The Weekly Wire: The Week’s Recommended Events

THURSDAY 9/10Food/Books: The Critic UnmaskedFrank Bruni, probably still blushing from the longest, warmest sendoff The New York Times has ever bestowed on a departing restaurant critic, is coming to town this week to promote his new book, Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater (Penguin, $25.95). The memoir details an improbable life path from fat kid to binging-purging adolescent to (notably slim) professional critic charged with dining out 10 or more times a week. Now that he's shed his anonymity, Bruni's revealing himself to be a whip-smart, engaging guy, so the Q&A session should be as fun as the reading—unless audience members try to turn it into a weight-control support group. Shout them down with questions about nemesis Jeffrey Chodorow and what Bruni thinks of Times replacement Sam Sifton's anonymity problem. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, Free. 7:30 p.m. JONATHAN KAUFFMANFood/Festivals: Hot Little IslandJust when you get jaded by the endless summer parade of obscure ethnic and national festivals, along comes a celebration of a land so isolated, so marginal, so small and obscure that it restores your faith in festivaldom. Thus, A Taste of Iceland! Yes, Iceland, the land of Björk, volcanoes, genome decoding, catastrophic financial meltdowns, and seemingly random diacritical marks. And it is a land worth celebrating with a weekend menu at Ray's designed by chef Thorarinn Eggertsson— of Reykjavík's trendy bistro Orange; yes, we said trendy—that features gray duck, reindeer, and salted cod. Also tonight (beginning at 6:30 p.m.), there's a free program of films at the Varsity that includes the SIFF favorite comedy White Night Wedding, directed by the same guy (Baltasar Kormákur) who did Jar City and 101 Reykjavík. Friday at the Croc, songstress Ólöf Arnalds makes her first-ever Seattle appearance (8 p.m., $10, 21 and over); everybody loved her debut album Við og Við, and not just for the crazy spelling. All of which may put you in the mood to fly the seven and one-half hours from SeaTac to Reykjavík (now that Icelandair has established nonstop service) for next month's Iceland Airwaves music festival to hear Gus Gus and other international bands. It's like Ibiza, with snow. Ray's Boathouse, 6049 Seaview Ave. N.W., 789-3770, Prices vary. Call for reservations. BRIAN MILLERFRIDAY 9/11Fairs: Making HayThis year's Puyallup Fair begins Western-style with a cattle drive through downtown. (No, there aren't ordinarily cows in the streets of downtown Puyallup.) Tonight's parade also features draft horses and equestrian drill teams; the whole procession launches 17 days of rodeo events, amusement rides, clowns, music, celebrities (well, those guys from Deadliest Catch), and food. (My favorite, though I don't know what they are: Krusty Pups.) 1980s survivor "Weird Al" Yankovic will be presenting the exhibit Al's Brain: A 3-D Journey Through the Human Brain, which may or may not be like a carnival freak show. The family-friendly fair also offers activities like a petting zoo; Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants will also be looking for hugs. For grown-ups, the biggest name in the evening concert series is likely James Taylor (Sat., Sept. 19). Other acts include Crosby, Stills and Nash, LeAnn Rimes, Wynonna (with the Tacoma Symphony!), and hometown girls Heart. (Through September 27). Puyallup Fair & Events Center, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., 253-841-5045, $8–$11. 10 a.m.–11 p.m. LAUREN LYNCHFootball/Books: The Hawk ScrollsIf you've been searching for a comprehensive, conversational-toned, boosterish history of the Seattle Seahawks, composed entirely of short, bathroom-length entries, search no longer. And yes, that may sound like an absurd "if," but the Hawks are sports lifeblood in these parts, and every fan has memories he or she would like to relive, or even just confirm. Enter television writer Mark Tye Turner and his Notes From a 12 Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks (Sasquatch, $24.95). Recalling everything from the team's trade of Ahmad Rashad to Steve Largent's epic revenge hit on Denver safety Mike Harden, it's enough to put even the most Cliff Clavin-ish of us to shame. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, Free. 7:30 p.m. DAMON AGNOSSUNDAY 9/13Film: The Zen Dancer/Bouncer"You've got a degree from NYU. What in?" "Philosophy." "Any particular discipline?" "No, not really. Man's search for faith. That sort of shit." Care to guess who that philosopher is, and in what 1989 movie he kicks ass, trades quips with Sam Elliott (long before the Coen brothers got the idea), defeats Ben Gazzara, and wins Kelly Lynch? There can be only one man, one answer, one made poignant by his ongoing struggle with cancer: Patrick Swayze in Road House. Preceded by Dirty Dancing, which you all know by heart, the 1989 Road House finds Swayze in a contemplative mood. He's a man of peace, yet one not afraid to fight. But the true fight, my friend, lies within one's own mind. And the calm Swayze seeks through his mastery of martial arts is a deeply spiritual quest. But men—bad men, ruffians and rednecks—are drawn to his calm. They're unbalanced and volatile; they flow like water to the serene Zen center that is Swayze, so that he, the sensei, can instruct them. Because he has a Ph.D. in ass-whooping. And each beating is a lesson. (Through Wednesday, rated R, 114 minutes.) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, $6. 7 and 9:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERMONDAY 9/14Photography: Close to the MusicSix years ago, avid Virginia concertgoer PJ Sykes decided he was sick of snapping shots of his favorite acts using disposable cameras from Walgreens. So he got himself a real camera—and, as luck would have it, discovered he had a knack for live event photography. Sykes, whose work has appeared in Spin and Paste, has shot bands including the Beastie Boys, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, and Monotonix. His black-and-white images are intimate and sweaty, often motion-blurred or punctuated with flares of light shining from offstage. Photos like these usually make you wish you'd been at the concert, but Sykes' shots make you feel like you actually were—and just drank too many beers to remember. (Through September 26.) Solo Bar, 200 Roy St., 213-0080, Free (21 and over). 5:30 p.m.–1 a.m. ERIKA HOBARTTUESDAY 9/15Books: Role PlayerEveryone has a story-topper friend. You say you're visiting your great aunt who lives near Mt. St. Helens; they casually mention an acquaintance who flew over the volcano when it exploded. A.J. Jacobs is that friend. You try to be mindful of a Sunday sermon for just one day; Jacobs hews to the Old Testament for 12 months in The Year of Living Biblically. Or, in The Know-It-All, he reads the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. His latest stunt book, The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment (Simon & Schuster, $25), collects his short-form antics from magazine land. ("I posed nude for Esquire because Mary-Louise Parker told me to.") As these episodes amass, Jacobs can seem a little overly self-indulgent, to the point of obnoxiousness; the reader particularly feels for his long-suffering wife, Julie, who supplies a few tart, insightful comments. What's next for Jacobs? He's eating—and writing about—the healthiest diet in the world. Here's hoping he doesn't make his wife do all the cooking. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, Free. 7 p.m. LAURA ONSTOTMusic: Not the G!rl Next DoorIt's become cool for certain hipsters to declare their love for pop tarts like Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson. Whereas P!nk, who perhaps doesn't possess that wholesome girl-next-door vibe, has never gotten the same ironic adulation. (Or maybe it's that pesky exclamation point in her name.) The Philly-bred singer surely deserves more recognition. Of all the female pop artists who popped up earlier this decade, she boasts the most impressive pipes and song repertoire. Her new album Funhouse—originally titled Heartbreak Is a Motherfucker—is full of frank tunes, both humorous and sad, chronicling her breakup with motocross rider Carey Hart. (Motocross: not a sport for hipsters.) The set lists from Australia, where P!nk recently completed a three-month tour, reveal that she's performing material from all five of her albums, including Funhouse. And rumor has it she also does a killer rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You," which we hope she performs tonight, as she begins her U.S. tour here. The Ting Tings open. KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., 745-3000, $39.50. 7:30 p.m. ERIKA HOBART

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