The Pick List: This Week's Recommended Events

Thursday, July 31

Hold These Truths
This 2007 play by Jeanne Sakata dramatizes the story of UW student Gordon Hirabayashi, who in 1942 was one of the very few Japanese-Americans to correctly call their World War II internment illegal and seek legal redress. He resisted peacefully, turned himself in to the FBI, sued, and the Supreme Court ruled against him, 9-0. Four decades later, he famously had his second day in court, and his conviction was overturned. After the war, with a Ph.D. earned at the UW, Hirabayashi ended up a professor in Vancouver, B.C.; he was bestowed a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama five months after his 2012 death. In this one-man touring production, performed locally for the first time, Hirabayashi is portrayed by Joel de la Fuente. Los Angeles playwright/actress Sakata will deliver remarks following the weekend shows, which might also inspire you to see BAM’s ongoing The Art of Gaman, which exhibits the arts and crafts created in those notorious internment camps where Hirabayashi spent the war. (Through Sun.) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 292-7660, act $20 and up. 7:30 p.m.

Kimoko Yoshida

Is there anything worse than a wedding? Watching from the pews, all of us in uncomfortable suits and dresses. It’s always so hot. The service is always so long. And the poor bride and groom have to keep smiling and smiling and smiling like they’re actually enjoying themselves instead of performing. And a wedding is above all a performance, a kind of theater. That’s the spirit in which to understand Yoshida’s self-portrait series something blue, in which she dresses and photographs herself in the nuptial costumes of various traditions. Something like Cindy Sherman, with elaborate makeup, props, and lighting, Yoshida styles herself as a bride from (exaggerated) cultures as disparate as Communist China and West Africa. These characters never look exactly happy about their fate; they display the discomfort of being posed and presented to the public for approval. These brides are commodities being examined for flaws, for any sign of noncompliance or dissent. Yoshida, who won’t attend the opening, creates disturbing portraits of submission and resentment. (Through Aug. 30.) M.I.A. Gallery, 1203 Second Ave., 467-4927, Free. Opening reception 6–8 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 1

Stop Making Sense

Behold! The big white suit! Hugh Brown/Palm Pictuers
Jonathan Demme’s 1984 Talking Heads concert movie isn’t just a live recording of memorable performances by a trailblazing American band then hitting its stride. It is an unparalleled film experience, thanks to Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, etc.), who rightfully receives equal billing with Talking Heads. The film—being shown in celebration of its 30th anniversary—can be viewed as a sort of musical evolution, starting with David Byrne famously playing “Psycho Killer” to the sole accompaniment of a boombox (though this apparent nod to the band’s scrappier punk roots is pure showmanship; the backing track was actually coming from the mixing board). The concert progresses and the band, literally, builds behind Byrne as they play songs from Speaking in Tongues, the album that broke Talking Heads into the mainstream with “Burning Down the House”—and unexpectedly onto the dance charts with beat-driven songs like “Life During Wartime,” proving that, yes, this is in fact a disco. Plus there’s a Tom Tom Club song; the band’s rousing rendition of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River”; and, yes, you get to see Byrne in that big white suit, even bigger on the big screen. (Through Sun.) SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, $6–$11. 6 p.m.

To Have and Have Not
Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart were first and fatefully paired in this very loose 1944 adaptation of the Hemingway novel, about gun-runners in the Caribbean during World War II. But really the two stars were trioed, if you will, with director Howard Hawks, who gave their screen romance—which led to off-screen romance and marriage—exactly the right kind of sultry, matter-of-fact equality. Bacall’s Slim was the Hawksian ideal of a woman: smart, sexy, independent, nobody’s passive prize or possession. And Bogart’s taste in women was shaped, as was that of most ’40s filmgoers, by the Hawksian stamp. Not yet 20, in her first screen role, Bacall instantly became an icon of strong, self-confident womanhood, a dame who gave as good as she got. Many have commented that the source novel was freely tailored to resemble Casablanca—an influence here just as much as THHN later influenced Key Largo. The genius of the studio system is to find and repeat formulas, to create fixed movie-star personae that can be transported easily from one picture to the next. Both Hollywood veterans, Hawks and Bogie knew how to work that system, how to build on their past successes. Part of what makes THHN so much fun is the appreciation these two older men—Bogie by 25 years, sorry—show for this new brand of Hollywood heroine, this new template. Without her, you couldn’t have Angelina Jolie today. (Also starring Bogie and Bacall, Hawks’ The Big Sleep opens Sat.; the two films alternate through Wed.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, $5–$8. 8 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 2

TK Art of the City Art Street Fair
Hooray! The TK Building (aka the Tashiro Kaplan Building) is 10 years old! Created as a colony of artist work-live studios and exhibition spaces by Cathryn Vandenbrink and her cohort a decade ago, the triangular warren has become an institution among Pioneer Square galleries and art lovers (originally drawn by Linda Farris and Greg Kucera, the area’s first pioneers). Vandenbrink’s nonprofit ArtSpace bought the near-empty surplus building from King County, which had acquired it during the ’90s for the bus tunnel. Back in 2004 there were concerns about displacement and gentrification, some justified, but the TK Building has since proven a bulwark against neighborhood decline, anchoring the monthly First Thursday Art Walk. Today, all the TK’s studios and galleries will be open, from G. Gibson to Soil, and the surrounding streets will be full of staged performances, craft vendors, live music, food trucks, artist demos, and more. Bring your kids (as on any First Thursday); this is a gathering not for art snobs but art enthusiasts. Matters of taste and critical distance can wait for another time. This is a day of deserved community celebration. Tashiro Kaplan Building, 115 Prefontaine Pl. S., Free. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.

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