Since its inception, this young production company--made up of rotating directors Sam Anderson and Joby Emmons, both 2000 graduates of the University of Washington, plus a loose company of acting regulars--has consistently presented some of Seattle's most invigorating theater, fringe or otherwise. Defibrillator draws on a profusion of genres, from dance and shadow puppetry to video and karaoke, and funnels them into smart adaptations of classic literature. Anderson and Emmons' sources tend toward the dark and bewildering. In 2001, they adapted dense Kafka short stories for the Fringe Festival favorite among the ruins: Ten by Kafka, and in 2002 they tackled a performance adaptation of The Book of Job. This summer, the creepy Sanskrit fable cycle Vetalapancavimsati lent the basic plot outline to a fabulously entertaining and inventive production entitled Vetala. And this November, Emmons is slated to direct a new adaptation of Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground. Plenty of theater companies try to splice together disparate genres, with less success; what keeps Defibrillator's interdisciplinary experiments from spinning off into the undisciplined wilderness is fecund source material and a tight aesthetic that takes as much pleasure in humor and brains as in wanton experimentation. ANNIE WAGNER


The Fucking Fabulous Film Festival--also known as F4--aims to grant necessary exposure for starving cinematic artists. In the three years since its inception, F4 has presented works by animators, documentarians, and feature filmmakers alike, hosting multi-day marathons of work from as far away as France, Israel, and Germany. This may not seem out of the ordinary for your typical leftfield film fanatic, but F4 also aims to do everything DIY style. (In early years, films were shown at Coffee Messiah. This past summer the festival took place at Oliwood Films on Pike Street.) Curated by a man simply known as Opus and local filmmakers Rex Ray and Brady Hall, F4 refuses both corporate sponsorship and stale surroundings, instead cultivating an event that's cozy enough to inspire interaction between filmmakers and fans alike. Film fans packed into couches and folding chairs for F4 2004 at Oliwood, a large loft space hospitable enough to encourage hoots and hollers during particularly engaging films. (This year's animated shorts were especially impressive.) As part of the fest, local and regional bands played next door at the Comet, further bringing the films to life. JENNIFER MAERZ


This year, Lead Pencil Studio, an emerging architectural firm run by Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo, installed in Suyama Space a sculpture, Linear Plenum, that brought full meaning to the word numinous. Lead Pencil Studio filled Suyama Space with falling strands of white string (19,000 in total). It brought life back to an architectural subject that I had long believed to dead: space. It is understandable why architects must spend a great deal of their time thinking about space, but in an age where everything is so late (capital, art, science) it almost seems as if nothing more can be said, thought, or revealed about the nature of space. Linear Plenum ambushed me. The subject of space is far from dead. (Indeed, for one to imagine that space is a tired subject for architects is the same as thinking God is a tired subject for theologians.) The sculpture also deepened my interest in the work of local architects, who are certainly busy but are not given enough attention. As is the nature of all things, the famous firms grab headlines, instead of small, local ones like Lead Pencil, which does world-class work that we as a city must recognize and support long before other, bigger cities do. CHARLES MUDEDE


Next year marks Soil's 10th anniversary. In that time, it will have moved five times, from downtown to Capitol Hill to Pioneer Square. Since Soil isn't a registered nonprofit 501(c)3, it's not eligible for a lot of the grants and resources other organizations rely on. Member dues ($35 a month, a rate that hasn't changed since Soil's inception) and an annual auction that raises about $10,000 a year are what keep Soil going. A stable infrastructure (or at least the appearance of one) and the fact that it's a collective help make Soil resilient to the kinds of changes that can be the death of larger organizations. And, organizational stability aside, Soil has been home to an impressive roster of members and exhibitions. Next year's anniversary also marks the publication of Soil's first book, which will include a timeline, exhibition highlights, and profiles of current members. Rather than an exhaustive overview, the book will be more of a snapshot, capturing the collective at this moment in time, kind of like an exhibition catalogue for a temporary installation. KATIE KURTZ