The Pick List: The Week’s Recommended Events

Thursday, April 24

CollegeHumor Live

You love the comedy website, so naturally there’s now a live tour, here featuring Streeter Seidell and the team of Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld. The latter pair you may know better from their podcasts and constant comedy videos, where their very topical subjects range from Bieber Fever—Do I have it, Amir wonders, or is it actually diarrhea?—to March Madness. (Do I make better bracket picks while I’m high?, Amir wonders . . . and the answer is probably yes.) Amir, the one with glasses, plays the irrepressible id in the act, while ever-patient Jake must shoot down his goofball ideas; he’s generally the voice of reason in a yin/yang relationship that updates the Abbott and Costello dynamic to the Internet age. Seidell is a more traditional stand-up comic and writer, with White Whine: A Study of First-World Problems his most recent book. In it he explores such dilemmas as Pinterest crashes, iPhone upgrades, and how to deal with scornful vegans. He ought to find plenty such complaints here in the city of the Uptight Seattleite. The Vera Project (Seattle Center), 956-8372, theveraproject.org. $10. 7 p.m.

Friday, April 25

Minnie and Moskowitz

Roger Ebert loved it, Vincent Canby of the Times had reservations, and Pauline Kael dismissively wrote of John Cassavetes’ 1972 love story, “The picture drivels on about the joys of spontaneity, while Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel remain embarrassingly wrong for each other.” I’m somewhere between Ebert and Canby on this one. Do we fully buy the whirlwind four-day romance between melancholy L.A. museum worker Minnie and boisterous loudmouth Seymour, a hippie-haired valet-parking attendant? Not really, and both Minnie’s co-workers and the couple’s mothers express their doubts, too. This is one of those oddball Nixon-era meetings of the establishment and “the other half” (as one of Minnie’s friends says), written in the same key as Harold and Maude and Nashville. In love at first sight, he insists, Seymour somewhat obnoxiously makes it his mission to batter down Minnie’s reticence. (Meanwhile, she’s on the rebound from an affair with a married man—played by the director, her husband IRL.)

Yet somehow you’re carried along by the quarrelsome pair and their energy; Cassavetes is no great writer of scenes or dialogue, but he allows emotions to crest and subside in unexpected and tender places. (In one moment, our lovers lie exhausted and beaten—by a third party—on the sidewalk together.) Both romantics who learned about love at the movies, they nonetheless see each other clearly. “We have nothing in common,” she says. “I know,” he replies. And the movie’s coda is a sweet rebuke to all the cynics onscreen and in the audience. Also running through Wednesday is Cassavetes’ 1984 Love Streams, with the director and Rowlands as estranged siblings. Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 7:30 p.m.

SCUBA

Every year Velocity Dance Center sends artists off to join SCUBA, a kind of merry-go-round project in which dancers from San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia join a Seattle contingent to tour venues in all four cities. Like the underwater breathing equipment for which it’s named, SCUBA’s goal is to give young artists an oxygen boost toward independence in a field where so much work is in the DIY category. The party is coming here this weekend, when Seattle representatives Elia Mrak and Erica Badgeley will continue to develop their physically challenging attempts to subvert the laws of physics with Paraphrase. (Is it possible to lie down in midair? Come see.) They’ll be joined by some equally adventurous movement artists: SuperGroup from the Twin Cities, Philly’s Nichole Canuso Dance Company, and San Fran’s NAKA Dance Theater—the latter performing a new piece inspired by the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, where company members traveled to do firsthand research. (Through Sun.) Velocity Dance Center, 1621 12th Ave., 325-8773, velocitydancecenter.org. $18–$20. 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 26

Holly George-Warren

Alex Chilton was one of those unfortunate souls who achieved fame too early. As the incredibly young lead singer of the Box Tops, he topped the charts in 1967 with “The Letter” (you know, “Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane . . . ”). He followed that by teaming with the underappreciated Chris Bell to form Big Star in the ’70s, a Memphis band praised by critics for its baroque power pop, but whose middling chart success belied its name. A few years later, the group disbanded—by which time Chilton had laid the groundwork for his own legend. Of course he didn’t know it.

This is the tragedy of the songwriter’s genius, and it serves as the spine of A Man Called Destruction (Viking, $27.95). Biographer George-Warren weaves a historian’s knowledge of rock, her own acquaintance with Chilton, and interviews with more than 100 other artists, friends, and family members to paint a portrait of a complex artist navigating the rough waters of the ever-changing music industry. It wasn’t all bad, of course. Chilton did have the opportunity to witness his deep and lasting impact on the contemporary music landscape. He influenced acts like R.E.M., Elliott Smith, and Yo La Tengo, was immortalized in song by the Replacements, and was publicly mourned by a seemingly endless litany of music heavyweights upon his 2010 death. His is a legend worth exploring, and George-Warren proves an excellent guide. Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7:30 p.m.

Langston Hughes African American Film Festival

Over 50 movies and various related events are part of this year’s fest, with special packages for women, sci-fi enthusiasts, the LGBTQ community, and kids. (For the latter, during the family-friendly opening weekend, there’s an awesome two-hour Fat Albert marathon at 1 p.m. today. Speaking of which, when do we get a new Fat Albert movie with The Brown Hornet?) The official opening title, not for kids, is They Die by Dawn, a post–Civil War shoot-’em-up set on the Oklahoma frontier, with Rosario Dawson among a quartet of dangerous rival outlaws. Writer/director Jeymes Samuel will introduce his film tonight. (He’s better known as the English musician The Bullitts.) Other highlights include the recent acclaimed indie Mother of George, about Nigerian immigrants in New York; Nidiphilela Ukucula: I Live to Sing, a documentary about black South African opera singers; and the doc Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe à la Hache, about a coastal Louisiana community trying to survive after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Through May 4.) Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S., 684-4757, langstoninstitute.org/film-festival. Most screenings $5–$10. Passes $50–$100. $25 for gala opening/closing nights. 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 29

Hilary Hahn

For tonight’s recital with pianist Cory Smythe, Hahn’s chosen three fantasias from three eras in German music: one by Schoenberg the modernist (one of his thorniest pieces, which is saying something); one by Telemann from the baroque (a severe and introspective piece from a set of 12 for solo violin, cousins to Bach’s great solo partitas and sonatas); and one by Schubert the romantic (show-offy, even frivolous, in a way we don’t usually associate with Schubert—notes by the thousands for both violin and piano). Even more admirable than her thoughtful programming, though, is her interest in new music, particularly her recent commissioning project: 27 short works by noted composers of all ages from all over the world. Hahn’s including a selection of these tonight, including one by Antón García Abril, a Spanish composer whose “Third Sigh” combines moody, lyrical angst with a faint scent of his homeland; imagine Bartók in a plaza in Madrid on a cloudy day. Meany Hall, UW campus, 543-4880, uwworldseries.org. $63–$68. 7:30 p.m.

 
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