thurs/3/7

First Thursday

Lost and Found

In Lost, his new series of paintings, Mark Takamichi Miller draws from a completely random source of inspiration: a disposable camera he found in the bushes. He developed the film, which had been sitting in the elements for months or even years, and the pictures weren’t pretty. It appears that some kids were horsing around with the camera in the back of a canopied pickup truck. Their framing is poor, and the view outside is mostly obscured by the truck’s interior. Peeping through the plastic canopy window is like a clouded aperture that distorts the vista outside. (The photos seem to have been taken while on vacation in the American West.) Bright light blasts in, overexposing the original film; Miller replicates that white hazy wash on his layered canvases, some portions of which are erased, in effect, by a blinding, unseen sun. (Through March 29.) Gallery 4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Place S. (Tashiro Kaplan Building), 296-8674, galleries.4culture.org. Free. Opening reception: 6–8 p.m.

Classical

Home Movies

Bach and Handel had no idea they were “baroque” composers; our standard music-history terminology was adapted from that of painting and architecture, itself formulated not much more than a century ago. Now, though, we tend to think of all three arts as harmoniously expressing a common zeitgeist, and the superb Toronto-based period-instrument orchestra Tafelmusik has put together House of Dreams, an acclaimed multimedia concert exploring this notion. Combining music with visuals, it’s a virtual tour of five houses, and their art holdings, paired with music that very well might have been heard in them: Handel, for his house museum in London; Vivaldi, for a Venetian palazzo; Purcell and Sweelinck, for a modest bookshop in Delft; Marin Marais, for Cardinal Richelieu’s Palais Royal in Paris; and Bach, of course, for the composer’s own neighbor’s house in Leipzig. It’s hard for moderns to see all this opulent art other than through the lens of old Europe’s rigid class structure, thus tainting it; but as director Alison MacKay points out, goods from the New World fueled the economy that paid for it. Consider it Tafelmusik’s way of saying “You’re welcome.” Meany Hall, UW campus, 543-4880, uwworld series.org. $20–$41. 7:30 p.m.

fri/3/8

FILM

Earning His License

Holy cow, did you see Shirley Bassey on the Oscars? I mean, Adele was good (and so was Skyfall), but Bassey killed it on her famous theme from Goldfinger, part of this six-film 007 retrospective (through March 28). Goldfinger runs Sunday–Thursday this week, following one of my favorite Bonds, the mean and efficient From Russia With Love, which begins the series tonight and runs through Sunday. Third in the 007 canon, 1963’s From Russia sees Sean Connery hitting his stride as the secret agent; he’s less the playboy and more the licensed killer. His worthy adversaries include a blonde Robert Shaw and a shrewish Lotte Lenya, both representatives of a continent and culture ever contemptuous of English meddling. The Cold War feels real here, unlike the silly plots of some later Bond pictures. Following in the series are You Only Live Twice (mediocre), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (seriously underrated, surprisingly sad), The Spy Who Loved Me (great fun, great theme song), and Moonraker (the less said the better). Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 6:45 & 9 p.m.

stage

Station to Station

For a comedy rooted in the class politics of South Boston, Good People arrives with excellent Emerald City cred. Its award-winning 2011 Broadway run was directed by Daniel Sullivan, who formerly led the Rep. This Seattle staging is a transfer of New Jersey’s much-praised George Street Playhouse production, helmed by David Saint, who served under Sullivan at the Rep. And the cast includes supporting performances from two of this city’s deftest character actresses, Marianne Owen and Cynthia Lauren Tewes. The play concerns struggling, middle-aged “Southie” Margie (Ellen McLaughlin, the original Angel of Angels in America), a single mother fired from her job at the dollar store. With encouragement from a couple of wisecracking sidekicks (Owen and Tewes), she decides to reach out in not-so-good ways to a “good” person, an old flame who managed to break the crippling grip of the ’hood to become a prosperous doctor (John Bolger). Trust that this will all register painfully true: Saint grew up in the Boston area, and playwright David Lindsay-Abaire—a Pulitzer winner for the devastating Rabbit Hole—is a Southie himself. As he told The New York Times, he knows how unlikely it is to escape your station in life: “We have this myth that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. It’s not a very American thing to say, but I don’t think that’s true. You need luck, you need opportunity, and you need the life skills to recognize what an opportunity is.” (Through March 31.) Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), 443-2222, seattlerep.org. $12–$80. 7:30 p.m.

film

A New Wave After Watts

My Brother’s Wedding (1983), Charles Burnett’s second feature, continues NWFF’s ongoing L.A. Rebellion retrospective of African-American indie cinema. Set and shot in South Central L.A. with a largely nonprofessional cast, the drama follow a young man (Everett Silas) frustrated at his lack of prospects and bitter over his brother’s success. It offers a world of complex family dynamics and social relations: dominant mothers, passive fathers, unwed pregnant young women, and unfocused/irresponsible men. Crime and violence are part of the fabric of life; citizens and shop owners keep guns for self-defense, yet neighbors are often treated like extended family. The film remained unfinished until 2007, when Milestone Films—which rescued Burnett’s landmark 1979 debut, Killer of Sheep, from distribution limbo—acquired the rights from its German financiers. The mix of naturalism and social satire gives My Brother’s Wedding a jagged quality, but it’s a vivid portrait of a very specific time, place, and culture. Burnett will attend tonight’s screening and that of Bless Their Hearts (8 p.m. Sat.) which he shot for director Billy Woodberry the next year. Saturday’s screening is preceded by a free talk (at 6 p.m.) between Burnett and UW professor Clarence Spigner. (The weekend series continues through March 24.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilm forum.org. $6–$10. 8 p.m.

tues/3/12

books

Big Ghost on Campus

Let’s be frank: Other, less-talented writers hold Joyce Carol Oates’ prolific publishing record against her. The jacket flap for her 700-page new paranormal tale The Accursed (Ecco, $27.99) doesn’t even mention that she’s written over 50 novels (!) since the early ’60s. A professor at Princeton, that’s the sleepy town where she unleashes a series of evil doings in 1905. Following the lynching of a black youth and the supposed abduction of a would-be bride, some kind of curse afflicts the citizens of upright Princeton. There, Oates’ cast of characters includes ex-president Grover Cleveland, future president Woodrow Wilson (then the university’s president), Upton Sinclair, Jack London, and even Mark Twain. With vampires and ghosts flitting among them, The Accursed will surely be judged a post-Twilight kind of novel—though Oates actually began it in the early ’80s, then abandoned it for 30 years. (Anne Rice might be a more obvious point of reference.) As is customary in any good gothic story, a curse implies punishment for prior sins. The privileged WASPs of Princeton evidently have a dark secret in their past—and for that they will be made to pay. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, spl.org. Free. 7 p.m.

 
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