Weekly Arts Picks




Have you ever seen a sow artificially inseminated, or a piglet stripped of his ballsin extreme close-up? How about a giant retention pond of liquidy swine feces? Well, now's your chance! This hour-long documentary about industrial-scale pork farms taking over rural Quebec is intended as a one-sided screed against globalization but manages to be complex and fascinating instead. The hog producers who invite filmmaker Hugo Latulippe into their world prove quite sympathetic as they discuss "food-conversion yield" and why they grow acres of corn ("It requires a lot of fertilizerand we have tons"). The scenes of irate Quebecois trying to wring a response from wooden bureaucrats and industrial bad guys (perfect company name: Nutrinor) are classic, yet it's never entirely clear how convincing their beef is. Do you want your bacon or don't you? See the film (in its Seattle premiere!), then decide. (Part of the "Ultra: Corporate Cheese" festival.) 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Fri., Dec. 12; 9 p.m. Sat., Dec. 13-Sun., Dec. 14. $7.50. The Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave. E., 206-675-2055. MARK D. FEFER




That the mayor has cut the VERA Project's funding from $50,000 in 2002 to $20,000 in 2004 is tantamount to adopting a kitten, then ditching it and moving to the other side of town. And sure, we're aware that every budget this side of the moon has been whittled down of late, but c'mon, Mr. Nickels, don't you remember that we agreed we wanted to support a citizen-run, city-sponsored all-ages art and music venue? Since it seems our mayor's memory is spotty at best, we suggest you make sure to remember your wallet tonight, and in return we're sure you'll long remember the Divorce's fractious power pop, the Turn-Ons' glamorous vamp rock, and (pictured above) the Catch's catchy '80s pop, as they each cover some new wave classics. 8 p.m. Wed., Dec. 10. $7. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 206-324-8000. LAURA CASSIDY




For Guterson, megabuck bard of Bainbridge, the interstellar success of his first novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, led to the career-dimming crash of his second, East of the Mountains. But he's back on top now, thanks to his newest, Our Lady of the Forest, whose saga of an acidhead runaway rape victim's visions of the Virgin Mary "does for Washington State's Olympic Peninsula roughly what Flaubert did for provincial Normandy in Madame Bovary," as Jonathan Raban put it. I wouldn't go that far, but Guterson's tumultuous group portrait of bitter loggers, culture-clashed immigrants, horny priests, and hit-on waitresses sounds a new note in his work and equals Raymond Carver's tales of Northwest love and squalor. 7 p.m. Wed., Dec. 10. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 206-366-3333. 7 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 11, UW Kane Hall, 206-634-3400. TIM APPELO




Fifty minutes, a good script, and a small group of disciplined artists are all that's needed to create compelling theaterand this weekend is your last chance to watch New City prove the point. It begins with young Joan (Elena Kazanjian, right) coming downstairs in the middle of the night to tell her uneasy Aunt Harper (Mary Ewald, left) that something's going on outside in the dark. No kiddingand Caryl Churchill's pitch-black little play soon reveals just how much is going on outside and considers the lies we tell ourselves and each other to keep it there. This modest production resonates more than almost any two hours you can currently spend in some other venue. 8 p.m. Fri., Dec. 12-Sat., Dec. 13. $12. New City Warehouse, 2110 Airport Way S., 206-271-4430. STEVE WIECKING




From the ashes of Fallout Records, a new indie gallery rises: Opening this weekend is 1506 PROJECTS, which, according to co-founder Dianna Molzan, aims to drop "the strict modernist white walls format" in favor of more novel exhibition strategies. The first demonstration project is "Dark and Sweet," in which a half-dozen artists, such as Zac Culler, Jenny Heishman, and Molzan herself, will construct elaborate gingerbread housesincluding one promised replica of the new downtown Koolhaas library. The artists are not necessarily experienced bakers, says Molzan, but she notes confidently: "They're very good with materials." Opening reception: 6-9 p.m. Sat., Dec. 13. 1506 E. Olive Way. 5-8 p.m. Mon. and Wed.; 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sat. and Sun. MARK D. FEFER


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