Famed monologist Mike Daisey, who presented two monologues in concert last year at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, has always walked a fine line between dramaturgy and investigative journalism. His play The Last Cargo Cult provided a shrewd critique of mass production, developed largely during a trip to the island of Tanna. It's only outpaced by The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, a piece Mr. Daisey wrote to explain how his infatuation with and curiosity about Apple technology ultimately led him to visit the Foxconn factories in China. The phrase "Agony and Ecstasy" is entirely apropos, since the play, which was recently featured on Public Radio International show This American Life, is both a diatribe and a somewhat reluctant hagiography.
Apparently, something in the air of the show at the Independent Friday night made it particularly easy to overshare — in fact, it seemed impossible not to. Perhaps it was because the show was sold out weeks in advance; being inside felt like you had won the lottery, and the crowd seemed utterly grateful (at least upfront; audible chatter from the back of the room could be heard in quieter moments). Likewise, the bands* seemed humbled and happy to be there, which always helps. Or maybe it was the weather that day, which had been more summerlike than mid-winter. Whatever the case, both frontwomen of Sea of Bees and Wye Oak indulged in quite a bit of talking last night, which only seemed to endear them more to their fans. “I’m gonna shut up now,” was the line both women said at one point.
(* Apologies that I missed openers Social Studies and 21st Century)
In case you missed it, Lil Kim (not this one, this one) has rebranded herself as a cabaret star, of sorts. During her last Bay Area tour, the famed mistress of Junior M.A.F.I.A. descended on the Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko, for an "intimate," grown and sexy performance. At least one East Bay Express commenter gave it rave reviews. Now she's coming to Oakland for a night of hip-hop at the East Bay's premiere LGBT club, Bench & Bar (510 17th St., Oakland). It goes down Saturday, March 17, at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $60, though we suspect a night with the self-claimed "Ms. G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)" could be worth every penny. Grab yours here.
Alexis Krauss is the cutest person alive. Can we all agree on this, just take the other seven billion people on earth out of the running right now? I mean, LOOK AT HER. The best. Definitely no less than usual last night at the Regency for her and guitarist/partner-in-crime Derek Edward Miller's sold-out show, at which Krauss shimmied, strutted, skipped, and jumped, head bobbing, booty shaking, and face posituvely beaming, like a hyperactive eight-year old, a giddy teenager — or maybe just a 25-year-old from Brooklyn, punch-drunk on her first real stretch of totally-deserved fame. A friend who'd seen Sleigh Bells at Coachella warned me that that show was seriously marred by an overactive soundsystem that all but drowned out Krauss' vocals, but not this time: Rocking her apparently-signature cutoffs-and-white-sneakers combo, Krauss rocketed more than capably through an earsplitting-in-a-good-way, short-but-sweet set that contained pretty much the entirety of 2010's Treats, as well as much of Reign of Terror, released a couple weeks ago. They ended on the explosive "Infinity Guitars," all ragged guitars and singsong vocals; afterwards, as the lights went up and audience filed out, sweaty and satisfied, it seemed like all anyone was talking about was how much they loved Alexis Krauss.
Image Comics Expo
It was 1992 when a group of Marvel Comics' best-selling artists — fed up with the lack of creative license and financial returns afforded to them by their work for the corporate comic-book publisher — made the decision to start Image Comics, a publishing company revolutionary both for encouraging quirky publications (like an illustrated anthology of Belle and Sebastian songs) and for having a creator-owned model that allowed artists ownership of the works they created. It's that credo that gave Robert Kirkman the chance to write a comic book in what was then an unpopular genre — zombies — and, later, the autonomy to adapt what becameThe Walking Dead to television. "It was really kind of a grand experiment to create a company founded on the idea of creative ownership and creative freedom," said Kirkman, who today is one of five partners in the company. "All other entertainment companies take stabs in the dark until something catches on. And then they latch onto it and milk it for all it's worth." Kirkman's just one of a dream team of Image partners, founders, and affiliates appearing at the Image Expo, a three-day celebration of the company's twenty years, at the Oakland Convention Center (1001 Broadway) on Friday through Sunday, February 24-26. The exhaustive weekend-long event includes panel discussions on topics like women in comics, Image's conception, and adapting comic books to television; plus small artists' workshops led by established illustrators like Spawn creator Todd McFarlane; and the requisite Q&A and autograph sessions. Guests can also patronize comic-book vendors and pick up special products only available at the expo. "Those are hot items on eBay," Kirkman quipped. "So I recommend people come early and come every day." Fri. 3-8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $20-$150. 510-451-4000 or ImageComicExpo.com. — Cassie Harwood
Even in the calculatingly self-promotional medium of Internet video-making, it's really hard to just make something go viral. But Song-a-Day producer and former East Bay Express intern Jonathan Mann has better luck than most, perhaps because he's consistently topical and unimpeachably charming. Maybe it's because he knows how to pimp key words — like "vagina" and "Virginia" — or maybe it's his gift for alliteration. Whatever the case, Raw Story writer Stephen C. Webster declared Mann's "Mandatory Transvaginal Ultrasounds" video a sure viral hit. It pertains to the current debate over a GOP-sponsored bill that would require doctors to perform unnecessary external ultrasounds on any woman requesting an abortion in Virginia.
Oakland metal trio High on Fire has announced the details of its new album De Vermis Mysteriis, to be released April 3 on eOne Music. The ten song, 45-minute album (the band's sixth) was recorded at GodCity Studios with producer and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou. The album name, meaning Mysteries of the Worm, is, not surprisingly, an H. P. Lovecraft reference.
The band's PR describes it thus:
"... tough, burly stoner metal that is at once devastatingly epic and mercilessly metallic as superstar guitarist Matt Pike's sizzling ax and avenging-angel riffs fuse with Des Kensel's double-kick-drum onslaught and Jeff Matz's concrete crushing, Burton-esque bass guitar."
Those are some intense adverbs, indeed.
Here's the track listing:
1.) Serums of Liao
2.) Bloody Knuckles
3.) Fertile Green
4.) Madness of an Architect
6.) Spiritual Rites
7.) King of Days
8.) De Vermis Mysteriis
9.) Romulus and Remus
The band is also on its way to SXSW, where it will play six shows. After that, it will join Slayer, Slipknot (!), and Anthrax for the Rockstar Energy Mayhem tour, which stops at Shoreline on July 1.
March 13 Austin, TX Emo's East (Non-SXSW headline show)
March 14 Austin, TX SXSW (MetalSucks day party)
March 15 Houston, TX Fitzgerald's
March 16 Austin, TX SXSW (Brooklyn Vegan day party)
March 17 Austin, TX SXSW TBA
March 18 Austin, TX SXSW (High Times day party)
On Friday night at The Uptown, we announced the winners of BRIEFS, the erotic short film festival we'd held the night before at the Grand Lake Theater. Here they are:
Looking for a fuzz pedal? (Old) new guitar? Maybe a Speak & Spell? Bass amp? You may find all such items (and more) at this weekend's annual Musicians and DIY Electronics Swap Meet. Held at 924 Gilman, the four-hour gadget/gear-dork extravaganza starts at 11 a.m. (right after church!) and goes till 3. So don't sleep in. Admission is free.
Sez organizers: "Suggested items to bring for sell or trade include: musical instruments, amplifiers, electronic parts and supplies, electronic assembly tools, technical books, electronic test gear, electronic kits, etc. Anything to do with playing music or hobby electronics is welcome and encouraged."
Good news and changes afoot, guys. Roughly three and a half months since the flooding of Miss Pearl's Jam House, the restaurant is back up and running, according to Inside Scoop SF. The waterfront joint is slated to reopen for Fat Tuesday (February 21), with a newly renovated, modish interior and its menu still largely intact. It will continue hosting live events like Comedy Off Broadway, which soldiered on during the restaurant's hiatus in one of the adjacent Regatta Rooms. By far the biggest change is the venue moniker: It's been rechristened Miss Pearl's Restaurant & Lounge, a name intended to reflect Oakland's increasingly urbane, revitalized entertainment district.