The Dina Martina Christmas Show

Also: Roy Davis Jr., Paperwork, Il Posto, and Oliver Sacks.




What can we say about Ms. Martina that hasn't already been mispronounced by her? She is, perhaps above all else, the sublimely surreal quintessence of the idea that an entertainer can be much more than the sum of her parts. She fancies herself to be talented at all the things that elude her—singing, dancing, speaking—and all the things that elude her are exactly what make her entertaining. The holidays seem to be particularly inspiring to Dina (and to her inspired portrayer, Grady West); she found reason during last year's yuletide show for a cover of Alice Cooper's "Only Women Bleed," crooned as a tender tribute to Mrs. Claus. It should be one of the season's greatest joys to discover what Dina will pull out of her stocking this time around. Opens Fri., Nov. 26. 8 p.m. Thurs.–Sun; also 8 p.m. Mon., Dec. 20, and Mon., Dec. 27. Ends Fri., Dec. 31. $18. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St., 206-323-0388. STEVE WIECKING




Along with a handful of others (Gene Farris, Boo Williams, Derrick Carter, Curtis A. Jones— aka Green Velvet and Cajmere—and Glenn Underground among them), producer-DJ-vocalist Roy Davis Jr. helped turn Chicago back into a house music epicenter in the mid-'90s after a fallow period early in the decade. Davis' crisp hi-hats and swinging snares, as well as the soulful uplift of his vocals and instrumental textures, buoy any DJ set that includes his records, and he makes good albums—see 2001's Traxx From the Nile (Bombay) and the new Chicago Forever (Ubiquity). This DJ set will be an excellent way to burn off Thanksgiving Day calories. 9 p.m. Thurs., Nov. 25. $13 adv. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 206-324-8000. MICHAELANGELO MATOS




Sometimes it seems like we're buried under reams of the stuff, but paper can be a surprisingly versatile and varied visual-art medium. This group show, curated by the artist-owners of Platform gallery, looks like a promising collection of work tackling paper as both material and subject matter. True to the gallery's stated mission to resist provincialism, the show features not only Seattle artists (including photographer Debra Baxter and printmaker and installation artist Harriet Sanderson) but also Brooklyn's Alicia Wargo, San Francisco's Ray Beldner (who creates collage and sculpture with dollar bills), and New York photographer Zelig Kurland, whose photo File Room, Multnomah County Courthouse (pictured) finds beauty in even the lowly manila folder. Reception 6–8 p.m. Fri., Nov. 26. 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Thurs.–Sat. Free. Platform, 114 Third Ave. S., 206-323-2808. ANDREW ENGELSON




The minute young Ermanno Olmi took his first job at Italy's Edison Electric, he knew he couldn't bear to stay there. But he did stay until age 33, and turned his confinement into his first masterpiece, 1961's Il Posto (The Job), about a tyro clerk in Milan struggling to escape dronehood and court a cute co-worker despite bureaucratic obstacles. Using nonactors (the autobiographical hero actually grew up to be a supermarket manager), financed by co-workers, and shooting on weekends in the real office, Olmi crafted a subtle, precise, sometimes puckish world quite distinct from that of his neorealist contemporaries. It's not as full-blooded as his mature masterpiece, 1978's The Tree of Wooden Clogs, but it's a worthy forerunner of Clerks, Office Space, and in a mild way, even the Kafkaesque satire of Brazil. Opens Fri., Nov. 26. 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Fri.–Thurs.; 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. matinees Sat.–Sun. Ends Thurs., Dec. 2. $5–$7.50. Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. TIM APPELO




The English-born, N.Y.C.-based neurologist has probably become America's pre-eminent writer of popular medical literature with books like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings (don't blame him for the Robin Williams movie). His writing also appears regularly in The New Yorker and has lately taken a more retrospective, autobiographical track. Recent works, including Uncle Tungsten: Memoirs of a Chemical Boyhood (2001) and Oaxaca Journal (2002), have revealed his personal ruminations to be no less fascinating than the most bizarre medical case studies. Whether writing clinically or confessionally, he applies the same gifts of observation, synthesis, and compassion. 7:30 p.m. Wed., Dec. 1. $10–$25. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., 206- 621-2230. BRIAN MILLER

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