Blobby and Mystical

One of the things people praise Seattle for is its proximity to nature and the easy access we have to camping. When I think about camping, though, I think about holing up in a little tent as the drizzle makes lighting a fire near impossible and moisture collects inside at the seams.

I was talking about this with my pal Anna Oxygen (who just played with Tracy + the Plastics, a show that I plugged in last week's column), and when I pressed her to say something more about moisture, she said, "Moisture can be blobby and mystical at the same time." What makes this all relevant is the existence of the First Annual Moisture Festival, a neo-vaudeville/alt-country/avant-circus event taking place in a yellow-and-white big-top tent in Fremont (April 21-25).

On Saturday night at the Moisture Festival, Reverend Chumleigh will be showing a bevy of classic films (on 16mm, not video) straight out of his own collection, including Reefer Madness, old Cab Calloway and Fats Waller soundies, vintage erotica, cartoons passed over by Disney, and a 1966 high-school anti-drug film starring Sonny Bono. Movies start at 11:00 p.m.

Speaking of classic old films that touch on issues of racism, nationalism, and religious prejudice, the Seattle Art Museum is starting a new three-week film series called Only Skin Deep. Before there was The Passion of the Christ, there was D. W. Griffith's classic Intolerance (Fri April 23 at 7:30 pm), which not only covers the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but also other "intolerable" events such as the fall of Babylon, the mass murder of Huguenots in 16th-century France, and modern America, circa 1914.

Maybe you'd rather see examples of intolerance in a more contemporary political setting. If that's the case, head over to 911 Media Arts Center on Friday, April 23, for I Exist, a documentary about lesbian and gay Arab Americans, and the difficulty they face in a culture that finds traditional gender roles to be hugely important. Some find acceptance in their community, others lose their families altogether. The screening is a benefit for Writing Home, an upcoming queer Arab-American feature to be shot in Seattle.

When it comes to feeling alone, nobody feels more alone than Chuck Heston in The Omega Man. As the only survivor of an apocalyptic biological war, he fights off the mutant "family" as he makes time to drive around shooting things and spooling up a print of Woodstock in the local movie house. This will be showing April 23-25 at the Central Cinema as part of Mr. Jack Fury's "I Walk the Line: The Man Alone" series of man's man movies.

Which brings things full circle to camping. One of the joys of the whole camping experience is staying up too late and telling scary stories. Of course, we don't have to sit in the dank, damp darkness of a campground to have that experience; we can just go to the Grand Illusion for a late-night screening of Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes (Fri-Sat April 23-24 at 11 pm). Happy camping!

andy@thestranger.com

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