BS3 Picks & Sleepers

Every year when SXSW rolls around, the Chronicle tries to help those people whose eyes glaze over every time they stare at the mammoth list of showcases with those hundreds of band names printed in three-point type by running a feature called "Picks & Sleepers," in which Chronicle music writers try to handicap the many, many SXSW events with 80-word nuggets of text that say a little something about just who such-and-such a band is, where it hails from, and even what kind of music it plays. The context is most helpful. Of course, considering the number of writers who get involved and the fact that you have picks and sleepers, almost every band ends up getting listed, so you're kind of back where you started weeding through all those names. But if that helps boost the buzz for a festival, it must be done. Again, I'm at a disadvantage, not only because I have limitations in personnel but because I've received substantially fewer tapes of the participating companies from which I could draw information. Like zero. So, maybe these won't be quite as authoritative as the "SXSW Picks & Sleepers," but you can bet they'll be at least as short. — R.F.



The cast of MTV's The State at BS2


MONDAY

Pick

MISSION: IMPROVABLE: Amherst, MA improv troupe that has proven itself, comedically speaking, in both previous BS festivals. In a Chronicle review of last year's fest, Adrienne Martini wrote that they "attacked the material with fierce excitement and a rough edge." (Velveeta Room, 5:30pm)— Robert Faires

Sleeper

THE SKINNIES:Local purveyors of fast-paced sketch comedy and comic songs such as "Unhealthy Obsession Blues" and "I Faked My Own Death to Make the Cheerleading Squad," some of which have scored local radio airplay. (Velveeta Room, 6:15pm)— Robert Faires


TUESDAY

Pick

BRAVE NEW WORKSHOP: Minneapolis company founded by Dudley Riggs in 1958 that claims to be the oldest ongoing satirical comedy theatre in the U.S. With 220 revues to its credit, plus years of improv history, something funny should certainly have emerged. (State Theatre, 8:40pm)— Robert Faires

Sleeper

THE RAILBIRDS: New York City troupe which is only a year old but has cracked a lot of smiles in that time. Backstage Magazine raves over its sketch Peter the 'Special' Apostle (he was a little slow), calling it "hysterical." (Esther's Pool, 10:45pm) — Robert Faires


WEDNESDAY

Pick

THE FRED WILLARD SHOW: Oh, for pity's sake, just read the piece on the other page. (Zachary Scott Theatre Center, 8:40pm)
— Robert Faires

Sleeper

THE LATINO COMEDY PROJECT: Local folk who made a big splash with their recent debut. Chronicle critic Adrienne Martini called it "hysterical enough that you leave the performance with your teeth hurting from an evening of chuckling and a gut aching from deep belly laughs." (Palmer Auditorium, 8:30pm)
— Robert Faires


THURSDAY

Picks

THE GROUNDLINGS: When a troupe can claim among its alumni Phil Hartman, Paul Reubens, Jon Lovitz, and Julia Sweeney what more needs to be said? (Palmer Auditorium, 9pm)— Robert Faires

MONTEITH & RAND: Accomplished improv duo whose skill and class are as extensive as their résumé, which includes appearances on Broadway. (Esther's Pool, 8:45pm) — Robert Faires

Sleeper

THE SCREW PUPPIES: Veterans of both Chicago's big-shouldered comedy scene and both previous BS festivals. They're known for breaking the rules — but with style. (Dougherty Arts Center, 10:45pm) — Robert Faires

GAYCO PRODUCTIONS: Another Chi-town comedy ensemble, this one with a distinctive appeal for gay audiences. Scheduled to present its acclaimed sketch revue, Whitney Houston, We Have a Problem! (Scottish Rite Theatre, 10pm) — Robert Faires


FRIDAY

Pick

THE BERT FERSHNERS:Madison, Wisconsin septet that's one of the Next Big Things on America's humor radar, courtesy of an upcoming series on Comedy Central. They sing, they dance, they make you laugh. (Palmer Auditorium, 9pm) — Robert Faires

Sleeper

THE HALLIS BUMSTEAD REVUE: Spin-off show from the San Jose troupe Mumblypeg, which proved a fave in both previous BS fests. (Velveeta Room, 6:15pm)— Robert Faires


SATURDAY

Pick

THE SECOND CITY TOURING COMPANY: Look up The Groundlings' listing and where it says Hartman, Reubens, Lovitz, and Sweeney, substitute Bill Murray, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mike Myers, and Betty Thomas. (Palmer Auditorium, 9pm)— Robert Faires

Sleeper

BIG LON CHANEY:Hollywood, California troupe which gets a nod simply for having the class to have Esther's Follies alum Ted Davis among its members. (Dougherty Arts Center, 6:15pm)
— Robert Faires

THE IMPROMPTONES: Los Angeles quartet specializing in songs improvised from audience suggestions. The Los Angeles Times claims you'll sneeze up your drinks listening to them. (Ritz Upstairs, 8pm)— Robert Faires

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