The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 4/6 Comedy: Almost Almost Live! In supermarket checkout-stand magazines like People and Us Weekly, there's always a section along the lines of "Stars: They're Just Like Us!" Which, of course, they most definitely aren't—only the most ridiculously egotistical celebrity (we're lookin' at you, J-Lo!) would have a domestic servant wipe her nose or go jogging on her behalf. But former Almost Live! host John Keister actually is quite a bit like us. He buys his Kleenex at the same Safeway you do, wears grass-stained Nikes, commutes via public transit, earns his keep as a schoolteacher, and even does some demo work for his girlfriend's restaurant-design enterprise. During its 1984–99 run on KING TV, Almost Live! didn't make Keister rich, but he remains a revered figure among the young(ish) People's Republic of Komedy comics who put together the weekly Laff Hole showcase. Tonight, Keister—who still regularly performs stand-up—will recreate much of the beloved show onstage, where he'll be joined by some of the "Lame List" dudes and Pat Cashman's son Chris, of "Sluggy" fame. He'll also deliver a contemporary version of "The John Report" and potentially slap high-fives with some white guys in the crowd, depending on how drunk they get. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000, chopsuey.com. $10 (21 and over). 9 p.m. MIKE SEELY THURSDAY 4/7 Books: Who's That Knocking? When was the last time you borrowed a cup of sugar from your next-door neighbors? Do you even know their names? Living in an upstate New York suburb, Peter Lovenheim realized he was comfortably ensconced among total strangers. Shocked by a murder/suicide in a nearby household (they seemed like such a nice couple!), he sets out to meet his neighbors. The result is In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time (Penguin, $19.95, new in paper). Less academic and more random than Robert Putnam's famous Bowling Alone, this book's sociology doesn't quite live up to its premise, but it provides valuable and inspiring examples of breaching social barriers. The Internet, work pressures, family commitments . . . we've all got a thousand reasons for hunkering down at home and shunning eye contact with those across the driveway (or apartment hallway). But in his thoroughly curious and compassionate account, Lovenheim gets over his own reticence to form new social relationships and bonds. It requires a little effort, he discovers, to get past the front door. But once inside, we humans are intrinsically wired to form new social connections. Our modern isolation is the product of artifice, technology, and real-estate values. Yet Lovenheim shows how the price of a new friendship or acquaintance is completely free. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER FRIDAY 4/8 Baseball: A Few Wins, but a Big Loss The Mariners will be missing someone in 2011, and we don't necessarily mean a DH capable of belting 40 homers and driving in 100 runs. The great Dave Niehaus died this past November after spending every one of the Mariners' 34 seasons in the broadcast booth. But while the voice of the franchise will be missed, he will not be forgotten. Before the home opener against the Cleveland Indians (the series continues through Sun.), Seattle rapper Macklemore will perform his Niehaus ode, "My Oh My," and the team will pay homage to the man widely regarded as one of the great announcers in baseball history. The M's will also hold ceremonies for last season's award winners (Gold Gloves for Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro, and a Cy Young for Felix Hernandez) and hand out "Rally Towels" to the first 20,000 fans, presumably so people will have something to dry their eyes with when they hear "Break out the rye bread and the mustard, Grandma!" pumped over the stadium speakers one last time. Safeco Field, 1250 First Ave. S., 888-622-HITS, mariners.mlb.com. $7–$95. Pregame 6:30 p.m., game 7:10 p.m. KEEGAN HAMILTON Dance: Fond Farewells There's nothing like going out on a high point. George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream is stuffed with great dancing roles up and down the pay scale, from corps de ballet to principal dancer. Appropriately, Pacific Northwest Ballet's revival of this fan favorite (staged by Francia Russell) will showcase some of the artists who are leaving the company at season's end. Ariana Lallone, Jeffrey Stanton, and Stacy Lowenberg previously announced their departures. This past week, Olivier Wevers joined that outbound group (he'll make the shift from dancer to full-time choreographer). But for one final enchanted fortnight, they will again portray lovers and fairies, cavaliers and Amazon queens, as the Mendelssohn score transports us into Shakespeare's mysterious forest. (Through April 17.) McCaw Hall, 301 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), 441-2424, pnb.org. $27–$165. 7:30 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ Comedy: Do Be Insulted Here's a recent tweet from comedian Jeffrey Ross: "Sad to hear about the passing of Elizabeth Taylor. Best piece of ass I ever had." As "Roastmaster General" for the New York Friars Club, Ross has made a career out of saying hilariously inappropriate things to and about famous people. (To David Hasselhoff: "At least Hitler knew when his career was over!" To Janeane Garofalo: "Your last movie was so bad I fired my agent!") Celebrity roasts aside, Ross' own stand-up is genius in a wholly different way. His punch lines hop between offhand remarks delivered in a dry, no-big-deal tone ("As a black man, I feel I have to vote for Barack Obama") and plenty of insults to the audience. If you have front-row seats, watch out. (Through Sat.) Laughs Comedy Spot, 12099 124th Ave. N.E., Kirkland, 425-823-6306, laughscomedy.com. $25–$30. 8 and 10:30 p.m. BRIAN J. BARR Film/Stage: Monsters and Millionaires To be sure, Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle has had his missteps (see: The Beach, A Life Less Ordinary), but since the 1994 breakthrough of his paranoid crime tale Shallow Grave (9:30 p.m. Sat.) his humanist verve has united a remarkably broad body of work. He's covered swift zombies, Scottish junkies, sci-fi yarns, and—in his most recent picture—poor James Franco stuck in a canyon and cutting off his own arm in 127 Hours. This weekend's retrospective of double features begins tonight with Trainspotting and 28 Days Later and concludes Monday with a live-recorded English stage production of Boyle's acclaimed new Frankenstein (7:30 p.m., $15–$20). You'll have to guess which of its two stars plays which role, since Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller—remember him from Trainspotting?—are alternating between monster and creator. SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, siff.net. $5–$10. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER TUESDAY 4/12 Dance/Books: The Long March You might want to go hear Jacques d'Amboise discuss his new memoir, I Was a Dancer (Knopf, $35), because he was a protégé of George Balanchine and a New York City Ballet star for close to 35 years. Or you might want to hear about his founding of the National Dance Institute, where he's taught thousands of inner-city kids since 1976. Or his prior adventures in Hollywood musicals like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Or his trek on the Appalachian Trail, and the dance he taught to the people he met during his hike. But alongside these dancy stories, you'll learn about his growing up in New York City alongside people like Tiny Tim (yes, Tiny Tim) and Quentin Keynes. He's led a big, boisterous life, written an equally ebullient book, and tonight will be talking with Pacific Northwest Ballet director Peter Boal about it all. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

 
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