Chinatown

Also: Patricia Hagen, Electric Six, Africa in America Festival, and William T. Vollmann.

FRIDAY

FILM

CHINATOWN

Nominated for 11 Oscars, and winning for its screenplay, Roman Polanski's 1974 classic drew powerful resonance from its political era. You could compare Jack Nicholson's gumshoe, J.J. Gittes, to Woodward and Bernstein—gradually tracking those nasty rumors and hunches up through the halls of power. (The darkest mystery concerns Faye Dunaway, who tries to remain aloof from him and his investigation—for good reason). Standing at the untouchable top is John Huston's water baron, presiding over the whole rotten enterprise with considerably more charm than Nixon. The print being shown is brand-new and better than any DVD. (R) 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Fri., April 15–Thurs., April 21. $5–$8. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. BRIAN MILLER

THURSDAY

VISUAL ARTS

PATRICIA HAGEN

In other shows, the Seattle- based artist's abstract paintings have taken their cues from the microscopic world: amoebalike blobs and candy-colored lozenges in a matrix that man-ages to look both comic and menacing. In "Fragile Attachments," a new show, Hagen takes a turn for the minimal—on fields of blank canvas, a menagerie of green leaflets, nubbins of fruit, and droplets of color float by (as in Falling, pictured). Other paintings feature little planetoids hanging tentatively in space, like the friendly rock inhabited by the hero of The Little Prince. Opening reception: 6 p.m. Thurs., April 14. Gallery hours: 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat. Free. Bryan Ohno Gallery, 155 S. Main St., 206-667-9572. ANDREW ENGELSON

SATURDAY

MUSIC

ELECTRIC SIX

I have a friend who hates Detroit's Electric Six, which is odd, because she doesn't seem to hate fun the rest of the time. Maybe if I drag her to see these guys, she'll change her mind. Live, the perfectly calibrated balance between retarded and righteous that 2003's Fire (XL) got righter than rain is a little slipperier—Dick Valentine's puffed-up vocal cadence can get short of breath even on a good night, however tight the show is otherwise. But who knows, maybe the forthcoming new Senor Smoke will change her mind. Mix Master Mike headlines; VHS or Beta open. 8 p.m. Sat., April 16. Free. Neumo's, 925 E. Pike St., 206-633-6253. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

SATURDAY

FESTIVALS

AFRICA IN AMERICA

Forget everything your mother told you about sitting quietly through the performance and clapping politely at the end. When San Francisco's Fua Dia Congo (pictured) takes the stage with its cacophonous West African drumming and dancing, you're expected to stomp and shout along. The troupe makes its joyful noise Saturday at a concert that also features a number of other accomplished African expats. Related lectures and master classes take place over the rest of the weekend. 8 p.m. Sat., April 16. $18–$22. Town Hall, Eighth Avenue and Seneca Street, 866-468-7623 or www.townhallseattle.org for full schedule. LYNN JACOBSON

MONDAY

BOOKS

WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN

Don't be afraid. Famed for his huge books and prolific output, the history-obsessed author is reputed to be much more reader-friendly in Europe Central (Viking, $39.95). He doesn't just address the Russian and German sides of World War II as one 800-page doorstop (including sources and notes) but breaks up the volume into what are, essentially, 36 interconnected short stories. That's right: You can actually read Vollmann on the bus. Real historical figures including composer Dimitri Shostakovich, poet Anna Akhmatova, and artist Käthe Kollwitz figure in the sweeping canvas of war. There, too, are Hitler and Stalin, but you can always skip past those chapters and save them for later. 7:30 p.m. Mon., April 18. Free. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600. BRIAN MILLER

 
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