Wednesday, Aug. 13
Don’t you hate going to the movies, reserving extra time in advance to park and get your tickets and popcorn, and then you have to sit through all the trailers? They seem to go on forever. It’s like a 90-minute investment of your time before the movie even begins. That won’t be a problem for this week’s installment of the “WTF Wednesdays” series, hosted and selected by SIFF’s chief curator of the strange and obscure, Clinton McClung. The movie will never arrive, because the whole evening consists of bizarre old trailers screened on 35 mm snippets from the SIFF archives. McClung calls them “a mix of the craziest and weirdest ones I can find. I plan to include: Jaws III, The Beyond, Allegro non troppo, Dirty Harry, The Lair of the White Worm, Q: The Winged Serpent, Mean Streets ...” and his list is still growing. Naturally, he doesn’t want to give away any special WTF surprises. Still, I can drop a few hints: Themes will include cannibalism, hookers returned from the grave, William S. Burroughs, and a hotel inconveniently located over the gates to Hell. (Who issued the the building permit for that?) Oh, and here’s an easy one to guess: Michael Jackson plus Diana Ross will ease on down the road. And if you need any further incentive, says McClung, “I’ll also be serving Twinkies and Cheez Whiz hors d’oeuvres.” Total program length is about 90 minutes. Remember to get a beer first and often during. SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center), 324-9996, siff.net. $6-$11. 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 15
Seahawks Vs. Chargers
Super Bowls are not won in the preseason. The Seahawks will not play a meaningful game until September 4, when the Packers come to town for the first week of the regular season. Until then, it’s all dress rehearsal, all just “practice,” as Allen Iverson would say with an inflection that makes it clear just how trivial all of it is. Behind staying healthy and avoiding overtime, winning an NFL preseason game, at best, comes in a distant third on the importance list—even for a guy as competitive as Pete Carroll, who probably has to gulp hard just to let kids beat him at Candy Land. Still, as we were reminded last week, throwing on a jersey in the morning and rushing out after work to catch the game—busting out a few “SEA-HAWKS” chants on the way, of course—feels pretty damn good, especially as defending Super Bowl champs. After losing to Dever last week, the Seahawks’ second warmup game of the year won’t really matter. And, sure, starters like Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman will probably barely break a sweat. But that doesn’t mean tonight’s home opener will be completely devoid of importance. Rather, the exhibition will serve as a needed opportunity for the team—and its fans—to get primed for the games that matter. As a wise Alaska Airlines pitchman once said, “The separation is in the preparation.” Even in the preseason. CenturyLink Field, 800 Occidental Ave. S., seahawks.com. $72 and up. 7 p.m.
Ballroom With a Twist
Though a longtime fan favorite among the professionals on Dancing With the Stars, Maksim Chmerkovskiy had never won until this past season, which ended in May. The show’s smoldering bad boy, who can go from seductive to prickly to cuddly and back in the space of one samba roll, finally earned the “coveted mirror-ball trophy” with Meryl Davis as his partner. Big surprise, you say, the Olympic gold-medal figure skater won. But Maks’ unusual and envelope-pushing choreography—which in some instances even cost the pair points for coloring outside the lines—resulted in more than a few moments that soared above the merely excellent into some new sphere of dance art I’d never before seen on that show. No reason to think he won’t bring more of that when he appears here with traveling dance show Ballroom With a Twist alongside other DWTS pros: his younger brother Val, Karina Smirnoff, and Sharna Burgess. (Also 2 & 8 p.m. Sat., 1:30 p.m. Sun.) 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., 625-1900, 5thavenue.org. $30–$90. 8 p.m.
Richard Linklater’s Boyhood was shot in the director’s native Texas in short bursts over a 12-year period—Linklater knew the shape of the film, but would tweak its script as time marched on, incorporating topical issues and reacting to his performers. This means that unlike most movies, which remake the world and impose an order on it, Boyhood reacts to the world. Protagonist Mason (Ellar Coltrane), tracked from first grade to high-school graduation, is learning that life does not fit into the pleasing rise and fall of a three-act structure, but is doled out in unpredictable fits and starts. Linklater doesn’t reject melodrama so much as politely declines it, opting instead for little grace notes and revealing encounters. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke are terrific as the parents, and Linklater’s daughter Lorelei is distinctive as Mason’s older sister. Other folks come and go, like people do. As we reach the final stages, there’s definitely a sense of rounding off the story, and a few appropriate nods toward lessons learned—the movie’s not as shapeless as it might seem. Let’s also appreciate how Linklater calls for us to reimagine how we might treat movies and childhood: less judgment, less organization, more daydreaming... (R) Continues at Ark Lodge, Sundance, Kirkland Parkplace, and Lincoln Square.
Tuesday, Aug. 19
These choristers have already got the job. Photo by Mark Kitaoka
Spotlight Night: A Chorus Line
The fall season at the 5th—and at ACT and the Rep and our other local stages—doesn’t get underway until next month, but tonight you can enjoy a free sampler of songs, plus a few dance moves, from the mostly local revival of A Chorus Line, which runs September 3-28. If you need reminding, or if your adult stage memory only begins with Cats, this is the show whose Broadway record (1975-1990) was only eclipsed by Cats. And, so far as tourist- and mom-friendly blockbuster shows go, of the kind that tour endlessly and are revived from Kansas City to Kuala Lumpur, I would argue that A Chorus Line is a superior concoction. The Marvin Hamlisch songs are both buoyant and plaintive, each suiting the 17 stories of gypsy performers auditioning before the all-powerful Zach and Larry (elements of Michael Bennett, the show’s original director, are present in both characters). If these aspiring chorines are a bit typical, almost backstage archetypes today, that’s because A Chorus Line is so rooted in Broadway tradition, a kind of codified history of the craft. It’s a show about the creation of a show, yet it never seems terribly meta: It’s far too enjoyable for that. Tonight, the 5th’s David Armstrong will introduce numbers from the show, discuss the late Hamlisch with his friend, Richard Kagan, and consider Bennett’s showbiz legacy. Among the big cast rehearsing right now, it’s impossible to guess who’ll be singing “The Music and the Mirror” or “At the Ballet.” When the show opens next month, you’ll recognize many players from the 5th’s past productions (and other local stages), plus visitor Chryssie Whitehead, a memorable Lola in Damn Yankees two years ago, who’ll star as Cassie. David Bennett directs, with choreography by Kerry Casserly. 5th Avenue Theatre. Free, but RSVP via 625-1900 or 5thavenue.org. 7 p.m.