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Sunday, February 27, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Critics' picks for the week

Visual Art

African-American Art

Today: To close out Black History Month, Seattle Art Museum and the future Northwest African American Museum host a celebration 3 p.m. today at SAM. Speakers include Carver C. Gayton, director of NAAM, and Pam McClusky, SAM's curator of African and Oceanic art, joined by artists Marita Dingus and Barbara Thomas. Following the presentation, McClusky will lead a tour of the exhibit "Africa in America." 100 University St., Plestcheeff auditorium; Seattle; free with museum admission (206-654-3100 or www.seattleartmuseum.org).

Sheila Farr, art critic

Opera

"Florencia en el Amazonas"

Wednesday: Seattle Opera continues its production of this contemporary opera about a great diva who journeys up the Amazon in pursuit of her past. Nancy Gustafson alternates with Wendy Hill in the title role (on Friday and Sunday), with Nathan Gunn, Lawrence Brownlee and Frances Lucey in the cast. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, McCaw Hall at Seattle Center; continues through March 12; $44-$123 (206-389-7676 or www.seattleopera.org).

Melinda Bargreen, classical music critic

Multimedia

1960s Art films

Wednesday: In conjunction with the Center on Contemporary Art's show "People Doing Strange Things with Electricity II," there's a screening of vintage films documenting a range of artists working in new (in '60s terms) media, including Jean Tinguely, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Nam June Paik, Stan Vanderbeek, and early video artists. Music by DJ EZ-ACTION spinning exotica, yé-yé and lounge in the SAM Lobby at 7 p.m. Screening starts at 7:30. Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St., Seattle; free with a suggested $5 donation (206-728-1980 or www.dorkbot.org/dorkbotsea)

Sheila Farr

Art Walk

John Taylor

Thursday: California artist John Taylor's mixed-media rendition of the Kalakala will no doubt be a hit of the First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square. Since 1997, Taylor has been building little sculptures based on real vessels: from Civil War-era river boats to WWI battleships. The show continues through March 26. Meet the artist 6-8 p.m. at Garde Rail Gallery, 110 Third Ave. S., Seattle (206-621-1055 or www.garde-rail.com).

Sheila Farr

Jazz

Dave Douglas & Nomad

Tuesday: The brilliant, wide-ranging trumpeter and composer has come up with yet another winner in "Mountain Passages," a gorgeous suite designed for last year's Festival of the Dolomites, in the Italian Alps. Drawing delicious timbres from cello, trumpet, clarinet, tuba and drums, this evocative chamber jazz piece wafts between raucous drinking songs and lush romances. Nomad performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $27 (206-838-4333 or www.thetripledoor.net).

Paul de Barros, jazz critic

Rock

Joe Cocker

Next Sunday: One of rock's all-time greatest singers is still sounding good at age 60, thanks to taking up a healthy lifestyle. Expect to hear his greatest hits, because he's touring behind the recent release of "Joe Cocker: Ultimate Collection" (A&M/Hip-O). 7:30 p.m., Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $35-$45 (206-628-0888, www.ticketmaster.com or www.hob.com; information: 206-467-5510, www.theparamount.com, www.cocker.com).

Patrick MacDonald, pop music critic

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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