The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 8/8

Stage: In the Spirits

Burlesque producers Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann excel at excess, and their newest cabaret show, Burlesco DiVino: Wine in Rome, continues that over-the-top tradition. With references to ancient Roman bacchanals and 20th-century Italian films from Quo Vadis to Satyricon, the pair lets us all indulge in fantasies about voluptuous women and seductive men. They're calling it a "party through time," full of "arcane priestesses, paparazzi, Vespa-girls, fire dancers, and fashionistas"—certainly a guest list with possibilities. (Through Fri.) The Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, the tripledoor.net. $25–$35. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

FRIDAY 8/10

Festivals: He Really Ties the Country Together

You know what they'll be drinking at our satellite celebration of Lebowski Fest, a national phenomenon now in its 11th year. You also know that people will come dressed in costume. And you can be certain that many have memorized the entire endlessly quotable script of the Coen brothers' 1998 stoner-noir The Big Lebowski, which will also be screened this evening (after many White Russians). At a time when the country is divided and politics are so fractious, the Dude now more than ever seems a benevolent emblem of national reconciliation. On his quest to retrieve a stolen rug, nothing rattles Jeff Bridges' Dude, not a leering Tara Reid, not a lisping John Turturro, not a raving John Goodman, not a simpering Steve Buscemi, and not even shrieking performance artist Julianne Moore, who joins Bridges in a Busby Berkeley–style bowling fantasy that sums up the movie's sweet, silly spirit. To abide is to avoid extremes and unnecessary arguments. To abide is to accept. To abide is to let things slide—negativity chief among them. Maybe it's not too late for this country . . . could there be a third Lebowski Party candidate on the ballot this fall? Bring us together, Dude! (A bowling/drinking party follows on Saturday at Roxbury Lanes in West Seattle.) Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, showboxonline.com and lebowskifest.com. $15–$18 (21 and over). 8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Stage: Short and Fleet

August is generally a dead month in the arts, so it's a good time to launch the 14/48 Kamikaze Festival, a summer variant on the insta-theater fest generally held at On the Boards. For this iteration, 45 veterans of past 14/48 jamborees will begin hatching their seven new Friday shows the day before (based on a random theme). If you go Friday, you can then suggest ideas for Saturday's septet of short works—10 minutes is the preferred length. As always, speed is no guarantee of quality, but all the actors, writers, and musicians have been through this wringer before. With experience comes speed—and the knowledge that sometimes a playwright's best strategy is fewer words and more white space on the page. (Also, we'll just warn you now of another, open-air 14/48KF that'll be part of Seattle Center's "Next 50" celebration, free, Sept. 7 and 8.) Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, 1524 Harvard Ave., 1448fest.com. $20–$25. 8 & 10:30 p.m. (Repeats Sat.) BRIAN MILLER

Festivals: A Big To-Do in SLU

Who says Jeff Bezos never did anything nice? Not only has the notoriously stingy, Ayn Rand–worshipping retail magnate put money behind the cause of marriage equality, but Amazon is sponsoring this year's South Lake Union Block Party. And well the company should, since it's utterly transformed SLU with its office towers and legions of hungry workers. The neighborhood is booming, a true bright spot downtown. Today, activities begin with—what else?—a yoga class ($5–$10) on the lawn, since all those Amazonians need to learn how to relax. Following are children's activities and all manner of food from more than a dozen vendors including Top Pot, Skillet, and Tutta Bella. (Also, try the $5 sampling ticket for a little bit of everything). The Brave Horse Tavern is organizing a beer garden featuring several Northwest breweries. A burger-grilling competition from 4–7 p.m. will feature chefs from Blue Moon Burgers and other red-meat eateries, and you can sample slider-size portions of their entries. Since Amazon is famously pet-friendly, the Seattle Humane Society's MaxMobile will be showing dogs and cats available for adoption. And the party concludes at 9 p.m. with an outdoor screening of Richard Linklater's 1993 pot-hazed high-school confidential, Dazed and Confused, featuring a memorably skeezy young Matthew McConaughey (currently even more wonderfully skeezy in Magic Mike). Like the movie? You can buy it on Amazon! South Lake Union Discovery Center, Denny Way & Westlake Avenue North, slublockparty.com. Free. Noon–11 p.m. T. BONILLA

 

SATURDAY 8/11

Food Fights: Seeing Red

In case you missed out on lunchroom food fights in grade school, there's still a chance to experience the sensation of edible goo dripping all over you. In what promises to be the food fight to end all food fights, the Tomato Battle will provide 40,000 pounds of tomatoes for attendees to pummel and pellet their friends with into a near-marinara mess. The tomatoes used will be overripe local-farm surplus fruit, meaning they're probably better used as ketchup-like weapons (to ease your eco-conscious worries). Before the battle begins (at 4 p.m.), enjoy live music, an all-you-can-drink beer garden (part of the ticket price), and a costume contest. Last year's battle, inspired by the La Tomatina festival in Buñol, Spain, drew some 2,500 combatants. Remember to bring eye protection and a change of clothes—plus a jar, if you want to take some of the sauce home with you. Pyramid Brewery, 1201 First Ave. S., tomatobattle.com. $30–$50. 21 and over. Noon– 6 p.m. ALLISON THOMASSEAU

 

MONDAY 8/13

Music: All the Right Notes

If the idea seemed unlikely a decade ago, it's now inarguable: The Northwest is booming musical-theater territory. Tony winners like Hairspray and The Light in the Piazza premiered in Seattle (at the 5th Avenue and Intiman, respectively); a Tony and Pulitzer Prize went to Next to Normal, which first took shape at Issaquah's Village Theatre; and even ACT is getting into the act with its recent First Date. Smaller but still important is Contemporary Classics, which since 2003 has produced low-budget, high-quality stagings of contemporary musicals. (Its moving, unpretentious take on Andrew Lippa's john & jen was one of 2005's best shows.) The 13th installment of its New Voices series features the work of up-and-coming composers and lyricists, with 19 songs performed by some of the city's finest and a six-piece band. The long list of vocal talents includes nine members of the 5th's current production of Rent, as well as proven crowd-pleasers like Billie Wildrick, who's made her name here as several scrumptious Sondheim heroines (such as the befuddled Cinderella of the 5th's Into the Woods), and Cayman Ilika, still fresh in the memory for knocking audiences out of their seats with her rendition of "Bill" as Julie in the Village Theatre's ambitious 2009 Show Boat. With such fetching help, these new composers may be well on their way to calling themselves veteran Broadway songsmiths. Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, 1524 Harvard Ave., contemporaryclassics.org and brownpapertickets.com. $15–$20. 7:30 & 10 p.m. STEVE WIECKING

 
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