The Pick List: This Week’s Recommended Events

Wednesday, April 2

Dive Bar Film Fest

Esteemed former Seattle Weekly editor-in-chief Mike Seely knows how to drink. We’ve seen him do it, and he’s a goddamn pro. He literally wrote an entire book about the subject, Seattle’s Best Dive Bars: Drinking & Diving in the Emerald City. So it comes as no surprise that he’s joining Rainier Beer and Rawstock Media to launch the DiveBarFilmFest. Billed as “a pop-culture call-to-arms catalyzed by the recent announced closings of such venerable Seattle watering holes as The Canterbury, Moon Temple, Streamline Tavern, and The Rimrock,” the DBFF intends to celebrate the city’s drunken, gritty history, the dim, smoky rooms where it was made, and the piss-stained-bathroom-floor romanticism of old Seattle. The screening lineup will vary slightly each night, but titles include a new short filmed inside Moon Temple by Justin Freet, a study of New York City bathroom graffiti, and a retrospective of classic old Rainier and Ivar’s commercials made by ad man David Culp in the ’80s. Andy Smushkin is your host tonight; Seely will emcee on Thursday; Jonsey Dillinger fills that role on Sunday. And naturally there will be booze: shots of Evan Williams bourbon with a Rainier chaser. Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., brownpapertickets.com. $12. 9 p.m. (Also: Jules Mae’s, 8:30 p.m. Thurs.; Liberty Bar, 7:30 p.m. Sun.)

Thursday, April 3

Chris Engman

For past photo series, Engman has driven his truck into the desert, there assembling and documenting installations that change with time and light. In his new show, however, most of the images are of a different kind of process—that within his studio. Here we see the ink, paper, frames, and other materials employed in his work. Some of the paper is torn, cut, or even shredded. In other images, he gouges deeper into the wall where a photo might ordinarily hang; the effect is trompe l’oeil, like you’re peering deep behind the surface of what is, still, only a picture. But Engman hasn’t abandoned his roaming in the wilderness. In one diptych, he stakes out a beach scene of scattered stones and sand, then neatly boxes and preserves it. The duplicate image isn’t identical, nor is it meant to be. Instead, like his studio shots, it gets you thinking about the time, labor, and materials that go into an image, everything ordinarily unseen but still contained in the frame. (Through May 17.) Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S., 624-0770, gregkucera.com. Free. First Thursday opening reception: 6–8 p.m.

Friday, April 4

BOOST Dance Festival

It’s a DIY world, so when choreographer Marlo Martin thought there weren’t enough opportunities for young dancemakers to see and be seen, she founded the BOOST Dance Festival, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary over two weekends. This year’s fest is a combination of returning alumni and new-to-us artists, with a fresh mix of work including matinee performances by the next generation in a special BOOSTmeUP! program designed for student dancers. Come and catch a glimpse of the next five years. (Through April 13.) Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, 1524 Harvard Ave., 949-8643, boostdancefestival.org. $20. 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 5

Exterminator City

For the first time since the ’90s, Seattle is in the midst of an underground-comics renaissance. This explosion of new work comes in part thanks to the unifying power of the Short Run Festival and the monthly Dune Comics night at Café Racer. These two events aren’t necessarily breeding new comic artists; rather, they’re bringing disparate, secluded artists together in one place. All sorts of wonderful scribblers have been coming out of the woodwork and dazzling folks with their heretofore unknown talents, and we couldn’t be more excited. The newest alt-comix gathering is the inaugural Exterminator City, where 16 artists will show and sell their work all in one place. Members of The Intruder, the Ballard Sketch Team, Seattle Indie Comic and Game Artists, and participants in the Dune Comics night are among those who’ll be hawking their doodly wares. Half of the tables are reserved for women, so ladies need not worry that this will turn into a Comicon-style sausage fest. Push/Pull Studio Gallery (Greenwood Collective), 8537 Greenwood Ave. N., facebook.com/ExterminatorCity. Free. Noon–6 p.m.

Monday, April 7

Michael Lewis

Previously the author of Liar’s Poker (about Wall Street in the ’80s), Moneyball (the NFL and salary caps), and The Big Short (the 2008 financial crash), Lewis knows a thing or two about money and its pernicious effects. He’s America’s pre-eminent pop-financial writer (as opposed to a Krugman-level macroeconomist) because he identifies great characters to tell important stories. Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt concerns the same crew of high-frequency “flash” traders who’ve been upending the old market hierarchy. In one such instance, detailed in Lewis’ Vanity Fair story last year, Goldman Sachs arranged in 2009 to have criminal charges brought against one of its math-whiz programmers, Sergey Aleynikov, for allegedly swiping its code to take to a new employer. The notion, and supposed theft, has to do with cutting milliseconds off each computer-generated trade. That intermediary trading takes place—a thousand times over—before you can even pick up the phone when your broker calls. Lewis says such trades generate $10–$20 billion in profits for Wall Street. With the proliferation of new public and private trading exchanges, he writes, “A once sleepy oligopoly dominated by NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange was rapidly turning into something else.” In that dark new scheme, quants like Aleynikov are valuable but also suspect peons to their employers. As Aleynikov told Lewis, the code in question was mostly open-source, and so outdated that he didn’t even use it at his new flash-trading firm; he wrote newer, faster code instead. What made Goldman Sachs so angry was the revelation that essentially any super-smart programmer, given enough servers, could do what it does. The genie, not the code, was out of the bottle; and for that Aleynikov had to be punished. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $27.63 (includes book). 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 8

Walter Kirn

The more an Ivy Leaguer denies he or she’s hung up on that pedigree, the more secretly obsessed they are with the implicit prestige of having gone to college in New Haven or Cambridge or Providence. (It’s tacky to name the actual school, old sport.) But Kirn, who roots for the Tigers, freely cops to his class and status anxieties in his true-crime tale Blood Will Out (Liveright, $25.95). A longtime journalist and the author of Up in the Air, the now-Montana-based Kirn was raised of humble Minnesota stock; and even as a successful writer in 1998, he was slightly awed and intimidated to meet an eccentric Rockefeller heir. It’s one thing to grab society’s upper rungs—a topic Kirn explored in his 2009 Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever—and another to have been born at the top, behind a gilded door, sitting on a pile of silver spoons. Kirn wanted to be liked by Clark Rockefeller, so he did favors for him, went on strange social outings with him, and listened to long, rambling stories of lost wealth and powerful connections—all the while suppressing his usual reportorial skepticism. Ten years later, as Kirn subsequently related in The New Yorker, “Clark Rockefeller” revealed himself to be an invention, and not the Jay Gatsby/Horatio Alger kind of bootstrapping, class-jumping invention. Instead, as Kirn interweaves his own feelings of class insecurity and credulity, he introduces us to the German con artist Christian Gerhartsreiter, who tried on a few different guises (including Rockefeller) after reaching the U.S. in the ’70s. And the deeper Kirn digs, the greater his shame at being hustled by a man who also has murder in his past. Town Hall, $5. 7:30 p.m.

 
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