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Mediation Class Learn how to navigate everyday conflicts using tried-and-true techniques. Certified mediators Patti Dinsmore and Andrea Friedman are your guides. Jewish Family Service, 1601 16th Ave., 206-861-3146. $15. 7-9 p.m. Wed., Oct. 27.
Lobsters, Art, and Public Policy Theatre Communications Group director Ben Cameron leads this discussion of the role and value of art, with emphasis on its potential as a political tool and on the ways in which it is (and isn't) funded in America today. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S., 206-684-7171. Free. 7:30 p.m. Wed., Oct. 27.
Monorail Debate Monorail Now leader Peter Sherwin and former Seattle Mayor Charles Royer debate the merits of the so-called monorail recall, Initiative 83, at a forum moderated by the Seattle Channel's C.R. Douglas. Plymouth Congregational Church, 1217 Sixth Ave., 206-682-7395. $24. Noon-1:30 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 28.
Herbert Blau The Brooklyn-born humanities professor (currently at the University of Washington) was a leading champion of West Coast avant-garde theater in the '50s and '60s; his appearance tonight is part of UW's Solomon Katz Distinguished Lectures series. UW Kane Hall, Room 110, 206-543-3920. Free. 7 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 28.
Rick Steves The travel writer reflects on his journeys through Europe and addresses the current state of U.S.-European relations. UW Kane Hall, Room 120, 206-543-1675. Free. 7-9 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 28.
Wayne Bernhardson Argentina, land of gauchos, is the subject of the guidebook author's talk and slide show. Wide World Books & Maps, 4411 Wallingford Ave. N., 206-634-3453. Free. 7 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 28.
Matthews Brumley There's more to Tuscany than bicycling and eating tortellini, as you'll learn from Brumley, a professional tour guide, at this Central Italy–themed event. Reservations required! Bellevue Regional Library, 1111 110th Ave. N.E., 425-450-1765. Free. 7 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 28.
UW "Defining Moments" Lecture Series A series of weekly talks addressing the history of the University of Washington. This week's lecture, by UW president Mark Emmert and other university administrators, deals with the institution's future. UW Kane Hall, Room 130, 800-AUW-ALUM. $15 ($5 students). 7-9 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 28.
Political Debate Three debate teams—Republican, Democrat, and Green—go at each other (only verbally, of course) at the Graceland rock club. 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 206-381-3094. $3. 8 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 28.
RingCon J.R.R. Tolkien fans still reeling from the conclusion of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy can relive the memories at this annual convention. The marquee guest this time around is actor Bruce Hopkins, who played King Théoden's henchman, Gamling, in the movies. SeaTac Doubletree Hotel, 18740 Pacific Hwy. S., 800-359-5948. $25/day ($45 for a three-day pass). Fri., Oct. 29-Sun., Oct. 31.
Talk of the Town Dinner Parties Town Hall has arranged for 15 celebrity-studded soirees to occur simultaneously across the city in private homes, which should set an intimate mood for getting to know such local luminaries as Mayor Greg Nickels, acclaimed author Jonathan Raban (Waxwings), Pulitzer-winning Seattle Post-Intelligencer cartoonist David Horsey, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, and a host of other people you'd normally never meet, much less chat with over martinis. Evening begins at Town Hall, 119 Eighth Ave., then proceeds to smaller venues; call 206-652-4255 ext. 0 for details, start time, and to reserve a spot. $250 (tax deductible; includes wine and dinner). Fri., Oct. 29.
Filipino Activism Conference Sponsored by the University of Washington, this daylong confab includes seminars on Philippine solidarity movements, activist outreach for young people, and the relationship between Filipino Americans and labor unions. Among the scheduled speakers are Seattle City Council member David Della and state representative Velma Veloria. Husky Union Building, Room 106B, 206-543-9609. Free. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (call for individual seminar times). Fri., Oct. 29.
Popular Science Seminar Highline Community College continues its weekly lecture series with a talk titled "The Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury," presented by Highline professor Bob Baugher. 2400 S. 240th St., 206-878-3710 ext. 3283. Free. 2:10-3 p.m. Fri., Oct. 29.
Jobs With Justice Honoree Dinner Local activists in health care and job reform—and several prominent unions—get their due at this gala event. Scottish Rite Masonic Temple, 1155 Broadway Ave. E., 206-441-4969. $50. 6:30-10 p.m. Fri., Oct. 29.
Family Friday at Carkeek "Where the Wild Things Really Are" is the theme of the Carkeek Park Environmental Learning Center's educational "un-haunted house"; you'll learn about bats, wolves, and other animals without actually having to come in contact with them. 950 N.W. Carkeek Park Rd., 206-684-0877. Free. 7-8:30 p.m. Fri., Oct. 29.
Historic Seattle Halloween Party Dress as an historical Seattleite, or a notable local building, at the preservationist society's All Hallows Eve gala. Hors d'oeuvres, live tunes, and a costume contest should keep things festive. Stimson-Green Mansion, 1204 Minor Ave., 206-622-6952. $75. 7-11 p.m. Fri., Oct. 29.
George Suyama The influential Northwest architect talks about designing his own home. Sponsored by the University of Washington Libraries. UW Allen Library North (4th Floor), 206-616-8397. Free. 7 p.m. Fri., Oct. 29.
Sacred Winds Native American flautist and composer Gary Stroutsos performs with Navajo flute maker Paul Thompson and percussionist Nonda Trimis. St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 4805 N.E. 45th St., 206-325-6500. $20 ($10 students/seniors, $3 children). 7:30 p.m. Fri., Oct. 29.
Hamm Creek Restoration Event Mulching, weeding, and planting are the scheduled activities for this People for Puget Sound work party on the Duwamish River. "Snacks, water, and tools provided." Call 206-382-7007 for meeting place. Free. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat., Oct. 30.
Cedar River Salmon Journey Join Seattle Aquarium volunteers at Cedar River for a lively lesson in sockeye salmon spawning behavior. Call 206-386-4300 for location. Free. Volunteers are present 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., Oct. 30-Sun., Oct. 31.
Pumpkin Carving With Chain saws Maybe not educational in standard terms—though everyone really should know how to operate a chain saw—this carving fest sounds like tons of fun. Hosted by the George Kenny School of Chainsaw Carving! 8300 Railroad (Snoqualmie), 360-710-5250. Free. Sessions begin every hour on the hour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat., Oct. 30.
Día de los Muertos Mexico's answer to Halloween is a lighthearted holiday with an emphasis on storytelling; Seattle Center's take on the Day of the Dead also features traditional dance, music, folkloric art, a mock-up of a Mexican village, and plenty of food. Seattle Center (Center House and Fisher Pavilion), 305 Harrison St., 206-684-7200. Free. Noon-8 p.m. Sat., Oct. 30. Noon-6 p.m. Sun., Oct. 31.
Fall Bird Migration Cruises Journey to Protection Island with staffers from the Port Townsend Marine Science Center on a three-hour bird-watching tour; some cruises spot up to 80 species! Tour departs from Point Hudson Marina, 103 Hudson St. (Port Townsend), 360-385-5582. $45. 1-4 p.m. Sat., Oct. 30.
Trick or Threat No More "Reestablishing Democracy in America" through grassroots voter mobilization is the subject of this political forum, with live music provided by witty, irreverent singer-songwriter Dan Bern. Jewelbox Theater (Rendezvous), 2322 Second Ave., 206-441-5823. $10. 4 p.m. Sat., Oct. 30.
Thomas Graham Jr. The U.S. ambassador, also an expert on nuclear proliferation and disarmament, discusses WMDs at a talk cosponsored by Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility and Elliott Bay Book Company. 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600. Free. 7:30 p.m. Sat., Oct. 30.
"War of the Worlds" Exhibit More than 50 years later, Orson Welles' panic-inducing radio broadcast, which told of a Martian attack, still holds a certain fascination; the Science Fiction Museum's new exhibit features newspaper articles on the broadcast, first-edition copies of the original novel, and props from the 1953 film. 325 Fifth Ave. N., 206-SCI-FICT. $12.95 ($8.95 children/seniors). 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tues.-Thurs.; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Exhibit opens Sat., Oct. 30.
Costume Party and Séance Dress in Victorian garb (if you like) for this recreation of a 19th-century séance, and don't be surprised if long-dead Aunt Penny starts asking why you don't call more. Seattle Museum of the Mysteries, 623 Broadway Ave. E., 206-328-6499. $10 (suggested donation). Séance at 10 p.m.; party until midnight. Sat., Oct. 30.
Black College Fair Seattle Central hosts this annual showcase for some of America's top black schools, including Atlanta's Morehouse College (where director Spike Lee attended), Fisk University, Southern University, Tuskegee University, and many more. Seattle Central Community College, 1701 Broadway Ave., 206-329-9107. Free (reservations recommended). Noon-4:30 p.m. Sun., Oct. 31.
Candidate Messages KIRO-TV (7) airs unedited, five-minute messages from this year's Washington candidates for Congress. Call 206-728-2375 for more information. Free. 3 p.m. Sun., Oct 31.
Defining Democracy The series of political forums at Highline Community College continues with a panel discussion on historically disenfranchised segments of the American electorate. 2400 S. 240th St. (Building 7), 206-878-3710 ext. 3283. Free. 10 a.m. Mon., Nov. 1.
Parasitoid Wasps and Other Beneficial Insects Stinging parasites, unlike our current president, exert a positive influence on the world around them (by keeping more harmful insects in check). Washington State University Extension Service instructor Dave Pehling will walk you through the widely misunderstood field of parasitology. Northwest Stream Center, 600 128th St. S.E., 425-316-8592. $6. 11 a.m. Mon., Nov. 1.
Defining Democracy Another Highline forum, this panel tackles the potentially depressing theme "How to Live with the Election Results." 2400 S. 240th St. (Building 7), 206-878-3710 ext. 3283. Free. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Mon., Nov. 3.
Film Screening A Jamaican film from the '80s, Countryman tells the quasi-mythical story of two pilots saved by a mysterious fisherman. Soundtrack by Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, and other classic reggae groups. New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., 206-633-3470. Free (dinner available for $6.50). 6 p.m. Wed., Nov. 3.