The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 12/5

Stage: A Tiny City of Grief

There are friendly clowns and scary clowns, puppets of the Sesame Street variety and those ominously operated by Kyle Loven. In his somber new one-man show Loss Machine, Loven says he'll be performing behind a kind of box that represents a lost city—like a smaller stage analogue to Atlantis or Eldorado. He describes the enclosure as "a combination of a Rube Goldberg–esque machine and Louise Nevelson boxes. I refer to it as a structure, a series of openings or smaller viewing portals." Through them, he'll manipulate various puppets that convey more a mood than a story. "The show is focusing on the emotional journey of loss," he explains. "There isn't a main character. It's about multiple characters sharing a single emotional arc." Nor is there any dialogue in the roughly hour-long production. "It's more nonverbal storytelling." The city/box is meant to look old and decayed, as if made from unearthed artifacts, he says. "I do a lot of shopping in antique stores and Value Village and online. Some stuff I find in the street." Unlike Loven's past performances (including in the Northwest New Works Festival), he says, "This is the first time that I'm stepping into the darkness and not being a live part of the show. My hand is a character; the idea is that I'm just a manipulator." (Through Mon., Dec. 10.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9886, ontheboards.org. $20. 8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

THURSDAY 12/6

First Thursday: Home Is Where You Photograph It

Raised in a part-Polynesian military family, young local photographer Mario Lemafa grew up all over the place: Hawaii, California, Oregon, and here. In his first solo show, itinerancies, he tests the old Thomas Wolfe adage about going home again. Lurking like a stranger, camera in hand, he shoots all the places he's lived in the past decade: Yesler Terrace, military housing, and cheap courtyard apartments that ring leaf-filled pools. (He presently resides in Black Diamond.) During this holiday season, when families ritually gather at table and hearth, it's worth remembering how home is a provisional notion—a place we create with those near to us. Some of Lemafa's companion videos will be fictive vignettes in which the artist returns to haunt his old homestead, perhaps like a ghost of Christmas past. (Through Dec. 28.) Gallery4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Place S. (Tashiro Kaplan Building), 296-7580, 4culture.org. Free. Opening reception: 6–8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

FRIDAY 12/7

Dance: Winter Perennial

Nutcracker is set in a mid-19th-century family party, but it's really only been an American holiday tradition since the 1950s, when George Balanchine staged a complete production for the New York City Ballet. Since then, though, it's become a mainstay of repertories everywhere, bringing in the widest audiences, from once-a-year family outings to devoted balletomanes. Pacific Northwest Ballet's production, with choreography by Kent Stowell and those sets by Maurice Sendak (seen on bus ads and billboards all over town), pulls out just about every theatrical trick in the book, mixes them with some nonstop dancing, and wraps it all up in Tchaikovsky's beautiful score. If Nutcracker is your holiday tradition, you'll be in good company here. (Through Dec. 29.) McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), 441-2424. pnb.org. $25–$130. 7:30 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ

SUNDAY 12/9

Film: Disco 007

Sure, there are better films in the Festival of the Archives (including Lawrence of Arabia, All About Eve, and Alien), but how many have a Lotus Esprit sports car/submarine, an awesome theme song by Carly Simon, a giant, metal-toothed villain named Jaws, a supertanker that swallows other vessels, the greatest skiing stunt ever filmed, and the Pyramids? All that and more is featured in Roger Moore's third James Bond movie, and the best of his seven: The Spy Who Loved Me, in which he and sexy Russian agent Barbara Bach search for two stolen nuclear subs. Don't get me wrong: Daniel Craig and Skyfall are far, far better, but this 1977 romp is good cheesy fun in all the right ways. Moore, then 49, was increasingly reliant on stuntmen to do, well, everything besides sip martinis and leer at the ladies. His smug puns and double entendres are both insufferable and hilarious, delivered better than Austin Powers ever could. (At a desert oasis, staring into the cleavage of a harem beauty, he purrs, "When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures." Oh, James!) The globe-trotting franchise also visits the Alps and Sardinia, where Bond encounters his nemesis, a kind of evil Aristotle Onassis/Jacques Cousteau figure who pushes clunky buttons on what looks to be a TRS-80 computer. One of Bond's own gadgets is a Seiko digital watch that prints ticker-tape messages. The epaulets on his wide-lapeled polyester sport jacket are also emblems of their time—and John Barry's famous musical theme even gets a disco update. Sacrilege, maybe, but you can dance to it. (Festival runs Fri.–Sun.) SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, siff.net. $5–$7. 11 a.m. BRIAN MILLER

MONDAY 12/10

Books/Politics: A Race in Rhyme

When Calvin Trillin was forced for health reasons to cancel his Seattle reading a year ago, the race to the White House was still gathering steam. The delay had its benefits, as he's now completed Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse (Random House, $16). His poems, mostly rhymed couplets, are chronological. After a 2008 prelude ("In stories from the capital we read/That now the GOP was close to dead"), we march through the long, eventful Republican primaries ("No longer was it fair to introduce/Michele [Bachmann] as 'Sarah Palin minus moose' ") all the way to the debates and Election Day, which the final poem celebrates. There are prose interludes, too, as when Callista Gingrich hilariously tries to convince Newt she's not dying of dengue fever—even as her husband is looking for a younger, non-dying wife number four. As a veteran writer for The New Yorker and beyond, Trillin has an eye for colorful scoundrels and buffoons; Romney and Obama are actually the book's palest figures (one has no poetry to him, the other too much). Instead it's Bachmann, Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and company who most amuse the author. (In another prose pause, Santorum tells his kids of the Wii console, "It is Satan's tool and is thus unclean to the touch.") The Tea Party just makes Trillin irate, and Bill Clinton makes him nostalgic (see: colorful scoundrels, above). After Clinton's rousing convention oratory, writes Trillin of Obama's follow-up: "Upstaged? Well, yes, but by a speech with flair/And not by Eastwood and an empty chair." Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

TUESDAY 12/11

Film: Gimme Shelter

George Suyama is the only local architect featured in Coast Modern, which feels like a slight. Where are Paul Hayden Kirk, Roland Terry, and Paul Thiry? Still, despite such omissions, this handsome Canadian-made documentary survey is like an issue of Dwell put to film, with guaranteed appeal for aficionados of shelter mags and real-estate porn. And we do see Frank Lloyd Wright's Brandes House over in Sammamish among other iconic structures of the past century, from L.A. to the Bay Area to Vancouver. Arthur Erickson and B.C. are well represented, no surprise; and there's Canuck writer Douglas Coupland, who praises "the absence of history" during that postwar moment where small-open-and-glassy seemed a viable path for the housing industry. (Instead we got Levittown.) There's a strong element of nostalgia here, given architecture's present moment of crisis after the subprime-backed megamansion bubble. The once-glamorous profession of Richard Neutra and Pierre Koenig now faces an era of austere urban density. Suyama says we have to "pull back and live with less things." Does that mean smaller budgets? Don't count on it. But we can still dream. (Through Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 829-7863, nwfilmforum.org. $6–$10. 7 & 8:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

 
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