The Weekly Wire: The Week’s Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 9/2Visual Arts: Scarce ResourcesAt first glance, trash appears to have been strewn in the front gallery of the group show Spite House (through Sept. 12). A section of chain-link fence has been crumpled into a ball on the floor. (Then, oddly, coated in gold paint.) Assemblages of duct tape, scrap wood, cardboard, and plastic bags reach to the ceiling. Nearby, the plywood sarcophagus When the First One of Us Dies has the look of a one-man homeless shelter or coffin. It's built of rude materials salvaged from the streets by Tacoma artist Eli Hansen (with Herman Beans), the kind of stuff you find heaped next to a dumpster—not quite good enough to keep, not quite bad enough to toss. Shelter, or the lack of it, is also documented in Hansen's large photo of a temporary creation, A Place I Used to Live. This turns out to be an elevated, open-air sleeping loft, mounted to a graffiti-covered wall, reachable only by a ladder, suspended over railroad tracks. (In the photo, a mattress has fallen down to the gravel railway bed.) It is not a place of rest or refuge. Rather, the flimsy, precarious roost suggests how walls and roofs can fail, and fail to protect us. Everything here is ad hoc, revocable; it could be busted up with a sledgehammer in the alley and reduced to rubble. And then the next guy in need might build something with it. Lawrimore Project, 831 Airport Way S., 501-1231, lawrimoreproject.com. Free. 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTHURSDAY 9/3Circuses: Cirque de SoLiteNot long ago, the definition of a circus—the touring show arriving annually at a sports arena near you—was fairly narrow and stale. But recently the tradition's gotten a boost, expanding in two directions. At one end, circuses got smaller, scruffier, and simultaneously alt- and retro-, merging with burlesque (the Jim Rose Sideshow, Circus Contraption, etc.). At the other, they got bigger, glossier, more special-effecty, and more "sophisticated," in a style that might be dubbed Eurovegas (with Cirque de Soleil leading the pack). Polishing itself up while remaining purely family-friendly, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® has mixed a lot of magic into the standard animal/clown/acrobat recipe for its current show, Zing Zang Zoom. It promises a disappearing elephant, Bengal tigers, and the "quadruple Russian fire-swing," among much more. And as with any self-respecting circus these days, a mere string of unrelated acts isn't enough—there's a through-story, as the performers battle "a cynical Mr. Gravity and his team of Heavies who try to bring everyone down." (Runs today through Labor Day in Kent; then moves to Everett's Comcast Arena Sept. 10–13.) ShoWare Center (Kent), 625 W. James St., 877-840-0457, ringling.com. $7.50–$75. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERTFRIDAY 9/4Film: Tooth and ClawThe late writer Michael Crichton, who famously tutored President Bush on the fallacy of global warming, was no scientist. But the doctor-turned-novelist, from The Andromeda Strain forward, knew how to mix popular science into exceptionally good potboiler fiction. He was a master of the in-flight novel, and Jurassic Park is one of his very best. Steven Spielberg's 1993 adaptation benefits equally from the then-new magic of CGI and our old love of dinosaurs running amok. (Long before Godzilla, silent movies were doing the same.) While Crichton warns us about the dangers of genetic engineering—in rather static debates among scientists Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum—Spielberg keeps things moving at a wonderful pace. As in Jaws, whose DNA is strongly felt here, the hunters become the hunted. The thud of the oncoming Tyrannosaurus rex rippling in a water cup, the heat of his breath on a car window, the swarming Velociraptors—these ancient terrors trump our high-tech inventions. (Repeats Saturday. Rated PG-13, 126 minutes.) Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 781-5755, landmarktheatres.com. $7–$9.50. Midnight. BRIAN MILLERSATURDAY 9/5Football: No Time to Dawg ItWhen the team you've assumed the reins of is coming off an historically crappy zero-win season, there's really nowhere to go but up. That said, don't think fans of the traditionally sterling (but awful of late) UW Huskies program will be satisfied with a mere mild improvement from Pete Carroll disciple Steve Sarkisian's squad. Starting quarterback/homegrown messiah Jake Locker, who lost most of last season to injury, is an upperclassman now—youth is no longer an excuse. Too bad, because the Dawgs may need a good one after a stiff home (and season) opener against the perennially awesome Louisiana State University Tigers, a consensus Top-10 pick in preseason polls. For Locker and Coach Sark, this tilt is high-risk/high-reward. Get beat 49–10—which could happen—and the perceived "cultural change" in the program will look like little more than window dressing. Come within a touchdown or pull off an upset, however, and the new era will look instantly golden. Husky Stadium, 3800 Montlake Blvd., 543-2200, gohuskies.com. $70 and up. 7:30 p.m. MIKE SEELYVisual Arts: Tired DinoHow can a poor lizard keep up with the pace of development in Bellevue? As fast as the oversized handmade reptile in exhausted knocks down a building, a dozen more rise in its place. Thus it's naptime for Godzilla in this very kid-friendly installation. Artists Steve Badgett and Matt Lynch, associated with New Mexico's Simparch collective, made the creature out of humble materials—green plastic mesh, scrap lumber, zip ties, and staples. Only its teeth, carved from stone, show much refinement. The whole snoozing monster, which measures 10 by 50 feet on its side, is hollow—perfect for children to scamper inside and explore. Godzilla's innards are given a rumbling, growly soundtrack of gurgling and wheezing (designed by Kevin Drumm). It could be a case of bad digestion—damn that diet of stucco and rebar!—or bad dreams ("Must... destroy...Kemper Freeman!"). Through October 3. Open Satellite, 989 112th Ave. N.E., 425-454-7355, opensatellite.org. Free. Noon–6 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTUESDAY 9/8Karaoke: Put on the RitzTuesday karaoke nights at the Triple Door's swanky Musicquarium Lounge are daunting. The candlelit bar is full of businesspeople unwinding after work and couples on intimate dates. Happy-hour specials (10 p.m.–midnight) are a notch above well drinks and pub fare, and include $4 house-made lychee vodka and stuffed calamari. You do not want to fuck up the ambience here with an insufferable performance of Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?" The Musicquarium—named after the room's huge, dazzling aquarium—is more appropriate for crooning mellow numbers like, say, "Yesterday"—as a group of visiting Japanese businessmen proved with gusto during a recent visit. The patrons here are too polite to make their displeasure evident, even if you ruin the good vibe. But you can be certain they'll quietly resent you the rest of the evening. Select your song wisely. A little practice in the shower beforehand wouldn't hurt. The Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, thetripledoor.net. Free. 21 & over. 10 p.m.–1 a.m. ERIKA HOBARTBooks: Rx ConundrumPublic option? Single payer? Insurance co-ops? Mandatory health insurance? Forty million uninsured! Pre-existing conditions? Socialized medicine? Tax credits? Rationing? Death panels?!? You're making our head spin! Can't somebody stop the national health-care-reform debate? NPR contributor and journalist T.R. Reid makes just such an attempt in The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care (Penguin, $25.95). Something like Michael Moore in Sicko, but with a considerably more measured tone, Reid tours the world to see how other countries balance public health with private profit. (His trip was also documented last year on Frontline.) The ills of our own system he attributes to market fragmentation (many different plans, both public and private) and a corporate ethos that makes it unprofitable to insure the sick and needy. As Reid wrote last month in The Washington Post, "Foreign health insurance plans exist only to pay people's medical bills, not to make a profit. The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage." One question, of course, remains: Will those wingnut town-hall hecklers show up at Town Hall? Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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