THURSDAY August 30


(ART) Like that hard lemonade crap I see everywhere, Americana is a show that seems like a breezy little thing, but turns out to be quite tart, with a kick. Gallery owner Kirsten Anderson asked artists what America means, and the results are as wide-ranging and dysfunctional as this great country itself. What do Lisa Petrucci's dreamy bombshells, Shag's Las Vegas cautionary tale, and Jim Blanchard's Richard Nixon portrait have in common? Damned if I know; that's America. With work by (but not limited to) Blair Wilson, Meghan Trainor, Cook & Walsh, Kirsten Easthope, and The Stranger's own Joe Newton, with a heartbreaking tribute to Zinky. EMILY HALL

Roq La Rue, 2224 Second Ave, 374-8977, through Sept 8.

FRIDAY August 31

Snow White and the Seven?

(YOUTH THEATER) I don't often suggest shows performed by youths (in this case, ages eight to 18), because--while they're generally a great thing for the kids involved--watching them requires a certain degree of indulgence for enthusiasm over experience, the intentions are almost always more educational than entertaining, and the range of talent can be, shall we say, broad. But given that, Snow White and the Seven? could be a lot of fun; it's a multicultural musical made from what the producers call "this most Anglo-Saxon of fairy tales." They've changed the seven dwarves into something else, but the press release coyly avoids saying what. It does talk about finding self-esteem, so the show may be a little preachy--but the wicked queen has got some wicked artificial nails that point toward campy fun. BRET FETZER

Fri-Sat at 1 and 7, Paramount Theatre, Ninth & Pine, free. Tickets are available at all Rite Aid Ticketmaster locations, or call 684-4757.

Pure Joy, Once for Kicks

(MUSIC) "Power pop" has become synonymous with the name Rusty Willoughby. His bands Flop and, before that, Pure Joy showed what a songwriter with an appreciation for the Beatles and his own clear, crunchy pop vision could do with a guitar and impatient vocals. Flop failed only in the eyes of the major label that squandered it, but no greater example of what power pop truly is exists. Pure Joy is a rare opportunity to relive, review, or just learn, my children. Go and be freed. KATHLEEN WILSON

Sit & Spin, 2219 Fourth Ave, 441-9484, 9 pm, $7.


(ART) For a young artist, Dylan Neuwirth traffics in some of my favorite big ideas--phenomenology and Borges, to name a couple. Despite such a high conceptual provenance, Neuwirth has a fine sense of humor; much of his work loves the one-two punch of a tiny thing surrounded by lots of space (check out his one-and-a-half-inch self-portrait made with Sculpey) and a reverence for objects that seem useless. He's aptly titled his self-produced solo show to reflect the idea that art becomes art in the making, not in the final product, and then only exists if people show up to see it. Which is why you should make every effort to come to the opening event, with live performance and music, and at which the artist (pictured above) may or may not display himself in a vitrine. Feeling inclined to whine about the lack of exhibition opportunity in Seattle? I am not inclined to listen; follow this boy's example. EMILY HALL

Storefront at 1017 E Union St, opening reception 8 pm-2 am, free. For information call 937-0993 or e-mail Through Sept 5 (unless the lease is extended; stay tuned).

SATURDAY September 1


(FILM) This highly stylized documentary about Frankenfood pioneer Milford Beeghly was my favorite film from this year's SIFF by a mile. Aside from its hypnotic visuals (in a variety of media, the filmmakers breathe kinetic life into one of the least tantalizing photo subjects imaginable: corn), Hybrid offers a left-field look at a man few people have ever heard of, but whose experiments helped usher in a new era of scientific activism in the field of keeping people fed. And it's funny as hell. And romantic. And fucking weird. Yum, corn! SEAN NELSON

Opens Fri Aug 31 at the Grand Illusion. See Movie Times for details.

SUNDAY September 2

New Pornographers, Canned Hamm, the Battles

(MUSIC) Former Zumpano frontman Karl Newman hasn't strayed far from his love of sparkling arrangements and fresh-scrubbed '60s pop sensibilities with his band New Pornographers. But it sounds as if the shyly charismatic frontman has finally come into his own by compiling a group of confident musicians whose talents augment rather than limit one another. The voices of Dan Bejar (Destroyer) and the fabulous Neko Case either harmonize delightfully with Newman's or take turns at the lead, ensuring that New Pornographers encompass a sound that is constantly transforming. Influences are obvious--Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, the Kinks--but Bejar and Case's contributions, met by the well-rounded capabilities of Evaporators bassist John Collins and Limblifter's Kurt Dahle, build upon those influences and together make for a vibrant, multifaceted offering. KATHLEEN WILSON

Crocodile Cafe, 2200 Second Ave, 441-5611, $10/$12.

MONDAY September 3


(FILM) This classic tale of youthful unrest and the complex, seductive power of scenes--mid-'60s London mods in this case--spills over with songs by the Who, a great rock band that owed its existence to the kids dramatized in the film, and that conceived this project as a musical tribute to them. Unlike the wretched film version of Tommy, this Townshend tributary hews close to realism, or at least movie realism, with a gritty edge and a genuine empathy for its perplexed teen protagonists. And as for the cast: Forget Sting! Watch closely for the great Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast, Nil by Mouth) as Kevin. SEAN NELSON

Opens Fri Aug 31 at the Varsity. See Movie Times for details.

TUESDAY September 4

Herbert Matthews Goes to the Sierra

(ROCK MUSICAL) Writer/composer Herbert Bergel has made some musicals from material ranging from the Spanish epic poem El Cid to the humdrum activities of a small town, where the most exciting thing is the gas man arriving to fix a leak. His most recent work, Herbert Matthews Goes to the Sierra, is based on the true story of the New York Times reporter who, while on vacation in Havana in the late 1950s, was asked by Fidel Castro himself to report on the Cuban Revolution. Bergel's wry indie-rock stylings seem unlikely to result in anything like All the President's Men or any other "how I got that story" narrative; he follows Matthews' life up to the point of the aging reporter's resignation from the Times--hardly a triumphant conclusion. Expect something a little sad, a little funny, and very surprising. BRET FETZER

Graceland (w/Wolf Colonel & Abigail Grush), 109 Eastlake Ave E, 381-3094, 9:30 pm, $6. Plays throughout the month at various venues; go to or call 206-860-7163 for complete schedule.

WEDNESDAY September 5


(READING) Subtext is the one reading series in our city that's entirely devoted to pure, literary writing. The series consistently invites writers who are committed, like monks, to the art of letters. In a word, Subtext is a first-rate reading series, and the fact its organizers never invited me to read has been a thorn in my pride. One day I will get over it. But for now I recommend you attend its fall readings, which open tonight with new work from Martha Rohk and Cathleen Shattuck. Though both are published writers, you may, as a casual reader, not be acquainted with their work. But this is not important because people go to Subtext's readings not to reaffirm what they already know or understand but to discover new pleasures. CHARLES MUDEDE

Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 322-7030, 7:30 pm, $5 suggested donation. Series runs through December; check for complete schedule.

Tom Spanbauer

(READING) Tom Spanbauer's third novel, In the City of Shy Hunters, reads as a dense and graceful dream laced with nightmare. It's a crowded book, complicated as life, perhaps still showing a few seams where it was edited down from an earlier draft: over 1,200 pages tightened to 530. The work resonates with the beauty of Spanbauer's distinctive writing voice in every crafted sentence. Shy Hunters takes on the AIDS crisis in '80s New York, moving real-world events to the level of myth and mystery. The characters--True Shot, Charlie 2Moons, Rose, and Will--are larger than life, examining life, living in Wolf Swamp, also known as Manhattan. "Things start where you don't know and end up where you know," Spanbauer begins the book. "When you know is when you ask, 'How did this start?' ...In this mystery, everything is out there from the first but you don't realize it." MONICA DRAKE

Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free, call for details.

The Harder They Come

(FILM) Like the hiphop movie Beat Street, The Harder They Come is great because it is bad--badly acted, badly written. But one watches a movie centered around a movement or trend not to see well-developed characters, but to see the raw figure or idea of that trend. To act well, to give a great performance, is to distort the very thing we want to see, which in the case of The Harder They Come is a rudeboy, the Kingston gangster-hipster. Jimmy Cliff, who can sing but not act, gives us that rudeboy, and nothing else. And the rudeboy (not the Rasta) is at the heart of reggae, which is the most hypnotic, ethereal, and persuasive music to come out of the Caribbean. CHARLES MUDEDE

JBL Theater at the EMP. See Movie Times for details.

Slim, Foxy Pop

(MUSIC) The American Analog Set consistently woos audiences with vintage guitars and keyboards and cute samples, for sleepy pop that's slow to develop, and irritatingly close to perfection. And with his lone finger on the keyboard, slim, foxy Marc Bianchi's DAT-enabled recording project Her Space Holiday makes a mind wonder exactly where all the guitar lines are coming from, while his wistful voice imbues HSH's electronic indie pop with more vibrancy on record than it does live. But fret not: What's exciting about tonight is all the new, recently recorded material we will be hearing from post-punk locals Automaton: According to slim, foxy Stranger reporter Pat Kearney (who fronts the band), the new material is "poppier and more minimal" than previous output, so expect his rave-ups and D.C.-inflected political chops to go down with even more sophisticated restraint than they have in the past. JEFF DeROCHE

Graceland, 109 Eastlake Ave E, 381-3094, 9:30 pm, $7.