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The SFLGFB rains disaster upon Crockett.

Some years ago, Jadine Louie went looking for more places to play her French horn. Some of her colleagues asked her if she'd be interested in joining the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band. "I'd been playing with them for years, and I think for most of those years they were wondering about me, but too afraid to ask," she says. Now in her eighth year as the band's artistic director, Louie comments that not everyone in the band is gay, "so you can't tell anyway." So perhaps they should change their name to the "Sometimes Straight, but Never Narrow Band." "Yes," she says, "and trans and questioning and celibate, and who knows?"

It's a little late for a name change, anyway. Founded in 1978, the SFLGFB was the first openly gay musical organization in the world, and its annual Dance-Along Nutcracker concert is one of SF's most beloved holiday events. And while the band's basic concept may no longer raise eyebrows, Louie isn't afraid to rock the boat. The band's latest concert, Boom! The Music of Catastrophe, started taking shape in her mind long before the Asian tsunami had hit. She began with a piece about the walls of Jericho, "and then I just got on all these things that get squashed and crushed and rain upon you."

When Louie revealed the theme, band secretary Doug Litwin was understandably concerned. But Boom!, to be performed for free at 8 p.m. Saturday at the John Swett H.S. Auditorium (1098 Pomona St., Crockett) might just provide people with a fresh prism through which to look at the recent disasters. "The pieces we're doing," she says, "are not so much about disaster and catastrophe as they are about -- well, some of them are downright humorous. And the other ones, I feel they have an intense liveliness to them, particularly [Frank Ticheli's] 'Vesuvius.' It's this ecstatic dance; it's so up, it's so bright, you've got to wonder what that has to do with the volcano. It's not about the volcano. It's about how a person would dance if they knew the volcano was going to blow tomorrow." For more information, visit


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