The Weekly Wire: This Week’s Notable Events

WEDNESDAY 4/29Paleontology: Old Bones, New ThrillsGrowing up, I wanted more than anything in the world to become a paleontologist. Then I enrolled in—and failed miserably at—an introductory geology course. Grudgingly I came to the conclusion that an alternate career path was necessary. But I can still live out some of my prehistoric fantasies, thanks to Walking With Dinosaurs (through Sunday). The traveling arena show, based on the BBC documentary series, features full-size animatronic dinosaurs doing, well, awesome dinosaur stuff, like soaring through the sky and hunting for prey. And I'm not talking about boring dead museum dinosaurs. These are freakishly lifelike models—including a 56-foot-long Brachiosaurus—that took a whopping $20 million to create. You can actually see their muscles ripple as they move with surprising agility. The larger creatures can be easily viewed from upper-level seating, but diehard dinophiles like me will want to splurge for floor seats to be close to the action. Because you know that some serious shit is about to go down when T-Rex makes his entrance. KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., 292-2787, $19.50–$75.50. 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTVisual Arts: Out of the DesertConservation—is it good for the Jews? Water and anything green are critical resources in Israel. In Tikkunim: Jewish Roots/Ecological Art (through Saturday), 10 artists explore the Hebrew concept of "tikkun olam," which might be freely translated as "take care of what's precious to you." Delicate, twiggy, hand-painted remnants of Christmas trees (!) are the medium for Ilene Sunshine; she scavenges the Yuletide carcasses in January, dries the denuded limbs, and further adorns them with colorful string and yarn. They're like Native American spirit-catchers, though from a different tradition. Ruth Wallen prefers frogs—she makes endangered amphibians the subject of echt-classroom tableaux, photographs, and ersatz ad copy. (One milk-carton toad asks "Have you seen me?") George Ostrow's full-size sukkah hut, used to celebrate Sukkot, is made of reclaimed scrap lumber. Inescapably, it bears a disturbing resemblance to Ted Kaczynski's Unabomber shack. Best in show are the fake magazine panels and vintage ads hacked by Beverly Naidus. They're like old Life magazine spreads that, at first glance, celebrate business. Read closer, and she's interpolated Barbara Kruger–style comments. In one pro-industry nuke-vertorial (as if for GE or Union Carbide), an infertile woman despairs, "Why is this epidemic happening?" A half-century later, we have a pretty good idea. Howard House, 604 Second Ave., 256-6399, Free. 10:30 a.m.–5 p.m. BRIAN MILLERFRIDAY 5/1Baseball: Bay Area BrutesThey're hardly titans, but they're not the Titanic either. This year's Seattle Mariners are a mediocre team fortuitously placed in a lousy division, among whose lousy members are the Oakland A's. In three games (tonight through Sunday), the first-place M's will battle the lowly A's to maintain their spot atop the American League West. Sadly, though, the seafarers will be sending out their three lousiest starting pitchers. Why, then, should we watch? First, every game counts in such an evenly matched division. And second, Oakland fans. While they don't show up in their own stadium, they generally show in ours. This fan once saw an overzealous Oakland fan removed from our facility after he broke open a Seattle fan's nose with a head-butt. In the box seats. It takes something special to turn prissy Safeco Field—known for its onetime "Yankees Suck" T-shirt ban—from American grandstand to American Gladiators. So bring your team spirit and your brass knuckles; at least for this weekend, the Terrordome has a retractable roof. Safeco Field, 1250 First Ave. S., 346-4001, $8–$65. 7:10 p.m. DAMON AGNOSDance: Young and OldBallet was codified in France, and the movement vocabulary matches the French language: beautiful, slippery, subtle. The roots of modern dance are American, and Seattle-born Mark Morris uses that idiom to create a kind of schoolyard in the studio. Members of the Mark Morris Dance Group hop and skip and slide onstage. They are superlative versions of the kids we once were, and the choreography recalls playtime from long ago. Yet Morris sets those steps to two classical concertos in his three-year-old collection Mozart Dances (through Sunday). The piece matches the lyricism and delicacy of the score, played here by the Seattle Symphony with guest pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Yoko Nozaki. But it is fundamentally a dance of human beings, grown-up children, and the games they might play. Also note that for adults over 21, a separate admission ($20) karaoke party immediately follows the performance, with some dancers expected to attend; RSVP recommended. The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 467-5510, $35–$75. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZSATURDAY 5/2Visual Arts: Frost in SpaceThe three computer-animation installations and three accompanying sound rooms by Danish artist Ann Lislegaard are presented as 2062, the year in which they might've been created. That future date reflects her inspiration from sci-fi writers Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. Le Guin, and the just-deceased J.G. Ballard. Each of the looped videos is based on one of their stories; but it would be a mistake to think of them as direct adaptations. Instead, as in the case of the black-and-white triptych Left Hand of Darkness (from Le Guin's 1969 novel), swirling iconography orbits the source text. Medical illustrations of our sex organs, snowshoes, sleds, and skis spin in a flurry. A dancer practices in another panel. Paragraphs from Le Guin appear in blurry overlay, unreadable. Do you need to know that in the novel an emissary visits a cold, wintry planet whose inhabitants change sex? Not really. Lislegaard only obliquely references these underlying stories. ("I'm not so interested in fantasy," she curtly noted during a walk-through.) Her literary sources are excerpted in a few words or phrases that you hear or read while pacing among the three stations in the big, dark gallery. Pessimism rules the room. Over at Crystal World (based on Ballard), we read, "Memories have faded...progress becomes pointless...more and more, time leaks away." There's something Tron-ish about these forbidding animations; they're cool, empty, sad—future worlds we wouldn't want to inhabit, but may inherit. (Through Aug. 23.) Henry Art Gallery, 15th Ave. N.E. & N.E. 41st St., 543-2280, $6–$10. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. BRIAN MILLERMusic: Half BulgarianElectropop quartet Ladytron caught the attention of pretentious scenesters and drunken clubbers alike with its first two albums, 604 and Light & Magic. The Brit-band has since developed an enormous cult following, thanks to several underground hits and extensive touring. Its latest release, 2008's Velocifero, is a sexy Goth-tinged dance album filled with hypnotic melodies, raucous beats, and wry song content (sung in both English and Bulgarian). Lead vocalists Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo deadpan and taunt their way through lyrics like "There's a ghost in me who wants to say, 'I'm sorry,' doesn't mean I'm sorry." Their chilly delivery is simultaneously gorgeous and disturbing, leaving you torn between wanting to dance and run for cover. Omaha's dance-punk band the Faint opens. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 652-0444, $22.50–$25 (all ages). 8 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTFilm: The Great Escape"You lay eggs and then you die," sighs Ginger, a chicken whose attempts to flee a prison-like English poultry farm in Chicken Run (2000) amusingly resemble scenes from various World War II escape movies. Enter Rocky (voiced by the pre-crazy Mel Gibson), a macho American circus rooster who literally falls from the sky. The British birds think Rocky can fly and demand lessons, while he buys time smooth-talking the hens. It's a charming story, but the real reason to see the first feature by Peter Lord and Nick Park (of Aardman Animations, creators of Wallace and Gromit) is its technical wizardry. The stop-motion claymation is so fluid you'd swear it was computer animation, and some of the stunts are like classic Indiana Jones. (The G-rated movie is presented by SIFF's ongoing Films4Families series.) SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, $2–$7. 10 a.m. SOYON IMMONDAY 5/4Visual Arts: Made for WalkingEight local artists are highlighted from the city's portable works collection in "More Than" (through June 30). Some are well known, like Charles Krafft and his delft china Disasterware series, which includes an elegant pistol and a painted series of plates rendering the Hindenburg disaster. Claire Cowie's delicate landscapes we also like. Most everything is small, clustered on the walls in groups by each artist. (Thirty pieces are included in all.) But the largest and most prominent work is on the floor: the 1998 Dipodies by Ruth Marie Tomlinson, which amounts to a mysterious row of torso-less green legs. They're actually composed of sewn rubber stuffed with sand. The pointy-toed U-shapes are poised to march. But to where and what purpose remains unknown. They've got no heads, no leaders, no eyes, no sense of direction. You could imagine them being assembled into not-so-scary monsters in the factory of a Pixar movie; they're like the anatomical components of some creature that never got off the drawing board. Where's the rest of them? Perhaps crumpled up in a designer's wastepaper basket. Or waiting to be sewn and stuffed with more sand, before they're set into motion. Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, 700 Fifth Ave., 684-7171, Free. 5 a.m.–7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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