TUESDAY

BOOKS

ROBBIE CONAL

If Dr. Howard Dean or Gen. Wesley Clark could put into words what Robbie Conal puts into his "adversarial portraiture," Bush

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Robbie Conal, Umo Ensemble, and More

TUESDAY

BOOKS

ROBBIE CONAL

If Dr. Howard Dean or Gen. Wesley Clark could put into words what Robbie Conal puts into his "adversarial portraiture," Bush and Cheney would be out of a job tomorrow. Artburn (Akashic Books, $19.95) collects his guerrilla posters and original illustrations for LA Weekly, and the effect is scabrously, colorfully devastating satirein the tradition both of H.L. Menken and George Grosz, since he chooses his words and brush strokes with equal care. Importantly, this ex-hippie-radical-whatever artist is an equal-opportunity attacker: "Clinton has wasted his second term fighting off his own foolishness," he captions a '99 caricature of Bubba's blow-job rapture. But Dubya & co. receive Conal's real venom, because they've misused their power instead of just squandering it. Power corrupts, and Conal's art renders that corruption in the rotting flesh of our (non)elected leaders. 5 p.m. Tues., Sept. 30, Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600. BRIAN MILLER

WEDNESDAY

STAGE

UMO ENSEMBLE

"Fatal Peril" may have been inspired by Columbine, but chances are you won't find those tragic events referenced with too fine a point. UMO's shows are less easily comprehended than emotionally understood: The Vashon Island troupe uses surreal, physical theatrics and nonlinear narrative to create an experience, and even their less cohesive shows have dazzle to spare. Stage combat, puppetry, and something billed as "unbridled raw vocals" will come into play this time in what promises to be a comic look at the human urge toward violence. Previews 8 p.m. Wed., Sept. 24, and Thurs., Sept. 25. Opens 8 p.m. Fri., Sept. 26. Ends Sun., Oct. 12. $10-$19.75. Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 206-325-6500. STEVE WIECKING

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

CELEBRITY

THE ART OF JOHN LENNON

When our daughter was born, we received a baby hat covered with Lennon drawings, and the squiggly lines were, at that moment, like a benediction, so full of whimsy, good cheer, and mordant humor. (Remember John's "It couldn't get any worse" to Paul's "It's getting better all the time"?) So I don't care if a show of John Lennon's artwork is impossibly passé or if the whole thing is some evil commercial plot or the product of self-indulgent, misty-eyed baby boomers. There is a brilliant halo around the man that defeats (for me anyway) the usual judgments. And remember, he was an art student before he was a rock star. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri., Sept. 26-Sun., Sept. 28. The Alexis Hotel, 1007 First Ave., 800-477-5630. DAVID STOESZ

SATURDAY

EXHIBITS

SWEET HOME CHICAGO

Congress has declared 2003 the Year of the Blues (apt, considering the state of the economy and the state of the presidency), and so EMP has stepped up to the mike with this exhibit looking at the music's Delta past, its movement from the rural South to the urban North, and most especially, how Chicago served as the creative blues center between 1946 and 1966. With records, clothes, posters, and rare video footage of the major namesHowlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guythis will be like an interactive version of the forthcoming PBS blues series from Martin Scorsese. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Opens Sat., Sept. 27. Experience Music Project, Seattle Center, 206-EMP-LIVE. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

TUESDAY

MUSIC

ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO BENEFIT

Alejandro was there at the birth of West Coast punk (the Nuns) and alt-country (Rank & File). Then, in the '90s, he turned into one of the best songwriters this country has, a critic's pet, and No Depression's "Artist of the Decade" for albums like 1994's Thirteen Years. But he's never been a commercial success. In his case, that's a problem: Alejandro is in very dicey shape from hepatitis C, has no health insurance of which to speak, and has mounting medical bills and a large family to feed. Often musicians' benefit concerts suck, but with worthies like Kurt Bloch and the Believers onstage, this fund-raiser should be a cut above. 8 p.m. Tues., Sept. 30. $15 suggested donation. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-789-3599. PHILIP DAWDY

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