Also: SketchFest Seattle, Ray Caesar, The Funk Brothers, and Cornel West




In a typically novel offering from On the Boards, Laura Curry turns a light on a darker part of our culture, addressing voyeurism in this "performative installation" in which the audience is watched as well as watching. Combining elements of vernacular movement and peepshows with theatrical dancing, Curry erases the boundaries of public and private space, using the lobby and rehearsal hall in addition to the stage. It's all to create drama around seeing—and being seen. 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 9–Sat., Sept. 11. Also 11 p.m. Sat., Sept. 11. $10. On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 206-217-9888. SANDRA KURTZ



SketchFest Seattle

In a city that increasingly seems to have as many comedy groups as it does Starbucks, it shouldn't be surprising that this two-weekend showcase of the sketch form is now in its sixth year. Political commentary, musical cabaret, and just plain irreverent goofing from a dozen different troupes should fulfill the appetites of even the most demanding comedy audience; every night of the festival features two groups each given a 45-minute set. Laugh-getters are here from both coasts, and local favorites include Bald Faced Lie, FURIOSO!, Kazoo!, and Flaming Box of Stuff (pictured). Opens Thurs., Sept. 9. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thurs.–Sat. Ends Sat., Sept. 18. $15 per show. Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave., 206-444-4294 or STEVE WIECKING



Ray Caesar

At first, Caesar's digital images of blank-faced children in fantastic settings seem a lot like the work of other technically dazzling, predictably creepy practitioners of Roq la Rue's brand of "Pop Surrealism" (think Robert Williams and Jim Woodring). And it is disturbing—and not a fun, hipster kind of disturbing—to learn that Caesar calls the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where he worked for 17 years, "the birthplace of all my imagery." Is he not making a fetish of childhood suffering? But a closer look reveals a guarded tenderness for his imaginary subjects, who seem to have gained, through the artist's grace, a placid command of their nightmarish surroundings. Reception 6 p.m. Fri., Sept. 10. 2–6 p.m. Tues.–Fri.; 1–5 p.m. Sat. Free. Roq la Rue, 2316 Second Ave., 206-374-8977. DAVID STOESZ



The Funk Brothers

In 2002, the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown revealed what only music writers and serious aficionados already knew: Jack Ashford, Bob Babbitt (pictured), Joe Hunter, Uriel Jones, Joe Messina, and Eddie Willis—as well as various other musicians through the years—formed the unsung backup band on countless Motown classics (including "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," "The Way You Do the Things You Do," and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"). This year, the aforementioned sextet is touring on the strength of their newfound fame, and Joan Osbourne—who sings "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave" in Standing, backed by the Brothers—joins them in Woodinville tonight. 7 p.m. Sat., Sept. 11. $37.50–$49.50. 14111 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, 425-488-1133. NEAL SCHINDLER



Cornel West

Harvard professor West has positioned himself at the nexus of scholarship, popular culture, and street savvy. The author of Race Matters, 1994's landmark, eight-part treatise on race relations, he has also made a rap CD, Sketches of My Culture, and had a cameo in The Matrix: Reloaded. His base of knowledge is the broadest since Borges, encompassing everything from Nietzsche to cutting-edge black activism, and his work breaks down the perceived gap between ancient canons and new ideas. Tonight he'll read from and discuss Democracy Matters, his new book on U.S. foreign policy. 7:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 11. $10. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 206-325-3554. NEAL SCHINDLER

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