The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 12/21

Burlesque: Is That a Candy Cane in Your Pocket?

The Nutcracker opens with a holiday party; and though most productions make the party (and ballet) a family event, Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann have created a thoroughly grown-up affair (the late show is 21 and over). Land of the Sweets: A Burlesque Nutcracker presents the cream of the Seattle exotic-dance community with a series of guests at this sixth-annual holiday staging, set to Duke Ellington's variations on the original Tchaikovsky score. This year's edition features several return performers, including Waxie Moon as the nefarious Rat King and Miss Indigo Blue as both the haughty Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy. But the entire lineup of artists definitely comes down on the naughty side of the classic holiday question, which is especially nice for the audience. (Through Dec. 24.) The Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, thetripledoor.net. $28–$45. 7 & 10 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

FRIDAY 12/23

Film: Black Snow

Times are tough in Frank Capra's 1946 It's a Wonderful Life. Banks are failing. People are losing their homes. Veterans are returning from a bloody war abroad. Families are falling apart. And all these stresses converge during the holidays, when there may not even be enough money in the household to buy any presents. Sound familiar? In the GI's 41st annual screening of this seasonal classic, the distressed town of Bedford Falls could today be Anytown, U.S.A. And beleaguered banker James Stewart could be any small businessman struggling to remain solvent amid our current recession. If It's a Wonderful Life is arguably the best Christmas movie ever made, that's because it's certainly one of the most depressing Christmas movies ever made. Our suicidal hero is given a future vision—courtesy of an angel (Henry Travers)—of bankruptcy, death, poverty, and evil, unfettered capitalism (hello, Lionel Barrymore). Even his wife (Donna Reed) ends up a spinster in the alternate universe of Pottersville. Before the inevitable tear-swelling plot reversal, the movie is 100 percent grim. Yet amazingly, 65 years later, it preserves the power to inspire hope for better days ahead. (Through Dec. 29. ) Grand Illusion Cinema, 1403 N.E. 50th St., }523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 6 & 8:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

SATURDAY 12/24

Football: Assholes Finish First

Jim Harbaugh is arrogant, runs up scores, gives hyper-annoying locker-room speeches, and gloats after games. He probably eye-fucks attractive waitresses and, when not comped drinks, says, "Don't you know who I am?" And where has this attitude landed the San Francisco 49ers head coach? First place in the NFC West, with an odds-on shot to claim league Coach of the Year honors in his first year on the job. A grizzled NBA beat reporter once told me that in order to achieve greatness in pro sports, you have to be a little bit of an asshole. And Harbaugh is a whole lot of an asshole. When Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was at USC and Harbaugh was at Stanford, Harbaugh instructed his Cardinal to keep pouring it on well after the game was decided, which irked Carroll to the point where he asked Harbaugh, "What's your deal?" Our suggestion to Carroll: Next time, knee him in the fucking nuts. Harbaugh's had it coming for, like, forever. CenturyLink Field, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 800-745-3000, seahawks.com. $64–$425. 1:15 p.m. MIKE SEELY

SUNDAY 12/25

Food: Harbor From the Holiday

My favorite Christmas Day memory involves a young boy I spotted at Chicago's Spertus Museum of Judaica. The boy was lying on the floor, pounding his fists, and kicking his feet. "I'm sick of being Jewish!" he screamed. December 25 is a tough day for folks who don't trim trees, exchange gifts, or dash through the snow in one-horse open sleighs. But Jews have Christmas rituals, too: We go to the movies and eat Chinese food in restaurants jammed with Jewish acquaintances we haven't seen since Yom Kippur. When the tradition was in its infancy, chop suey joints were the only restaurants open on Christmas. Now, while an increasing number of Chinese restaurateurs annually shutter for their own Christmas celebrations, hungry Seattleites have their pick of sea scallops at BOKA Kitchen, filet mignon at Palisade, or prime rib at the 5 Point—among other dishes made without garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Yet Jews with nostalgic streaks make a point of eating chicken chow mein and fried rice at throwback Chinese-American restaurants such as China Harbor on Lake Union: The ritual has evolved from a default way of dealing with boredom to an edible expression of cultural pride. China Harbor, 2040 Westlake Ave. N., 286-1688, chinaharborseattle.com. 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. HANNA RASKIN

 
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