The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

FRIDAY 11/23

Film: A Tale of Two Novaks

With the biopic Hitchcock opening next week, now's the perfect time to revisit his 1958 masterpiece Vertigo, which just bumped Citizen Kane off the top of the decadal Sight & Sound poll. No, I didn't vote, but I rank the film as the the most emotionally resonant tragedy of Alfred Hitchcock's long career. Jimmy Stewart is the San Francisco cop, afraid of heights, who falls for Kim Novak, loses her, and then gradually loses his mind while trying to recreate her image with another woman (also Novak, unbeknownst to him). The psycho-thriller is less overtly Freudian than, say, Psycho, but plunges deepest into the psyche of a guy so in love with a dead woman (who claims to be a reincarnation) that his urges push a live woman—who can't live up to his ideal—to her death. It's eros and thanatos dancing to a classic score by Bernard Herrmann (to say nothing of the famous Saul Bass poster), pulling Stewart inexorably into the fatal whorl of his own passion, like the spiral curl of Novak's blond hair, like the twisted tissues of his own cortex. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 6:15 & 8:45 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Sports: Do You Like Apples?

The Apple Cup, the annual football game between the rival UW Huskies and WSU Cougars, is being played in Pullman this year. On the day after Thanksgiving. Right, well, we're not making the drive either. But Wazzu doesn't play the game (during alternate years) in Seattle for nothin'. Scores of alumni are living, working, and getting shitfaced in our midst. And where will those Cougs go today to commiserate with like-minded fans? The Marco Polo, on the outskirts of Georgetown. They've got cheap beer and great fried chicken to help heal onetime Pullmanites' pain. And with the recent allegations surrounding rogue leader Mike Leach and his, uh, hands-on coaching staff, there's a lot of suffering to go around. Sure to be in better spirits today are the patrons of The Duchess, home of the vaunted Beer Hunters Club and perhaps the city's most quintessential Husky bar. But lest the Dawg Pound get too cocky, this rivalry match has a funny way of messing with favorites' fortunes, and therefore retains a ton of intrigue for any regional pigskin enthusiast. The Duchess: 2827 N.E. 55th St., 527-8606. The Marco Polo: 5613 Fourth Ave. S., 762-3964. Kickoff time 12:30 p.m. MIKE SEELY

Stage: Makers and Takers

It's that time of year again. Yet as ACT prepares to stage A Christmas Carol for the 37th time, the warm holiday sentiment follows nicely on the recent election results. Think how different we'd be feeling if Romney and Ryan had prevailed. In a swift rewrite of the Charles Dickens story, Scrooge would be a private-equity tycoon whose capital-gains taxes are cut to zero. This "job creator" would merrily outsource Bob Cratchit's position to India, paying rupees on the dollar. He'd mine coal and drill oil wells in our backyards, then pour the toxic byproducts into our streams (now that the EPA has been abolished). With Obamacare repealed on Day One, crippled little Tiny Tim would never get that operation he needs. Forget about abortion (now illegal in all the red states). Contraception? Birth-control pills turn women into whores! Those who couldn't pay their mortgages would be shipped off to debtors' prison where they belong. Oh, and voting rights? Show me your official ID card, available for a mere $10,000 at the convenient state registrar's office in Prosser. (No, there's no bus, nor any public transportation; parking provided for Bugattis only.) Corporations are people, my friend! But wait . . . it's all only a dream. Obama won, and Scrooge—played in alternating performances by R. Hamilton Wright and Jeff Steitzer—turns out to be a closet liberal! "God bless us, every one!" indeed. (Previews begin tonight; opens Sunday; runs through Dec. 30.) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 292-7676, acttheatre.org. $27–$55. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Film: Ever the Enigma

British journalist Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats) was once invited to the estate of the late Stanley Kubrick (1928–1999), who spent the second half of his life in England. There, at the behest of Kubrick's widow, Ronson began searching through the director's storage boxes for a 2008 documentary, only to discover that the boxes contained still more boxes, and the archives were such an obsessive labyrinth of notes, ephemera, and just plain weirdness that Kubrick couldn't be condensed or digested. (Ronson later wrote about the experience in The Guardian, a piece contained in his new collection Lost at Sea.) All of which is a roundabout way of addressing 2001: A Space Odyssey, which likewise resists synopsis or explanation. It's a mystery about a mystery that only expands—unlike, say, Ridley Scott's Prometheus, which gradually diminishes in depth. (Spoiler! Christ was an alien! And his buddies are pissed about that whole crucifixion thing!) Released in 1968, Kubrick's sci-fi quest was immediately labeled a trip movie and embraced by baby boomers, even if few actually dropped acid at the screenings. Four decades later, whether you believe Keir Dullea's astronaut has been transmogrified into the Star-Child or not, 2001 is a fitting memorial to its director, as aloof and majestic as the big, black monolith standing sentinel on the moon. Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 781-5755, landmarktheatres.com. $8.25. Midnight. (Repeats Sat.) BRIAN MILLER

Festivals: Hope for the Holidays

Here come the winter holidays, parents, and what are you going to do with your children? How many screaming Wii sessions must you endure before locking the brats in the closet and starting cocktail hour at noon? Thankfully, Seattle Center's annual Winterfest offers many family activities—the ice rink (in Fisher Pavilion) foremost among them. Inside the Armory, there's a model railroad to steer through a snowy village. There, too, the Seattle Youth Symphony will perform today at 12:30 p.m. Upcoming events include ice carving, music from the Seattle Men's Chorus and (separately) the Garfield High School Jazz Band, a celebration of Mexican holiday traditions, caroling, and more. And when you and the kids are finally sated with eggnog, holiday cheer, and fake snow, don't forget Pacific Science Center's ongoing King Tut exhibit and IMAX presentation of Skyfall and EMP's vintage Rolling Stones photos and leather-jacket display. They may not be wintery, but at least they're indoors. (Through Jan. 6.) Seattle Center, 684-7200, seattlecenter.com. Fees vary (many cash-only). 11 a.m.–10 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

TUESDAY 11/27

Books: Let's (Not) Get Lost

Welcome to the world of Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks (Scribner, $15, new in paperback), in which unabashed local geography wonk Ken Jennings hosts a lively and entertaining tour of those who share his interest—OK, obsession. Combining popular history and memoir in a wry, sort of Sarah Vowell-ish way (only less deadpan and more one-linery, and even funnier), the Jeopardy! champ and occasional SW contributor gives us the stories behind the map-illiteracy crisis ("43% of college freshmen can't find Canada" and all that media kerfuffle); high-dollar map dealers; the Library of Congress' Geography and Map Division and its 8,500 cabinets of maps; those who, like 14-year-old Benjamin Salman of Queen Anne, draw maps of self-invented, astonishingly detailed fantasy worlds; various clubs of travel completists whose journeys are checklist-driven (striving to visit, say, the highest points in each of the 50 states); "road geeks" who can tell you everything you'd ever want to know about the U.S. Interstate system; and the Google Earth project and its ultimate goal: visually cataloging the planet's entire surface on the scale 1 square centimeter = 1 pixel. Jennings explains the phenomenon of geocaching, and that Geocaching.com, the global game's Internet epicenter, is headquartered in Fremont. Perfect—where more than in Seattle do enthusiasms for technology and the outdoors overlap? Wide World Books & Maps, 4411a Wallingford Ave. N., 634-3453, wideworldtravelstore.com. Free. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT

 
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