Between Past and Future

Also: Spectrum Dance Theater, David Thomson, Bringing Up Baby, and the Mountain Goats.




It has to be an exciting and worrisome time to be an artist in China. Burgeoning economies, a growing class of wealthy patrons with money to burn, and thriving cosmopolitan centers such as Hong Kong and Shanghai—all signs point to a cultural renaissance. But this is China, after all, and freedom of expression can only be taken so far. That's what should make this exhibit of photography and video since the mid-1990s so fascinating: watching the intricate gymnastic act of meaningful expression within the bounds of a restrictive political culture. Much of the show tackles this in portrayals of the human body in relation to Chinese artistic traditions, language, commerce, poverty, and, in Sheng Qi's Memories, (Me) (pictured), a disturbing and intentionally vague personal past. Opens Thurs., Feb. 10 (6 p.m. gallery discussion). 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun.; open until 9 p.m. on Thurs. $5–$7 suggested fee. Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St., 206-654-3100. ANDREW ENGELSON




Advertised as "an evening of extremes," this double bill of Pineapple Poll and Petrushka is just that. Donald Byrd's choreography for Gilbert and Sullivan's Poll is a classic ballet bouffe, complete with frothy petticoats and kissable girls. His revisioning of Petrushka, meanwhile, leaves the Mikhail Fokine original far behind. Byrd likes to make virtuosity out of violence, so though he still asks Fokine's initial question—"Can a puppet have a soul?"—he places the query in a far more threatening world of aggression and sadomasochism. 8 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 10–Sat., Feb. 12. Also 2 p.m. Sun., Feb. 13. $10–$25. Intiman Theatre, Seattle Center, 206-269-1900. SANDRA KURTZ




Thomson's chronicle of the movies isn't as indiscreetly titillating as Hollywood Babylon or Peter Biskind's killer tell-alls about the '70s and indie cinema, but you should hear what he has to say about Katharine Hepburn's presumptively bisexual brio, Bob Hope's "ego as bold as his nose," Jean Harlow's unwillingness to wear panties and fatal inability to urinate, and the alleged reason alleged ex–porn star Joan Crawford's lips shone so in close-ups. These observations and more are collected in his The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood (Knopf, $27.95), which is full of discursive pieces of subtle scholarship, insinuating charm, and no shame. 7:30 p.m. Fri., Feb. 11. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600. TIM APPELO




Help get the sticky marshmallow heart out of Valentine's Day with Howard Hawks' 1938 screwball romance, which stars Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn as two mismatched types who emphatically don't let love go to their heads. The growing attraction between zoologist and heiress may make them clumsy and silly, but they never behave stupidly (even when Hepburn's pet leopard threatens to pounce). For all the physical comedy, Baby represents a pairing of brains as well as hearts. If The Aviator's Cate Blanchett has got you thinking of Hepburn, here's a chance to fall in love with the genuine article. Runs Fri., Feb. 11–Thurs., Feb. 17. Call for times and prices. Grand Illusion Cinema, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. BRIAN MILLER




With two of his early albums—1994's Zopilote Machine and 1996's Nothing for Juice—slated for reissue in April by the 3 Beads of Sweat label, and a brand-new studio album in the offing around the same time, this is a busy period for the Goats' John Darnielle. Even better, the new material that he previewed last May, right on the heels of the masterful We Shall All Be Healed, is some of his strongest yet. Here's hoping we get to hear "Dance Music" and "Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod?" at the Croc. 9 p.m. Sat., Feb. 12. $12. Crocodile Cafe, 2200 Second Ave., 206-441-5611. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

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