Thursday, Jan. 9
Broken promises, abuse, poverty, religious indoctrination—these mark the childhood of Seattle author Ricks, set down in her memoir Hippie Boy, A Girl’s Story ($15, Berkley Books). Instead of sensationalizing her Mormon-raised youth in Utah, Ricks tells her story plainly, in the very matter-of-fact way a child sees the world: observing things, then describing her feelings. After her feuding parents eventually divorce, Ricks spends summers with her father—who gives her the nickname “Hippie Boy” because “my long, often tangled brown hair reminded him of the hitchhikers he picked up during his road trips”—and helps him with his traveling tool-sales business. For Ricks, sleeping in trucks and eating junk food along the interstates of the Midwest is a luxury compared to her home life, where she suffers an abusive stepfather and a controlling mother, worrying about her siblings caught in the fray. During her teenage years, Ricks is ever giving her heart away, only for it to be broken time and again. (Meanwhile, her sister runs away the day after graduating from high school.) Most touching is what the author takes from the experience: the value of forgiveness, which is always the first step to freedom. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com. Free. 7 p.m. (Also: Secret Garden Books, 7 p.m., Fri.; and University Book Store, 7 p.m., Mon.)
Friday, Jan. 10
Jerry Springer: The Opera
Back in 2003, when this show opened to rave reviews in England, its talk-show hero still had—as a cultural figure, not the actual man—some infamy left in him. The Internet was newish to some, and all those years of cable-TV outrageousness had made Springer a herald of sorts of our even crasser age of TMZ and Kardashian. Now Balagan Theatre is reviving the musical and perhaps introducing Springer (played by Brandon Felker today) to millennials with no memory of the man. The disgraced former mayor of Cincinnati, who suffered hooker scandals and worse, Springer is here the lord of his trash-TV domain until he’s abruptly dragged down to Hell, called to account before Satan (and later Jesus). Implicit in the show—which is definitely a musical, not an opera—is a backhanded critique of our very American love for lowbrow antics and lurid behavior. Springer doesn’t pander so much as honestly serve the junk his audiences crave. The humor and music suggest a British kinship to South Park; Springer and company are nothing but venal, yet never less than tuneful. Shawn Belyea directs this production; the score is by Richard Thomas, with book and lyrics by Thomas and Stewart Lee. (Through Jan. 26.) The Moore, 1932 Second Ave., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org. $17.50. 7 p.m.
Running Friday and Saturday for two weekends, the 14/48 Festival is very much a case of cheap theater you may not remember later. But it is an experience you can recommend afterward to friends who aren’t, you know, theater people. Given that 14 new scripts are written and rehearsed in just two days, the results are never going to be Shakespeare. Yet it can be a relief to escape the expectations of serious, important drama, especially during the post-holiday doldrums. And the program, running about two hours with intermission, can also be a preview of talent you’ll see during the coming year. The plays won’t likely be restaged, but most all the cast members will be back on every stage in town. Names you’ll recognize include Hannah Mootz (so excellent in the Rep’s Bo-Nita last fall), Scott Ward Abernethy (part of the WET ensemble behind last summer’s Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys), and Allison Strickland (seen in New Century Theatre Company’s The Walworth Farce last October). ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 292-7660, acttheatre.org. $10–$20. 8 & 10:30 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 13
Blue Is the Warmest Color
In Abdellatif Kechiche’s three-hour Cannes prize-winner, our main character is Adele, played by the splendid Adele Exarchopoulos. She begins as a high-school student and grows up during a half-dozen years, mostly involving her relationship with Emma (Lea Seydoux). Emma is a dashing figure, artsy and experienced, with upper-class parents and intellectual friends. It’s a lot to handle for Adele, who comes from humbler origins and really just wants to teach grade-school kids. As the bedroom scenes suggest, there is a strong physical connection here, but the movie is about much more than that—why any given love affair might thrive and/or founder. Blue’s length allows the sex scenes to take their proper role in Adele’s world: Their duration shows us how much they matter, but they don’t actually take up that much time when folded into the larger dish. Based on a recent graphic novel by Julie Maroh and Pierre de Marivaux’s 18th-century novel La Vie de Marianne, the film repeatedly raises the question of how difficult it is to understand another person. At first, Adele doesn’t know who she is yet. But her exit from the film’s strong final sequence suggests she is ready to slip the frames others have put around her—including the movie itself. (Blue is being screened as part of SIFF’s Monday-night Recent Raves! series.) SIFF Film Center (Seattle Center), 324-9996, siff.net. $6–$11. 7 p.m.
Silent Movie Mondays
Organist Jim Riggs will provide live accompaniment for this always-popular film series, which begins with F.W. Murnau’s beautifully photographed 1927 melodrama Sunrise. It’s one of the last great silents made in Hollywood, but also perhaps the least typical—essentially a work of late German Romanticism, since Murnau made no effort to tailor his first American film to studio tastes. Perhaps the purest and most expressive silent movie ever made, Sunrise looks backward to the old country, where two simple villagers fall in innocent, glorious love—until George O’Brien is lured away from Janet Gaynor by a wicked city vamp (Margaret Livingston)! Into this lakeshore paradise, hemmed by reeds, come evil thoughts of murder and adultery. Murnau’s technique is astonishingly seamless; you hardly need the intertitles to follow the plot. And when O’Brien finally comes to his senses—too late!—Sunrise packs an emotional wallop that few movies today can match. Three more films run on a slightly eccentric schedule through February 10: Pandora’s Box with Louise Brooks; Peter Pan; and Buster Keaton’s Civil War classic The General. The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org. $5–$10. 7 p.m.