This Week's Picks: April 30 - May 6, 2014

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May the fourth be with you

THURSDAY 1

 

Carletta Sue Kay

Randy Walker has been active in the San Francisco music scene for over 15 years, singing in various bands and working at our beloved Amoeba records, but it was only when he adopted the female persona befitting of his songwriting that he began gaining recognition. For his alter ego, Walker adopted the name of his cousin, an ex-con who served time for domestic terrorism and threatening to blow up her boyfriend with a pipe bomb. As Carletta Sue Kay, Walker is a sight to behold, wig askew, makeup smeared, and dress disheveled. But what comes out of Carletta's mouth is anything but messy. Ranging from torch songs to pure rock and roll, Walker's voice soars clearly and beautifully, singing of love and heartbreak in a truly touching way. (Haley Zaremba)

With the Young Lovers, Moon Honey, Queen Crescent

8pm, $10

The Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011

www.rickshawstop.com

 

 

Astonishing Animation

If you have yet to experience the mystical and beautiful worlds built by Hayao Miyazaki, your inner child is missing out. From the lush countryside where a magical Totoro roams, to an ethereal castle that floats high in the clouds, to a bustling bathhouse filled with both good and bad spirits, Miyazaki's films bring together stunning animation and sublime storytelling that's entertaining for both children and adults. This week, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts begins its monthlong tribute to Japanese animation with a retrospective of the most influential films by Studio Ghibli and its founder. After 50 years in animation — and a well-deserved Oscar — the Japanese animator and director announced his retirement (for the third time) last month on the eve of the US release of his The Wind Rises. While the films are crucial to Japanese culture, with countless references to Japanese mythology, they also serve as social commentary on the environment, technology, and gender roles. Explore the astonishing realms and characters that have captivated audiences for centuries, beginning with Miyazaki's debut film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. (Laura B. Childs)

7:30pm, $10

Check YBCA's website for additional showtimes

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF

(415) 978 2787

www.ybca.org

 

 

 

San Francisco Ballet

This is San Francisco Ballet's last program of the season, and one that illustrates why some of us still love ballet the way we do. The intellectual rigor and deep musicality of George Balanchine's Agon remains as breathtaking as it was when premiered in 1957. In 1983, Jerome Robbins — who has been called the greatest American-born choreographer — also took the music of his time and made it his own. In Glass Pieces, named after its composer but perhaps also for its luminous transparency, you see the music come to life by giving it a swing that is quintessentially Robbins. In between the two, Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson programmed Mr. B's Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet. The work is musically intriguing, and gorgeously choreographed. You need first-class dancers to make it work. SFB has them. (Rita Felciano)

May 1, 3, 6, 9, 8pm; May 3 and 11, 2pm; May 7, 7:30pm; $15-$340

War Memorial Opera House, SF

(415) 865-2000

www.sfballet.org

 

FRIDAY 2

 

Marcus Shelby: The Legacy of Duke Ellington: 50 Years of Swing!

Put up your dukes: Shakespeare's got them, and so does jazz. They come together in this glorious tribute to Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington by Marcus Shelby and his 16-piece jazz orchestra. The two-part program begins with selections from the incomparable composer's full half-century of music making, featuring guest appearances by singer Faye Carol and violinist Mathew Szemela. Then, in the second half,Shelby and his orchestra join forces with members of the California Shakespeare Theater, performing Such Sweet Thunder, Ellington and celebrated collaborator Billy Strayhorn's 12-part musical suite inspired by the woks of the Bard. (Robert Avila)

May 2, 8pm, $22 and up

Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley

(510) 642-9988

www.calperformances.org

 

SATURDAY 3


Cinco de Mayo Block Party

It's that time of year again when the United States celebrates a Mexican holiday that Mexico doesn't celebrate. Where Americans see the date as a sort of Mexican Fourth of July, Mexican-Americans observe Cinco de Mayo to honor their heritage. In their 152 years, the Cinco de Mayo festivities have continuously brought together Americans and Mexicans from a variety of communities and backgrounds. This year's celebration will take place in the heart of the Mission District on Valencia Street between 21st and 24th streets. The block party will include yummy Latino foods, exotic music and dance as well as colorful artistry for purchase. Enjoy the sunny Sunday with this vibrant community that has shaped our city's culture. (Childs)

10am-6pm, free

Valencia between 21st and 24th streets, SF

(415) 206-7752

www.sfcincodemayo.com

 

Trainwreck Cabaret

One part comedy show, one part burlesque night, one part off-color magic showcase, Trainwreck Cabaret bills itself as "San Francisco's most unusual variety show," a wild, woolly mashup of singers, dancers, and all kinds of other performers from the city's creative underground; the idea is to take the vibe of old vaudeville and give it a dark (darker?) modern twist. Hire a babysitter, grab an early drink nearby, and enter the charmingly divey Dark Room Theater with zero expectations — this monthly showcase is the place to be for a good, weird time. Who says the Mission's all yuppies these days? (Emma Silvers)

10pm, $20

Dark Room Theater

2263 Mission, SF

www.darkroomsf.com

 

SUNDAY 4

 

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

If you tire of the Powell and Market street performers — no disrespect, that dude on the buckets is no joke — 'tis the season to wiggle over a few blocks and check out the impressive talent on display at this year's Yerba Buena Gardens festival. Today's kick-off concert features a 10-time Grammy winner, Latin jazz pianist Eddie Palmieri, and his Salsa Orchestra; Palmieri is 77 years young and has been putting out records since 1962. The rest of the fest, which runs through Oct. 26, includes a wide array of performers, with the next few weeks bringing San Jose Taiko, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Ensemble Mik Nawooj, André Thieffy and Zydeco Magic, John Santos Sextet, and more to the stage. Pack a lunch and soak up the sounds. (Cheryl Eddy)

1pm, free

Yerba Buena Gardens

760 Howard, SF

www.ybgfestival.org

 

 

 

Urban Air Market

Hayes Valley welcomes the Urban Air Market for the first time this year. Explore over 100 booths selling sustainable men's, women's, and children's apparel, eco-friendly art and home decor, and organic beauty and health products. What's more, in celebration of its 10th anniversary, the sustainable marketplace will have live music and creative performances, DIY demos and "re-fashion" workshops. Whether you're on the hunt for a special Mother's Day gift, looking for a unique gift for yourself, or just in need of an outdoor stroll, this urban block party is the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon affair. (Childs)

11am-6pm, free

Octavia at Hayes, SF

www.urbanairmarket.com

 

 

 

How Weird Street Faire

This street fair, an electronic music dance party that has long been one of our favorite events in San Francisco, returns for its 15th annual incarnation, bigger and better than ever. With a tip of its space helmet to the date it landed on this year — "May the Fourth be with you," the unofficial Star Wars Day — the theme for this year is How Weird in Outer Space. So come as your favorite alien or space cadet, or come in good old-fashioned raver ware, but just come — because this is a seven-stage dance party not to be missed. (Steven T. Jones)

Noon-8pm, $10 requested donation (gets you a Magic Sticker good for reduced-price drinks)

Howard at 2nd St, SF

www.howweird.org

 

MONDAY 5

 

Ingrid Michaelson

Picking up the piano at age four and attending private music schools throughout her upbringing, Ingrid Michaelson's entire life has revolved around music. Now, at 34, it shows. Michaelson has perfected the art of the pop hook and disarming lyricism. After she worked tirelessly to self-record, self-promote, and even co-release all her own work, Michaelson's DIY ethic finally got her noticed on the Internet in 2006. Thanks to her insanely catchy and cleverly tender "The Way I Am," Michaelson found her way to the spotlight and continues to churn out charming sing-alongs that are impossible to dislike. Her songs have been featured in virtually every popular TV show, and you may be surprised at just how many of her songs you're familiar with. Her charged, confident live act is not to be missed. (Zaremba)

With Storyman, The Alternate Routes

7:30pm, $29.50

Fox Theater

1807 Telegraph, Oakland

(510) 302-2250

www.thefoxoakland.com

 

TUESDAY 6


The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

With a name like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, it's difficult not to regress into your angsty 16-year-old self. The band was born in the time of MySpace, putting out songs with longer titles than length, making them relatable and, better yet, quotable — perfect for scribbling in notebook margins or typing into AIM away messages. The Pains have grown from an awkward trio playing drum beats on an iPod into a solid indie foursome since Kip Berman and Alex Naidus formed the band based on a mutual reverence for Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana. Fun fact: Keyboard and backup vocalist Peggy Wang doubles as one of the pioneering editors at BuzzFeed. The indie band veers into shoegaze with its lulling boy-girl vocals. The Pains are playing at the Independent just a week before the release of Days of Abandon, so expect several songs from the band's upcoming third album. (Childs)

8pm, $15

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421

www.theindependentsf.com

 


Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor with David Byrne

Having recently been re-issued via Luaka Bop, featured from NPR to Vice, and championed by Damon Albarn, now is the opportune time for Nigerian musician William Onyeabor to rise from (near hoax-like) obscurity and revel in belated fame. [See: Rodriguez.] Just one problem: a born-again Christian, Onyeabor has cast out and disowned the synthesizer-driven (and occasionally politically minded) Afro-funk dance tracks he created in the '70s and '80s. But to celebrate the music, a cover band featuring David Byrne, Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor, Bloc Party's Kele Okereke, and LCD Soundsystem drummer Pat Mahoney should do it justice. (Ryan Prendiville)

With The Lijadu Sisters, Joshua Redman, Sinkane, Money Mark, and more

8pm, $32.50-45

The Warfield

982 Market, SF

(415) 345-0900

www.thewarfieldtheatre.com

 

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