Velocity Fall Showcase
If you need a short course in the Seattle dance scene, take a seat for this triple-bill weekend—three nights, three different programs, with contributions from a hefty percentage of the local dance population. The plethora of artists and troupes either previewing or reviving work include: Spectrum Dance Theater (whose David Alewine and Paula J. Peters are pictured), Crispin Spaeth, Locust, Launch, Rob Kitsos, BetterBiscuitDance, Pat Graney, Maureen Whiting, Amii LeGendre, and the Degenerate Art Ensemble. And that's just part of the roster. It's a benefit to support Velocity's 2004–05 season and a great chance to mentally bookmark who you'd like to see in the coming year. 8 p.m. Fri., Sept. 17–Sun., Sept. 19. $20–$40. Velocity MainSpace Theater, 915 E. Pine St., second floor, 206-325-8773. SANDRA KURTZ
Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man, and it's difficult to find a rock fan who doesn't love 35-year Texas blues-rock veterans ZZ Top at least a little. Sure, you remember the videos (who wouldn't?), but Rhino's gloriously rough new double-CD anthology Rancho Texicano: The Very Best of ZZ Top makes it clear that from their grungy early years ("Goin' Down to Mexico," "Jesus Just Left Chicago," "Tush") to the synthy '80s ("Gimme All Your Lovin'") to now, the band's run a steady, often rewarding course. Plus you can see the beards, live and in person! 7 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 16. $36.50/$41.50. Puyallup Fairgrounds, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup, 206-628-0888 or www.ticketmaster.com. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
On the shortlist of authentically unhinged movie psychopaths, put Psycho's Norman Bates, Blue Velvet's Frank Booth, The Silence of the Lamb's Jame Gumb, and loony Luther, the sniveling nutcase played by David Patrick Kelly (pictured) in Walter Hill's 1979 cult flick. The film is a kind of stylized urban Odyssey, with the titular punks on a besieged journey back to home turf after being framed by Kelly for the assassination of their gangland's head honcho. The violent chase provides a solid hour and a half of pop adrenaline, but it's Kelly's cuckoo you'll remember, clanking bottles on his fingertips and screeching the taunt, "War-riors! Come out to play-ee-ay!" (R) 11 p.m. Fri., Sept. 17–Sat., Sept. 18. Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. STEVE WIECKING
What's Funny About Politics?
One is a feisty actress commonly (and wrongly) associated with deadpan TV diva Daria; another is the comedian who voices Mr. Burns et al. on The Simpsons; the third is a famous—and famously sardonic—American Indian author; and the last is a local news writer. Janeane Garofalo (pictured), Harry Shearer, Sherman Alexie, and Sandeep Kaushik are sharing the stage tonight as a comedy quartet originally billed as part of a donkey-vs.-elephant death match titled "Who's Funnier: The Left or the Right?"; it became "What's Funny About Politics?" when no witty right-wingers proved willing. The end result: a left-leaning political panel spliced with stand-up and enlivened by audience questions, which the participants will address throughout. 8 p.m. Sat., Sept. 18. $37.50/ $32.50 for registered voters. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 206-325-3554. NEAL SCHINDLER
Gowin made his name decades ago with candid photos of friends and family that were both tender and unflinching. Now he records patterns of destruction and pollution in aerial shots of the face of the Earth—military test sites, mining operations, golf courses, toxic-waste treatment facilities, and off-road vehicle courses (pictured)—that are composed like austerely abstract paintings. What remains from his earlier work is Gowin's preoccupation with his fellow human beings in all their accidental beauty and terrible carelessness, and his ability to, as critic Michael Frizot (quoting James Agee) said, "perceive simply the cruel radiance of what is." 2 p.m. Sun., Sept. 19. $6–$8/ free for students. Henry Art Gallery, UW campus, 206-543-2280. DAVID STOESZ