This Week's Critics' Picks

PNB, Velocity, Oktoberfest, and the imperfect but intriguing Science of Sleep top our list.

Thur - Dance

You like classic or modern? It's dueling dance programs as Pacific Northwest Ballet's season opener goes head to head against Velocity's Fall Dance Kickoff. PNB, McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, 206-441-2424, $18–$145. Thurs., Sept. 21–Sun., Oct. 1. Velocity, 915 E. Pine St., 206-325-8773, ext. 2, www.brownpaper $20 one night, $35 two, $40 three. 8 p.m. Fri., Sept. 22–Sun., Sept. 24. LYNN JACOBSON

Fri - Film

A huge favorite of Seattle filmgoers, writer/director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) has created a very personal work, without Charlie Kaufman, in The Science of Sleep—a Seattle International Film Festival standout. (See review, p. 90.) Opens Fri., Sept. 22, at several theaters. Rated R. BRIAN MILLER

Sat - Sun - Festivals

Why Oktoberfest in September? Because tradition dictates we need 16 days to drink up last season's beer—although Seattleites just need one weekend to get the job done. Fremont Avenue North and 34th Avenue North, 206-633-0422, $15. 5 p.m. Fri., Sept. 22; 11 a.m. Sat., Sept. 23–Sun., Sept. 24. RACHEL SHIMP

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