The Weekly Wire: The Week’s Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 8/11Film: Tour de RepriseFor those going into withdrawal from July's Tour de France TV coverage, here's one last chance to hear the soothing voices of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. However, be warned that the documentary Chasing Legends covers last year's Tour, although with considerably better access to the HTC Columbia team and its sprint star, Mark Cavendish. (The latter opines "It takes someone with balls" to attack in the wind.) Celebrity visitors in the year of Lance Armstrong's comeback include Ben Stiller, normal-sized among the riders, who demonstrates "my biking Blue Carbon, similar to Blue Steel, but much lighter." Jens Voigt reveals himself to be the funniest, quippiest guy in the peloton, which makes his horrible crash that much harder to watch. Scenes aboard the HTC bus are considerably more intimate and unguarded than what you get on Versus. Here are nine casually half-naked men with very peculiar tan lines and very strange topics of conversation. Speaking to his masseuse, George Hincapie muses, "I've never shaved that far up." How far up? You'll have to see for yourself. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$9. 7 and 9 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTHURSDAY 8/12Stage: Orthography and ApplauseDefinition: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a tongue-in-cheek musical spelling showdown among unloved and undeterred spellers, who include an eighth-grader who speaks six languages; a boy with a lamentable last name and a magic foot; a home-schooled ADHD prodigy with a gentle (if distractible) disposition; an overzealous Boy Scout with an unfortunate problem with puberty; a middle-school political activist with a lisp and two dads; and a neglected wordsmith whose only friend is her oversized dictionary. The bee's hosts are a former Putnam champion and a vice-principal with a short temper and very little patience. Of course, this bee would not be complete without the court-assigned grief counselor whose quick hugs and apple juice can soothe any broken spirit. Every character shines in moments of transcendent joy and heartwrenching sadness, with such believable candor that anyone can relate to the seemingly silly struggles of these determined youth. With a complicated score and some fancy footwork, this musical comes together seamlessly; everyone onstage and in the audience leaves feeling like a winner. Use in a sentence: The Seattle Weekly theater critic had such an amazing time at this show that he insists everyone make the trek to Ballard. (Ends Sat.) The Ballard Underground, 2220 N.W. Market St., 800-838-3006, contemporaryclassics.org. $15–$20. 8 p.m. DYLAN SLADKYOutdoor Art: Pearls Not RequiredNo need to don your Aunt Cordelia's jewels or fake an upper-crust Oxbridge accent for this garden party—Art in the Park is open to the hoi polloi. As its name suggests, this event presents botanical-themed art among the lush plantings of the Washington Park Arboretum, with samplings from local vintners Nota Bene Cellars, Ott & Murphy Wines, and OS Winery. But unlike the garden parties of 19th-century Brit lit, admission tonight doesn't require an old-money pedigree—or indeed any money at all. It's classy without being classist. If you've got the means, however, feel free to splurge on some aesthetic additions for the manor. Works on display will include the elaborate paper cuttings of Alisa Lahti, the nature photography of Lee Rentz, and the organic-looking pottery of Maria Root. (A portion of artists' sales benefits the Arboretum Foundation.) Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Dr. E., 325-4510, arboretumfoundation.org. Free ($25 suggested for wine tasting). 5:30–8:30 p.m. REBECCA COHENComedy: Hemp JesterDoug Benson has two great loves in his life: movies and pot. He has shown his affection, such as it is, for the former, dating back to his pithy online "I Love Movies" reviews (of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, he wrote, "I wasn't bored for a minute. I was bored for 142 minutes!"). These quick takes evolved into the current I Love Movies podcast, recorded in front of an audience at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in L.A. and featuring guest spots from Benson's hip comedy friends, including Patton Oswalt and Sarah Silverman. His pot cred shows an even greater commitment: starring in the weed documentary Super High Me and co-creating the stage show The Marijuana-Logues. He even won the coveted Stoner of the Year award from High Times magazine in 2006, putting him in the same illustrious company as noted jazz-cigarette aficionados Snoop Dogg and Seth Rogen. (Through Sat.; Graham Elwood, of Chelsea Lately, is the opener.) Parlor Live Comedy Club, 700 Bellevue Way N.E. Suite 300, Bellevue, 425-289-7000, parlorcollection.com. $25–$30. 7:30 p.m. ALBERT CHINGFRIDAY 8/13Dance: Hooves and FeetLet's just say it and get the jokes over with now: It's like Dancing With Horses, right? Yes, the dancers of New York company The Equus Projects do actually dance with horses. Seriously. And in the latest work by ex-Seattle choreographer JoAnna Mendl Shaw, called Dancing in Real Time, four dancers will perform on a Vashon Island farm among its native herd of purebred Arabians. But it makes sense, since Shaw has long made performance artworks that examine the ancient relationship between animals and man. Humans are comfortable with animals as servants (e.g. sled dogs, pack mules, and hunting falcons) or entertainers (see Free Willy or Siegfried and Roy), but why should they be limited to that servile role? Why not let them participate in the art? Shaw calls her artistic discipline a form of play, and she seeks to translate horses' natural herd behaviors—dominance, deference, etc.—into a human-equine analogue. Shaw appeals to the animal in all of us. Local musician Jami Sieber supplies the electric cello and song. Heart of the Horse Farm, 21901 Vashon Hwy. S.W., 718-916-3528, dancingwithhorses.org. $25. 6 p.m. (Repeats Sat.) SANDRA KURTZFestivals: Lucky No. 13If Seafair and the Capitol Hill Block Party didn't sate your thirst for music, booze, food, and sunshine, the South Lake Union Block Party is upping the ante with a kid-friendly, one-day celebration. Food tickets buy bite-size treats from Tutta Bella, Flying Fish, and others ($1–$5). Larger portions are also available from Molly Moon's, Marination Mobile, and Dante's Inferno Hot Dogs, complemented by a beer garden and wine-tasting area. For kids, in addition to the usual face painting and bouncy toys, there will be real live ponies to ride! And in true summer fashion, because no block party is complete without a grill-off, chefs from Seastar, Raw Bar, and Whole Foods will go head-to-head in a 90-minute burger battle. Since it's Friday the 13th, there's a 9 p.m. outdoor screening of Zombieland, about the unlucky survivor (Jesse Eisenberg) of an undead apocalypse, the cause of which is mad cow disease. (Don't tell the burger battlers.) Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Historic Seattle, which has helped preserve at-risk old buildings like Washington Hall. South Lake Union Discovery Center, Denny Way & Westlake Ave. N., 342-5900, slublockparty.com. Free. Noon to 11 p.m. CELINA KAREIVAFilm: Fish! And Sing!Based on a novel about the primitive power relations of a southern Italian fishing village, The Law (1960) was directed by Hollywood exile Jules Dassin. Despite the location, a sunbaked Catfish Row, there's not a trace of neorealism. The Law is a movie of cartoon-like mass formations, singing urchins, and operatic outbursts. It opens with the town's midday torpor broken by top-billed Gina Lollobrigida's siren song as she lovingly polishes a pair of her master's boots. Everyone is transfixed by her cleavage, but La Lollo has eyes only for Marcello Mastroianni, the progressive young agronomist arrived from the north to drain the malarial swamp—they have the best looks and the least chemistry of any couple I've seen onscreen this year. A sleazily mustached Yves Montand plays the town gangster, with Dassin's wife, Melina Mercouri, unhappily married to the local judge, making (very scary) eyes at Montand's college-age son. Dassin can barely control this hambone cast—creating an entertaining subtext in a movie that, taking its title from the local drinking game, is all about who is best able to exercise their will on whom. (Through Thurs.) Varsity, 4329 University Way N.E., 781-5755, landmarktheatres.com. $10. Call for showtimes. J. HOBERMANSATURDAY 8/14Food & Music: Salmon Served DryThere are many reasons to drive out to Arlington this weekend, but apart from the scenery along the Mountain Loop Highway, we recommend the annual salmon bake at the Stillaguamish Festival of the River. The tribe, which owns the nearby Angel of the Winds casino, will offer a variety of exhibits on its history and current culture. That means logging demonstrations, a powwow, fly fishing, a live eagle display, a climbing wall, storytelling for the kids, a "giant roving salmon puppet," a 5K fun run—and of course salmon. It'll be cooked outside, by the river, in centuries-old fashion. The tribe is actively trying to restore salmon habitat along the Stillaguamish River, and you can take a foot tour to inspect those efforts. For the health of the tribal members—a refreshing change among summer's often boozy festivals—this weekend event is alcohol-free, which ought to make it even more kid-friendly. Today is the stronger day for music, with the Neville Brothers, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite performing. But the fish will be just as delicious on Sunday. River Meadows County Park, 20416 Jordan Rd. (Arlington), festivaloftheriver.com. $5. 10 a.m.–8 p.m. T. BONDArts & Music: 12-Inch TreasuresYou find them at yard sales or in your parents' dusty attic: hidden treasures not for the scratched vinyl within, but for their faded cardboard album covers. Scuffed, torn, Scotch-taped, adorned with old price tags and watermarks—the best of these finds combine forgotten groups with WTF imagery. It's an exercise in weirdness to flip through the art collected in Cover Story Volume Two: Odd, Obscure and Outrageous Album Art, published by Wax Poetics magazine and powerHouse Books. One example: the compilation album Music to Massage Your Mate By, which features a creepy dude giving a shoulder rub to a redhead. Talk about a mood-killer. Stare into his eyes, and you'll never want a massage again. Among the locals featured in Cover Story are Aja West and Cheeba, siblings who'll jointly DJ a set at tonight's book-launch party. And of course there's plenty more to do and see at the Georgetown Art Attack, including portraits by Deborah Scott at the Georgetown Arts and Cultural Center, Super-8 movies, the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall, and photos by Robin Crookall, plus music by the Twilight Art Collective at the Stables. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, 1201 S. Vale St., 658-0110, fantagraphics.com and georgetownartattack.com. Free. 6–9 p.m. BRIAN MILLERMONDAY 8/16Books: Broken RopeIn the literature of mountaineering, there are few stories greater than the 1953 U.S. attempt on K2, when the late Seattle climber Pete Schoening saved six rope-mates with "the belay." Crucially, his heroism came while they were attempting to save and lower an ill member of their team. The prior U.S. expedition, in 1939, is less well-remembered and considerably less admirable, as Jennifer Jordan relates in The Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2 (Norton, $26.95). Her protagonist, Dudley Wolfe, was a World War I ambulance driver and contemporary of Hemingway, the sort of rich international sportsman Hemingway might've met in Zermatt or St. Moritz. Capable enough to climb Mont Blanc, though in his 40s, Wolfe was enlisted to try K2—and help fund the attempt—by German-born expedition leader Fritz Wiessner, a rigid and somewhat controversial figure in alpine history. Dartmouth kids and a couple more rich sponsors filled out the party, which, fatally, never cohered into a team. In 1953, the team came before the peak. In 1939, without radios or oxygen, the team split apart, with Wiessner intent on the summit and Wolfe left alone in a tent in the Death Zone. Jordan, who actually found Wolfe's remains in 2002, doesn't need many pages to tell his sad story (based mainly on period accounts, plus some unwelcome novelistic passages). But seven decades later, the lesson is still timely: Choose your teammates wisely, or they may choose to leave you behind. Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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