The Week’s Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 5/15

Cartoons: Jersey Boys

Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith are hitting the road with their new Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, which features the Clerks duo as costumed avengers Bluntman & Chronic, now fighting the League of Shitters. The animated film is directed by rookie Steve Stark, a fan who caught Smith’s attention when he tweeted a YouTube cartoon inspired by SModcast, Smith and Kevin Mosier’s weekly podcast. Mewes produced the film for only $69,000. ?That budget figure not only makes us proud, it makes us giggle,” said Smith in a press release. As Mewes told us last week, he and Smith are taking Groovy Movie on a city-by-city whistle-stop tour, following each screening with their popular live podcast Jay and Silent Bob Get Old. “You get to see a movie and also hang out afterwards,” says Mewes. “We like to involve ourselves as much as possible and make ourselves available.” Look for them in the lobby of the Moore, where plenty of merch will be sold. The Moore, 1932 Second Ave., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org. $39.50–$59.50. 7:30 p.m.

Film: Written in Blood

Dario Argento, the master choreographer of the distinctly Italian horror genre known as giallo, emerged in the ’70s as the pop-art fabulist of the slasher-movie set. He’s quite popular in Europe, but 1977’s Suspiria, a stylish, surreal, downright puzzling piece of Grand Guignol weirdness, was his only American hit. Jessica Harper is an American ballet student in a creepy German dance academy run by Joan Bennett and Alida Valli, who seem to preside over a series of bizarre murders as well. The story has something to do with witchcraft and a coven that has made its home in the sinister school, but plot was never Argento’s strength. (Now 73, he’s still working, only slower.) Suspiria’s fame comes from operatic set pieces of lovingly choreographed violence. One young woman drops through a stained-glass ceiling until a rope around her neck breaks her fall. Another swims through a room filled—for no explicable reason—with razor wire. This 35mm print, filmed in CinemaScope, will highlight Argento’s dreamy cinematography and vivid, full-blooded imagery. As a writer, Argento never really makes sense, but in a genre filled with masked brutes hacking up co-eds, he brings a dream logic to terror. Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 8 p.m. (Repeats Thurs.)

THURSDAY 5/16

Dance: Light on Their Feats

Yes, members of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo are masters of chest-hair-peeking-over-the-tutu humor, but this travesty ballet company has a deep understanding of classical dance, skewering the fundamentals of the art form as well as the stereotypes. Last month PNB gave some excellent performances of George Balanchine’s seminal Concerto Barocco, where the choreographer matched Bach’s complex musical structures with his own kinetic ones. In Peter Anastos’ Go for Barocco (among other works on the program), the Trocks take those steps just a bit further. (Through Sat.) Meany Hall, UW Campus, 543-4880, meany.org. $20–$55. 8 p.m.

FRIDAY 5/17

Cycling: Safety in Numbers

For us regular Seattle bicycle commuters, Bike to Work Day can be an occasion to condescend. Oh, you don’t ride all winter in the dark and wet? Perhaps I could give you some pointers. You really should try a recumbent. But not everyone can be hardcore about pedaling to work, and May—also dubbed Bike Month—brings better weather and longer daylight hours to encourage riding. The whole point to today’s swag-tastic commuter stations—dozens of them, from Lake Forest Park to Federal Way—and activities is to encourage the newbies, the timid and tentative, those shy about cars and puddles. Sadly, the challenge seems greater this year with the May 1 death of Lance David on the notoriously difficult pavement of East Marginal Way (another reason for the city to implement more of its Bicycle Master Plan). So while there is reason to be somber, there are also causes to be hopeful. More people are moving downtown (to South Lake Union in particular), within easy biking and walking distance to work. The waterfront rebuild and viaduct-replacement drilling make a bike the swiftest means to get from SLU to Pioneer Square, especially when you factor in parking. But the calculus of speed, safety, and convenience comes down to the numbers. If some 3 percent of Seattleites regularly ride to work, more will surely join them on the basis of perceived ridership: The more cyclists you see, the more normal it becomes. There is safety in the herd (well, peloton), and drivers also respond to that massing effect. The motorist’s old excuse “I didn’t see you” will only give way if more of us are visible. Commuter stations open from 6–9 a.m.; see cbef.org for locations. Ride to City Hall rally with Mayor Mike McGinn departs from KEXP, 113 Dexter Ave. N., 7:45 a.m. Downtown afterparty at Via6, Sixth Avenue & Blanchard Street, 4:30–6:30 p.m.

Dance: Sudden Reversal

About two thirds of the way through Olivier WeversFragments—just about the time that we decide the work will be nothing but an unadulterated romp to arias from Mozart operas—he undercuts our expectations with a solo that’s all about exposure and bent joints, like watching a newborn foal learning to stand. Wevers seems to delight in these kinds of contrasts—his own choreography is laced with them—and the work he showcases by other artists shares that non-sequitur sensibility. For Third Degree, the spring program for his dance company Whim W’Him, Fragments comes back to the repertory, joining new works by Wevers and Andrew Bartee and L’Effleure, a new-to-Seattle work by frequent guest Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. (Through Sun.) Seattle Center Playhouse (aka Intiman Theatre), 201 Mercer St., whimwhim.org. $15–$30. 8 p.m.

SATURDAY 5/18

Books: Basic Biology

It’s hard to imagine a time when Eve Ensler wasn’t obsessed with talking about the body. But as the playwright, author, and The Vagina Monologues creator relates in her new memoir In the Body of the World (Metropolitan, $25), she spent years avoiding it. That, as she recently explained by phone, was because of the sexual abuse and violence she suffered from her father. It wasn’t until 2010, while working with survivors of sexual violence in Africa, that Ensler confronted that topic. Another impetus was her diagnosis of uterine cancer. “It’s an odd thing,” Ensler says. “Would I wish cancer on anyone? Do you need to try this at home? No! There are plenty of ways to get back into your body without getting cancer, but cancer was a transforming agent in my life. I am very grateful in terms of that.” Her book is a graphic and fiercely uplifting illness memoir, but it’s also a consideration of the broader pathologies the Earth is suffering. Ensler, who turns 60 later this month, will tonight discuss her book and ongoing work to end violence against women. (Proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood.) Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., 215-4747, benaroyahall.org. $24–$500. 8 p.m.

TUESDAY 5/21

Comedy: The Backup b.f.

A year ago at this time, comedian Mike Birbiglia was represented at SIFF with his movie Sleepwalk With Me, a fictionalized account of his sleep disorder and early, struggling career on the stand-up circuit. In truth, however, Birbiglia is well past his hand-to-mouth years. He’s a headlining comic regularly heard on This American Life, and he’s in Seattle to tape his acclaimed show My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. Like Sleepwalk, it’s a long-form personal monologue, not a collection of jokes. In Sleepwalk, you may recall, he and his longtime g.f. finally decide not to marry. In this new show, he’s out on the market, reluctantly, having previously vowed, “I’m not going to get married until I’m sure nothing else good is going to happen in my life.” Birbiglia looks both forward and back at his various dating misadventures (some of which you may’ve heard in shorter form at Bumbershoot). During his formative years, he concedes, “I was not a first-round draft choice” for high-school girls to date. Thus came the horrifying realization that gave the show its name: “It’s basically about this embarrassing thing that happened in high school. I was like the backup boyfriend.” In a sense, he’s been trying to recover his self-esteem ever since, and he relates each dating mishap with equanimity—As if he was expecting things to go wrong. Birbiglia is thus kind of a hopeful pessimist, who treats disaster as his due. Seattle Center Playhouse (aka Intiman Theatre), 201 Mercer St., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org. $35. 7:30 p.m. (Wed.: 7:30 & 10 p.m.)

Books: Ragged Glory

In Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution (Viking, $32.95), a tightly spun account of the opening salvos of the American Revolution, Nathaniel Philbrick never strays far from a few themes. First, a revolution makes life hell for everyone involved. Second, the rationale for this revolution was in many ways shoddy and ego-driven. And third, many of the minutemen and provincials fighting the British didn’t consider themselves part of a revolution; rather, they somehow held the beliefs that King George III was on their side and that they were doing him honor by fighting the corrupt Parliament’s redcoats. The book does away with all the tiresome platitudes about liberty and self-determination that historians and Tea Party pundits too often repeat. Philbrick writes, “The Revolution, if it was to succeed, would do so not because the patriots had right on their side, but because they . . . had the power to intimidate those around them into doing what they wanted.”  This approach makes for a lively account of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill that’s a satisfying corrective to all the bullshit taught in elementary school and still echoed on FOX News. As Philbrick notes in the introduction, “Because a revolution gave birth to our nation, Americans have a tendency to exalt the concept of a popular uprising. We want the whole world to be caught in a blaze of liberating upheaval . . . ” As the rest of the book unfolds, his point is clear: Before we start romanticizing other people’s revolts, let’s take another look at our own. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. 7:30 p.m.

 
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