The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

Wednesday 1/20Music: Bilingual Pop DreamAsobi Seksu couldn't be a less fitting name for a band that creates such sentimental dream pop (it's Japanese slang for "casual sex.") Influenced by the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Mazzy Star, the New York group—usually a duo—employs lush instrumentation, distortion, and breathy vocals on its lovelorn melodies. Backed by James Hanna, singer Yuki Chikudate sings alternately in Japanese and English; there's an intense yearning in her girlish voice that comes across even if you can't translate the lyrics. This evening, the two perform an acoustic set from their albums Citrus and Hush. It should be an intriguing experiment to see if the songs, stripped of heavy studio effects, still hold their charm. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, tripledoor.net. $15 (all ages). 7:30 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTClassical: Have Cello, Will TravelCountry, hip-hop, metal—cobblers in certain genres pretty much stick to their lasts and aren't known for exploring music outside their boundaries. (Go ahead, deny it. With counterexamples.) The musicians with the broadest tastes and most ravenous curiosities tend to be rooted in classical—naturally enough, since the term itself covers about a millennium of music. Setting the standard is cellist Matt Haimovitz, who plays, basically, everything everywhere: Bach to Led Zeppelin, around the world and in all 50 states, from concert halls to taverns. Tonight he's bringing music from his new CD, Figment, including two short pieces of that name by Elliott Carter, one capricious, the other more oratorical, even majestic; Gilles Tremblay's Cèdres en Voile, subtitled Threnody for Lebanon, in which the cello keens and wails in timbres unsettlingly like a human voice; and Steven Stucky's Dialoghi, rich with passages of subdued but arresting songfulness. Interspersed with all these works, none older than 1989, are pieces from the extreme other end of the cello repertory: Ricercare from 1689 by Domenico Gabrieli, likely the earliest pieces ever written for cello alone. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599, tractortavern.com. $15 (21 and over.) 8 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERTThursday 1/21Books/Environment: Glacial RetreatJoining arts and climate is the photo/essay book Planet Ice (Braided River, $39.95) by local photographer James Martin. A former climbing guide in the North Cascades, he began that sport when glaciers were advancing and the ice was—as mountaineers say—"fat" enough to climb waterfalls in winter. Now, with global warming, almost every glacier in our state (and worldwide) is receding. Most of Martin's images are from the Alps, Patagonia, Antarctica, and other distant locales. (With, yes, penguins.) But there are also glimpses of Mt. Rainier, the Ptarmigan Traverse, and Luna Cirque in the North Cascades. Tonight Martin will show images from the book and discuss the complex dynamic of ice formation (and loss) and meteorology. This summer, during hiking and climbing season, you can go see for yourself. Seattle Mountaineers, 7700 Sand Point Way N.E., 521-6001, mountaineers.org. $8–$12. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERVisual Arts: Photoshop CowboyEight years ago, Justin Beckman moved from Los Angeles to Ellensburg, where he developed an enthusiasm for rural living and, in turn, the Old West. "I'm a city boy with country-boy tendencies," he says. "I'm never going to have the authenticity that someone born and raised in that environment does." However, he bridges that pesky authenticity gap via pop culture and Photoshop in "Dimestore Cowboy." Large, glossy photos show Ronald Reagan and George Montgomery coolly rearing back on their horses and drawing their .45s—with Beckman's face hilariously superimposed atop theirs. The artist also insinuates himself into an old Richard Prince collage and a soft-porn tableau. But best of all is a convincing video projection that shows a cavalry galloping after the fleeing artist. Undaunted, he twists backward on his horse and shoots at them. The scene looks strangely familiar. "I filmed myself and spliced the footage with Stagecoach," Beckman admits sheepishly. "That should actually be John Wayne." (Through Jan. 30.) Punch Gallery, 119 Prefontaine Pl. S., 621-1945, punchgallery.org. Free. Noon–5 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTFriday 1/22Film: Age AppropriateAs all parents know, their kids are wont to watch The Little Mermaid or Pixar's Up over and over and over again. In the car, in the kitchen, on the portable DVD player you take on the airplane to keep them entertained. Which can drive you crazy. So the fifth Children's Film Festival arrives as a welcome chance not only to introduce your spawn to new movies, but also to expose them to live theater and music. This year's festival begins with Lelavision Physical Music, a Vashon Island duo who'll teach some basic science concepts via dance, comedy, and song. Other highlights will include a pancake breakfast (9:30 a.m. Sat. at nearby Central Lutheran Church), packages of animated and international shorts, François Truffaut's 1976 Small Change, filmmaking workshops, and special group screenings for schools. (See Web site for full schedule; through Jan. 31.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, childrensfilmfestival.org. $8–$10. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSaturday 1/23Comedy: Full of LifeRoly-poly comic Gabriel Iglesias has no qualms making fun of himself. "A sexy man is going to lie to you, cheat on you, and break your heart," he says over the phone from Phoenix, during his current tour. "The worst thing I'm going to do is have dinner without you." He giggles at his own joke. That's the sort of thing that makes Iglesias so damn loveable. The San Diego native is a bubbly and approachable performer, laughing as often as his audience as he shares anecdotes about struggling to squeeze into the rides at Disneyland and getting pulled over by a cop as he exits a Krispy Kreme drive-thru. As he notes, "I try to make myself as accessible as possible to people"—and not just onstage. The last time Iglesias was in town, he hung out in the Moore's lobby for well over an hour after his show to chat and snap photos with fans. Expect him to do the same tonight. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 682-1414, stgpresents.org. $34.50. 7 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTVisual Arts: Neither AC nor DCMaking art of light bulbs is nothing new (see: Dan Flavin and Jasper Johns). But local artist Yuki Nakamura adds a witty few watts to the old form in her "Illuminant" collection. At first glance, some of her wall-mounted fixtures appear to be painted over—bulbs deprived of purpose, dark inside the white paint. But they're actually cast in porcelain, incapable of current. Other installations, however, you can plug in. A glowing red light box supports a cross-shaped array of her inert bulbs; the frame supplies the light and visual interest, while the projecting orbs become dark spots of relief. In the long, broken tunnel of Filament Structure, C-shaped porcelain arches rest over LED light tubes. Each vault is perforated, yielding little doodles—a flower, a crown, a heart—rendered in pin-pricks of light. The stenciled shapes suggest filaments, which LED lights actually lack. Thomas Edison would not approve. (Through Jan. 30.) Howard House, 604 Second Ave., 256-6399, howardhouse.net. Free. 10:30 a.m.–5 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTuesday 1/26Books: Setting the Record StraightIf you've never heard that televangelist Jim Bakker worshipped steam-room romps with male staffers or that Peter Pan author James M. Barrie displayed "an inordinate interest in 'lost boys'," Keith Stern has news for you. His Queers in History (Benbella, $19.95) began life back in 1993 as a CD-ROM; and the kicky encyclopedia recognizes that much of what gets tossed off as gossip is not only documented fact, but important proof of an LGBT past. Tonight's signing and Q&A will follow a 30-minute show in which Stern reads a gay poem by Abraham Lincoln; impersonates Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a Prussian who in 1779 wrote the U.S. Army's standard training manual with his teen lover; and tweaks the marriage debate ("A lot of married people have been gay," Stern notes. "Oscar Wilde was married and had kids.") And Stern has Middle Earth as moral support: Andy Serkis, Gollum in The Lord of the Rings films, directed Stern's original full-length show, and Gandalf—we mean Sir Ian McKellen—provides an eloquent foreword to his book, reminding us that such compendiums strengthen a community too long "abandoned by history and plagued with injustice." Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7 p.m. STEVE WIECKING

 
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