Night + Day: Calendar Picks for 5/20

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For A Lost Cause: Initiative to Save Rent Control, 6pm
Red Hill Books - 401 Cortland at Bennington

We, the people, are going to lose this one. If the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association managed to keep Proposition 98 a secret from Bay Area progressives until about a month ago, it's already over. Those right-wingers got public education with Proposition 13 back in the 1970s, and now they're going to get rent control. However, in the meantime, we'll have lots of fun getting together for literary and musical events. This one could be retitled "A bag of talented and famous San Francisco men and Katie Crouch." Andrew Foster Altschul (Whose name is misspelled on the press release -- you think the Jarvis people do that?), Stephen Elliott (Also misspelled, but not so egregiously) Alvin Orloff, Richard Loranger, Jonathan Segel, and Victor Krummenacher (Whoops, also Alison Faith Levy.) You'd be nuts to miss this lineup no matter what any of them planned to do, but we heard they're going to strip naked and lead a conga line up to the top of Bernal Hill to perform a resurrection ritual for the owls who died up there a couple years ago. No, lying. Really they're going to read from their beautiful, intelligent books or play lovely wry songs, and you'd be nuts to miss it. --Hiya Swanhuyser

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William Parker Quartet, 8pm, $16-$20
Yoshi's SF - 1330 Fillmore at Eddy

New York bassist William Parker believes in music as a healing force, a vehicle for ecstatic transformation, similar to the meditative chants of Buddhist monks and the mystical dances of Sufi dervishes. His basic concept is to mix earthy grooves with cosmic abstractions, stirring up an energetic power that entrances both players and listeners. It's a vision rooted in the '60s and '70s jazz avant-garde: a dynamic combo of revolutionary battle cry and peace-and-love embrace of all living things. Think of Parker as a Black Panther hippie, a spiritual activist who happens to be a master musician. The rhythmic bounce, oblique phrasing, and speaking-in-tongues soulfulness of many of his improv-rich compositions echo the ear-bending explorations of the legendary Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler. But despite the overt references, Parker is clearly his own man. From his first work in the '70s, anchoring the outward-bound adventures of free-jazz leaders Cecil Taylor and Frank Lowe, to 2005's luminescent Sound Unity, the latest album featuring his world-class quartet (with drummer Hamid Drake, alto saxophonist Rob Brown, and trumpeter Lewis Barnes), Parker has delivered a distinctive sound, brimming with the fire of Big Life. --Sam Prestianni

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Mike Edison, 6pm
Book Passage - Ferry Building

Mike Edison's new book I Have Fun Everywhere I Go is kind of a relic: They don't make guys like this anymore. The tone of the book is high-spirited sleaze, overeducated yokelry, and intensely American egalitarian humor. Add a love of (and skill with) the absurd and lots of underground punk music, and you've got a book in which shaggy-haired NYU students save up TVs to throw out the window. Edison's love of wrestling -- and the rest of the world's hatred for it -- is gloriously told as well. "It is the only sport where you can kick a man when he's down," the author points out, and proceeds to describe watching his first pro bout. He was on acid, but Liberace was actually there in real life, with Rockettes. From there, the story veers to GG Allin, marijuana journalism, and pornography reviews, all in the surprisingly intelligent words of a man who willingly subtitled his book "Savage tales of pot, porn, punk rock, pro wrestling, talking apes, evil bosses, dirty blues, American heroes, and the most notorious magazines in the world." --Hiya Swanhuyser


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