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Public Meeting Plans to improve Pioneer Square's Occidental Park are the subject of this open-to-the-public forum; besides basic maintenance issues, there's talk of a possible ice rink in the park, which could be completed as soon as November 2005. Occidental Park (Occidental Avenue South and South Main Street) and the Grand Central Arcade (214 First Ave.), 206-667-0687. Free. 3–7 p.m. Wed., Aug. 11.
Femme Talk "Feminine-identified queers" are invited to participate in this weekly community forum; tonight's discussion centers on social choices—romantic and platonic—and how they relate to gender identity. Dunshee House, 303 17th Ave. E., 206-322-2437. Free. 6 p.m. Wed., Aug. 11.
Bowl Against Bush Pretend the one-pin is Dick Cheney at this fund-raiser for No Vote Left Behind, one of several local anti-Bush organizations gearing up for the November presidential election. Garage Bowl, 1134 Broadway Ave. E., 206-322-2296. $40 (includes two drinks and appetizers). 6:30 p.m. Wed., Aug. 11.
Rediscovery Environmental Educators Institute This two-day seminar offers extensive guidance to teachers intent on making their classes more eco-conscious. Northwest Stream Center, 600 128th St. S.E., 425-316-8592. $75. 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 12–Fri., Aug. 13.
Woodinville Idol It may not be the brainiest of events, but who can resist an American Idol–style performance contest judged by Woodinville mayor Don Brocha and a Mills Music talent scout? DeYoung Park, 13680 N.E. 175th St. (Woodinville), 425-398-9327. Free. Noon. Thurs., Aug. 12.
Socially Engaged Buddhism If you think Buddhism is all self-isolation and passivity in the face of political turmoil, you have another think coming. Buddhist scholar Tom Yarnall will explain why enlightenment and activism aren't mutually exclusive at this Sakya Monastery discussion. 108 N.W. 83rd St., 206-789-2573. $12 for adults, $6 for students/seniors. 5:30 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 12.
Bellingham Bay History Cruise Whatcom Museum education curator Richard Vanderway leads this informative evening tour of Bellingham. Meet at the Island Mariner Dock at Squalicum Harbor (Bellingham), 360-676-6981. $20. 7–9:30 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 12.
Surprise Hard Hat Tour. Today's educational tour of a downtown construction site, directed by the Seattle Architectural Foundation, is a "surprise" in that the site in question remains a mystery until the moment you arrive! Call for meeting place: 206-667-9184. $10 in advance, $12 on the day of the tour. 10 a.m. Fri., Aug. 13.
Jobs With Justice Benefit Concert "Creatively radical" folkies Chris Chandler, Anne Feeney, and Vance Lelli headline this fund-raiser for the social-justice nonprofit. Call for outdoor venue: 206-441-4969 (rain location: Seattle Labor Temple Hall 8, 2800 First Ave.). $10. 6 p.m. Fri., Aug. 13.
Political Film Screening The Freedom Socialist Party hosts a showing of Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony, a documentary about the music of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement. New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., 206-722-2453. $3. 7 p.m. Fri., Aug. 13.
Xbox Audio Creation Seminar Calling all non-Luddite composers: Scott Selfon of Microsoft will be demonstrating the music-making power of XACT, also known as the Xbox Audio Creation Tool, at a free tutorial in Redmond. Microsoft Building 41 (Room 1511), N.E. 31st Street and 156th Avenue N.E. (Redmond), 877-673-8368. Free. 8–9:30 p.m. Fri., Aug. 13.
Birdwatching Tour This Audubon-sponsored Whidbey Island excursion is an all-day adventure that begins before 7 a.m.; the wide variety of waterfowl and shorebirds at Crockett Lake, Penn Cove, and Dugualla Bay should make the sunrise start worth the trouble for serious 'watchers. Tour begins at the Kingsgate Park 'n' Ride, 13001 116th Way N.E. (Kirkland), 425-881-5422. $5 (plus ferry cost). 6:45 a.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Summer Garage Sale The Kirkland Performance Center wheels out clothing, kitchen items, antiques, sporting goods, and plenty of other bargain doodads at its first annual thrift bonanza. 355 Kirkland Ave. (Kirkland), 425-828-0422. Free. 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Family Volunteer Day Food Lifeline, Washington's largest food-distribution nonprofit, invites families to prepare packages for the hungry during an all-day drive (divided into convenient two-hour shifts). Volunteer Action Center, 1702 N.E. 150th St. (Shoreline), 206-545-6600 ext. 247. Free. Shifts at 9 a.m., noon, and 2:30 p.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Arboretum in Bloom Lonnie Garceau and Don Morrow of the American Rose Society keynote this annual celebration of botany and horticulture at the South Seattle Community College arboretum. 6000 16th Ave. S.W., 206-768-6873. Free. 10 a.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Outside the Box: Urban Open Spaces If skyscrapers aren't your style, try this guided exploration of the city's undeveloped landscapes—the third Seattle Architectural Foundation excursion this week. Tour begins at Rainier Square Atrium, 1333 Fifth Ave. (Suite 300), 206-667-9184. $10 in advance, $12 on the day of the tour. 10 a.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
What's Up: Skyscrapers Learn about the history and design of Seattle's tallest structures on another informative Seattle Architectural Foundation tour. Tour begins at Rainier Square Atrium, 1333 Fifth Ave. (Suite 300), 206-667-9184. $10 in advance, $12 on the day of the tour. 10 a.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Home Movie Day at MOHAI Heaven only knows what you'll see at the Museum of History and Industry's inaugural festival of amateur film; though everything from Timmy splashing around in the pool to serious documentary shorts is welcome, you're more likely to get screen time if you bring your work in before the day of the fest. 2700 24th Ave. E., 206-324-1126. $7 for adults, $5 for youth/seniors. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
MOHAI Walking Tour It's so obvious you might never think of it, but the University of Washington campus is bursting with architectural and arboreal wonders, as historian Roger van Oosten and tree fiend Liz Walker will reveal on this edifying UW excursion. Tour begins at the UW fountain, 206-324-1126. $20 in advance, $25 on the day of the tour. 11 a.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Parachuting Firefighters! Known as "smokejumpers," the firemen and firewomen you'll meet at this Museum of Flight event leap from planes into raging forest fires; after asking them about their dangerous job, "make your very own fire-jumping parachute" during the workshop portion of the day. 9404 E. Marginal Way S., 206-764-5720. $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, $7.50 for youth (5–17). 11:15 a.m.–1:15 p.m. Sat., Aug. 14–Sun., Aug. 15.
The Eastlake Shake The neighborhood's annual street festival features artist booths and fun for kids. 2500 Franklin Ave. E., 206-227-4866. Free. Noon–10 p.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Downtown Stone and Fossil Walk Wannabe geologists and prehistorians will get a kick out of this Burke Museum stroll, which spotlights fossils and other ancient stones in the buildings and sidewalks that surround us. Tour begins at the pergola in Pioneer Square (Second Ave. and Yesler St.), 206-543-5591. $20. 2 p.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Vashon Music Festival The buffet of music at this year's fest includes Latin, Celtic, folk, pop, and neo-classical compositions from such local artists as RedPerl, Reilly and Maloney, and Damian Graham. Camp Burton Amphitheater, 9326 S.W. Bayview Dr. (Vashon Island), 206-463-5131. $15 for adults, $12 for students/seniors. 2–5 p.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Ayurvedic Health Fair The Seattle-based Ayurvedic Academy hosts an herb and food fair at Bastyr University; expect lectures, displays, and vendors, plus cooking demos, free samples, and music. 14500 Juanita Dr. N.E. (Kenmore), 206-729-9999. Free. 5–8 p.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Jay Weidner His book The Mysteries of the Great Cross of Hendaye examines a French monument that supposedly predicts the end of the world; ask him when to expect it at the Museum of the Mysteries, where he'll talk about his scholarly work. 623 Broadway Ave. E., 206-328-6499. $10. 7 p.m. Sat., Aug. 14.
Allied Arts Summer Garden Party This fundraiser isn't the usual touchy-feely arts benefit; Allied Arts, after all, is the group that helped save Pike Place Market. Their next project: replacing the Viaduct (see "The Great Viaduct Debate" below). 6721 Sixth Ave. N.W., 206-624-0432. $50 (includes food, wine, and schmoozing). 2–5 p.m. Sun., Aug. 15.
Summer college for Seniors International relations, Latin American fiction, and Eastern religion are just a few of the course topics available to seniors 50 and over (and anyone else who wishes to attend) at this weeklong mini-term offered by Shoreline Community College. 16101 Greenwood Ave. N., 206-533-6700. $59 for three courses per day, $69 for four. 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mon., Aug. 16–Fri., Aug. 20.
The Great Viaduct Debate A panel of policymakers and city infrastructure experts takes on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Proponents consider it a vital piece of Seattle's traffic puzzle; detractors say we can do without it. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 206-652-4255. $5. 7 p.m. Wed., Aug. 18.