Listen to the machines

THU 2/27

There's a hidden code by which you can often tell what kind of music a band makes before they even start playing -- their choice of gear. Matching vintage Orange amps and heads? Trust-fund indie-rock. Pawn-shop Casiotone? Cheesy but sincere synth pop. Cherry-hued Rickenbacker? Something manly, classic, and ending in "billy." Guitars forged from gas tanks, VCR casings, and bicycle parts? Neptune.The Boston band began in 1995, a result of guitarist Jason Sanford's scrap-metal sculptures. Neptune's sound seems to be born directly from the waste heap, like Athena springing from the head of Fred Sanford. Dan Boucher and John Manson make jagged, off-time rhythms on saw-blades and oil drums; Sanford and bassist Mark Pearson create abrasive, coppery grooves while screaming rusty murder; and the whole thing is welded together into a sort of Gang-of-Four-meets-Metal-Machine-Music contraption. Check it out Thursday, 9 p.m. at the Stork, $6 cover; and Friday, 8 p.m. at 924 Gilman, all ages, $5 cover. 510-444-6174 (Stork Club), 510-525-9926 (924 Gilman). -— Stefanie Kalem

THU 2/27

"N" Marks the Spot

Thrillville and the Werepad must have ingested too much wolfsbane, because Thursday's much-anticipated screening of the rare blaxploitation flick The Candy Tangerine Man at the Parkway has been indefinitely postponed at the last minute. In its place, funkadelic time travelers are being treated to Boss Nigger, a mostly-forgotten 1975 Western starring Fred "The Hammer" Williamson -- from those brave days when popular African-American entertainment let it all hang out. Think of it as the grind-house answer to Blazing Saddles, with rough-tough bounty hunter Fred called upon to whomp a passel of rednecks while costars D'Urville Martin and Barbara Leigh look on admiringly. Smile when you say the title, please. This oddity comes to the East Bay via the "voodoo vaults" of SF's famed Werepad. Where else could you see this gem except at the Parkway, Thursday night at 9:15? Nowhere, baby. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 3/1

Heroic Eros

Bring your assorted fetishes and kinks. They'll have plenty of company at the grand opening of Berkeley's new Sacred Profanities art gallery (2729 San Pablo Ave., 510-849-4692), the Bay Area's first commercial gallery devoted exclusively to erotic art. "Assorted Flavors," the inaugural show, features works by 26 different artists, all dedicated to the gods and goddesses of Eros and the promotion of sex-positive thinking. In attendance will be contributing artists Annie Sprinkle (prostitute/porn star turned Ph.D sexologist), Carol Queen (writer, speaker, educator, activist, and former Express columnist), Michael Rosen, David Steinberg, Phyllis Christopher, and gallery co-owner Ruby Pearl, whose vulvacentric mixed-media sculptures include not only a nude female bust clad in fur and snakeskin, but also the fabulous squirting-vulva fountain that adorns the shop's entryway. Pearl says the original idea for Sacred Profanities came out of her frustration trying to find a gallery to represent her work; most commercial art spaces assume that no one will buy erotic art, so they don't show it, which discourages artists from making it. With Sacred Profanities, she and co-owner Steve DeAngelo hope to break that cycle, and to celebrate sex as something beautiful and divine, not shameful and smutty. Even the space itself is a work of art, with a luscious juicy-purple-pink exterior you've got to see to believe. The opening party (Saturday, March 1, 7 p.m.) will include aphrodisiac refreshments, living sculptures, music, and spoken-word performances. And don't miss the gift shop, a permanent adjunct to the gallery, which features all kinds of unique, hand-made products: nipple chocolates, vulva-shaped soap, Ruby Pearl's silver pussy jewelry, and more. —- Lindsey Westbrook

THU 2/27

From the Ashes

The East Bay Hills fire of 1991 scarred memories as well as houses. One artist, Joy Newhart, was especially inspired after moving into a home built on the foundations of a burned-down dwelling. Perth, her video tribute to the disaster, takes its name from a phoenix-like mythological bird that rises from the ashes. It incorporates newsreel footage, interviews with survivors, and their personal videos, as well as dances evoking the wildfire. Perth plays two performances only, Thursday and Saturday, February 27 and March 1, 8 p.m., at Mills College's Lisser Hall, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. Info: 510-430-2175. -- Kelly Vance

THU 2/27

Cuts Both Ways

"Dollar records are the most influential thing in my life," said Cuts frontman/guitarist Andy Jordan in an Express interview in December 2001. "Well, dollar records and weed." The band's blend of bargain-bin obscurecore, late-'70s NY art-punk, and California mellow has now earned them a deal with Birdman Records. Get yourself a slice Thursday at the Oakland Metro (201 Broadway) 9 p.m., $7, all ages. -- Stefanie Kalem


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