Arts and Entertainment

STANDING ROOM ONLY: Geeky Friday arrives with Spidey movie

I’ve waited 25 years for what happens at the end of this week, and I know I’m not alone. Geeks everywhere are on pins and needles, hysterical, oogle-eyed. It’s almost too much. You see, any myopic American boy who grew up devouring the nebbish, soap-operatic, semi-superheroic cartoon fables of Marvel Comics (as opposed to the too-invincible “League of Justice” rivethead-prop of DC Comics) understands the exquisite sense of anticipation that greets Friday’s release of the new Spiderman movie.

What’s so exciting is this: It actually looks like they’ve got it exactly right. The movie, that is. Just on paper, everything adds up nicely. Director Sam “Evil Dead” Raimi, with his keen sense of absurdity and fast-quiver, hyper-kinetic camera work, is inarguably the best man for the job; actor Toby Maguire exudes an uncanny blend of narcoleptic wryness and manic intensity, and should make an excellent Web-slinger; and sexy, smart Kirsten Dunst, who raised “Bring It On” to a comedic near-masterpiece, is the most talented actress of her generation, period.

But, face it, what’s really got all us Marvel-geeks completely wonky-doodle with the night-befores are those awesome TV trailers they started running a month or so ago. The movie looks friggin’ AMAZING! Finally, filmmakers who grasp the complex Freudian appeal of comic books have made an authentic comic-book movie. Even the computer-generated visuals, usually so crappy and fakey looking, look good. I mean, the Superman films were okay, the X-Men flic was so-so, the Tim Burton-influenced Batmans looked fantastic but ultimately disappointed. The key problem with all of them was this: not enough FIGHTING! Not enough ACROBATICS & FISTICUFFS & IMAGINATIVE ACTION. What I’m hoping, and what looks to be so from the pre-release teasers, is that this Spiderman has enough wits not to take itself too seriously, while at the same time adhering to the literary magic of the original Marvel product — its sense of other-worldly realism, the heady air of neo-noir urbanity, the gritty humor and abiding faith in the resolution-tactics of good, old-fashioned ass kicking. Can’t hardly wait!

Of course, not everyone’s idea of quality entertainment was stunted in adolescence by an overweening fascination with the fictional exploits of two-dimensional cartoon fantasy figures, day-glo images spun on simple pop-moral narratives that help transfer a boy’s psycho-sexual feelings of confusion and powerlessness into a maladaptive belief in the potential for bionic alteration through radioactive spiders bites and other such types of atomic serendipity. For those of you with more healthy, sophisticated entertainment needs, the following local events should do the trick:

This Sunday from 1-4 p.m, Greenbank Farm will be hosting Arts & Appetizers, the fifth annual All-Island High School Art Show sponsored by the American Association of University Women. A panel of Island artists will judge student work in the categories of wall art, sculpture, photography and computer graphics. Also, ticket holders vote for “People’s Choice” awards, with cash prizes for the top artists in each category. This is a win-win-win event: Student art will be recognized and honored (and, in some cases, purchased), Cinco de Mayo-themed food will be consumed to the sound of live music, and event proceeds support grants for college-bound women from Island high schools. Tickets can be got at Oak Harbor’s Daily Grind, Coupeville’s Penn Cove Gallery or Greenbank Farm. Call 675-5595.

Juno-award winning Canadian singer/songwriter Connie Kaldor makes her local debut Friday night at 8 p.m. at Coupeville Performing Arts Center. A genre-crossing musician with strong ties to the prairies of Saskatchewan, Kaldor first won the heart of retired Coupeville music teacher Vern Olsen when he heard her perform in Cleveland two years back. Buy tickets ($12) in Coupeville at the pharmacy, Videoville or Great Times Espresso; in Oak Harbor at Daily Grind or Wind & Tide Books.

Opening Saturday with an artists’ reception from 6-9 p.m. and running through May 29 is a new exhibit at Langley’s Gaskill/Olson Gallery featuring 2 local artists: Whidbey Island’s Arnold Fukumoto will present “Eternity: The Sound of Distant Turf,” paintings that use the shell as a metaphor for eternity; James Hardman is an Orcas Island artist whose work is featured in “Twilight & Dawn: News Landscapes in Watercolor.” Call (360) 221-2978 .

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