Night + Day: Calendar Picks for 5/26
Seeing Peace Billboard Project, 10am
USF Campus: War Memorial Gymnasium
Starting today, looking up at billboards might make you feel ennobled and spiritual and suffused with the sense that, dammit, we’ve got a shot in this crazy world after all. No, you haven’t become a capitalist. You’re just looking at the right billboards, specifically the 10 that have been hung around the city for the Seeing Peace Billboard Project. (For most of you, that means the ones at the corners of Mission and 17th St., and Valencia and Duboce.) Organized by artist and USF professor Richard Kamler, the Billboard Project invited 10 artists “from member states of the United Nations” to imagine peace on a billboard-sized scale. Sure, there’s the expected iconography — an all-seeing eye, white lilies sprouting from a cracked tank — but peace doesn’t look the same to everyone around the world. One billboard depicts a baby in a gun sight beneath a line of dripping blood, with the theme represented by the wee peace symbol forming the bull’s-eye of the sight. Kamler also asked South Africa’s infamous Clinton Fein to contribute. You remember him: last year, his wall-sized photographs re-creating Abu Ghraib torture scenes reverberated like mortar bombs throughout the 49 Geary art complex. Imagine what he could do with a white dove. Today, Kamler and some of the visiting artists (hopefully that includes S.F. favorite Rigo 23 from Portugal) host a bus tour traveling to each of the sites. — Michael Leaverton
Oxbow, Suishou no Fune, Mi Ami, 10pm, $8
Bottom of the Hill - 1233 17th St.
Literally translated as “Ship of Crystal,” Japan’s Suishou no Fune creates glassy, abstract song-poems that echo like ghost-clouds in the troposphere. What those poems express verbally may be unclear to most English-speaking fans, but the band’s website insists “you will enjoy the sound of Japanese verse and their psychedelic world [even] if you don’t understand Japanese.” And there is much beauty to be found in the music alone, which slowly winds diaphanous (and supposedly improvised) strands of treble guitar around keening female vocals and restrained percussion that favors soft cymbal splashes over disruptive kick drums. The occasional whirring crescendo ensures you don’t simply nod off in some lysergic fog — but make no mistake, Suishou no Fune’s psychedelia is far more delicate and dreamy than the wild explosions of J-rock peers like Acid Mothers Temple. “Suishou no Fune is magic music,” the band says. Ceremonial cloaks and talismans highly recommended. — John Graham