Thursday, May 14
Here’s a Broadway trivia question to separate the brown-shirted men from the mascaraed chorus boys: Who created the role of Sally Bowles in the Kander & Ebb musical Cabaret? Why, English actress Jill Haworth, of course—but you’re forgiven if Liza Minnelli was the first name/face to pop into your head; she made the role forever hers in the 1972 film adaptation. Based on Christopher Isherwood’s recollections of his life in Berlin just before World War II, the show takes us to the divey Kit Kat Club, where Sally is the star attraction and Cliff (Isherwood’s stand-in) the expatriate writer who falls for her as German civilization slowly crumbles atop them. I can’t wait to see how far Village Theatre—known for excellence, but not so much for edginess—pushes the sex and the Nazi imagery. Some other recent productions have pretty overtly depicted what happens to all those louche cabaret artistes once the Third Reich takes power. (Through July 3; moves to Everett July 10–Aug. 2.) Village Theatre, 303 Front St. N. (Issaquah), 425-392-2202, villagetheatre.org. $35–$67. 7:30 p.m.
When it began making dances in the 1970s, Pilobolus was like almost nothing else in the modern dance world. Here was a collection of guys who combined sport and gymnastics skills to create a kind of trompe-l’oeil repertory where forms seemed to evolve or morph like fantasy characters. Since then, the company itself has spawned a number of groups and artists (Momix, ISO, Portland’s BodyVox) that have applied that tricky aesthetic wherever they’ve gone. But in the meantime, the original group has continued to develop its innovative alternative style. (Through Sat.) Meany Hall (UW campus), 543-4880, uwworldseries.org. $51–$56. 8 p.m.
Friday, May 15
Bike to Work Day
The problem is this: Seattle grows ever more crowded and affluent; driving to work has become a stressful suckers’ game, a frustrating, life-shortening ordeal; then, outside your car window, the cyclists sneaking past your traffic-stalled vehicle seem like cheaters. It isn’t fair. You paid taxes for that roadway, right? And there’s the cost of car tabs, gas, insurance, and maybe an auto loan on top of that. Bike to Work Day rankles some motorists, because it seems to privilege a smug class of neon-jacketed free-riders gliding past you during rush hour.
And yet: Why not join them? They’re not a different tribe or caste; they’re just like you, yet opting for a more efficient means of getting to work. Most cycle commuters—me, for example—also own cars, buy gas, pay property taxes, and harbor no ill will toward our office-bound brethren trapped inside their steel cocoons of rage. Biking isn’t a better mode of transportation, and it doesn’t make cyclists better people. It’s just one option among several. Today is thus an occasion to sample that option from the commuter menu. There will always be days—rainy, hectic, errand-filled—for the bus or car. Most all of us Seattle taxpayers will remain trans-bidextrous, using whatever mode best suits our daily needs. Though the very notion of Bike to Work day implies a separate category of commuter, we’re all going to commute by multiple means in the future. We’re all commuters in the same traffic—where the same laws of common sense and courtesy apply. Today, there will be dozens of pop-up commuter stations around town, offering swag, encouragement, and fixes to your bike. See cascade.org for locations, open 6–9 a.m. Evening afterparty: Velo Bike Shop, 2151 Sixth Ave. Free. 4:30–6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 16
The Epic of Everest
This year’s pre-monsoon climbing season on Mt. Everest has—on the Nepal side of the border, at least—been canceled owning to that country’s cataclysmic earthquake. Guided expedition climbing on the Seven Summits is now a profitable niche business, with several Seattle companies serving high-altitude clients. In such a contentious climate, where the average Nepalese citizen is dirt-poor and rich Google executives die on their paid adventures, this 1924 silent film will transport viewers back to the colonial era when mountaineering was a relatively pure, unmonetized pursuit. Recently restored, this is a chronicle of the doomed Mallory-Irvine expedition, which features amazing photography by John Noel (black-and-white, with some scenes tinted). A new orchestral score by Simon Fisher Turner has been added to the account, which also includes much ethno-documentary footage of Tibetan tribes and customs. (Be prepared for the imperialist condescension of the period, 20 years before Heinrich Harrer set foot in Tibet.) Noel could lug his gear only so high up the Himalayas; Mallory and Irvine’s fate lies beyond his lens. This is a film about the approach to a fatal adventure, and also a record of lost Tibet. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935. $5–$9. See grandillusioncinema.org for showtimes.
Sunday, May 17
Duff McKagan & Krist Novoselic
This is an evening of bro talk, not a musical event, featuring two of our favorite former columnists and SW cover boys. McKagan, erstwhile bassist of Guns N’ Roses, is the one with a second new memoir out, How to Be a Man (Da Capo, $26), and a documentary premiering at SIFF, It’s So Easy and Other Lies (screening May 28 and June 4 at SIFF Cinema Egyptian). His writing topics for us were by no means limited to music; other subjects included hiking, parenthood, and even dating advice. Such wide-ranging interests belie the callow rock-star stereotype—though, of course, those old stories of backstage debauchery have informed his self-reinvention and sobriety.
Novoselic, of Nirvana, was by contrast an almost purely political writer for us. He’s passionately committed to a fair and just democratic process, a gentle, thoughtful soul who becomes outraged only by barriers to voting and free speech. Fame came to both men in wildly disparate musical acts, yet they’re generational peers now juggling music, family, and the new pressures of midlife. As Gen-X uneasily confronts its graying, McKagan and Novoselic have become elder spokesmen for the cool-dad demo—role models for former clubgoers who still fit into their old jeans, even when carpooling the kids to school. The Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org. $10. 7 p.m.
Monday, May 18
Despite its title, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic (Featherproof, $17.95) is not the first book of its kind, a fact Hopper clarifies in her preface, citing the anthology Rock She Wrote and critics Ellen Willis, Lillian Roxon, and Caroline Coon. But as Hopper also notes, she should be able to list dozens more such names. Editor-in-chief of The Pitchfork Review and senior editor at Pitchfork, Hopper knows she’s not the first female critic to dream of publishing a collection, but she acknowledges the lack of precedents. This volume is drawn from two decades of her writing career: beginning as a teenager contributing to zines and leading to recent work for GQ, Rolling Stone, and The Village Voice. Her subjects range from Chance the Rapper, the grunge years, our own EMP Pop Conference, Coachella and other festivals, and album reviews (Miley Cyrus, Tyler the Creator, M.I.A., etc.) Perhaps The First Collection will inspire a new generation of female critics to start indexing their own archives. Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7 p.m.