The Pick List: The Week’s Recommended Events

Wednesday, Dec. 4

Rob Delaney

I can’t add much to the universal adoration of Delaney’s Twitter feed other than to say that the more superlative the praise, the more accurate it is. But Twitter doesn’t pay the bills, and Delaney is now hoping to cash in on his well-earned fame with a new book and comedy tour. Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage (Spiegel & Grau, $25) gives heavy nods to Delaney’s 140-character persona (the long subtitle is a spoof on the everyday narcissism of so many Twitter account profiles). Yet a string of micro-blogs, many of which are inseparable from the medium for which they were written, doesn’t quite fill a 208-page book. So Delaney draws on his personal history of fighting depression, alcoholism, and, um, being fat to pad out his seemingly ceaseless font of raunchy humor. (“Those who think that depression is ‘good’ for creative people may form a line and very aggressively blow me.”) The book hits plenty of high notes—though, like a stripper telling you her life story, you sometimes wish he’d just shut up and get back to showing you his amazing tweets. As for his stand-up routine, Delaney is no Internet troll ill-fit for being in front of people: He’s been performing comedy longer than he’s been tweeting, and is obviously comfortable working a crowd. The only question is whether he’s worked this gem of a tweet into his routine yet: “I don’t want no ‘thigh gap’! DARE me to find that pussy, you plump little nugget! Daddy got a big appetite.” The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org. $25. 8 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 5

A John Waters Christmas

Some say Halloween is our nation’s unofficial gay holiday, but you can certainly make the case that jolly, caroling, tinsel-festooned Christmas is even more of a camp spectacle. (We’re not even mentioning the holiday sweaters.) And that’s partly what writer, raconteur, and film director Waters (Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, etc.) will be doing tonight, aided by musical guest Kimya Dawson. His Yuletide monologue, which he’s been developing and performing for over a decade, certainly makes reference to famous Christmas movies, but it also explores religion, sex (of course), and the fraught nature of holiday gatherings during his youth in Baltimore. The text has evolved over the years, rewritten to reflect current news events. In past performances, Waters has related tales of his own shoplifting (cheaper than any Black Friday sale), glory holes, his holiday wish list, and the time the Christmas tree fell on his grandmother. Then there’s the fat, hairy figure of Santa Claus—was he secretly a bear? And if so, top or bottom? You can be sure Waters has an opinion on that. The Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org. $35–$99. 8 p.m.

Lyle Carbajal

Carbajal calls his particular style of painting “Urban+Primitive,” an appropriate moniker for the rough, childlike scrawlings and cut-and-paste collages that inhabit his strange dreamworlds. His newest installation, Romancing Banality, is meant to be crude—challenging your notions of art by arranging his work in a sort of garbage-inspired, haphazard mess. Canvasses hanging from the ceiling block your path through the gallery (formerly the Dome Stadium Tavern), while others jut out at you from the wall, threatening to poke you in the eye. There’s even stuff scattered on the floor that you have to step around. “Painting at its root is not problem-solving, but is an appositional creation,” Carbajal says of the show, which he claims is a “forging [of] artlessness and bad painting” intended to question traditional conceptions of successful art. Basquiat’s street art is an obvious influence on Carbajal’s spatially playful, almost chaotic approach to the usually controlled gallery environment. (Runs Fri.-Sat through Dec. 31.) Currency Art Gallery, 214 Fourth Ave. S., 715-2284, romancingbanality.com. Free. First Thursday opening reception: 5:30 p.m.

The Clay Duke

Dayna Hanson is one of those artists who defy simple categories. Since her groundbreaking work with 33 Fainting Spells, she’s been filed under dance, theater, literature, music, film, and—that great catch-all—“performance.” And though parts of her repertory fit in each of those slots, most of it overflows any attempt to tidy it away. The Clay Duke, her newest project, starts with an actual news event: a tragic 2010 Florida school-board meeting, interrupted by a gun-waving man named Clay Duke, that ends in death. Yet The Clay Duke, which Hanson says “is not intended as a literal rendering or documentary performance,” uses all the above art forms to trace the underlying causes and find a bigger context. Her non-sequitur style gives us a back door into hard subjects, so that we can try to understand incomprehensible acts. Joining Hanson onstage will be local talent including Wade Madsen, Sarah Rudinoff, Dave Proscia, Peggy Piacenza, and Thomas Graves. (Through Sun.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, ontheboards.org. $20. 8 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 6

UW Opera Theater

One bit of unfinished business Speight Jenkins is leaving when next summer he hands the reins of Seattle Opera to incoming general director Aidan Lang is the mounting of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg that was to have been the grand finale of his tenure, but that was shelved for financial reasons (only postponed, I hope). To tide us over, this weekend the UW Opera Theater is giving a taste of Wagner’s 1867 comedy, among other scenes from operas by Donizetti, Massenet, Mozart, and Verdi. It won’t be on a McCaw Hall epic scale, but it’ll likely be lively and imaginative, as UW’s opera stagings have tended to be over the years. (Director Thomas Harper, as it happens, is a Seattle Opera Wagner alumnus, specifically a Mime in past productions of the Ring.) Jones Playhouse, 4045 University Way N.E., 543-4880, music.washington.edu. $10–$15. 7:30 p.m. (Also 2 p.m. Sun.)

Eraserhead

With David Lynch semi-retired from filmmaking, his 1977 breakthrough looks ever more the classic among his small body of work. His first feature was a labor of love, five years in the making, which he famously completed by locking himself and sleeping inside an editing room at the American Film Institute in L.A. The black-and-white result was a sensation at its U.S. premiere in New York, where it ran for 99 weeks (!) in Greenwich Village. With its constant grinding and puffing industrial soundscape, absurdist/minimalist plot (concerning the romantic and parenting misadventures of Henry Spencer, played by Jack Nance), and pervasive sense of body horror, Eraserhead is such a startling exercise in surrealism that “Lynchian” became the new shorthand for all manner of misfit movies to follow. Some of the film’s progeny set out to shock, to be self-consciously weird (this is the crowd that intends to make cult movies, rather than creating them by accident). But Eraserhead is entirely sincere; there’s nothing ironic or knowing in it. The movie doesn’t condescend to or ridicule Henry, who’s like a lost, confused figure from one painting—Lynch’s original background—who wanders into another canvas by an entirely different artist. With his backlit pompadour, Henry is a hapless protagonist doing his level best to survive in a cruel, random world. The fear of parenthood runs strong in Eraserhead, as does the spectre of a failing relationship, both of which Lynch experienced as a young man in the late ’60s. It would be wrong to call the movie autobiographical, though it’s certainly personal, like all great art. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusion cinema.org. $5–$8. 11 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 9

Next Dance Cinema

The two separate programs in this year’s edition of Next Dance Cinema are packed full of action, from serious to silly, with short films ranging from Seattle to Scotland. Highlights include the winners of On the Boards’ 15-Second Dance Film Contest; a profile of contact improvisation pioneer Steve Paxton (still dancing at 74); and site-specific works made under I-5 and in an abandoned company town outside a uranium mill in eastern Washington. What stitches all these pieces together is their focus on the body as it explores and defines the environment. Local dancers you’ll recognize onscreen include Jody Kuehner, Alice Gosti, and Mary Margaret Moore. (Presented by NWFF and Velocity Dance Center.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$11. 7 p.m. (Repeats Tues.)

 
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