The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 11/9

Stage: Sure Shooter

The many joys of Annie Get Your Gun, the 1946 musical that proved to be Irving Berlin's most successful show, do not—in case anyone was ever worried or wondering—include a thoughtful reflection on its true-life heroine. Annie Oakley was indeed an uncommon markswoman who became a sensation in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. She could shoot a dime in midair at 90 feet, but she was no coarse hillbilly. And she certainly never threw a shooting match to placate a man. (Quite the opposite: Sharpshooter Frank Butler, the appeased husband-to-be in the show, knew in real life that the ladylike Annie had unbeatable skills with a rifle, so he wisely became her personal manager instead.) So head out to Issaquah hoping not for biography or even a palatable book—revivals usually go into contortions trying to get around the authors' dated handling of Native Americans—but for the sheer pleasure of a score bursting with the incomparable thrill of unapologetic, grade-A Broadway boastfulness: "I Got the Sun in the Morning," "Anything You Can Do," and of course the industry's anthem, "There's No Business Like Show Business." Berlin is no more or less than one of our greatest composers—many say the greatest—putting in song the self-congratulatory spirit of the country and commerce he loved. (Through Dec. 31, then moves to Everett Performing Arts Center through Jan. 29.) Village Theatre, 303 Front St. N. (Issaquah), 425-392-2202, villagetheatre.org. $22–$62. 8 p.m. STEVE WIECKING

THURSDAY 11/10

Books: F-Words

"The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest/And the creatures who crawl, run, and creep/I know you're not thirsty. That's bullshit. Stop lying/Lie the fuck down, my darling, and sleep." This is a representative stanza from Adam Mansbach's smash-hit, Facebook-incubated children's book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep (Akashic, $14.95). Mansbach's profane nursery-rhyme spoof is hilarious and greatly enhanced by Ricardo Cortés' cherubic, deadpan illustrations. But underlying is the startlingly honest notion that parents hate to read children's books to their children. Which raises the question: Why not read more mature literature in order to induce sleep from your child? Wouldn't an exhaustive John McPhee dispatch on applied aeronautics coax the eyelids down a whole lot quicker—and leave your kid a whole lot smarter—than some idiotic trifle about purple elephants and shit? Try it; it could be the next parental frontier. Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7 p.m. MIKE SEELY

Film: Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Concluding a short tribute to Alexander Payne (whose Clooney-starring The Descendants opens Nov. 23), the wine-country road-trip dramedy Sideways has, appropriately, improved with age. I didn't like it so much in 2004, but it's grown on me. As middle-aged schlubs Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church go golfing and drinking in Santa Barbara wine country, discontent gradually seeps through. One a failing actor, the other a failed novelist, they both feel how "we're not getting any younger," in the words of Haden Church's TV pitchman Jack, determined to get laid before his wedding (hello, Sandra Oh). Giamatti's depressed, divorced would-be novelist Miles just wants to get drunk, but in the movie's long centerpiece, a discussion about pinot noir turns profoundly metaphoric. Miles naturally identifies with the "fragile, thin-skinned grape" (as opposed to the robust, insensitive cabernet). But, says a lovely local waitress (Virginia Madsen) in reply, you never know when wine—time in a bottle, really, a microcosm for life—has hit its peak or begun its "steady, inevitable decline." In other words, she tells Miles in her unsuccessful seduction, the glass may yet be half-full for him; there may yet be hope in his miserable life. On second viewing, after a long interval, the movie is more acutely felt if—like Miles and Jack—you've accrued more hardship and disappointment during those years. Payne and Northwest native Jim Taylor shared an Oscar for their script for Sideways, which, after the screening, may send you around the corner to Ten Mercer for a bottle of the 2002 Calera. Tell them Miles sent you. SIFF Cinema at the Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, siff.net. $5–$10. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Food/Books: Hole in the Stomach

Since local donu-preneurs Mark and Michael Klebeck have authored Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker (Chronicle, $16.95), we decided to sample their wares at an SW critics' roundtable. Here are some reviews:

Glazed Ring: "A bagel-sized halo of fluffy fried dough with an opaque coat of glaze—it's simple, straightforward, classic, and so sweet it makes me feel like I just mainlined confectioner's sugar." —Keegan Hamilton

Maple Icing Old-Fashioned: "It's like eating a tree, if that tree was made of dough and had a hole in it." —Mike Seely

Filled Bismark: "The fun of bismarks, aside from the fact that they're named after a state capital, is that you don't know what's in them if the little leaky belly-button part is obscured by powdered sugar. Ooh, lemon!" —Gavin Borchert

Apple Fritter: "So much variety, nuance, and girth, that it's a balanced breakfast of one." —Chris Kornelis

Chocolate Rainbow Sprinkles: "It's like the unholy but delicious love child of Rip Torn and Willy Wonka." —Brian Miller

Maple Bar: "Like eating a waffle with your hands, which is the best way to eat a waffle." —Caleb Hannan

Raspberry Glazed Ring: "More glazed than raspberry—a delicious way to eat the same pink treat that has sustained Homer Simpson through his years at the nuclear power plant." —Curtis Cartier

Chocolate Old-Fashioned With Maple Icing: "Takes two things that are good on their own and unnecessarily combines them, like texting while driving." —Caleb Hannan

And lastly my own review: Raspberry Bulls-Eye: Eating this shot put–sized pastry is like running a track race; and the gooey ruby-jam filling is the gold-medal prize. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, bookstore.washington.edu. Free. 7 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON

FRIDAY 11/11

Film: Secrets and Ice

Canadian director Denis Côté has an interest in individuals with "one foot outside of society," he says, as is evident in the new Curling, a crisp portrait of a solitary Québécois man and his cloistered preteen daughter. Côté calls his latest work "more mature, by accident"—a description that might be surprising coming from an avowedly independent spirit whose four prior films have used improvisation and documentary technique. (These will also be screened during NWFF's retrospective, which Côté will attend.) In Curling, the magnificently schnozzed Emmanuel Bilodeau stars as the film's retiring and secretive motel and bowling-alley handyman, Jean-François. Bilodeau suggested his own 12-year-old daughter, a non-actor, for the role of Julyvonne, Jean-François's daughter. "At first, the story was for an 8-year-old girl," recalls Côté. "It was full of clichés—she was talking to her dolls." Instead, the sallow, bespectacled, pubescent Julyvonne communes with a snowbound cache of dead bodies she finds in the woods—her primary diversion apart from the occasional pop-music-listening sessions granted by her extraordinarily protective dad. The morbid serenity of the drive-by rural setting—an ambience heightened by bleached film stock—dovetails with Côté's vision for the odd duo. "I really wanted to have these half-dead characters. They need an encounter with death in order to go toward life," he says. "[The father] is a loner among the loners. And in Quebec, it's easy to identify with a reality like that: You can hide secrets for a very long time. " (Through Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$9. 7 & 9 p.m. NICOLAS RAPOLD

TUESDAY 11/15

Books/Music: Grunge at 20

First things first. No, Mark Yarm, author of Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge (Crown, $25), is not from Seattle, our town. He's from Brooklyn, and his book is expanded from a Blender magazine story three years back. There's also no index, nor an easy way to distinguish the new interviews—250 are claimed—from the library clippings. (Quaint to think that he had to hit the Seattle Public Library for old, pre-Internet copies of The Rocket.) That said, his timing is perfect, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nevermind and grunge has faded considerably in cultural memory. And, despite its structural issues, the book is like a very extended and entertaining all-night bullshit session among everyone who mattered in the late-'80s/early-'90s music scene. Crucially, that means more than just the voices of the musicians (including SW contributors Duff McKagan and Krist Novoselic), but also of the scene-makers who managed the bands, designed the posters, photographed the concerts, drew the cartoons, wrote the reviews, and sold the records (i.e., Sub Pop) in that pre-mp3 era. Thus we hear Larry Reid, manager of the U-Men, recalling how Bruce Pavitt declared in '83, "The Seattle music scene is gonna take over the world." Reid continues, "And I just fuckin' laughed. But goddamn, guy was right." Photographer Charles Peterson remembers how "I was filching film from Auto Trader to shoot Sub Pop bands." Club maven Linda Derschang, then running a clothing boutique, laughs at the notion of "grunge fashion" making its way to Vogue. Genius art director Art Chantry looks back and declares, "There's only about 10 people who got rich in the Seattle music scene." He's not one of them, but there's more affection than bitterness in the book, which Yarm will discuss tonight with EMP curator Jacob McMurray. Experience Music Project, 325 Fifth Ave. N., 292-2787, empsfm.org. $7–$10. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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