The Weekly Wire: This Week’s Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 10/7Books: No ComfortSeattle Arts & Lectures begins its fall series with Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize winner whose The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain were both adapted to film. (The latter, you'll recall, was defeated by Crash for Best Picture at the Oscars, which still rankles.) More recently, Proulx has continued to find inspiration in her home state of Wyoming for the story collection Fine Just the Way It Is (Scribner, $15, new in paperback), third in her Wyoming Stories series. Ranging from the harsh frontier of the prairie settlers to the equally harsh present (where a female Iraq War vet returns to no welcome), the nine stories all duck easy sentiment and stare hardship in the eye. In future months, SA&L brings Lydia Davis and Richard Price to town. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., 624-2230, lectures.org. $10–$50. 7:30 p.m. DESMOND FLEEFERMusic: Miss MelancholyAt first glance, it's easy to dismiss Tina Dico as yet another blonde, soulless pop singer churned out by a big record label. But the Danish beauty actually turned down several opportunities to sign with established labels for fear of losing artistic control. Instead, nine years ago, she opted to take out a loan and establish Finest Gramophone. Since then, Dico has achieved international success for her collaborations with English electronica duo Zero 7. And while her solo career has failed to take off outside Europe, she's got enough of a following here that she's returning for the second time in less than a year. Dico's 2007 album Count to Ten comes off like the intimate (and slightly neurotic) ramblings of a woman writing in her diary after a breakup. And she voices her lovelorn melodies with such bruised emotion that you want to kill the guy who broke her heart. Fences opens. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, thetripledoor.net. $16–$19 (all ages). 7:30 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTTHURSDAY 10/8Books: Politics by Other MeansJames Ellroy writes long crime novels out of very short sentences. It's like he's trying, but failing, to save typewriter ribbon. Blood's a Rover (Knopf, $28.95) continues his project from American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand to rewrite Cold War history. Among the rogue FBI agents, corrupt cops, drug-dealing feds, Commie informants, and Black Panther infiltrators, old characters recur and new ones are introduced. It's conspiracy as mythology, with regular appearances by J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, and even Richard Nixon. The novel covers 1964–1972, roughly the rise of dirty-tricks conservatism and the collapse of liberalism (due to causes natural and not). Yet the two can be surprisingly sympathetic bed partners; one Red sympathizer says of her FBI lover that, "Our shared goal is to perpetuate a containable chaos." Each bank robbery, each assassination, each political payoff keeps the pot boiling, but there'd be no profit, for either side, if the revolution or a right-wing clampdown succeeded. The struggle must continue. But to stop in 1972, the year of Hoover's death? Before Watergate even happens? So much for Rover ending a trilogy. And what will Ellroy make of Jimmy Carter? Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTheater: In the BeginningHow often would you say you've laughed during an Arthur Miller production? If you're thinking along the lines of The Crucible or Death of a Salesman, then probably not as often as you'd like. Try one of his more comic satires based on the Book of Genesis. In anticipation of a planned citywide Miller festival this fall that never came to fruition, Theater Schmeater has created a reworking of Miller's 1972 The Creation of the World and Other Business that keeps you laughing and pensive at the same time. Schmee director J.D. Lloyd's Eden and early Earth are a playground for the creative God (James Weidman) and the overly analytic Lucifer (Alexander Samuels); neither one seems truly to know the purpose of humans Adam and Eve (in their birthday suits). Through the first family and their interaction with God and Lucifer, we see Miller explore remnants of his familiar ideals: guilt, sin, and isolation, among others. (Ends tonight.) Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave., 800-838-3006, schmeater.org. $15–$18. 8 p.m. IRFAN SHARIFFFRIDAY 10/9Books: A Vinyl AffairWhich do you love more: your iTunes collection, which will always be there for you, or your boyfriend/girlfriend, who might leave you one day? That's the dilemma—or one of several—for the characters in Juliet, Naked (Riverhead, $25.95), who must weigh the perfectly recorded passions of an obscure, revered '80s album against their own disorderly longings. Nick Hornby divides his new novel among three perspectives: a reclusive American rocker who retired, Salinger-like, after his masterpiece; an English über-fan who maintains a Web site devoted to the mysterious singer; and the fan's long-suffering girlfriend, who tries to share his enthusiasm but would rather have a baby. Though the latter two have spent 15 years together, a rift is revealed as the demo tapes for Juliet are released as Juliet, Naked, and they write radically different blogs on the new-old album. Apart from being a typical Hornby novel about guys' obsessive interest in music (and the inability of guys to relate to women, as in High Fidelity), this new tale is about human connection—something like the suicide club that forms among strangers in A Long Way Down. Filled with fake Wikipedia pages and e-mail correspondence, Juliet, Naked is set in a world that rewards and enables our narrowest fixations. You can love one thing to the exclusion of almost everything else. But, Hornby reminds us, albums can be reassessed. And so can people. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSATURDAY 10/10Museums: Frozen and FaunaPenguins and dinosaurs, together at last! The former are photographed by Joan Myers in the traveling Smithsonian show Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey (through Nov. 29), and the latter are represented by fossils that UW researchers have added to the exhibition. Myers actually emphasizes the landscape over the adorable birds, and the frozen terrain is more diverse than you might think. (The famous Dry Valleys resemble Arizona deserts.) And she shows the human traces on the frozen continent, including old bases used by explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Scott. McMurdo Station is like an ugly assemblage of Wal-Marts, and Myers also finds some lingering damage from the 1982 Falklands War. Human heroism and folly are preserved forever in the ice. But Antarctica wasn't always icy: We also see petrified wood from its jungle days, and dinosaur bones collected by the UW's Christian Sidor and other paleontologists. To accompany the exhibit, composer Cheryl Leonard has created an audio collage recorded among the ice floes. And, yes, penguins. Burke Museum, N.E. 45th St. & 17th Ave. N.E., 543-5590, washington.edu/burkemuseum. $6–$9.50. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSUNDAY 10/11Film: Double FaultDuring this weekend package of Alfred Hitchcock double features, you can see today's Dial M for Murder on either side of the superior 1951 Strangers on a Train (at 5 p.m.), which you don't want to miss. Tennis player Farley Granger and rich creep Robert Walker meet at random and agree, sort of, to exchange ("criss-cross") murders in this bowstring-taut adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel. Walker's an out-and-out psycho, but a seductive psycho, as the soft jock Granger discovers. The gay subtext just about subsumes the murder story as one man insinuates himself into the life and conscience of another. As is generally the case with Hitchcock, the sexual and the criminal are bound together with guilt—so you can almost imagine them as lovers before prissy Granger, in a panic, tries to end their sordid affair. (Saturday's pairing is the great Rear Window and Vertigo; Monday brings The 39 Steps, presently a play at Seattle Rep, and Shadow of a Doubt.) SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, siff.net. $8–$10. 3, 5, and 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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