The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 6/30Film/Music: Setting His Own TempoDeterminedly obscure, the amorphous Nashville band known as Lambchop rarely plays Seattle. The closest fans are likely to get is the 47-minute concert doc Lambchop: Live at XX Merge, filmed last year at a 20th-anniversary bash for Merge Records. Led by a seated Kurt Wagner, the group's lead singer and songwriter, 11 musicians are framed tight on a no-nonsense stage, undistracted by effects—or, it seems, the appreciative audience. Pushing quickly through favorites like "Grumpus" and "National Talk Like a Pirate Day," face hidden by thick glasses and a trucker's cap, Wagner has no time for small talk. (Now 52, he's survived cancer and—in an unrelated health crisis—had his jaw rebuilt with hip bone.) When pianist Tony Crow tries a little banter, Wagner comments, "With every joke, a song goes by the wayside." They're the geezers in the group, which maintains a molasses cohesiveness at Motown tempos. The younger players are expert but unshowy, deferential to the guy sitting in their midst. Only for the set's finale, "Give It (Once in a Lifetime)," does Wagner put down his guitar and stand, at one point pleading "Gimme a little more time." Viewers will feel the same way. (Repeats Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$9. 8 p.m. BRIAN MILLERBooks: Mishaps and Second ChancesBeing wrong is underrated. Think how much we'll eventually learn from the Gulf Coast oil spill about environmental restoration, ocean currents, preventing future blowouts, alternative energy, and suing the pants off British Petroleum. So it was with the Challenger space shuttle disaster, the Titanic, the Hindenburg, and the eruption of Mt. St. Helens—things no one predicted would occur. Experts simply assumed they just wouldn't happen. But as science writer Kathryn Schulz argues in Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error (Ecco, $26.99), disasters and even minor mishaps help to teach us something. They disprove invalid theories, provide empirical evidence, and expose sloppy thinking. She writes, "Far from being a mark of indifference or intolerance, wrongness is a vital part of how we learn and change. Thanks to error, we can revise our understanding of ourselves and amend our ideas about the world." Like BP CEO Tony Hayward, for instance: No one will ever make the mistake of employing him again. See—we learned something useful. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com. Free. 7 p.m. (Also: 7 p.m. Thurs. at Elliott Bay.) BRIAN MILLERFunerals: Elegy for InfrastructureToday, who has strong feelings about the old West Seattle Bridge, destroyed by an errant freighter in 1978? Or the failed old spans across the Tacoma Narrows and Hood Canal? Those were accidents, acts of God. But tonight's wake for the South Park Bridge, which closes today, was entirely preventable. Civic process has failed the hardworking residents on both sides of the Duwamish. Shamefully, politicians still can't produce the $131 million necessary to replace the decrepit 78-year-old drawbridge. Does anyone look good in this infrastructure debacle? King County Executive Dow Constantine has lobbied hardest for the replacement funds. And the villains? Future mayor Mike McGinn opposed the Regional Transportation Investment District ballot initiative three years ago. Funny how this kind of shit never affects North Seattle, where the Northeast 45th Street viaduct is easily being replaced. Tonight, before a moment of silence (at 7 p.m.), drummers from the Duwamish Tribe will march across the span. After that, bagpipers will play a Hibernian elegy. Then the fiesta begins in earnest, with the New Orleans Funeral Band, Trio Lucero del Norte, and Baby Gramps. Where should you mourn afterward with food and drink specials? Local businesses impacted by the closing include Muy Macha, Jalisco, and Loretta's Northwesterner. (For others, like the County Line Tavern, it's too late.) Then prepare to drive the long way around back home. 14th Ave. S. & S. Cloverdale St. Free. 6–10 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTHURSDAY 7/1Comics: It's Not Easy Being GreenIf the Keebler elves had sex, gave birth, cursed, went skinny-dipping, and killed one another in a decades-long civil war, that might give you a sense of Artichoke Tales (Fantagraphics, $22.99) by Seattle's own Megan Kelso. It's a multigenerational family-national saga set in a fairyland whose inhabitants' heads, instead of hair, have artichoke leaves and a stem. In a sense, the book is like a delicate hand-drawn alternative to Avatar: Here is an exquisite natural world, full of magical herbs and natural wonders, yet it's also a place where people—elves, hobbits, whatever—fight for scarce resources. There's a certain Tolkien-meets-Dr. Seuss vibe that makes Artichoke Tales particularly well-suited to younger readers raised to revere the environment but who are just now discovering sex and violence (i.e., adolescence). Kelso's work remains on view at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery in Georgetown; she'll also appear at Ravenna Third Place Books, 7 p.m. Tues., July 20. Capitol Hill Branch Library, 425 Harvard Ave. E., 684-4715, spl.org. Free. 6 p.m. BRIAN MILLERFRIDAY 7/2Beer: Warm SudsDuring an ordinary July, the Seattle International Beerfest arrives like a cool oasis in the scorching heat. This lukewarm summer, however, favors a less-frosty palette. Room temperature is the new black. Chilled mugs are no longer fashionable. Bros don't ice bros. For that reason, you may wish to sample the Chocolate Oak-Aged Yeti, or Golden Pheasant, or Kraken—none of which sound very summery. Some 130 different varieties of brew will be available for tasting, plus food from Hot Dog Joe and Rancho Bravo Tacos to help sop up the alcohol. (Live music from Clarence Gallagher & the Oyster Creek Boys and other bands is also part of the weekend fun.) Wear comfortable shoes to help walk off the beer buzz. And though most visitors will insist on wearing shorts (or kilts), you may need to pack a sweater to fight the summer chill. Because beer can only warm you up so much. (Through Sun.) Seattle Center (Mural Amphitheater), 305 Harrison St., seattlebeerfest.com. $25 (21 and over). Noon–10 p.m. T. BONDSUNDAY 7/4Fireworks: Crashing and BurningThe list of prior sponsors of Seattle's annual Independence Day fireworks extravaganza reads like a history of the banking-industry meltdown. In 2008, it was WaMu. In 2009, JPMorgan Chase, which bought the bankrupt thrift. But when Chase closed its wallet, the people of Seattle took matters into their own hands. Led by celebrity chef Tom Douglas and KIRO radio host Dave Ross, $500,000 was raised in less than 24 hours to save the Family 4th at Lake Union. What could be more populist than that? Well, how about hot dogs, booze, and rocking-chair races? The celebration also features an array of food booths, a lakeside beer garden, and a playfield full of family activities (cakewalks, dunk tank, inflatable sumo wrestling, etc.). But remember to set down your blanket early, well before dusk, for a prime viewing perch for the fireworks show (at 10 p.m.). Minimalist pop-rockers The Presidents of the United States of America will play before and after the display; Seattle jazz queen Greta Matassa will sing the national anthem. Parking will be extremely limited, so eventgoers are encouraged to bike, walk, or bus. Gas Works Park, 2101 N. Northlake Way, family4th.org. Free. Noon–11 p.m. REBECCA COHENMONDAY 7/5Baseball: Ex HexCheer up, Mariners fans. The Kansas City Royals traditionally don't play well at Safeco Field, where they're 15–27 all-time. But there's an ex factor in this three-game series. K.C.'s current roster includes five former Mariners (starting pitcher Gil Meche and his devilish 6.66 earned-run average remain on the disabled list) and there's a history of players returning here to burn their old team. Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, shipped to K.C. last season, is now on track for career highs in home runs and RBIs. Seattle's punchless lineup could sure use his bat around now. That goes double for right fielder Jose Guillen, who displayed both power and a prickly personality in 2007, his one year as a Mariner. This season, his (at press time) 13 HRs, 41 runs, and 47 RBIs would lead the Mariners—by far—in all three categories. Then there's K.C. left fielder Scott Podsednik, an All-Star three years after leaving Seattle in 2002; he's swiped 22 bases this season, one more than Ichiro. The Mariners counter with just one former Royal—designated hitter Mike Sweeney, who has hit his former team at a .400 clip the past couple of years. (Through Wed.) Safeco Field, 1250 First Ave. S., 346-4001, seattlemariners.com. $8–$70. 7:10 p.m. MICHAEL MAHONEY

 
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