Arts Picks




Matthew Barney (above) is back—naked, glistening with Vaseline, eating a Chrysler, scaling the walls of the Guggenheim in a kilt, riding bulls, having sex. Oh, and killing a gas-station attendant while playing Gary Gilmore. In other words, here's a chance to see the whole damn enchilada of Barney's five-part art-film epic over four weeks. Parts 1 and 4 begin the series and are the most fun. The first is pure Busby Berkeley: Elaborately coifed stewardesses lounge about inside twin Goodyear blimps, like models in a Robert Palmer video, while chorines march in formation below, their patterns seemingly controlled by a woman arranging grapes. Cremaster 4 intercuts between motorcycle sidecar racers (covered with creeping gonads) and a tap-dancing red-haired satyr (Barney). Both films deal with sexual definition and differentiation, how shapes arise from organic ooze, and how humans seek—always unsuccessfully—to resist nature's entropic flow. Fri., May 21–Thurs., June 17. $5–$7.50. Grand Illusion, Northeast 50th Street and University Way Northeast., 206-523-3935. BRIAN MILLER




The Panamanian-born pianist has been one of jazz's shiniest lights over the last decade. With an ebullience and rhythmic complexity that bespeak his Latin roots, he also delivers a powerful swing and harmonic invention that make him far more affecting and unpretentious than the more famous Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Perez has had the piano chair in Wayne Shorter's acclaimed quartet, but he's even better as a leader, touring this time with drummer Adam Cruz, who has some of the same Latin-jazz crossover skills, and the versatile bassist Ben Street. 7:30 and 10 p.m. Fri., May 21, and Sat., May 22. $25. The Triple Door, 216 Union St., 206-838-4333. MARK D. FEFER




Butoh is an intensely personal form of movement, so it has always seemed appropriate for Joan Laage to host her monthly Butoh performance series in her own home, without the artificial safeguards of a theater. But after three years, other opportunities beckon outside her living room, and so this month's edition will be the last. Laage performs my sweet headless chicken with d.k. pan and the Degenerate Art Ensemble, on a pair of farewell evenings. 8 p.m. Sat., May 22, and 7 p.m. Sun., May 23. $7–$12. 2353 N. 64th St., 206-526-5756. SANDRA KURTZ




Maybe the only reason this celebratory spoof didn't win the 2002 Tony for Best Musical is because it has "urine" in its title, and who wants to acknowledge that? Co-creators Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann probably didn't mind; it was surely kick enough to see their goofy little New York Fringe Festival show hit the Great White Way. The plot? Corporate greed and a water shortage result in a metropolis where you have to pay to pee, or be exiled to the dreaded burg of the title. Even those fogies at The New York Times laughed their asses off, and the show quickly proved influential when hits like Hairspray followed its lead as a Musical for People Who Don't Like Musicals. Opens 7:30 p.m. Tues., May 25. Ends Sun., May 30. $21–$59. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 206-292-ARTS. STEVE WIECKING




After her best-selling 2001 memoir about her childhood in Africa, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, the glamorous Wyoming-based writer (who's like a Ralph Lauren ad come to life) returns to profile a war veteran whom she calls "K" in Scribbling the Cat (Penguin Press, $24.95). K, who fought to keep the former Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from gaining independence, is ghost-haunted and guilt-ridden, and Fuller laps up his ugly tales with more than journalistic curiosity, trading on her charm to access his hardened heart. She's less than clear about her motives ("the splinters in my own psyche"), but she captures K to a T, and her travelogue of Africa's broken grandeur is first-rate. 7 p.m. Wed., May 26. $5. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 206-652-4255. BRIAN MILLER

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