SATURDAY

Mark Pickerel Croons at the Tractor, Junk Drawers, and Weird Science

 MusicMark Pickerel I could go on and on about Snake in the Radio, the recent solo album from the Northwest's favorite pompadoured son, Mark Pickerel. Like some record you rescued from the dark corner of an antique store, it's thick with a dusty sound often equated with West Texas twang. Pickerel's vocals carry a Chris Isaak/Lee Hazelwood bottom end to them, or perhaps it would be safer to say he sounds like Roy Orbison on sedatives. The songs swing like all classic country should, but what separates Pickerel from someone like Wayne Hancock is the surreal, almost psychedelic haze he paints his songs with. It's Americana, for sure, but via David Lynch. If Blue Velvet were set in a Bakersville dance hall, it would sound like this. With Pickerel's band the Praying Hands, Tom Brosseau (also see Friday), and Johanna Kunin. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599, www.tractortavern.citysearch.com. $10. 9 p.m. BRIAN J. BARR ArtJunk DrawersArt-walk lovers should know that in addition to First Thursdays in Pioneer Square, Ballard's Second Saturdays are picking up nicely, with a range of interesting work presented each month in the equally unique venues of Ballard's retail/nightlife core. Photographer and artist Richard Gilbert's "Junk Drawers" is a slight show that deserves a second glance this month—or a first, if you missed the art walk. His 10 color images of the trash and treasure people accumulate inspire a voyeuristic thrill as well as a nod of recognition. Who doesn't have a secret stash of twist ties, takeout menus, and Super Glue somewhere around the house? Gilbert isn't shy about exposing his own (pictured), either. The project's inspiration, as he writes in his bio, "was a sudden pang of nostalgia for that place in the corner of my childhood kitchen where the detritus of our lives ended up—objects often of marginal consequence, but sometimes great importance, somehow too special to throw away, seldom animal or vegetable, and always, by necessity, smaller than a breadbox." Secret Garden Bookshop, 2214 N.W. Market St., 789-5006, www.secret gardenbooks.com. 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun. Ends Feb. 5. RACHEL SHIMP ScienceWeird Genius Real Science Fair The 1985 movie Real Genius, starring Val Kilmer as a sex-obsessed, mad student scientist, has not aged well, but those who remember it (don't be embarrassed) likely remember how freaking cool it made dry ice, laser beams, and a house exploding with popcorn look. If your life has taken a comparatively unscientific path, you can get back on track this weekend at the third annual Real Science fair, presented by the nonprofit Seattle Outsider Artist Project. The group, which doles out "micro-grants" and otherwise supports self-taught and deep-underground artists, aims to stimulate both the right and left brain with this evening of music and scientific magic. Event coordinator Tawney Gowan, a clinical analyst by day, has received numerous weird responses to the call for art, including the world's largest baking soda volcano, a mold garden, and a scale model of the solar system that's a quarter of a mile long. "[People say] 'Hey, have you ever heard of this chemical reaction where you have a fire you can never put out?' And we're like, 'Uh, I don't know if that will work,'" she laughs. Exhibits she is confident about include 0 Thousand Laboratories, who will combine music with "combustible weirdness"; a pharmaceutical experiment involving a supposedly aphrodisiac drink and a selection of porn to gauge participant response; and the possibility of a Tesla coil. "It's amazing how colorful these events can be," says Gowan. Too cool for school—at least, for your fourth-grade science fair. And since this event is for grown folks (21 and over only), you can make like Kilmer's party animal and update your little black book, along with your gray matter. Youngstown Cultural Center, 4408 Delridge Way S.W., 935-2999, www.youngstownarts.org, www.seattleoutsider.org/soap. $9. 9 p.m. RACHEL SHIMP

 
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