The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 8/18 Books: Zero Gravity So far as Mary Roach is concerned, there is no such thing as TMI. In her prior compact bestsellers Stiff and Bonk, she's burrowed into the queasy particulars of death and sex, making them ridiculously readable in the process. She's got a short, breezy style cultivated in magazineland; her chapters are perfectly apportioned like a good New York Times Magazine feature—you learn something, you laugh, and you gain a precious, weird little kibble of trivia to relay at the office water cooler. (Do you know how many orgasms a gerbil can have in one day...?) Sure to be a success for all these reasons, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (Norton, $25.95) is like an irreverent younger sister to The Right Stuff. Enough of the NASA heroics, says Roach—let's hear about the astronauts' shit and piss and sex lives in the zero-gravity realm. Whether or not we should spend the money to send a manned mission 400 million miles to Mars, then back, isn't really her concern. At what point the human brain emulsifies after ejecting into a supersonic shock wave—well, she wants to tell you all about it. Though space voyagers who eventually take the two-year trip to Mars might be advised to pack Proust instead. Kane Hall, Room 210 (UW campus), 634-3400, bookstore.washington.edu. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER THURSDAY 8/19 Books: Humor in the Hospital A book that opens with a graphic description of the author's in vitro fertilization faces some major obstacles in reader appeal. When it goes on to detail the in utero death of one of the author's twin fetuses, the 15-weeks-early birth of her surviving daughter, and the family's subsequent months in the hospital, one has to wonder if perhaps the memoir was underwritten by antidepressant manufacturers. But Alexa Stevenson, the Minnesota author of Half Baked (Running Press, $14.95) finds humor along with poignancy in this difficult material. You might not think there's anything funny about the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but when Stevenson describes her experience as "the zombie movie of pregnancies," you'll change your mind. That's not to say there aren't tearjerker moments, but when you raise a tissue to your eyes at this reading, you're just as likely to be crying from laughter as sadness. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, bookstore.washington.edu. Free. 7 p.m. REBECCA COHEN Stage: Baby, It's Warm Inside Opening tonight—heh, heh, I said "opening," get it?—My Time With the Lady, Ron Richardson's first-person account of five years working at The Lusty Lady, follows that First Avenue peep show's recent closure. And there's nothing sexy about closing. Even if you never ventured inside the landmark smut shop (1977–2010), you read its clever changing marquee and groaned at the puns. (Groan—get it?) Beginning in the late '80s, Richardson served up front as cashier, janitor, and bouncer, watching as the new SAM signaled rising property values along the seedy old strip. (Four years ago, the Lady's landlord earned $850,000 for selling the air rights to the luxury hotel/condo being constructed next door.) To help shape—get it?—the show, dancer Kirsten Lauzon will gyrate onstage, and, on a more erudite note, SW contributor John Longenbaugh serves as co-writer and director. If you ever wondered what transpired on both sides of the glass in those steamed-up cubicles, this show should provide that satisfaction. Get it? (Through Aug. 29.) Little Red Studio, 400 Dexter Ave. N., brownpapertickets.com and mytimewiththelady.com. $15. 8 p.m. T. BOND Visual Arts: Metal Memories It's impossible to peel back the foil lid on a cup of instant noodles crafted by Lynne Yamamoto, because she's rendered the ordinarily cheap, disposable container in vitreous china. Elsewhere in her solo show Genteel, there's a Spam can made of the same material, its key forever unable to turn. Born and raised in Hawaii, then later trained at Evergreen State College, the Massachusetts artist is exploring her Pacific Island heritage in the exhibit. Hawaii only became a state in 1959, but it's long been a melting pot for different cultures—including Yamamoto's Japanese-American family. (Or our president's, for that matter.) Peoples, traditions, and their foodstuffs arrive by boat; Yamamoto is particularly interested in the canned and prepared foods that became ubiquitous in Hawaii during the World War II years. And after the war, all those army surplus materials helped build and transform the islands. Grandfather's Shed, for instance, is modeled on a humble garden shack made of corrugated metal, which would rust away in a decade. Only here it's been scaled down to white marble—an "ambivalent memorial" to the past, in the artist's words, which will last for centuries. (Through Oct. 2; the artist also gives a talk Saturday at noon.) Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S., 624-0770, gregkucera.com. Free. Reception 6–8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER SATURDAY 8/21 Classical: Road Trip, Molto Lento If you're headed from Seattle to the Olympic Music Festival via the Edmonds-Kingston ferry, which looks on paper to be the most direct route, be sure to schedule plenty of travel time. You'll need to get your car in line two or three ferries prior to the one you actually want to take, which I learned the hard way trying to get over to the peninsula for the Sequim Lavender Festival a few weekends ago. Traffic, perhaps, was extra-heavy that weekend, but the trip was four hours to Sequim and five back. Arrive late to the festival site (in a repurposed dairy barn off Route 104 among lavender fields and fruit stands) and you'll miss a candy-box miscellany of music for clarinet, viola, and piano by Rossini, Schubert, and others. (Also Sun.) 7360 Center Rd. (Quilcene, Wash.), 360-732-4800, olympicmusicfestival.org. $18–$30. 2 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT Outdoor Arts: Eco Aesthetic The Arts in Nature Festival epitomizes outdoorsy Seattle. Rather than forcing visitors to crane their necks at musicians onstage, or pick through craft tables arrayed on hot asphalt, or wander through overly air-conditioned museum galleries, the fest scatters its diverse attractions among cabins and open-air stations throughout Camp Long. Hike the gentle, wooded trails and you'll find puppet shows, marching bands, fire dancers, art exhibits, and craft-making opportunities for the kids in the EcoArts area. Also, something called "performative mythology," combining dance and circus. But if mythology sounds too academic, the music will be quite accessible. Local bands include Hey Marseilles, Air 2 a Bird, and Pearl Django. Avant-garde cellist/composer Paul Rucker is always interesting to hear. And Chris Ballew will perform in two incarnations: as Caspar Babypants, singing kid-friendly anthems for the stroller set, and in a special solo offering of old Presidents of the United States of America songs (the $25 separate admission fee benefits the Nature Consortium, which organizes the weekend festival). There's also food from Taco Flair and Kevin Anselmi, served on reusable plates, since the fest is a waste-free event. And naturally you're encouraged to use eco-friendly alternatives to get there, e.g. bike or the #21 Metro bus. (Through Sun.) Camp Long, 5200 35th Ave. S.W., naturec.org. $10 suggested. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. CELINA KAREIVA SUNDAY 8/22 Sports: Mile Oh My! While the Sounders have been streaky and the Mariners have sucked, down in Auburn there's a winner in every race—and most of those winners call Washington their home state. The venue is Emerald Downs and the winners are horses, but they're every bit as crush-worthy as Ichiro. What little girl didn't grow up worshipping all things equine? And what degenerate gambler can deny being pummeled by that same wave of infatuation? But still, compared to the Churchills and Saratogas of the world, our lively local track is relatively minor-league—except for one Sunday in August. On that Sunday, the Longacres Mile is run. With a combined purse of a quarter-million dollars, it's always been a prestigious enough race to attract bluegrass and Californian carpetbaggers. But in 2008, it became a Breeders Cup qualifying race, ensuring its victors a spot in thoroughbred racing's version of March Madness. Thus the quality of the shipped-in talent increased. But a funny thing happened: Locals kept right on winning. This year, top trainer Howard Belvoir is expected to return the Mile's past two winners, Assessment and Wasserman, to the starting gate, giving Washington's star gallopers a fine shot at keeping the title in Auburn for the sixth straight year. And there'll be a fine undercard to keep fans crowding the betting windows all day long. Emerald Downs, 2300 Emerald Downs Dr. (Auburn), 253-288-7000, emeralddowns.com. $7. 2 p.m. MIKE SEELY Food: Farmer Love An Incredible Feast walks the talk. In order to cut back on trash, the outdoor showcase of local chefs and farm ingredients is encouraging attendees to bring their own plates and forks to use at this year's event. But don't think stinting on silverware translates to skimpiness of flavor. Chef Amy McCray of Eva, a five-year veteran of the feast, can reel off a mouthwatering list of dishes she's cooked for it in years past: North Carolina pork barbecue, rustic Greek eggplant with walnuts, savory zucchini bread with smoked salmon. She's excited to find out which farmer she's paired with this year, she says; though she goes to the farmers market every week, at An Incredible Feast "you get to know these farmers better." (Two dozen other local chefs will likewise be matched with area farms.) So grab your dishes and come join the agrarian bonding. All proceeds benefit the Good Farmer Fund. University Heights Center, 5031 University Way N.E., 632-5234, seattlefarmersmarkets.org. $80–$150. 5–8 p.m. REBECCA COHEN

 
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