Get your geek on tonight at Third Place in Bothell. That's what our Laura Onstot says...

FRIDAY: Garth Sundem

I was on the college debate


Your Weekend Art-Geek Advisory

Get your geek on tonight at Third Place in Bothell. That's what our Laura Onstot says...

FRIDAY: Garth Sundem

I was on the college debate team. I spent the last three months' worth of Friday nights, not in a miniskirt and halter top in Belltown, but parked on the couch watching the Sci Fi Channel. (Battlestar Galactica frakin' rules!) I sing in a choir that performs early Renaissance music. I speak a bit of elvish and own Final Fantasy Tactics for the Game Boy Advance. A generation ago, this would have meant lonely evenings rewatching The Empire Strikes Back on VHS (which, BTW, I have memorized). But no more! Suddenly, my socially awkward companions and I have street cred. Or so says Garth Sundem in his The Geeks' Guide to World Domination (Three Rivers, $13.95). His encyclopedia of random factoids, logic games, and brain teasers is subtitled "Be Afraid, Beautiful People." Perhaps nerd really is the new black. Can you rattle off a list of Harry Potter dueling spells? Wish you could? Sundem's got you covered--incendio! Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, Free. 6:30 p.m. LAURA ONSTOT

More geeky (and not so geeky) weekend arts suggestions after the jump...

FRIDAY (cont.)

Haute Trash Fashion Show

I'm a hoarder. It's not that I need the boxes full of old birthday cards and dried-up pens that I hide under my bed, it's more the guilt about sending such things to our overflowing landfills. Plus, I'm afraid the trash man might see what I've discarded and judge me. "Who would throw away a perfectly good scrunchie?" he'll think. It keeps me up at night. But perhaps there's hope for my trove, inspiration to be had from the Haute Trash Fashion Show. Featured outfits are assembled by Haute Trash--a group of progressive designers featured at SAM and Burning Man--as well as some local fashionistas. They use only discarded materials, meaning a skirt made from woven six-pack rings or a suit made of repurposed Hefty trash bags. The evening, which features beer and wine, is appropriately hosted by salvage shop RE Store. (Hey, what about a dress made of Tyvek? It would be totally waterproof!) The intent is to make you look twice at the things you throw away (or "store" forever in your closet). After the show, when I go to sleep that night, I won't be sleeping over the mess of guilt I store under my bed. I'll be sleeping on a pile of possibilities. New York Fashion Academy, 5201 Ballard Ave. N.W., 297-9119, $10. 8-10 p.m. SUZIE RUGH


Langston Hughes African-American Film Festival

Eight years ago, just before the presidential election of the governor of Texas, a drug raid in the poor eastern corner of that state put a 24-year-old waitress in jail. She and two dozen others were implicated by a single informant; everyone arrested was black; all took plea bargains and probation--dangled by the white prosecutors and public defense attorneys--except the waitress (a mother of four), who insisted she'd never dealt crack in her life. Beginning this year's Langston Hughes African-American Film Festival with tonight's screening and reception, American Violet is a lightly fictionalized retelling of that waitress' tale (which some may recall from Frontline). Nicole Beharie plays the heroine and Alfre Woodard her supportive mother; Tim Blake Nelson shows up at an ACLU attorney aided by Will Patton's good-ole-boy. That the story if familiar is a given, but it still has the power to infuriate. Not everything in the festival--which runs through Sunday, April 26--is so dismaying, however. The fest closes with a documentary tribute the great salsa star Celia Cruz. There's an encore screening of the Buppie romance Medicine for Melancholy (recently a hit at Northwest Film Forum). And a campaign documentary from a recent, happier year follows a 90-year-old Pennsylvania woman on her quest to vote for Barack Obama. See Web site for full schedule and details. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S., 684-4710, $75 (series pass), $7-$15 (individual). 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Seattle Public Library Spring Book Sale

The economy has now plunged past the point where "shabby chic" stories and "Recessionista" headlines are funny. Thrift is serious. New books from Amazon and Barnes & Noble cost real money; people are making fewer trips to Blockbuster and Scarecrow. That's why the Seattle Public Library Spring Book Sale arrives at just the right time. It's not just a book sale, of course. Some 250,000 CDs, DVDs, posters, and books are up for grabs today and Sunday. Most titles cost a buck; the premium stuff runs a little higher. But when you calculate in the price of the bus fare, and perhaps a walk in the park to the shore of Lake Washington, there's a full day of bargain entertainment to be had. Think of it as a family expedition, with fiction and non-fiction titles available for all ages. Of special note this year would be books on the topics of financial planning, getting out of debt, job hunting, self-employment, canning fruit and preserves, home cooking, and foraging for urban foodstuffs in our harsh economic climes. Because I hear that squirrels and pigeons can be cooked into delicious meals. Magnuson Park (Building 30), 7400 Sand Point Way N.E., 523-4053, Free. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. BRIAN MILLER


Kristen Truax

Too many photographers are blasé about shooting rock shows and concerts. They talk more about the strict club regulations and poor lighting than they do the talented performers and high-energy crowds. Not Kristen Truax. The founder of Blush Photo, a local agency that shoots high-profile shows all over the nation, is a self-proclaimed music junkie. (She was once the in-house photographer at Neumos.) And her work exudes that enthusiasm. Running through April 30, "Make Me Blush" features stunning, sexy close-ups of local acts like U.S.E. and the now defunct Trucks, as well as shots of rabid dancing fans drenched in sweat. Truax has become a fixture in the music scene over the years thanks to photos like these, but that that doesn't mean she's above getting giddy over the occasional star: "Shooting Robert Plant last fall was so huge for me. That guy was my childhood sweetheart." Gibson Guitar Showroom, 159 S. Jackson St., 382-3442. Free. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. ERIKA HOBART

L.A. Confidential

One of the better American studio films of the 1990s, this adaptation of the James Ellroy novel looks back to a thoroughly corrupt, intoxicatingly lurid, and tabloid-infused era that may only have existed in Ellroy's head. Curtis Hanson directs the serpentine 1997 thriller about two more-or-less honest cops (Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce) under the command of a less-than-honest sergeant (Kevin Spacey), all working for an entirely rotten LAPD. Kim Basinger won an Oscar for her prostitute update on Veronica Lake. Danny DeVito gleefully provides relish as the editor of a scandal sheet. Bathed in a dirty neon glow, early '50s L.A. is revealed as a considerably less wholesome place than the standard Hollywood treatment of the time. Upon its release, some dismissed L.A. Confidential as a genre exercise, but it's much better than that. It's a souped-up, turbocharged noir, where secrets that were once only hints now become mileposts in the delightfully twisty story. All the dirty linen gets aired, and the bloodstains never wash out. (R) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684,, $6. 7 & 10 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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