Out & About
by Jim Provenzano
Listening to Pink Martini is like stepping into an evocative dreamscape from the big band era, which is what Thomas Lauderdale, the leader, composer and pianist of this "little orchestra" set out to accomplish.
A modern flair pervades the group's pop, bossa nova and torch song influences, particularly when Lauderdale, an out gay musician with a tuft of bleach-blond hair atop a shorn head, leads the band into songs in Croatian, Italian or Portuguese that, while seemingly traditional, have some post-modern messages woven into lyrics and stylings.
With two self-produced CDs under their belt (Sympathique and Hang On, Little Tomato ) which have sold more than a million copies worldwide, Pink Martini maintains its unique style while still garnering the attention of industry insiders (their music has been featured in car commercials, on The Sopranos and other TV shows).
After their sold out concert with the San Francisco Symphony last July, which Lauderdale says is "the best orchestra we've played with" â€“including the Boston Popsâ€“ Pink Martini returns to San Francisco's Warfield Theatre on Nov. 15.
Formed in 1994 with Lauderdale's former Harvard classmate China Forbes (both were residents at the prestigious university's "scandalous artsy dormitory" Adams house), the Portland-based band has won acclaim in Paris and other cities. After their gig here, they'll perform in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Born in Oakland at a naval hospital and "put up on the auction block," Lauderdale was adopted by a non-musical family who nevertheless encouraged his talents. "It's kind of a relief to be coming from nowhere," he said.
Lauderdale studied classical piano since age 6. As a young adult, he was contracted to play a few concertos, which led him to visit Portland, and eventually stay there.
His new family is his band. Even after their first CD's release, comprised of various composers' songs, "the idea of writing a song never occurred to me." For their second CD, Lauderdale and Forbes, with the collaboration of band members, put out a collection of mostly original songs.
"The idea was to create an atmosphere like a '40s Hollywood musical with a global United Nations approach," said Lauderdale. "The songs were all cinematic in a sense. They have a feel of Gilda, All About Eve, or Fellini's 8 Â½."
With 14 people all sharing in the profits ($8 per CD versus less than $1 if they signed to a major label), collaboration is key to the group's success. "No record executive can take better care of us than ourselves," he said. "Our audience doesn't download music. They buy albums."
The band was formed as an act that played at fundraisers for the No on 13 campaign (the rightwing Christian Coalition-inspired Oregon Citizens' Alliance created a 1994 ballot proposition aimed at banning anti-discrimination ordinances based on sexual orientation and prohibiting the use of public funds to "promote" homosexuality in schools. The measure was rejected, largely through the work of LGBT activists.)
Asked if he feels a need to write songs with gay themes, Lauderdale offers hints about queer threads in his work. "If one pays attention to the lyrics, like in 'Autrefois' (sung in French), it might appear that someone is lesbian."
But overall, his aim is to appeal to a wider audience, and not to a specific group, referencing a quote from film director John Waters, that "Being gay is not enough."
"Certainly there are times when I want to make huge political statements," said Lauderdale. "But we're really popular in Oregon farming communities, and in Utah with Mormons. The people in the audience are much more conservative than us on stage. In the larger picture, it's more about being inclusive, getting fans be with people they'd never sit next to."
Events Nov. 10-16, 2006
Angels in America @ USF Studio Theatre
Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning drama about 1980s greed, politics, AIDS, sexuality and Mormon theology gets a student-cast staging by USF's Performing Arts and Social Justice Dept. Directed by Peter Novak. Part of USF's series of AIDS-related presentations. (Part 2: Perestroika, will be performed in Feb. & March 2007). $8-$12. 7pm. (also Nov. 4 & 11 at 1pm). Wed.-Sat. thru Nov. 18. University of San Francisco Lone Mountain Campus, Turk Blvd at Parker Ave. www.usfperformances.com
Company @ Masquers Playhouse, Point Richmond
Stephen Sondheim's witty musical comedy about commitment-phobic urbanites, who gather to celebrate Robert's 35th birthday, includes the songs "Getting Married Today," "The Ladies Who Lunch," and "Being Alive." $18. 8pm. Fri. & Sat. (Sun. at 2:30pm) Thru Dec. 16. 105 Park Place, Point Richmond. (510) 232-4031. www.masquers.org
Convenience @ New Conservatory Theatre Center
Gregg Coffin's highly melodic and uniquely heartwarming musical about Liz, a single mother, and her estranged son Vince, who struggles with their mutual past as he moves in with his new boyfriend. $22-$34 ($40 opening night Sat). 8pm. Sun. at 2pm. Thru Dec. 17. 861-8972. www.nctcsf.org
La Fiesta De Los Huesos @ Mission Cultural Center
Day of the Dead altar exhibit, an amazing collection of sculptural collections of mementos and assembled items, each representing departed loved ones. Thru Nov. 17. $2. Guided tours by appointment $30. 2868 Mission St. 643-5001. www.missionculturalcenter.org
Hamlet: Blood in the Brain @ Intersection for the Arts
Campo Santo and California Shakespeare Theatre collaborate in this revised vision of the Bard's classic tragedy. Accomplished playwright Naomi Iizuka has set the kingdom of Elsinore in violence and drug-ravaged 1980s Oakland. $9-$20 sliding scale. 8pm. Thu.-Sat. Thru Nov. 20. 446 Valencia St. (near 15th). 626-3311. www.theintersection.org
Hipolito: Ready, Aim, Fire! @ Mission Cultural Center
Hector Schujman's play where the Greek myth of Hipolito is transposed to modern Argentina during its military dictatorship. $10-18. 8pm. Thru Sun. 2868 Mission St. 643-5001. www.missionculturalcenter.org
How To Die @ Dance Mission
Keith Hennessy, Jules Beckman, and Seth Eisen's collaborative, two-part performance work, which was developed during a residency in France this past summer. "Homeless USA" and "American Tweaker," ruminate on destitution in cities, the delusions of drug-addicted gay men, AIDS, barebacking, the ghost of Sylvester, and tweaking; with text by Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler and local author Kirk Read (How I Learned to Snap). Digital and acoustic music, nudity and adult themes. For mature audiences only. Part of Dance Brigade's Manifesti-Val for Social Change. $15. 8pm. Thru Sun. 3316 24th St. 273-4633. www.dancemission.com
The Little Foxes @ A.C.T.
American Conservatory Theatre presents Lillian Hellman's drama about a post-Civil War southern family in which nothing is more important than money and power. Thru Nov. 26th. 749-2ACT. www.act-sf.org
Marni Nixon @ Eureka Theatre
If you liked Natalie Wood's singing in West Side Story or Audrey Hepburn's in My Fair Lady , you'll love Marni Nixon, who actually did the singing for these and many other actresses in Hollywood musicals. Playwright-lyricist Stephen Cole joins Nixon in an evening of story and song timed with the publication of her autobiography. Proceeds benefit 42nd Street Moon Theatre. $75. 7pm reception, 8pm show. 215 Jackson (btw. Battery & Front). www.42ndstmoon.org
Matty Lee, D. Travers Scott, Trebor Healey @ Various Bookstores
Three gay authors published by Suspect Thoughts Press; Lee, author of 35 Cents, reads with D. Travers Scott (One of These Things Is Not Like the Other), 7:30pm, at Laurel Bookstore, 4100 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. (510)531-2073. Both authors also read â€“ with author/poet Trebor Healey (Sweet Son of Pan, Through It Came Bright Colors ) on Sat., Nov. 11, 8pm at Dog Eared Books, 900 Valencia St., SF. 282-1901. www.dogearedbooks.com. Lee and Scott read again on Sun., Nov. 12, 7:30pm at Books, Inc., 2275 Market St. 864-6777. www.booksinc.net
The Things We Do For Love @ Femina Potens
Opening reception for a new multi-media installation from the Love Art Laboratory of Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, the scholar and sexy performance artist who are partners in love and art. 7pm-10pm. Thru Nov. 29. 465 S. Van Ness Ave. at 16th St. 217-9340. www.feminapotens.com
The Zoo Story @ Exit Theatre
Edward Albee's play about a gripping encounter between Peter, a well-off, well-intentioned family man leading a life of quiet desperation, and Jerry, a rootless drifter seething with resentment. With savage, hard-bitten humor, the play makes plain the costs of complacency and compromise on the one hand, and of an unyielding commitment to the naked truth on the other. $15-$20. 8pm. Thur.-Sat. Thru Nov. 18. www.sffringe.org
Blast From the Past @ LGBT Center
San Francisco's Ducal Court has themed their annual investiture ball set in "1978: A Disco Reunion." Grand Duke Elect Brian Busta and Regent Grand Duchess Renita Valdez preside. Food, a bar and entertainment provided. Prizes for costumes; best male and female in theme. $15. 5pm. 1800 Market St. www.SFDucal.org
From the Bayou to the Bay @ Brava Theater Center
Stories of Katrina survivors in their own words; a theatrical quilt of over 20 interviews with Hurrican Katrina survivors, from age 12 to 104. Hear scholarly, musical, and personal accounts of this terrible disaster. Free, but donations accepted. 8pm. Also Sun. 2789 24th St (at York). 647-2822. www.brava.org
High Tea in Low Drag @ LGBT Center
Party and fundraiser to celebrate the 90th birthday of John Burnside, the celebrated founder of the radical faerie movement and widower of gay movement founder Harry Hay. The event is a fundraiser to help with John's living expenses. Entertainment by Kirk Read, Trebor Healey, Jim E. Sparklepants, Mark Weigel, Blackberri. Tea, cakes and sandwiches served. Raffle of Harry & John's pearls, jewelry, hats, kaleidoscopes from John's kaleidoscope factory. Silent auction of Harry & John's Southwest Indian pottery, unique clothing items, photos and art, and a fashion show including one of a kind radical faerie camouflage skirts. $10-$90. 3pm-6pm. 4th floor Ceremonial Room, 1800 Market St. www.sfcenter.org
Gawk Show @ Magnet SF
Gay Artist and Writers Kollective (GAWK) presents bands, comedy, and spoken word in a free show, plus old album (vinyl) giveaways. 7pm. 4122 18th St. 731 2424. www.magnetsf.org
Lavender Seniors @ San Leandro Community Church
Monthly potluck for LGBT folks over 55. Rides from BART available. Noon. 1395 Bancroft Ave. San Leandro. 667-9655.
The Mutaytor @ The Fillmore
100 tribal drums, live-mixed electronica, shirtless fire performers, hoop dancers, sexy aerial artists, bass player John Avila (of Oingo Boingo), Steve Reid (Rippingtons/Supertramp) on percussion, a live horn section, Chinese parade lions, giant screen visuals and a bevy of interactive dancers and performers; that's The Mutaytor, part hip-grinding techno-retro-funk, part audience-interactive post-modern Burning Man-ish circus. $20. 9pm. 1805 Geary Blvd. 346.6000. www.mutaytor.com www.thefillmore.com
Passing Strange @ Berkeley Repertory Theatre
The world premiere of Passing Strange takes musical theatre on a whole new trip, in the heartfelt, hilarious story of a young Black bohemian who charts a course for "the real" through sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Written and composed by Stew, a celebrated singer/songwriter who developed a cult following with a band called The Negro Problem, with collaborative music by Heidi Rodewald. $23.50-$47. 8pm. Thru Dec. 3. 2025 Addison St. at Shattuck, Berkeley. (510) 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org
San Francisco Concerto Orchestra @ Victorian Englander House
It's a battle between the Puritans & the Exhibitionists in this benefit gala with a 30-piece orchestra playing classical music. Contestants Kenn Gartner, Elizabeth Gaston, Julia Greer, Stephen Pu, Sandra Simich, Barbara Sprung-Wilkes, Lisa Thomas perform solos in concerti, arias, more! Audience may participate in the "Battle" and are invited to wear formal wear/vintage or leather/costumes and judge each other as in real life. Seth Montfort & Annette DiMedio, "The Diva from Philly," will also each perform their famous "Liszt in Leather." $30. 4pm. 807 Franklin Street (at Turk). Reservations: Mark at 563-5135 or email email@example.com
Vegas in Space Reunion @ Clay Theatre
Midnight Mass and hostess Peaches Christ celebrate the 15th anniversary of San Francisco's very own drag scifi flick, Vegas In Space . Peaches will interview director Phillip R. Ford and Miss X. Live performances featuring music heard in the film, and appearances by Ramona Fischer, Timmy Spence, Ginger Quest, Connie Champagne, Katie Guthorn, and Arturo Galster as (the dearly departed) Doris Fish. $12. 2261 Fillmore St. 346-1124. www.landmarkafterdark.com www.peacheschrist.com
Visual Aid's Big Deal 13 @ SOMArts Gallery
Annual fundraiser and massive art sale for the nonprofit that helps artists with life-threatening illnesses. More than 600 art works, each priced at $150, plus raffle prizes and auctions for theatre, film, music, food and hotel certificates. Hors d'oeuvres, desserts, cocktails, entertainment and more. $40. 4pm. 934 Brannan St. at 8th. 777-8242. www.visualaid.org
Ballet Folklorico de Mexico @ Marin Center
Spectacular company of 65 dancers perform works ranging from contemporary Latin American themes to Mayan and Aztec rituals; choreographed by Amalia Hernandez. $20-$60. 3pm. 10 Ave. of the Flags, San Rafael. 499-6800. www.balletamalia.com www.marincenter.org
Bijou @ Martuni's
Live eclectic cabaret, this month lounge-styling it up with classic American tunes. Mark Enea, Tom Geller, David Mahr, Heather Vaughnn, Michael Grove, Justin Weatherby, and Summer Clearance. Femme-ceed and accompanied by Mrs. Trauma Flintstone $5. 7pm. 4 Valencia St. at Market. 241-0205.
Bill Bowers @ Live Art Gallery
This exhibit of Bowers' wall hangings, wearable art and photographs make a virtual diary of life events, including photographs, memorabilia, found objects, bric-a-brac and historical references to gay culture. His wearable collage art has been worn by the Cockettes, Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin. Opening reception 4pm-7pm. Additional showings Nov. 19 and Nov. 26, both also 4pm-7pm. 151 Potrero St. at 15th. 368-5004.
Celebrating Louise Brooks @ Balboa Theatre
An evening of rare films starring the early silent screen star. Author Peter Cowie (who's penned more than 30 cinema books) will present, and sign copies of his new book, Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever. $9. 3630 Balboa Street at 37th Ave. 221-8184. www.BalboaMovies.com
PFLAG Support Group @ St. Francis Lutheran Church
Support group sessions, and talk by PFLAG member Peter Tannen about finding a closeted "Brokeback Mountain" community and helping people come out. A Spanish speaking facilitator and an AIDS family support group will be available. Free. 2pm-4pm. 152 Church Street (at Market). 921-8850. www.pflagsf.org
New Conservatory Theatre's 25th Anniversary @ Presidio Officer's Club
Gala party and fundraiser for the long-running gay theatre company. Enjoy tasty hors d'eouvres, desserts, champagne, and a silent auction. Honorees include Tom Ammiano, Ed Decker, James Hormel, Mark Leno, and Jan Wahl. Schmooze with playwrights, actors and theatre folk, and enjoy entertainment by Billy Philadelphia, Daniel Fabricant and Randy Odell. $25-$125. 2pm-5pm. 50 Moraga Ave. 861-8972. www.nctcsf.org
Roz Chast with Dave Eggers @ Herbst Theatre
The celebrated cartoonist talks with author Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, McSweeney's editor). Chast's quirky and neurotic cartoons with suburban anxiety, maternal guilt, and general self-deprecation have run in The New Yorker since 1978. Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, Health-Inspected, Copyright-Protected Cartoons, 1978-2006 is the long-awaited complete collection of her more than 600 cartoons. Proceeds benefit 826 Valencia, Eggers' Mission District youth writing center. $19. 8pm. 401 Van Ness Ave. 392-4400. www.cityboxoffice.com
T. J. Parsell @ Cody's Books
In his new memoir, FISH: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man's Prison, Parsell tells the story of his own incarceration at the young age of seventeenâ€”and the horrific aftermath as he was indoctrinated into the sexual power struggle that goes on behind bars. In his book, whose title refers to prison slang for a new inmate, Parsell provides a frank, insightful insider's view of what happens inside men's prisons. Free. 7pm. 2 Stockton St. 773-0444. www.tjparsell.com www.codysbooks.com
Gay Dads Workshop @ Bananas, Oakland
Workshop for gay parents and prospective gay fathers includes a showing of clips with filmmaker Jonny Symons & Attorney Deborah Wald, from the Emmy-nominated documentary Daddy and Papa and a short presentation on the legal considerations of gay fatherhood. Free. 6:30-8:30pm. 5232 Claremont Ave., Oakland. (510) 658-0381. www.bananasinc.org/
Radar Reading @ SF Public Library
Monthly literary series features emerging and underground poets and writers, hosted by author Michelle Tea. Co-sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Center. 6pm-7:30pm. Main Library Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room. On display in the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center (Third Floor), Labels, an exhibition of 29 original alternative process photographs by artist Bill Travis that questions the relationship between external labels and personal identity by upsetting notions of portraiture. Thru January 18, 2007. 100 Larkin St. (at Grove). www.sfpl.org
Cupid Pre-Dating @ Catalyst Cocktails
If you are so successful and busy that you don't have time to meet new people, don't like to date clients or co-workers and are not interested in the bar scene, "Pre-Dating" speed dating events are "a fun and efficient way for busy single professionals to meet." You'll meet other people in your age (23-35 or 35-48) and interest group through a series of face-to-face six minute "predates" in a private area. 6:30-10:00pm. $34 - $39. (408) 849-4749. 312 Harriet St. at Bryant. www.predating.com
GLAM @ LGBT Center
(Gay, Lesbian & Allied Musicians) Youth Choir welcomes new Music Director Scott Mills at a reception with refreshments and a performance by GLAM. Started in Feb. 2006, GLAM currently has approximately 15 singers and instrumentalists aged 12 â€“ 22, and is currently seeking new singers and instrumentalists, as well as adult volunteers and steering committee members. GLAM is a non-auditioned group and welcomes all LGBTQQA youth. $10-$25. 6:30â€“8pm. Ceremonial Room 4th Fl., 1800 Market St. 865-3650. www.GLAMyouthchoir.org
Gore Vidal @ Herbst Theatre
Celebrated author and essayist (The City and the Pillar, Myra Breckenridge, Burr, Lincoln) talks with KQED's Scott Shafer. Expect scathing political comments and opinionated yet undeniable truths. $19. 8pm. 401 Van Ness Ave. 392-4400. www.cityboxoffice.com
Kevin Killian & "Friends of Sam" @ USF
Local author Killian (Shy, Arctic Summer, Bedrooms Have Windows) joins fellow friends of the late Sam D'Allessandro, a writer who died of AIDS in 1998, to read his posthumously published work, edited and compiled by Killian as The Wild Creatures . Part of USF's continuing "25 Years: Artists Respond to AIDS" series of events. Free. 7:30pm. USF's Lone Mountain Campus, 2800 Turk Blvd. Room 100. 422-2382.
Smack Dab @ Magnet SF
Open stage hosted by Kirk Read and Larry-bob Roberts. Featured performer: Tim Donnelly. Bring five minutes of words, music, comedy, performance, dance, or whatever it is you do, or just come on down and be part of the spirit of camaraderie. All ages and genders will be welcomed and adored. 4122 18th Street between Castro and Collingwood. Free. 8pm. www.magnetsf.org
Reckless @ SF Playhouse
Craig Lucas' (Longtime Companion, Prelude to a Kiss ) bittersweet holiday 1983/1988 comedy about Rachel, whose son has "fired" her, her husband's taken out a contract on her life, which leads her on a strange cross-country journey in search of a new "home." Previews $18. Opening night on Nov. 18, $60. $36 reg. thru Dec. 30. 533 Sutter St. (near Union Square). 677-9596. www.sfplayhouse.org
Photojournalists as Community Historians @ GLBT Historical Society
Prominent long-time local queer photojournalists Rick Gerharter, Bill Wilson, Jane Cleland, and others will exchange experiences and insights. Hear from the working journalists in our community who often prefer to speak through their cameras. Free. 6pm-7:30pm. Also showing; Sporting Life: GLBT Athletics and Cultural Change From the 1960s to Today , covering more than 40 years of Northern California LGBT athletics history, with photo panels, medals, memorabilia, videos, even a "locker room." New display case features Gay Games VII and Outgames medals and memorabilia. $4 donation. Also showing; Capturing the Moment: the Photography of Rick Gerharter. 657 Mission St. #300. Tues.-Sat. 1pm-5pm. Both exhibits thru Dec 15. 777-5455. www.glbthistory.org
And Castro for All Gala @ LGBT Center
Party, dinner and dance "shindig " honoring Legal Eagle â€“ Daniel Frattin & L. Julius Turman; SF Old Guard Leadership Supervisors Chris Daly and Bevan Dufty; SF Avant-Garde Leadership â€“ Michael Goldstein, Robert Haaland & Rafael Mandelman; AC4A Community Allies â€“ Zwazzi Sowo & International ANSWER. Cocktail reception with live entertainment; soul food and Thai fusion buffet dinner, wine and beer cash bar (2 complimentary drinks for dinner guests); silent auction, featuring wine tours, art, entertainment passes, gift certificates; dance party with DJ Page Hodel. $10, $35, $100 and up. 6pm-10pm. 1800 Market St. www.andcastroforall.org
Marga Gomez' The Twelve Days Of Cochina @ Theatre Rhino
Entertainer extraordinaire Marga Gomez is back as the dirt-slinging, depraved ex-gay in this acclaimed 2001 show. Fresh off her smash Off-Broadway run of Los Big Names, lesbian icon Gomez returns with more filth and festivities than ever before in this sleigh ride through Christmases past, present, and future; a nympho-fuelled ecological Christmas carol for adults only. $15-$35. 8pm. Thu-Sun thru Dec. 17. (Sun at 7pm, with 3pm matinees) 861-5079. www.theRhino.org.
Out From Darkness @ Quaker House
A forum on Black LGBTQ community wellness includes a viewing of the film Cavemanï¿½s Valentine with Samuel Jackson, a fictionalized story of a person with mental illness. Afterwards, a panel hosted by Janetta Johnson with the panelists and the audience. 6pm-9pm. 65
9th St. www.isparksf.com
The Outsider Chronicles @ Dance Mission Theatre
Sean Dorsey's acclaimed evening-length dance theatre work, about a gender-bending love affair, coming out (or not) to family, and the strange magic of road trips. Part of Dance Brigade's Manifesti-Val for Social Change. $15. 8pm. Thru Nov. 18. 3316 24th St. 273-4633. www.dancemission.com
Positive Health Practice Autumn Gala @ 111 Minna Gallery
Fundraiser for the HIV clinical services at the PositiveHealth Practice at UCSF and the Men of Color Program, with MC Liam Mayclem from CBS Channel 5. Enjoy cocktails, a gourmet buffet, live entertainment by The Ken Miller Duo, Juanita More, The Sumanguru Legacy, and DJ Joshua J. Silent auction includes airline tickets, fine art photography, theatre tickets, hotel stays, massage packages, dinner packages, fine wine, Peruvian and Asian art antiques. $75 and up. 6pm-9pm. 111 Minna St. 353.2705. www.positivehealth.ucsf.edu
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