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Arts/Culture/Weekend: Sketchfest, international boogaloo and transgendered punks

Do you smell something funny in the air? It must be that time of year again—time for SF Sketchfest, the comedy festival that mixes national headliners, local favorites and the best up-and-coming groups for a month of sketch, improv, stand-up and alternative comedy. Besides comedic characters, this week the Bay Area offers multiple chances to boogie down with international groovers, comic artists, and a hip-hop dance party that also gives back to the community. For those of you who aren't stuck at home all weekend with a severe case of 49er fever, you're in luck...

Welcome to your Arts/Culture/Weekend:


Hedwig & the Angry Inch // It's the classic boy meets man, boy changes gender to marry man and leave his communist home, boy then lives alone in a lackluster trailer in Nowheresville, USA and decides to create one of the most dazzling, punk rock personas a stage has ever seen. It's all right there in John Cameron Mitchell's opus, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. And here in San Francisco, we're lucky that the story is back on the stage for a limited engagement produced by San Francisco’s Boxcar Theater in the Tenderloin. Expect loud rock music, soaring vocals, incredible hair, and multiple actors playing the iconic role. // DETAILS: Now until March 2, Wednesday - Saturday, Boxcar Theater, 505 Natoma St, SF; Cost: Varies

International Freakout A-Go-Go // Curated by local DJs, this is the only Bay Area dance night that brings the most rare psychedelic songs from all over the world straight to your twinkling toes. Genres include Cumbia, Vallenato, Boogaloo, and Tribal Folk, and go as far as Bollywood Absurdities and Afro Funk Reverb. This is not your Dad's world music. Come ready to shake, shake, shake it. // DETAILS: January 30, Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd Street, SF; Cost: FREE; 21+


SF Sketchfest Comedy Nightlife // The California Academy of Sciences will be staying up late to party with some of the comedy realm’s most hilarious creatures including Chris Hardwick, Tig Notaro, Greg Proops, Brent Weinbach, Will Franken and more in a variety of configurations including stand-up, live podcasting and improv. Besides the permanent exhibits at the Academy, NightLife features food, drinks and DJs too. // DETAILS: January 31, California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr.,  SF; Cost: $12; 21+


Talkies with George Chen // You enter the doors to a forgotten world and see your favorite characters surrounding the walls around you: Marlene Dietrich, James Dean, Grace Kelly, the Staypuft Marshmellow Man. A polite man with a finely coiffed mustache ushers you behind a counter and down a flight of stairs to the darkened theater underneath Valencia Street. There you meet ten of the most hilarious (and literally) underground comedians working in San Francisco today. This all means that you’ve successfully found your way into host George Chen’s Friday night comedy show, "Talkies." Expect standup, short films, and cheap drinks all with an SF Sketchfest twist. // DETAILS: February 2, Cinecave at Lost Weekend Video, 1034 Valencia St., SF; Cost: $10; 21+

Enthusiastic Person Opening Reception // Artist Jay Howell opens his latest solo show entitled “Enthusiastic Person” featuring over 25 new mixed media works on paper. As a cartoon designer for shows such as “Bob’s Burgers,” Howell will exhibit recent drawings, sculptures, and watercolors reminiscent of his comic sensibilities, featuring a cast of characters, psychedelic patterns and geometric shapes. The exhibit will be on display until the end of February. // DETAILS: February 1, FFCG Gallery, 2277 Mission St., SF; Cost: FREE 


Ships in the Night // Why not dance for a good cause? Not only is "Ships in the Night" the most popular and diverse queer dance night in Oakland, it's also a fundraising powerhouse for local nonprofit organizations. Proceeds from Saturday's event will benefit Teachers for Social Justice (T4SJ), providing extra support towards implementing programs that provide access to resources for Bay Area teachers. Expect a packed house, hip-hop hits, a live performance by MC Rainn Sciryl, and tasty treats provided by The Grease Box Mobile Kitchen. // DETAILS: February 2, The New Parish, 579 18th Street, Oakland; Cost: $5; 21+

Arts/Culture/Weekend is a roundup of our favorite events coming up. Please do let us know if you know of an interesting event coming up in your neighborhood.