The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 12/9 Photography: Western Grids Photographer Joe Deal died this June in Providence, Rhode Island, where he taught at RISD. But his life (1947–2010) was devoted to studying the American West, only not the pretty Adams/Weston vistas of pristine dunes, peaks, and beaches. Instead, as seen in the eight images presented in Joe Deal and Views of the Altered Landscape, he scrutinized the subdivisions and sprawl of postwar California and New Mexico. There's nature as we want to see it preserved, then there's the actual fact of development—the bulldozing and paving, the property lines and cul-de-sacs imposed on the Earth. You can't call it blight, exactly, since Deal's somber documents reveal a new, man-made symmetry in the power grids and neatly watered lawns. Cropped into tight squares, these are windows into places where you might not want to live—but many of us do. Also on view: eight kindred landscapes by Deal's contemporaries, including Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, and Catherine Wagner. (Through March 27.) Henry Art Gallery, 4100 15th Ave. N.E., UW campus, 543-2280, $6–$10. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Classical: Amor Mío Few singers in recent years were as worshipfully acclaimed as Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who inspired awe for the emotional power of her singing, an intimacy bordering on nakedness. She also inspired her husband, composer Peter Lieberson, to set for her five sonnets by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda—adding to a heady, shimmering, Alban Berg–like harmonic language a Latin warmth, framing her sable voice (she began her music career as a violist) amid instrumental lines that curl like lush vegetation (he orchestrated the work in Brazil). One of the great love offerings of contemporary music, and a memorial to an incomparable artist—Lorraine died in 2006, at 52, a year after the premiere—the Neruda Songs are the centerpiece of this weekend's Seattle Symphony concerts. Kelley O'Connor is the mezzo-soprano soloist; Stéphane Denève also conducts ballet suites by Roussel and Prokofiev. (Also 7 p.m. Fri., 8 p.m. Sat.) Benaroya Hall, Third Ave. & Union St., 215-4747, $17–$105. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT FRIDAY 12/10 Music: Bluer Christmas Before its next Sub Pop album is released in the new year, Low is basing a holiday mini-tour around its 1999 Christmas album (also being re-released on vinyl). The Duluth slowcore trio has changed bass players twice since then, but husband and wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker remain constant. As they reprise songs like "Little Drummer Boy"—yes, from that Gap ad—and "Blue Christmas," they'll be joined by guitarist Charlie Parr, who also opens the show. New material is promised from the Sub Pop project, possibly titled C'mon, and it's sure to be rendered in close, spooky harmony layered on a thorny bed of reverb and twang. Low shows are always intimate affairs, delivered to a small, devoted congregation—though Robert Plant's recent covers of two songs from The Great Destroyer, on his Band of Joy, may bring new parishioners. Just don't ask Sparhawk and Parker to act excited about the fresh attention. It's the holidays, and they've got bigger things to be thankful for. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599, $15 (21 and over). 9:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Comedy: Full of Debunk Penn & Teller are billing their three-day stand as being suitable "for mature and informed children aged 8 and up," meaning likely a PG-rated version of their popular Showtime series Bullshit!. Skepticism is sure to be the order of the evening, since Penn Jillette—the big, loud one—recently described his audience this way to The Village Voice: "There are skeptics, there are atheists, there are libertarians that live here in the U.S. and they've never, really never, been catered to before. And it's amazing how little you have to cater to them. All you have to do is have someone that doesn't hate them, and they crawl out [of] the woodwork." So if local atheists cheer as the duo cheerfully debunk magic acts and Bible tales, fans should also prepare to see some liberal shibboleths overturned. (Through Sun.) Paramount Theater, 911 Pine St., 877-STG-4TIX, $42–$62. 8 p.m. T. BOND Visual Arts: Map Quest For The Bornholm Project, Timea Tihanyi spent a week in September pedaling around that scenic Danish island. But she wasn't on vacation. Rather, the Hungarian-born physician, today a Seattle artist, rendered 800 pounds of clay into delicate white porcelain stick assemblages—which look something like coral—contained within squat obelisks. She then pedaled one of those box-fronted cargo-delivery bikes around Bornholm, placing 79 of the vessels near mileposts and other bike-path markers. They're not meant to last. Bornholm is located in the stormy middle of the Baltic Sea, and Tihanyi expects "the delicate stick structures [will] be destroyed over time . . . being left outside exposed to weather and traffic. Unceasing high winds, wild animals, traffic—anything could easily smash each to little pieces." Back home in the gallery, there's a sample of Tihanyi's porcelain sticks, and her journey is mapped out in 3 x 5 photos on the wall, arranged like a board game you can trace with your finger. She writes, "This is a mapping project in which I place markers at places where I'm looking, where I'm thinking that you should be looking and observing, too. It's like Google Earth gone real! All one needs to do is to follow the trail." (Through Dec. 23.) Soil Gallery, 112 Third Ave. S. (Tashiro Kaplan Building), 264-8061, Free. Noon–5 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Stage: Forever Judy As showbiz legend has it, the holiday episode of Judy Garland's 1963–64 TV variety show—a kitschfest showcasing her three kids (for you straight guys, that would be Liza Minnelli and Lorna and Joey Luft), taped on a set done up to resemble her Malibu home—was almost derailed by her drinking. Open Circle's evergreen The Judy Garland Christmas Special imagines the dress rehearsal, with Troy Mink as Judy sloshing around hallucinating as everyone tries to go on with the show around her. Craig Trolli skewers Liza's trembling, big-eyed vacuousness and pit-bull performing ambition, and John McKenna's vocal impersonation of Judy's guest crooner Jack Jones is even more disturbingly, hilariously dead-on than ever. But that's just the first half. After intermission, a DVD of the actual episode is screened with live commentary by Mink in character. On that broadcast, Judy more or less holds it together; she's a trouper every moment. What's most startling, you come to realize, is how little Open Circle's high-camp version exaggerates the episode's almost surreal cheesiness. (Through Dec. 18.) Open Circle Theater, 2222 Second Ave., 382-4250, $11–$16. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT Film: Pulling His Punches Thirty years later, Jake LaMotta has become Jack Byrnes, the comic, glowering patriarch of Little Fockers (opening Dec. 22), which will earn Robert De Niro far more viewers—and far more money—than his Oscar-winning role in Raging Bull. De Niro has increasingly turned to comedy in his late career, a more respectable alternative than sad, fat LaMotta's own stab at showbiz after the ring. Because, really, who can sustain all that tortured intensity? De Niro famously gained and lost 60 pounds to play the middleweight champ in Martin Scorsese's 1980 biopic, the second of their great collaborations together. Afterward, nothing they've done—together or separately—has achieved quite the same terrible grandeur. Little Fockers, like its two predecessors, celebrates family through slapstick and humiliation (mostly suffered by Ben Stiller), and De Niro doles out most of the punishment. Conversely, his character in Raging Bull destroys his family with pathological jealousy, communicating only with violence (both giving and receiving). Yet however gentled in his current casting, De Niro carries LaMotta with him still; the actor builds comedy on a foundation of pain. (Through Wed.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, $6–$9. 7 and 9 p.m. BRIAN MILLER MONDAY 12/13 Books: Among the Taliban New York Times correspondent David Rohde surely thought of The Wall Street Journal's murdered Daniel Pearl when he was captured by the Taliban two years ago. He spent the next seven months in captivity before escaping, shuttled from Afghanistan to Pakistan, an experience he recounts in A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping From Two Sides (Viking, $26.95), co-written with his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, who also appears tonight. The two had been married for just two months prior to his abduction. Rohde, a past Pulitzer winner, was already expert in the ways of Afghan insurgency and Taliban mind-sets. Yet during his long incarceration, there were surprises. In North Waziristan, his captors surf the Web and listen to the radio; they're surprisingly well-informed about the world—though it's understood through a fanatical filter. And there are touches of absurdity. Rohde writes, "My Taliban guards slept beneath bedspreads . . . emblazoned with characters from the American television show Hannah Montana and the movie Spider-Man. My blanket was a pink Barbie comforter." Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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