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Pictured: Charles Aznavour in Shoot the Piano Player , playing at SIFF Cinema. Make the jump to read the review.

There are several good things


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Your Weekend Arts Calendar

charles_temp_web.jpg

Pictured: Charles Aznavour in Shoot the Piano Player, playing at SIFF Cinema. Make the jump to read the review.

There are several good things to see over the weekend, as highlighted by our writers below...

FRIDAY
Guillermo E. Brown has been a drummer in a host of progressive jazz scenarios, most famously with improvising titans David S. Ware and Matthew Shipp. He's one of those players who gravitates toward anything that splits boundaries and flees categories. His new project, with a group perplexingly known as BILLLL$, is called Shuffle Mode, and promises to make real the experience of "a broken iPod," featuring "sounds, rhythms, noises" with vocalizing and psychedelic video. The synthy, twitchy texture of what I've heard so far, along with the shiny costumes, seems retro-space-age in the tradition of Sun Ra, with a herky-jerk style from hip-hop. His flow is not smooth. Presented by CD Forum (with second show on Saturday), this is one of those shows where you'll probably want to stay for the question-and-answer session. Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-$20. 8 p.m. MARK D. FEFER

Keep reading! More cultural options after the jump!

FRIDAY (cont.)
Shoot the Piano Player Concluding SIFF's French Crime Wave series, Fran├žois Truffaut's second feature is a movie that, in 1960, shifted registers and combined genres with such blithe aplomb that few contemporary critics seemed to remember it had ever been done before. Piano Player is the most purely enjoyable movie Truffaut ever made. It's also the quintessential nouvelle vague film, a blatantly cinephilic combination of vivacious vogueing and soulful sentimentality. The movie has a nominal, tragic gangster plot (adapted from David Goodis' 1956 pulp novel Down There) but, hardly a hardboiled noir, it's pure atmosphere. Powered by Georges Delerue's haunting score--mainly the sad, jaunty tune that the eponymous pianist Charlie (Charles Aznavour) pounds out in a neighborhood saloon at the movie's beginning and end, Piano Player is the essence of a drizzly autumn afternoon in some shabby arrondissement. (NR) SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St., 448-2186, www.siff.net, $8-10, Jan. 30-5, 7:30 p.m. J. HOBERMAN

The 39 Steps The most successful and most celebrated of Alfred Hitchcock's British movies, his The 39 Steps (1935) was twice remade and staged on Broadway. It is also the movie with which Hitchcock became Hitchcock. The tale of a suavely diffident fellow (Robert Donat), dragged by a sultry dame of mystery into inexplicable intrigue and, wrongly accused of murder, pursued both by the police and a spy ring from London to the Scottish moors, wasn't exactly fresh material. In Hitchcock's hands, however, this well-known espionage adventure provided the basis for a new sort of thriller and a new sort of comedy. The precursor to the James Bond movies as well as Strangers on a Train, North by Northwest, et al., Hitchcock's 39 Steps is simultaneously suspenseful, insouciant, and absurd--a work of heightened theatricality and bravura, breakneck filmmaking. The movie is playful in both senses of the word. Indeed, showmanship is in good measure the subject of the film. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, www.grandillusioncinema.org, $5-$8, Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 7 & 9 p.m. J. HOBERMAN

SATURDAY
Mike Daisey possesses a singular skill that

suits his profession to a T: He can talk about himself at great length

with great charm, without seeming self-absorbed. While others might

parlay this skill into little more than entertaining at family

gatherings, Daisey's made it the backbone of his performance career,

crafting a series of monologues that pretend to deal with such eclectic

subjects as eccentric geniuses, Amazon.com, America's nuclear industry,

and the death of American theater, while actually being about how these

subjects affect his life and fascinate his cynically playful eye.

Daisey, who honed his craft here for over a decade, has performed most

of his pieces in Seattle, save one: Invincible Summer, a monologue

chronicling his move to New York in 2001, his eyewitness account of

9/11, and its aftermath. When I last asked him about the piece, he

admitted that he's often asked by Seattleites when he's going to stage

it here, and that some of them seem weirdly resentful that they've been

denied the chance to round out the Daisey canon. Well, Daiseyphiles,

now's your chance, though you'll have to cross the lake to hear what

happened when the big guy made the jump from our little burg to the

dark bohemian underground of Brooklyn. (On Friday, Daisey offers

Monopoly!, about Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and the Parker Brothers

board game.) Kirkland Performing Arts Center, 350 Kirkland Ave.,

425-893-9900, www.kpcenter.org. $10-$25. 8 p.m. JOHN LONGENBAUGH

Savion Glover has done just about everything you can imagine as a tap dancer, working with classical musicians, jazz, rock, and hip-hop artists from small clubs to Broadway and Hollywood. He's even been the CGI model for a tap dancing penguin in the 2006 Happy Feet. But on this visit to Seattle, the music he's dancing to is inside his head. In Bare Soundz, Glover, along with Marshal Davis Jr. and Maurice Chestnut, are performing the tap approximation a cappella--without musicians. By stripping away the extra layers, Glover reveals the polyrhythmic complexity that is the heart of tap dancing. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 292-2787, www.themoore.com. $30-$50. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

The Zmiros Project In the popular mind (including the mind of many Jews), Judaism is all about rules, deprivation, and maybe a general moroseness. Not true! OK, maybe on Yom Kippur (atonement, fasting, etc.). And at Holocaust museums. But Jewish religious tradition has plenty of room for joy, and some of the best of times can be had in the tradition of singing zemirot, ecstatic and bittersweet songs pounded out on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons around the Sabbath table. Trumpeter Frank London and vocalist Lorin Sklamberg, who helped lead the huge rebirth of Jewish music among progressive New York jazz players 20 years ago (and still going strong), have more recently put together a project focused on these poetic melodies. Their 2002 CD (just called The Zmiros Project), with multi-instrumentalist Rob Schwimmer, is a gorgeous and sophisticated revival of lesser-known tunes and arrangements for some of the more popular zemirot, which evolved over generations, in countries all over Europe, in a mix of official liturgy and folk art. They'll appear in Seattle for the first time tonight as part of Town Hall's "Jewish in America" weekend (which includes family shows on Sunday), and it's absolutely essential for anyone drawn to spiritual music. Also performing is the Jewish gospel singer Joshua Nelson (who has collaborated with London and Sklamberg in their well-known band The Klezmatics), plus a local trio specializing in the music of Sephardic Jewry. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, www.townhallseattle.org. $19-$25. 8 p.m. (Pre-concert talk at 7:20 p.m.) MARK D. FEFER

SUNDAY
Garden & Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur visually chronicles about 300 years' worth of history, when Hindu dynasties ruled Rajasthan before the creation of modern India. In 50-plus watercolors from the 17th to 19th centuries (augmented by recent photographs), through April 26, we see the final opulent flowering of the Raj. In color-coded galleries corresponding to different epochs, princes and kings cavort with courtesans, hunt in their private game preserves, race elephants, watch peacocks, luxuriate in their palaces, and occasionally pray to their deities. Actual gold is employed as a pigment on some paintings, where the figures' jewelry is often beaded onto the paper's surface. If there are 100 woman in a frame, each beauty may wear a different sari pattern. The paintings are marvelously ornate and detailed (you almost need a magnifying glass), and generally narrative. They're both exquisite and self-aggrandizing, literal stories of wealth and privilege about to vaporize with the 20th century. (In some frames, soldiers brandish rifles--new instruments of technological change.) Painted without perspective, these are flat documents by court artists that betray their rulers' supreme lack of self-awareness--like Louis XVI tending the gardens of Versailles before the French revolution. The photos, by Neil Greentree, might inspire you to visit Jodhpur, where today a very different social order prevails. Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E. Prospect St., 654-3100, www.seattleartmuseum.org. $5-$7. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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