Ralph "Sonny" Barger
(READING) Barger's just-published memoir, Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club, might prove the perfect companion volume to Hunter S. Thompson's earlier sociological study of this burly, brutal, freewheeling gang of outlaws. Co-written by Keith and Kent Zimmerman, Barger's autobiography traces the earliest years of the club (full of sex- and drug-related scandal), up through Barger's term as president of the Oakland chapter (for which he served time in a federal penitentiary), to the disaster at Altamont (where a deadly stabbing took place while a group of Hells Angels were acting as bouncers during a Rolling Stones show). RICK LEVIN
University Bookstore, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400, 7 pm, free.
(FILM) Usually, short films are unbearable due to the reducible simplicity of their content. This month's program is refreshingly devoid of content, and strong with style. And after all, what is a work of art other than an inevitability of style? Susan Sontag, who appreciated style perhaps better than any other modern critic, would have particularly liked two of the short films presented here: Effigy, an abstract movement of the most subtle gradations of color across the screen, and Grace, a stop-motion dance of pebbles among cotton balls. She might even offer these films her highest compliment, and call them "indescribable." JAMIE HOOK
Speakeasy Cafe, 2304 Second Ave, 728-9770, 7:30 pm, $4.
(ART) Every week I get two or three catalogues from Pottery Barn-like companies offering high-thread-count sheets, obscenely puffy down comforters, and kitchen gadgets that are both expensive and obscure. My roommate and I call this "home porn," and it attests to the intense nesting going on in the world, maybe because people have to spend so much time at work. In the midst of all this romanticizing, of living in a "home" rather than a "house," SOIL's exhibition on this topic, curated by Leslie Clague and Demi Raven, is nicely bracing. From Jenny Sabin's little orange houses, cropping up in neat rows like a genetic experiment, to Phil Roach's intricate and specific dioramas embedded behind thrift shop-style paintings, this show reminds us that the idea of home is as various and often as unsatisfying as the home-porn catalogues are pat and neat. EMILY HALL
SOIL Artist Cooperative, 12th and Pike, 264-8061. Through Aug 27.
Showoff or Shutup!
(LIVE MUSIC) In case you've been out cold, may you awaken now and realize that it's FESTIVAL SEASON, GODDAMMIT, and the latest entry in the Stay Up All Day and Night Sweepstakes is Showoff or Shutup!!! Happening Thurs-Sun Aug 24-27 at the Showoff Gallery in Bellingham, bands such as the Gossip, Teen Cthulu, Akimbo, Lois, Murder City Devils (ooh, "Lemuria Rising" anyone?), Pleaseeasaur, the Catheters, Cookie, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Botch, C Average, Last of the Juanitas, AND SHITLOADS MORE!!! provide countless hours of entertainment for the all-ages crowd, and a three-day pass runs only a measly $25!!! KATHLEEN WILSON
For info or tickets contact the Showoff Gallery, 1210 C St, Bellingham, WA, or call 360-738-4713. Passes are also available at www.ticketweb.com.
DJ Sneak & Doc Martin
(DJ) This summer's USC Funk the Sound series is, sad to say, no longer waterborne. But Funk the Showbox isn't so bad if you think about it--no bone-chilling summer "breezes" off of Elliott Bay, and if attendees want to go home early, there'll be no Escape from Alcatraz-style swimming effort required. Just scoot downtown to catch Doc Martin and DJ Sneak play a Dramamine-free set together under the same roof. Chicago's Puerto Rican-born Sneak and L.A. house maven Martin seem like an odd pair, but they've been friends since way back. The former's dense, synth-heavy underground sound just might make a lovely match for the latter's prettier, more Californicated beats. LEAH GREENBLATT
Showbox, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151, 9 pm, $12.
(DRIVING SKILLS) I know you've never realized this, but on your car are two amazing devices. They're called turn signals! These powerful and yet amazingly simple tools make it possible for you to communicate with other drivers, without so much as having to roll your window down. It's a crude form of communication, more basic than Morse code or even semaphore, and yet crystal clear. "Look, I'm going to turn right. Look, I'm going to turn left." You'll be impressed by how much more pleasant other people are to you when you share this ordinary information with them. I know that it's foreign to Seattle's entire driving culture, but go on, give them a try. BRET FETZER
Your turn signals are controlled by a lever sticking out of your steering column. You should be able to flick it on and off with your fingers as you drive.
Language Let Loose
(ART) There are so many ways in which visual art resists language (after all, the impulse to express oneself through language usually manifests in books and bad poetry), but it doesn't follow that the one mode always operates to the exclusion of the other. In fact, some of the most interesting art takes language into account, and as proof, the Seattle Art Museum is offering Language Let Loose, a tiny little exhibition on the incorporation of text into the visual world. The show's centerpiece is Gary Hill's installation House of Cards: a stack of video monitors that reveal, foot by foot, the interior of a house, while two monitors on either side show a man and a woman, softly saying (almost chanting) strings of non-sequiturs. There's also work by Walker Evans, Ed Ruscha, and Alice Wheeler, and a set of Robert Heinecken's Recto/Verso pieces, complete with intelligent but unrelated commentary. The exhibition is nearly hidden between two major shows, but it speaks loudly indeed. EMILY HALL
Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St, 654-3158. Through April 29.
(WORKSHOP) We're not saying that you need any extra help bringing out your wild side, but a few pointers couldn't hurt. This "hands-on" workshop covers everything you need to know to make your summer h-o-t: Basic flirting techniques, talking sexy, role-playing, dressing up, and lap dancing (for when the flirting actually gets you somewhere) will all be topics of discussion. And you can bet this class is interactive, so leave your shy demeanor at home with the cat, and get ready to conjure up that crazy exhibitionist lurking in you. Coyote Ugly's got nothing on this! MEGAN SELING
Toys in Babeland, 707 E Pike St, 328-2914, 8 pm, $20 (sliding scale).
(PUBLIC SCULPTURE) Response to my contemplation of "Those Two Statues in Pioneer Square" was sparse but to the point: Tosha felt the male figure was commitment-phobic but slave to his "manly needs"; Ami from Orlando feels that the woman "is in desperate need of some support," and questions whether the other figure is human; still, "whatever it is would like to get its hands on those breasts." Let's now turn our attention to a popular but ambiguous work, the Fremont Troll. What, exactly, does this beloved sculpture say about Fremont? Does Fremont perceive itself as a gross, misshapen behemoth? Is that poor self-esteem, or self-aggrandizement? Does the Volkswagen in its grasp symbolize capitalism, which members of Fremont's radical left want to destroy? Send me your analyses. BRET FETZER
Bret Fetzer's e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Search for Evidence of God
(ENLIGHTENMENT) One surety of this earth is this: Whether or not you believe in God, God believes in You. So it simply stands to reason that you have nothing to lose by giving over one day of your arrogant, bitter, deceitful life to actively search for signs from God. We suggest you keep your eyes, ears, nose, and throat open, and follow any subtle token to its random conclusion with utmost conviction; then look around and see where you are. If a cat looks at you, go and follow it and see where it takes you. If you feel moved to steal a pack of gum, do it and see what happens. If you want to follow a stranger and talk to him, go and see what he says. Most of all, view everything with an absurd sensitivity to its deeper meanings. But a warning: Keep your heart open, or you'll wind up with a black eye, headed for hell. JAMIE HOOK
Anywhere, all day long.
Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
(CIRCUS) For those of you who found Cirque du Soleil too slick, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus is coming to provide something more raw, more immediate, and maybe a little sleazier to boot. Bindlestiff hearkens back to the carnival sideshow of old, with the emphasis on sword-swallowing, beds of nails, fire-eating, plate-spinning, and the like--but they also have someone who plays songs on a tampon applicator, a "trapeze-tease," precision bullwhipping, "Kinkette and her Disco Diablo," and a giant blue bunny. "For Mature Audiences Only!" blares their promotional material. Will they live up to their lurid promise? Will they rescue the circus from degenerating into glossy family entertainment? Go and find out. BRET FETZER
Sand Point Naval Base, Workshop 30, 7400 Sand Point Way NE, 442-2004. Only two performances: Wed-Thurs Aug 30-31, 9 pm; $12 general, $10 for clowns in makeup.