The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 1/6 Film: Obsessed Otto Preminger must hold some sort of record for one of the longest stretches of provocative and intelligent mainstream filmmaking in American cinema. Proclaimed an auteur by the Cahiers du Cinéma critics in the '50s, he's often had a rougher time with American reviewers. Like Hitchcock, Preminger created an outrageous media persona to promote his flicks: He was reputedly a tyrant with actors and crew. But the Austrian-born director (1906–1986) could make big pictures that retained intimacy. Most of his varied movies share a cool and detached objectivity, with gliding, probing camerawork often in the service of extremely long takes. Laura (1944), his first major hit, is the sleekest noir ever made, a sharply written study of obsession set in the chic, well-lit world of New York café society. Although lead actress Gene Tierney is missing for most of the screen time (while Dana Andrews searches for her), her presence is felt thanks to David Raksin's haunting title song. Never has a piece of theme music been so skillfully used as an essential part of characterization. (Laura begins a nine-film Preminger retrospective continuing through March 17.) Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, seattleartmuseum.org. $8 (individual), $62–$67 (series). 7:30 p.m. ELLIOTT STEIN Visual Arts: Run, Dunce, Run! On the storefront video monitors facing the sidewalk at Gallery4Culture, Portland artist Evertt A. Beidler's The Business of Staying the Same Is Always Changing features a hapless dude wearing a dunce cap topped by a flashing red police light. He runs around the city in suit and tie, ignored by all, the cause of his flight—or his destination—forever unclear. But he can never outpace his shame. Next to Beidler's antic, almost Buster Keaton–esque shorts are more serene videos by Philadelphia's Anna G. Norton, who uses time-lapse photography to document decaying old architecture. Also on view are photos and video by Erin Elyse Burns, all dealing with her phobia and reverence for water. No surprise that she should have conflicted feelings—she grew up in arid Reno, but now works in our soggy city. (Through Jan. 28.) Gallery4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Place S. (Tashiro Kaplan Building), 296-7580, 4culture.org. Free. Reception: 6–8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER FRIDAY 1/7 Stage: Laughter, Tears, Curtain Returning to ACT for its winter iteration, the 14/48 theater festival is a welcome blowout after all the wholesome, healthy, long- running holiday shows. The two weekends will serve up 28 insta-plays in all genres, though snappy short comedies tend to dominate. Playwrights and performers from every stage and company in Seattle participate, making the festival both a palate-cleanser and a theatrical buffet: If you see someone you like, or if some playwright's dialogue seems especially good, then you can follow them in productions throughout the new year. And if you happen to sit through a misfire, relax, it'll be over soon enough. Whether genius or groaners, the servings are kept short. (Friday–Saturday through Jan. 15.) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 292-7676, acttheatre.org and 1448fest.com. $20–$25 (individual), $50 (series pass). 8 and 10:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER SATURDAY 1/8 Football: Lucky Losers At this point in the Seahawks' season, really, what's the point in feeling shame? Thanks to a stingy defense and Charlie Whitehurst's modest but interception-free performance against the Rams last Sunday, we're in the playoffs for the first time in three years. It feels good. It feels embarrassing. It's like hooking up with the hot drunk girl at a party because she left her contacts at home. And thus we face the reigning Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, whose 11–5 record makes our 7–9 season look . . . well, let's not go there. Instead, consider these intangibles for the biggest game at Qwest in the Pete Carroll era. We have the element of surprise: No one, and we mean no one, could possibly have expected the Hawks to make it to the postseason. And the Saints face further uncertainty in preparing for two possible quarterbacks: no-mistakes Whitehurst or turnover machine Matt Hasselbeck. New Orleans will underestimate everything about Seattle, except the crowd noise. Qwest Field, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 622-4295, seahawks.com. $56 and up. 1:30 p.m. BRISTOL BLENHEIM III TUESDAY 1/11 Stage: Harlem Comes to Belltown Give five rowdy performers the floor, lend them a four-piece combo (piano, bass, drums, and trumpet), let all concerned tear into the music of the great Fats Waller, and you've got a great night of Ain't Misbehavin'. Revues can be tedious—mindlessly stringing together song after song—but this one, which won a 1978 Tony, reminds you how central Waller's songbook is to African American identity. The singers strut and sass, teasing each suggestive syllable out of classics like "Honeysuckle Rose" and "'Tain't Nobody's Bizness" using raised eyebrows and sly asides. This is what it must have felt like to hear the original renditions that drew white fans to the raucous, heady heat of Harlem jazz clubs. The '78 show helped introduce a new generation to Waller (1904–1943), and that production's second cast included Viviane Jett, who leads this promising new ensemble in songs of howling joy and fierce pride. (Through Sun.) Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729, jazzalley.com. $28.50. 7:30 p.m. STEVE WIECKING Film: Snow to Sea For exercise nerds, after a good workout, there is nothing better than talking about that workout. Or after a 10K, comparing split times and pacing. Or after the STP, discussing who's got the worst saddle sores. Or after a 197-mile relay race from Mt. Hood to Seaside, Ore., making a movie about it! The boosterish but well-crafted Hood to Coast celebrates four middle-of-the pack squads among more than 1,000 teams and 12,000 runners at the 2008 event. (It's the largest relay race in the world, we're told.) Predictably, each of the four featured teams has obstacles or past tragedies to overcome. One woman suffered a heart attack at the '07 relay, then defiantly returns to run with a triple bypass and cardio monitor. Yes, these weekend warriors are obsessed, but the HTC, founded in 1982, is more a rolling party than a hard-core Olympic suffer-thon. Hardly anyone sleeps as 12-athlete squads alternate among the route's 36 segments (the winners average five-minute miles). And when they finally reach the ocean, the junk food and beer never tasted so good. Pacific Place, 600 Pine St., hoodtocoastmovie.com. $12.50. 8:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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