Short Attention Span Film and Video Festival
(FILM) When you talk about microcinema, you're often talking about good intentions, as opposed to good art. Rooting for and advocating the underground of film and video is a worthy pursuit, but the real work becomes a matter of sifting through the dross. Fortunately, the Short Attention Span Film and Video Festival, on tour and currently landing at 911 Media Arts Center, has done that real work for you, presenting more than 60 short subjects, each blissfully under two minutes in length. With pieces like Brett Simon's Counterfeit Film and Yoshihisa Nakanishi's Lady... Go!!, the SAS fest boasts a program of hilariously ingenuous and entertaining experimental moviemaking. SEAN NELSON
911 Media Arts Center, 117 Yale Ave N, 682-6552, 8 pm; $6, $4 for members.
(ART) Lots of artists say they deal with the idea of time in their work; I can't tell you how many artists' statements mention memory, history, the unstoppable passage of the years. Matt Eberle goes past these tropes to the object itself, looking at timekeeping mechanisms and their construction. Some of his prints are abstract takes on the symbol to which we've assigned feelings of stress, longing, missed opportunity. There are also constructed clocks that don't actually tell you what time it is, but suggest time-consuming labor, thought, and process. By going straight to the machinery, Eberle invokes the concept with a quiet vengeance. EMILY HALL
Cracked Compass Productions, 2129 Third Ave, 770-5900, opening reception 5:30-7:30 pm. Through Sept 12.
(SKETCH COMEDY) In their last show, the members of comedy troupe the Habit pushed the envelope of their free-associative yet cunningly interwoven sketch comedy. Sketches skittered off the rails into non-sequitur abstraction, only to tie into an entirely different sketch 20 minutes later for a skewed (and very funny) payoff. I've heard rumors that they're trying to be more straightforward this time, but considering that their more straightforward sketches feature things like the civil lawsuits of woodland creatures or the snide mockery of anthropomorphic vending machines, don't expect the banal flog-a-single-idea-until-it-dies-a-slow-painful-death approach of Saturday Night Live. You can see in their performances that these five guys laughed out loud when they came up with their ideas; that, in a nutshell, is the key to fine comedy. BRET FETZER
Bathhouse Theater, 7312 W Green Lake Dr N (note new location!); go to www.thehabit.org for details. Fri-Sat at 11 pm; $7 general, $5 students. Through Aug 25.
Po'okela, Rock Steady Crew, DJ Congo, etc.
(MUSIC) This lineup is the bizarre experiment you've been waiting for. Local group Badjao will open with Filipino funk. MC Emmanuel Louis and DJ Congo (who was DJ Kamakazie from the DVS crew, back in the day) will follow. While Louis and Congo are at it, Fever One and Alien Ness from New York's famed Rock Steady Crew will breakdance, which should be fantastic: Congo is a compulsive scratcher with an ear for funky breaks, the hype sounds that make dancers hyper. Then, local MCs Karizma and Sheem will perform, to be joined in the latter part of their set by headliners Po'okela, a "Jahwaiian reggae" band. The Hawaiians in Po'okela will cool off the rest of the night with a blend of reggae and Hawaiian music. Whew. BRIAN GOEDDE
King Cat Theater, Sixth Ave and Blanchard St, 8 pm, $20/$25. For tickets call 969-3617 or Ticketmaster at 628-0888.
Hiphop Rally for Police Accountability
(MUSIC & PROTEST) The sounds of hiphop, poetry, and guerrilla theater converge at 3:00 p.m. today at downtown's Westlake Center when the Hiphop Rally for Police Accountability takes over. Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR) and the People's Coalition for Justice put the rally together to raise community support for an independent police review board. The free event will feature two nonprofit artists' groups, the 500 Years Collective and isangmahal arts kollective. They join forces with Theater Liberation Arts, Poetry Experience, Hope for Youth Poetry, and others as they party/protest until sunset. AMY JENNIGES
Westlake Center, Fourth Ave and Pine St, 3 pm to sunset. For more information contact YUIR at 860-9606.
Try out for PIZZAZZ!
(TALENT SHOW AUDITIONS) It's a scientifically proven fact that everybody is brilliant at something. This weekend, The Stranger wants you to polish up that brilliant something and come down to Re-bar, where we'll be holding auditions for PIZZAZZ!--The Stranger's second annual citywide talent show. PIZZAZZ! is open to everyone: pros and amateurs, children and adults, from knife-throwing fire-eaters to five-year-old blues singers. All we require is that all acts run under five minutes in length and need a minimal amount of setup (rock bands, keep it unplugged). A lucky 15 auditioners will be selected to compete in the prize-a-riffic PIZZAZZ! competition, to be held this year on the glamorous Bagley Wright stage, Friday, August 31, at Bumbershoot. P.S. For the auditions and the competition, we'll provide a microphone and a keyboard. You provide the rest. DAVID SCHMADER
Sat-Sun, Re-bar, 1114 Howell St at Boren. Call 323-7101 ext. 3099 after 6 pm ONLY to schedule your audition slot.
(MUSIC) As The Stranger's Kathleen Wilson wrote last year when "the Project" opened, Paul Allen is the super-rich kid on the block, and the EMP is his giant toy chest. This is not only true for the "exhibits" there, but also for the concerts--the really cool stuff you can see at Paul Allen's place, thanks to his obscenely fat wallet. But if there is one thing that can disarm me as I step into the EMP, it will be Blackalicious. MCs Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel make totally genuine music, so I won't suspect they're playing for the paycheck. Their lyrics are wonderfully innovative (think "A to G" off last year's Nia), which will keep my thoughts off my surroundings. And they put on fantastic shows. Blackalicious has a stage charisma that makes me smile. Portland's Lifesavas will also be playing. Learn about them from the Portland Mercury (www.portlandmercury.com/2001-07-26/music.html). BRIAN GOEDDE
Sky Church at the EMP, 325 Fifth Ave N (Seattle Center), 770-2702, 8 pm; $10 general, $8 museum members.
(ART) An encounter with Skibska's work tends to lead to disbelief: great blooming pods of needle-like glass formed into webs that are as biological and incredible as a chrysalis. How is it possible? I first found her work suspended from the ceiling in a dark room, with tiny spotlights glinting off the glass--which Skibska stretches and bends into tiny strands--and creating abstract looming shadows on the gallery walls. This isn't just about technical wizardry, however; the image you retain is as delicate and as potent as a dream. EMILY HALL
Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St, 654-3100; through Feb 17, 2002. William Traver Gallery, 110 Union St, second floor, 587-6501; through Sept 2.
E. Lynn Harris
(READING) Adored author E. Lynn Harris has a lot of prestige under his belt: an NAACP Image Award, the James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence, return appearances on The New York Times' bestseller lists, and so on. But do yourself a favor and drop all literary pretensions when you attend tonight's reading. Harris' latest novel, the delightfully sudsy "romantic adventure" Any Way the Wind Blows, picks up right where his last addictive work, Not a Day Goes By, left off. Namely, with sassy diva Yancey Harrington Braxton ("When I walk into a room, other women either leave or gather into small groups. That's the kind of woman I am.") as she picks up the pieces of her shattered life (she was stood up at the altar by her bisexual ex-fiancé, John Basil Henderson). Enter Bartholomew Jerome Dunbar, male model/troublemaker extraordinaire. ("If anyone says revenge ain't sweet, don't believe him. Just ask me. How else can you explain that I'm looking in the mirror and feeling sweeter than a Krispy Kreme double-glazed donut?") You can imagine the rest. This book is the most fun I've had since my last pedicure. Expect lots of "Oooh, guuurrl" and "No, she DIDN'T" tonight. MIN LIAO
Bailey/Coy Books, 414 Broadway E, 323-8842, 7 pm, free. Also on Mon Aug 13 at Elliott Bay Books, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free.
The Crimson Rivers
(FILM) For all their apparent contempt for Americans, the French have always sucked up American culture like a siphon hose in your neighbor's gas tank. This graphic thriller melds the warring Franco-American psycho-cinematic impulse, yielding a movie that is equally American (trading on elements of the brutal serial-killer mystery genre perfected by U.S. filmmakers) and French (incorporating an air of behavioral nihilism that could only belong on that continent). And it doesn't get more French than Jean Reno, who plays the Parisian detective charged with finding the brutal slayer of a bunch of teachers and students at a posh Alpine prep school. Sean Nelson
Opens Fri Aug 10. See Movie Times for details.
(MUSIC) Besides being a still-going-strong living legend and the once anointed "people's poet," Merle Haggard possesses one of the greatest male country voices of all time. It's not that he has an incredible range or a powerhouse forcefulness; it's the authority of his experience-steeped singing, where every node and crack has been earned by the hardest ways possible. On 2000's If I Could Fly, Haggard's Epitaph label debut, he turned in his finest album in over a decade with a song cycle recorded in his California studio--far from Nashville's industry machinery. The result is an album of ruminative tunes with a balladeering Western feel, eschewing the tried and true topics of love and romance to sidle up to mortality, temptation, and the pull of addiction. This show is not to be missed. NATE LIPPENS
Showbox, 1426 1st Ave, 628-3151, 7 pm, $32.50/$35.
3 x 3
(VARIETY SHOW) This conflation of spoken word and improvised music should be a shining example of how simple things can engage and entertain. No sets, no production values, just a trio of littérateurs called Staggered Thirds--Gregory Hischak (slam poet and editor of Farm Pulp), Anna Mockler (contributor to Exquisite Corpse, Synapse, and Raven Chronicles), and Doug Nufer (contributor to The Stranger and editor of American Book Review). Together they assert, describe, and narrate using the sort of crosscutting and dynamic formal ideas more often associated with film or music. Their performance is complemented by the Wally Shoup Trio--percussionist Bob Rees, contrabassist Reuben Radding, and reedist Wally Shoup (co-founder of the Seattle Improvised Music Festival)--who will kick up a mess of sound designed to draw you into the moment and out of your expectations. BRET FETZER
Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave E, 324-6379, 8 pm, $5 suggested donation.