The Weekly Wire: The Week’s Recommended Events

Wednesday 8/7

Photography: Costume Histories

Two regions of Africa are addressed by two different photographers in Signares & Hereros. The Herero are a tribe in Namibia, profiled by English photographer Jim Naughten, who ritually wear the clothing of the German colonists of the early 20th century. According to Herero tradition, if you killed a German during the resistance to the near-genocide of 1904, you could then wear his uniform. That sense of accomplishment still brings out the old attire for historical pageants and celebrations. (New costumes are sewn in vintage style, adorned with headdresses styled like cow horns.) In his native Senegal, Fabrice Monteiro is a distant descendant of the signares—women who married French colonists, gaining wealth and social status in the process. They still ritually don their Victorian-style costumes as class markers and tokens of prestige and desirability. It’s a little bit like our own Southern women who doll up for the Kentucky Derby, or the Daughters of the American Revolution. The colors of these dresses are just as bold, but the skin tone is different—as is the history of liberation from colonial rule. Naughten is an established artist who’s shown in New York, while the younger Monteiro is being exhibited here for the first time in the U.S. Their women peer across the gallery at one another, closer in spirit than proximity on the African continent. Their retro attire is borrowed and foreign, yet it connotes the same veneration of their ancestors and conveys the same pride. (Through Aug. 30.) M.I.A Gallery, 1203 Second Ave., 467-4927, Free. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Thursday 8/8

Books: Lone Star Fate

Though also featured in our Best of Seattle section this week, why not give a little more love to author Domingo Martinez? He once worked for Seattle Weekly, and he’s become one of our most successful alumni. (Claire Dederer’s yoga memoir Poser probably sold a few more copies.) Published last year and shortlisted for the National Book Award, his memoir The Boy Kings of Texas was just sold to HBO—another token of prestige, along with a summer fellowship at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Though Martinez is 20 years out of Brownsville, Texas, that state still haunts him. Most of his family still lives there, and the book caused some rifts among his kin. At the same time, he explained recently over coffee, sales in the Lone Star State have been quite strong—in part perhaps because a Mexican-American memoir is such a welcome rarity there. Yet when he goes back to Texas for readings, says Martinez, he now feels like an ambassador from the Northwest. He rarely speaks Spanish anymore, and he’s been lulled and inoculated by our mossy liberal lifestyle. During an Austin book reception for several authors, he explains, where Governor Rick Perry was a no-show, Martinez was made nervous by the governor’s armed guards, who wielded assault rifles. “Can you believe it?” he laughs. “I grew up with guns.” But there he was like any other Seattleite, a blue-state visitor in a very foreign land. (Martinez will be preceded on stage by Mahogany Slade author Stephen Robinson.) Queen Anne Book Co., 1811 Queen Anne Ave. N., 284-2427, Free. 7 p.m.

Friday 8/9

Film: Creature Creator

Modern monster movies and splashy fantasies of wondrous worlds spend all their effort trying to make the unreal look realistic. Ray Harryhausen, the stop-motion animator and creature designer who died earlier this year, was more interested in making his creations look beautiful, investing them with character and personality. He wasn’t making monsters so much as bringing characters to life. The GI begins its weeklong celebration of Harryhausen’s old-school animation tonight with The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958). Based on the ancient myth, it was the first of his grand fantasies, and its creatures include a two-headed roc, a fire-spewing dragon, and the Cyclops—a ferocious, howling monster that is, like many of Harryhausen’s creations, a far more emotional and colorful character than the blandly heroic human hero (played by Kerwin Mathews). Also running this week on 35 mm, Jason and the Argonauts (1963) offers a fantasia on the classic Greek myth, a brawny odyssey through lands of magic. Here again the humans are overshadowed by Harryhausen’s magnificent creations, including the seven-armed skeletons who take up swords against Jason and company. While he didn’t direct these two films, the animator and producer Harryhausen is very much their creator. As a coda to the tribute, Thursday night will feature a secret program of earlier Harryhausen efforts on 16 mm. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, $5–$8. 7 & 9 p.m.

Arts & Beyond: Garden Party

There is no better place in Seattle to stare at the sunset, drink in hand, than the Olympic Sculpture Park. For that reason, tonight’s SAM Remix party is a high-summer occasion to wander among the artworks and stand on the roof of Heather Hart’s half-sunken house, The Western Oracle (see The Fussy Eye, page TK.) Local artists will lead tours through the permanent sculpture installations, a bar will be set up in the PACCAR Pavilion, and various food trucks will be onsite, including Dante’s Inferno Dogs. The evening leads up to music and dancing, courtesy of Don’t Talk to the Cops! and DJ J-Justice. There will even be a karaoke bar; let’s hope the songbook includes “Summer Nights” from Grease. It’s a duet, so you’ll have to decide who’s John Travolta and who’s Olivia Newton-John. Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Ave., 654-3100, $12–$25. 8 p.m–midnight.

Film: Tall Tales

Running in conjunction with a new documentary about its titular subject, My Dinner With André is the 1981 movie that introduced most of America to the charmingly loquacious theater director André Gregory. I think it’s fair to call it a beloved film, directed by Louis Malle and co-starring Wallace Shawn (he and Gregory wrote the piece, based on prior tape-recorded conversations). Certainly for one young filmgoer, me, it was a direct inspiration to move to New York—here reduced in synecdoche to a restaurant table where Gregory talks and talks and talks about art and life, while Shawn occasionally gets a word in edgewise. (They’re both playing characters, of course, exaggerated versions of themselves.) Shawn’s character is the grounded one, not quite cynical but uncertain whether to believe Gregory’s tall tales and flights of fancy. Did he really do and see all these strange things during his five-year sojourn to Tibet, Europe, and the Sahara? Shawn is suspicious, and so are we. But as the meal wears on, filling most of the 110-minute film, Gregory wins us over with the sheer fervency of his near-monologue. It’s a performance, art, and it bestows enchantment, or a return to enchantment, upon Shawn, who leaves dinner to see the city with new eyes. (Through Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, $6–$10. 7 & 9:15 p.m.

aturday 8/10

Dance: Minding Their Steps

The art of the Japanese garden is centuries old, while the dance form of butoh is a mere youngster, created in postwar Japan as a reaction to the devastation of World War II. But they both repay patience and attention, revealing intimate details for those with the ability to wait and watch. Today Joan Laage leads a group of butoh artists in an exploration of the Seattle Japanese Garden in Wondering and Wandering, a performance installation that’s part of this summer’s Seattle Butoh Festival. A butoh performance can be equally grotesque and transcendent; in this exquisite setting, those qualities will be even more vivid. Seattle Japanese Garden, 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E., $4–$6. 2 p.m.

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