Arts Picks

THURSDAY

VISUAL ARTS

ONLY SKIN DEEP

The art world's obsession with racism has long outstripped racism's importance in this country as an engine of injustice—or so I believe. This exhibit from New York's International Center of Photography suggests part of the reason why—guilt—as it explores the art world's own complicity in perpetuating, even creating, racial stereotypes over the last 150 years or so. More than 300 images have been placed into five thematic groupings that address issues of identity, hierarchy, assimilation, fetishi­zation, and more. There are big names and classic images, as well as con­temporary stars like South Korea–born photographer Nikki S. Lee, who inserts herself, Cindy Sherman–like, into race-charged scenes (a shot from her "Ohio Project" is above). While the show has received mixed notices on the East Coast, its failings are likely to be every bit as fascinating as its insights. Opening Party: 5:30–10 p.m. Thurs., March 25, includes presentation by Brian Wallis, chief curator at ICP, and live R&B from Reggie Watts. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Thurs. Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St., 206-654-3100. MARK D. FEFER

THURSDAY

COMEDY

EUGENE MIRMAN

The phrase "indie rock comedian" has been bandied about ever since Sub Pop, in late 2001, released David Cross' live comedy disc, Shut Up, You Fucking Baby! It makes sense, since indie rock and comedy often work off a similarly cranky disposition; the difference is that the comedians are usually funny on purpose. Like the sly, genial Eugene Mirman, for instance, whose multiple appearances at last year's Bumbershoot were among its quieter highlights—he'd just returned from France, which takes care of your basic comedy needs right there. He'll perform between headliners Charming Snakes and openers Big Business and perhaps treat us to the squealing-child renditions of '70s pop songs that can be heard on his Web site. 9:30 p.m. Thurs., March 25. $5. Neumo's, 925 E. Pike St., 206-709-9442. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

FRIDAY - SUNDAY

FILM

ACADEMY LEADERS

Any film about a guy whose head becomes magnetized after lightning strikes a steel plate in his skull deserves to win an Oscar. Harvie Krumpet did, and it's one of the half-dozen titles in this package of Oscar-nominated shorts from last year, most of which nobody saw. In addition to the sad-happy Aussie claymation feature (pictured), the hilarious Nibbles documents a gonzo fishing trip in a line-art style reminiscent of Ralph Steadman. Two of the other features, both from Europe, concern the '90s war in Bosnia. One, The Red Jacket, poignantly follows a grief-tainted garment back to Germany. 7 and 9 p.m. Fri., March 26–Sun., March 28. $5–$7.50. Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave. E., 206-675-2055. BRIAN MILLER

FRIDAY - SUNDAY

DANCE

WEST SEATTLE NEW DANCE FESTIVAL

This first annual event features Aiko Kinoshita, who makes thoughtful, well-crafted dances for her acornDance group (pictured), tying bodies in knots and unraveling them. Also: Pffft! Dance from choreographer Cyrus Khambatta, who arrived in town recently from points east and did a witty show at Velocity. He takes the self-absorption out of improvisation but keeps the thrill of physical daring as he climbs the walls, literally. AcornDance: 7:30 p.m. Fri., March 26, and Sat., March 27. Phffft!: 3 p.m. Sat., March 27 and 7 p.m. Sun., March 28. $12–$14, $20 festival pass. ArtsWest Playhouse, 4711 California Ave. S.W., 206-938-0339. SANDRA KURTZ

TUESDAY

STAGE

STARLIGHT EXPRESS

Two words will give you an idea of when Andrew Lloyd Webber jumped the shark: singing trains. Sure, the crooning Cats shtick was a little dubious, too, but the composer didn't officially become punch-line material until his epic kitsch tendencies climaxed with this shamelessly extravagant actors-on-roller-skates special-effects musical about contemplative choo-choos. It all concerns some cross-country engine race, and this latest touring version features some new songs and, er, 3-D film sequences (O-Kaaay . . . ). Oklahoma!this ain't—but aren't you just a little curious? Opens 7:30 p.m. Tues., March 30. Ends Sun., April 4. $20–$58. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 206- 292-ARTS. STEVE WIECKING

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