The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 11/8

Stage: Barrier to Entry

Most discussions about immigration to the U.S., illegal or otherwise, have centered on the people who are here. In Amarillo, a multimedia performance work by Mexican theater company Teatro Línea de Sombra, the emphasis is on those left behind, and those who leave but never get to their destination. Amarillo creates a borderland environment dominated by a wall that acts as a shelter, an obstacle, and a grave marker. Performers embrace it, deface it, and throw themselves against it. (Through Sun.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, ontheboards.org. $25. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

FRIDAY 11/9

Film: Lettuce Entertain You

Marie I and Marie II, the unholy-fool heroines of Vera Chytilová's anarchic 1966 Czech New Wave classic Daisies, have insatiable appetites: not just for pickles, sausages, bananas, and other suggestively shaped food, but for mayhem in general. Similarly, Daisies, a dada, gaga series of hijinks, oral fixations, and aggressive regression, devours the borders between sense and nonsense. A riot of technical tricks, Daisies shifts among color, black-and-white, and tinted images, and includes a scene in which the two Maries, wielding scissors, essentially turn themselves into paper dolls. Played by non-professionals Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová, they regularly erupt in Woody Woodpecker–like laughs, their maniacal giggles belying the stealth radicals they're portraying. Think a Laugh-In-era Goldie Hawn on a subversive mission behind the Iron Curtain, times two. When not toying with older gents, their other hobbies include pyromania, rolling down grassy hills, and amateur linguistics. Their antics, purposefully wearying, reach maximum pandemonium during a gluttonous episode that soon becomes an orgiastic food fight. These two slim, mod beauties revel in their infantile defilement before swinging from chandeliers and catwalking down the buffet table. Freewheeling and unclassifiable, banned by Czech censors, the film was dedicated "to those who get upset only over a stomped-upon bed of lettuce." (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 7:15 & 9 p.m. MELISSA ANDERSON

Film: Unhappy Together, Unhappy Apart

Unfashionably late post–New Waver Maurice Pialat never exactly became a household name in the States, but his 1972 We Won't Grow Old Together is finally getting a U.S. release. The drama follows the affair—six years old and in extreme unction as the film begins—between Catherine (Marlène Jobert), a working-class 24-year-old, and Jean (Jean Yanne), a 40ish filmmaker stuck in the small time who never tires of reminding Catherine of her background while belittling her mind. The film is a procession of their breakups and reconciliations during clandestine meetings, business trips, and weekend seaside holidays—for Jean still shares an apartment with his wife, Françoise (Macha Méril), while Catherine lives with her parents. Aside from his bracing naturalism, Pialat's stylistic signature is the ellipsis; his stories don't sequentially flow so much as swerve around madly, leaving viewers the work of constantly orienting themselves. Pialat described Jean as "an anxious 40-year-old adolescent, unsuccessful in his occupation." This must be taken as merciless self-deprecation, for the movie is autobiographical in the extreme, recounting one of Pialat's failed love affairs—which he also treated as a prior novel. The constant in his characters is a compulsive bomb-throwing impulse. "No one can be happy with you," Catherine tells Jean. "You create anxiety"—which also describes Pialat and his unpredictable saboteur's manner of setting a scene. (Through Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 829-7863, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$10. 7 & 9:15 p.m. NICK PINKERTON

SATURDAY 11/10

Books: On the Brink

Local cartoonist Ellen Forney's new graphic novel is called Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me (Gotham, $20). The "marbles" refer to the ones she supposedly lost when diagnosed as bipolar at age 29. Forney depicts herself wildly and energetically: clutching a membership card to "Club Van Gogh" ("The true artist is a crazy artist"); ranting mid-mania about plans and parties and her artistic calling. As her drawings depict the sheer force of mental illness, her text conveys the confused, frightened thoughts racing through her mind. She poignantly describes the impact of her diagnosis: "Like I'd been covered by a heavy blanket, like a parrot." Forney's memoir can be difficult to read. The cycle between her ups and downs, her psychiatrist's endless experimentation with her meds, her sketches of barren trees and a figure gripping the edge of a cliff—such vignettes are overwhelmingly sad. But your heart goes out to Forney because she comes off as such an earnest, honest character. It's what makes you root for her when she finally discovers the things that make her feel better: Mom, yoga, Led Zeppelin, and neatly applied lipstick. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, spl.org. Free. 7 p.m. (Also: Elliott Bay, 7 p.m. Thurs., Nov. 29.) ERIN K. THOMPSON

SUNDAY 11/11

Sports: Marked Man

When he played for USC under the tutelage of present Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, the world seemed to be Mark Sanchez's oyster. He was a stunningly handsome, confident, and clever Latino who happened to play quarterback for Los Angeles' best football team, which meant his path to fame—and hot Hollywood trim—was much shorter than most. When he was picked fifth overall by the New York Jets in the 2009 NFL draft, he seemed perfectly groomed for the media scrutiny that comes with playing in New York. But Sanchez has proven a pedestrian pro signal-caller, and fans of the 3-5 Jets are calling for his head. His megawatt backup, Tim Tebow, gives Sanchez's critics a ready-made solution to the incumbent's ineptitude; in Tebow and Matt Flynn, respectively, the Jets and Seahawks boast the two highest-paid clipboard-wielders in the league. Whichever team loses might soon give its contingency plan a shot, as the playoffs are growing ever more elusive. CenturyLink Field, 800 Occidental Ave S., seahawks.com. $65–$425. 1:05 p.m. MIKE SEELY

TUESDAY 11/13

Books: Faith and Flesh

Long before 9/11 and and today's FOX News alarmism about sharia law, growing up Muslim-American was still a complicated but more private struggle. American-born and raised in Wisconsin, playwright/actor/screenwriter/novelist Ayad Akhtar came of age in the '80s, much like the young protagonist of his American Dervish (Little Brown, $14.99, new in paperback). His Pakistani immigrant father scoffs at fundamentalists, his mother endures her husband's philandering, and teenager Hyat finds solace in memorizing verses of the Koran, prompted in part by the arrival of lovely Mina, a kind of surrogate aunt. Mina sees beauty and peace in the book, but she's also fleeing an abusive arranged marriage back in Karachi. She inspires Hyat to visit the local mosque, where she also takes her suitor—a Jewish physician who contemplates religious conversion. What Hyat finds inside, however, is that divine verses don't always get translated properly into real life. His hormones, Mina's desires, his parents' foundering marriage—the Koran provides a refuge from these conflicts, but no answers. (Faith and flesh are also opposed in the 2005 movie The War Within, which Akhtar co-wrote and starred in, about a suicide bomber in New York.) And a side note: Akhtar's new play Disgraced, a dinner-party drama about Muslim assimilation on the Upper East Side, is currently a hit off Broadway. Bookers for ACT or the Rep would be wise to buttonhole Akhtar after tonight's reading. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, bookstore.washington.edu. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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