The Weekly Wire: The Week’s Notable Events

WEDNESDAY 6/24Dogs/Books/Dating: I Only Have Paws for YouDid you know that a whopping 83 percent of dog owners—according to the American Pet Association—got their pooch for companionship? Damn. How many of these owners are single, attractive, and craving human attention? You can scope out potential suitors at the release party for local author Brenda Bryan's Barking Buddha: Simple Soul Stretches for Yogi and Dogi (Skipstone, $12.95). The bash is a win-win for all attendees: You get your booze on, your dog scores (free!) treats, and if you decide he or she could benefit from some meditation exercises, a portion of your book purchase benefits the Seattle Humane Society. All you have to do is RSVP (223-6303 x117) to get on the 200-plus guest list. With numbers like these, the odds are totally in my—ahem, I mean your—favor for finding a hot date who isn't bullshitting when he or she says they love dogs. Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, 1333 Fifth Ave., rockbottom.com. Free. 6–8 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTVisual Arts: Grüp PortraitsPut an umlaut in the title, and any arts exhibition—or heavy-metal band—automatically becomes more interesting. Running through October 18, "ÜberPortrait" packages two local and nine international artists to intentionally fractured effect. One decapitated head is the size of a Smart car. Multiple busts are rendered in a dozen-plus styles of traditional china patterns. Human faces are grafted onto taxidermy coyotes and hyenas. In a video installation, a button-covered dancer has an abacus for a face. From Seattle, Margot Quan Knight depicts suburban settings faceted in a mirrored quilt, while Dan Webb sequentially whittles a block of wood into a bust, a skull, and beyond. The point being that there are all different manners of human representation—the über-conceit that links these 11 disparate styles. The most interesting is Peruvian artist Kukuli Velarde's fake museum display of pre-Columbian pottery figures, called Plunder Me, Baby. Tagged with yellowed, typewritten curator's cards (also translated from the Spanish), these echt-archaeological finds are angry, grotesque, recriminatory little demons. One, named Chola de Mierda, is identified as being "Socially resentful. She believes she is an equal. Dismissible." It's not an individual being represented here, but an entire cultural dynamic. Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way N.E., 425-519-0770, bellevuearts.org. $7–$9. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. BRIAN MILLERUrban Agriculture: Concrete and TopsoilIt's easy to roll your eyes at Novella Carpenter—a hippie-raised UW grad who later attended Berkeley J-School (studying under Michael Pollan, no less) and now lives in crime-ridden Oakland. All the liberal clichés, right? But Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer (Penguin, $29.95) isn't just another foodie book that naively preaches from a position of privilege. Carpenter is self-aware enough to know that her project—to grow vegetables, raise chickens and pigs, and eat off her little plot of land—may sound ridiculously implausible. When her first garden resembles a peace sign, she quickly changes it to look like the Mercedes Benz logo. And she doesn't bore readers with long contemplations about what it means to kill her first chicken. Instead she relates tales of dumpster-diving for pig slop, the impressive smells generated by animal droppings, and her platform-boot-wearing neighbor who runs a Wednesday-night variety show out of a local warehouse. You know: ordinary, regular farm stuff. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. (Also: 6:30 p.m. Thurs., Palace Ballroom, kimricketts.com. $25.) LAURA ONSTOTTHURSDAY 6/25Books: Valley GirlIt's a good thing that Mishna Wolff has a background in stand-up comedy, since her late-'80s memoir of growing up poor in Seattle's Rainier Valley, the eldest child in a blended, interracial family, is essentially a series of coming-of-age vignettes that should benefit from being performed. Her father white, her step-sibs and stepmother black (as were Daddy's many preceding girlfriends), young Mishna is never sure where she stands in I'm Down (St. Martin's, $23.95). Her father, for reasons left unexplained, identifies culturally with African-Americans. Her divorced birth mother, seen mainly on weekend visits, is a TV-hating white hippie. And her peers alternately taunt her for being a cracker or—if she does too well in school—stuck up. But the class/racial divide works both ways. Admitted to a gifted-student program, the author recalls, "Unlike my classmates, I didn't know about algebra, or Shakespeare, or lacrosse, or Lacoste." Though she learns how to neatly braid her black stepsister's hair, looming adolescence brings conflict with her stepmother. ("Just because I don't like Jody Watley does not make me a racist!") Wolff's account—inevitably being developed as a screenplay at Sundance—stops short of high school, but not before her ambitions (swimming, college, etc.) place her among new friends who are wealthy and white. With not a little disgust, Wolff notes that they have the luxury to be depressed. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com. Free. 7 p.m. (Also: Elliott Bay, 4:30 p.m. Sat., June 27.) BRIAN MILLERClassical: Are You There, God? It's Me, AaronAddressing the Lord directly, in love, praise, and supplication, the text of Aaron Jay Kernis' Symphony No. 3, Symphony of Meditations, is taken from devout verse by the 11th-century poet Solomon ibn Gabirol, set in a large Mahlerian frame of soprano, baritone, chorus, and full orchestra. That being the Seattle Symphony, for whom the piece, two years in the making, was written. Gerard Schwarz conducts the premiere tonight. Kernis particularly excels at arresting orchestral color and a feeling of transcendent spaciousness—for one example, there's his Musica Celestis, recorded by the SSO on a CD titled Echoes. Also on the program: Gustav Holst's trippy The Planets. The program will be repeated Friday (7 p.m.); Saturday's concert (7 p.m.) is a special celebration of Benaroya Hall's 10th anniversary, with Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 replacing the Kernis. Benaroya Hall, Third Ave. and Union St., 215-4747, seattlesymphony.org. $17–$97. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERTFRIDAY 6/26Photography: Bare on the WallsLast year, Jojo Corväiá asked 71 people who walked past his Miami studio if he could photograph and interview them without clothes on. Only one said no. "It was a child who was self-conscious because he was overweight," explains Corväiá. "I did take his mother's picture, though." His show, "The Human Factor Project" (through June 27), is a revealing collection of portraits, text, and videos from those 70 sessions. When the exhibit opened here in May, Corväiá then asked gallery visitors if they'd like their photos taken—this time with clothes on. The resulting Polaroids are now also on view, accompanied by intimate questionnaires his subjects answered by hand. Of 144 supposedly uptight Seattleites, only four said no. Even more astonishing is how honest their questionnaire answers are—subjects confess to missing sweaty sex, craving strawberry ice cream, and worrying about their mothers. Corväiá says he's baffled that people were so eager to participate (he initially expected 20 or so), but that their answers confirm what he expected: "You look at these images, and what stands out is how different each person looks. But when you read their answers, you realize we're all exactly the same. We all miss, want, love, and believe in the same things." Monarch Studio, 312 S. Washington St., 682-1710, monarchartstudio.com. Free. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTSATURDAY 6/27Music: The Dissipation of SmogWhen Bill Callahan chose to perform under his birth name after operating as Smog, and occasionally (Smog), his record label asked him to reconsider. It warned that album sales would drop, and that it might take years for the numbers to recover. But Callahan insisted upon the change, as he told Pitchfork.com in 2007, to "demarcate a change for myself." In other words, to clear the air of the oppressive alter ego that was Smog. And yet the music itself hasn't changed much. Over Callahan's nearly 20 years of songwriting, he's gone from making tunes so lo-fi they were practically subterranean to more expansive studio recordings with a backing band and harmonies, though his gruff baritone and wistful, angst-ridden lyrics remain unchanged. While his latest release, Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, isn't the most approachable of all his records—newcomers to Callahan might consider checking out Knock Knock first—it's just the latest proof of enduring quality beneath a changing brand name. Bachelorette opens. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, tripledoor.net. $16 (all ages). 8 p.m. SARA BRICKNERSUNDAY 6/28Gay Pride Weekend: Out on the StreetHow did it happen that the Seattle Storm is having a special Pride celebration promotion—Friday, 7 p.m., KeyArena, vs. the Los Angeles Sparks—and the Seattle Sounders, playing the Colorado Rapids today at Qwest Field at 1 p.m., are not? (The Sounders' wasabi-green jerseys seem very fashion-forward, if you know what I mean.) Though to be fair, only the official Seattle Pride Web site identifies the Storm game as "Pride Night"; the team is calling it, either coyly or cluelessly, a "Girls' Night Out." The big parade itself is today, starting at 11 a.m. at Union Street and heading down Fourth to Seattle Center for PrideFest, an afternoon of fountain-dancing, beer-gardening, and same-sex-PDA revelry (until 7 p.m.). Additional events, back in the ghetto, include the Seattle Dyke Rally (5 p.m. Saturday, at the Seattle Central Community College plaza) and March (7 p.m.). New this year, the Capitol Hill Pride Festival is a street fair on Broadway with vendors and performances (11 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday). Find tons more related activities at seattlepride.org. GAVIN BORCHERT

 
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