Critic's Choice for the week of October 23-29, 2002 

The Donnas rock, Bonfire Madigan freaks out, the SF Jazz Festival turns 20, a Bavarian accordionist accompanies Nosferatu, and Day of the Dead coagulates.


The Donnas are on a major --- Atlantic -- with an album that may thrill the TRL crowd, but to old-school aficionados it may just be an overproduced parody of the band. The group's overt sexuality, which at one time was irreverent and sharp, now sounds hellsa goofy. And dang it, the gals learned how to play their instruments -- but they still rock live. They're at the Great American Music Hall on Thursday. 415-885-0750. (Katy St. Clair)

Madigan Shive -- she of the moaning cello and witchy-twitchy P.J. Harvey voice -- is back with a gorgeous vengeance. Her chamber-punk band Bonfire Madigan has a new EP, a tour, and Shive herself has a column about unsigned musicians beginning this December in Venus zine. BMad performs Friday at the Ladies Art Revival Film Fest at 924 Gilman. 510-524-8180. (Stefanie Kalem)


The San Francisco Jazz Festival kicks off its twentieth year on Wednesday in the Regency Ballroom with a New Orleans bash featuring the Dirty Dozen and ReBirth brass bands, Nicholas Payton's Soul Patrol, Donald Harrison and Idris Muhammad's Congo Nation Indians, Zigaboo Modeliste's Aahkeestra, and Mitch Woods' Big East Boogie. Other highlights of the three-week event's first seven days include the Charlie Hunter-Idris Muhammad Duo on Thursday at the Regency, Jon Jang (with David Murray) and Vijay Iyer at Herbst Theatre on Thursday, Ruben Blades on Friday at the Regency, Caetano Veloso on Friday at the Masonic Auditorium, Wayne Shorter and Branford Marsalis on Saturday at the Masonic Auditorium, Jane Monheit and Bill Charlap on Sunday at Herbst, Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner on Sunday at the Masonic, a Benny Goodman tribute by Eddie Daniels (with Bucky Pizzarelli) and Jim Rothermel on Sunday at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, and an all-star salute to Oakland pianist Ed Kelly on Tuesday at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. 415-788-7353. (Lee Hildebrand)

Although he's lived in the Bay Area for the past 22 years, Larry Schneider is better known in Europe -- where he's gigged with George Gruntz, Daniel Humair, and Quincy Jones -- than he is in these parts. One of the most formidable saxophonists on the planet, the onetime Horace Silver and Bill Evans sideman plays a rare local engagement Sunday afternoon at the Jazzschool. 510-845-5373. (L.H.)


Shot eighty years ago in Bavaria, F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu was the first movie version of Bram Stoker's Dracula tale and remains one of the creepiest vampire movies ever. In a one-week revival at Berkeley's Fine Arts Theater, the silent film classic gets an additional boost Thursday through next Wednesday with live music accompaniment by the amazing accordionist Rich Kuhns. It's sponsored, appropriately, by Berkeley's Boaz Accordions. 510-848-1143. (Larry Kelp)


This Sunday, the Fruitvale district in Oakland celebrates the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. Altars remembering the dearly departed will line International Boulevard between 33rd and 41st avenues, along with arts, crafts, and info booths. Two stages will host an array of music, including Tierra -- the East LA low-rider band that scored a hit in 1980 with "Together" -- and such resident talent as Jesus Diaz y Su QBA, Los Cenzontles, and Loco Bloco. 510-535-6904. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


Some say that Armenian-Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian can sing anything better than almost anyone. Hear for yourself at the 27-year-old's Cal Performances debut recital Sunday afternoon in Hertz Hall. Martin Katz accompanies her in a most unusual program that includes works by Granados, Barber ("Hermit Songs"), Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Hovhaness, Ganatchian, and Khachaturian. 510-642-9988. (Jason Serinus)


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