Personal Problems

(FILM) One of the most curious filmmakers in the history of American cinema has to be Bill Gunn, the director of an experimental soap opera, Person Problems, which was conceived by one of the most curious writers in American letters, Ishmael Reed. Gunn was not only good friends with James Dean, but he also wrote the script for Hal Ashby's first film, The Landlord. (Ashby is famous for Harold and Maude and Being There.) Gunn never became famous because, forgive the pun, he stuck to his guns. Two years after completing Personal Problems, Gunn played a narcissistic painter in Kathleen Collins's masterpiece Losing Ground. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, Wed Jan 31 and Thurs Feb 1, 6:30 pm $7-$14) CHARLES MUDEDE


Jamila Woods

(MUSIC) Jamila Woods's latest album, Water Made Us, opens with heavenly plucked harps followed by the lines: "You smoke a lotta weed, like a lot / You said you feelin' me, like a lot / I can't stand the smell of it / I breathe it in, it makes me sick." This type of prosaic lyricism shouldn't work, yet it does. Woods has a gift for translating mundane (and sometimes humorous) anecdotes into insightful life lessons—like the aforementioned opening track "Bugs," which resolves into a lush, poetic R&B bop about finding pleasure and lowering unrealistic standards for the sake of love. She will support the album alongside Memphis-via-Portland singer-songwriter Yawa—she's amazing too, don't miss it! (Neumos, 925 E Pike St, 7 pm, $27.50-$30, all ages) AUDREY VANN


My Brother's Wedding in 35mm

(FILM) The greatest director in the history of Black cinema (African and American) is Charles Burnett. His greatness rests on two films: Killer of Sheep (1978) and To Sleep with Anger (1990). Between these films is My Brother’s Wedding (1983). The first is an urban poem imbued with the humanism of the blues; the third is a work of philosophy that draws from the cosmic hum of gospel. The middle film is the bridge from the first masterpiece to the second. It’s not, to be honest, an outstanding film, but it does bring us closer to the outstanding mind behind Sheep and Anger. By the way, Northwest Film Forum is screening To Sleep with Anger between February 1-11. Charles Mudede (yes, me) will introduce the film on February 8. (Grand Illusion, Feb 2-7, various showtimes, $8-$11) CHARLES MUDEDE


Merry Go Round of Pleasure & Understanding: Melissa Messer and Ian Kurtis Crist 

Man Gets Approached About His Sex Conduct, by Ian Kurtis Crist, 2023, acrylic on canvas. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

(VISUAL ART) In this joint show Merry Go Round of Pleasure & Understanding, two artists, Melissa Messer and Ian Kurtis Crist, share vastly different approaches to capturing the human form. Messer's paintings of people—some solo, some warmly wrapped up in one another—will invite your eye to linger on the long brush strokes and lulling colors that shape their bodies. Crist's work, however, is initially unsettling—stark scenes of sex, violence, and questionable characters will leave you wondering if I should be looking at all. Along with the show, which hangs at Koplin Del Rio through March 2, Messer and Crist are hosting a variety of complementary events including a free, bring-your-own-art-supplies figure drawing night (February 17), an artists' salon (February 24), and a film night at the Beacon where the theater's own Tommy Swenson will screen a secret movie inspired by the artwork (February 21). (Koplin Del Rio Gallery, 6107 13th Ave S, 5 pm, hanging through March 2, free, all ages) MEGAN SELING


Têt in Seattle: Vietnamese Lunar New Year

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(COMMUNITY) The first of Seattle Center's 2024 cultural festivals celebrates Tết, or Vietnamese Lunar New Year. A fashion show will feature colorful ao dai, traditional Vietnamese dresses, and the rest of the schedule is jam-packed with art, music, performances, and hands-on experiences that showcase Vietnamese culture. Expect red and yellow everywhere (they're considered lucky colors) and get excited for lion dances and Vietnamese food from vendors like CÀPHÊTERIA and Cỏ May Bistro. There will also be a health fair providing free services, screenings, and support. (Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St, Feb 3-4, 11 am-6 pm, free, all ages; find more Lunar New Year events here) SHANNON LUBETICH


Colleen RJC Bratton: Edgeless Burial

Colleen RJC Bratton, Memento Mori (Day 3), 2022. Ground flower petals, magnolia seeds, Grandmother’s apricot seed husks, marigold seeds, and soil conditioner. COURTESY OF 4CULTURE GALLERY

(VISUAL ART) The brilliant, genre-transcending Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta died on September 8, 1985 after somehow "falling" from a window amid an argument with her husband, the minimalist artist Carl Andre, who passed away on January 24. Let's pay Andre homage the right way: By focusing solely on Mendieta and her "earth-body" works, which stand the test of time and are infinitely stronger than anything he ever created. That's what Colleen RJC Bratton does in Edgeless Burial, which directly references Mendieta's Siluetas series of ephemeral body tracings created in varying landscapes. Bratton's drawings "find their roots in the landscapes that birthed them," including the Puget Sound, the Cascades, and a small farmstead, among other places. Bratton reckons with impermanence, transformation, and the climate crisis in her multimedia time-lapses and "biomorphic" installation, which also reference Washington's landmark decision to legalize human composting. (Gallery 4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Pl S, Mon-Fri 9 am-5 pm, free, all ages; opening reception Thurs Feb 1, 6-8 pm) LINDSAY COSTELLO


Space Is the Place

(FILM) Kickoff Black History Month in the grooviest way possible with the Afrofuturist masterpiece Space Is the Place, which sees space prophet Sun Ra and the whole Intergalactic Solar Arkestra return to Earth (Oakland, to be exact) after a cosmic trip to prep Black people for an impending apocalypse through teleportation tunes. Their music aims to transport listeners to a "planetary paradise away from violence and racial prejudices"—if you haven't seen the sci-fi classic yet, make this the year you fix that. (Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave, Feb 2-7, various showtimes, $12) LINDSAY COSTELLO