The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 2/29

Comedy: Can We Talk?

Just three days after terrorizing the A-listers walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards, the woman who invented the phrase "What are you wearing?" makes her Benaroya debut. Love her or hate her, there's no denying that Joan Rivers, whose comedy career spans more than 50 (!) years, is a show-business legend. If you giggled rather than gasped when she described Nicole Richie, in a metallic silver dress, as "a former drug addict who dresses like a needle" at the Golden Globes last month, then her stand-up routine is bound to amuse. And she's taken to Twitter! Granted, most of her tweets are promotional (supporting her mother/daughter reality-TV show Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best? on WE tv and Fashion Police on E!), but it shows that the 78-year-old refuses to slow down. And here's our favorite bit of recent Rivers trivia: Asked who her best lay was, she cheerfully confessed to a one-night stand with Robert Mitchum. That is a life well-lived. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., seattlesymphony.org. $29–$55. 8 p.m. ERIKA HOBART

Books: One Is the Liveliest Number

You've heard it all before: Still not married? How can you live in such a small apartment? Don't you want kids? Have you even tried OkCupid? Don't you worry that you'll die alone, no one will know, and your corpse will be eaten by your cats? But in fact, as the city with the third-highest percentage of people living alone (41.3 percent, per the U.S. Census, behind Atlanta and D.C.), Seattle may be leading a new demographic trend. And according to NYU sociology professor Eric Klinenberg, singletonism— to use the scientific term—is increasingly the new norm. There's nothing solitary or unhealthy about it, he says in Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (Penguin, $27.95). "Living alone seems to encourage more, not less, social interaction," he writes. And furthermore, contrary to stereotype, "Internet use does not seem to cut people off from real friendships and connections." Beyond the obvious factors of real estate, divorce, empty nests, the death of a spouse, etc., single-person households are ideally suited to urban density and the modern economy. Large families were once necessary to run the farm, but today, all those new Amazon office workers in SLU may prefer to chart their own path from cubicle to condo. Klinenberg addresses both real estate and marriage in his book. For instance, 22 percent of American adults were single in 1950, before the Pill, the sexual revolution, and no-fault divorce. And today? Nearly 50 percent of adults are unwed—some unhappily, sure, but not everyone is miserable and pining for a partner. And you wanna know some other advantages of the single life? Your computer password can always be "password." You can talk to your cat without shame. Unlimited shower time. No arguing over the TV remote. The toilet seat is always in the position you left it. And you can drink straight from the milk bottle without reprimand. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

THURSDAY 3/1

First Thursday: Half-Buried

John Grade is an artist who likes to work with scale, texture, and time. His sculptures tend to be large and weathered, and Fold is no exception. Ultimately bound for a new King County Library branch in Duvall, the wood-and-resin lattice is the second piece in his Fold series (three are planned). About eight feet high, with an undulating surface, it makes you think of honeycombs and tiny windows—like the carapace of some weird undersea reef creature, perhaps. (Grade actually calls them "termite sculptures.") Half the sculpture has been planted in the Arizona soil; the plan is for the two sections to be reunited in Duvall in 10 years. Decay is often part of Grade's process, so in another decade we'll be able to see how the two halves fit. But for tonight at least, the unburied half is cleaner and closer than Arizona. Also on view: a 36-foot chalk-rubbing mural by Brian Benfer. (Through March 30.) Gallery4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Place S. (Tashiro Kaplan Building), 296-7580, 4culture.org. Free. Opening reception: 6–8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Stage: Chew the Mic

Last year, the oddly spelled Portland performance group tEEth won the grand prize at On the Boards' AWARD show with Home Made, in which members hid under a sheet covering the stage and a tiny camera revealed them in a series of tender maneuvers projected on a large screen. The old childhood trick of reading under the covers with a flashlight was transformed into sensual exploration. Led by choreographer Angelle Hebert and sound designer Phillip Kraft, tEEth returns to OTB with the new Make/Believe, applying the same spirit to a different set of materials: A microphone becomes a penis (or a bone), and its electrical cord is a tether, a net, or a noose. (Through Sat.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, ontheboards.org. $20. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

Dance: Dance of Conscience

José Limón believed that dance should reflect both the heights and depths of human experience—works like There Is a Time, drawn from Ecclesiastes, and The Moor's Pavane, based on Othello, illustrate his concerns. But Limon died in 1972, and since then his Limón Dance Company has been searching for new takes on such humanist themes. To be performed tonight and Friday, the latest addition to its repertory is Come With Me by Rodrigo Pederneiras. (Saturday's show is Limón only.) Come With Me is inspired by The Ladies in White, Cuban women who publicly protest the imprisonment of dissidents. Pederneiras, known to local audiences as the choreographer of the ebullient Brazilian troupe Grupo Corpo, is now addressing more serious topics. Limón would approve. (Through Sat.) Meany Hall, UW campus, 543-4880, uwworldseries.org. $20–$45. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

SATURDAY 3/3

Cabaret: Doom and Tune

Reviewing then-teenage Nellie McKay's debut album in these pages in 2004, I fretted that—despite her mischievous instincts and prodigious gifts—she was maybe a bit too much. I knew she had a bright future, but I was wrong about one thing: Being a bit too much is the effusive artist's whole point. She's since covered Doris Day (on a cheeky tribute CD) and performed Kurt Weill (as Polly Peachum in the 2006 Broadway revival of The Threepenny Opera). In her lounge act–cum–social commentary I Want to Live!, which shouldn't be missed in this one-night stand, the deceptive sunshine of McKay's voice lights the darkened skies of the 1958 film about Barbara Graham, a thief and prostitute put to death in California's gas chamber in 1955 for the brutal killing of a Burbank widow. (Susan Hayward emoted her way to an Oscar in the movie.) McKay's song cycle, backed by a jazz quartet going pop, finds room for all kinds of odd surprises in making murder go musical. She sings her way to the Beatles in the show: Just before she's found guilty, McKay's Graham plucks "I'm So Tired" on a ukulele in her prison blues, moving from sweet to sour with a furious cry of "I'd give you everything I've got for a little piece of mind!" Kirkland Performance Center, 350 Kirkland Ave., 425-828-0422, kpcenter.org. $27–$30. 8 p.m. STEVE WIECKING

SUNDAY 3/4

Film: After the Frontier

In Lee Anne Schmitt's documentary The Last Buffalo Hunt, Terry Albrecht guides hunter/tourist expeditions in southeastern Utah's Henry Mountains, which were until 1872 called the "Unknown Mountains." This far edge of the frontier, the last unnamed mountain range in the United States, is where the weathered cowboy assists his clients in shooting the area's few remaining bison. After more than 30 years in the business, Albrecht vows, every season, that this one will be his last. Riding with Albrecht's outfit, Schmitt surveys a barren landscape dotted by gas stations and, in one case, a lonely pair of road signs pointing the way to Paradise and Last Chance. As her camera plainly shows, the Wild West has long since been tamed, evident in a caricature of Buffalo Bill presiding over a casino-resort or cowboys frozen in animatronic effigy at a rodeo trade show. The film's critique of the region's commercialization is most pointed when we see a squealing middle-class woman fail to deliver a kill shot. Although she treats the hunt as if it were an amusement park, she's not the only one. The Last Buffalo Hunt parses the remains of Western conquest, the boom of expansion contracted into a desiccated, ghostly history. (Schmitt will attend the screening, part of a weekend series that also includes her California Company Town and two programs of shorts.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$10. 8 p.m. GENEVIEVE YUE

 
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