Arts Picks




Every handcrafted frame of this wonderful 1993 stop-motion animation filmwith its coffin sled, death's-head tree ornaments, skeleton reindeer, and spindly patchwork lookbears the touch of Tim Burton's misfit imagination. He also came up with its kid-friendly, ho-ho-horror story of a Halloween king who decides to restage Christmas according to his ghoulish sensibility. (First step: Kidnap Santa.) Jack Skellington (pictured above with his paramour, Sally) really isn't a bad sort of fellow; and his impulse to bring yuletide festivity to Halloweentown is charitablethe misfit's touching desire to finally fit in. Fri., Dec. 19-Thurs., Dec. 25. Varsity, 4329 University Way N.E., 206-632-3131. BRIAN MILLER




Tribute concerts have always been with us; benefit concerts, too. So figure this combo of the two, with proceeds going to Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, will have better material than most simply because of who it's paying tribute to. Johnny Cash's catalog has always had legs, and now that he's passed, we'll get no shortage of seeing it tested. This evening's performance features the Aury Moore Band, Ben Mish of Left Hand Smoke, the Believers, the Donettes, Brent Amacher of Dorkweed, Gas Station Diner, the Shitkickers, the Dudley Manlove Quartet in Wranglers (!), the Speedles, Snitches Get Stitches, Susan Robkin, and the Victor Mature. 8:30 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 18. $10. Fenix Underground, 109 S. Washington St., 206-405-4313. MICHAELANGELO MATOS




Wally Shoup has long been one of Seattle's most dogged free-jazz partisans; his blunt attack and voracious improvisations have made him a recognized force well beyond the city limits. Tonight the saxophonist appears with one of his several trios, Ghidra, which features the endlessly creative guitarist Bill Horist and Mike Peterson on drums. Show up and you can pocket a copy of Ghidra's powerful self-titled CD (a just-pressed recording of a Sonarchy session they did a few years ago) for only five bucks. Sheesh, it's worth five bucks just to take home the amazing cover art by Shoup. Also performing: the seldom seen, rarely understood noisemakers Climax Golden Twins. 9 p.m. Fri., Dec. 19. $5. LO_FI Performance Space, 429B Eastlake Ave. MARK D. FEFER




If you've never seen Troy Mink in action as Carlotta Sue Philpott, be sure to grab the season's last chance, as his alter ego's variety show wraps up its fall run. Mink's lived-in performance as the gossipy, unflappable Southern matron is so ingenuous, you can sometimes feel it's wrong to laughshe doesn't think she's funny, so why should you? The incarnation is one of Seattle's most extended, expansive feats of acting. Joining the old dame for her final shows of 2003 are solid names in the world of physical theater: dancer/choreographer Corrie Befort and the folks from the genre-blending Burnt Studios. 10:30 p.m. Fri., Dec. 19-Sat., Dec. 20. $8-$10. Northwest Actors Studio, 1100 E. Pike St., third floor, 206-325-6500. STEVE WIECKING




Following up on their scary-good Halloween jam, Ghoulbooty, a pack of Seattle's finest funk purveyors now bring you a Christmas-themed throw-down that is certain to put some nog in your noggin and some stuffin' in your stocking. Yes, this nasty nonet features a grab bag of greats, including Reggie Watts (below), keyboardist Dara Quinn (of Rockin' Teenage Combo), Om Johari (of Hell's Belles), Davee C. (of Phat Sidy), and saxophonist Skerik, who will be celebrating, in addition to the birth of Jesus, the release of his new solo CD, Left for Dead in Seattle. 9 p.m. Sat., Dec. 20. $10. Crocodile Cafe, 2200 Second Ave., 206-441-5611. MARK D. FEFER

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