The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 11/4Comedy: "Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before . . ."Twenty-three venues, three and a half weeks, two hosts who also perform (Paul Myrehaug and Vince Valenzuela), and 32 comics: The 30th edition of the Seattle International Comedy Competition begins tonight and continues on stages all around Puget Sound, concluding Nov. 29 at the Moore. (The winner earns $5,000 and a recording contract.) Among the field, we'll handicap a few favorites: American comic Ahmed Bharoocha makes hay out of his mixed Irish Catholic–Pakistani Muslim heritage ("baseball, apple pie, and curry"). From Canada, past Bumbershoot performer Jane Stanton confesses to be so desperate for friends on Facebook that she reaches out to her bully from elementary school. Sean Kent, of Last Comic Standing, beat cancer and makes jokes about it. And look out for hometown funnyman Travis Simmons, who does a very funny "I sound more like Bill Cosby than Bill Cosby" routine. Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Ave. S., 723-0088, $10 (21 and over). 8 p.m. JULIE SEABAUGHTHURSDAY 11/5Books/Poker: What Happens in VegasIn May 2000, in a convergence that in a novel would seem eye-rollingly contrived, that year's World Series of Poker coincided with the Las Vegas trial for the murder of Ted Binion, owner of the Series' host casino. Sent by Harper's to cover both stories, Jim McManus decided to play in the tournament, his first, and shocked everyone by making it from 512 players all the way to the final table of six. He later expanded that article into the intoxicating Positively Fifth Street, drawing maximum color and suspense from the lurid trial—involving an ex-stripper girlfriend, black-tar heroin, and an underground vault filled with silver bullion—and from Texas hold'em, the inherently dramatic poker variant played in the Series. McManus' new book, Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30), explores the game's history and particular role, actual and metaphorical, in American culture. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 800-838-3006, $5. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERTFRIDAY 11/6Stage/Burlesque: Whetting Your AppetiteForget dinner and a movie. The Blue Moon Cabaret puts ordinary date nights to shame. Hosted by Miss Indigo Blue, this burlesque show (with a four-course meal) features a rotating cast of popular performers, including Paula the Swedish Housewife, The Shanghai Pearl, and Inga Ingénue. Admittedly, it's pricey. But it's also three hours of solid entertainment set in the swanky Pampas Room. Each performer takes the stage individually several times during the evening to flirt and flaunt her assets through provocative and sometimes surprisingly humorous dance routines. And this reporter speaks from firsthand experience when she says there's no better way to win over your man than with an evening filled with nearly nude women and filet mignon. El Gaucho, 2505 First Ave., 728-1337, $100–$225 (21 and over). 7:30 p.m. (Repeats Nov. 20.) ERIKA HOBARTFilm: Domestic WarfareAlain Cavalier's 1962 Le Combat Dans L'île isn't a lost masterpiece—it's too unstable for that—but it's fascinatingly nervy. Right-wing militant Clément (Jean-Louis Trintignant) broods around the house, concerned that wife Anne (Romy Schneider) is acting like a slut. Clément's a man of contradictions; when the negotiations he's conducting on behalf of workers at his father's factory break down, Clément grabs his bazooka and heads out to assassinate a politician. As that token summary implies, Combat isn't overly concerned with coherence or a smooth arc. Instead, it's a dizzying array of dialectics: Anne's discovery of the bazooka against the background of her maid singing Offenbach is the neatest (and least extreme) reduction of revolutionary vs. counterrevolutionary dynamics here. Pierre Lhomme's scintillating, jagged black-and-white cinematography is ahead of its time, and the film's unexpectedly bifurcated structure sends Trintignant into the ether for almost the entire back half. There's a surprise every five minutes, except when fascism gets its ass kicked at the end. (Through Thurs.) SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, $8–$10. 8 p.m. VADIM RIZOVSATURDAY 11/7Performance Art: Hello and FarewellCrawl Space is throwing itself a farewell party to launch its final exhibit, "Stranger Circumstances" (through Nov. 29), in which two Canadians and an Italian will explore themes of social interaction. Tonight, however, the local trio calling itself PDL will perform its Sociological Lab Theater. "We are handcuffing people to telephone poles," explains Greg Lundgren (the L in PDL), "and giving away free money." Well, maybe that's true and maybe it's not. What we do know is that every half hour Lundgren, Jason Puccinelli (the P), and Jed Dunkerley (the D) will be corralling gallery-goers and unsuspecting bystanders into their mini-dramas. If you're lucky, maybe they'll handcuff you to someone intriguing. Crawl Space, 504 E. Denny Way, 201-2441, Free. 6–10 p.m. ADRIANA GRANTMusic/Photography: New in TownAfter several years of traveling around her native Midwest in pursuit of Northwest bands like the Long Winters and Death Cab for Cutie, SW contributing photographer Laura Musselman finally decided to relocate to Seattle. That was three years ago. After that, "I took my camera every time I went to a show," she recalls. (It helped that she was also meeting local musicians at her day job at Easy Street Records.) Today, despite going to clubs three or four nights a week, she's avoided burnout and become an accomplished pro. She's chronicled the rise of local do-gooders Fleet Foxes, captured her heroes in Pearl Jam recently at KeyArena, and developed a crush on Elvis Perkins. Now she's collected some of her favorite shots in "Give Me a Moment" (through Nov. 30), and tonight's opening party is sure to attract some of those depicted. Solo Bar, 200 Roy St., 213-0080, Free (21 and over). 8 p.m. CHRIS KORNELISSUNDAY 11/8Books/Naturalism: Oh, Columbia!After Lewis and Clark, but before the British were driven north of the 49th parallel, Scottish naturalist David Douglas (1799–1834) made three expeditions to North America for the Hudson's Bay Company. It was during his second trip, after landing at the mouth of the Columbia River, that he made the discovery that today bears his name—the mighty Douglas fir. Roaming the Northwest for three years after reaching Fort Vancouver in 1825, he kept copious journals, which provide the framework local writer Jack Nisbet follows in The Collector (Sasquatch, $23.95). Naturalism was a hot field in the early 19th century, and "botanizing" was a dashing pursuit for a nearsighted young man from a humble middle-class family, a chance to see the world (including the Galápagos Islands, before Darwin got there). Douglas was charged with observing and gathering everything he could—seeds, plants, animals he shot and skinned, anything that might have commercial or scientific value. But today he's a forgotten historical footnote whose journals went unpublished and who died young, under somewhat murky circumstances, in Hawaii. And yet by foot, horseback, and canoe, Douglas saw more of our state than most residents today experience in a lifetime. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, Free. 2 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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