The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 11/17 Books: Water, Water Everywhere There's a lot of water in the Atlantic Ocean, and there's a lot of history sloshing around in Atlantic (Harper, $27.99). Simon Winchester starts before there was any such ocean, just a single continent that would gradually divide into the map we recognize today. (Though, the English writer warns, the Atlantic is inexorably widening, and the facing continents will eventually collide ass to ass.) Previously the author of Krakatoa and The River at the Center of the World, Winchester tacks among many subjects here: Caribbean pirates to the Spanish Armada, The Tempest to J.M.W. Turner, cod to conquistadors. He also interweaves some of his own sailing journeys and adventures in journalism; the effect is like sitting back after dinner to let a polymath tell you, over several expensive bottles of port, all about the Atlantic Ocean. Only here the telling takes a relatively abridged 500 pages. Itself comprehensively indexed, Atlantic is like the index to all the other Atlantic histories at the library. Not that you're likely to read them—that would be like swimming across the Atlantic. Winchester's Atlantic is more a manageable Olympic-sized-pool length. Your arms may be tired at the end of it, but you'll have learned a little something. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER THURSDAY 11/18 Football: Dawg Day Afternoon Before the current UW football season, scheduling a game during Thursday-night rush hour seemed like a pretty neat idea. Quarterback Jake Locker was billed as a Heisman favorite and appeared ready to lead the embattled Dawgs back into the Pac-10's better half. The younger players, lacking experience in a surprisingly competitive 2009 campaign, had more seasoning, and newish coach Steve Sarkisian was held in universally high esteem. Perhaps best of all, the visiting team on that fateful Thursday would be the UCLA Bruins, led by hated ex-Husky coach Rick Neuheisel, blamed by many for the demise of UW's once-dominant program. Today, however, with the Huskies reeling from three straight conference losses by 30 or more points (a lamentable first in the school's history), Locker is banged up, Sarkisian's honeymoon is over, and the Huskies, now 3–6, will need to win three straight games to be eligible for a bowl game. Hence, the prevailing sentiment is that it was a really dumb fucking idea to schedule a Husky home game during Thursday-night rush hour. Fortunately, you can also watch it on ESPN—assuming you're not stuck in traffic. Husky Stadium, 3800 Montlake Blvd. N.E., 543-2200, gohuskies.com. $32–$66. 5 p.m. MIKE SEELY Photography: The Zen of Assembly "The coordinates of a place are four- dimensional, not just three," says Chris Engman, an artist who builds and photographs temporary edifices—stacked 55-gallon oil drums, split logs, wooden scaffolds, even a gravel heap—with time in mind. First there's the time he spends assembling them, the solitary labor you don't see in the final image. Then there's the secondary process, the waiting, as the sun clocks overhead to assume a position in the sky that precisely reverses the angle in one shot, which he then captures in a second. But look closely at, say, a seemingly random pile of cinderblocks in the Nevada desert, and you'll see that they too have been reversed. The diptych panels collected in his new show Dust to Dust often have such subtle multiples, a doubling of labor and image. Engman calls his unseen efforts "the manual version of Photoshop," the careful schlepping of materials instead of the clicking of a mouse. But his photos only document the effects, not the sweat. And when his projects are over, they're disassembled or allowed to decay, subject to the erosion of time. "Nothing lasts," says Engman, "just like the mountains." (Ends Dec. 31.) Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S., 624-0770, gregkucera.com. Free. Reception: 6 p.m. (Also: artist talk Sat. at noon.) BRIAN MILLER Classical: Four Green Composers Ravel's Boléro hypnotizes not only because of its sultry (but unyielding) tempo or languid tune, but because that tune repeats—and repeats—with only the instrumentation changing. Philip Glass, too, learned how to make a lot from a little, building his chugging, brightly colored Violin Concerto from steady rhythms, simple harmonies, and melodies clearly outlining those harmonies. Bizet also constructed much of the first movement of his Symphony in C (written at age 17) from simple outlined chords, do-mi-sol patterns kittenishly bouncing up and down. He too knew how to recycle and transform; in the scherzo he uses the same main melody for the A and B sections, like Ravel changing only the orchestration. And once Rossini hit on a surefire template for his opera overtures, he saw no reason not to reuse it; for his Semiramide overture, he took a new bolt of cloth but cut it out in the same pattern as many of the others. Four composers who, one way or another, took a highly economical, even parsimonious, approach to music-making: I wonder if these resemblances were deliberate on guest conductor Riccardo Frizza's part, or coincidental, when he was programming tonight's Seattle Symphony concert? The SSO's Elisa Barston is the solo violinist in the Glass. (Repeats Sat.) Benaroya Hall, Third Ave. & Union St, 215-4747, seattlesymphony.org. $17–$105. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT Dance: An Exercise in Grief The title of New York choreographer Ralph Lemon's new How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? feels almost too close to the bone. It's true that he doesn't produce work quickly (his groundbreaking Geography suite took 10 years to make), but it was the deaths of his partner, Asako Takami, and of his long-term collaborator, Walter Carter, that kept him inside this time. How Can You draws inspiration from the life of Carter, a former Mississippi sharecropper who died at 102, adding to that earthy experience a science-fiction overlay drawn from Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 film Solaris. (The multimedia work also samples Ozu's Late Spring.) Accompanied by six dancers, Lemon will read his narration live onstage. Prepare yourselves for one dancer to (intentionally) break down and cry during the 90-minute piece. It's meant to be awkward. As Lemon recently told The Huffington Post of the sobbing, "It goes on and on and on and on." Just like grief. (Through Sun.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, ontheboards.org. $25. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ FRIDAY 11/21 Film: Sand in His Head What you immediately notice about Bob Hope in Road to Morocco (1942) is how modern he is, still, six decades later. You could imagine him joining Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis in Due Date, cracking wise from the back seat during their road trip and complaining about the masturbating dog. Not so his co-star Bing Crosby, who seems stuck in the cool, crooner past. Nothing rattles the guy, unlike the cowardly Hope, and where's the fun in that? In the first of three Road movies counting down to the GI's annual revival of It's a Wonderful Life (Dec. 10), our shipwrecked heroes sing "Road to Morocco" atop a camel as self-lampoon, essentially laying out the entire movie's plot in advance. (Yes, they know they'll meet Dorothy Lamour.) Surprise isn't the point of the formula, which would eventually extend to seven pictures. Within the joke-song-joke framework, Hope engages with the camera as much as he does his two co-stars. (Today the equivalent casting would be Jack Black, Justin Long, and Mila Kunis, proof that we live in diminished times.) When at journey's end they wash into New York Harbor, Hope begins his frantic "No food, no water!" speech in a last-minute bid for an Oscar, as he confesses to the audience. Would that the stars of today were so honest about their intentions. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$7. 7 and 9 p.m. BRIAN MILLER SATURDAY 11/20 Dance: So You Think You Can Dance? Lady Gaga's catalogue of music videos is wildly diverse, with locations ranging from prisons to pizzerias to burning cities. But aside from her bizarre costumes, one thing they all have in common is dancing. Gaga shimmies in American-flag gear with Beyoncé in "Telephone," prances around with a disco ball at a raging house party in "Just Dance," and lurches around on stilts in "Paparazzi." Think you can match her moves? That's the challenge of tonight's Lady Gaga Dance Off, presented by Velocity Dance Center and the Century Ballroom. Cash prizes will be awarded for group and solo contestants in categories including Best Costume, Most Original Choreography, and Best Representation. So throw on a onesie and a hair bow in imitation of the Lady, or just gawk from the sidelines. Bonus points should be awarded if you can pull it all off in the infamous Alexander McQueen Armadillo heels Gaga rocks in "Bad Romance." (Miss Indigo Blue and DJ Darwin will emcee the evening.) Century Ballroom, 915 E. Pine St., 484-8866, centuryballroom.com. $15–$20. 21 and over. 8 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON Books: Skid Row Confidential Seattle Weekly staff writer Rick Anderson's Seattle Vice: Strippers, Prostitution, Dirty Money, and Crooked Cops in the Emerald City (Sasquatch, $17.95) reads like a work of fiction, primarily because of his considerable narrative gifts. (Among a cavalcade of honors received in his long career, Anderson's 2009 SW article about serial offender Stacy Stith is featured in the new Best American Crime Reporting anthology.) Seattle Vice also reads like history (equal parts cultural, criminal, political, and journalistic), because the "vaginal valley" depicted in his book bears no resemblance to the clean-scrubbed Seattle of today, where a squabble over who's to sign an environmental-impact statement passes for scandal. The book goes well beyond the exploits of recently deceased porn magnate Frank Colacurcio—it's an exhaustively researched alternative history of our region's netherworld, penned by about the only journalist in town qualified to write it. While nobody wants to return to the violence and bald-faced corruption of Seattle's adolescent years, Anderson's rich prose almost makes you feel nostalgic for that bygone era of sleaze. Seattle Mystery Bookshop, 117 Cherry St., 587-5737, seattlemystery.com. Free. Noon. MIKE SEELY MONDAY 11/22 Music: Seasons Within Seasons Faun Fables is an odd, uncategorizable, morphing entity that creates profoundly haunting excursions into arcane dreams within dreams. Beautifully forthright singer Dawn McCarthy partners with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum singer/multi-instrumentalist Nils Frykdahl to conjure a heavily contrapuntal acoustical realm that seems rooted in English plainsong and such folk-art offspring as the Incredible String Band. In October, the duo brought out their first long-player in four years, Light of a Vaster Dark, a good-humored and luminously odd meditation on the seasons of life whose sound/place is dusty and obscure, yet alluringly, naggingly familiar. McCarthy has invented another dimension of grimly gripping tall tales whose cinema vérité–enhanced production—Frykdahl's guitars and percussion are intricately laced with violins, bass clarinets, shakuhachis, and ghostly harmonicas—adds immensely to the moody mystery. The Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, tripledoor.net. $12. All ages. 7:30 p.m. JOHN PAYNE

 
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