The Weekly Wire: This Week's Notable Events

WEDNESDAY 3/25Visual Arts: Desert DazeThere's a peyote-trance clarity to the wildlife and landscapes painted by Linda Jo Nazarenus: Southwestern mesas cower beneath lightning-charged skies. The birds, bunnies, coyotes, and sheep have a numinous aura to them, as if perceived by a shaman. The intensity of the colors—not quite natural, not quite LSD—heightens these scenes past realism in "Far From Any Road" (ending Saturday). The Seattle artist has based these canvases, mostly oils, on her road trips through the desert Southwest. Smaller and no less mysterious are her Ghost Series of animal diptychs, painted on wood, in which these Southwestern spirit animals appear in positive-negative reversal, split into two simultaneous realms. They suggest the cave drawings of lost tribes, extinct cultures that perceived these creatures differently than we do today. There's the postcard view we see from within our air-conditioned car windows. Then there's the vivid, ancient reality that refuses to be tamed. Lisa Harris Gallery, 1922 Pike Pl., 443-3315, Free. 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTHURSDAY 3/26Books/Food: One-Stop ShootingFor the price of a bullet, you can feed yourself for a year on an entirely organic, healthy, free-range slab of protein raised far from the feedlots, hog farms, slaughterhouses, and E. coli associated with big agribusiness. The only catch—and let's ignore the hunting permit and airline ticket to Alaska—is that after you shoot the animal, you've got to butcher it yourself, lug it out of the wilderness, and avoid the grizzly bears that would be happy to eat your bounty and you as an appetizer. Or so we learn from Steven Rinella and his American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon (Spiegel & Grau, $24.95). Previously the author of The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, Rinella interpolates his hunt with all manner of buffalo trivia and historical footnotes—filler, but entertaining filler. Buffalo were once the Internet of their day (the 1870s and '80s), creating a brief, furious economic boom for the entrepreneurial hunters who slaughtered the beasts for their hides, then left millions of carcasses to rot on the prairie. After Teddy Roosevelt and progressive Republicans—not yet a contradiction in terms!—saved the animal from extinction, some bison were shipped by rail to Seattle, then ferried to Alaska, where a small herd lives today, the less-famous neighbors of Copper River salmon. Rinella doesn't pretend to be a historian or naturalist; he's a carnivorous foodie and magazine writer (for Outside and others) who's eager to share his woodsmanship and outdoor butchering techniques. But he doesn't glamorize the hunt or excessively romanticize his prey. If riflemen hadn't decimated the buffalo in the 19th century, we meat-eaters, farmers, and suburbanites surely would've done so in the next. And now that there are so (comparatively) few remaining, hunting may actually increase our sense of environmental stewardship over this once-endangered species. Pan Pacific Hotel, 2125 Terry Ave., 632-2419, $45. 6:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERFRIDAY 3/27Opera: 'Tis Almost Fairy TimeWith several successful operas already on his résumé, Benjamin Britten was savvy enough to know you can't improve, language-wise, on Shakespeare. So in crafting his 1960 A Midsummer Night's Dream, he just took the original play and trimmed it, weaving his own deft and perfumed musical magic around William's words. Calling for a small orchestra and a large cast, Dream should flourish in just such a production as it'll get from the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program this weekend and next (through April 5). More than ever before, young opera singers (especially those in the YAP) are trained to bring theatrical energy and zing to their work, and there'll be 23 eager performers onstage. On the other hand, in such an intimate venue, you'll be enveloped by Britten's romantic fantasy world. Director Peter Kazaras' staging, set in a British boarding school, will add a third layer of play to the "rude mechanicals'" play-within-a-play. Meydenbauer Center, 11100 N.E. Sixth St., Bellevue, 389-7676, $15–$35. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERTVisual Arts: Pecking and Order"Urban Migration" is an apt name for this joint show by Jason Sobottka and Sarah Dillon (yes, who runs the gallery). On view through tomorrow are critters that lurk just outside your door, often the same crows you see lifting French fries from Pioneer Square trash cans. Dillon's birds forage amid cosmopolitan collages—chain link, old maps, bricks, and graffiti. They're Audubon creatures adapting themselves to our built environment. And that latter construct, the urban grid, is what underlies Sobottka's aerial perspectives on the city. He renders the city blocks as, literally, blocks—wooden lumber scraps and other detritus seemingly found on building sites. Yet even here are traces of the natural world: a few skulls and animal outlines. Both artists employ a scavenger's ethos, grabbing what they can use, like the downtown birds that nest amid concrete and steel. Gallery 110, 110 S. Washington St., 624-9336, Free. Noon–5 p.m. BRIAN MILLERMusic: Not Ready for the AARPOf all the psychedelic stoner-rock bands hell-bent on reviving the guitar solo, the Canadian shredders of Black Mountain stand alone as the paladins of your parents' brand of rock and roll. With last year's outstanding sophomore release, In the Future, the band spits in the face of every sour music critic who's had the temerity to write that genre's epitaph. Black Mountain's galloping percussion, howling vocals, and lengthy, perfectly executed guitar solos prove there's still some life in the old sack of bones. Yes, there's a discernible Led Zeppelin influence, but this band has its own unique, 21st-century character, proving it's still possible to create awesome modern psychedelic rock without sounding like your dad's old college band. The Sadies open. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442, $12. 8 p.m. SARA BRICKNERSUNDAY 3/29Stage: Seizing the SpotlightJustin Bond has played Kiki, the "boozy chantoozee" half of Kiki & Herb, for so long that few people realize the New York performer can sing without descending into snarls, sobs, or bitter asides. In the year since the duo's final show at Carnegie Hall, Bond has performed with the Tiger Lillies and in solo shows in New York and London. He's appearing tonight with a new collection of songs and tales that defies description, yet seems to have awed New Yorker critic Hilton Als. Inspired by a stay last year at a Radical Faerie sanctuary in Tennessee, his Rites of Spring is subtitled "More Songs for the Neo-Pagan Revolution." It's hard to imagine Bond—hilarious and ferociously smart—going all Holly Near on us. So I anticipate that the rites he's inculcating will be far more intriguing...and subversive. Triple Door, 206 Union St., 838-4333, $22–$25. 7 and 9:30 p.m. JONATHAN KAUFFMANTUESDAY 3/31Books: Baby BluesHeather Armstrong is the woman behind, touted as "the most popular personal blog on the Internet." Since 2001, she's written about whatever she feels like, from her co-workers (which got her fired from her L.A. Web design job) to meeting her husband, pregnancy, and becoming a Salt Lake City stay-at-home mom. Admittedly, I logged on ready to hate it. I mean, how interesting could this woman's life be? But I was quickly schooled in her sheer likeability. A self-described recovering Mormon, she's cleverly self-deprecating and fiercely funny, plus she cusses up a storm. Her second book, It Sucked and Then I Cried (Simon Spotlight, $24), chronicles the birth of her first child and the following joys and hardships that followed. Her days got dark, so dark that she had to check herself into a psych ward to battle a mean case of postpartum depression. But what could have been another woe-is-me memoir is saved by Armstrong's easy-access, candid writing style. She's relatable and endearing, flaws and all. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, Free. 7 p.m. SUZIE RUGHBooks/Visual Arts: Eternal TwirlHow many tens of thousands of U-Dub students have passed by Dancer With Flat Hat while traversing the 15th Avenue pedestrian bridge from Schmitz Hall to campus? Even if most have never taken an art history class (good luck finding a job with that degree), I'd like to think that local sculptor Phillip Levine has had a beneficial effect on them all. His graceful 1971 bronze manages to look spontaneous and settled at the same time; her pirouette is forever frozen amid the collegiate bustle. The piece is anchored in motion, like other sculptures and drawings collected in Phillip Levine: Myth, Memory & Image (UW Press, $24.95). The 78-year-old artist will appear tonight with Norman Lundin and Tom Jay, who contribute essays to the book, for a discussion of his career and work (currently featured up at La Conner's Museum of Northwest Art through June 14). A Northwest resident for the past four decades, Levine has taught, exhibited, and placed commissioned public artworks throughout our region. Dancer may be the soloist, but she's but one member in an entire terpsichorean corps. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, Free. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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