Arts Picks

Week of Feb. 4-11, 2003.

CHRISTIAN MARCLAY

A lot of artists try to lay claim to crossing genres, but Marclay probably best earns the title of a true multimedia artist. Ever since he started scratching records at Cooper Union in the late '70s (when such antics were considered really weird), he's been grinding music, sound, performance art, design, DJ-ing, and film in his creative Cuisinart. The result is a dizzying assortment of works that almost always returns to the theme of pop music. In this 20-year retrospective of his work, music dominates: There are collages cobbled from thrift-store record bins (as in Doorsiana, above); piles of shredded audiotape; weird hybrid instruments (tubas grafted onto trumpets, unplayable 20-foot accordions); and video collages such as Video Quartet, which appropriates Hollywood's portrayal of musicians. Call it what you want—sampling, found art, whatever—but Marclay's strength is setting popular artifacts in new contexts. Duchamp may have been the first to call a urinal art; I'm pretty sure Marclay is the first to take an album by Space Project and call that art. Opening night will feature a lecture by SAM associate curator Susan Rosenberg and assorted musical performances. Free reception (First Thursday): 6 p.m.-midnight. Thurs., Feb. 5. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sun.; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thurs. Show runs through Sun., April 25. $5-$7. Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St., 206-654-3100, ANDREW ENGELSON

CHAMBER DANCE COMPANY

Bracketing this year's program, Doris Humphrey's 1928 Water Study (pictured) shares the stage with another aqueous piece, Alwin Nikolais' 1982 Pond. Both are abstract evocations of the liquid world, but Humphrey's humanist ideas of group cooperation give her work a vastly different feel from Nikolais' quirky animations, which often resemble the skittering of amoebas. In the middle, chronologically, is Paul Taylor's 1956 Three Epitaphs, in which the dancers shiver and shake to traditional New Orleans jazz, rather like a pack of muddy dogs. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 5-Sat., Feb. 7; 2 p.m. Sun., Feb. 8. $10-$14. Meany Theater, University of Washington, 206-543-4880. SANDRA KURTZ

DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM

When Arthur Mitchell founded Dance Theatre of Harlem after the death of Martin Luther King Jr., one of the first people to whom he looked for help was his former boss, George Balanchine. Throughout its life, DTH has counted the Balanchine influence as an integral part of its heritage. As part of the worldwide celebrations of Balanchine's centennial, the company is performing two of his signature ballets here: Serenade (pictured), a seminal example of his neoclassical style, and Apollo, in which the young god claims his skills and dominion of the sky. 8 p.m. Fri., Feb. 6-Sat., Feb. 7. $24.50. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 206-292-ARTS. SANDRA KURTZ

JONATHAN RABAN

To help celebrate the move and gala reopening of his favorite neighborhood bookstore, the Queen Anne resident and expat Brit will read from his Seattle-set Waxwings (Pantheon, $24). "This is not a novel about Seattle," Raban told us last fall. "It's not a novel about the dot-com boom." Instead, he sees it as a book about disparate area residents all living in their own little bubbles�until those bubbles bump into one another and burst. Waxwings begins a planned three-book cycle for Raban, all set in the Northwest. The next volume "takes place in a Seattle that has become part of a security state, set in a rather indefinite present." Perhaps he'll talk about that not-so-distant period, when John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act have us all living behind barbed wire and armed guards. 5 p.m. Sun., Feb. 8. Free. Queen Anne Books, 1811 Queen Anne Ave. N., 206-283-5624. BRIAN MILLER

THE QUEEN BEES

The Bees are to common burlesque what a flaming sugar cube is to Nutrasweet: They're the real deal, and they're on fire. Whether performing as sexy spelling-bee contestants or lip-synching show tunes with the sass level turned way up ("When You're Good to Mama" was a recent knockout), these gorgeous gals make the ancient art of burlesque seem fresh and alive�no tricks up sleeves, just plenty of cheek (pun intended). True to their name, they also deliver royally stinging political statements midshimmy, without ever lapsing into preachy treacle. Their latest show, Love Letter: Bee Ours, riffs on themes of love and should include plenty of the "extremely sweet, sexy, sultry numbers" they're known for. 9 p.m. Wed., Feb. 11. $10. Crocodile Cafe, 2200 Second Ave., 206-441-5611. NEAL SCHINDLER

 
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