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State of the Neighborhoods Summit Mayor Greg Nickels and City Council member David Della will speak at this forum on issues concerning Seattle's neighborhoods. City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave., 206-283-2049, www.cityofseattle.net. Free. 6-9 p.m. Wed., Jan. 18.
Carol Padden As some languages lie on their deathbeds, others—like a new Bedouin sign language—are born. University of California–San Diego communications professor Padden explains the latter's intricacies in a Town Hall talk sponsored by the University of Washington. 1119 Eighth Ave., 206-632-3400, www.townhallseattle.org. Free (tickets required). 6:30 p.m. Wed., Jan. 18.
William Ruckelshaus The former EPA head and FBI director (under Nixon) and current corporate giant discusses environmental concerns specific to the Northwest. REI, 222 Yale Ave. N., 206-223-1944, www.rei.com. Free. 10 a.m. Thurs., Jan. 19.
Film ScreeningOutfoxed director Robert Greenwald's documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price assesses the retail giant's economic and cultural impact. Discussion to follow. Planned Parenthood of Western Washington, Madison Street and 20th Avenue, 206-632-8547, www.nowseattle.org. Free. Reception: 6:30 p.m. Screening: 7 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 19.
Sander Gilman In a lecture sponsored by Nextbook, the Emory University professor explores the impact of cosmetic surgery on Jewish identity. Henry Art Gallery, 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 41st Street, 206-543-9031, www.nextbook.org. $8 ($6 students/under 25). 7 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 19.
Ken Molsberry The local activist gives a talk (and PowerPoint presentation) on the "history of marriage equality in the United States," including the legal issues surrounding convict-civilian unions and interracial and same-sex marriage. Sponsored by Bellevue/Eastside PFLAG. First United Methodist Church, 1934 108th Ave. N.E. (Bellevue), 206-297-8687, www.lmaw.org. Free. 8 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 19.
Guiding Lights This mentoring fest, developed by author and former Clinton speechwriter Eric Liu, includes panels ("Mentors and Tor-Mentors" and "The Way Women Mentor"), an appearance by Mayor Greg Nickels, and a performance by the Total Experience Gospel Choir. Seattle Center (Center House), 206-684-7348, www.seattlecenter.org. Free. Noon-4 p.m. Sun., Jan. 22.
Wong Tsu Presentation At the Museum of Flight, Boeing's Key Donn recounts the life story of the company's original engineer, Wong Tsu, who moved from Beijing to Seattle at 24 to collaborate with William Boeing on aircraft design. 9404 E. Marginal Way S., 206-764-5720, www.museumofflight.org. $14 ($13 seniors, $7.50 youth). 2 p.m. Sat., Jan. 21.
Inspiring Voices To benefit Intiman's arts-in-education program, author/filmmaker Sherman Alexie, actor Elizabeth Huddle, and members of Seattle Children's Chorus join more than a dozen other arts luminaries in reading from Caroline Kennedy's A Patriot's Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love. Intiman Playhouse, 201 Mercer St., 206-269-1901 ext. 389, www.intiman.org. $50 ($35 educators; includes wine, hors d'oeuvres, and dessert). 7-11 p.m. Sat. Jan. 21.
Film Screening Dyke Community Activists screens Two Towns of Jasper, an award-winning documentary (originally part of the PBS series P.O.V.)about the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr., which led to the passage of a hate-crimes act in Texas. Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center, 1609 19th Ave., 206-323-5770, www.hsdc.org. $5-$15 (sliding scale). 7:30 p.m. Sat., Jan. 21.
CityClub Forum U.S. Reps. Rick Larsen (D-2nd District) and Dave Reichert (R-8th District) join Seattle Times writer Joni Balter for a preview of the issues likely to come before the U.S. Congress this year, including ANWR, homeland security, civil liberties, and the war in Iraq. Washington Athletic Club, 1325 Sixth Ave., 206-682-7395, www.seattlecityclub.org. $40 ($30 CityClub members). Noon-1:30 p.m. Mon., Jan. 23.
John Perkins He exposes predatory lending to developing countries and other corporate malfeasance in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 206-634-3400, www.ubookstore.com. Free. 7 p.m. Mon., Jan. 23.
Stephanie Coontz The history instructor at the Evergreen State College will elaborate on her new book, Marriage: A History, as part of the University of Puget Sound's new lecture series, "Liberty and Justice for Some." 1500 N. Warner St. (Tacoma), 253-879-3373, www.ups.edu. Free. 7 p.m. Tues., Jan. 24.
Lecture Series "The African American West: 1528–2000," sponsored by the University of Washington Alumni Association, continues with a talk by UW history professor Quintard Taylor about African-American cowboys. UW Kane Hall (Room 130), 206-543-0540, www.uwalum.com. $15 ($5 students). 7-9 p.m. Tues., Jan. 24.
Dan Rather The former CBS Evening News anchor assesses the state of American news media in a talk sponsored by Foolproof. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street, 206-325-3554, www.foolproof.org. $25-$75. 7:30 p.m. Tues., Jan. 24.
Lawrence Frank At Town Hall, the University of British Columbia prof explains the relationship between health and environment from an urban-design perspective. 1119 Eighth Ave., 360-331-7904, www.iceh.org. $15 ($14 advance). 7 p.m. Wed., Jan. 25.
James Yee The former U.S. Army chaplain was arrested on espionage charges after befriending POWs at Guantánamo Bay, an experience he recounts in his new book, For God and Country. He'll talk about human rights, terrorism, and religious profiling (Yee is Muslim). Sponsored in part by the World Affairs Council. Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E. Prospect St., 206-634-3400, www.world-affairs.org. $15 ($10 students). 7 p.m. Wed., Jan. 25.