The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 3/10 Dance: Lasting Faith Choreographer Sarah Michelson is an artist you can trust, even if you're not exactly sure what she's doing. She's brilliant at making apparently simple things bristle with half-hidden complexities and reducing complications to their essence. She puts ideas together onstage in ways that most choreographers wouldn't have thought of. Her work can thrill you even when it's making you uncomfortable—a risk she's willing to take. Devotion, unusually for her, is based on a text—one by playwright Richard Maxwell. The show's gallery atmosphere is affirmed in its choreography. Michelson breaks movement phrases into strings of forcefully struck positions, sometimes linked by passages of running. The program lists roles that include Mary, Jesus, Adam, and Eve. But Michelson's Biblical references are cryptic, surfacing almost invisibly in what amounts to a two-hour marathon. It's a feat of endurance and devotion. (Through Sun.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, ontheboards.org. $25. 8 p.m. DEBORAH JOWITT FRIDAY 3/11 Classical: Proud Populist In addition to the color, drama, and catchy tunes that have kept the music of George Frideric Handel (1685–1759) popular for centuries, he's just spiritually more approachable than most A-list composers. Compared to the unworldly—or supra-worldly—Bach, Handel "spent his life in showbiz," as Seattle Baroque's Byron Schenkman once put it; he was more interested in the extravagant, crowd-pleasing artifice of opera than in church music. (Handel's late-life switch to Biblical oratorio, a la Messiah, was no less fashion- or income-driven a career move.) Thanks to annual sing-along Messiahs, he's probably the composer most frequently performed by nonprofessional musicians. So naturally there's a strong DIY element to this month's American Handel Festival: master classes and other playing opportunities alongside the near-daily lineup of concerts by a couple dozen local and visiting ensembles. As in any responsible music festival, there'll be contemporary takes on Handel's legacy: Ben Bernstein's one-man opera The Man in the Mirror (March 16–18) looks inside the head of a tenor (Ross Hauck) preparing for a Messiah performance. Other performers and presenters include Seattle Pro Musica, Seattle Early Dance, Boston Early Music Festival, and much more (see americanhandelfestival.org). The fest's official opening is tonight's Seattle Symphony concert, in which soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian takes on the legend of Cleopatra in opera arias written for that character by Handel and a few compatriots. Benaroya Hall, Third Avenue & Union Street, 215-4747, seattlesymphony.org. $17–$70. 8 p.m. (Repeats Sat.) GAVIN BORCHERT Theater: Away From Temptation There aren't many taboos left in theater, a fact that playwright Steven Fechter was surely aware of when his 2000 play about a pedophile, The Woodsman, was first produced. (It subsequently became a 2004 movie starring Kevin Bacon.) But Fechter isn't just trying to shock us with the details of child rape—he also wants us to empathize with the rapist. And somehow, to the credit of both Fechter and the Emerald City Scene cast, we do. After serving a 12-year prison sentence, Walter (Martyn G. Krouse) struggles to reconnect with his friends and family while trying in vain to repress his desire for prepubescent girls. It's a quietly intense play that director Danielle Franich stages in an intimate black-box theater. The actors rarely raise their voices, and they don't need to; the ever-present threat of recidivism keeps our nerves on edge. Krouse delivers a sincere portrayal of a sad man fighting what he understands to be monstrous impulses. The sound designer, Kyle Thompson, also deserves kudos for creating an eerie track that haunts the play. (Through March 19.) Center House Theatre, 305 Harrison St. (Seattle Center), 800-838-3006, emeraldcityscene.org. $10–$15. 8 p.m. BRENT ARONOWITZ SUNDAY 3/13 Sports/Drinking: Green Feats Nobody gets any exercise during the winter; this is just a fact of life in Seattle. It's been cold, dark, and rainy since November; then the St. Patrick's Day Dash comes along to remind you how fat and out-of-shape you are. Fortunately this race/fun run, now in its 27th year, is accommodating of all comers, no matter how pallid and overweight. Training for the event essentially consists of the drinking you've already done all winter. Your finish time for the run/walk/race really doesn't matter. Rather, it's the degree of green insanity in your costume, and your post-race drinking, that are the measures of a true Northwest flab-lete. The course makes no sense: an out-and-back jaunt north on Aurora to Canlis; it's about four miles of ugly asphalt, doubling back to Seattle Center, where the fun (i.e., the drinking) begins. A costume contest, music, and beer garden commence at 9:30 a.m. at the Fisher Pavilion. Then you can adjourn to nearby LQA bars including Ozzie's, McMenamins, T.S. McHugh's, and even Peso's—what, you have a problem with tequila shots on St. Paddy's Day?—before remembering that you've forgotten where you parked your car. Third Avenue North & Mercer Street (Seattle Center), 800-343-4411, stpatsdash.com. $30–$35. 8:30–9 a.m. (tiered start times). BRIAN MILLER Books/Comedy: Chick Lit Adam Carolla's new book, In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks (Crown, $25), sounds like misogynistic tripe. And, like everything Carolla trots out in any medium, it kind of is. But the difference between Carolla and everyone else is that he gets away with it. His trick: It's not so much what he says as how he says it. He's full of showman's bluster, sure, and his desire to turn back the clock to when men were manlier is sincere. But he's a lot nicer and smarter than his beer-guzzling peers. He may not agree with the direction in which society is headed; but if society were headed in a direction he approved of, he'd have no material. And he knows it. It's this sly self-awareness that would make him an equally welcome guest on the Rachel Maddow and Howard Stern shows. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, bookstore.washington.edu. Free. 2:30 p.m. (Also: Moore Theatre, $28–$48, 7 p.m.) MIKE SEELY TUESDAY 3/15 Books: The Pugilist at Best Son of the late short-story artist Andre Dubus, Andre Dubus III took a roundabout, hard-knock way of emulating his famous father. First there was divorce, which left his mother, three siblings, and him living in near poverty in early-'70s New England. Then truancy, drugs, and street fights: Dubus was initially the victim, then he bulked up as a teen and began to enjoy beating the crap out of those he deemed oppressors. His violence was righteous, or so he felt as an aimless young man, a college dropout bouncing among blue-collar jobs. Of course we know from the success of his Oprah-endorsed novel House of Sand and Fog that Dubus eventually righted himself in front of a typewriter. How this occurred he relates in his remarkable memoir Townie (W.W. Norton, $25.95), in which he's candid about his bloodlust and faults, yet surprisingly free of bitterness toward a wayward father who essentially abandoned his family. Dubus the son shows a different sort of courage. As a scrawny kid bullied by Massachusetts teens, he takes up bodybuilding and boxing with the goal of "making myself into a man who did not flee," one who faced and fought his foes. In a larger sense, of course, Townie is the story of a man who learns not to flee his own wife and kids, his flawed father, and his better impulses. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, bookstore.washington.edu. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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