The Pick List: The Week’s Recommended Events

Thursday, June 26

Fabrice Monteiro

You can’t get more summery than this photo exhibit by the Belgium-born, Senegal-based photographer, called Gorean Summer. It’s named for the pleasure island of Gorée, located two miles from the bustling city of Dakar. Today a UN World Heritage Site, the tiny island was for 400 years a notorious slave-trading hub. For that reason, in Monteiro’s black-and-white images, there are both somber, history-minded tourists and joyous day-trippers out for sun and fun. The past and the present mix like lovers on the strand, and you can’t really separate the two. Surf and sand are likewise intermingled, echoing Monteiro’s own background: A former model, he’s from a mixed-race marriage, and he’s explored the legacy of slavery in prior photo series. But this show is nothing but cheerful, with youngsters, dancing, preening, swimming, and surfing on the beach. Maybe it’ll inspire you to visit Alki or Golden Gardens—where the water, unfortunately, won’t be nearly so warm. (Through July 26.) M.I.A Gallery, 1203 Second Ave., 467-4927, m-i-a-gallery.com. Free. Opening reception: 6–8 p.m.

Bobcat Goldthwait

The sasquatch, and sasquatch hunters, have given rise to an entire subgenre of movies—few of them overt horror flicks. At SIFF ’11, we had Letters From the Big Man; and Harry and the Hendersons remains a fond staple of the VHS era. Now comedian-turned-director Goldthwait adds Willow Creek to the hairy canon, as two would-be filmmakers try to make a documentary about Bigfoot. Their stumbling project seems like a lark, some sort of YouTube stunt for the sasquatch-believing Jim (Bryce Johnson). His more skeptical, reluctant girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) is mainly trying to preserve their relationship. “We can believe in different things and still be a couple,” she says without much confidence. Their efforts to interview the locals have a certain Guffmanesque quality; once they get into the woods, however, things take a Blair Witch turn. Goldthwait and his two stars will attend the screening. Following their Q&A is Goldthwait’s 2009 dark comedy World’s Greatest Dad, filmed here in Seattle, with Robin Williams as a grieving parent who finally finds success as a writer after faking his late son’s memoir. He’s a guy, like the sasquatch hunters, undone by misplaced ambition. In both movies, a supposedly creative endeavor spins disastrously out of control. SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, siff.net. $10–$15. 7 p.m.

Friday, July 28

Seattle Retro Gaming Expo

There are gamers who incessantly play Candy Crush on their iPhones on the bus ride home, then settle down in home entertainment dens to spend the evening with Call of Duty on massive HD screens hooked up to super-fast gaming rigs. Then there are the gamers who, driving down a Seattle back alley, might spot some forlorn Atari 2600 console set out with a pile of rummage. Stop the car! That thing’s still got some life to it! It’s the latter contingent who’ll gather this weekend for a celebration of 8-bit gaming and other forms of outdated yet beloved technology. And if you love Pong, Tetris, Sega, panel discussions, vintage T-shirts, beer (just up the street at the Pine Box), and gaming-related trivia contests, this will be the place. In a concession to reality, however, Xbox and some newer consoles and games will also be featured. And Gameworks is just around the corner. Washington State Convention Center, seattleretro.org. $15–$25. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. (10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.)

Monday, June 30

Finding Vivian Maier

The biggest discovery of 20th-century photography was made in 2007 by Chicago flea-market maven/historian John Maloof. Vivian Maier was a nanny who died soon thereafter, indigent and mentally ill, a hoarder. Maloof bought trunks of her negatives with no idea what they contained. The revelation of those images, in a series of art shows and books, immediately placed her in the front rank of street photographers like Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, and Garry Winogrand. But who the hell was she? Now Maloof and Charlie Siskel have directed a kind of documentary detective story about the enigmatic spinster (1926–2009). It’s an irresistible quest, as Maloof interviews the now-grown kids Maier cared for, plus a few fleeting friends and acquaintances, who had no idea of her gifts. Maier was almost pathologically secretive (“sort of a spy,” she said), but all photographers hide behind the camera. Would she have wanted her images seen by the public? Maloof conclusively answers that question. Would she have wanted his movie to be made? All her grown charges say the same: No. (The film plays as part of SIFF’s Monday-night recent raves series, running through Aug. 25, with titles including Only Lovers Left Alive, Locke, and Chinese Puzzle.) SIFF Film Center, 305 Harrison St. (Seattle Center), 324-9996, siff.net. $6–$11. 7 p.m.

Tuesday, July 1

Heart

Carter was president. The Kingdome opened for our new football team. The Weekly was launched. The Wilson sisters had recently returned from Vancouver, B.C.—where their draft-dodger boyfriends had fled—to their Seattle home. With them they brought the 1976 album Dreamboat Annie, which produced Heart’s first two hits: “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man,” instant FM-radio staples that emphatically cut against the grain of the nascent disco era. Ann and Nancy could really sing; it was their voices and harmonies that sliced through the swirling currents of ’70s rock; and for that reason Heart eventually became their band as the other members dropped away. They’ve made a brilliant career out of unapologetic anthem rock, plus the occasional ballad, crafting sing-along choruses that showcase their own voices while inviting you to join them (in the shower, car, etc.). The Wilsons’ fortunes have ebbed and surged since the ’80s; Nancy was long based in L.A. with her then-husband, filmmaker Cameron Crowe, yet Heart is still very much a viable touring enterprise. (The group released its most recent album, Fanatic, two years ago.) Tonight they’ll play boomer favorites including “Barracuda,” “What About Love,” and their 1986 chart-topper “These Dreams.” Truly, the Wilsons have nothing left to prove, having recently been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And yes, they are still huge in Canada. (All ages; Michael Grimm opens.) Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. (Redmond), marymoorconcerts.com. $50–$75. Gates open at 6 p.m. Concert at 7:30 p.m.

 
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