The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 9/13

Film/Music: The Hendersons Will All Be There

For a certain kind of baby boomer, identifying all the faces on a certain 1967 Beatles album was an important measure of musical knowledge. With its totemic songs today loaded onto your iPhone, somehow the packaging of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band doesn't seem so important now. But it was, as Beatles scholar Scott Freiman will discuss tonight in his multimedia presentation Deconstructing the Beatles: Sgt. Pepper. Using clips and musical samples, he'll explain how John, Paul, George, and Ringo—with producer George Martin—added so many layers to the songs, using only a four-track recorder. The sheer density of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" or the B-side-concluding "A Day in the Life" was unprecedented in the '60s. Sgt. Pepper became a dorm-room staple and a perennial on all those Rolling Stone greatest-album lists (back when boomers paid attention to such lists). Today, a teenager with a Mac could create something as complicated, if not so melodic, as Freiman will explain (he has Yale degrees in computer science and music). Screening afterwards—at 9:30 p.m. with separate admission—is the 1978 folly Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, starring Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees, undisputedly a terrible musical that Freiman will help introduce. SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, siff.net. $10–$15. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Stage: The Misanthrope

Vashon Island's UMO Ensemble is anything but a straight theater company. Using grotesque costumes and broad gestures, its members practice a French-derived brand of "buffoon theater" in which fools mock their betters—and us in the audience, too. UMO's new show, Maldoror, is based on writings by the 19th-century French poet Lautréamont, about a nihilist who despises and forsakes mankind. Mr. Maldoror opposes God, polite society, and conventional morality. He's a dark Romantic figure in the tradition of Milton and Shelley, one who burns his angry candle at both ends. Indeed, Lautréamont died at 24, and the 1869 Les Chants de Maldoror was his only work, later taken to heart by the Surrealists and the Dada movement. There was no plot—it's more a rant or manifesto of malign intent. (In one passage, Maldoror describes having sex with a female shark; we look forward to that scene.) Scott Bradley directs the production, with music by Andre Sanabria. (Through Sat.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, nwfilmforum.org. $12–$15. 8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

FRIDAY 9/14

Dance: Avant-Garde Vacation

In his newest work at OtB, called Néo-Fiction, French performance artist Christian Rizzo is going to play tourist. He and collaborator Sophie Laly traveled around the Northwest, video cameras in hand, gathering footage for their examination of physical presence in nature. In past local visits, Rizzo has made a ritual out of dropping marbles on a table and sent a soigné woman pacing back and forth across the space in impossibly high heels. So it's guaranteed that this new work will be miles from the usual vacation movies. Local cellist Lori Goldston will provide live accompaniment to this world premiere, one of several Gallic events pegged this fall to SAM's Elles: Pompidou exhibit (opening Oct. 11). On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, ontheboards.org. Free. 8 p.m. (Repeats Sat.) SANDRA KURTZ

Dance: Three in One

This weekend's Fall Kick-Off series at Velocity Dance Center offers three different programs to give you a taste of coming attractions (and a look at what people did on their summer vacations). Tonight and Sunday feature showcase performances by a mixed lineup, while Saturday's Big Bang is a self-explanatory party time with more than 30 artists performing simultaneously throughout the space. And if that's not enough excitement, Velocity will also present its annual Dance Champion Awards on Saturday. This year's honorees are choreographer and presenter Aiko Kinoshita and stalwart volunteer and donor Jeremy Steward. Velocity Dance Center, 1621 12th Ave., 351-3238, velocitydancecenter.org. $10–$20 ($50 weekend pass). 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

SATURDAY 9/15

Books: Get Rich Quick

We haven't read Martin Amis' new novel Lionel Asbo: State of England (Knopf, $25.95), but we share his fascination with that parvenu class of lottery winners who become overnight celebrities. Amis was arguably born famous but earned his subsequent literary acclaim (perhaps too much of it—one reason the Brit now resides in Brooklyn). Not so his new hero, who changes his name to the anagram for Anti-Social Behavior Order. Lionel is a petty criminal and ex-con with a soft spot for family. Suddenly transported by his windfall to loftier social circles, he becomes a tabloid item with a poetess/PR-expert girlfriend. Meanwhile there's a nephew with whom he enjoys a rather Pip/Magwitch relationship. The New York Times calls Lionel Asbo "a listless performance," a kind of lesser reprise of Money or London Fields. The Guardian hates it, calling the novel "depressingly bad, a stinker," but the English are always hardest on their own—particularly when they leave. But wait! There's always the user reviews at Amazon! "Astonishingly original" reads one online rave. Maybe Amis will find an equally receptive audience tonight, here in the land of Kindle. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, spl.org. Free. 4 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Film: On the Beach

Hi, I'm Ernest Borgnine—or rather, the ghost of Ernest Borgnine. You may know me from McHale's Navy, From Here to Eternity, The Simpsons, or those skin-care infomercials I did for my wife Tova. I may be dead now, but I've got something important to tell you. Remember when you saw me in Marty a few weeks back at the Grand Illusion? They were honoring me, a month after my death, because that's part of the nonprofit's mission—to show 35mm classics like Mr. Hulot's Holiday, which is part of tonight's annual fundraiser for the member-run theater. Now I don't know much about French cinema—hell, I'm just an old, broken-down World War II veteran-turned-actor-turned-ghost. But I like to laugh, and Jacques Tati makes me laugh. And you don't have to speak French, or read the French subtitles, since Mr. Hulot never says nothing! (No dialogue to learn—why didn't I ever make a movie like that?) The doors open an hour before each show for socializing, and your ticket includes one drink. Tell 'em Ernie sent ya. Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $25. 6:30 & 9:30 p.m. THE GHOST OF ERNEST BORGNINE

SUNDAY 9/16

Dance: Dancing to the Stars

Most of the year, the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra is heard but not seen. Musicians play down in the orchestra pit while glamorous dancers use the stage above. But for tonight's Celebrate Seattle program, PNB's contribution to the World's Fair 50th-anniversary bash, the musicians will emerge for a program focused on outer space. PNB music director Emil de Cou was previously the music director for NASA (!), and he'll lead the PNBO through "sci-fi favorites and celestially themed classics"—meaning Alan Silvestri's Back to the Future score, Holst's "Saturn" and "Jupiter" movements from The Planets, and bits of Beethoven's Ninth and Stravinsky's Firebird. In addition, PNB dancers will perform parts of Apollo and Circus Polka. And there are even visiting astro-celebrities! These include astronaut Cady Coleman, Nichelle Nichols (Uhura on the original Star Trek), and NASA's Bobak Ferdowsi (the guy with the Mohawk we saw during the recent Curiosity rover landing on Mars). Videos will also document the space-age fervor that informed our Century 21–themed World's Fair. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), 441-2424, pnb.org. $25–$115. 6 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

TUESDAY 9/18

Books/Music: On Their Way Up

In addition to contributing to every newspaper in town, including ours, music writer Gillian G. Gaar has written four books about Nirvana, so it's fair to call her an expert on the subject. Her latest is Entertain Us: The Rise of Nirvana (Jawbone, $19.95), an account of the band's early days, the years leading to the global explosion that was "Smells Like Teen Spirit." That means few pages on subjects like MTV, heroin, and, refreshingly, Courtney Love. Like Gaar's other books, Entertain Us instead concentrates on blow-by-blow accounts of studio sessions and analyses of set lists at early house shows and now-defunct venues in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia. Gaar researched thoroughly, but also relates some sweet and personal moments. We read how Kurt Cobain, barely able to pay the rent, kept smashing guitars onstage, so Krist Novoselic got into the habit of finding left-handed replacement guitars whenever he walked by a pawn shop. And later, Novoselic warned wearers of the band's "Nirvana: Fudge Packin, Crack Smokin, Satan Worshippin Mother Fucker" T-shirts: "Don't wear that to my mom's house, 'cause if she saw that, she'd throw me out!" Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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