The Weekly Wire: The Week’s Recommended Events

THURSDAY 8/20Books: Cradle to GraveFamilies grow old, people die, spouses cheat, and siblings lose touch for years. Bitterness and resentment can mean that families reconvene only for mundane reasons, like funerals. In his new novel, This Is Where I Leave You (Dutton, $25.95), Jonathan Tropper tells what happens among those mourning a father they don't really miss. There's the prepossessing widow who wears six-inch heels and a suit to the grocery store; the grown daughter's husband who checks his BlackBerry every five seconds and yells at his kids; the free-spirit little brother who ends up engaged to his physiatrist; and the recently divorced, middle-aged hopeless romantic (Tropper's specialty; see How to Talk to a Widower). This quarrelsome clan meets in a living room to discover that the deceased's last wish was for his family to sit shiva for seven days together. (In secular terms: spend time cooped up in the house they grew up in.) This seemingly impossible task yields raw hilarity that would be perfect for the next Little Miss Sunshine–esque comedy, one reason why Warner Bros. bought the rights to Tropper's dysfunctional Foxman family. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, bookstore.washington.edu. Free. 7 p.m. CHANTAL ANDERSONArchitecture: Low-Cost ChicEven in our lingering, softening recession, it's a given that housing costs too much in Seattle and that there's not enough buildable land—and don't even start talking about detached mother-in-law units, or people will get all Town Hall on your ass. But as real-estate prices will surely again rise, now's a good time to survey the entrants and local winner of the national 99K House Competition, on view at the American Institute of Architects' Seattle chapter through August 28. Think about it: a five-figure house. Is it even possible? And what about design—does that go out the window? (Do these houses even have windows?) Many of the two dozen plans, plus a few models, come from Texas and other parts where land, labor, and materials are cheap. Designs are meant to be sustainable and adaptable to the Gulf Coast, where as we know Katrina destroyed much affordable housing stock. Flat roofs, small footprints, and recycled materials predominate here. The winning entry, by Seattle firm Hybrid/ORA, packs four bedrooms into two levels comprising about 1,200 square feet. There's no air conditioning, but a solar-powered fan to extract warm air up a chimney. Rainwater is collected for the toilets and garden. If you want to see the winner (of 182 entries), you'll have to visit Houston, where Hybrid/ORA's prototype was built this summer. Excluding land costs, the budget was $82 a square foot. Unicorn not included. AIA Seattle, 1911 First Ave., 448-4938, aiaseattle.org. Free. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. BRIAN MILLERFRIDAY 8/21Dance: SoDo on the DoubleJessie Smith has been looking for extremes, breaking into buildings and bringing back the evidence in her films and high-intensity choreography. She's got one of each in Dead Bird Double Feature: a short film shot in an abandoned Berlin warehouse, Left and Leaving; then a breakneck solo collection, Thrashoholic, performed an hour later. The movie is part of a temporary gallery installation in a SoDo warehouse that also includes still photography and "video sculptures" that document the project. Jherek Bischoff supplies the score. Smith's Thrashoholic comprises 50 short solos spliced together, ranging from elegant to harsh, accompanied by drummer Jeffrey Mitchell. (Repeats Aug. 23, 27, and 29.) 33 S. Hanford St., 890-5336, deadbirdmovement.com. $12–$30. 7:30 p.m. SANDRA KURTZFilm: Five First StepsBefore he discovered Bobby or Leo, he was just Marty, an unknown filmmaker fresh out of NYU, and Hollywood wasn't exactly knocking on his door in Little Italy. Made between 1963 and 1978, the short films in Five by Scorsese reveal future interests and paths not taken in his long and eventually Oscar-winning career. It's Not Just You, Murray and What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? are actually comic, an element usually missing from Scorsese's work. Italianamerican is a loving black-and-white tribute to his parents and the whole immigrant experience. American Boy, made after Taxi Driver, is an unsettling documentary profile of a real-life Travis Bickle. The Big Shave—in which one innocent bathroom cut leads to a bloodbath—can be read as a Vietnam allegory (it was made in '67), but it's interesting as a formal exercise. Today, of course, Scorsese enjoys big budgets and A-list talent. His Dennis Lehane adaptation Shutter Island opens October 2, with Leonardo DiCaprio starring. This program runs through Thursday. Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 6:30 and 9 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSATURDAY 8/22Football: Fresh BirdsLast season's 4–12 Seahawks were a disaster, an injury-riddled shell of a team with an outgoing coach. But during the past offseason, the Hawks stocked up on proven free agents (e.g., Cribs star T.J. Houshmandzadeh) and promising rooks (pass rusher Aaron Curry, speed demon Deon Butler). And veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's back flare-ups are supposedly behind him. So new coach Jim Mora's team could be back in black on the win/loss ledger. Get your first glimpse tonight as they face the Denver Broncos (7–9 last year) in this preseason home opener. The Hawks have a 18–33 history against the Broncs, and the two teams haven't played since '06, when the Mike Holmgren–led squad eked out a 23–20 victory at Mile High Stadium. In other words: They need all the help they can get. Qwest Field, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 381-7500, seahawks.com. $49–$395. 7:30 p.m. DAMON AGNOSMusic/Arts: Bohemia in the TreesThere is nothing more quintessentially Seattle than holding an arts festival in the woods. Thus the 11th annual Arts in Nature Festival. A fundraiser for event sponsor Nature Consortium, the weekend offers sundry local musicians and performers wandering through the foliage and along pine-needled pathways, including the Musicians Emeritus Symphony, DASSdance, and Hollow Earth Radio. The fest will employ Camp Long's arboreal copses and log shelters as open-air venues—one called "the Museum of Sound." Elsewhere a geodesic dome will be erected on the lawn. Fire performers, klezmer music, folk bands, visual arts, and interactive exhibits are also on the bill. Camp Long, 5200 35th Ave. S.W., 923-0853, naturec.org. $5. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. MALIA MACKOWICKISUNDAY 8/23Food: Fine, Dry DiningAfter diners at last year's An Incredible Feast had to endure unintentionally watered-down wine and dishes made soggy by sudden gray August rain, organizers got wise and decided that this year's event would take place under a tent. That, of course, practically guarantees warm and sunny weather for today's Feast. Founded five years ago by Tamara Murphy (of Brasa fame), the event raises money for the Good Farmer Fund, which provides emergency relief for struggling local farmers. Her conceit is to serve bites concocted using only market-fresh, sustainable ingredients from local farmers and food purveyors, plus beer and wine. There will be 30 dishes to sample, from top chefs like Daisley Gordon (Campagne), Dustin Ronspies (Art of the Table), and Don Curtiss (Volterra). Tickets are pricey, but they include country fair–style games, live music, and a dessert auction. Dress up if you like; at least you won't have to wear galoshes. University District Farmers Market, 5031 University Way N.E., seattlefarmersmarket.org. $80–$150. 5–8 p.m. SUZIE RUGHTUESDAY 8/25Books/Music: Tuneful and CluelessJoe Pernice writes books informed by his experience as a musician. Even though his debut novel It Feels So Good When I Stop (Riverhead, $25.95) is about growing up, music is as important as plot. Which is why, in addition to reading tonight, Pernice will also perform some of the songs that feature prominently in this belated coming-of-age tale. In the book, our slacker hero's band receives an unceremonious rejection letter from Sub Pop Records. In real life, Pernice and the now-defunct Scud Mountain Boys recorded for that label in the '90s. Moreover, Sub Pop's Jonathan Poneman recently asked Pernice to record a song from the book, "Black Smoke (No Pope)," a nice case of life-imitates-art. Only things aren't going so well for the nameless artist who narrates It Feels So Good. He's experiencing the dreadful 20-something realization that he's full-grown, on his own, and nowhere near prepared for the trappings of adulthood. Just your typical angst-ridden college grad with an English degree, a band, and no direction whatsoever. And if that sounds like every indie rocker who ever strummed a Strat, Pernice would probably admit the same. And maybe of himself, too. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. $15 (21 and over). 9 p.m. SARA BRICKNER

 
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