Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Also: Temple Grandin, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, People Doing Strange Things With Electricity, and Tom Perrotta.

THURSDAY - SATURDAY

DANCE

LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO

On one level, they're all about the tutus and toe shoes and giggling at the idea of boy ballerinas. Beyond the initial broad double take, though, the Trocks perform some of the most subtle and nuanced parody to be seen in dance. The key is to love the tradition as much as you mock it: Whether they're giving Balanchine a twist in "Go for Barocco" (pictured) or adding a few more flapping wings to their version of Swan Lake, the Trocks hold an affectionate fun-house mirror up to ballet for us to laugh at the reflection. 8 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 20–Sat., Jan. 22 (7:15 p.m. preshow lecture Fri.–Sat.). $40. Meany Theater, University of Washington, 206-543-4880. SANDRA KURTZ

THURSDAY

BOOKS

TEMPLE GRANDIN

Made famous by Oliver Sacks in The New Yorker, autistic scientist Grandin (pictured) has achieved renown in her own right as an author and expert on animal behavior. She draws a striking parallel between the obsessively detailed, forest-for- the-trees concentration shown by people with Asperger's syndrome and mammals that need such specialized cognitive skills to survive in the wild. Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (Scribner, $25) lays out her thesis with plenty of keen observations and telling anecdotes that any pet owner or animal lover will understand. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 20. Free. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600. BRIAN MILLER

SATURDAY

STAGE

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM

Two-time Pulitzer winner August Wilson is one of the most important playwrights of the modern American theater, and this tale of a legendary blues singer in late '20s Chicago was the work that began the Seattle-based artist's rise to Broadway prominence 20 years ago. It was also the first in Wilson's classic cycle of plays contemplating the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th century. Local Cynthia Jones (pictured) plays the titular diva, who confronts racial prejudice and her own embattled relationship with her musicians. Previews begin Sat., Jan. 22. Opens Wed., Jan. 26. 7:30 p.m. Tues.–Sun.; 2 p.m. matinees Sat.–Sun. Ends Sat., Feb. 19. $10–$46. Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Center, 206-443-2222. STEVE WIECKING

SATURDAY

VISUAL ARTS

PEOPLE DOING STRANGE THINGS WITH ELECTRICITY

For the second year running, Center on Contemporary Art stages its annual show of art making use of robots, lasers, and other electro-gizmos. Edison never dreamed of the stuff plugged in here—including work by local artists Iole Alessandrini, Ginny Ruffner, W. Scott Trimble, and Seth Lewis (whose Sensory Reality Interface is pictured here). Opening-night hijinks include performance art, sound art, experimental music, multimedia sculpture, and grooves from DJ Venus, novaTRON, AtoMikDoG, and DMJL. CoCA also plans to screen rare footage of 1960s electric arts, and all guests are encouraged to wear their best electric-powered attire. Reception: 9 p.m.–2 a.m. Sat., Jan. 22. $5 suggested donation. CoCA, 410 Dexter Ave. N., 206-728-1980. ANDREW ENGELSON

TUESDAY

BOOKS

TOM PERROTTA

In his novel Little Children (St. Martin's Griffin, $13.95), Perrotta chronicles the aging process of the rock generation—or rather, its desperate, die-hard, amusingly futile attempts to stall the aging process. It's his most grown-up book. Now his boomer characters are in their mid-30s, bewildered to be saddled with kids, still just confused adolescents themselves, only with much less energy—worn out by demanding 3-year-old dynamos and the dead-end maze of marriage. Perrotta (pictured) is sympathetic to all his characters, and his prose is as ruthlessly knowing and pitch perfect as that of David Gates or Ann Beattie. 7:30 p.m. Tues., Jan. 25. Free. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600. TIM APPELO

 
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