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November rain means more than water-filled shoes and broken umbrellas—so long, outdoor movies! But all is not lost! Fans of exceedingly irreverent cinema only need to look to Jet City Improv, an organization that has hosted its own, live take on Mystery Science Theater 3000 since 1997. People of Earth, attention: Tonight's viewing is Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, a 1956 alien abduction B-flick that explores the legendary conflicts between martians and Homo sapiens. Bringing new life to the already dazzling special effects on-screen are the Jet City crew, who substitute the film's original soundtrack with made-on-the-spot dialogue, sound effects, and music. Audience suggestions spur each move, so wear your love of schlock proudly and express it loudly! Historic University Theatre, 5510 University Way N.E., 206-781-3879, www.jetcityimprov.com/twistedflicks. $10. RACHEL SHIMP
The Book of Nathan
Strong performances and a thoroughgoing dramatic energy help overcome the occasionally thick plotting in Joseph Mitchell's The Book of Nathan, the 2005 Northwest Playwright–winning play about sin and redemption set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Playing father and son locked in a mortal struggle to atone for past crimes, William Wheeler as Nathan and Marcel Davis as Jermaine are excellent, superbly conveying the haunted patrimony of two souls crushed and smothered by a history of violence. Mitchell's storytelling sometimes gets too busy for its own good, as his characters falter in a maze of overripe circumstance and colliding ideas. But there is no denying the play's vitality, and director Teresa Thuman does an admirable job keeping the transitions as clean as she can and the action swift and, at times, downright shocking. The real strength of the play is in the gritty, sharp dialogue, which moves swiftly between the weary but humorous working-class banter of the prison guards and the rugged biblical grandeur of the convicts searching for meaning and hope in a war-torn world. Such language gives the story the aspect of a fable, a tortured morality play that raises difficult questions about history, war, honor, and forgiveness. Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave., 206-325-6500, www.ticketwindowonline.com, www.schmeater.org. $18 (18 and under free). 8 p.m. Thurs.–Sat. (including Thanksgiving). Through Dec. 9. RICHARD MORIN
Hook: "Rib Armentrout had retired from the Denver Post and, instead of working crosswords and healing his ulcers, bought the Friday Harbor weekly—the Slacktide—and continued his 12-hour workdays. His one concession to advancing age was a keenly felt obligation to pass on his journalistic standards to anyone willing to endure his discipline. For the last three years, that anyone was me." Line: That sentence in the first chapter of False Harbor, a San Juan Island Mystery. Sinker: It covers my favorite island, and my profession, and it's a mystery. Michael Donnelly's first mystery for adults is the first in a series starring female journalist Egret VanGerpin. "You might say I write to fill a void by tackling ideas not adequately discussed in mainstream literature," Donnelly says. "In False Harbor, I wrote about overcoming personal disaster by living for something greater than oneself. The next Egret VanGerpin mystery (in progress) deals with the possibility that human civilization may pass through long cycles of Golden Ages and Dark Ages—the Yuga Cycle mentioned in ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Vedic writings." Donnelly says he is not interested in stories that have been done before—go hear something new. Seattle Mystery Bookshop, 117 Cherry St., 206-587-5737, www.seattlemystery.com. Noon. JOANNE GARRETT
To Darfur and Back
Jen Marlowe, one of a trio who worked on this project, will present a documentary and accompanying book, Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival. Three young Westerners—Seattle-based Marlowe, Aisha Bain, and Adam Shapiro—refused to let any obstacle, including closed borders, keep them from reaching the people of Darfur. They spent a month with refugees who welcomed them despite having no resources, and leaders of the rebel movement. They visited villages where the peoples' lives had been destroyed just as surely as the buildings had been burned. And they brought their stories—some are dark but not all are dispiriting—back to the U.S. See the documentary and join the discussion, which Marlowe will lead, and get her to sign your copy of the book. Presented by Elliott Bay Book Co. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S., 206-684-4757, www.cityofseattle.net/parks/centers/langston.htm, www.darfur diaries.org. $7. 7 p.m. JOANNE GARRETT
Seattle Center is host to cultural festivals all year long, and its seventh annual Winterfest—a holiday bash that runs through Jan. 1—opens with a three-day showcase of holiday traditions from around the globe. Friday morning begins with the Seattle Youth Symphony and lighting of the Center House tree, featuring the Keith Highlander Pipe Band and Marian Webb School of Highland Dance. In between ice skating and riding the carousel, check out music and dance from Bosnia, Ghana, Hungary, and Appalachia throughout the day. Saturday and Sunday include performances from Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Chinese, Nigerian, and Indian troupes and more. Nearly every continent is represented, so you're guaranteed to find that it's ultimately not materialism that connects cultures during the holiday season, but a sense of celebration. Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., 206-684-7200, www.seattlecenter.com. Free 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Fri. Nov. 24; 1–6 p.m. Sat., Nov. 25–Sun., Nov. 26. Free. RACHEL SHIMP