The Pick List: This Week's Recommended Events

Thursday, Aug. 21


Brian Posehn
For some reason, Posehn is not among the talented roster of comics at Bumbershoot this year. Fortunately, he periodically tours through Seattle, and I’ve always felt his humor is a good regional fit for the Northwest. Balding, bearded, gentle, yet physically imposing (at 6´6˝ and God knows how many pounds), he’s like a librarian trapped in the body of a biker. Because of his distinctive appearance, “I stick out in a crowd,” he jokes. Unfortunately, he says, this means that people often associate him with the pervert peering in a motel window rather than a comic with a long resume cliché. And Posehn’s TV credits are extensive, ranging from Just Shoot Me to The Sarah Silverman Program to New Girl. His jokes reflect his cultural obsessions: He loves comics, comic-book movies (preferably watched while naked), the original Star Wars, heavy metal, and pot (though not necessarily in that order). He also has an ambivalent relationship with technology, he says. The iTunes music service had him pegged as a metal-head until he ironically ordered Wham’s “Last Christmas” to confound a friend. Says Posehn, “iTunes doesn’t know what to think of me anymore.” The store’s next suggestion for him? “Maybe you’d like balls on your chin.” Posehn almost sounds hurt describing the experience: “I thought we were friends, iTunes.” And now that cannabis is being retailed freely in our state, expect to hear plenty of jokes about that—or see him in line at the store. (Through Sat.) Parlor Live Seattle, 1522 Sixth Ave., 602-1441, parlorlive.com. $25–$35. 7:30 p.m.


Friday, Aug. 22


Seattle International BeerFest
The potheads had their celebration last weekend at Hempfest. Music fans will gather next weekend for Bumbershoot. And what lies in the middle? That great American pastime, beer. Sure, pot is legal now, but beer is so much more convenient. There’s no smoke or smell, and it comes in so many more varieties. This weekend’s gathering of suds connoisseurs will feature more than 200 varieties of brew, from Belgium’s Kasteel Rouge to our own Elysian Brewery’s Dragonstooth Stout. There will be live music ranging from rockabilly (the Echo Devils) to New Orleans horns (Tubaluba Brass Band), so you can lounge on the grass to listen—or nap. And remember to pack plenty of cash for extra beer tokens and food trucks representing Skillet, Pinky’s Kitchen, and other vendors. Dogs are welcome. Kids are not, this being a 21-and-over event. But it’s worth noting the rest of the family can roam free on the Seattle Center grounds, while only the Fisher Pavilion and lawn is where the taps will flow. (Through Sun.) Seattle Center, seattlebeerfest.com. $30. Noon–10 p.m.
T. Bond


Level Five

Belkhodja as a game designer. Icarus Films
I will not tell you this is an easy picture to watch, but Chris Marker’s 1997 essay film—never before released in the U.S.—is required viewing for cinéastes who revere his La Jetée, Sans Soleil, or Grin Without a Cat (don’t everyone raise your hand at once). Level Five putatively concerns the creation of a video game about the WWII Battle of Okinawa. Its architect has disappeared—dead? suicide? absorbed into the Web?—and left his girlfriend Laura (Catherine Belkhodja) to complete the project. She speaks to us (or him) in direct address, and the details of the game—stifle your laughter about the War Games–quality screen graphics—give way to the film’s more important main themes: grief, loss, and the representation of historical tragedies. As with other works by the late French director (1921–2012), Marker makes generous use of old stills, newsreels, and documentaries; the later include John Huston’s Let There Be Light and TV works by Nagisa Ôshima (In the Realm of the Senses), who’s also interviewed here. (Marker filmed much of the Japanese footage in ’85; and that’s his voice you hear addressing Laura.) The philosophical ruminations and digressions of Level Five variously allude to William Gibson, virtual reality, and the shaping of the world by the camera that frames it. “Level Five” itself may mean death or the transcendence from history. Even then, says Laura, there’s no forgetting history’s great blights, because the computer has become our collective memory; and it will outlive us all. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$9. 6:45p.m.
Brian Miller

The Samurai Project

Mrak and company in rehearsal. Photo velocitydancecenter.org
Local dancer Elia Mrak is very comfortable in that awkward place between standing upright and laying flat on the ground—he seems made to hover somewhere in the middle. With an eclectic movement background that includes martial arts and b-boying, he’s been making physical challenges that double as dance. Now he’s found two partners who share his aesthetic. Working with Argentinian Martin Piliponsky and Mexican Viko Hernandez, the trio have inaugurated The Samurai Project, which will take them up and down the Americas. The first stop is here in Seattle, where they’ve been refining their fight and flight skills. Velocity Dance Center, 1621 12th Ave., 351-3238, velocitydancecenter.org. $12. 8 & 10 p.m.
Sandra Kurtz


Monday, Aug. 25


Mariners vs. Rangers
Barring an unforeseen injury (and when it comes to the Texas Rangers’ terrible luck this season, no injury can really be called “unforeseen” at this point), tonight’s contest with the M’s will mark the triumphant return of... Mike Carp! (*Crickets*) What, you’re not tickled with anticipation over the chance to see Carp, the red-bearded onetime prospect with a fishy name who bounced between Triple-A Tacoma and the Mariners’ lineup for the better part of four years before the M’s unloaded him to Boston early last year for $17 and a premium bucket of sunflower seeds? That’s cold. And Carp is probably used to it, seeing as Boston let him walk (not literally) to Texas earlier this month; now he finds himself playing first base for a team decimated by injuries and nearly 20 games below .500. (Of course, Carp did get a World Series ring out of his one year in Beantown, and his beard did flourish.) Still, if you can’t get pumped up for the return of Carp for this three-game stand, you should be able to get excited about the M’s, who as of this writing hover 10 games above .500 and have a real shot at playing meaningful baseball in September for the first time in years. (Through Wed.) Safeco Field, 1250 First Ave. S., 346-4000, mariners.mlb.com. $10 and up. 7:10 p.m.
Matt Driscoll

 
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