The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 6/30 Books: Far From Home As we know from the global financial meltdown, bad real-estate deals will always be the cause of man's undoing. And Frank's, too. He's the cartoon creation of Jim Woodring, whose Congress of the Animals (Fantagraphics, $19.99) has the poor white-gloved feline fellow lose his house, rebuild one he can't afford, then go to work in a cruel factory to pay the bill. It's capitalism in action, only without words (or even page numbers)—just a succession of black-and-white panels that delve deeper and deeper into a dream world. Frank's adventures take place in a kind of Byzantine fun-house phantasmagoria of windows-slash-orifices, faces without faces, and extruded intestines. The spirit is like Disney meets Hieronymus Bosch, a comic surrealism in which Frank undergoes an exile and return from his beloved home. Where, waiting faithfully for him, are his two pets, which resemble the offspring of a toaster and a cat. Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER FRIDAY 7/1 Beer: The Red, White, and Beer Celebrate our country's independence by drinking your way around the globe at the Seattle International BeerFest. This three-day extravaganza celebrates diverse flavors and styles of craft beers from the Bay Area to Brussels. You can enjoy live music while sipping lambics from Belgium, pilsners from the Czech Republic, and IPAs from right around the corner. Beer will be poured from bottles and taps, with some rare draft offerings like Nøgne Ø Porter from Norway and Rainier Kriek from Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River. Among the 160 varieties of suds available this year are also a number of beers and barley wines aged in bourbon barrels; look for these at Stone Brewing, Firestone Walker, Fremont Brewing, Hopworks, and Lost Coast (to name but a few). And to sop up the alcohol, there's chow from vendors including Rancho Bravo Tacos, Dante's Inferno Hot Dogs, and Skillet. (Through Sun.) Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater, 305 Harrison St., seattlebeerfest.com. $20–$35 (21 and over). Noon–10 p.m. SONJA GROSET Film: Fireworks in CinemaScope The Fourth of July weekend means barbecues and picnics, though few will be so eventful as Picnic, adapted in 1955 from William Inge's Pulitzer-winning drama. In that booming decade of American prosperity and power, even in small-town Kansas there are worrying cracks and signs of discontent. A frustrated drifter (William Holden, never hunkier) arrives in town, looking for a job from his old college buddy; the latter intends to marry the local beauty queen (cow-eyed Kim Novak). But once she dances with Holden, in a long, sultry scene lit by Chinese lanterns, you know that Salinson, Kansas—and America, for that matter—will never be the same. The beauty queen doesn't want her tiara or rich fiance (Cliff Robertson). Her kid sister (Susan Strasberg) is a budding beatnik whose high-school teacher (Rosalind Russell) is being driven insane by impending old-spinsterhood. And Holden's rootless ex-jock declares, "I just got to get someplace in life! I just gotta!" Beneath the night summer sky in the heartland, all their thwarted longings achieve an urgency and an ache at odds with Eisenhower-era complacency. The old pieties and probities are surely being ripped apart. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$7. 6:30 and 8:45 p.m. BRIAN MILLER SATURDAY 7/2 Festivals: Ahoy There! In its 35th year, the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival again offers a surefire roster of family activities. In addition to all the vessels on display, there will be free rides on boats powered by sail, oar, paddle, steam, and electricity. Beginning today, in a 24-hour sprint, local teams will build small boats to race in a Sunday mini-regatta. Kids may appreciate the educational demonstrations of rope-making and navigation, or they can grab a nosh from one of the food vendors and listen to the live music. Parents, take note: There's a beer garden, too. And of course the three-day fest ends with the evening fireworks show on Monday, which you can view from one of the best vantage points on Lake Union. Center for Wooden Boats, 1010 Valley St., 382-2628, cwb.org. Free. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. JULIA WATERHOUS MONDAY 7/4 Fourth of July: We Did It! Not just an idle exercise in passive patriotism, The Family Fourth at Lake Union is now very much a community event. Since Ivar Haglund and (last year) WaMu/JPMorgan Chase withdrew from sponsoring the annual shindig, it's been crowd-sourced, if you will. Accordingly, the official website greets you with the giant words "You Did It!", since individuals as well as corporations (Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Starbucks, Nordstrom, etc.) provided the show's budget of more than $600,000. All of which buys you a spectacular fireworks display, which begins around 10 p.m. But get there sooner for the burgers and hot dogs, the beer garden, music from the Dusty 45s (8 p.m.), and kiddie activities and games (including a climbing wall, face-painting, and kite- making). Also, Gail Pettis will sing the national anthem. Finally, remember the massive traffic jam that invariably follows the show; there's a free bike corral if you pedal instead of drive. And Starbucks is organizing a clean-up the next morning (9 a.m.) with free pastries and coffee for volunteers. Gas Works Park, 2101 N. Northlake Way, 684-4075, familyfourth.org. Free. Noon–11 p.m. T. BONILLA Fourth of July: Patriotic Dining Clam chowder's as American as apple pie, making the iconic Ivar's Salmon House an ideal place for an Independence Day dinner. Situated on North Lake Union, it offers a picture-perfect view of the 10 p.m. fireworks show. And you've got two outdoor dining/viewing options, both featuring Ivar's classic white chowder. If you're keeping it casual (and are over 21), the Whalemaker Lounge boasts the happiest happy hour in Seattle. You can settle in at 3 p.m. and stay 'til close, enjoying sharable (and under $10) bites of popcorn shrimp and fresh oyster shooters. To keep with the summer theme, suck on some adult popsicles, made with raspberry vodka and Blue Curaçao. Or, if you want to lend some style and romance to the overhead show, stay on the restaurant side of the deck (and definitely make a reservation for outdoor seating ahead of time, like now). Share a bottle of Chardonnay with your date and dine on crab legs or salmon carpaccio; although there is no apple pie on the dessert menu, Ivar's offers fresh strawberry shortcake with whipped cream that's just as summery and all-American. Ivar's Salmon House, 401 N.E. Northlake Way, 632-0767, ivars.net. 3–11 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON Fourth of July: Drinking at a Discount Good luck making dinner reservations at a fancy waterfront restaurant on the Fourth of July if you haven't already—you're gonna need 'em. At Daniel's Broiler, the tables overlooking Lake Union were all booked weeks ago. But you can save face if you already declined your invitation to the family barbecue, because Daniel's bar operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. And, perfectly timed for tonight's fireworks show (at 10 p.m.), its second happy hour features discounted apps and glasses of wine ($4 off the menu price). You can feast on bacon-wrapped scallops, crispy artichoke hearts, and filet-mignon strips for a fraction of what you'd spend in the dining room. Your bank account will thank you. America will thank you. Daniel's Broiler, 809 Fairview Pl. N., 621-8262, schwartzbros.com/daniels. 9 p.m.–midnight (21 and over). ERIKA HOBART

 
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