The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 1/26 Books: Don't Tell Her to Relax! Early in Claire Dederer's memoir Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26), the author queries the first in a long line of yoga teachers about a tight feeling she's having in her chest. "Oh, that's fear. Try the pose again," her teacher tells her. "Fear," reflects Dederer, "I hadn't even known it was there." She conveys the scene with her characteristic light touch, combining wisecracking humor and graceful narrative. And she takes us on a journey that is just as much about facing up to your fears—and unhappiness—as about yoga. An accomplished freelance writer and former Seattle Weekly staffer, Dederer begins Poser while living a quintessential Seattle life: an interesting career, a nice home in Phinney Ridge, and a couple of kids. But it's the everyday kind of malaise that gets to her: a marriage (to a fellow writer and SW alum) that's in a major rut; a constant struggle to carve out time for work; and a perceived need to live up to Seattle's excessively PC values. Her descriptions of this city over the past decade are often hilarious, but it's the close-to-the-bone soul-searching that will stay with you. Ravenna Third Place, 6500 20th Ave. N.E., 523-0210, ravennathirdplace.com. Free. 7 p.m. NINA SHAPIRO Books: Third Act In their post-presidential retirements, George W. Bush has written a memoir and Bill Clinton redeemed himself as a popular Democratic fund-raiser. Theodore Roosevelt did as much before breakfast, then went on safari in Africa and nearly died exploring the River of Doubt in Brazil. In his third biographical volume, Colonel Roosevelt (Random House, $35), Edmund Morris chronicles the last decade of a great American life. And what a rich decade it was: touring Europe, the Bull Moose campaign of 1912, lobbying for earlier American involvement to forestall World War I, and pushing President Wilson in a more progressive direction. Roosevelt's capaciousness today seems like a Republican Party contradiction: both hunter and conservationist, a champion of the military who also warned against big business. You can't imagine him standing on the same stage with today's puny White House pretenders Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, and Palin (she's on TLC, Roosevelt's carved on Mount Rushmore). Morris earned a Pulitzer for his first TR volume; the third is both large (more than 700 pages) and sad. Roosevelt survives an assassin's bullet but later faces mortality in Brazil. He enters the jungle as the most famous politician on Earth, but leaves—on a stretcher—an old man. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, spl.org. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER THURSDAY 1/27 Stage: Death on Her Lips In her Ohio ghost story The K of D, an Urban Legend, first staged two years ago at Balagan Theatre, playwright Laura Schellhardt's storytelling prowess is nothing short of magical, but it's sublime acting by Renata Friedman and inventive stagecraft by director Braden Abraham that make this clever dramedy work so well. Sitting on an abandoned dock, clutching her skateboard, teenage Charlotte (Friedman) begins to detail the mysterious goings-on collectively known as "The Summer of the Death." It's impossibly cheesy and delightfully creepy all at once—about as believable as a snipe hunt, yet told with wide-eyed certitude. Playing more than a dozen parts in this solo show, Friedman creates each small-town schemer and skeptic with unique vocal inflections, speech cadences, and body language. By the second act, you have a good idea of who's about to speak simply by watching her posture shift. And Abraham makes sure that her bravura performance never distracts us from the mood of a great yarn being told with high style. (Ends Feb. 20.) Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St., (Seattle Center), 443-2222, seattlerep.org. $30–$52. 7:30 p.m. KEVIN PHINNEY Film: The 34-Year-Old Virgin Until he pulled out his own tooth as the repressed dentist in The Hangover, Ed Helms wasn't a comic who'd quite emerged from the Second City/SNL/Groundlings/UCB/Comedy Central pack. Yes, he'd been featured on The Daily Show and kicked around TV from Arrested Development to The Office. But it was his evolution from mild man to wild man on that fateful bachelor trip to Vegas that earned Helms his breakthrough. Now he's starring in Cedar Rapids, being screened early as a satellite event to the ongoing Sundance Film Festival. Helms plays a meek Wisconsin insurance agent who, on his first-ever business convention in exotic, dangerous Iowa, is corrupted by the likes of Anne Heche and John C. Reilly. After the show, director Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl) will conduct an audience Q&A about his early-midlife liberation comedy. Who knew insurance was so risky? (Cedar Rapids opens in theaters on Fri., Feb. 11. And you'll have to wait until May 26 for The Hangover Part 2.) Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 781-5755, landmarktheatres.com. $15. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Dance: Dancing for Dollars From Queen for a Day to Dancing With the Stars, we love the crass combination of culture and commerce, and The A.W.A.R.D. Show! offers four nights of local performers literally dancing for dollars. Twelve different groups are entered in the three preliminary rounds, including Cherdonna and Lou, Waxie Moon, and Lauren Edson. Dance styles range from boylesque to postmodern. The winners perform on Sunday for the $10,000 prize. The tweak in this competition is you—the audience votes for its favorites, almost like DWTS. Even though there's no Applause-o-Meter, the post-show conversations can be loud and partisan. Everyone claimed to hate the format last year, and yet we all showed up. (Through Sun.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, ontheboards.org. $15. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ FRIDAY 1/28 Stage: The Doctor Is In When Balagan Theatre nabbed the rights to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog last year, the fringe troupe felt lucky, but had serious work to do before any funny business. The three-act comedy, a 2008 Internet/DVD sensation unleashed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, features wacky original pop tunes that sweeten the amusing tale of a would-be evil scientist who hopes for—what else?—total domination of the planet . . . and, sure, also the love of that cute girl in the Laundromat. ("I'll bend the world to our will," Dr. Horrible sings, "And we'll make time stand still.") Yet Whedon and Co. provided free rein without script or score to Balagan, whose founder/executive director, Jake Groshong, had his crew transcribe dialogue before devising harmonies and instrumentations. He calls the result "a hyped-up version of what you see online," with songs interspersed from Commentary! The Musical, the equally amusing and tuneful commentary track from the Horrible DVD. This helped expand the original 45-minute show to an hour and a half of hilarity. Balagan's effort paid off: The first Horrible run sold out all 15 performances. Now, through the generosity of a happy local Whedonite with a large check, the show moves downtown to a larger ACT stage. Good sense will probably have you giving in to the bad doctor, too. (Ends Feb. 12.) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 292-7676, acttheatre.org. $20–$25. 8 p.m. STEVE WIECKING SATURDAY 1/29 Stage: Making the Connection Lily Tomlin connects with her audiences. Well, usually. She workshopped an unvarnished version of her (and her longtime partner Jane Wagner's) subsequently Tony Award–winning show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe at the Rep in 1985. Today, by phone, she remembers that "You could hear diamond bracelets hit the bleachers as subscribers nodded off." Obviously, she got funnier, elevating the genre of one-woman shows well beyond one-person concerns. "I don't want to get high-minded about it, but I am interested in whatever it is that unifies us as a species," she says. "It's an affectionate thing—wanting to validate the species without glossing over what's awful about us." The always deft and dazzling Tomlin returns to Seattle with The Best of Lily Tomlin, which includes her stable of favorite characters to embody. Most famous among them is the "one ringy-dingy" telephone operator Ernestine, created back in the 1960s when, Tomlin explains, "the phone company was just hated by people. Everybody dealt with operators in those days. And AT&T was politically suspect. The subscriber was at their mercy." What's that saying about how the more things change . . . ? Trust Tomlin to know what's funny about that. 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., 625-1900, 5thavenue.org. $30–$83. 8 p.m. (Also 3 p.m. Sun.) STEVE WIECKING

 
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