10 Things: Good Bands, Gay Pride, Free Market and The Life and Death of an Italian Cat

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Portland's The Caps, performing at Summer Solstice Spectacle on Saturday
On this fine Pride weekend, let's step back and take a moment to appreciate all the superb events our foggy town has to offer without high costs or shitty attitudes. Where else in the world can you find citywide Michael Jackson flash mobs, vast and sparkling parades, women acting like Italian cats, and garage pop galore -- all during the same weekend, all for less than $10? Nowhere, I tell you. Here's our list of cheap events in San Francisco during this delightful final weekend of June:

The Dresses/ Objects Project opening reception @ Z Space at Theater Artaud (Fri.)

Inspired by the poems of feminist hero Gertrude Stein, interdisciplinary art installation The Dresses/Objects Project features handmade dresses, letterpress prints, photographs, poetry, and dance. Artist Katrina Rodabaugh created the installation in collaboration with 30 other female artists. The opening reception will include a dance piece choreographed by Erin Mei Ling Stuart. The installations on view June 25- July 18, Tuesdays-Saturdays 1-5 p.m.; with live performances June 25 & 26, Closing reception July 18, 2-5pm with poetry reading at 3 p.m. (Free, 7:30-9 p.m.)

Soft Metals @ Li-Po Lounge (Fri.) 

Electro-rockers Soft Metals is comprised of the stunning Patricia Hall and Ian Hicks of Portland, Oregon. The jumpy duo, who possess a shared love of vintage synthesizes and drum machines, are coming to San Francisco off a fresh gig with L.A. heavyweights HEALTH. Their tunes recall dark, romantic, early-'80s synth music and Italo-disco. Party Effects, DJ Primo and DJ Jordan open the show -- should be a pretty danceable evening in Li-po's cramped and humid basement. Wear something loose and glittery. ($5, 10 p.m.)

Teenage Dance Craze (Fri.) 

As you might expect, this will feature twist-heavy 1960s surf-rock tunes and the occasional Beatles blend mixed expertly by your resident DJs Russell Quan, Sergio Iglesias and Dx the Funky Granpaw. This time around, the monthly party will host a special performance by the Teenage Dance Craze Band. Do with this information what you will: girls in bikinis get in free. ($4, 10 p.m.)

Michael Jackson Flash Mob @ various locations (Fri.) 

There will be huge clusters of people across San Francisco -- at Powell Street Cable Car turnaround, Justin Herman Plaza, Civic Center and the Castro -- gathering together to perform simultaneous dance routines to Michael Jackson's greatest hits. Among the scheduled routines: "Beat It," "Bad," "Smooth Criminal," and "Thriller". On this, the one-year anniversary of the King of Pop's untimely demise, what better way to pay tribute to the master? For exact times, locations and helpful choreography tutorials, visit bayareaflashmob.com (Free, 4 p.m.)

Really, Really Free Market @ Dolores Park (Sat.) 

The basic idea? Bring what you have and take what you need. No money. No Barter. No trade. Everything is FREE! SF's Really, Really Free Market is every last Saturday of the month in Dolores Park. No exchange of currency necessary. You might find something or someone (people also can offer free services like bike repair) endlessly cool, or it may just be a chance to rid yourself of some never-used stuff. As we've all heard a bazillion times over - one person's trash is another person's treasure! (Free, 1-5 p.m.)

Summer Solstice Spectacle @ Baker Beach (Sat.) 

This Baker Beach party and seacliff outdoor house concert, a joint production of local video podcasters Chasing the Moon and promoter Flora & Fauna, boasts live bands and cool movie screenings, all for the price of...a nominal donation. After a day spent frolicking through the cold sand of the San Francisco beach, you can make your way up the hill to 1628 Lake Street (between 17th and 18th Avenue) for 6 p.m. performances by Raymond Raposa of Castanets, Ohioan, Wolf & Crow, Il Gato and Portland's The Caps. There also will be outdoor film screenings of short films by Mike Kuchar, Jay Rosenblatt, the Zellner Brothers and other local budding filmmakers. Check florafauna2010.com for the beach to house trail map. ($3-$8, 3 p.m.)

Happy Forever: The Life and Death of an Italian Cat (Sat.) 

Spy Emerson visited the Venice Biennale last year aboard a ramshackle art ship, strewn with all manner of hammered-together junk, as part of the flotilla "The Swimming Cities of Serenissima." She's an artist, of course. It was a good idea. The flotilla stormed across the Adriatic Sea from Slovenia to Venice and right into the Venetian Arsenal, leaving the art crowd, including critics, properly thunderstruck. It was the hit of the show, which did not and still does not recognize outsider art; it was also a rough trip, and took a toll on Emerson's crew. The 30 artists then dispersed to the winds, and Emerson came home to S.F. to figure it all out with an art exhibit and now a play: Happy Forever: The Life and Death of an Italian Cat. Is it another good idea? It has to be, since she not only plays a "disenchanted art marauder" but also a cat. You don't play a cat unless your shit is together. Dottie Lux of Red Hots Burlesque, Dr. Hal Robins, and Gooby Herms join Emerson onstage. ($6, 7 p.m.) -- Michael Leaverton

SF Pride Parade @ Market and Beale Streets (Sun.) 

We've heard the S.F. Pride Parade criticized. That it's too commercial seems to be agreed upon. And we vividly remember when no one would ever say that about "Gay Day." However, we must remind everyone that San Francisco's Pride Parade (theme this year: "Forty and Fabulous") is the biggest and the best in the world. It is, we swear! (Except on years when N.Y.C. really gets its act together.) Maybe beer, vodka, soda pop, more vodka, and real estate sponsorships can kill your queer buzz, but consider this: We have been to the Paris Pride Parade. La Marche des Fiertés LGBT de Paris is large, awesome, and betrannied, there in the Place de la Bastille. But even Gay Paree can't match our gay parade -- take our word for it. Welcome, international visitors, to the gayest place on Earth! We're proud of it. (Free, 10:30 a.m.) -- Hiya Swanhuyser

Ty Segall, Grass Widow, Sonny & the Sunsets and The Baths @ Bottom of the Hill (Sun.) 

It's a pretty stellar lineup for just $8. All four of these local acts bring a little something special -- psych rockers Ty Segall, '90s throwbacks Grass Widow, surf-saturated Sunny& the Sunsets and lo-fi popsters The Baths. Alone, each of these bands would bring crowds of energized hipsters - but together? The show's unstoppable. Sonny & the Sunsets in particular is having a pretty stellar month -- having signed with Fat Possum Records last week (home of The Walkmen, Band of Horses, Wavves and a plethora of other awesome acts) and earned high praise on Pitchfork. ($8, 8 p.m.)

Frank Fairfield @ Amnesia (Sunday) 

Jimmy Page don't know dick about the blues. And David Evans? Come on, no ridiculous nickname ("The Edge"? Really?) will make you sound like an expert on the torn and the frayed. It Might Get Loud, sure, but volume is no substitute for the dustbowl ballads of a Leadbelly or the stark blues of a Skip James. One-time local resident Frank Fairfield knows this. On his self-titled Tompkins Square debut, the Los Angeles-based musician eschews amplification altogether, choosing to perform traditionals like "The Hesitating Blues" in the style they were originally struck. Live, he plays banjo, guitar, and fiddle in a breathless skitter, as if his fingers were waterbugs on a pond, coming to rest for only a moment before flying off elsewhere. His shirt buttoned up high and his hair slicked and parted to the side, he sings in an otherworldly croak that would've made Robert Johnson proud. Fairfield made his living as a busker until recently, when he was discovered by former S.F. resident and Foreign Born leader Matt Popieluch. Popieluch hooked him up with Tompkins Square and the Fleet Foxes, who adored Fairfield so much they took him on tour. ($7-$10, 9 p.m.) -- Dan Strachota

Follow this blog @SFAllShookDown and the writer @Tofuandwhiskey

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