The Weekly Wire: The Week’s Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 1/13Nightlife: The Nice PriceThe Capitol Club is a rare creature in a neighborhood crowded with hipster hangouts and gay dance clubs. Owing to its casual yet classy atmosphere, it attracts a diverse crowd, including intimate couples, drunken brides-to-be, musicians, and even belly-dancing troupes. On Wednesdays, the bar offers all wine bottles at half-price—drink one, get one free!—with prices beginning around $14 per. If you don't want to get too sloshed, nibble on Spanish tapas like calamari and pork skewers, available for $6 and under during happy hour (5–8 p.m.). It's rare and welcome these days when your evening feels far more lavish than the check indicates. The lineup of DJs varies weekly; they usually start spinning about 10 p.m. Capitol Club, 414 E. Pine St., 325-2149, thecapitolclub.net. Free (21 & over). 5 p.m.–2 a.m. ERIKA HOBARTComics: The 50-Year FusePolitical cartoons aren't generally reported from the front lines, but the work of Portland's Joe Sacco is an important exception. Beginning with his strip Palestine (collected in 2001), he's been exploring the violent history of the Middle East. In his latest, Footnotes in Gaza (Metropolitan, $29.95), he ventures back a half-century, to when Israel was brand-new and the notion of Palestinians as a distinct nationality didn't exist. During the 1956 Suez Crisis, two refugee settlements near the Egyptian border were invaded by Israeli troops hunting for militants. Britain, France, and the U.S. looked the other way, preoccupied with Nasser and the canal, while possibly 275 male refugees—by Sacco's count—were massacred in Khan Younis and Rafah. His historical research during 2002–03, when Rachel Corrie's death is noted, is undoubtedly colored by events of the present. Sacco's sympathies are clearly with the Palestinians: He sketches their suffering, not their suicide bombers. But the value of his book is to communicate how their present misery—in Gaza especially—is rooted in past political calculations. Gaza was a problem first punted by Egypt and the rest of the Arab world, and more recently Israel, when it withdrew its settlers. Flip from one of Sacco's panels, depicting refugee mud huts in 1956, to the next, cinder-block towers arranged in the same "temporary" grid 50 years later, and the international community's inaction begins to look like a slow form of murder. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERFRIDAY 1/15Film: Invented AdolescenceBeginning NWFF's "Required Viewing" series of lectures and classes is an opportunity to hear all about the 1955 Rebel Without a Cause from its 88-year-old screenwriter, Seattle resident Stewart Stern. As directed by Nicholas Ray, James Dean plays the now-iconic misunderstood teen, caught between his parents and his ardor for Natalie Wood. "You're tearing me apart!" he famously howls at his folks. Today the scene—like all the acting here—seems borderline grotesque melodrama; it makes you think more of Jim Carrey's old Dean impersonation than of any real emotion. The movie's no classic, but it's an essential document of its overblown, mom-hating, crackpot-Freud postwar era. Without it, there'd be no WB Network, no The O.C., none of our entire teen-based industrial culture. Blink fast and you'll miss Dean's crony Dennis Hopper, merely credited as "Goon." Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$9. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSATURDAY 1/16Comedy: No Sleep 'til KandaharDave Attell visits just one week after co-hosting the AVN Awards in Vegas—recently enough that his porntastic recollections of the event should still percolate with fresh delivery. And a month ago, the well-traveled comic was entertaining the troops in Afghanistan, where he remarked, "No one has sex over here, but everybody smells like they just did." So expect a bumper crop of new material from someone who's never needed any help coming up with it. A comedian's comedian to the core (who counts Jon Stewart among his biggest fans), Attell has never cottoned to the Hollywood habit of morphing stand-up into sitcoms or movies. The stage is his medium, the microphone his muse, and—as his guttural, groundbreaking old Comedy Central show Insomniac proved—the road is his milieu. And speaking of hanging out with drunk fucks late at night, Attell still often frequents whatever watering holes happen to be near a venue he's just played. Whisky Bar and Shorty's, you've been warned: Better double this week's Jäger order. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.com. $28.50–$33. 8 p.m. ROSE MARTELLIOpera: Whose Baby Is It Anyway?"When they burned my mother at the stake, I vowed revenge—so I kidnapped their son, intending to throw him into the flames! But I was so crazed with grief I threw my own son in instead!!!" "But, Mom—you mean I'm not your son???" "No, what am I saying? Of course you are!" This paraphrase does not exaggerate the loopiness of the actual dialogue explaining the actual central plot point in Verdi's Il trovatore ("The Troubadour")—and it's not even the most preposterous contrivance in an opera notorious for them. (Not for nothing is it the piece destroyed in the Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera.) With Rigoletto and La traviata, Trovatore forms the trilogy of hits (premiered within a two-year span) that established Verdi's reign as the now-and-forever king of Italian opera; the crudest of the three both in its character portrayals and its music, it's still a lot of fun, though a taste for camp and a willingness not to think too much won't hurt. Seattle Opera's eight performances run through Jan. 30. McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, 389-7676, seattleopera.org. $25 and up. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERTBooks: Digging for MemoriesFor his debut novel, Portland's Matthew Flaming originally wanted to write about our own Underground Seattle. Instead, his turn-of-the-century fairy tale The Kingdom of Ohio (Putnam, $24.95) concerns the subway tunnels being dug beneath Manhattan. Where, owing to intrigue among J.P. Morgan, Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison, a time machine may also be under secret construction. A French-blooded princess in this historical charmer claims to be a time-traveler herself, one who appeals to a skeptical sandhog for protection from the colluding titans of technology and finance. Time-travel would cause chaos, she argues, a continual rewriting of history. Her own history is unclear, since she claims to be the last of a dynasty that once ruled frontier Ohio (before that state existed). Meanwhile, Flaming's narrator keeps elbowing himself into the tale with footnotes and complaints about sourcing the story; he wants to believe, but the archives are unreliable. Memory is unreliable. "We all carry a half-imagined world inside ourselves," says Tesla, "the world of our childhood and its lost wonders." That world is Flaming's Kingdom. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com. Free. 6:30 p.m. T. BONDMONDAY 1/18Karaoke: Honky-Tonk Meets R&BMonday-night karaoke at the Hen has always been a lot mellower than Wednesdays (which can get shoulder-to-shoulder crowded). It's all about the crowd, and I love performing Southern rock in front of these old cowboys. There's nothing better than having people get up and dance as you perform—that's how you know you're really delivering. Unfortunately, my standby, Alabama's "Take Me Down," is too upbeat to waltz to, with the wrong beat for line dancing (also part of the Monday-night program). In truth, the karaoke menu isn't all country. The Hen's KJ team—generally listed as Lo Key & Sun-E-Friday—can rock Blackstreet's "No Diggity" with R&B polish, which definitely gets the cougars up and line dancing. Another surprising but successful staff choice? "Inside Out" by Eve 6. Among the Hen's regular patrons, favorites include "La Bamba" and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" (the latter a welcome departure from "Don't Stop Believin'"). So if you're going to sing off the Nashville menu, go all the way. On the Strokes' "Last Nite," for instance, I go crazy with the screaming and air guitar. People may not dance to it, but they get the message. Little Red Hen, 7115 Woodlawn Ave. N.E., 522-1168, littleredhen.com. Free (21 and over). 9 p.m.–1 a.m. JEFF ROMANTUESDAY 1/19Stage: Divine Disco DecreeAudiences in 1980 simply weren't ready for an Olivia Newton-John movie that quoted a 19th-century Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, cast two-left-footed Livvy as the ancient goddess of dance, and featured a musical number in which the leading lovers transformed into animated fish. But Xanadu had its followers—and its revenge, when it morphed into the amusing, Tony-nominated 2007 Broadway musical (now on tour). The film's soundtrack, by longtime Newton-John composer John Farrar and ELO's Jeff Lynne, was always a sensation. Pop smashes such as "Magic"—plus Olivia's earlier Farrar-penned hit "Have You Never Been Mellow" and a couple of old ELO standards like "Evil Woman"—now fill the score. The affectionate spoof of a book is by master satirist Douglas Carter Beane (As Bees in Honey Drown, The Little Dog Laughed), who has much fun goosing the notion that a Greek muse would descend to Earth carrying an Australian accent, legwarmers, and the sworn duty to inspire the opening of a roller disco. "A place where nobody dared to go," according to its title tune, is now indeed "the love that we came to know." The only thing fans will miss is the cartoon fish. (Through Sun., Jan. 24.) Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.com. $30–$75. 7:30 p.m. STEVE WIECKING

 
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