by Sean Nelson
The new collaboration between Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman--whose previous work was Being John Malkovich--promises to take meta-identity hijinks to a whole new level. Nicolas Cage plays Kaufman, who's hired, following the great success of his script for Being John Malkovich, to adapt a nonfiction book called The Orchid Thief (written by Susan Orlean, played by Meryl Streep), and fails miserably.
ABC hired David Lynch to make a TV show, hoping for a new Twin Peaks. What they got was Mulholland Drive, a pilot too bizarre for their tastes (go figure). They canceled their order and sent Lynch packing. Of course, Lynch is always worth watching, but the cache of being a work too good for TV makes Mulholland Drive nearly irresistible.
Gangs of New York
Though his past few movies have been disappointing, anytime Martin Scorsese makes a new picture, it's time to sit up and take notice. This period epic, set in New York City in the late 1800s, details the evolution of gang warfare among immigrants, and how that development shaped the concrete fabric of the town. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day Lewis, both of whom sport really bad long hair in the promo photos.
by Jeff DeRoche
Ryan Adams, Gold (2xCD; Lost Highway) and Heartbreaker (Bloodshot)
The debut album from Whiskeytown frontman Ryan Adams is nothing short of beautiful, satisfying ardent country fans and staunch punk rockers alike. Apparently Adams has over 100 songs in tow, and if Gold, his two-CD follow-up (released Sept 25), meets the debut's precedent it will be stunned and immediate, as though Adams is awakening with every revelation to nausea, carried by grace and an indefatigable desire for love and meaning.
The Dismemberment Plan, Change (DeSoto)
Two years to the month after the release of their epochal Emergency and I--easily one of the best, most exhilarating, perfectly realized American records of the last 10 years--this DC rock band is back (or will be) with a new album. The Plan combines the fervent energy of DC's hardcore past with a ferocious rhythmic complexity that elevates the urge to smash things up to the ungovernable need to dance. Meanwhile, the lyrics--prose poems, many of them, stretched over airtight grooves and no-wavy guitar figures--engage on a level that no contemporary indie band can touch; they are sincere but wise, funny but true, and stimulating above all. All-around, the Dismemberment Plan is very possibly the best living band in the country. I'd be surprised if Change did anything to change that opinion. Sean Nelson
764-HERO, TBA (Tiger Style)
Here's hoping this new album from fevered and buoyant Seattle power pop trio 764-HERO comes out by November. Last year's Weekends of Sound was the band's finest album to date, and while singer/guitarist Jon Atkins has been hard at work on Magic Magicians, it's nice to speculate he's been tucking some deeper, better songs up his sleeve--the superior work he does with his superior band.
CASSAVETES ON CASSAVETES by Ray Carney (Faber)
Soon we will be able to see the total universe of John Cassavetes. It will be visible through a comprehensive collection of old and new interviews assembled by the leading authority on his life and work, Ray Carney. The mechanics of Cassavetes' art will be laid bare, and the details of his relationship with his important actors (Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, and many others) brought to light. This book should exhaust any obsession with John Cassavetes. But in case it doesn't, then I recommend you check out Ray Carney's John Cassavetes: The Adventure of Insecurity, and his BFI Film Classics book on Cassavetes' masterpiece Shadows. If this doesn't satisfy you, I recommend you jump off a bridge.
THE YELLOW SAILOR by Steven Weiner (Viking)
Novelist Matthew Stadler gets all dreamy every time Steve Weiner's first novel, The Museum of Love, is mentioned. And the lofty regard he holds for the novel forms a perfect mirror to a prose style that's invariably described as sublime, seductive, and hallucinatory. Steven Weiner's new novel, The Yellow Sailor, is set in the early part of the 20th century, and concerns a German merchant ship. The story is intriguing, but whatever it may be about, his readers desire just one thing: for Weiner to regenerate the baroque brilliance that marked his debut novel.
NAN GOLDIN with texts by Nan Goldin, Alfred Pacquement, Alicia Chillida (Scalo)
To say the present world--the world we are in and have been in since 1969 (the start of the end)--has value is, by default, to give photographer Nan Goldin a place among the stars of art: Vermeer, Degas, and Cézanne. This collection of essays and photographs, which was made in conjunction with her first big European traveling show, includes text by her and other noted art writers. The book is simply a must for those who correctly recognize city life as the only form of existence worth photographing.
by Emily Hall
Arrive at Secluded Alley Works by 7 pm with camping supplies for one night. You'll be taken to an undisclosed location in the country where art will spread over 10 acres. The mystery will be strictly enforced: surprise guests, lighting is by campfire and flashlight only, and no talking outside the camping circle. Sounds a little like hazing, but in a good way.
Sept 28-30 and Oct 5-7 at Secluded Alley Works, 113 12th Ave, 839-0880. Tickets are $23, and are available through www.ticketweb.com or by calling SAW.
Marcel Dzama and Ed Wicklander
Dzama's pen-and-ink drawings sit squarely in the realm of the not quite real, such as a quartet of musicians named John, Paul, Ringo, and Neil. They're funny, they're disturbing, and the stories they may or may not tell make the imagination quite drunk.
Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave S, 624-0770.
Seattle is the latest lucky recipient of this traveling show curated by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. It's a survey of a trend in contemporary Japanese art that Murakami has identified by its severe two-dimensionality, the roots of which are in both traditional arts such as screen painting and Hokusai woodcuts and the current craze for anime and manga. With work by Murakami himself, as well as Yoshitomo Nara, groovisions, and Henmaru Machino, among others.
Henry Art Gallery, 15th Ave NE at NE 41st St, 543-2280.
by Bret Fetzer
Herbert Matthews Goes to the Sierra from Printer's Devil Theatre
What Herbert Bergel creates might properly be called opera, as every word is sung--only the subject matter is so modest, so unostentatious. In The Gas Man, a couple of kids went to buy an amplifier, and a new couple had an awkward meeting with their exes in a restaurant. Herbert Matthews Goes to the Sierra may be a departure; it's about a New York Times journalist and his wife, but apparently it also works in the Cuban Revolution--though that may mean only that the title character wishes he could get some good cigars. The tunes'll be catchy, though.
Engine Anthem from the Crispin Spaeth Dance Group
Crispin Spaeth's new dance is about cars and everything they represent: personal freedom, roads twisting across the landscape, the hungry loneliness of listening to a song on the radio at 2 am as you're entering the last few miles of a drive home. It may seem strange to describe dance--the most bodily of art forms--as being smart, but that's what Spaeth's work is; her choreography expresses a cool intelligence through its spiky, surprising moves. Expect something elegant and visceral.
Shockheaded Peter at the Moore Theatre
Based on a series of viciously moral children's tales, this "junk opera" from London has been sweeping through Europe with its combination of lush, excessive design and sinister songs by Martyn Jacques performed by eerie cabaret act the Tiger Lillies. Here's a series of adjectives used in the American reviews: "Gruesome." "Nasty." "Sadistic." "Horrid." "Gory." "Lurid." "Witty and spectacular." Fans of Edward Gorey should line up now.
Subterranean Homesick from Theater Schmeater
Playwright John Moe's first big splash was Zombie Temps from Outer Space--but though it was full of easy targets and obvious coffee gags, don't hold that against him. His 1999 play Montana Moose was far more idiosyncratic (to begin with, it was about a man slowly turning into a moose), and, unsurprisingly, more genuinely funny. Subterranean Homesick promises to explore a darker streak of humor: Advice from an insidious businessman from Tampa turns an unhappy household into a really, really unhappy household.