Your Arts & Aliens Weekend Planner

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The weekend begins with a monster dripping acid from its fangs in a sci-fi classic that had its world premiere at SIFF 30 years ago:

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Your Arts & Aliens Weekend Planner

  • Your Arts & Aliens Weekend Planner

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    siggy_temp_resize.jpg
    The weekend begins with a monster dripping acid from its fangs in a sci-fi classic that had its world premiere at SIFF 30 years ago:

    Ridley Scott's director's cut of Alien--running through Tuesday--isn't much different than the 1979 original. In truth, Scott confessed of this 117-minute edition, adding back a couple of deleted scenes didn't really help the pacing. But they don't really hurt, either, not when all of us know the inexorable plot to this sci-fi classic. Long before Snakes on a Plane, there was monster on a cargo ship, and the creaky, leaky, smoke-filled old Nostromo only gets smaller and more claustrophobic as the alien parasite eats and grows. Basically unknown when she was cast, Sigourney Weaver is now the inevitable heroine as Ripley. But the movie doesn't begin that way. Instead, the slow, procedural windup pits a grumbling, resentful crew against the evil corporation that employs them. At first, nobody looks like a prospective hero. These blue-collar space drones don't want to detour to the distress beacon; they don't want to leave the ship to investigate. Only Ian Holm--because he's been programmed that way--has a cold-blooded curiosity about the creature they take on board. Would it be too much to hope for a preshow Q&A from local actor Tom Skerritt? (Followed at 10 p.m. by James Cameron's very worthy, very different 1986 sequel Aliens [through Sunday], your chance to scream "Game over, man, game over!" with Bill Paxton.) SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, siff.net. $8-$10. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

    Make the jump for Gustav Mahler, Craig Ferguson, Abraham Lincoln, and more...

    FRIDAY (cont.)

    The Shipment

    Too often, new theater exploring identity politics asks little more of its audience than respect. We end up nodding in agreement and applauding in reverence. With a mischievous, there-I-said-it spirit, playwright Young Jean Lee aims to shake up that dynamic in her theatrical pastiches. In the first of three vignettes, The Shipment opens with a dance to Semisonic's "Fascinating New Thing," moves into an MC's barbed stand-up act, and eventually culminates in a one-act comedy of manners with a clever reversal at its core. There's a certain reliance on puerile recitations of supposedly verboten words and sentiments--intended as daring cultural punctures, but no more outré than the edgier cable shows. But Lee's longer parlor comedy, where the take-home message isn't so ostentatious, carries the piece. Her trap-laying works beautifully, asking the audience to judge the content of her characters despite deliberately superficial evidence. Ironically, Lee may be at her best when satirizing the mores and neuroses of America's self-absorbed middle classes, regardless of racial politics. She excels at writing faux-naïf dialogue that reveals our flattened minds and boundless self-absorption. (Through Sunday.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, ontheboards.org. $24. 8 p.m. TOM SELLAR

    Craig Ferguson

    America has been good to The Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, so good that he took a cram course in our history and became a U.S. citizen, as the genial comic relates in American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot (Harper, $25.99). Of course there's a long tradition of Scots immigration in this county, though usually it was to dig coal, not work on a Drew Carey sitcom (Ferguson's big break in the '90s). Along the way, he's written screenplays and a well-received novel (Between the Bridge and the River). But it's his second career as a charming TV host that's made him a happy resident of Los Angeles and newly minted American. Tonight, he'll talk about the bad old days of booze and drugs and comedy back in England and why he jumped the puddle to a new continent. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

    SATURDAY

    Seattle Symphony

    The last time Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony played Mahler's Symphony No. 5, by coincidence I had just heard Michael Tilson Thomas conduct it with the San Francisco Symphony. Both performances were thrilling, and the differences were illuminating. Thomas' reading was about clarity and grandly exquisite architecture: Apollonian rather than Dionysian, like Haydn writ large. Schwarz seems to take to heart Mahler's dictum "The symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything"--his Fifth is thundering, voracious, extravagant, even a bit chaotic when it ought to be. And I always maintain Schwarz has a special knack for pacing and phrasing in strings-only works, especially a romantic, yearning, push-pull, sweet-bitter piece like this symphony's slow fourth movement. To open, Isabelle Faust solos in Mendelssohn's suavely refined, justly popular Violin Concerto. (Also: 2 p.m. Sun.) Benaroya Hall, Third Ave. and Union St., 21504747, seattlesymphony.org. $17-$100. 8 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT

    Wondrous Cold

    Penguins and dinosaurs, together at last! The former are photographed by Joan Myers in the traveling Smithsonian show Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey (through Nov. 29), and the latter are represented by fossils that UW researchers have added to the exhibition. Myers actually emphasizes the landscape over the adorable birds, and the frozen terrain is more diverse than you might think. (The famous Dry Valleys resemble Arizona deserts.) And she shows the human traces on the frozen continent, including old bases used by explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Scott. McMurdo Station is like an ugly assemblage of Wal-Mart stores, and Myers also finds some lingering damage from the 1982 Falklands War. Human heroism and folly are preserved forever in the ice. But Antarctica wasn't always icy: We also see petrified wood from its jungle days, and the dinosaur bones collected by the UW's Christian Sidor and other paleontologists. He and others will attend today's opening, along with composer Cheryl Leonard, who's created an audio collage recorded among the ice floes. And, yes, penguins. Burke Museum, N.E. 45th St. & 17th Ave. N.E., 543-5590, washington.edu/burkemuseum. $6-$9.50. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

    SUNDAY

    Abe Lincoln in Illinois

    Why now? Why a 70-year-old play about a president who died 144 years ago? Robert E. Sherwood's drama Abe Lincoln in Illinois won the Pulitzer Prize, and now director Sheila Daniels dusts it off for Intiman's "American Cycle." Erik Lochtefeld portrays the future wartime leader, who was raised at the fringe of the American frontier, when, during the early 19th century, the American Midwest was essentially its far West. The country lawyer, largely self-educated, eventually became a successful corporate lawyer who represented railroad interests against shipping along the Mississippi. Entering politics in Illinois, he lost more races than he won. He was, in short, the longest of long-shot candidates for national office. Sherwood ends the play before Lincoln took office and faced the Civil War, but he wrote it as America again stood on the brink of war. Roosevelt--whose administration Sherwood later joined--was like Lincoln elected in peacetime, then forced to serve as commander in chief. Neither leader sought war. Both were defined by it. (Through Nov. 16) Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St., 269-1900, intiman.org. $32-$37. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

    The Pink Panther

    Introducing his bumbling Inspector Clouseau character, Peter Sellers is pretty damn funny in the 1964 series opener to the Panther series, which got much worse in a hurry. David Niven and Capucine make some arch, elegant foils to the ever uncouth Clouseau, and Sellers has some astonishing moments of physical comedy--even when he's not torturing his Gallic vowels. Today, it's hard to believe director Blake Edwards was ever this good. And let's not even discuss the Steve Martin remakes. (PG) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com, $6, (Through Weds.), 6:45 & 9:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

     
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