And you can dance to it

FRI 1/23

Subverting the gender binary has always been sexy in an outlawish, freaky-deaky kinda way, which is why songs like Bitesize's "Switch Hitler" draw fans in, while making them squirm. But that kind of friction is part of the band's appeal. Combining bubblegum-poppy guitar lines with teeth-grinding bass and scabrous, deadpan lyrics, Bitesize is making it cool to be a transgender rocker -- in the Bay Area indie scene, at least. If that sounds like rosy-fingered gorgeousness to you, you'll want to check out Bitesize's über-crushworthy brethren (and sistern), San Francisco's own Quails. A cut above your average indie-boho outfit, the Quails are famous for championing local arts organizations, while taking swipes at city officials, corporate fat cats, and the status quo. Alongside iconoclastic punk group King Cobra and Brooklyn-reared newbie Wikkid, these artists are toeing the line for post-pomos, homos, and weirdos of all stripes. All of the above play Friday at Oakland Metro, 201 Broadway. 9 p.m., $7. --Rachel Swan

MON 1/26

Men, Islands

Solo variety at 21 Grand

Does Rich Mackin like advertising? On one hand, he spends an awful lot of time writing letters to businesses large and small, about their ads -- letters that are sometimes pointed, sometimes absurd, but almost always really funny. So he hates marketing, right? Well, his "Consumer Defense Corporate Poetry" has been anthologized into two books, so he has to be at least a little thankful for salesmanship. Perhaps if he wishes to step up his attack on the salesfolk of the world, he'll enlist the aid of Schaffer the Darklord, an SF-based he-demon who wields hip-hop, comedy, a spiked belt, and a cape with equally evil aplomb. See them tonight at 21 Grand, 449-B 23rd St., Oakland, along with one-man indie rock band cartographer. All-ages, 9 p.m., $5-$10 sliding scale. Info: 510-444-7263.-- Stefanie Kalem


Get Shorty

Painter Jacob Stewart-Halevy is not afraid to tackle the really big concepts in his artwork -- memory, experience, the nature of thought, the inner life of the mind as opposed to public reality, etc. His canvases don't boil with ideas so much as percolate with perceptions. Stewart-Halevy's new series, The Myth of the Homunculi , may or may not deal explicitly with the minuscule, although perfectly formed, men of its title, but the images are dense with allusions. "The Myth of the Homunculi" opens Monday with a reception (4-6 p.m.) at UC Berkeley's Worth-Ryder Gallery, 116 Kroeber Hall (Bancroft at College), alongside a painting exhibition by Indira Martina Mesihovic, Mind LineScapes . For more info: 510-642-2582. -- Kelly Vance

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