Most memoirs, when they're not revealing embarrassing details about enemies and exes, are an avalanche of nostalgic Leave It to Beaver moments. But when Simon Doonan looked back on his journey from working-class British lad to creative director of Barneys New York, he remembered his mother's flying dentures, getting arrested twice (once wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt, and later, a minikilt), and the parsnip-spiked home-brew his father called Château Doonan. His new book, Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints, details the many misadventures Doonan had on his never-ending quest to encounter the Beautiful People, and though his memories of his Reading, England, childhood are devoid of what he terms "Hallmark moments," he still conjures up heartwarming times with his relatives in his own wacky way. Doonan reads from Nasty at 7:30 p.m. at Books Inc., 2275 Market (at 16th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 864-6777 or visit www.booksinc.net.
Thursday, June 9, 2005
Not everyone can fulfill the prophecy of being born in a town called Normal. But photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard made good on his status as a native of what turned out to be his fortuitously named Kentucky hometown. Meatyard's black-and-white images transformed the everyday into the surreal, via staged pictures in which he directed his wife and children to don masks and pose amid the ruins of buildings in the center of the state: In one, for example, a young boy lies spread-eagled on the floor while his brother stands motionless in the doorway. The artist then played with exposure and depth of field to make these stark images even eerier. An exhibition of Meatyard's works runs concurrently with "Obsessions of the Oculist," a show of objects related to the act of seeing, through July 1 at the Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary (at Kearny), S.F. Admission is free; call 981-2661 or visit www.fraenkelgallery.com.
Friday, June 10, 2005
When we first heard that The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? was about a middle-aged man who falls in love with, well, a bovid ruminant, we started to wonder whether the American Conservatory Theater was pulling a prank on us. But then we found out that this rather bizarre story won the 2002 Tony Award for Best New Play and was written by Edward Albee -- you know, the guy responsible for the canonical stage pieces Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Odd Couple. Upon reading a New York Times review of the Broadway production that said the play seems "to come with its own laugh track," we decided we have to see Goat for ourselves. The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. (and the production continues through July 10) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $11-68; call 749-2228 or visit www.act-sf.org.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
The story of rock en español troupe Orixa sounds like an after-school special on the perils of starting a rock 'n' roll band: Singer meets drummer at the Guitar Center, guitarists come and go, A&R guys promise and then fail to deliver record deals (and other such mishaps), until the boys take matters into their own hands. Since the group put out its latest album, Siembra, on its own imprint this spring, the video of the same name has become a pick on MTV Español. Heavy rock, ska, and reggae influences make Orixa War-like, but as the rapid-fire rap at the beginning of "Siembra" shows, the group's a fully hip-hop-literate crew as well, à la Manu Chao. Check out the East Bay boys tonight as Los Abandoned, the Passionistas, and Quimbanda share the stage at 9:30 at El Rio, 3158 Mission (at Cesar Chavez), S.F. Admission is $8; call 282-3325 or visit www.elriosf.com.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
It's refreshing to us that comedian Kate Clinton is out as a lesbian without making a big deal about it. In her new book, What the L, she explains that in her world the letter stands for "liberal," "left," and "lesbian" -- in that order -- before describing herself as a "faith-based, tax-paying, America-loving political humorist and family entertainer." The cultural critic breezes through town with her stand-up act, Talking a Blue Streak (as in "blue state"), in which she takes on Arnold Schwarzenegger, the new pope, and gay Republicans. The show begins at 3 p.m. at the Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th St. (at York), S.F. Admission is $25-30; call 647-2822 or visit www.brava.org.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Program 1 of the Zeitgeist 2005 International Film Festival is presented in its traditional beer-o-scope, as are the other two programs later this summer. What's beer-o-scope? Well, it's not for the dainty: Screenings take place outdoors, above the pub's huge "patio" (aka "ankle-deep gravel") area, and audience members are encouraged to drink and smoke to their hearts' content. The lineup of flicks is, we feel, anchored by the title Purple Glob. According to the ZIFF Web site, this short is about a guy who "finds a purple glob in his backyard." The fest offers films from Germany, Australia, and the U.K., but Purple Glob, we're proud to say, is a local production, directed by S.F.'s Skye Thorstenson. The screening, drinking, smoking, and carrying-on starts at 9 p.m. at Zeitgeist, 199 Valencia (at Duboce), S.F. Admission is $5; visit www.overcookedcinema.com.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
We thought Bruce Campbell had enough love in his life. But the legions of fans who adore the actor for his roles in the Evil Dead series, his turn as an aged Elvis in Bubba Ho-tep, and his short-lived TV show The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. are apparently not enough for this attention hog. Now the self-proclaimed B-movie actor has written a novel, Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way, in which a character named Bruce Campbell, an actor, gets a call from his agent. "I have a gig for you," the agent says. "Let me guess -- something for the Sci-Fi Channel?" replies "Bruce." "No." "A convention in Butt Crack, Kansas?" (Gee, we wonder what pseudo-Bruce calls San Francisco.) Turns out the agent is getting him a pivotal role in a real movie starring Richard Gere and directed by Mike Nichols: It's called Let's Make Love. The real Campbell, who we're sure would never say anything mean about anyplace, appears in person to sign copies of the novel and screen his full-length feature directorial debut, The Man With the Screaming Brain, starting at 6 p.m. (show times are 2:30, 4:30, 7, and 9:15) at the Balboa Theater, 3630 Balboa (at 38th Avenue), S.F. Admission is $10; call 221-8184 or visit www.balboamovies.com.
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