Pick List: Ellen Forney, ‘The Nether,’ ‘Crippled Symmetry’

Seattle’s best entertainment events of the week.


Morton Feldman built his Crippled Symmetry (1983) out of repetitions—sometimes querulous, sometimes hypnotizing—of tiny phrases, cells of just three or four notes. That’s the “symmetry” part. The other comes from the subtle rhythmic differences: A cell that might be two quarter notes an and eighth note this time might be an eighth and two quarters the next. Spread out over 90 minutes and played at low volume, the piece is spacious and meditative overall but restless in its details. Flutist Paul Taub, percussionist Matthew Kocmieroski (on vibes and glockenspiel), and pianist Roger Nelson (doubling on celesta) bring it to the Chapel Performance Space. Good Shepherd Center, waywardmusic.org. $5–$15. 8 p.m. Thurs., April 26

There’s no foolproof recipe for concert programming, but the conductorless North Corner Chamber Orchestra’s performances this weekend exemplify a pretty successful template: one beloved classic (Copland’s Appalachian Spring), one premiere (Three Movements for Solo Cello by Avi Lasser and Garrett Overcash), and one rarely played older piece. Here it’s the last of the three symphonies by Louise Farrenc (1804–75), lively and tasty in a sort of post-Beethovenian idiom. University Christian Church, 2 p.m. Sat., April 28; The Royal Room, 7:30 p.m. Sun., April 29. $10–$25. nocco.org


Moral shadiness and zither music: It must be Carol Reed’s 1949 noir The Third Man. Joseph Cotten travels to Vienna to investigate the death of his friend, and finds Orson Welles. World War II removed his last remaining scruple, and lucky for him Vienna’s only too happy to look the other way. As one character puts it, hitting on the perfect metaphor: “The main sewer… runs right into the blue Danube.” Northwest Film Forum, nwfilm forum.org. $7–$12. 4 p.m. Sat., April 28


From acupuncture to Zeta-Jones, Catherine, the wealth of practical information Ellen Forney has packed into Rock Steady, both engagingly and accessibly, will make it a godsend for anyone also dealing with mood disorders. Subtitled Brilliant Advice From My Bipolar Life (Fantagraphics), the book draws (pun intended) on the popular cartoonist’s own experience. She’ll unveil and discuss it at this lecture/signing. Seattle Public Library, spl.org. Free. 7 p.m. Mon., April 30

The Seattle Black Panther chapter has rounded up three days of speakers, discussions, and music to celebrate and reflect on its half-century of activism, starting with keynote speaker Danny Glover, 10:15 a.m. Thursday. Events at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute and Washington Hall; see seattlebpp50.com for lineup, schedule, ticket info, and related events, Thurs., April 26–Sat., April 28


“What Difference Does it Make? Music and Gender” is the theme of this year’s Pop Conference 2018, though the roundtables will also touch on queer pop, black music, genres, futurism, instrumentation, and religion; intriguing titles include “Joni Mitchell,” “Black Male Interiority,” and “Rethinking Lesbian Sound.” The keynote, “Music, Activism and the #MeToo #TimesUp Moment,” featuring Jackie Fuchs, Kiran Gandhi, Megan Jasper, Victoria Ruiz, Francisca Valenzuela, and Paloma McClardy aka Palmolive—is 7:15 p.m. Thursday. See mopop.org for the complete lineup. Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle Center. Four-day tickets $25–$28. Thurs., April 26–Sun., April 29


For most of the modern age, two visions of the future have battled it out in popular culture: the utopia of self-driving cars and space colonization, and the dystopia of unintended consequences. As corporate America has begun to bring the hallmarks of utopia to market, the realm of the imagination has been ceded to the darkness that follows, most notably found in Black Mirror and the resurgence of Philip K. Dick’s work. The Nether was written before any of that, in the innocent time of 2011, but the play should fit nicely into the mix. Jennifer Haley’s script involves a kind of virtual-reality Eden for pedophiles and a detective determined to shut it down. The last production of a powerfully resonant season from Washington Ensemble Theatre, this play promises to keep you guessing and uncomfortable. But you should be used to that by now. MARK BAUMGARTEN 12th Avenue Arts, washingtonensemble.org. $25–$35. Opens April 28. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.–Mon. Ends May 13