Arts Picks

Seattle Tattoo Convention, Atomic Bombshells, The New Mexicans, Trisha Donnelly, and Jennifer Finney Boylan.




Think of it as the ultimate in wearable art—the aesthetic impression a tattoo leaves is permanent. This third annual showcase provides celebrated skin painters with the chance to make their mark on local connoisseurs, with guest artists including the prolific Mr. Cartoon, whose work has graced the canvasses we've come to know as Nas and Eminem. The event this year, co-presented by Seattle's Super Genius Tattoo owner Damon Conklin, spotlights urban and hip-hop culture, featuring a diverse international representation of tattoo artists, plenty of hometown DJs, and an appearance by Cypress Hill's Sen Dog. Noon–10 p.m. Fri., Aug. 20–Sun., Aug. 22. $15 adv./$20 day pass/$35 adv. three-day pass. Seattle Center, Alki and Snoqualmie rooms, 800-325-7328 or STEVE WIECKING




Va-va-voom! Me-ow!—and all that other stuff. Burlesque is back in a big way, and how can you help but get a little tingle when local troupes are so determined to tease? The explosively coquettish Bombshells should fit their curves perfectly into the new Mirabeau Room, with leading ladies just as hip, kitschy, and playfully retro as the place itself. Travel A-Broad With the Atomic Bombshells promises some wink-wink-nudge-nudging of the finest vintage—expect numbers like "Hips Ahoy!" and "Hot Cha-Cha"—and could provide the perfect toast to a club that's come a long way since Sorry Charlie's. 10 p.m. Wed., Aug. 18, and Wed., Aug. 25. $10 cover. Mirabeau Room, 529 Queen Anne Ave. N., 206-217-2800. STEVE WIECKING




"Ride Your Koala to Freedom" seems like an odd rallying cry, but that's only if you haven't heard the New Mexicans' excellent debut, Chicken Head Talking Diamonds, issued a couple months ago on Stuck Under the Needle. Singer-guitarist Rob Hampton doesn't quite roar and doesn't quite shout—his voice is a little more pliant than either verb implies, coming across like a throatier version of the Thermals' Hutch Harris. Alongside him, guitarist Joe Crawford, bassist Jeff Montano, and drummer Creighton Barrett mix up post- hardcore flurry and rigor till it vibrates, hard. And no one will come up with a more ridiculous song title this year than "I'm Going to Go Put on My Cape and Go Jack Off to Some Beat Happening CDs." 9 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 19. $6. Hideaway, 2219 Fourth Ave., 206-441-0464. MICHAELANGELO MATOS




The L.A.-based artist's video installations involve solemn little scenes with the repetitive intensity of dance. Intentionally low-tech, Donnelly's art isn't about recording so much as staging a ritual. Her video in SAM's recent "Baja to Vancouver" exhibit tried to capture fleeting facial expressions bouncing in and out of the frame on a trampoline. In "Canadian Rain," an installation currently at the Henry, where she'll give a talk and slide show, Donnelly shoots footage of herself giving abrupt salutes and judolike poses in order to "conjure rain in Canada." If anything could summon rain in Canada, it would be Donnelly's earnest gaze. Lecture: 7 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 19. Free with $6–$8 museum admission. Henry Art Gallery, UW campus, 206-543-2280. ANDREW ENGELSON




Jenny Boylan is a novelist (The Planets), a professor of English at Maine's Colby College, and . . . a loving father. The former James Finney Boylan transitioned into life as a woman at age 40, and detailed the fallout with acclaimed wit in the observant memoir She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders (Broadway, $14.95). Slippery gender issues tend to freak people out, but Boylan could help change that—she has an irrepressible story to share (including a touching longtime camaraderie with Pulitzer Prize–winning author Richard Russo), and her approachable candor may well be a bridge to a less threatened comprehension of human sexuality. 7:30 p.m. Fri., Aug. 20. Free. Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600. STEVE WIECKING

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