(READING) Thirty-one-year-old Rebecca Walker--daughter of novelist Alice Walker and activist lawyer Mel Leventhal--founded the Third Wave Direct Action Foundation, has been a contributing editor to Ms. since she was 19, and tonight presents a memoir of her so-far extraordinary life: Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self. In spare, wrenching language--but without a drop of melodrama--Walker recounts her experiences growing up without the usual boundaries of identity. Walker, who is not only black, white, and Jewish, but also bisexual, moves through confusion to something that resembles truth, and the result is not so much a memoir as a blueprint for living. (See Book Review Revue this issue.) TRACI VOGEL
Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free advance tickets available at store.
(FILM) Video artists Emily Armstrong and Pat Ivers spent the late '70s and early '80s attending all of the important rock shows at CBGB's, Danceteria, and the Mudd Club. Before MTV reared its deformed head, all of their music findings were cablecast every week on their New York TV show, Nightclubbing. Twenty years later, these ladies are on tour with edited video documents of the entire NYC punk/new wave scene. The footage is shockingly great: Blondie covers the Velvet Underground; Richard Hell is young again and looking good; David Byrne sings an unstylized "Psycho Killer"; and Iggy Pop is without makeup. The amazing list keeps going: Lounge Lizards, John Cale, Pylon, Sububs, etc. If you were in fifth grade in 1979, you ought to witness the best and most direct documentary of an explosive era. PAULA GILOVICH
Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave E, 675-2055. Ivers and Armstrong will introduce the Thurs-Sat 7:30 and 9:30 shows. See Movie Times for details.
(EURO-SPECTACLE) This English/German sextet got the following review from a German journal: "Suddenly there is no more avant garde, but life; no more intention, but intelligence; no more pretension, but simply theatre: precise, elegant, moving, strange and cheeky." Whew! That's a lot to live up to. Safe, the show they're performing at On the Boards, has something to do with a rock band in a plane crash. Take a look at the guy in the bunny suit and check out this playful, poetic troupe. BRET FETZER
On the Boards, 100 W Roy, 217-9888, Thurs-Sun at 8, $18-$20. One weekend only.
(MUSICAL) When Edward Gorey died last April, fans of his discreet, malevolent stories and illustrations sighed lugubriously and draped themselves across their Edwardian chaise longues, their eyes rimmed in kohl, their hands fidgeting across the neurotically detailed pattern of the upholstery. For these sad, delicate souls, Open Circle Theatre is mounting Gorey Stories, a popular musical revue of Gorey's work. I'm hoping it may include a few of his difficult-to-find theatrical sketches, such as Chinese Gossip or The Aching Void: A Heartless Tale. But even without that, the notion of setting to music such pieces as The Gashlycrumb Tinies ("A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil, assaulted by bears....") is promising enough. BRET FETZER
Open Circle Theatre, 429 Boren Ave N, 382-4250, Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun at 7, $15. Through Feb 24.
(MUSIC) We're in for another night to remember in Seattle, thanks to those great purveyors of filth and fury, the Murder City Devils. Fresh and rested from their cripplingly exhaustive tour schedule in 2000, they offer their hometown its first great rock show for the legitimate new millennium. Many a New Year's resolution will be broken as the Devils take the stage with the sensuously talented Gun St. Girls and DJ Cherry Canoe to renew our desires for all the harmful things we've resolved to rid ourselves of. One can only hope to make it home without being arrested. MARK DUSTON
I-Spy, 1921 Fifth Ave, 374-9492, 9 pm, $10.
(ART) The show's full title is excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have high potential for painful consequences, which is one way to look at mania. It's also a disease, a trend, and an advertising ploy, and none of these angles escapes the Fuzzy Engine artists, who bring their now-trademark wit and gimlet vision to mania as a cultural concept. In many cases it involves work that doesn't know when to stop--whether executed in drawings, knitting, or shredding--bearing witness to the idea that often the only evidence of mania is the debris it leaves behind. EMILY HALL
Fuzzy Engine, 2801 NW Market St, 789-6951. Opening reception tonight, 6-11 pm. Through March 3.
(ART) The trouble with reviewing art in a minor metropolis like Seattle is that the art scene is concomitantly small. After a while you're familiar with the work of most artists showing: You know something about their backgrounds, their philosophies, and often their personal lives. I was pleasantly surprised at SOIL's current show--in which the co-op members invited 16 artists they like to fill the gallery--to find work by artists I'd never heard of, some of it very good. I loved Ben Chickadel's large print of a clown who seems to have fallen from a great height and gone splat, and Thomas Müller's tiny clay elephant hauling a dinner fork across a great divide. There's also work by christ2000, Kelly Kempe, and Brian Murphy. And, best of all, I knew nothing about who was dating whom. EMILY HALL
SOIL Artist Cooperative, 1205 E Pike St, 264-8061. Through Jan 27.
(MUSIC) Usually, classical musicians plus jazz music equals stiff, dull performances. I've no idea how well the Seattle Chamber Players can swing, but they've certainly proven time and again they have talent and inventiveness to spare, and Wayne Horvitz's funky grooves always bespeak a sharp compositional intelligence. So I'm guessing this team-up for the U.S. premiere of Horvitz's "surprisingly melancholic" score for Chaplin's Circus (plans to screen the film had to be scrapped) will work better than most. Even if it doesn't, SCP should do quite nicely by the more traditionally classical (and melancholic) music of Irving Fine's String Trio, and a new piece for flute and piano by Robin Holcomb. BRUCE REID
Benaroya Hall, Nordstrom Recital Hall, Third and Union, 286-5052, 7 pm (pre-concert lecture at 6:30 pm), $20 general/$15 students & seniors.
(MAGAZINE) The brand-new Fall 2000 Paris Review (what, do they still bring it on the BOAT from PARIS?) stands to convert a new, larger audience for the country's oldest and best lit-mag. Featuring a lengthy interview with Hunter S. Thompson, plus correspondence of some 30 years' breadth, it gives some idea of what all the fuss was about before his distinctive voice faded in a cloud of cranky self-regard. A wonderful Rick Moody novella and an interview with William T. Vollmann (whose landmark novel of last year, The Royal Family, was tragically overlooked) lie under a cover by Thompson portraitist Ralph Steadman, which should introduce Thompson's narrowly read fan base to an unexplored continent of wonders. GRANT COGSWELL
Available at local newsstands and most bookstores.
Medgar Evers Pool
(FITNESS/MUSIC) How many times have you said to yourself, "Boy, I'd really love to see some live music tonight, but look at me--I simply must get some exercise!" Well, there's a place where you can do both. Every Tuesday night, the Medgar Evers Pool features a jazz combo swinging through all your favorites right there on the pool deck. There's no more pleasant accompaniment to an aquatic workout, and with all the tiling and water, the acoustics are pretty interesting as well. Of course, it's rather difficult to hear the music when you're underwater, so periodic resting is mandatory, and the pool gets awfully crowded, so don't expect to have a lane to yourself. JEFF TOLBERT
Medgar Evers Pool, 500 23rd Ave, 684-4766, 6:30-8 pm, $2.50 (plus 25¢ for a locker).
(SOLO PERFORMANCE) When I first saw Dael Orlandersmith perform, I found myself thinking, "This performer CAN'T be as good as I think she is...." But I was sitting next to a very sharp, Jewish little-old-lady friend of mine who does not suffer fools; so when she leaned over to me during a break in the show and said, "Hey, she's pretty good!" I knew that Dael Orlandersmith was, in fact, fucking amazing. Orlandersmith's multi-character one-woman shows are neither the self-indulgent ego fests that some one-person shows can be, nor the simplistic pablum that politically informed theater too often is. She can transform from an Italian American hood to a Puerto Rican teenage girl to a drunken, old Irish guy in a bar with intelligence, compassion, and wit. Do not miss Monster, the newest piece from this incredible writer/actor. REBECCA BROWN
A Contemporary Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. Wed, Thurs, & Sun at 7:30, Fri-Sat at 8, $15 (NOTE: pay-what-you-will preview Thurs Jan 18). Opens Fri Jan 19. Through Feb 11.