The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 9/15 Food & Drink: Transatlantic Accord If Washington state grows the best apples on the planet, as we claim, there's no reason we shouldn't have a local hard cider as good as England's classic Strongbow, which is dry, spiky, and crisply refreshing in all the right ways. But in the course of my professional research, which consists of a) going to bars and b) drinking lots, most Washington ciders are too syrupy and sweet. If anything's going to change my mind, it's Washington Cider Week (continuing through Sunday), which includes tonight's Ciders Gone Wild tasting. Erika Tedin, of host Full Throttle Bottles, is herself a massive hard-cider enthusiast, and she strongly disagrees with my assessment of local ciders. For a robust, dry, English-style cider, she recommends Westcott Bay's Traditional Dry (from San Juan Island) and Red Barn Cider's Burro Loco (from Mount Vernon). Both cideries will be represented tonight, along with Chimacum's Finnriver and Salem's Wandering Aengus. And if you still want to try the English stuff, come back on Friday for Invasion of the British Ciders, when Strongbow will be served. Full Throttle Bottles, 5909 Airport Way S., 763-2079, nwcider.com. Free. 5 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON FRIDAY 9/16 Film: Teutonic Sci-Fi There are movies that make news and movies that are news. World on a Wire is one of the latter—a virtually unknown, newly restored, two-part 1973 tele-film directed by R.W. Fassbinder at the height of his powers. Predicated on the notion of a computer-generated reality populated by "identity units" who believe themselves human, the movie looks back at The Creation of the Humanoids, forward to The Matrix, and directly at Fassbinder's notoriously cult-like power over his acting ensemble. A power-elite conspiracy yarn played out on two levels of reality—virtual and real, both suffused with free-floating paranoia—World on a Wire hardly lacks for narrative (though it runs a sloggy 205 minutes). But its meaning is largely delivered via an economical yet stylish mise-en-scène. This is corporate hell— the blandly futuristic, neon-lit look leans heavily on molded plastic furniture and ubiquitous TV monitors. Strategically placed mirrors suggest the character's illusory or divided nature, while the alienated performances—alternately declamatory and uninflected—encourage the thought that the real world, too, is rife with "identity units." And the improbably romantic ending is pure 21st century—who would have imagined Fassbinder an avatar of Avatar? (Through Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$9. 7 p.m. J. HOBERMAN Happy Hours: Double Deals Japonessa—Spanish for "Japanese girl"—is a hip downtown sushi restaurant that attracts as many businessmen as fashionistas and turistas. (Rumor has it that pint-sized moguls Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen once made an appearance.) But you needn't run a clothing empire to feast on Japonessa's artfully prepared plates. And the double-daily happy hour here is nothing short of outrageous. Beer, sake, and wine cost $5 and under. Rolls and small plates are $6.50 and under, with sides like edamame and miso soup just $1. (Be sure to order both the Super Bad Boy Roll and tempura brie.) Best of all, unlike at most Seattle sushi bars, the chefs at Japonessa will gladly substitute brown for white rice, so you can indulge in happy hour but stay Olsen-twin svelte. Japonessa, 1400 First Ave., 971-7979, japonessa.com. Noon–8 p.m. & 10 p.m.–close. ERIKA HOBART Film: Satan on Your Trail By no means will I argue that Race With the Devil is the best of the three old Warren Oates movies being screened this month at the GI. (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia also begins today, followed in a week by Two-Lane Blacktop.) But in 1975, as a young filmgoer, it was the most terrifying thing I'd seen in a theater. Oates and Peter Fonda (plus wives) are piloting a luxury RV from San Antonio north toward an Aspen ski vacation. En route, they stumble upon a band of virgin-sacrificing Satanists—and the chase is on! Now the lumbering RV isn't very fast, and the Satanists aren't terribly effective (they use clubs and hidden rattlesnakes as weapons). But Race is, nonetheless, a race, complete with a car-smashing highway pursuit, fiery crashes, narrow escapes, and Fonda blasting away with his shotgun atop the RV. And here's what I didn't grasp in '75: The Manson murders (and cults generally) were still seared on the American mind, and Race fuses that threat with Nixonian normalcy. The film is creepiest as Oates and company begin to realize that the helpful squares they meet on the road may not be so helpful or square. Evil can wear a mask of small-town probity. (Weekends through Sept. 24.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 11 p.m. BRIAN MILLER SATURDAY 9/17 Books/Yoga: Bent in Every Direction Suzanne Morrison was a 20-something wisecracker with a smoking habit when she left Seattle in the winter of 2002 for a Bali retreat and found herself "stranded on an island, among piss-drinkers." That two-month trial of health-through-urine did not, happily, end her personal journey. The fun of her new book Yoga Bitch (Three Rivers, $15), which first took life as a solo stage show in 2007, lies in the way its author never lets go of her association with either of the two words in the title. Subtitled "One Woman's Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment," this Bitch isn't afraid to arch an eyebrow at the "airy-fairy horseshit" and "yogier-than-thou" attitudes anyone is bound to encounter when reaching for spiritual consciousness. But Morrison is spiritual and she does reach . . . well, you'll have to read the book to find out what her version of enlightenment entails. Or follow her blog. Or catch her in person tonight. Self-promotion can stretch a soul as much as downward-facing-dog. Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 2 p.m. (Also: Third Place, 7 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 22; and Mercer Island Books, 7 p.m. Fri., Sept. 30.) STEVE WIECKING MONDAY 9/19 Books/Stage: Unmarried With Many Husbands Wendy Wasserstein—who won a 1989 Tony and Pulitzer for The Heidi Chronicles—died of lymphoma at age 55 in 2006 after a lifetime spent wondering what women expect of themselves . . . and gay men. In Wendy and the Lost Boys: The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein (Penguin, $29.95), Julie Salamon provides an intriguing biography that considers the people who played a role in shaping Wasserstein's psyche. Among them: one helluva merciless mother and formidable Yale classmates including Christopher Durang and Terrence McNally (gay and gay). Wasserstein established herself as a female voice in 1977 with Uncommon Women and Others—also a great title, as it turned out, to describe the luminous list of actresses compelled to portray her characters on stage and screen: Meryl Streep, Joan Allen, Madeline Kahn, Julianne Moore, et al. Most of Wasserstein's work is of local interest because it incubated at the Seattle Rep under the guidance of director Daniel Sullivan. More generally, Salamon delves into her many "husbands," gay men often woven into her plays. There's a vexing fixation in fiction on those "lost boys" whom she clearly adored, but couldn't marry. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, spl.org. Free. 7 p.m. STEVE WIECKING

 
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