Film: Hard Adversaries

Conspicuously overlooked at the Oscars this weekend will be Paul Thomas Anderson, whose The Master impressed some critics—though not me—but earned


The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events


Film: Hard Adversaries

Conspicuously overlooked at the Oscars this weekend will be Paul Thomas Anderson, whose The Master impressed some critics—though not me—but earned none of the plaudits of his 2007 There Will Be Blood, nominated in eight categories. (The Master scored three, for the performances of Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams.) Daniel Day-Lewis won the Oscar for Blood, as he may do again for Lincoln, but Anderson will be smiling through clenched teeth. What went wrong from Blood to The Master? For starters, Phoenix's drunken sailor and Hoffman's quack prophet weren't people. They had no depth, made no sense, never changed. They were just weird, frozen emblems of . . . some dialectic in Anderson's head (he's never one to explain such dyads, which I respect). Back in Blood, however, Day-Lewis' Daniel Plainview was an implacable monster who retained some aspect of humanity. His adopted son inspired tenderness and protectiveness, and his toxic ambition created a plausible contest with huckster preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano). Oil versus faith turns out to be a different equation: money versus money. Blood is a taming-of-the-frontier tale not so far removed from John Ford, where stereotypes turn to archetypes. Later in The Master, they simply become marble statues. Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 781-5755, $8.25. Midnight. (Repeats Sat.) BRIAN MILLER

Stage: Grunge Echoes

Although Sarah Rudinoff and Gretta Harley spent two years interviewing nearly 40 local rockers to create These Streets, it's not a musical or documentary so much as a contemplative salute to the women of the grunge era. The play's fictional characters, each portrayed by two actresses as their past and present selves, had their lives and music intertwine in sometimes contentious ways during the flannel years. (The framing device is a series of podcast interviews that trigger flashbacks into past scenes and songs.) "I know people are going to go, 'Oh, is that Kim Warnick? Is that Mia Zapata?'," says Rudinoff, citing icons from the Fastbacks and the Gits. "But these are our own characters. I didn't want a narrow, insider thing. I was more interested in what that white-hot spotlight did to everybody. We're traveling through all that by looking over the shoulders of the women." In addition to period tunes from the late '80s–early '90s (which the cast performs), there are original songs by Rudinoff and Harley. (The duo's current band is We Are Golden; Harley was in Maxi Badd, among others, back in the day.) And cast member Imogen Love, an invaluable veteran of the city's fringe scene (via the long-lost Empty Space Theatre, among many others), cites another way the show pays tribute to what many people still view as a golden era. "I wasn't running off to see Soundgarden or anybody back then," she says. "Partly because, frankly, I was kind of irritated by it all getting so much attention. But I was doing balls-to-the-wall theater. And now it's come full circle." (Through March 10.) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 296-7676, $15–$30. 8 p.m. STEVE WIECKING

Visual Arts: Torn, Torn, Torn

Collage was both an art and an inherited tradition for the late Northwest master Paul Horiuchi (1906–1999). Back in Japan, whence he emigrated as a teen, there was the old shikishi mode of torn-paper collage. By the time the former Wyoming railroad worker reached Seattle after World War II, he was transitioning out of landscapes and urban scenes, falling under the sway of Mark Tobey and other Northwest modernists. Very much a cross-cultural talent, Horiuchi made hybrid art in his collages, creating abstract studies that could—if you stare at them long enough—suggest the rocks, mountains, and waves of his adopted home. His inspiration in the '50s was avowedly the torn old handbills he saw posted in Chinatown; bits of calligraphy and other found scraps would sometimes also be incorporated into his collage work. Still, it's the purely formal arrangement of color and shape—like his most public and recognized work, the 1962 Mural Amphitheater at Seattle Center—that got him into SAM and made him widely known. I was lucky enough to grow up in a home with a Horiuchi collage on the wall, and its contours are as familiar to me still as our family's backyard. Horiuchi's work is layered with local texture and history; even the paper came from our forests nearby. Paper Unbound: Horiuchi and Beyond presents his work, and that of other artists, through May 14. Wing Luke Museum, 719 S. King St., 623-5124, $9.95–$12.95. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Film: Raging Against the Dark

"Try and Get Me!" dares the opening-night film of this year's Noir City series, curated and introduced by film scholar Eddie Muller. That bitter, nothing-left-to-lose cry sets the tone for 15 titles that favor rarities and rediscoveries over familiar classics and cult favorites. The last major Hollywood film by blacklisted director Cy Enfield, it's a 1950 take on the lynch-mob dramas of the '30s, dosed with postwar anxiety and sociopathic anger, the latter thanks to Lloyd Bridges as a two-bit crook long on ideas and short on temper. Made independently, it was orphaned in recent years, so the Film Noir Foundation stepped in to restore the picture. It's presented in a fresh 35mm print, followed by Enfield's The Hell Drivers, a dusty, bare-knuckle 1957 British trucking-noir. There are also new FNF-funded prints of Repeat Performance (1947) and High Tide (1947), and a revival of Native Son (1951) starring author Richard Wright himself. But for rare pleasures, see next Wednesday's 3-D double bill of Man in the Dark (1953), with Edmund O'Brien, and Inferno (1953), a survival film with Robert Ryan left to die in the desert by a scheming wife. It's a rare noir in sun-blasted color. (Through Thurs.) SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, $8–$13 ($45–$75 series). 7 & 9 p.m. SEAN AXMAKER


Books: Serving Many Flags

Quick, name a beloved female Secretary of State. No, not Hillary—think back to the '90s, when her husband hired Madeleine Albright for the job (the first time a woman held the post). An internationalist with close family ties to Europe, Albright recalls her very eventful youth in Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937–1948 (Harper, $30). Her quick-thinking diplomat father got the family to London ahead of Hitler, but in Albright's version of events, he never told until decades later that the family was Jewish. Returning safely to Prague after the war, the Körbel family was again forced into exile—this time for good, in the United States—when the Communists took power. As a result, the multilingual Albright was well-suited to study foreign affairs—not foreign to her—and to make diplomacy her career. When the Balkan wars broke out in the '90s, she advised President Bill Clinton to take a hard line against the Serbs. By that time, of course, her old homeland had been split in two—another familial/political irony she can discuss today. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, Free. 2 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Opera: Victim of Passion

That Puccini's La bohème has long been the world's most popular opera is great for the box office, but a challenge for the singers: How can you possibly make your take on Rodolfo, played by every tenor from Pavarotti on down, stand out? Michael Fabiano, one of the two Rodolfos in the double-cast Seattle Opera production that opens tonight, shares his thoughts: "Knowing that all the greats have put their stamp on this role makes it a humbling task every time I step onstage. For me, Rodolfo has to be played strongly: in emotion, in charisma, in personal appeal, and in decorum. I don't think Mimì would ever seek to find Rodolfo were he a wallflower and unattractive; she seeks him because she has been watching him and following him for a long time. So while their first moment together onstage is intimate, perhaps embarrassing for Mimì, Rodolfo's sense of panache and excitement must ring clear. I think also important is that Rodolfo, while strong in many ways, is equally weak in others, and we see that progress through the piece, specifically in the last act, Mimì being the counterbalance to him, regardless of her physical ailments. Rodolfo is at his core a sensitive man. The study process for me has shed light on this strong/weak juxtaposition; initially, I felt Rodolfo to be a whimsical character simply because of his poverty and lack of talent. But he's not. He's a man that, while a jokester with his buddies, is serious about his writing and deeply in love . . . often sharp-witted and totally passionate about his work and the people that he cares so much about." (Ends March 10.) McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), 389-7676, $25 and up. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT

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