Critic’s Choice for the week of October 30-November 5, 2002

Halloween scientists go mad, a gay singer makes Archie Bunker cry, a blues-harp ace blows the roof off the Ivy Room, Project X plays the Oakland Museum, and the Kronos Quartet plays Zellerbach.


Dig up that filthy lab coat and fire up your party-sized Tesla coil — it’s time for the 3rd Annual Mad Scientist’s Halloween bash Thursday at 21Grand. This year’s event features Filthmilk, Brain Science, Attaboy and Burke, “Kimric blowing up vacuum cleaners,” Liam McNamara’s living-room-size pulse jet engine, and, best of all, Frankenstein’s favorite carnival-cabaret-garage-rock trio Experimental Dental School. 510-444-7263. (Stefanie Kalem)

As the story goes, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson were tooling around New York one day when they came across a CD with a cover that was weird enough to make them buy it. When they took it home to play it, they were blown away. The CD was by Antony & the Johnsons, and it’s amazing. He calls his music “screaming faggotry,” though scream is nowhere near what he does with his exquisite voice at his sold-out NY shows. He’s a torch singer: sparse, nuanced, and delicate, with songs so beautiful even Archie Bunker would cry. And the twisted underside to his lyrics could be the soundtrack for a gay Lars Von Trier film. Do not miss his show Friday at Cafe Du Nord, Friday. 415-861-5016. (Katy St. Clair)


The twentieth annual San Francisco Jazz Festival moves into its second week with a wonderful array of concerts at various venues. Among them are a duet performance by drummer Jack DeJohnette and saxophonist John Surman at Yerba Buena Center on Wednesday, a double bill of Detroit sax marvel James Carter and Tuvan throat singers Huun-Huur-Tu at Grace Cathedral on Friday, trio performances by singer-pianist Shirley Horn and pianist Ahmad Jamal at the Masonic Auditorium on Saturday, duets by pianist Ellis Marsalis and vibraharpist Bobby Hutcherson at Herbst Theatre on Sunday, a solo piano recital by Toshiko Akiyoshi at Florence Gould Theatre on Sunday, and an evening of Brazilian jazz featuring harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre on Tuesday. 415-776-1999. (Lee Hildebrand)


Back in town following a month-long cross-country tour, East Bay harmonica ace Mark Hummel celebrates the release of Golden State Blues at the Ivy Room on Friday. The CD, his first for the Toronto-based Electro-Fi label, features his solid combo (guitarist Charles Wheal, bassist Steve Wolf, and drummer Marty Dodson) plus such guests as Rusty Zinn, Anson Funderburgh, and Steve Lucky. 510-524-9220. (L.H.)


Kicking off the opening of the Oakland Museum’s “Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum” on Friday is percussionist Jesus Diaz and his new band Project X. Considered one of the top drummers on the West Coast, the Havana-born bandleader plays Afro-Cuban timba at a First Friday Fiesta to usher in an exhibit that promises to bring much-needed focus to national and regional Latino art, culture, and music. 510-238-2200. (Jesse “Chuy” Varela)


Following their triumphant local debut two years ago, the Masters of Persian Music return to Zellerbach Hall on Sunday to perform works from their elegant new Without You CD. The quartet of classical Iranian musicians features kamanchech (spike fiddle) virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor (a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project), singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian, lute player Hossein Alizadeh, and percussionist Homayoun Shajarian. 510-642-9988. (Larry Kelp)


The Kronos Quartet returns to Zellerbach Hall on Saturday to perform music from its recent Nuevo CD. Expect a brilliant, wild, and endlessly amusing south-of-the-border tour that juxtaposes Latin-American pop excess with penetrating musical insights into love, politics, religion, and cultural psychosis. The music ranges from serious and delightful to positively ridiculous. It’s quite a trip. 510-642-9988. (Jason Serinus)

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