Seattle Comedy Festival

Also: Earshot Jazz Festival, Tying the Knot, Steve Brodner, and Rain Music.




You're not alone if you're feeling in need of a good guffaw, and this four-day, multivenue event should give you ample opportunity to let loose. Things kick off at the Moore Theatre with The Christopher Guest Show, a chance to hang with the actor-writer-director (pictured) whose subtly barbed spoofs—Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind (which will be screened with Guest's introduction and followed by a Q&A)—have provided some of recent cinema's most memorable laughs. Also out to bust your gut: season two winner John Heffron and other comedians from NBC's Last Comic Standing; local stand-up guy Craig Gass; Saturday Night Live alums Norm MacDonald and Jon Lovitz; political pundit Bill Maher; and Blue Collar TV's Bill Engvall. Various times Thurs., Oct. 21–Sun., Oct. 24. $12.50–$43.50. Venues include Moore Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Crocodile Cafe, and Benaroya Hall; call 206-628-0888 or visit for full schedule. STEVE WIECKING




Seattle's biggest, best display of local, national, and international jazz, improv, and related artists plunges ahead this week. There are highlights galore, including but not limited to: Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa, a piano-and-alto- saxophone duo, who perform Thursday at Consolidated Works; the great West African vocalist Rokia Traore, Thursday at the Triple Door (see CD Reviews, p. 58); the brilliant Brad Mehldau playing solo (see preview, p. 54), co-billed with fellow pianist Robert Glasper's trio, Saturday at Town Hall; trumpeter Nicholas Payton, sitting in with the Garfield and Roosevelt High jazz bands Monday at On the Boards; and the local quartets of trombonist Julian Priester (pictured) and pianist Dave Peck, Tuesday at On the Boards. Various times through Sun., Nov. 7. $10–$26. Various venues; see and Seven Nights, p. 64, for full schedule. MICHAELANGELO MATOS




Director Jim de Sève's documentary about the fight for gay marriage is a stirring call to action. The film calmly refutes all the arguments from conservatives—there's a historical overview of the so-called "sanctity" of the institution—but finds most of its force by personalizing the issue to heartbreaking effect. We're given direct access to what happens when the government refuses to recognize homosexual unions. In one of two infuriating case histories, Sam (pictured), an old Oklahoman who built a life and raised children with lover Earl for more than 22 years, sees his farm legally seized by pernicious relatives upon Earl's death (and he's then charged back rent!). If such outrages don't make an activist of you, nothing will. Opens Fri., Oct. 22. Runs through Thurs., Oct. 28. Varsity, 4329 University Way N.E., 206-781-5755. STEVE WIECKING




You almost pity the politicians who've fallen prey to the pen and paint of Steve Brodner, an illustrator in the tradition of Ralph Steadman who's been gutting and filleting politicos for nearly 30 years. Although Brodner certainly tilts far to the left, no one is spared—he's equally happy portraying Al Gore as a tree with a feeble nest of birds in his mouth or John Ashcroft brandishing a pistol after pumping a few rounds into the Constitution. In a live "chalk talk" sketch session at University Book Store, the illustrator for The New Yorker, The Nation, and Esquire will talk about the 2004 campaign and sample hits (like Dubya, pictured) from his career retrospective, Freedom Fries (Fantagraphics, $29.95). 3 p.m. Sat., Oct. 23. Free. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 206-545-4386. ANDREW ENGELSON




Thematic concert programming can be a pretentious substitute for imagination, and a recital built around the subject of rain could, in the wrong hands, be a twee exercise in Seattle cuteness. But this inaugural concert at South Seattle Community College's new Olympic Recital Hall, with Steve Reich's "It's Gonna Rain" as the centerpiece, sounds fascinating. In 1965, Reich (pictured) looped a recorded phrase fr-om a street preacher to create a landmark of minimalism. Among other composers represented: locals Jarrad Powell and Janice Giteck; Kyle Gann, provocative Village Voice critic; and Lou Harrison, godfather to all composers inspired by the music of the Pacific Rim. 7:30 p.m. Sat., Oct. 23. $12–$18. Olympic Recital Hall, South Seattle Community College, 206-937-2899. GAVIN B0RCHERT

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