The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 2/10Film/Dance: Step LivelyThe sixth pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Swing Time (1936) begins the Wednesday night "Metro Classics" series (through March 17). As usual with their films, the story matters less than the songs and footwork. He's a gambler named Lucky; she's a dance instructor—and there's your plot. Speaking of gold-star teams, Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields wrote most of the lovely score, including "A Fine Romance" and "Never Gonna Dance." But Astaire performs the movie's most famous and enduring song, which earned an Oscar, sitting down at the piano, while Rogers washes her hair in the next room. Astaire's relaxed, affectionate delivery of "The Way You Look Tonight" is one its very best renditions. He believes he's alone with his pining ditty, performing for an audience of one—or so he thinks. And the song ends with a comic grace note that suits the movie's buoyant tone. Dancing is hard work, but love should be easy. (Next week: Bob Fosse's considerably more acerbic All That Jazz.) Metro, 4500 Ninth Ave. N.E., 781-5755, $7.50–$10. 7 and 9:10 p.m. BRIAN MILLERDance/Film: Two Feet in the GraveMichael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's dance classic The Red Shoes (1948) feverishly explores the demands of art at the expense of personal life. "Why do you want to dance?" an imperious artistic director asks aspiring ballerina Moira Shearer, who can only answer with another question: "Why do you want to live?" This ravishing new 35mm Technicolor restoration will be introduced by Powell's widow, the Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker. The delirious spectacle culminates in the 17-minute dance of the title, based on Hans Christian Andersen's morbid tale of ballet slippers that drive the wearer to dance to her death. Dance, girl, dance! At 21, Shearer's auspicious bow in the seventh art became ballet's most memorable depiction in film. (The movie then moves to Northwest Film Forum, running Fri.–Thurs.) Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, $7–$10. 7:30 p.m. MELISSA ANDERSONTHURSDAY 2/11Dance: No Time for RomanceDeservedly, Valentine's Day gets a bad rap nowadays. The stakes are so high, our expectations so elaborate—there's no way it can measure up to the hype. Lucky for us, local choreographers led by the intrepid Wade Madsen are taking down "the most unfortunate holiday of the year," as they call it. Break a Heart is a cabaret featuring seven dances in which love doesn't conquer, and often may stink. Choreographers, also including Diana Cardiff, Kristina Dillard, and Crispin Spaeth, will direct 30 dancers in interlocking vignettes of heartache and woe. Greek mythology and the Violent Femmes are also promised. Take a date if you dare. (Through Sun.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9886, $18. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZFRIDAY 2/12Music: Solitary ExpectationsEven if you're willfully single, it's hard not to feel bitter during the expectation- and commercial-plagued weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, aka the Super Bowl of Love. Not everyone can wallow in chocolates and roses. So Bellevue's trendy new martini bar Stir is hosting a "Dare to Be Dateless" weekend full of un–Valentine's Day events, including speed-dating and dancing tonight, and a ladies-only passion party on Saturday (plus more dancing). Reserved for the actual day of dread is karaoke operating under a "no love songs" policy. (May I suggest Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping"?) Don't worry if you need some liquid courage before taking your angst out on the mike. Stir is serving $6 drink specials—panty-droppers and one-night stands—all weekend long. Because, well, it's not like you're committed. Stir Martini & Raw Bar, 10500 N.E. Eighth St., 425-646-7847, $42 (21 and over). 8 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTSATURDAY 2/13Cartoons: Monsters Among UsDuring the '50s, departing from the good cheer of Peanuts and company, cartoonist Gahan Wilson steered his pen to the Gothic and the grotesque. His macabre comic sensibility was anti-Ike, mocking and distorting the white-picket probity of the postwar years. His tamer stuff is familiar from The New Yorker, and tonight he'll appear to discuss artwork collected in the massive Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons (Fantagraphics, $125): some of it slightly risqué, all of it very funny. Medieval gaolers, bungling vampires, failed seducers, bewildered monsters, lost Martians, and childish mad scientists are among the recurring figures in his panels. Almost 80, Wilson continues to draw with morbid vitality, upholding the tradition of Charles Addams and continuing his influence on younger artists. It's hard to imagine Seattle's own Gary Larson (The Far Side) without him, and fellow ghoul Neil Gaiman has penned an introduction to the book. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, 1201 S. Vale St., 658-0110, Free. 6 p.m. BRIAN MILLERFood: Just Add HeatIf you're searching for Valentine's Day indulgence, this pair of Blue Ribbon Cooking Classes offers a generous helping of DIY culinary romance. Instead of sitting in a restaurant crowded with everyone else's high expectations, you and your sweetheart can learn to prepare a romantic, six-course meal, then chow down. Read the menu and weep: oysters, a Cognac-poached fig salad topped with marinated goat cheese and hazelnut lace, and lobster tail with macadamia-nut butter and winter greens. Pause here for a palate cleanser: lavender sorbet paired with rosé champagne. The entrée: flaming filet mignon with a port reduction and flambéed pears, gorgonzola-leek crème brûlée, and Brussels sprouts with pancetta. Dessert is a twofer: caramelized apple and basil tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream, and hazelnut chocolate. Each course is paired with a Northwest wine selected by the instructors. A separate dessert class and wine tasting follow, and you get extra truffles to take home afterward—if you need any more help getting in the mood. Blue Ribbon Cooking School, 2501 Fairview Ave. E., 328-2442, $155 per person, reservations required. 6:30 p.m. (Dessert class follows at 9:30 p.m., $70 per person.) ADRIANA GRANTMusic: Tanz Mit Mir!German DJ Paul van Dyk (real name: Matthias Paul) has dominated the electronica charts with his hypnotic music for well over a decade. And unlike many of his popular peers—cough, Benny Benassi—he's never relied merely on surging, steroid-fueled beats to get a hit. PvD has always treated techno as a respectable genre capable of passion and sophistication, as evidenced by ethereal tracks like "Nothing But You" and "For an Angel." It's the reason all walks of life—Microsoft yuppies, flamboyant homosexuals, and holier-than-thou hipsters—will congregate at tonight's all-ages rave. The DJ superstar spins a scorching live set that typically inspires the crowd to engage in copious dancing and, er, experimentation. (Yes! Dockers dudes gone wild!) With Johnny Monsoon, Jason Lemaitre, Jesse Newman, and Slava. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 652-0444, $36–$40. 8 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTTUESDAY 2/16Architecture: Unbuilt, but InspiredAfter journalism, architecture is about the worst profession to be entering right now. The economy has stalled grand towers into tarp-covered pits all over Seattle. Most firms have cut staff, and some enterprising junior draftsmen—having been laid off—are now dispensing advice to home remodelers for mere dimes at their stands in Pike Place Market. Shoeing horses seems a more promising career. For that reason, it's heartening to see the optimistic balsa-wood designs on display in Supermodel. The small-scale structures by aspiring architects from the Northwest and Canada persist in thinking big. So what if no banker will lend the money to build them? Be ambitious! Don't submit to dull utility! Among 13 students, the UW's Cory Mattheis was awarded top prize by a panel of local architects for his honeycombed public-bathhouse design. Cute, but contractors prefer right angles. No less fanciful is my favorite: literally tree-hugging observation pods, shaped like seeds, designed by Cal Poly Pomona's Hunter Ruthrauff. They might only be temporary quarters for rainforest researchers, but temporary is better than unbuilt. (Also on display through March 13: three models of works-in-progress by Portland firm Allied Works.) Open Satellite, 989 112th Ave. N.E., 425-454-7355, Free. Noon–6 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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