This Week's Picks: August 20 - 26, 2014


Power of pup positivity





100 Years After WWI: The Poll Diaries

Franz Ferdinand, the band, has shaken up some summer music festivals in recent times, but 100 years ago in the summer of 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination shook up the world. In Chris Kraus's 2010 drama film The Poll Diaries, young Oda (Paula Beer) rejoins her aristocratic German family in Estonia. Throw in an Estonian anarchist and a society on the brink of World War I and you'll find there isn't too much hope for love. The Poll Diaries is the first film in the Goethe-Institut's weekly WWI film series and is an apt film to spearhead the selection of poignant, beautifully melancholy wartime movies. (Amy Char)

6:30pm, $5

Goethe-Institut San Francisco

530 Bush, SF

(415) 263-8760




Free Comedy Night with Danny Dechi

Do people still write with No. 2 pencils? Maybe not, but some people sure as hell make music with them. A pencil's just as handy to whip out as a tiny violin but a little more ingenious, and Danny Dechi definitely has it down. He claims he can perform any tune, ranging from classical to rock 'n' roll, by using his cheek as the drum. He's a San Francisco-based comedian and regularly performs a pencil musical act to go hand-in-hand with his clean stand-up comedy routines. While he's performed in renowned SF comedy clubs such as Punch Line, tonight's show is at a more intimate location — and free. (Amy Char)

7pm, free

Bazaar Cafe

5927 California, SF

(415) 831-5620








Murder City Devils

Combining elements of garage rock and punk with dark organ lines and caterwauling vocals, Seattle rockers The Murder City Devils were a musical powder keg from 1996 to 2001, just waiting to be lit by a live audience. After a five-year break up, the band has sporadically reunited for concerts here and there, but hadn't put out a new record until this month, dropping The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands, its first album release in 13 years. Fans can look forward to hearing the new material, along with old favorites, when Spencer Moody and cohorts hit the stage in what always promises to be a gloriously unpredictable and incendiary performance. (Sean McCourt)

8pm, $22

Great American Music Hall

859 O'Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750




Root Division Presents: Magical Thinking

A visual art non-profit that presents gallery shows, Root Division recently relocated from its Mission Street home because of rising rent costs. Without missing a beat, the collective has found a pop-up location in Civic Center for its shows. Root Division's first offering in its new space is "Magical Thinking," an exhibition that focuses on the inexplicable leaps in human logic that lead to bizarre trends — the gallery comments, for example, on the fact that less than 5 percent of New York high-rises have a 13th floor. Ten artists showcase their work in the exhibit, which young artists Erin Colleen Johnson and Karl Marboe both participate in and curate. The curators, who met while working towards their MFAs at UC Berkeley in 2011, challenged eight fellow local artists to explore other instances of magical thinking. Root Division and the artists have planned a Third Thursday reception to honor the work — the walk-through and discourse will present visitors both with a provocative visual examination of human nature and a chance to see Root Division's new space. (David Kurlander)

5pm, Free

Root Division

1059 Market, SF

(415) 863-7668







Cannibal Holocaust

By the sheer power of its title, Ruggero Deodato's 1979 Cannibal Holocaust triumphs in its aim to offend and horrify — and that's without even considering all the gross-out elements (including very iffy depictions of "natives" and actual animal torture) that pack the oft-banned film itself, which remains the ultimate example of the short-lived yet indelible exploitation subset of cannibal films. The Clay turns into a gory, graphic grindhouse this weekend, with star Carl Gabriel Yorke — one of the film's "missing" documentarians in Holocaust's found-footage plotline — in person, hopefully bursting with insane behind-the-scenes tales. (Cheryl Eddy)

Through Sat/23, midnight, $8-$10

Clay Theatre

2261 Fillmore, SF




Lee "Scratch" Perry

The God of Dub may be pushing 80, but his live shows and constantly evolving studio production are not slowing down. Lee "Scratch" Perry, who helped to transform reggae into an aurally and technologically complex genre while virtually inventing "the remix," released a new album, Back at the Controls, earlier this year. The work was a true group effort, both because it was a collaboration with Rolling Lion Studios' producer Daniel Boyle as well as the fact that it benefited from a thriving Kickstarter campaign. To complement his new record, Perry embarked on an ongoing world tour, which hopped over to Europe for a three-month stint starting in March. Now back in the States, Perry looks to continue dazzling audiences with his idiosyncratic fashion, pulsating beats, and exhilarating reworkings of timeless classics from every kind of music. (Kurlander)

9pm, $25


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421









My Drunk Kitchen with Hannah Hart

How many YouTubers have baked brownies with Mary-Louise Parker (of Weeds fame) while drunk? Hannah Hart, the mastermind behind the "My Drunk Kitchen" YouTube channel, has come a long way since her first video, in which she set out to make grilled cheese — getting by with a little help from her friend, wine — and realized mid-video that she didn't have any cheese in the house. She appears this evening to promote her new cookbook, which is chock-full of tasty recipes (ones she made up while writing and hasn't tasted) and spontaneous fun. And hey, she has drunk Jamie Oliver's stamp of approval, so what more could you ask for? (Amy Char)

7pm, free

Books Inc.

601 Van Ness, SF

(415) 776-1111





Bark for Life of San Francisco

The power of pup positivity reigns at Bark for Life of San Francisco, an American Cancer Society fundraiser that unleashes (ha!) some creative fundraising techniques, including the hotly contested "My Dog is Cuter" photo contest (donate to vote!). Events also include a lap around Hellman Hollow to honor cancer survivors, SFPD K-9 and SF SPCA guide dog demonstrations, talent and costume contest, a doggie photo booth, a silent auction, and more. (Eddy)

9:30am-2pm, $5 and up

Hellman Hollow (aka Speedway Meadows)

Golden Gate Park, SF






Small Packages at the SF Conservatory of Music The works of Stockhausen and Grisey can sometimes be tough sells. The composers, who dominated the world of experimental music during the second half of the 20th century, cared more about consistent sonographic representations and aleatory development (look them up) than melody. The results, highly mathematic and often jarring pieces, are entirely unique and difficult to play and extremely diverse — although the two composers occupied similarly heady realms, their works do not usually sound similar (and often are islands even within their own outputs). Thus, sfSound's choice to present Stockhausen's seminal and towering "Kontra-Punkte" alongside Grisey's more atmospheric "Périodes" is challenging. How does a collective effectively tie together works that share little in common besides their chronology and avant-garde tendencies? sfSound, a group of disturbingly knowledgeable local musicians who have been delivering experimental performances since 1999, answer this question through their own works, a series of "small packages" inspired by Stockhausen and Grisey that will be performed alongside the more monumental works. (Kurlander) 8pm, $15 San Francisco Conservatory of Music 50 Oak, SF (415) 864-7326 Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks Animal Collective's Avey Tare might look unassuming with his soft features and adorable, curly hair. But give him a microphone and some instruments and his mad genius will make itself known. With a love of organic, slimy textures and a voice like Dionysus at the height of spring, Tare is one of the most uninhibited and unhinged psychedelic auteurs working today. His new band Slasher Flicks confounded even the most seasoned Animal Collective fans when they dropped Enter The Slasher House last April — a bizarre mishmash of psych-rock, pulp horror, and carnival-ride theatrics. Though Tare's accompanied in the band by Dirty Projector Angel Deradoorian and Ponytail drummer Jeremy Hyman, not even they can keep him in check — Tare truly answers only to himself. (Daniel Bromfield) 8pm, $16 Great American Music Hall 859 O'Farrell, San Francisco (415) 885-0750 MONDAY/25 Slint When Slint recorded Spiderland over one weekend in 1990, the band hardly expected it to become the holy scripture of the burgeoning post-rock movement. But as their associates (Will Oldham, Steve Albini) became famous, the rock world began to pick up on this unassuming Louisville, Kentucky band. Within 10 years they were legends, and their influence continues to this day. The band didn't initially last long, with drummer Britt Walford joining The Breeders and guitarist David Pajo playing with...well, just about everyone. But Slint has reunited time to time, and coinciding with this year's reissue of Spiderland as a box set, they're touring once again. The upcoming show at the Fillmore should provide a rare opportunity to see a truly legendary underground rock act in the flesh. (Bromfield) 8pm, $29.50 Fillmore 1805 Geary, SF (415) 346-6000 TUESDAY/26 Men Without Hats If you don't know the band, you know "The Safety Dance," and if you think you don't know "The Safety Dance," you'd know it if you heard it. Practically synonymous with '80s music, the Canadian New Wave band's 1983 hit is as ubiquitous as a party-starter as it is as a meme and an artifact from their weird, coldly distant decade. But while Ivan Doroschuk and his crew could have just sat back and enjoyed their shiny new houses throughout the '80s, the band has soldiered on with a stream of albums that have been largely absent from record collections in the States but still fly off the shelves in their home country. If you count yourselves among these loyal American fans, leave your friends behind and come see them at the DNA Lounge. (Bromfield) 8:30pm, $15 DNA Lounge 375 Eleventh St., SF (415) 626-1409 The Guardian listings deadline is two weeks prior to our Wednesday publication date. To submit an item for consideration, please include the title of the event, a brief description of the event, date and time, venue name, street address (listing cross streets only isn't sufficient), city, telephone number readers can call for more information, telephone number for media, and admission costs. Send information to Listings, the Guardian, 835 Market Street, Suite 550, SF, CA 94103; or e-mail (paste press release into e-mail body — no attachments, please) to Digital photos may be submitted in jpeg format; the image must be at least 240 dpi and four inches by six inches in size. We regret we cannot accept listings over the phone.