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This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

Wednesday, April 9, 2003
Sixpence House is a book about books. It's about reading, selling, buying, sniffing, and ogling hardbacks, paperbacks, whatever. Naturally, booksellers adore it. This part travelogue, part memoir describes the journey of a San Francisco yuppie to Hay-on-Wye, a Welsh village known as "the town of books." It's also the town of bookshops: The population-1,500 hamlet has 40 such stores. Author Paul Collins describes in loving detail his own love of books, as well as describing in loving detail his own volumes, mostly old ones. Of course, he's got some mighty cool tomes: a history of toilet plumbing once owned by Herb Caen, something from 1929 called Hunky, and The World's Greatest Cranks and Crackpots. Collins reads at 7 p.m. at Booksmith, 1644 Haight (between Clayton and Cole), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-8688 or visit

Thursday, April 10, 2003
"Even Though" is an art show with a lot of style and a lot of substance. Riley McFerrin's use of resin, in particular, is both intricate and unfussy, and his mixing of complex textures with simplified images is powerful and beautiful. Wood, beeswax, rusted metal, and rope all find their way onto his canvases. With a confident eye for essential shapes and natural colors, McFerrin also uses a slight silliness to produce pieces like Fight Your Tongue, a shiny canvas featuring the sleeve of a man's shirt framing a painted hand holding a redwood branch. The artist's statement says he is concerned with the meanings of simple symbols: His work shows "[f]orests, rivers and bridges. Or isolation, cleansing and crossing." Whatever it means, we like it. "Even Though" runs through May 20 at the Bucheon Gallery, 540 Hayes (at Octavia), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-2891 or visit

Friday, April 11, 2003
With thrashers carrying titles like "MF From Hell" -- that's "motherfucker" for all you censors -- and "Freeze Sucker," the Datsuns are pretty straightforward about their reason for being. The much-hyped foursome may seem like just another group of stringy-haired lads in skintight jeans looking to ride out the garage rock revival, but these guys put on a good show. All of the members hail from Cambridge, a rural town in New Zealand, where they probably had nothing better to do than overdose on AC/DC, Deep Purple, Ted Nugent, and Thin Lizzy. From such humble origins they became the target of a major-label feeding frenzy before finally signing with V2. The Datsuns' self-titled debut is raucous, brash, excessive, and ridiculous in the vein of early '70s hard rock -- meaning droning riffs, unabashed shrieking, and frenetic guitar solos in spades. Though the boys don't deserve Brownie points for originality, they do deserve a pat on the back for reviving the classics with gusto. The Sights open at 9 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $15; call 885-0750 or visit

Saturday, April 12, 2003
Part of a series of British nostalgia— themed evenings, "Manchester: So Much to Answer For" is a wildly entertaining night of DJs spinning the Buzzcocks, John Mayall, and the Durutti Column, plus video clips of movies, concerts, and soccer; punk poetry by John Cooper Clarke; and a specially formed cover band -- all aimed at paying tribute to the many famous people associated with the English city. The event is mostly geared toward expatriates and severe Anglophiles: Those not familiar with Coronation Street are welcome, but may be mystified. Don't let that keep you away, though, because Manchester trivia is fun for all. Did you know the Bee Gees grew up there? The town also lays claim to the Smiths, Umbro Football Products, and Noel and Liam Gallagher, among others. Join in at 9 p.m. at the Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary (at Larkin), S.F. Admission is $10; call 885-4074 or visit

Sunday, April 13, 2003
The Drum Machine Museum isn't an art space with four walls -- currently it's only accessible online at But as a repository for all things related to electronic music, it's the best thing going. Formerly held in founder Mickey Tachibana's 450-square-foot loft, the collection of vintage beatboxes was moved into cyberspace to make room for the "Whitebox VIP Lounge," a monthly multimedia concert at which collaborations between electronic musicians and video artists are filmed and edited in real time. The "VIP" in the title stood for "very intimate performance," which could change now that "Whitebox" is moving to new digs. The event is taking up residence at Club Six, and though the videos will no longer be available the same night of the show, the bigger venue will allow more technoheads and electro-freaks to obsess over experimentalists like tonight's guests, ambient-dub collective TRIP_TECH and sound artist Audiovoid. The concert starts at 10 p.m. at Club Six, 60 Sixth St. (at Jessie), S.F. Admission is $5-7; call 863-1221.

Monday, April 14, 2003
"BARK!," Jezebel's Joint's new open mike and game show, is the best thing to happen to Monday nights in some time. Though the watering hole is no longer owned by the folks who used to describe it as the "bar for Doms & Daddies, Strippers & Trannies" (it's now a "rock n' roll DJ bar"), it's still home to some festive ways to jazz up the lamest night of the week, including S.F. IndieFest's ongoing free "Microcinema" series. "BARK!" features interactive games and activities, including the Wheel of Poets, where audience members win the chance to recite their poems, and the self-explanatory Bestowal of Trashy Prizes. You can't throw back a few Sluts and Creamy Panties -- sadly, the bar doesn't offer such a risqué drink list anymore -- but we still can't think of a better reason to call in sick on Tuesday. The dress code requires "cute outlandish clothes," and Sgt. Pepper look-alikes get in free. Classic silent films screen at 8 p.m., followed by "BARK!" from 9:30 to midnight, at Jezebel's Joint, 510 Larkin (at Turk), S.F. Admission is free-$1; call 345-9832 or visit

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Physicians make life-and-death decisions on a daily basis, but as New Yorker staff writer and surgical resident Atul Gawande reveals in his collection of essays, Complications, surgeons are people, too. They're prone to depression, make educated guesses, and feign confidence like the rest of us. Medicine is a "fundamentally human endeavor" and an "imperfect science," Gawande writes, blowing the whistle on the myth of the doctor as superhero. His pieces, which range from fascinating case studies (like that of the TV anchorwoman who couldn't stop blushing) to personal anecdotes, reveal facts many of us would rather not know -- med students have to train by practicing on live people, for example -- but can't help indulging in. A wine and cheese reception at 5:15 p.m. precedes Gawande's 6 p.m. lecture at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market (at Second Street), Second Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 597-6706 or visit


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