The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 4/5

First Thursday: Soft Hardware

Even those not terribly interested in last weekend's gathering of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (or NCECA) will find much to like at Soil Gallery's interactive and ever-evolving clay show Open for Construction. Its First Thursday opening in March drew a very cheerful mob—including many children—who were encouraged to don aprons, knead fingers into the mush, and help create a pseudo-office environment. It was a helluva lot more fun than the average gallery opening. It was like a special episode of The Office, with the whole cast gone crazy with ceramics! The gallery took on a party atmosphere (a clay rave?), as that most ancient of art forms emulated our modern office technology. And its discontents: Last month, some tiny little effigies of office workers were being prepared for the kiln. (I guess you could call that getting baked at work.) Since the show closes mid-month, this may be your best chance to check out the non-functioning computers and uncomfortably hard clay chairs—and possibly contribute some ideas of your own. (Through April 14.) Soil Gallery, 112 Third Ave. S. (Tashiro Kaplan Building), 264-8061, soilart.org. Free. 6–8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Books: Fugitive in the Basement

Anyone who followed the saga of Camano Island's Colton Harris-Moore probably assumed the plane-stealin' folk hero would eventually end up the subject of a book. Or books. First out of the gate was Jackson Holtz's Fly, Colton, Fly, based on his reporting for the Everett Herald. Now comes The Barefoot Bandit (Hyperion, $25.99) from itinerant magazine writer Bob Friel, who moved to Orcas Island in 2007 to get away from crime-ridden Orlando. Which is ironic, since the story of his life ended up right in his backyard—or, more specifically, in the crawl space underneath his house. Like many Orcas-ites, Friel found himself churned into Harris-Moore's felonious wake when the teen outlaw started using his home as a hideaway. And it's that mix of I-was-there personal history and Friel's ability to get Harris-Moore's notoriously press-shy mother to speak—did you know she brought baby Colt home from the hospital in a white limo?—that makes Barefoot Bandit such a page-turner. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, bookstore.washington.edu. Free. 7 p.m. CALEB HANNAN

FRIDAY 4/6

Film: The Dead Girl

This new print of Otto Preminger's 1944 Laura likely means Fox is preparing a fresh addition to its big shelf of classic noirs on DVD. Yet the film is really an outlier to the genre, and Preminger (Porgy and Bess, Anatomy of a Murder, etc.) was more of a project director, a sophisticated prewar Austrian Jewish immigrant with a salesman's eye for the topical, the political, and the scandalous. The original 1942 magazine detective serial by Vera Caspary offered such tabloid titillation: Her heroine is a beautiful career gal juggling three different men. At first, she's the front-page murder victim; then, in one of the '40s biggest gasps, Laura (Gene Tierney) returns from the dead to enchant the cop on the case (the stolid Dana Andrews) but also to be named a suspect in the shotgun killing. Caspary originally split the narration among all the key players, but Preminger makes us privy only to the supercilious thoughts of haughty gossip columnist Waldo Lydecker (the supremely arch Clifton Webb), who purrs, "In my case, self-absorption is completely justified." Andrews' cop is just a regular fella, but Lydecker, Laura, and her Southern gigolo fiance (Vincent Price) are from a skyscraper elite of corruption, cocktails before noon, and (implicitly) loose sexual morals. Roughly a decade before the Mad Men era, Preminger can't actually say that Laura slept her way into an advertising career, but Lydecker's creepy possessiveness carries the waft of very expensive scented bedsheets. (Through Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$10. 7 & 9 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

SATURDAY 4/7

Books/Music: Regrets? He's Had a Few

Memoirs about rock 'n' roll and addiction are all the rage now. In the last couple of years, we've been handed volumes by Steven Tyler, Sammy Hagar, and SW's own Duff McKagan. The best of the bunch was Keith Richards' Life, as you might expect. But the second best has come out of left field—from former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty. It's called The Book of Drugs (Da Capo, $16). As the title suggests, it's a hilariously dark look at his rise and collapse, his wacko family, and the alt-rock stars he met along the way. Like any good addict, Doughty is open and honest about the way drugs made him feel. They made him feel great, he says. And if they had continued to make him feel great, he would've happily continued living his life in a heroin-clouded state. Tonight, Doughty will read from his book, sing some songs, and open the floor for audience questions. The Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, thetripledoor.net. $25–$30. 7 p.m. BRIAN J. BARR

TUESDAY 4/10

Books: Up From the Bowery

Belly dancer and illustrator Leela Corman has created a cinematic story with her graphic novel Unterzakhn (Schocken, $24.95), Yiddish for "underthings"—which foreshadows the stark unveiling the book contains. Twin sisters Esther and Fanya grow up on New York's Lower East Side during the early 1900s; the tragic cobblestone milieu suggests a Jewish-immigrant La Vie en Rose. There's also a big, colorful cast of characters—Minna, the girls' brutal, adulterous mother (memorably described as "loose like a farmhouse goose" by a pair of street urchins); Isaac, their long-suffering father; Sal, Fanya's one-legged lover; Bronia, the lady doctor who performs abortions, preaches celibacy, and takes Fanya under her wing; and Miss Lucille, the vulgar brothel owner who takes Esther under hers. The story's also infused with dancing, since Esther has showbiz dreams. ("I like the fat one," a visitor to Miss Lucille's burlesque theater says. "They charge extra for that?" his companion asks.) Corman also casts her tale back to Eastern Europe, where Isaac's family is murdered by Cossacks. Poverty and anti-Semitism are a constant: One of Esther's stage rivals hisses at her, "You're a tricky little kike." Despite Corman's vivid drawings of rowdy dancing, frilly costumes, romping lovers, and sisterly bonds, Unterzakhn's story is anything but comic. Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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