The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 10/3

Film: One-Way Street

Part of the "Next 50" Wednesday-night screening series at Seattle Center, Charles Ferguson's Oscar-winning doc Inside Job remains the most infuriating movie of 2010—and of the recession as a whole. It should be required viewing for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, with their eyes forcibly held open like Malcolm McDowell's in A Clockwork Orange. Narrated by Matt Damon, the film coolly lays out how deregulation, opaque financial instruments (collateralized debt obligations in particular), Wall Street greed, and complicit politicians created a perfect storm that wrecked the global economy. Trillions of dollars in assets disappeared in 2008, Lehman Brothers and other speculators were destroyed by their wrong bets and double-dealing, millions lost their jobs, WaMu was sucked under, and misguided populist anger led to Tea Party pitchforks—rather than to a call for stronger federal regulation. Even today, the Republican party refuses to heed the film's lessons. (Or put differently: After Citizens United, the GOP can't afford not to obey its corporate patrons.) And here's another fun fact about the movie: Glenn Hubbard, the asshole Columbia economist who has the "Give it your best shot" hissy fit when questioned by Ferguson, is now an advisor to Romney. His advice? Cut taxes on the rich. With one month to go before Election Day, Ferguson's film is a reminder what a clear choice we have between Mr. Inside and the poor guy in the White House who inherited this mess. SIFF Film Center, 305 Harrison St., 324-9996, siff.net. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

THURSDAY 10/4

Dance: Identity Art

Choreographer Paul Taylor is an exemplar of American modern dance, a tradition built on the idea that you dance who you are. Members of his Paul Taylor Dance Company have been dancing who he is for more than 50 years, in a signature weighted, swinging style that combines physical power with a fundamental sweetness. With the death of Merce Cunningham, the 82-year-old Taylor is really the last of his generation, but he wears this distinction easily, more interested in making dances than in crafting a reputation. The performances here, all with live music by the Seattle Modern Orchestra, include his new The Uncommitted, set to Arvo Pärt; Kith and Kin; and his phenomenal Brandenburgs, set to the famous Bach concertos. (Get there early, at 7:10 p.m., for a preshow talk by Matt Henley; the program runs through Saturday.) Meany Hall, UW campus, 543-4880, uwworldseries.org. $20–$49. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

Books: A Tale of Two Indias

Call it the Slumdog Millionaire effect. India is booming. It's the largest democracy on Earth, the wealth divide is vast, it's full of great writers, and its social contrasts make for fantastic reading. As a journalist, Tarun Tejpal has a deep understanding of how India's class and caste lines uncomfortably intersect, and his novel The Story of My Assassins (Melville House, $27.95) is based on a true incident. The muckraking Tejpal had a contract taken out on his life; so too does the unnamed narrator of his novel. Under police protection, his newsmagazine close to failing, our hero surveys the five men arrested in the plot: "The roads, bazaars, offices of India were full of men like them. Nameless men who did faceless jobs and perished unmarked in train accidents, fires, floods, epidemics, terrorist blasts, riots. At best, statistical fodder." But his girlfriend argues they've been set up by unseen powers, so he half-heartedly joins her in their defense. That's right: The would-be victim helps his would-be killers. Each of the five is given a rich, empathetic profile in Assassins; each yields a different facet of post-colonial Indian history, told from the bottom looking up. Low-caste, Muslim, pariah, petty criminal—they're part of the same modern India that Tejpal covers in Tehelka (which you can read in English at tehelka.com). I'm only halfway through the novel (at killer #2), but it's the most satisfyingly dense, Dickensian read for me this year. Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E. Prospect St. (Volunteer Park), 654-3100, seattleartmuseum.org. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

SATURDAY 10/6

Books: Class Warfare

Local historian Douglas Smith has spent five years painstakingly documenting the extermination of the 1 percent. Far from Wall Street, his Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30) chronicles the systematic destruction of that ruling elite after the Russian Revolution. "If you want to know what class warfare really looks like, read my book," says Smith, dismissing the hyperbole of our political pundits. "Class warfare is not raising someone's taxes from 30 to 39 percent. Class warfare is when the secret police come into your house, take the male members of your family, put them in prison, and shoot them." Declared public enemies and "hunted like dogs," these families were wiped from the history books under Lenin and Stalin. To tell their forgotten stories, Smith tracked down the descendants of the book's two most prominent families—the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns—and studied their letters and diaries. Former People is a family saga both sweepingly historical and intensely personal. Of these old aristocrats, says Smith, "These people [are] not just representatives of a class. They're human beings with feelings and families—people who lost everything in a way that we can't even begin to imagine, yet accepted their fates with a remarkable stoicism and enduring patriotism for the country that disowned them." Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 4 p.m. (Also: Town Hall, 7:30 p.m. Mon., Oct. 22.) ILONA IDILIS

SUNDAY 10/7

Soccer: Put a Bird on This, A-Holes

I dodged a bullet, and I don't mind admitting it. The Portland Timbers, you see, have been having a splendidly disastrous season, at the bottom of the MLS standings for most of it, which left me in a dilemma—on the one hand, an obsessive Sounders worshipper; on the other, a typical bleeding-heart, root-for-the-underdog Seattle liberal. And considering the Timbers' hapless ineptitude, their preposterous and farcical incompetence, I came this close to feeling sorry for them. What fun is it having an archrival who's the laughingstock of the league? But then came the Sounders' first away game in Portland, on June 24, at their pathetic little Jeld-Wen field (named for a minor character in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) when . . . well, I don't want to talk about it. Suffice it to say all bets were off. In their second at-Portland game last month, the Sounders battled to a draw—understandably, since by that time, with the Timbers' playoff hopes crumbled to dust, they had literally nothing else to shoot for than the Cascadia Cup (a bragging-rights competition among us and the Vancouver Whitecaps), and played to save their last shred of dignity. But tonight the Timbers play here—and will be taught their place in front of 66,000 fans (at press time; tickets are still available). (Seriously, if not for Powell's Books and the chopped liver at Kenny & Zuke's, I'd just as soon that entire stupid city fell through the Earth's crust.) CenturyLink Field, 800 Occidental Ave. S., soundersfc.com. $15–$115. 6 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT

MONDAY 10/8

Books/Music: Tuneful Reminders

Frank M. Young's new graphic novel The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song (Abrams, $24.95), vibrantly illustrated by David Lasky, reminds us that the Carters were "more than a distant footnote to the careers of June and Johnny." The book, which includes a CD, starts in 1891, when Alvin Pleasant Carter was born into a clan of struggling Virginia farmers. "You git away from that fiddle!" his mother later scolds. "That's th' devil's instr'ment!" A.P. will subsequently write his first song while deliriously ill with typhoid fever and collect traditional folk songs from his neighbors. We also meet his scandalous, cigarette-smoking, bobbed-haired wife Sara and her "gittar"-playing cousin Maybelle. Lasky depicts the Carter men with long, thin faces and the women with rounder, more feminine ones. Their backdrop is of red, curtained stages, mucky brown pigsties, bustling cities, and bright-blue open skies. They assume concentrated, blissful expressions when they sing; lyrics are scrawled in a big cursive font. Real-life events inspire the fictionalized account, as when Sara leaves A.P. for his cousin at the height of their '30s fame. At tonight's book-launch party, besides the pie (and cash bar), Laurel Bliss and Cliff Perry will play some of the Carter Family's country standards. Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., 322-7030, hugohouse.org. $10. 7 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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