The Weekly Wire: This Week’s Recommended Events

Thursday 10/15Stage: Mix and MockReggie Watts and Tommy Smith, like most artists today, are seeking the holy grail of "what's next" in the post-Aristotelian era of storytelling. Their satirical videos (see DumbFilms on vimeo.com) spoof conventions from romantic film montages of laughing couples to corporate sponsorship announcements, from superheroes to film noir. In over- or under-dosing us with narrative clichés (e.g., cute or climactic endings), they impugn the concept of audience entitlement. (You want a happy ending? Go rent The Proposal.) Transition, their latest multimedia show, unites "a Monty Python–like comedic sensibility" with video, movement, and some sort of customized live-performance technology that's being coyly kept under wraps. Can you bear not knowing? Both versatile creators have local roots: Watts is a Cornish grad and erstwhile singer for Maktub; Smith, now based in New York, grew up here and has had plays produced at Theater Schmeater and ACT. (Through Saturday.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, ontheboards.org. $18. 8 p.m. MARGARET FRIEDMANFriday 10/16Food/Books: MacGyver in Your KitchenAlton Brown is the cook/science-nerd star of the award-wining Food Network show Good Eats, where he demonstrates ingenious approaches to the everyday meal. He'll teach even the most cooking-averse how to whip up dinner using only the gadgets at hand. Brown is famously opposed to fancy, single-use cooking accessories, preferring the aisles of a hardware store, or the depths of his cluttered garage, to source his culinary tools. Thus, Brown has fun poaching chicken in a coffee maker, drying beef jerky via box fan, and tackling that most brag-worthy (and problematic) task: deep-frying your Thanksgiving bird. He's goofy, smart, and eminently watchable, and he's collected some of his crazy TV cooking-stunt recipes in Good Eats: The Early Years (Stewart, Tabori, $37.50). Bring your safety goggles tonight in case he gives a demonstration. (Ticketed event; requires book purchase to admit two.) Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com. Free. 6:30 p.m. ADRIANA GRANTFilm: Loot and ConsequencesBefore he won an Oscar for being all uplifting in Slumdog Millionaire, director Danny Boyle made his feature debut with the 1994 Shallow Grave, a lean and nasty bit of suspense about three Glasgow roomies (Ewan McGregor among them) who luck into a bag of cash left in their flat by a dead junkie. Only their luck brings no luck at all. Instead, the money's rightful owners—and by rightful, we mean vicious gangsters—come looking for the stash. After that, bodies pile up, hands are hacked off, and three fast friends turn against one another. Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge push the mood from witty and self-satisfied to gleefully dark. The descent into chaos and violence actually portends 28 Days Later (and The Beach, for that matter). Ordinary Scottish yuppies will do anything to survive, and the polite mask of manners swiftly gives way to feral behavior. (Rated R, runs through Thurs.) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com. $6. 7 and 9:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSaturday 10/17Opera: Amor en Su JardinOn the surface, Federico Garcia Lorca's 1928 one-act The Love of Don Perlimplín and Belisa in the Garden might look like a comedy—an elderly husband, a scheming younger wife, love letters and disguises. But the ending stirs in a little Wagner: death and redemption. It's naturally an irresistible combination for opera composers, which led Seattle's Kam Morrill to adapt it into Love's Fool (or The Cuckold's Duel). A first draft was premiered 20 years ago at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute; as a student of Ned Rorem there, Morrill absorbed his teacher's predilection for the long line and his skill with lyrical vocal writing. The unveiling of this reworking, with a cast of six and a micro-orchestra of cello and piano, is sponsored by the Ladies Musical Club. Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E. Prospect St., 654-3100, seattleartmuseum.org. Free. 2 p.m. (Also at University House Wallingford, 4400 Stone Way N., 7:30 p.m. Sun.) GAVIN BORCHERTArts & Science: Micro/MacroCharts and graphs can only get you so far. To communicate the effects of global warming, overconsumption, and excess waste, Seattle photographer Chris Jordan opts for a pointillist approach in his new show Running the Numbers. Using Photoshop and a large-format printer, he reiterates a tiny motif—a dollar bill, Barbie Doll, SUV logo—in direct proportion to some damning stat. Thus, Mt. McKinley is rendered in Denali Denial as 24,000 nameplates from a GMC Yukon Denali. Or the cost of the Iraq War, $12.5 million hourly, becomes a giant portrait of Benjamin Franklin—as in 125,000 Benjamins intricately collaged together. In a companion video, Jordan freely admits the show's activist theme. It's not representational, like his earlier photorealstic portraits of our trash, but symbolic—using "the austere lens of statistics" to illustrate environmental ills. But his didactic images aren't directly confrontational or scolding. They invite you in for a closer look. In fact, they require you to look closer to discern the visual kernel being replicated. And then, by extension, to look for it in your own life. (Through Jan. 3.) Pacific Science Center, 200 Second Ave. N., 443-2001, pacsci.org. $10–$17. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. BRIAN MILLERMonday 10/19Books: Timber WarfareHaving been through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest many times, and having swung a Pulaski doing trail-maintenance work as a teen, I never considered their origins. Yet Timothy Egan relates how both men—Pinchot led the U.S. Forest Service; Ed Pulaski was a humble Idaho forester—defended public lands in The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt & The Fire That Saved America (Houghton Mifflin, $27). Egan, the Pulitzer-winning longtime Seattle correspondent for The New York Times, frames this short, well-told history through a 1910 blaze along the northern Idaho–Montana border, when TR was out of office and the Forest Service under siege from corrupt pols and industrialists. More than a forest fire, the largest of its kind in U.S. history, this was a battle between the conservationist movement—championed by Pinchot and Roosevelt—and reactionaries in Congress who were trying to defund the agency and its regulators. (Sound familiar?) There are local connections, too: Timber was rail-shipped from the region along the Milwaukee Road to Seattle via Snoqualmie Pass. Pinchot (1865–1946) lobbied successfully for the creation of what later became Mount Rainier National Park. And his nemesis was the Secretary of the Interior, Richard Ballinger, a former mayor of Seattle who became the lapdog of Weyerhaeuser and other timber barons. Firefighting practices have changed, but politics stays the same. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, elliottbay book.com. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTuesday 10/20Visual Arts: Hoop DreamingWe're accustomed to seeing dead sharks and sliced-up anatomies in the gallery, but what to make of Drew Daly's sectioned orange Spalding basketballs? Suspended in blocks of clear resin and Plexiglas, the orbs are quartered like shanks of meat. They've been pulled apart and misaligned—something like an unsolved Rubik's cube, but only in one color. On the walls, local artist Daly takes an X-acto to photos of the same object; here their shapes are distended and recontoured into new oblong-ish forms. You think it's some easy digital manipulation—the dragging of a cursor or flick of a mouse. But Daly's hand-wielded blade is responsible for the resculpting. Just like dribbling or shooting or passing the ball in a game, these works on display in "Visual Fiction" (through Nov. 14) retain a sense of haptic craft behind them—it's all about touch, in the fingers and wrist. On the court, a basketball is merely an instrument, a tool. Here it's been retooled into something strange and deformed that will never again touch a net. Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S., 624-0770, gregkucera.com. Free. 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERMusic: Through Being CoolBen Folds' comic approach to songwriting may have won him the adoration of college fans, but his most formidable skill is a Midas touch with people and musical subgenres that, until he has his way with them, are considered way uncool. Six years ago, Folds lent his skills to William Shatner's Has Been, a record that far exceeded (admittedly low) expectations. Last year, Folds released University A Cappella!, on which college a cappella groups cover his songs. Tonight, he'll be giving his back catalog the full symphonic treatment, aided by the Seattle Symphony and guest conductor Robert Bernhardt. The sweeping arrangements should complement his big, bold songs quite nicely. And if adding tuxedoed violinists to, say, "Not the Same" doesn't sound hip, Folds has never claimed to be hip. He's made a career of poking fun at pop culture, pop music, and his own popularity. And in flaunting his special brand of uncool, he's become more popular than ever. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., 215-4747, seattlesymphony.org. $25–$80. 7:30 p.m. SARA BRICKNERPhotography: Let's Put on a ShowTrained at the UW and today based in New York, Tim Roda incorporates himself, his wife, and his kids in most of the black-and-white photographs on display here. They're mostly tableaux, ad-hoc stagings or recreations of what appear to be classical/mythical themes. His older son, about 10, stares back at the camera uncertainly. Is this how you want me to do it, Dad? These scenes are like amateur theatrical productions with plywood sets and cardboard swords. Costumes and props are tied or taped together; disarray spills out of the frame. The images suggest both a mad scientist's workshop and a family game of charades. There's a cheerful striving toward some sort of form that's been lost in the process; the results are both highly mannered and engagingly unkempt—fine art that makes you giggle. (Through Nov. 14.) Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S., 624-0770, gregkucera.com. Free. 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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