The Weekly Wire: This Week's Notable Events

THURSDAY 5/28SIFF: Cut the Red Wire!There's nothing more cinematic than a ticking bomb and the life-or-death deadline to defuse it. The LED numbers are dwindling! Which wire do you cut—red or blue? In The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner plays the reckless but methodical leader of an elite Army bomb squad patrolling Baghdad early in the Iraq War, where every trash heap (or corpse) could contain an IED. There are no antiwar lectures, just intricate process and male ego gone amok. (Anthony Mackie plays Renner's disapproving, more by-the-book comrade.) When a blast occurs, director Kathryn Bigelow shows us the shudder of rust being shaken from old auto bodies, the slo-mo surge of the shock wave beneath the sand. What it does to human bodies, and minds, is even worse. Bigelow, expected to attend SIFF, has generally been known for stylized action flicks (Near Dark, Blue Steel), often with gonzo male leads (see that timeless testosterone opera, Point Break). But The Hurt Locker is a career best for her: tense, compressed, and often wordless for page after page of action. A sudden, extended sniper attack, midway through the movie, is the best sequence I've seen on film this year. (Expected in Seattle theaters on July 10.) SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 324-9996, $8–$11. 7 p.m. (Also: Uptown, 4 p.m. Sat., May 30.) BRIAN MILLERFRIDAY 5/29Stage: The Shame of ItFearing a Judd Apatow–like vulgarity extravaganza, I approached Embarrassed! with apprehension. No need! Artattack Theater Ensemble's intimate (if tricky to find) venue has a living-room feel, and the articulate first-person monologues delivered from an armchair draw you in like This American Life. A young boy watches his freakish hippie parents scrambling to extinguish a fire in their multiple-use RV. A college girl elaborately booby-traps her own house to trap a peeper. A minister's determined daughter "goes on with the show" after her costume pops open irreparably during a stage performance with her parents in attendance. Unlike most stand-up, here the humor, confession, context, and genuine drama commingle. The stories were collaboratively workshopped from the performers' real-life experiences, and the laughs aren't cheap—they're felt. VoxBox, 1205 E. Pike St., 905-9835, $10. 8 p.m. (Ends Sat.) MARGARET FRIEDMANBooks: Short-Attention SpannerAt the tender age of 22, recent Harvard grad Simon Rich published his satirical 2007 debut, Ant Farm, a collection of brief comic vignettes. And while Rich's wry observations about the absurdities of everyday life belie his youth, the short format he employs is ideal for his audience. That is: A generation of people who can hardly read two paragraphs at a time without losing interest. Thanks, Twitter. (Rich also writes sketch comedy for Saturday Night Live.) Published last year and new in paperback, Rich's Free-Range Chickens (Random House, $15) picks up where Ant Farm left off. A mix of hypothetical situations, self-deprecation, and dark humor, Rich manages to be both topical and morbid, drawing the reader in with cute little funnies about junior high and the tooth fairy before bringing the serious points—whether it's about the miseries of corporate America or poultry farming—home to roost. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, Free. 7:30 p.m. SARA BRICKNERSATURDAY 5/30Food/Books: Breaking CrockeryI met Anthony Bourdain at a party following his sold-out engagement at the Moore last year. We exchanged a few words, then he returned to chugging the first of several Heinekens he'd consume that night. It wasn't surprising behavior from the tall, sardonic host of the Travel Channel's No Reservations and author of The Nasty Bits, whose persona is a far cry from that of his chirpy celebrity-chef peers. Bourdain regularly drinks, smokes, and swears through his international culinary expeditions. And he has no qualms about pissing people off with derogatory comments on subjects like Rachael Ray ("a fucking rhinoceros") and vegetarianism ("rude and crippling"). The outspoken New Yorker is certain to stir up more controversy when he discusses the restaurant industry and cooking this evening with Mario Batali, his friend and fellow TV chef—who's been palling around with Gwyneth Paltrow on the PBS series Spain...on the Road Again. For reasons I can't understand, the two chefs will be interviewed onstage by local journalist Luke Burbank, instead of by me. Anthony—don't tell me you lost my number! The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 467-5510, $45–$175. $8 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTAudio-Visual Art: Quiet RiotYann Novak creates sound-powered moods using mostly white space. He plays with blank sonic surfaces, and makes much use of quiet. Contemplating his recent move from Seattle to Los Angeles in Relocation. Dislocation, Novak fills a white screen with subtly morphing shapes and colors—pinks and blues and yellows on white—set to a soundtrack of near–white noise. It's a meditation on emptiness—both in what we can (barely) see and hear. Three views of the artist's new L.A. loft provide the source imagery for the video, while the sound is a 45-minute ambient loop from the same venue. The visuals offer organic blips and straight lines, bubbling up and sinking back into whiteness. Meanwhile, the hushed sound operates on its own schedule. There is a disconnect here, as anyone experiences when moving to a new home: It's never quite the clean beginning you want. (This and other audio works by Novak continue through June 13.) Lawrimore Project, 831 Airport Way S., 501-1231, Free. 10:30 a.m.–5 p.m. ADRIANA GRANTSUNDAY 5/31SIFF: Love in the Late AfternoonElder porn, let alone elder sex, has become kind of an ewww! punch line. But let's face it, we're all headed there one day or another. That's why the bracingly frank Cloud 9 is so remarkable. We meet a normal German woman in her 60s, a wife and grandmother, who's contented enough with her husband. That changes when she, a seamstress, visits one of her clients—a septuagenarian bicycle coach, still pretty fit and vigorous, evidently a widower. As many SIFFgoers will know from personal experience, sex on the floor with a stranger can happen to anyone at any age. Cloud 9 is hardly pornographic, though Ursula Werner and Horst Westphal deliver brave, unashamed performances. Sagging bodies don't mean sagging passions. "It doesn't matter if I'm 16 or 60 or 80," says the seamstress. After three decades of dull, predictable married life, she's been given a second chance at love, and she takes it. But her actions have consequences, and Cloud 9 acknowledges how love can be complicated, and painful, for all parties affected. Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, $8–$11. 11 a.m. (Also: 7 p.m. Tues., June 2.) BRIAN MILLERMONDAY 6/1Sports: BedardedTalented but injury-prone lefty Erik Bedard has been great this year (when healthy). But you know what? The trade that sent reliever George Sherrill, outfielder Adam Jones, and a trio of talented minor-leaguers to Baltimore in exchange for the soon-to-be free agent still ranks as one of the worst in Mariners history. Why? The 23-year-old Jones is starting to live up to the expectations of those who had him pegged as Willie Mays reincarnate. If he were still a Mariner, Jones would be leading the offensively anemic team in batting average and runs batted in. As for Sherrill—J.J. Putz's onetime set-up man who's now Baltimore's closer—the bullpen certainly wouldn't kick him out of the sack, especially in light of Brandon Morrow's recent struggles. And let's not forget about Chris Tillman, a promising starting pitcher who's tearing it up in Baltimore's minor-league system. So unless the 30-year-old Bedard remains a Mariner for the next half-dozen years, guiding the team back to elite status through a series of healthy, 17-plus-win, 200-plus-strikeout seasons, this one'll remain the dud it looked to be last year. With the Orioles in town through Wednesday, Mariners fans will get a uniquely frustrating glimpse at what could have been their future. Safeco Field, 1250 First Ave. S., 622-HITS, $7–$65. 7:10 p.m. MIKE SEELYMusic: Salacious LessonsBerlin-based electroclash artist Peaches (Merrill Nisker) was working the whole sans-panties shtick light years before Lady GaGa picked up her disco stick. The former elementary-school teacher achieved international success in 2000 with her sharp-witted dance track "Fuck the Pain Away," which spawned countless covers, including a hilarious YouTube parody starring Miss Piggy. Since then, Peaches' sexually provocative material and androgynous appearance have inspired countless dance artists and fashion spreads. Her new album, I Feel Cream, is in the same vein as her previous work, infused with sexy rasps, screeching guitar riffs, and pulsating beats. The wild songstress is known to make security guards' jobs difficult by refusing to stay onstage, ensuring that tonight's show should be entertaining as hell. Drums of Death opens. Showbox, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, $18–$20 (all ages). 8 p.m. ERIKA HOBART

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