Archive for December, 2009

Weekend Film Agenda: Happy New Year

Starting Saturday the Second at NW Film Forum is the Seattle premiere of The Vanished Empire, prolific Russian director Karen Shakhnazarov’s coming of age film about a bunch of Russian college kids in the 1970s Soviet Union through a lens that suggests the USSR’s eventual fall came about not from politics but from pop culture.

The Young Victoria continues this weekend at the Meridian, Metro, and Lincoln Square. [josh]: Emily Blunt, far more attractive than the wikipedia suggests she should be for the role, portrays the young queen whose long reign defined a century; Rupert Friend arrives as the dashing suitor whose name came to co-adorn a very nice decorative arts museum in London. It’s well acted, lightly but capably crafted, will teach or refresh some history, and provides no shortage of eye candy in terms of performers and settings.  True to its title, the film avoids sweeping historical epic and covers an early slice of Victoria’s life, glancing past her childhood to her resistance of a regency-hungry comptroller (always lurking menacingly in palaces), ascent to the throne, political maneuverings, and budding relationship with Prince Albert. The latter bits consume the majority of the picture, with political intrigue holding court with cross-continental courtship. The leads are compelling enough that their meaningful glances, longing letters, and quiet conversations conjure enough heat to make the marriage between cousins downright romantic, their passion believable, and the arrangement of royal furnishings monumentally heartwarming.

Of course Grand Illusion is kicking off the New Year by completing their annual run of It’s a Wonderful Life, but no less exciting is the week long run of Island of Lost Souls, the 1932 horror classic directed by Erle C. Kenton and starring the charismatic Charles Laughton as the champion creeper Dr. Moreau, obsessed with his obscene experiments at creating monstrous human/other animal hybrids. Also features the fantastic Bela Lugosi and “The Panther Woman”. This is a classic horror film that is rarely screened and Grand Illusion has it in an archival 35mm print. Totally worth seeing.

Every week when I type the phrase “Midnight at Egyptian, I find the old Maria Muldaur song “Midnight at the Oasis” running through my head, a random bit of exceptionally trivial trivia I’m sharing just because I honestly can’t think of a thing to say about Army of Darkness that hasn’t been said before and it’s this week’s Egyptian Theater midnight film.

NYE Film Agenda: Serenity at Central Cinema

Serenity fans rejoice: You can spend your New year’s Eve at Central Cinema drinking beer, having pizza, and watching the movie – show starts at 7:00 so you’ll still have time afterwards to party it up even more.

My suggestion: since you’re already there, stick around for Central Cinema’s Party Like It’s 1999 Millenium Reboot Sing-a-long party that starts at 10 pm. Worth stopping in on even if you don’t go to the movie and tickets are a mere $12.

Seattle seeks artist for Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop artwork

Cheshiahud Loop photo by Flickr user M and B via Creative Commons.

Since I had a hand in naming it, I take a particular interest in anything related to the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop. As a fan of art in general, particularly public art, I’m excited about the City of Seattle’s call for art for the Loop. Professional artists in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia and California have two weeks left to submit a proposal to create a new media project that draws on either the history or the context–or both–of the loop site. The city suggests that media could be podcast or cellphone based audio work, some other sort of audio and/or video installation (maybe guided tours?) or Web interactive events. The whole point is to create work that engages the visitor to the trail in connecting with the trail in a more than physical way.

The sky’s hardly the limit with a mere $18K budget, but that’s still enough to create something memorable and meaningful. (And, hey, artists: make it cool enough and I’ll take you out to dinner or something, okay?) Submission guidelines are available online and if you need more information on the trail itself, check out its Seattle Parks page.

The World Falls Down for the New Year

“Labyrinth, the Game” by the ever-creative Seattle School

What are you doing New Year’s Eve? Cramming yourself into some bar that’s just jacked the price on their drinks 300 percent? Staying at home watching next year’s has-beens shriek on TV as if the ball drop in Times Square is the most unique, original and exciting event EVER? Well, if you don’t have something actually fun to do, the Seattle School, The Adventure School, and Wexley School for Girls are getting together to give you something super fun: AS THE WORLD FALLS DOWN, a Labyrinth-themed New Year’s Eve Party that doubles as a fundraiser for the Lifelong AIDS Alliance.

On hand will be a fantabulous cornucopia of local art talent including:
TARL art collective featuring Eli Hansen
The Beta Society
Degenerate Art Ensemble
Miss Trannyshack Anna Conda as The Goblin King
Ben de la Creme as Sarah
Fuchia Foxxx as The Noble Fox
Iva Handfull as the Fire Bird
Gale Force as the White Owl
Stella Rose & Girl Jo as puppet go go girls.
The Bog of Eternal Sexiness
and Dance Magic by Lisa Dank, DJ Frankenheart, DJ Riff Raff, and DJ Darek Mazzone

The Seattle School performs an installation/performance piece. It could be “Peach Gluttony”. It could be “David Bowie Reassignment Machine (75% accuracy)”. It could be “Hall of Hands” or it could even be “Jennifer Connelly Chain Gang”. It could even be something else, but you won’t know until you go and see it. You will not be disappointed.

VERY IMPORTANT: Tickets will not be sold at the door and must be bought in advance, which you do by visiting Brown Paper Tickets. Tickets are $125 (or $99 if you know the secret code. Type Bowiespackage in the discount window when buying online.) Your ticket price gets you an open bar! installations! performances! puppets! art! a Bog of Eternal Sexiness Dance Floor! food by Skillet! AN ACTUAL LABYRINTH!

The party starts at 8 and runs til 2 at the Oddfellows Hall. Happy New Year.

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine @ Neumos


Tomorrow night (Tuesday, Dec 29th) you can catch Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine at Neumos. Doors are at 8 and entry will cost you at least $17. If you don’t know, Jello Biafra was the frontman of punk legends The Dead Kennedys. Rumor has it he still plays some of the old material along with his new stuff. Regardless, you can be sure the show will be filled with politically charged punk rock. How can you say no to that?

flickr find: 2009.357

photo by slightlynorth [ flickr ] via our group pool [#]

Things have been quiet here and quieter still during these holiday times. If your new year’s resolution is to start blogging, drop us a line at seattle.metblogs at and maybe we can help. Until then, happy Chrismukkah and enjoy some goodness from the flickriest users of all.

flickr find : christmas in the city


photo by smohundro [ flickr ] via our group pool [#]

Things have been quiet here and quieter still during these holiday times. If your new year’s resolution is to start blogging, drop us a line at seattle.metblogs at and maybe we can help. Until then, enjoy some goodness from the flickriest users of all.

flickr find : untitled

photo by zeebleoop [flickr] via our group pool [#]

Things have been quiet here and quieter still during these holiday times. If your new year’s resolution is to start blogging, drop us a line at seattle.metblogs at and maybe we can help. Until then, enjoy some goodness from the flickriest users of all.

flickr find: holiday constellations

photo by only this [flickr] via our group pool [#]

Weekend Film Agenda December 18

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies of all time but until a couple years ago I’d only ever seen it on TV or DVD. Seeing it in a theater with an audience was fascinating, adding whole new levels of depth to the movie. Well, okay, this was a midnight film at the Egyptian, so where I say “depth” you might want to read “innuendo-laced humor”, but, still there was some real magic in the air. Our friends at SIFF Cinema are giving you a shot at experiencing some of that magic for yourself with weekend of The Wizard of Oz screenings (2:30 and 5:00 pm both Saturday and Sunday) that follow a definitely different view of the movie on Friday.

By now everyone’s heard about the (possibly? probably?) accidental synchronicity between Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album and The Wizard of Oz. SIFF is giving you a chance to check this out first hand with a Friday night, 8:00 pm, presentation of The Dark Side of Oz, a special screening of the classic movie paired with a playing of the classic album.

Back in 1958, photographer Robert Frank’s book The Americans drew both praise and complaint for its complex views of American society, both the upper classes and the lower. Fifty years later film director Phillipe S├ęclier explored Frank’s enduring influence in An American Journey. Making its Seattle debut at NWFF this weekend, the film explores the world as Frank saw it then and how it endures today.

Also at NWFF: They Came to Play is a documentary about the International Amateur Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by the Van Cliburn Foundation. Amateur pianists overcome obstacles like drug addiction, AIDS, and heartbreak all for the chance to compete. Friday and Saturday’s screenings feature a live recitation by competition finalist Ken Iisaka.

It’s still It’s a Wonderful Life at the Grand Illusion through the end of the year.

Late night at the Grand Illusion Friday and Saturday see a wholly different sort of Christmas film: Black Christmas, the 1974 horror film by director Bob Clark has been called one of the most influential horror films ever made. Somewhat based on a series of real life murders in Quebec, Black Christmas features not quite-famous-yet Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin, along with Olivia Hussey, as sorority sisters in a house being targeted by a homicidal maniac.

Midnight at the Egyptian: The Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading, starring John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Frances McDormand.

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