Help Wanted

Seattle-based Born magazine is an online crucible where visual artists, writers, and computer programmers cross-pollinate their talents. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t; often, the visual fireworks overwhelm the poetry or text, leaving little to the imagination. But publisher Gabe Kean’s first foray into the brick-and-mortar world, “Help Wanted,” is funny and smart. Shawn Wolfe’s Ballard and Ballard creates a faux 1990s talk show hosted by two very scary pseudo-intellectuals, complete with assorted relics: T-shirts, self-help tapes, and action figures. In the installation The Estate of Beverly Thomas, playwright Tim Sanders, architect Brian McWatters, and others re-create the household knickknacks of a 90-year-old woman who lived in Everett. It’s all tagged for sale—yes, even those insufferable hard candies all grandmothers seem to stockpile—and it adds up to a sad elegy for women trapped in the role of perfect mother. Other fertile pairings: rock-poster designer Andrio Abero working with ad copywriter Hartley Rusen and tech artist Randy Moss with poet Michael Evan. Yet the best of show is Think Tank (pictured), the brainchild of kinetic artist Trimpin and computer programmer Cheb Sevrel. After you plunk your quarter in, the carousel of chicken-bobber toys and George W. Bush action figures generates a random assortment of snippets from Bush’s speeches. It then types them out on an old IBM Selectric typewriter, and the results are far more cogent than the original. My 25 cents got me: “high schools accountable to create the brutal practice of Saddam holdouts and assured young people prepare for body armor and intimidation.” Maybe Karl Rove should look into getting one of these. Panel discussion moderated by Gabe Kean: 7:30 p.m. Wed. March 30. Center on Contemporary Art, 410 Dexter Ave. N., $5 suggested donation, 206-728-1980. Noon-5 p.m. Wed.-Sun.