The Weekly Wire: The Week’s Recommended Events

Thursday 9/24Dance: Artful AbridgementWith a story as familiar as Romeo and Juliet (or Roméo et Juliette, as PNB prefers), it isn't the what but the how that matters. We all know what's going to happen in Shakespeare's tragedy—love, death, and missed connections. Staged here last year to great acclaim, Jean-Christophe Maillot's ballet pares down the text to its essentials. No blustering Lord Capulet or elaborate Renaissance sets. Instead, in the minimal staging by Ernest Pignon-Ernest, we have the two lovers, quivering with recognition of the passion between them, and a handful of players who act as the impediments. Scored by Sergei Prokofiev, the production showcases the performers rather than the trappings; and PNB has a fine cast of dancing actors to fill the central and supporting roles. (Through Oct. 4.) McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., 441-2424, $25–$160. 7:30 p.m. SANDRA KURTZFriday 9/25Books/Cults: Diaspora of LoveIt's a sign of how long you've lived in Seattle, or of when you were a child here, what reaction the name Love Israel inspires. During the '70s hippie heyday of his communal compound on Queen Anne Hill, parents were frantic that he and his free-lovin' followers might kidnap and brainwash their kids. Love Israel? Run away! But his commune moved up to its compound near Arlington in 1984 after allegations of sexual impropriety and financial mismanagement. Some 400 followers dwindled to a handful by 2003, when the commune finally declared bankruptcy and dispersed. So it's a fascinating yet somewhat forgotten chapter of Northwest utopianism that local historian Charles P. LeWarne relates in The Love Israel Family: Urban Commune, Rural Commune (University of Washington Press, $24.95). LeWarne helped filmmaker Eric Johannsen with his recent SIFF documentary It Takes a Cult, about the director's upbringing as On Israel. What happened to other members of the Israel family? "They still have their ties," LeWarne told me. Scattered in Bothell and the northeast corner of the state, "There's still a community of former members." And as at the SIFF screenings of the documentary, some may attend tonight's presentation. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, Free. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSaturday 9/26Festivals: Eat Local, Farm LocalWith locavores and Michael Pollan fans driving the notion of healthy, sustainably grown food into the mainstream, King County's 11th annual Harvest Celebration Farm Tour is suddenly hip and ever more relevant—not just kids running amok in pumpkin patches and scaring the chickens. More than two dozen farms from Vashon to Carnation to Enumclaw are opening their pastures and barn doors so you (and your kids) can learn where and how our daily meals are sourced. Some raise organic produce; others feed their cows nothing but grass; elsewhere the chickens roam free and the alpacas await petting. Most every farm will be vending food, so you don't need to pack a lunch. The larger ones will have live music. And everywhere there will be opportunities to learn about churning butter, vegan baking, grape-crushing, digging potatoes, composting, beekeeping and candle-making (they go together), cider-pressing, sheep-shearing, and chicken-feeding. (Funny how those scaredy-chickens come running right back when there's food in your children's hands.) And, yes, there will be corn mazes. Various locations, $10 (suggested). 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. DESMOND FLEEFERSunday 9/27Festivals: Columbia City BayouThis year's Arts Gumbo performance series (through Dec. 12) begins on a Cajun note with the Louisiana Creole Celebration. Local band Bayou Blast will perform traditional Creole and Zydeco tunes. A Mardi Gras parade will feature beads, music, and probably not too much exposed skin. (This being a family event, after all.) The parade will end with gumbo samples spooned by King Creole Restaurant—and they won't be shy about revealing their recipe, so you can make your own at home. For kids, there'll be face painting and demonstrations of the rub board (a musical instrument, we're told). Zydeco dancing will round out the evening for parents. Rainier Valley Cultural Center, 3515 S. Alaska St., 760-4286, $5–$25. 5–10 p.m. LAUREN LYNCHBeer & Football: Thirst QuarterFresh off a loss to San Francisco, and with starters Walter Jones, Marcus Trufant, Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill, and Matt Hasselbeck all nursing early-season injuries that stand to keep each player out of action for varying spells, Seahawk fans could be forgiven for seeking some early-season sorrow-drowning, especially with a formidable Chicago squad visiting this week. So why not drown cheaply? A longstanding neighborhood watering hole with a peculiar mural depicting Shilshole Bay's evolution over time, Al's Tavern is more cozy neighborhood dive/hipster haunt than sports bar. That said, they have what's got to be the best sports-oriented drinking deal in town: Whenever the Seahawks score a touchdown, schooners of Rainier can be had for 25 cents apiece, courtesy of owner Max Genereaux (the same deal applies during Husky games). Or you can buy a ticket, brave the traffic down to SoDo, and pay $8.25 a cup. Al's Tavern, 2303 N. 45th St., 545-9959. Free (21 and over.) 1 p.m. MIKE SEELYConversation: Let's Bump Up the Lights . . .Since I'm not quite old enough to be a baby boomer (I was 3 during the Summer of Love), I'm allowed to talk about how much better everything was when I was growing up. And I don't expect to see any eye-rolling, either. Like, for example, TV. Everyone knows that the greatest comedy lineup in history was those Saturday nights on CBS with Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, and, best of all, Carol Burnett, who in 11 seasons brought the variety show to its zenith (before its instant and seemingly unresurrectable decline). Burnett's now touring with "Laughter and Reflection with Carol Burnett," an expansion of one of the most fondly remembered segments of her program, the show-opening audience Q&A. It's time to ask what you never had a chance to: How did those "Mama's Family" sketches get so dark and bitter? What were Steve and Eydie really like? And were those Ernest Flatt Dancers as gay as they looked? McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, 800-745-3000, $49-$89. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERTMonday 9/28Books/Bicycling: Life During WheeltimeOr, More Songs About Buildings and Bike Lanes. The Bicycle Diaries (Viking, $25.95) of David Byrne convey some of the same bemused alienation from his old Talking Heads days. All these crazy cities, industrial wastelands, and soulless suburbs—who'd want to live there? Or ride there? But his book, a series of cultural impressions that leaps from city to city, isn't the angry tirade of a frustrated urban planner or cycle zealot. The psycho killer of old has mellowed, perhaps due to his decades of pedaling. Yes, Byrne would like to see more dedicated bicycle paths (as he finds in Berlin), and, back home in Manhattan, he'd like truck drivers to be fined when they block the bike lanes. Yet he offers more observations than prescriptions. For instance: Detroit, once the proud domain of the automobile, has now been so emptied of people and congestion that it makes for good riding. In Las Vegas, people ride only after their cars have been repossessed. And in New York, Byrne advocates helmets, regular clothing, and riding in a law-abiding, upright manner—the better to see and avoid oblivious pedestrians. (He swerves to avoid Paris Hilton, who doesn't even recognize him.) As for a thesis, Byrne is pro-density and sustainability, but not stridently so. He sides with Jane Jacobs over Robert Moses. He sees hope that urban hipsters no longer regard biking as being hopelessly uncool. And he admits of his removable basket, "I know it's even more nerdy than riding a bike." Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, $30. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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