The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

THURSDAY 11/12Classical: Chorally AmbiguousCarl Orff: a hapless German Shostakovich, muddling through as best he could under a psychotic tyranny? Or a musical Riefenstahl, lending his labor and reputation to the Nazi cause, then denying it all later? It doesn't help that his 1937 cantata Carmina burana—settings of medieval songs mostly about sex and drinking—became immediately very popular in Hitler's Germany. Or that its ominously galumphing opening/closing chorus, "O fortuna," is pretty much the ultimate sonic analogue to jackboots marching in formation. For a full, fascinating discussion of the life of this composer (1895–1982) under the Third Reich, see Michael H. Kater's Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits. (Kater's discussion of the elderly Richard Strauss, who had a Jewish daughter-in-law and grandsons to worry about, is especially poignant.) One culpable thing Orff did do is compose new music for A Midsummer Night's Dream to replace the Jewish Felix Mendelssohn's Nazi-discarded score; Seattle Symphony conductor Gerard Schwarz wryly redresses this wrong by preceding the Orff tonight with Mendelssohn's Son and Stranger overture. Also, concertmaster Maria Larionoff plays Spohr's elegant Violin Concerto No. 8. (Repeats Fri.–Sat. at 8 p.m.) Benaroya Hall, Third Ave. and Union St., 215-4747, $17–$100. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERTFRIDAY 11/13Photography/Music: Down on the AveFresh out of Evergreen State College in the early '80s, photographer Michael Lavine shot documentary portraits of U District proto-punks, some barely able to shave, who haunted the Ave. It's no insult to say those photos didn't make him famous, because it was as a studio photographer that he later gained national recognition. Ironically, during the height of our grunge explosion, Lavine moved to New York; there his loft served as a Sub Pop branch office for Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney (among others) when they came to play. Now he's collected those images in Grunge (Abrams, $24.95), with iconic portraits of Kurt Cobain and company. (Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth wrote the intro.) Tonight's launch party, with performances by Mudhoney and members of Tad, is all about the music. But more interesting, because they're less familiar, are those anonymous street teens yearning for a new style: preppie meets punk, safety pins and Vans, Goth mashed up with Mod. Hard to remember now, but those styles weren't so rigidly codified in the early Reagan years. If today the shorthand for grunge is flannel shirt, these kids remind us that the trend began at the Salvation Army, because they had nothing else to wear. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442, $12 (21 and over). 8 p.m. Also: Easy Street Records, 4559 California Ave. S.W., 938-3279, Free. 4 p.m. Sat. BRIAN MILLERFilm: Sodium AestheticScreening through Thursday, Margot Benacerraf's 1959 Araya is a stunningly photographed document of a singular culture. Benacerraf's work of poeticized ethnography begins in the wispy clouds before swooping down on the barren terrain of the titular peninsula, located in northern Venezuela. "All was desolation," intones the narrator, but desolation never looked so good. Neither did backbreaking labor. Over the course of a single day, Benacerraf follows the lives of Araya's inhabitants as they stack massive pyramids of salt—the "white gold" that is the region's chief resource—against the sky or roam the shantytowns selling fish, while the oozy narration rehashes key phrases ("All life comes from the sea") to emphasize the circularity of the subject's existence. Does the film unduly aestheticize poverty? Well, obviously, never more so than in a repeated image of four bare-chested boys beating salt piles in unison. Still, Benacerraf seems determined to show the human face—not just the chiseled physique—of this place. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, $6–$9. 7 and 9 p.m. ANDREW SCHENKERStage: Clock in a CrocYou've got a hook for a hand and a crocodile on your tail. That damn Tinkerbell is flitting about your face, and that brat Peter Pan is driving your crew toward mutiny. It's hard being Captain Hook. Where is the love, the sympathy? And Wendy—completely out of a pirate captain's league. Such are his dilemmas in the 1954 musical Peter Pan, hatched by an eye-popping assemblage of talent: director Jerome Robbins, composers Jule Styne and Mark Charlap, and lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green. And lest we forget, Mary Martin was the original Peter; and thus Broadway history was made. SCT is dusting off this perennial family favorite (recommended for ages 6 and up). Linda Hartzell directs. Eric Ankrim plays Peter and David Pichette his maritime nemesis. Like the captain asks: "Who's unlaughable? Who's unliftable? Whose existence is quite unforgivable?" You know the answer: Hook, Hook, Hook. (Through Jan. 10.) Seattle Children's Theatre, 201 Thomas St. (Seattle Center), 441-3322, $18–$42. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSATURDAY 11/14Comedy: Trash TalkerKnown as "the Queen of Mean," Lisa Lampanelli only called me an idiot once during a recent e-mail interview. Who are her comedy role models? "My idols are obviously Don Rickles and Howard Stern," she explains. "But the person who has inspired me most is Kathie Lee Gifford. She has proven that you can have a career even if everyone on the planet hates your guts." Does she ever apologize for her ethnic and insult comedy? "Hell, no! Who do I owe an apology to? It's not my fault people are the ethnicity they are. I just point out their faults." And lastly, why the big gay fan base? "Gay men are the best audience members ever! Because after taking it in the ass all day, my insults seem like a walk in the park." Don't say we didn't warn you. The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 467-5510, $39.75. 8 p.m. LIBBY MOLYNEAUXSUNDAY 11/15Sports: Mud and SudsIt's the sport so controversial, they banned it from Lincoln Park! Well, not really—a recent city permit snafu was to blame. The European-derived sport of cyclocross works something like this: Imagine you're pedaling your bike up Yesler. Now imagine you're riding on mud, not pavement. On skinny tires. Now imagine you've got to dismount, shoulder your bike, then leap over some inconvenient hay bales while jostling for position in a race. Also, it's cold and raining. Sound like fun? The autumn sport has a growing, enthusiastic following here in the Northwest, and the Woodland Park GP is your chance to taste the mud and excitement firsthand. In Europe, the courses typically loop around a rowdy beer garden. Unfortunately, that is not a permit the city is likely to issue anytime soon, though tailgating parties aren't likely to be policed. Woodland Park, N. 59th St. & Aurora Ave. N., Free (spectators), $10–$20 (participants). 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTUESDAY 11/17Film: Mob RuleThe Camorra crime families who have their hands around the neck of Naples have been around much longer than the recent movie Gomorrah, based on the book by a crusading writer. Opening the New Italian Cinema Festival is Fortàpasc, set in 1985 Naples and based on the short life of investigative journalist Giancarlo Siani, who documented the link between the Mafia and city hall. Here, too, corruption is systemic. Criminals and municipal bureaucrats exist in parallel industries, mirror images of the other. Payoffs are dispensed like bullets, and reporters are equally unwelcome among politicians and crooks. The more questions Siani asks, the fewer friends he has. And, significantly, he never received the police protection that keeps Gomorrah author Roberto Saviano alive today. Fortàpasc—whose title, in Neapolitan dialect, refers to the lawlessness of Fort Apache, the Bronx—is one of eight titles screened through Nov. 21. Director Marco Risi will attend opening night. SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, $40–$50 (series), $8–$10 (individual). 7:30 p.m. (Repeats 9:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 20) BRIAN MILLERJazz: His Mind's Never on VacationFor most of the legendary vocalists of jazz, you can hear a long line of descendants and copycats—singers whose debt to, say, Joe Williams or Carmen McRae is clear and obvious. And then there's Mose Allison. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone on the scene who sounds influenced by him, because the guy's wry, nasally, artless, Mississippi take on the blues is so utterly his own. And his odd, classically infused piano solos are inimitable as well. He's past 80 now, and still touring nonstop (by himself, picking up local sidemen in each town). If ever there were an advertisement for the life-sustaining properties of smoke-choked bars and world-weariness, Mose is it. (Through Thurs.) Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729, $24.50. 7:30 p.m. MARK D. FEFER

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