The Pick List: The Week’s Recommended Events

Wednesday, Jan. 1

Resolution Run & Polar Bear Dive

By a conservative estimate, this writer has gained 50 pounds so far during the holidays, mostly consumed in the form of mashed potatoes, gravy, pie, and alcohol. And New Year’s Eve lies just after deadline, meaning one more night of caloric excess before 2014’s cold slap in the face. How better to greet the new year, then, than by running a 5K and splashing into Lake Washington at the finish? The 3.1-mile loop is run entirely within the park, meaning minimal traffic. Costumes aren’t specifically encouraged, but you can be sure they’ll be worn. Bonfires will help you reheat after your dip, and there will be changing tents to put on dry sweats. If you need extra incentive, hot chocolate and chili will be served afterward. And the beer garden, run by Fremont Brewing Company, will be open from 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m. That’s where you’ll find me before and after the race. Magnuson Park, 6500 Sand Point Way N.E., promotionevents.com/resorun. $30–$45. 10:30 a.m. T.BOND

Thursday, Jan. 2

Ronald Hall

Ronald Hall’s paintings are fun. They brim with color and humor, looking like the scattered contents of someone’s subconscious. Over here is a guy sawing a watermelon, over there is a house . . . thinking about toilet paper. Hall opts for vibrant pinks and turquoises—neon hues that make his work instantly pop. Despite that bright palette, however, Hall didn’t call his new show The N Word for nothing. Amid the flights of fancy and surreal, cartoonish stylings are heady juxtapositions of race issues past and present. Frederick Douglass is given pink skin; Olivier Le Jeune is pictured in nightmarish slave restraints; a “Missing” poster is transposed over a traditional African mask. In Blind Nation, Barack Obama is even depicted wearing a thorn of crowns with a black censor’s bar over his eyes while the White House explodes in a plume of smoke in the background. Did his election really launch America into a proud new post-racial era? Not in Hall’s paintings. (Through Jan. 30.) Gallery4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Pl. S. (Tashiro Kaplan Building), 296-7580, 4culture.org. Free. First Thursday reception 6–8 p.m. KELTON SEARS

Friday, Jan. 3

The Thin Man

William Powell and Myrna Loy starred as elegant married sleuths Nick and Nora Charles in a half-dozen Thin Man films between 1934–47. Based on the Dashiell Hammett characters, the pair were introduced in this 1934 original, aided by their crossword-puzzle favorite of a pet, Asta. Cocktail-swilling sophisticates during the height of the Great Depression, Powell and Loy are free of children or worldly cares—they’ve got money, and lots of it, so how better to spend their leisure time than solving crimes? When a reporter asks Nick, “Can’t you tell us anything about the case?”, he replies, “Yes. It’s putting me way behind in my drinking.” Memories of Prohibition were fairly recent, and Nick and Nora provided welcome escapism during a hard-luck decade and the following war years. The plot doesn’t matter terribly (the titular thin man is the murder victim, not Nick); it’s the married panache that Powell and Loy brought to their roles that you remember. Along with It Happened One Night (made the same year), The Thin Man is one of those ’30s movies that signaled a new ease and equality between the sexes. Rather than being some stuffy old 19th-century institution, a contract, marriage actually seems fun in the movie. It’s a trick many of today’s filmmakers still can’t seem to master. W. S. Van Dyke directs the very talky script. (Through Wed.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 6:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Internet Cat Video Festival

For Internet real estate, “one thing competes with porn,” wrote Gideon Lewis-Kraus in a piece on the “Online Cat-Industrial Complex” he penned last year for Wired. “That is cats.” Grumpy Cat, L’il Bub, Maru: We know these individual felines by name. Their videos appear in our Facebook stream, and we can’t resist the urge to click. But what is it about them? Lewis-Kraus concludes that an “Internet cat . . . confronts us with how cravenly we ourselves court approval.” Yet most participants and viewers at the first Internet Cat Video Festival—organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2012—agreed that watching cat videos “just feels good.” Now in its second year, the festival has a touring component: 60-plus short videos that are sure to delight. Admission tonight includes light snacks and beverages and a signed calendar featuring local feline Henri, le Chat Noir. The creator of that existential kitty’s videos, Will Braden, will be on hand to sign copies of his book. Sadly, we’re told “Henri is unable to attend, due to his strict napping schedule.” Le sigh, le mew. Kirkland Arts Center, 620 Market St., 425-822-7161, kirklandartscenter.org. $25. 7 p.m. (Also: 2 & 7 p.m. Sat. Repeats Wed., Jan. 15 at the Showbox.) GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

Young Frankenstein

Mel Brooks’ inspired 1974 spoof is probably his best movie, affectionately rooted in the James Whale originals (particularly Bride of Frankenstein) yet knowingly updated with innuendo and vaudeville. Gene Wilder stars as the reluctant mad scientist who’s determined not to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. The great Madeline Kahn plays his fiancée, destined to end up with quite another man (er, monster, played by Peter Boyle). Marty Feldman is the goggle-eyed hunchback. Wilder and Brooks are both credited with the script, which includes countless classic gags—from “What knockers!” to “It could be worse; it could be raining”—and much horse whinnying at the mention of Frau Blücher (Cloris Leachman). Brooks was able to reuse portions of the original Frankenstein laboratory sets that Universal had saved; and that period integrity is one reason the comedy holds up so well. In a way, the Borscht Belt is as timeless as Transylvania. (Through Wed.) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com. $6–$8. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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