The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 6/7

Books/Ornithology: Avian Delinquency

Unless you're a neuroscientist, it's the anecdotes of feathery misbehavior that are most enjoyable in Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans (Free Press, $25). This is the second corvid book from locals John Marzluff (author and UW professor) and Tony Angell (illustrator). Their first, 2005's In the Company of Crows and Ravens, clearly prompted a flood of odd crow stories from readers, which Marzluff now augments with CT scans, serotonin levels, neural mapping, and so forth. But here's what you remember (and wish were on YouTube): Up in the North Cascades, one bird systematically strips the rubber from windshield wipers on parked cars. In Montana in the '60s, a gifted mimic drove dogs crazy by squawking "Here, boy! Here, boy!", drawing a pack of confused mutts. On Puget Sound, crows plan in advance by placing mussel shells to be cracked open by cars driving off ferries. And everywhere crows are observed, they have a penchant for play—sledding on snow and sliding down rooftops, for instance. And yes, some of those videos are starting to show up on YouTube. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. (Also: Third Place, 7 p.m. Mon., June 11.) BRIAN MILLER

FRIDAY 6/8

Film: Love and Other Delusions

Call it bobby-sox noir? The 1968 Pretty Poison begins as a kind of Billy Liar or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, with Anthony Perkins portraying a mentally unstable young man released from the loony bin to play spy games like a big kid in an adult world. While he's not entirely harmless (a vindictive streak leads to a little industrial sabotage), he's an innocent compared to his new high-school sweetie. Tuesday Weld comes on as all blonde bounce and wide-eyed excitability, but behind her schoolgirl smile is a cagey, bored girl finding an outlet for her dark imagination. "The world is no place for fantasies," his probation officer warns Dennis, and Sue Ann is the biggest fantasy of all. There's a feral edge to Weld's teenage femme fatale, while Perkins grounds the dark satire with a quiet heartbreak and disillusionment. (The real world is far more cruel than his made-up Cold War conspiracies.) Director Noel Black underplays the more caustic edges of Lorenzo Semple Jr.'s script, even as he foregrounds the poison pouring—quite literally—through this pretty little town. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 7 & 9 p.m. SEAN AXMAKER

Stage: Out of the Box

Two weekends of fun are a given at the annual NW New Works Festival, only you have no idea what form that fun will take. Seventeen artists or ensembles will debut fresh material, including tonight's Sunshine by Portland choreographer Tahni Holt. Her two dancers (Lucy Yim and Robert Tyree) will perform a duet augmented by stacks of cardboard boxes, the empty emblems of our relentless consumption. Yet they're vessels for the imagination, too. Remember how much enjoyment you got as a kid playing with those brown cardboard containers? You could hide in them, climb on them, cut holes in the sides and wear them, and more. Parents saw only the dull contents and didn't value the carton. But Holt surely remembers how humble boxes are an invitation to play, a void to fill. Emptiness becomes an asset. (Through June 17.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, ontheboards.org. $14–$30. 8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Film: Like Father, Unlike Son

Red River (1948) is a frontier epic, the sweeping tale of a journey that can't be made and the story of a son forced to battle the father he loves. Montgomery Clift had his breakout role opposite cowboy icon John Wayne, playing the adopted son of the self-made cattle baron, and the clash of acting styles is electric. Iconic elder statesman Wayne wears his character like buckskin, dominating the screen. Yet upstart Method actor Clift matches him with burning intensity. Director Howard Hawks' measured style leans more to Wayne: He seems to let the characters take the story along with them. Yet behind that easy pace, a tale of madness, betrayal, and vengeance simmers beneath the harsh sun. "I never knew the big sonofabitch could act," director John Ford famously said of Wayne's performance. True, but the real revelation was Clift; his internalized, psychologically driven approach arguably pushed Wayne to reach for colors he'd never brought to a role before. Red River is the first of three Clift titles being screened for Gay Pride Month, followed by From Here to Eternity (June 15) and Wild River (June 22). Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, seattleartmuseum.org. $20–$23 series, $8 individual. 7:30 p.m. SEAN AXMAKER

SATURDAY 6/9

Film: Both Kinds of Weather

Jacqueline Goss is an experimental filmmaker whose shorts employ free-ranging associations, 2-D digital graphics, and apposite tidbits to create funny, distinctly personal miniature histories of ambitious mapping projects. The Observers, her lean 67-minute, 16mm first feature, is composed of a year in the life at the heart of another such endeavor: the weather observatory atop Mount Washington, N.H., famed for its vortex-like winds. The location can only be determined through context clues, for no audible dialogue is spoken onscreen in this solitary film. Sectioned into ice-rimmed winter and summer shifts, this diptych "stars" two female caretakers/climatologists—though, only incidental protagonists, they freely wander in and out of frame. In the downtime, of which there is much, they may practice tying knots, tooting recorders, or trying to open a mysterious code-locked briefcase by process of elimination, before they just as mysteriously rebury it under a cairn. At some moments, the tedium loosens you to melt into the landscape, and you swear you can hear the moss on the rocks start talking. (Six other titles in the N-E-X D-O-C-S series run Fri.–Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$10. 8 p.m. NICK PINKERTON

SUNDAY 6/10

Dance: Fond Farewells

Pacific Northwest Ballet's season-ending encore program is always a fun evening, made of exciting bits and pieces from prior shows. But it has a sober side as well, since it's often the last hurrah for dancers leaving the company. This year the attrition list is relatively short, but the losses will be substantial. Abby Relic has made much of the opportunities she's had as a corps member, whether as a wide-eyed Red Riding Hood in Sleeping Beauty or one of the passionate ensemble in Vespers. As a principal dancer, Lucien Postlewaite has put his stamp on most of the works in the current repertory. He'll leave a significant dent in the roster by joining the Ballet de Monte Carlo this summer, but before he goes, we can see him once more in two works by Balanchine: an excerpt from Prodigal Son, which really launched his career here, and Apollo, which he only started performing this spring. From a callow youth to a young god, it's been a pleasure to see Postlewaite's development, and it's sad that we won't be able to continue to watch his growth. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), 441-2424, pnb.org. $30–$175. 6:30 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

 
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