The Weekly Wire: This Week’s Recommended Events

THURSDAY 4/16Film: Jimmy in High-DefIn a recession-friendly double-bill, Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 masterwork Rear Window precedes the equally awesome Vertigo, both being projected digitally and both starring James Stewart. In the first, Stewart's character is a voyeur, cooped up in his NYC apartment with a broken leg, staring through his neighbors' windows—just as we do at the movie screen. Meanwhile, he rebuffs his society girlfriend (Grace Kelly) with casual disdain, saying she's "too perfect" for him. Fortunately, our heroine is more than a match for her recalcitrant beau. She does the legwork for his amateur sleuthing into a murder next door, remaking herself into a woman of action and increasing her allure to the passive Stewart. In Vertigo (1958), San Francisco cop Stewart is afraid of heights. He falls for Kim Novak, loses her, then gradually loses his mind while trying to recreate her image with another woman (also Novak, unbeknownst to him). It's eros and thanatos dancing to a classic score by Bernard Herrmann, pulling Stewart inexorably into the fatal whorl of his own passion, like the spiral curl of Novak's blond hair, like the twisted tissues of his own cortex. SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, www.siff.net. $8–$10. 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. BRIAN MILLERVisual Arts: Smaller Than LifeArtist Stephanie Syjuco was 3 when her family moved from the Philippines to San Francisco. Growing up, she struggled over how to answer people who expected her to know her birthplace. "The truth was that all of my references came from either things I'd read or stories I'd heard," Syjuco explains by phone from California. "I didn't have that huge connection I was supposed to have." In her rough yet intimate photography series, "The Village (Small Encampments)" (through May 2), she examines the elusive concept of homeland. To create these images, Syjuco explains, she constructed dioramas out of tourist images of the Philippines, placed them throughout her apartment, then rephotographed them as a way to work through personal issues of immigration and identity. "Sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own ethnicity," she admits. "But I don't think I'm alone in that sentiment here in America." James Harris Gallery, 312 Second Ave. S., 903-6220. www.jamesharrisgallery.com. Free. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTFRIDAY 4/17Books: Rubik's CoolI was on the college debate team. I've spent the last three months' worth of Friday nights not in a miniskirt and halter top in Belltown, but parked on the couch watching the Sci Fi Channel. (Battlestar Galactica frakin' rules!) I sing in a choir that performs early Renaissance music. I speak a bit of elvish and own Final Fantasy Tactics for the Game Boy Advance. A generation ago, all this would have meant lonely evenings rewatching The Empire Strikes Back on VHS (which, btw, I have memorized). But no more! Suddenly my socially awkward companions and I have street cred. Or so says Garth Sundem in his The Geeks' Guide to World Domination (Three Rivers, $13.95). His encyclopedia of random factoids, logic games, and brain-teasers is subtitled "be afraid, beautiful people." Perhaps nerd really is the new black. Can you rattle off a list of Harry Potter dueling spells? Wish you could? Sundem's got you covered—incendio! Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, www.thirdplacebooks.com. Free. 6:30 p.m. LAURA ONSTOTFashion: Salvage ChicI'm a hoarder. It's not that I need the boxes full of old birthday cards and dried-up pens that I hide under my bed, it's more the guilt about sending such things to our overflowing landfills. Plus, I'm afraid the trash man might see what I've discarded and judge me. "Who would throw away a perfectly good scrunchie?" he'll think. It keeps me up at night. But perhaps there's hope for my trove, inspiration to be had from the Haute Trash Fashion Show. Featured outfits are assembled by Haute Trash—a group of progressive designers featured at SAM and Burning Man—as well as some local fashionistas. They use only discarded materials, meaning a skirt made from woven six-pack rings or a suit of repurposed Hefty trash bags. The evening, which features beer and wine, is appropriately hosted by salvage shop REStore. (Hey, what about a dress made of Tyvek? It would be totally waterproof!) The intent is to make you look twice at the things you throw away (or "store" forever in your closet). After the show, when I turn in that night, I won't be sleeping over the mess of guilt I store under my bed. I'll be sleeping on a pile of possibilities. New York Fashion Academy, 5201 Ballard Ave. N.W., 297-9119, www.re-store.org. $10. 8–10 p.m. SUZIE RUGHSATURDAY 4/18Film: Justice Is ServedNine years ago, just before the presidential election of the governor of Texas, a drug raid in the poor eastern corner of that state put a 24-year-old waitress in jail. She and two dozen others were implicated by a single informant; everyone arrested was black; all took plea bargains and probation—dangled by the white prosecutors and public defense attorneys—except the waitress (a mother of four), who insisted she'd never dealt crack in her life. Beginning this year's Langston Hughes African-American Film Festival with tonight's screening and reception, American Violet is a lightly fictionalized retelling of that waitress' tale (which some may recall from Frontline). Nicole Beharie plays the heroine and Alfre Woodard her supportive mother; Tim Blake Nelson shows up as an ACLU attorney aided by Will Patton's good ole boy. That the story is familiar is a given, but it still has the power to infuriate. Not everything in the festival—which runs through Sunday, April 26—is so dismaying, however. The fest closes with a documentary tribute to the great salsa star Celia Cruz. There's an encore screening of the buppie romance Medicine for Melancholy (recently a hit at Northwest Film Forum). And a campaign documentary from a recent, happier year follows a 90-year-old Pennsylvania woman on her quest to vote for Barack Obama. See Web site for full schedule and details. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S., 684-4710, www.langstonblackfilmfest.org. $75 series pass, $7–$15 individual. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERBooks/Sales: Recession ReadingThe economy has now plunged past the point where "shabby chic" stories and "Recessionista" headlines are funny. Thrift is serious. New books from Amazon and Barnes & Noble cost real money; people are making fewer trips to Blockbuster and Scarecrow. That's why the Seattle Public Library Spring Book Sale arrives at just the right time. It's not just a book sale, of course. Some 250,000 CDs, DVDs, posters, and books are up for grabs today and Sunday. Most titles cost a buck; the premium stuff runs a little higher. But when you calculate in the price of the bus fare, and perhaps a walk in the park to the shore of Lake Washington, there's a full day of bargain entertainment to be had. Think of it as a family expedition, with fiction and nonfiction titles available for all ages. Of special note this year would be books on the topics of financial planning, getting out of debt, job hunting, self-employment, canning fruit and preserves, home cooking, and foraging for urban foodstuffs in our harsh economic climes. Because I hear that squirrels and pigeons can be cooked into delicious meals. Magnuson Park (Building 30), 7400 Sand Point Way N.E., 523-4053, www.spl.org. Free. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTUESDAY 4/21Photography: Still Star-StruckToo many photographers are blasé about shooting rock shows and concerts. They talk more about strict club regulations and poor lighting than about talented performers and high-energy crowds. Not Kristen Truax. The founder of Blush Photo, a local agency that shoots high-profile shows all over the nation, she's a self-proclaimed music junkie. (She was once the in-house photographer at Neumos.) And her work exudes that enthusiasm. Running through April 30, "Make Me Blush" features stunning, sexy close-ups of local acts like U.S.E. and the now-defunct Trucks, as well as shots of rabid dancing fans drenched in sweat. Truax has become a music-scene fixture over the years thanks to photos like these, but that doesn't mean she's above getting giddy over an occasional star: "Shooting Robert Plant last fall was so huge for me. That guy was my childhood sweetheart." Gibson Guitar Showroom, 159 S. Jackson St., 382-3442, www.gibson.com. Free. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTFilm/Music: Manila IdolDennis Lambert had a dazzling three-decade cross-genre run as a singer, songwriter, and producer (including Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" and the Four Tops' "Ain't No Woman") before retiring to raise a family and sell real estate. Finally convinced by his son, Jody Lambert, to accept an offer to perform in the Philippines, where he's an icon on the basis of his lone 1972 LP, Dennis lets Jody's camera follow along as he stages a comeback he'd never envisioned. The resulting documentary, Of All the Things, is a hilarious, hugely moving film that not only shines a much-deserved spotlight on one of pop's minor masters, but serves as a loving tribute to the devotion of fans. Tonight, both father and son will be interviewed by local film gadfly Warren Etheredge after the screening. Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum, 325 Fifth Ave. N., 367-5483, www.empsfm.org. $5. 7 p.m. ED HALTER

 
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