The Weekly Wire: The Week’s Recommended Events

Wednesday 5/22

Classical: Bicentennial Bash

So devoted is Seattle Opera to composer Richard Wagner—on whose operas the company built a world reputation—that they’ve made his birthday an annual office holiday. And for Wagner’s 200th (to the day—he was born May 22, 1813), the celebration’s going public. SO hosts a community sing-along tonight of choruses from Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Das Liebesverbot (“The Ban on Love,” his early opera based on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure), and—since Verdi’s 200th is coming up October 10—everyone’s favorite, the rousing “Libiamo” from La traviata. Plus there’ll be two contests: best costume for any character from the Ring; and best rendition (open to both men and women) of Brünnhilde’s “Ho-jo-to-ho!” war cry. Seattle Center Armory. Free. Sign up to join the chorus at seattleopera.org/singalong. 7 p.m.

Friday 5/24

Film: Lodged in Her Head

Apartment living is clearly detrimental to your health and soul in the films of Roman Polanski. Rosemary’s Baby, The Tenant, even Carnage make the case. Repulsion (1965), his English-language debut, presents his first such victim of urban claustrophobia. What might’ve been simply another British-born ’60s Psycho knock-off—as his producer, a specialist in softcore exploitation movies, wanted—instead becomes a thriller with the sensibility of a Continental art film. The horror is not in the murders perpetrated by an unbalanced young woman (Catherine Deneuve) lost in her nightmares: It’s in the loss of self, as alienated immigrant Carol disconnects from London and spirals into her phobias. Deneuve’s child-woman is both fascinated and terrified by sex, unnerved by the mere touch of men, and her rape nightmares/fantasies suggest repressed memories of abuse. But Polanski doesn’t explain, he simply explores with a haunting soundtrack and eerie imagery (the walls split with a thunder-crack, hands reach out from the hallway like a Cocteau nightmare, etc.). And in presenting the murders from her terrified POV, Polanski even engenders a little sympathy for the perpetrator. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 7 & 9 p.m.

Sunday 5/26

Television: C’mon!

Fans of the canceled-too-soon Arrested Development are beside themselves now that Netflix has not only resurrected the series after a seven-year hiatus, but is debuting all 15 episodes simultaneously. (There goes your weekend.) From the looks of the trailer, the story of the dysfunctional Bluth family—Buster, Lindsay, George-Michael, George Sr., Gob, Lucille, Maeby, Michael, and Tobias—picks up a few years after the show left off. George Michael (Michael Cera) is now in college, George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) appears to be out of jail, and Michael (Jason Bateman) is ever at the center of the family’s unraveling drama, still driving the Stair Car. (Yes, they get hop-ons.) Much has evolved in the cast’s professional lives since 2006—like Cera’s indie-film career and Bateman’s edging closer to Hollywood’s A-list for put-upon heroes. But the dynamic ensemble, aided by the snappy writing of producer Mitchell Hurwitz and crew, still has an enduring hold on viewers. In a world where everything changes, you can count on the Bluths not to. A spinoff movie is also promised for later this year. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always money in the banana stand. Streaming on Netflix starts today.

Tuesday 5/28

Stage: The Permanent Revolutionary

“He was Africa’s James Brown, its Bob Marley, its John Lennon: bandleader, icon, hedonist, moralist, would-be politician, and full-time troublemaker,” writer Dorian Lynskey observed in his compendium of protest music, 33 Revolutions per Minute. “He” is Fela Kuti, and the most remarkable thing about Fela!, the 2010 Tony-winning musical experience based on his life, is its ability to conjure all the many sides of the man and, especially, his music. Which was, in his own words, “a weapon.” And what a weapon. Director/choreographer Bill T. Jones, who co-conceived the show and co-wrote its book, puts the audience inside the Nigerian icon’s personal entertainment compound for some kind of timeless Afrobeat concert. We hear the rousing protest songs he used to fight tyranny from the late ’60s right up to his 1997 death from AIDS. The lead role is double-cast (with Adesola Osakalumi and Duain Richmond), and when you watch the sweat worked up in one night’s fierce revelry, you’ll know why.  Though Jones and his creative team haven’t quite figured out how to incorporate the biographical scenes—including those with former Destiny’s Child pop star Michelle Williams as the woman who opened Kuti’s eyes to revolution, and a long sequence about his beloved mother—you won’t complain. The show is alive: part sex, part history lesson, and wall-to-wall-to-roof-raising song and dance. It’s the jukebox musical as performance art. (Through Sun.) The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org. $20–$85. 7:30 p.m.

 
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