The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 10/13

Music: From Punk to Bifocals

Like Patti Smith, Nick Lowe was only ever punk by association. Though he served as the rough-and-dirty in-house producer for the fledgling Stiff Records label (where he created hits with The Damned and Elvis Costello), Lowe's own musical sentiments were rooted in three-minute pop and rock, always laced with a biting wit. But his musical interests were even more varied than originally presumed, which he proved by marrying Johnny Cash's daughter Carlene Carter in 1979 and producing her records in the '80s—and, subsequently, those of John Hiatt and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Throughout, Lowe's own songwriting has grown increasingly rootsy. His latest release, The Old Magic, is a smoothly pressed Americana album of pre-Beatles pop and Johnny Cash shuffles, in which Lowe comfortably assumes the role of an old crooner. Songs range from Tom T. Hall covers to the self-deprecation of "Sensitive Man" to the sarcastic post-breakup balladry of "I Read a Lot." Which, in fact, he does. The Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, thetripledoor.net. $25–$40. 8 p.m. (Repeats Fri.) BRIAN J. BARR

Tennis: After the Knees Have Gone

Substitute Advil for steroids, and the Champions Cup is something like professional wrestling. They might talk a little trash about who's the slowest, fattest, or baldest, but Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, and Michael Chang (the latter now a Mercer Island resident) are long past the point of real rivalry. (Another reason for the good feelings? No Jimmy Connors.) With nearly two dozen majors among them, these four can afford to relax, poke fun at awkward shots, and extend their rallies for the sake of showmanship. (In fact, it's expected: No one will be paying tonight to see short points.) The matches will be highly abbreviated, of course, to accommodate creaky knees and diminished lungs. Here's hoping they'll be miked, since all Seattle fans will be waiting for McEnroe—now the sport's best TV commentator—to contest a close line call. All together now: "You cannot be . . . " KeyArena, 305 Harrison St. (Seattle Center), 800-745-3000, stgpresents.org. $35–$125. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Dance: Recent History

The UW's Chamber Dance Company is known for lively reconstructions of historic repertory, but this week's program doesn't look very far back in the vaults. Relationships features work from the late '80s and early '90s, when postmodern dance turned emotional. The broader American culture was fraught with the excesses of the Reagan years and the horrors of AIDS. Inside their studios, choreographers were responding to these forces on an often personal level. Wade Madsen's Embrace, a blithe set of duets about romance, Bebe Miller's jazz-inflected end-of-the-party piece Cantos Gordos, and To Have and to Hold, a meditation on loss by Joanie Smith and Danial Shapiro, all use the pattern-making tools of postmodern dance to touch our hearts as well as play games with our heads. (Through Sun.) Meany Theater (UW campus), 543-4880, meany.org. $10–$18. 7:30 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

FRIDAY 10/14

Film: Just One More Thing

The late Peter Falk (1927–2011) made a successful Hollywood career out of being underestimated. Columbo cemented him as a TV star during the '70s, during which time he also made some remarkable movies with his buddy John Cassavetes. Tonight's double-feature Falk tribute begins (at 7 p.m.) with the better-known A Woman Under the Influence and follows with the more rarely screened Husbands (1970). Falk, Cassavetes, and Ben Gazzara play Long Island pals launched by the death of their fourth comrade-in-suburban-discontent into a bender begun at the wake and leading all the way to London. Before there were bros or bromance, Cassavetes carefully rehearsed these scenes of overlapping male monologues, wrestling, singing, and sudden exclamations of love. (Gazzara on marriage: "Aside from sex, I like you guys better.") Cassavetes stages the London hotel scenes with a bevy of hookers in long, rather heroically awkward takes, where Falk softly sings to a Chinese call girl who can't understand him. As adulterers, they're failures; and they know what familial roles await them back in Port Washington. "I'm a very ordinary guy," says Falk, and you can't tell if that's a boast or a lament. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $9–$12. 9 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

SATURDAY 10/15

Opera: Anna in the Morning

It hardly seems fair: Soprano Anna Netrebko has a knack for the most acrobatic, demanding coloratura and can set a role afire with near-Callas-like dramatic force and is, in my plus-one's words, "smokin' hot." And though some opera mavens might argue whether she lives up to her hype on the first two counts, nobody thinks she doesn't look as fantastic as everyone says. The highest honor the Metropolitan Opera can bestow on a singer is a starring role in a season's opening night, and Netrebko did just that on September 26 in Donizetti's Anna Bolena—yes, that's Italian for Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, who meets her usual tragic fate (albeit offstage). After that performance, The New York Times' Anthony Tommasini cheered her "lustrous warmth, aching vulnerability, and floating high notes" and reported that one of her arias climaxed with "fiery coloratura runs and vehement phrases, with a defiance that brought down the house." Watch Netrebko do it all again live as the Met launches another season of morning HD movie-theater broadcasts with Donizetti's 1830 showpiece. You may just lose your head, too. Pacific Place, Oak Tree, Thornton Place, Bainbridge Cinemas, and other theaters, fathomevents.com. $18–$22. 10 a.m. GAVIN BORCHERT

TUESDAY 10/18

Happy Hours: Let's Catch the Late Ferry Instead

Come fall and winter, there is no better place to warm yourself than an Irish pub. Tucked away in a discreet alley near the waterfront, the Owl N' Thistle is a cozy nook full of unpretentious folks. It's easy to feel at home at the Owl: The walls are made of exposed brick, the shelves are lined with old books, and of course there's plenty of beer. During happy hour, the biggest draw is the pub's beloved fish and chips ($3.50), two juicy pieces of cod balanced atop a heap of hand-cut fries. But the menu boasts $3 beers and $3.25 wells, too. Be warned: The food is hearty, but the drinks are stiff, making it easy to lose track of time. Just remember to grab your coat when you finally decide to stumble home—it's cold out there. Owl N' Thistle, 808 Post Ave., 621-7777, owlnthistle.com. 3–7 p.m. ERIKA HOBART

 
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