I took a quick press tour through Seattle Art Museum’s Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness on Tuesday afternoon and realized I’m a cynical bastard. The terrific thing about the exhibit is that it may actually be more enjoyable if you approach it like a cynical bastard—each dignified portrait, every purple-mountains-majesty landscape becomes fixating proof that our country piled on the high-toned hooey and began mythologizing itself the second we gave the boot to those bad-toothed Brits. I’m not kidding: We are born liars. I’ll be back for Life’s Thursday opening to gape at the details.
Can’t handle the God’s Country stuff at SAM? Walk down a floor and be moved by the 19th-century mythology offered in George de Forest Brush: The Indian Paintings. These astonishing depictions of Native American beauty are a revelation—and I don’t mean that in the phony “I’d surely give up my condo if only it meant those proud Duwamish could reclaim their land”-kind of way so beloved of Seattle’s lip-service liberals. I mean that when you see these paintings you wonder where they’ve been all your life.
Braden Abraham directed a quick, clean, cutting My Name is Rachel Corrie two seasons ago. I’m expecting him to make fast but full work out of Harold Pinter’s pauses in Betrayal at Seattle Rep on Saturday. (It opens on Wednesday but I didn’t want to miss Lost. Don’t tell anyone.)
Somebody decided to make a new musical out of The Wizard of Oz using the original, long-running 1902 stage version as inspiration. I wouldn’t wish that chore on my worst enemy—“Hey, can you write a memorable song for Dorothy?”—but I am dying of perverse curiosity until this Sunday’s staged reading. And let’s be fair: The Wiz didn’t sound like a good idea at the time, either, but I could name “Ease on Down the Road” in three notes now (and so could you, Butch, so keep your wisecracks to yourself).
SPOILER ALERT: I’M ABOUT TO GIVE AWAY THE ENDINGS OF MOVIES THAT WERE MADE 30 YEARS AGO. If Oz gives me a rainbow high, I’m hoping Sunday night finds me with enough optimism to survive two fantastic buzzkill flicks in the Northwest Film Forum’s 69 series. In They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, Jane Fonda dances to death during a Depression-era marathon (well, Michael Sarrazin finishes her off). In Midnight Cowboy, Dustin Hoffman dies on a bus ride to Florida with Jon Voight.
Given a choice of deaths, I’d take the dance marathon. A bus ride to Florida with Jon Voight? You just don’t do that to people.