Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Music: John Adams on Finding his Voice

If you happen to have a copy of the August 25 New Yorker, don’t miss this article by the composer John Adams, in which he discusses finding his compositional voice back in the 1970s and early 1980s. (Check out the keywords they tagged the article with: Adams, John; Composers; Memoirs; “Harmonium”; de Waart, Edo; Studebaker; San Francisco, California.) The abstract begins:

PERSONAL HISTORY about the writer’s years as an aspiring composer in San Francisco. … The writer’s plan was to live as a proletarian worker by day and an avant-garde composer at night. He worked unloading clothes from shipping containers. He wrote no music for a year and began falling into a depression. … [So he soon got a job at] the San Francisco Conservatory. The writer taught there for ten years, by fits and starts finding his voice as a composer.

On a personal note, I have a friend who tried that proletarian approach too, though without the Marxist pretensions; he lasted on the Oakland waterfront just long enough for a hernia to force him to do something else. He’s gone into a profession that is similarly friendly to composition: freelance software coding.

If you don’t have a copy of the issue, this 15-minute episode of the The New Yorker Out Loud features John Adams discussing his career, and in the process he hits all the main points in the article. Plus there’s background music. (Phrygian Gates!) Now I’m never going to be able to go past the south windmill at the western end of Golden Gate Park without thinking of John Adams, as he apparently lived about two blocks from there.

SFFS: Mad for Manchester

Ian Curtis
[Ian Curtis, singer of Joy Division. Photo attribution unknown; I found it here.]

If you’re looking for something to do tonight and you’re into Joy Division, SF360 is running a program at one of our favorite clubs, Mezzanine, all about the late-70s rock group Joy Division. Remember Joy Division? Sure you do. After singer Ian Curtis committed suicide a few weeks shy of his 24th birthday, the group re-formed as New Order. If you don’t know either one … where have you been, anyway?

The program consists of two films and a musical interlude. The first film, which screens at 7:30, is a documentary about the band directed by Grant Gee, the same guy who did the Radiohead doc, Meeting People is Easy. The second film starts at 10:00; it’s a biopic about Ian Curtis, called Control. I’m not much for biopics, but I’ve heard good things about this one.

The musical interlude is going to be a Manchester-themed set spun by DJ Axelson.

Event page here; tix $12. Hope to see you there!

Pretty, Well, Good


Maybe I went to Sunday’s Good Magazine party at 111 Minna with expectations that were too high. But last year’s subscriber event seemed to draw a bigger and more excitable crowd, not to mention a larger number of sustainable and creative companies. Nau was notably missing this year, but that could be part of their near-miss closing and upcoming restart.

Still, to be fair, the sidewalk party and its solar-powered stage are a fun excuse to spend an afternoon sipping Dark and Stormys (or chai if that’s more to your liking). I like the work the magazine is doing to make young people more aware of international affairs, even if it takes boxed wine vendors to get us to put our money where our mouths are.

Totally awesome weekend

The number of things to do this weekend is mind-blowing. What shall it be?

Awesome local rockers 20 Minute Loop, whose new album Famous People Marry Famous People is filled with power-pop goodness reminiscent of Letters to Cleo, performs tonight at Bottom of the Hill.

The Porchlight reading series celebrates its 6th anniversary with a show on the Seven Deadly Sins, 8:00 pm at the Swedish American Hall. And tomorrow Ishmael Reed and Mistress Morgana headline Writers with Drinks at 7:30 pm at the Makeout Room.

CineKink, a program of alternative erotic films written up this week by the unsinkable Violet Blue, plays tonight at 7:00 pm at YBCA. And for the less carnally minded, Artists Television Access has The Monastery, about an old guy who buys a castle with the idea that it will some day become a spiritual retreat, and the nuns who take him up on it.

Or just hit the beach. It’s nice and cool out there today.

Another Treasure Island Music Fest

While the idea of getting on the Treasure Island shuttle kept me away last year (who would want to go to a place that doesn’t even have a grocery store when there is so much wonder cityside?), I was excited to see the lineup for this year’s music festival. September will bring Justice, my favorite Canadians Tegan & Sara, and the somewhat dark sounding and delicious Okkervil River. Consider me in line at AT&T park.

The Gits Movie – Two Bay Area Screenings

Tonight and Monday mark the only two theatrical screenings of The Gits Movie in the Bay Area.
Gits Movie at Embarcadero Cinema
The film explores the saga of one of the better punk bands I’ve ever had the chance to see in action, whose career was cut tragically short not by the usual mix of lethargy and substance abuse, but by the singer’s horrific rape and murder as she walked home from the Comet Tavern 15 years ago this week. The startling crime sent shockwaves through the Seattle rock scene, stopped a brilliant band in it’s tracks, and suspicions and rumors ran amok for 10 years until DNA testing eventually revealed the culprit. Now a whole new generation has been discovering The Gits through their records ( including the newly issued Best Of The Gits and You Tube videos like the one below.

The film documents the faces of the post grunge era, including interviews with the band, and their friends and supporters who include Joan Jett, Kathleen Hanna, and many local SF residents including Broken Rekids label honcho (and now Rainbow Grocery beer & wine buyer) Mike Millet.

The San Francisco screening is on Monday July 7th at The Landmark Embarcadero Cinema with a special post screening Q&A with members of Seven Year Bitch.

The Oakland screening at the Uptown tonight on Saturday July 5th offers the added opportunity to see The Gits drummer Steve Moriarty now a local resident, in action with a new band he’s just started with Dead Kennedy’s bassist Klaus Flouride.

For more info see the links

7/5 Uptown Oakland or 7/7 Landmark Embarcadero in SF

Asian Art Museum Matcha Event: Sound of the Sages


Last month I posted about the Asian Art Museum’s first-Thursday event series, called Matcha, after the delicious powdered green tea. It was fun; I attended a lecture about how green tea will cure all your ills (and it’s hard to disagree), listened to awesome music, watched people stick their tongues out, and tried out cupping — which didn’t really “adjust my chi,” although it did leave me with an impressive circular bruise that lasted a week.

Be that as it may, it was fun and interesting enough that I’m going to risk minor injury once more, and go to today’s event, Sound of the Sages. I don’t exactly know how I could be injured listening to the guqin performance at 7 PM, or trying out brush painting, but I seem to have an instinct for it.

To quote the event page:

Renowned guqin performer and scholar Wang Fei guides us on a special musical journey, introducing Chinese culture and bringing to life the sound of the sages. Performing guqin masterpieces from different dynasties, she will also share the legends and folktales behind the music and intimate her own commentary and insights to bring these ancient works to present day.

Elsewhere in the museum, try your hand at brush painting, chat with a docent about the museum’s special exhibition Power & Glory: Court Arts of China’s Ming Dynasty, explore the scholarly arts of China in the galleries, or simply enjoy a drink with friends.

Wang Fei’s performance is co-presented with the North American Guqin Association and is made possible by LIVING CULTURES GRANTS from The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA).

I can attest that the Ming Dynasty exhibit was also awesome, and I’m looking forward to wandering through some of the galleries I missed the first time.

As always, admission to the entire museum, including all the above events, is $5 after 5 PM. The event runs from 5-9 PM; the guqin performance is at 7. The Asian Art Museum is on Larkin, next door to one of my favorite buildings in town, Main Library.

Liz Phair at the Fillmore

Liz Phair, circa 2004

Perhaps I’m dating myself, but I remember a time when Liz Phair was a fresh and promising voice in alt-rock, a sultry siren singing of balding lotharios and of being oral royalty. I remember seeing a then-rare, live performance at her alma mater, Oberlin College, in which I became permanently smitten with this smart, sexy, direct woman.

Then came her brief dalliance with The Matrix production team.


Are you ready to Raaaawk?

The new and improved Warfield Theatre at 982 Market street will be reopened and filling it’s seats soon!!

The Warfield has been a popular venue since the 1920s. It was featured in the music DVD, Slayer: War at the Warfield, filmed on December 7th, 2001.

The auditorium’s last show before closing was Phil Lesh, but now has a list of shows ready to go on sale June 22nd, 2008 for September and October dates. Here’s a few:

ON SALE Sun, 06/22/08 10:00 AM

Sat, 09/20/08
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Fri, 09/26/08

Sat, 09/27/08

(on sale in September:)
Sun, 12/21/08
Brian Setzer Orchestra

Tickets on Sale for the Warfield

Be in a real Rock Band…

School’s out, summer is around the corner. It’s time to get out there and do some of that stuff you’ve been putting off for months.

Remember January 1st and that list you made?

A) Get handle on finances
B) Go to the gym
C) Take up a new hobby

Well, no one is going to make you hit that gym any harder, but if you want to pick up a new hobby for a price that won’t hurt your finances, you should try the San Francisco Community Music Center!

CMC offers a sliding scale pay rate and even some work exchange for dedicated students. They offer a wide range of music lessons and even have rental equipment available. And if that wasn’t enough, they even offer VERY cheap practice space rental, WITH pianos!

There are two beautiful locations in the city: Richmond district, and the Mission district. Both are large houses, surrounded by gardens and trees. There are MUNI bus lines within a block of both locations.

After a few weeks paying a fraction of the usual cost for music lessons with talented professionals, you can even take part in a concert.

San Francisco Community Music Center

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.