of New Orleans, where oppressive humidity and languid, booze-saturated crowds left most musical hooligans sounding slightly phlegmatic. Slave has always been a combative show-stopper, possessing the strutting poise of Mick Jagger and the fury-fueled thrill of Iggy Pop, but after nearly 10 years of undeserved obscurity he relocated to the more aggressively tuned municipality of New York City. Less than a year later, Slave emerged with a mission: the Man Scouts of America, an equally quarrelsome outfit that upholds his didactic, God-fearing, booze-swilling tenets of American rock 'n' roll. If that's not enough to get folks calling the 24-hour Emergency Scout Line, members of the MSA are issued sharp, eye-catching Man Scout uniforms that are the envy of little boys and the fantasy of some very big girls. The Man Scouts of America support the Nads at the CW Saloon on Thursday, July 22, with Glitter Mini Nine opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 974-1585.

Friends from other "developed nations" always express shock at the number of people begging in our city streets; they are bewildered by the casual way San Franciscans dismiss or toss coins at outstretched cups. "What makes one person more deserving than the next?" they ask. "It's just a matter of taste," I blithely respond. Is it cynicism to believe our capacity for charity is subject to our predilection for a particular pitch? Edward Bernays -- father of public relations and market research, and consequently interstate highways, political lobbies, and a CIA-backed insurrection in Guatemala -- would say it's just common sense: If panhandling is a moneymaking endeavor, panhandlers should know their market. Twenty-four-year-old Berkeley artist Cathy Davies probably didn't have Bernays in mind when she developed NeedCom, but Bernays would surely commend her technique. NeedCom is a stylish new Web site (sleek wintergreen logo in '50s script, modish black-and-white animated photos, multiple-choice bubbles) that asks you to rate the approaches of six panhandlers with cybercoin -- the $0.00 bubble for those you abhor, up to $1 for those you condone. The panhandlers are real -- the result of countless interviews and hundreds of hours sitting curbside in New York and San Francisco -- and include men and women of different ages, races, backgrounds, and mental and physical constitutions. At the end of the "Panhandling Effectiveness Survey," folks are invited to give their opinion on a number of topics pertaining to poverty, charity, panhandling, and work ethics. "Customer" responses are tallied and categorized for easy reference, as are very candid panhandler remarks on stench, blindness, hustling, taxes, "workday" shifts, and gross annual incomes. In a more idealistic time, Bernays used market research to negotiate taste and bias by accumulating data about belief systems. In the cynical time of Davies, market research is taste and bias and she uses our appetite for accumulated data to negotiate our belief systems. It's clever, it's fun, and it's free. Just think. NeedCom celebrates its launch with multiple terminals, large projections, and a running tally at Crucible Steel Gallery (2050 Bryant) on Friday, July 23, at 7 p.m. Admission is free; call (510) 883-9206. Those not in possession of their real-time bodies should log on at

In the liturgy of youthful rebellion, the choruses "I wanna fuck the dead" and "Drinking and driving is so much fun" hold a very special place in my heart. So, even if it means half the musicians included on the Social Chaos Tour are using walkers, or should be, I would be doing my inner delinquent a great disservice not to mention that T.S.O.L., the Business, the U.K. Subs, D.R.I., Murphy's Law, D.O.A., and Vice Squad are performing at Maritime Hall on Sunday, July 25, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25; call 974-0634.

If you've never heard of Alabina, you haven't been paying much attention. Led by the overt sex appeal of Ishtar -- a golden beauty who sings in seven languages and was the first female jet fighter mechanic in the army before she started flashing her tantalizing midriff in front of sold-out arenas with the group Kaoma (responsible for the international insanity "Lambada") -- Alabina has become the top recording artist in France, has the top-selling album in Denmark, and has reached the top five on Billboard's Latin charts. While Ishtar is billed as Alabina's lead, it is the band -- four dexterous cousins who began performing, at the age of 14, as Los Ninos de Sara -- that nimbly marries flamenco with Middle Eastern dance music and European pop, and makes Alabina much more than a Euro sensation. Deep-throated Tonio can give all the Gipsy Kings a run for their bolo ties and Ishtar makes even the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" sound like bacchanalia. Alabina performs at the Fillmore on Monday, July 26, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25; call 346-6000.

-- Silke Tudor

About The Author

Silke Tudor


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"