• Hundreds of tipsy, emotional gallery-goers tried not to stumble and fall as they walked through Western Bridge's final opening party last Friday night. Baseballs were scattered on the floors of the gallery in Sodo, which opened in 2004 as the private project of collectors Bill and Ruth True, and which closes next month for good. Western Bridge was always intended to be temporary, but it turned out to be so great—so important, so vibrant, the city's best exhibitions and best parties—that it was unsurprising to see tear-streaked faces. At least nobody tripped on the baseballs and broke their heads, as far as we know.
The baseballs are an installation by Lutz Bacher, a long-gray-haired cool customer of an artist (she was there, eating a brownie) who's lived and worked in Berkeley since the 1970s. The nervous-making yet melancholic artwork (those baseballs are dingy and just sitting there, their flying careers seemingly over) called I Am Thinking How Happy I Am was first seen at this year's Whitney Biennial in New York. Playing on loudspeakers, though not loud enough to be heard over the din of the party at Western Bridge, is a soundtrack that includes an exchange from The Unbearable Lightness of Being, in which lovers kiss after she asks him what he's thinking, and he finally answers, "I am thinking how happy I am."
In the dark back room of the gallery, a TV monitor sat on the floor playing a video also by Bacher. It showed a hand scribbling the words "AM HAPPY" on a handheld chalkboard to a few swelling strains of a string section—and then all at once, after the handful of seconds it takes to scribble the words, the video goes dark, the sound cuts out, and there's nothing. Until the video's totally ephemeral little self lights up the room and starts again.
"This place threw down a challenge to Seattle," one curator said. "Seattle, what are you going to do next?"
• Cafe Nordo is preparing a "Lynchian fever dream... an immersive dining experience featuring Craft Cocktails, Nouvelle Roadhouse Cuisine, and a deeply sincere Special Agent bent on finding the truth in a small town penetrated by insidious darkness." The local dinner-theater group had better also be prepared to make some damn fine pie (and do some damn fine writing).
• The NEPO 5K Don't Run (instead: art walk!) was better this second year: more organized, more charming—more art, it seemed. That could be because along the path, people were mistaking discarded washing machines for art, but whatever. The art included the fantastic experience (by Julia Freeman) of holding hands with someone (presumably Julia Freeman) hidden behind a curtain at a booth on the street. Sitting down and taking her hands until she let yours go resulted in being handed the gift of a beautiful photograph. Maggie Carson Romano's door installed in a blackberry- infested empty lot, with blowing fans on both sides that kept it opening and closing gently, was also the perfect sort of anti- spectacle that makes the world a little better for a minute. And then there were the hilarious flyers: some announcing a lost flyer, and then a found flyer. These were listed as by "Nathaniel Russell Russell," but we think they are just by Nathaniel Russell.