* Denotes items that are $15 or less
"Alive Inside" *
The power of music — how it affects us, defines and inspires us — is celebrated in this documentary about the healing force of the art form. Strap on an iPod and suddenly men and women fighting Alzheimer’s and dementia are reinvigorated in a way no pill could ever muster. The film follows a social worker named Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit Music & Memory in Mineola, N.Y. Neurologist Oliver Sacks gives us science lessons on how the brain works. The musician Bobby McFerrin offers up insight on the emotional pull of music. But it’s Cohen’s patients who you’ll remember long after the film ends. Winner of the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, it screens for one last night at The Varsity.
If you go: “Alive Inside,” Varsity Theatre, Through Aug. 28 ($10.50) — F.D.
The 2014 WA State High School Photography Competition *
More than 1,500 students from 70 Washington schools entered the competition. That’s some serious creativity going on and here’s your chance to celebrate this next generation of artistes. A total of 36 photos are on display, the finalists in various categories: Animal, Portrait and, of course, Camera Phone. I suspect we who take selfies would be put to some serious shame by these kids.
If you go: The 2014 WA State High School Photography Competition, Tacoma Art Museum, Through Sept. 28 ($10) – F.D.
"Expedition to the End of the World" *
The charting of uncharted territory is always gripping and visually mesmerizing — especially with so little left to chart. Add to that an immensely intelligent cast that is also quirky and hilarious and you have the magic behind "Expedition at the End of the World." The documentary follows a crew of scientists and artists (a geochemist, a marine biologist, an archeologist, an art photographer, a geographer) as they explore the shores of Northeast Greenland, coming in contact with new species and sites that ultimately lead them back to the same questions of humanity we all face. At one point, one of them muses, “We are pretty bourgeois anarchists, no?” and I’d have to agree, in the best sort of way.
If you go: Expedition to the End of the World, Northwest Film Forum, Aug.29 to Sept. 4 ($11 general) — N.C.
Bumbershoot 2014 Day One
Bumbershoot 2014 is here, and this year’s lineup is a pinnacle of excellence for the 43-year-old festival. In fact, there are so many spectacular musical choices that it’s easy to get frazzled deciding which acts to catch. With that in mind, here are some gems from the hip-hop and R&B heavy Saturday lineup:
Begin with sassy neo R&B divas Fly Moon Royalty at 11:45 a.m. on the Fisher Green stage and migrate to wunderkind soul singer Otieno Terry at the Fountain Lawn after that. Local rock acts McTuff and Dude York both play between 1 and 2 p.m. — if you’re ready for something loud that early. Otherwise downtempo R&B singer SZA (a must-see) will preside over the Fountain Lawn stage at 2 p.m.
For those trying to dance, New Orleans Bounce rap goddess Big Freedia is essential; she plays the Fisher Green stage at 2:45 p.m. Detroit rapper Danny Brown plays that same stage at 4:30 p.m., and this is the perfect year to see him: "Old," his latest album, is a career-best, bravely juxtaposing songs in his classic party rap style against much more serious material focused on his childhood in the inner city.
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