Thursday 5/30 Books: Siren Servers There’s something about the Web that

Thursday 5/30

Books: Siren Servers

There’s something about the Web that makes everyone an expert, that levels all opinions into a babel of arguing voices. The cacophony feeds on itself; between all the comment trolls and flamewars, you just want to unplug your computer and never venture into an Internet forum again. Then there are the few tech savants who aren’t just blowing hot air and spewing bile, those who came from the back end where code is written. Jaron Lanier is such a guy: a computer scientist who went rogue, as it were, with his 2010 manifesto You Are Not a Gadget, which promoted “a new digital humanism” to check our heedless embrace of technology. Now he’s back with Who Owns the Future? (Simon & Schuster, $28), a book more concerned with the industry than with the consumer. In particular, he’s worried about data-mining by Facebook, Google, and others. Our every browsing and shopping choice is being monitored both with and without our consent. He calls those unseen snoops “Siren Servers,” which entice us with porn or coupons or celebrity gossip. And we willingly compromise our privacy; we go to these sites for entertainment or cheap shoes. Moreover, those doing the data-harvesting aren’t Ukrainian hackers looking for credit-card numbers. They’re big companies enmeshing themselves in the tiniest, most personal aspects of our cyber-lives. In an interview, Lanier recently worried that “the future will be narrowly owned by the people who run the biggest, best-connected computers.” Changing your browser settings may not be enough to prevent it. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, $5. 7:30 p.m.


Friday 5/31

Film: The Searcher

Underrated by other critics because they haven’t had as many bicycles stolen as I have, Tim Burton’s 1985 road-trip movie Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure brought Paul Reubens’ cable-TV man-boy character to the big screen in all his adenoidal glory. Resolutely presexual, Pee-Wee lusts only after his tasseled one-speed cruiser, pursuing his purloined bike across the Southwest. The whole thing is a kind of goof on De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves, but it’s more surrealist than neorealist—Burton makes America just as weird and plastic as his hero’s underdeveloped yet overgrown imagination. Pee-Wee’s cartoonish quest takes place in an oddly pliable world where his single-minded hunt begins to look like high principle. (Rated PG. Runs through Thurs.) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, $6–$8. 7 p.m.


Film: Lost and Found Footage

Making short films through what she calls the Oregon Department of Kick Ass, Vanessa 
Renwick is a veteran artist with a broad portfolio including documentaries, re-edits of archival footage, and purely experimental cinema. Some of her footage is new—like Trojan, an eerie, lovely profile of the doomed, decommissioned nuclear plant of that name in northern Oregon. To an electronica score by Sam Coomes (of Quasi), we see glimpses of the cooling tower through trees, car windows, and chain-link fences. It bathes in a sunset’s glow by the Columbia, implacable, like the monolith from 2001. Then finally it’s imploded in slo-mo, and the landscape returns to its proper order. Renwick uses entirely archival footage in Britton, South Dakota, which becomes a collective portrait of the town through the chubby, innocent faces of its children, filmed by some forgotten home-movie enthusiast during the ’30s. Ivan Besse’s droning organ music almost suggests church hymns; you realize most of these children are now dead or soon bound for funerals. The Portland director will attend this presentation, and the evening also provides a launch for her new three-hour DVD compilation, North South East West. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, $6–$10. 8 p.m.


Sunday 6/2

Arts: Full House

Since its 2010 conversion from an old, empty federal brick-pile, the Inscape Arts Building has steadily amassed a colony of painters, sculptors, photographers, and designers. Their disciplines range from fine arts and engineering to nonprofit arts advocacy. Each summer the collective opens its doors to the public for a peek inside. At today’s Summer Arts Festival, nearly 50 craftspeople will showcase their work, including resident painter Tracy Boyd. “I have participated in all of the building’s open houses and had interesting conversations with all kinds of people,” she says. Besides art and conversation, there will be live music, a mini–film festival, and HP Smoke House’s barbecue food truck to sweeten the deal. Inscape, 815 Sea


tle Blvd. S., 257-3022, Free. Noon–6 p.m.


SIFF: The Mighty Middle

Robert Reich is pretty much a guaranteed sellout when he comes to Seattle, last visiting three years ago with his book Aftershock, the basis for Jacob Kornbluth’s new documentary Inequality for All. The interim has given Reich more time to reflect on the 2008 subprime-mortgage bubble and the 1928 stock-market crash. The prior two market peaks demarcate a data set that he repeatedly compares to a bridge (the film is full of graphics that illustrate his argument). In the long, suspended middle, the American middle class thrived, says Reich, the Berkeley prof who served as Secretary of Labor under Clinton. Tax rates were higher, unions protected our skilled manufacturing jobs, and the U.S. was relatively insulated from foreign competition. That all changed during what we now call the Reagan Era, but Reich doesn’t blame tax cuts alone for the new inequality. Tech, globalization, financial deregulation, and lack of educational investment have also eroded the middle class. Joining Reich in his analysis, which includes a handful of recession-impacted family profiles, is Seattle entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. Both argue for policies that would restore the middle class. “They are the job creators,” says Hanauer. “We need to replace trickle-down economics with middle-out economics.” Egyptian, 805 E. Pine St., 324-9996, $10–$12. 6:30 p.m. (Also 4:30 p.m. Monday.)


Monday 6/3

Politics: Culture Clash

Mayors aren’t typically elected or rejected based on their stance on the arts. It’s usually a matter of policing, trash pickup, and snow removal. So unless someone goes way off-script, you probably won’t see any campaigns implode when the seven remaining mayoral candidates converge tonight to discuss Seattle’s cultural community. But with millions of dollars in funding at stake, few people have a bigger impact, year by year, on Seattle arts than the big cheese in City Hall. Seattle was the first city to adopt a one-percent-for-the-arts ordinance, in 1973, to bankroll cultural advancement here. And after an early, public flap with MOHAI, incumbent Mike McGinn has been getting some of his best press on cultural initiatives: He’s put $7 million toward renovating Building 30 at Magnuson Park for offices and artists’ studios, and he just announced a $500,000 arts-education initiative. He also facilitated getting KEXP and the Chihuly Museum into Seattle Center, bolstering that city property’s cultural currency (and profitability). It will be on his serious contenders—Ed Murray, Peter Steinbrueck, and Bruce Harrell—to find chinks in the armor at Town Hall. Or maybe they’ll find a clever way to guide the conversation toward police reform. (KUOW’s Steve Scher will moderate.) Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, Free. RSVP recommended. 7:30 p.m.


Hanauer joins in Reich's

Hanauer joins in Reich’s