The Pick List: The Week’s Recommended Events

Wednesday, July 2

Iman Raad & Shahrzad Changalvaee

The poster work of Raad and Changalvaee is full of gorgeous, flowing Arabic script, mystical daggers, and, perhaps most interesting, a distinctly modern sense of layout and design. The clash of ancient cultural tradition with today’s visual sensibilities is what gives their work such a distinct air. (Examples were on view during last weekend’s Iranian Festival at Seattle Center.) Now based in Connecticut, the married artists give a talk tonight, sponsored by the local chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Two-Headed Imagomancy will be both lecture and performance, incorporating the old Persian storytelling art of Pardeh-khani, in which an illustrated curtain accompanies a spoken tale. Raad and Changalvaee, modern through they are, will “reappropriate” the traditional form by throwing in multimedia visuals. Folklore and myth, it seems, are increasingly freeing themselves from the ancient and reinstating themselves in the here and now. Tether, 316 Occidental Ave. S. (third floor), 518-6300. Free (RSVP via 7 p.m.

Thursday, July 3

The Art of Gaman

The subtitle of this group show reveals its sad starting point: Arts & Crafts From the Japanese-American Internment Camps, 1942–1946. That shameful, illegal episode in American history has been well documented by historians and novelists (e.g., David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars, about the forced deportation of Bainbridge Island residents). And certain renowned visual artists (Morris Graves, Roger Shimomura, etc.) have referenced that period in their work. But this is a broader show, more folk art than fine art. Over 120 objects will be on view, many of them humble wood carvings, furniture, even toys made from scrap items at Minidoka or Manzanar. The more polished drawings come from professional artists like Ruth Asawa, Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, Chiura Obata, and Henry Sugimoto. Some of the more touching items—like a samurai figurine made from wood scraps, shells, and bottle caps—come from family collections, not museums; they’re precious keepsakes from a shameful historical era. As for the show’s title, gaman roughly translates as “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.”
Through Oct. 12. Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way N.E ., 519-0770, $5–$10. 11 a.m– 6 p.m. Curator talk by Delphine Hirasuna at 7 p.m.

Friday, July 4

A Hard Day’s Night

The music business is fond of remastering old tracks and selling us new versions of familiar songs. You get that, plus a full visual restoration, in this 50th-anniversary edition of A Hard Day’s Night. Beatlemania was famously launched in the U.S. with the band’s February 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and mini-tour. Returning to the States that summer, the Beatles played Seattle on August 21, their third stop on a 23-city tour. But what if you weren’t lucky enough to live in one of those cities? Or what if you needed extra incentive to purchase the records, buy concert tickets, or watch their Ed Sullivan appearances? That’s what A Hard Day’s Night, cannily released in August (with the eponymous album), was all about. It’s both a genius marketing device and an enjoyably shaggy comedy-with-music. American teenagers already knew the songs in ’64 (“Can’t Buy Me Love,” “She Loves You,” etc.), and they’d seen the Beatles on newsreels and TV. But what the first Beatles movie did was cement these four personalities in the public imagination. Never mind that John, Paul, George, and Ringo were the somewhat-manufactured roles devised by Brian Epstein, their manager; A Hard Day’s Night gave these characters room to roam. Director Richard Lester and screenwriter Alun Owen built upon each moptop’s popular persona, layering gag upon gag on what we thought we knew about them. Was Ringo really the lazy, irresponsible one or George the quiet one? No, and it really doesn’t matter. The Beatles were cheerfully selling themselves in a vehicle that combines English music-hall humor with the cinematic energy of the French New Wave. Fifty years later, we’re still happily buying.
(Through Thurs. Also plays SIFF Cinema Uptown.) SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center), 324-9996, $6–$11. 4:45 & 7 p.m.

Monday, July 7

Seattle Chamber Music Society

The pleasant surprise for the SCMS’s 33rd summer festival is a strong focus on vocal music: songs and song cycles by Schumann, Brahms, Vaughan-Williams, and others. (The voice recital, once a cornerstone of America’s concert life, has all but vanished outside academia.) The format is the usual: performances on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, July 7–Aug. 2 (except for the closing week), with a informal solo recital at 7 followed by a full-length concert at 8. The recitals are where musicians get to step off the beaten path and share their personal enthusiasms—like the Mystery Sonatas for solo violin by quintessentially Downtowny composer David Lang (July 7, played by Augustin Hadelich, who premiered them in April) and a selection of Bartok’s gnomic violin duos (July 11, with James Ehnes and Amy Schwartz Moretti). Concert highlights include Stravinsky’s mini-opera The Soldier’s Tale for narrator and septet (July 11); Shostakovich’s Seven Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok (July 18); Haydn’s “Emperor” Quartet, with its heartstopping slow-movement variations (July 21); and this season’s premiere, a piano trio by Derek Bermel intriguingly titled Death with Interruptions (July 14).
Benaroya Recital Hall, Third Ave. & Union St., 283-8808, Single tickets $48, packages $180–$540.

Michael Waldman

After the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting in December 2012, President Obama tried to get some mild form of gun-control legislation through Congress—and we all know how that turned out. Given the forecast for this fall’s midterm elections, no further progress on that front can be expected. So how did we get into this muddle of guns versus public safety? That’s the subject NYU law professor Waldman addresses in The Second Amendment: A Biography (Simon & Schuster, $25). Why the curious subtitle? Because amendments, like laws, are living, breathing, mutable creatures. Since its birth in 1789, Waldman convincingly argues, the Second Amendment has grown into something quite different than the founders intended. All can agree we started with this: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” though scholars can debate the placement of a few commas. For the next two centuries, Waldman writes, bearing arms was understood not to be an individual right but a matter of public self-defense. Nor did the National Rifle Association consider it an individual right until 1977, when insurgent leadership began funding new legal theories and backing Republican politicians. Those politicians appointed judges sympathetic to those new theories, and all those forces precipitated the District of Columbia v. Heller decision, six months before Obama’s 2008 election. If there’s a positive takeaway from Waldman’s rather depressing account, it’s that the NRA got what it wanted in only 31 years. Old amendments can be redefined in a single generation.
Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, $5. 7:30 p.m.

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