This year, at least two directors with local ties have films screening at the annual indie movie binge the Sundance Film Festival. San Juan Island native James Longley's Iraq in Fragments is one of 16 nonfiction films (chosen from over 700 submissions) competing in the documentary division of the festival, which gets under way Thursday, Jan. 19, in Park City, Utah. Seattle-born Hal Haberman's Special—about a meter attendant who acquires superpowers in a clinical study of antidepressants—is one of 24 films in the Spectrum series, which are not eligible for the major prizes but can win the Audience Award. Past Spectrum hits have included March of the Penguins and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. Sundance continues through Jan. 29. Info: LYNN JACOBSON


The madcap Act II party scene in Johann Strauss' opera Die Fledermaus traditionally incorporates all sorts of break-the-fourth-wall tomfoolery. Gov. Christine Gregoire was scheduled to lead off the cast of celebrity cameo players in Seattle Opera's current production, waltzing with First Gentleman Mike Gregoire. The governor didn't show, but opening-nighters weren't disappointed. In a one-time tribute to just-deceased Wagnerian soprano Birgit Nilsson, Fledermaus leading lady Jane Eaglen sang the swooning "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde, bringing down the house. GAVIN BORCHERT


The list of 2005's best-selling books was recently reported by The Book Standard, among others. The highlights, by the numbers: At least five young-adult novels ranked in the top 50 (the two most recent Harry Potters,Christopher Paolini's Eldest and Eragon, and C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia). Three of the top 30 have the word "pants" in the title (take note, fledgling novelists). The Da Vinci Code, now two years old, held strong at the No. 5 five position. And the list includes at least one fictional nonfiction book: James Frey's suddenly controversial memoir, A Million Little Pieces, which clocked in at No. 2 (right after Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). Our guess? The firestorm of negative publicity sparked by Frey's admission that he made up some of the details in his account of his own drug addiction won't hurt sales a bit. LYNN JACOBSON

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