The Weekly Wire: This Week’s Recommended Events

THURSDAY 6/3Stage: Back to the Big TopIn recent years, Cirque de Soleil has collaborated on some, er, questionable productions, e.g., Criss Angel's Vegas flop and Britney Spears' comeback tour. Kooza marks a return to the circus company's origins—acrobatics and clowns sans issue-plagued celebrities. Inspired by the Sanskrit word "koza" (treasure), Kooza is two hours of family-friendly entertainment, including popcorn, magic tricks, and a huge, hyperactive dog for kids (OK, actually a guy in a furry suit). And for parents: cocktails and sexy contortionists. "The Wheel of Death" should impress audience members of all ages; it's an act consisting of two presumably mad men leaping in and out of a rapidly spinning 1,600-pound metal contraption that, as the name indicates, leaves little margin for error. If the little ones get nervous, you can shield their eyes. If you get nervous, you can always order another drink. (Hey, it might make that dog-costume guy funnier, too.) Through July 2. Marymoor Park, 6046 West Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., 800-450-1480, $31–$250. 8 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTSIFF: Trash TV—for Freedom!If you ever doubted that David Hasselhoff was the '80s embodiment of everything good and decent about America, the strange little Estonian documentary Disco and Atomic War may convince you otherwise. Growing up in Tallinn, director Jaak Kilmi recalls his Knight Rider- and Dallas-infatuated childhood and the Soviet efforts to block such pernicious TV programming being broadcast from Finland. Young Jaak even made laborious, handwritten summaries of Dallas episodes for a cousin who lived outside the samizdat zone. Along with talking heads who explain covert CIA support, Kilmi and his kin cheerfully recount their love for our forbidden trash. Vintage propaganda and TV clips from all sides of the conflict are hilarious: Communists warn of "the Western dance craze," while Finnish supermarket ads display luscious veal cutlets that Estonians lusted after like pornography. (On which subject, the 1987 broadcast of Emmanuelle was effectively a national holiday.) Disco provides a charming little slice of Cold War history, when illegal TV antennas and smuggled VHS tapes were the height of modern technology. (Repeats June 7 and 9.) SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, $11. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERDance: A Sunny Season-EnderRomanticism in ballet cuts two ways: There's the tragedy of Giselle, where spurned women rise from the dead to haunt the living; then there's the sunny world of Coppélia. On the surface, it's a girl-gets-boy story, where spunky Swanilda (Kaori Nakamura) saves gormless Franz (Jonathan Porretta) from the machinations of the crackpot Dr. Coppélius (to be danced by PNB artistic director Peter Boal). But underneath is a whiff of darker stuff, as Coppélius plans to steal Franz's life force to animate a beautiful doll. It's a combination of Frankenstein and Pygmalion. But the forces of good win out this time, all set to a glorious score by Léo Delibes and based on the 1974 choreography of George Balanchine. (Through June 13.) McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), 441-2424, $25–$160. 7:30 p.m. SANDRA KURTZFRIDAY 6/4Film: Willfully TwistedSince 2005, Seattle's True Independent Film Festival (aka STIFF) has been the boozy, cheerfully uncouth gate-crasher to SIFF's city-dominating festivities. If you don't have one of those expensive laminated SIFF passes, if you didn't get in the mile-long line soon enough outside the Egyptian, if you're still hungover from last night, STIFF has got a place for you. As for the quality of the programming—well, it's always erratic, but that's where the drinking comes in. This year's lineup includes something called Porndogs: the Adventures of Sadie, in which Ron Jeremy, Paul Rodriguez, and others provide the voices for various humping puppies. (It's like an NC-17 March of the Penguins.) Tonight, however, our festival-opening pick would be the documentary The Lobster and the Liver, a profile of local artist Jim Woodring, whose often grotesque cartoons might actually be more decorous than some of the following features. Music and parties are also on the STIFF schedule, which runs through June 13 at venues including Northwest Film Forum and Rendezvous/JewelBox. Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., $8–$10 (individual), $50 (series pass). 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSUNDAY 6/6Parks: Haiku Not RequiredTo celebrate its 50th birthday, the Seattle Japanese Garden is opening its shrub-flanked gates for free today. Though planning began in the '30s, World War II then awkwardly intervened, and it wasn't until 1960 when Yuki Iida, of the Tokyo Metropolitan Park Department, could implement the design. (Tokyo also donated the original teahouse, since rebuilt.) Nestled within the UW's Washington Park Arboretum, the 3.5-acre city-run garden has become a calm green retreat for Seattleites of all ages. Inside, Japanese maples, gingko, and bamboo mix with local varieties of rhododendrons, azaleas, and cedar. Cultural and historical presentations will be accompanied by traditional Japanese entertainment. Or you can just walk the relaxing paths and contemplate the blossoms. Washington Park Arboretum, 1075 Lake Washington Blvd., Free. 11 a.m.–8 p.m. PARISA SADRZADEHMONDAY 6/7Stage: A Jet All the WayIt sounds like an episode from Steve Allen's old Meeting of Minds series, where actors playing Aristotle, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Aquinas, and Sun Yat-sen would sit around and discuss Big Issues in character. At tonight's event, part of the "Seattle Celebrates Bernstein" festival, four actors will recreate a 1987 roundtable discussion among Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Lawrence, and Jerome Robbins, the men who'd made West Side Story 30 years earlier. (The film version's screening for SIFF at the Harvard Exit, 1:15 p.m. Sun., June 6, btw.) One of the actors is Martin Charnin, a Jet in the original WSS Broadway cast, who'll share further memories of the larger-than-life composer and the gig that launched his theatrical career—he became the lyricist for Annie and now directs the local company Showtunes (whose concert staging of Sondheim's Follies plays June 5–6 at the Moore Theatre.) Bernstein songs round out this warm bath of stage nostalgia. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Free. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERTTUESDAY 6/8Jazz: Sneak AttackMany of jazz history's great drummers have had a singular, inimitable style whose influence is heard in clubs for years after. But the greatness of somebody like the wonderful Jack DeJohnette lies more in what they make happen around them than in some conspicuously new approach to the kit. (Though he's got that too.) Everything DeJohnette touches turns to brilliance, whether it's the Standards Trio he's been driving for years with Keith Jarrett or his own odd and elusive bands. His new, as-yet-unrecorded quintet combines jazz generations and backgrounds into something that, with any other drummer, might produce chaos—the complex Indo-Pak volleys of saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, the serpentine shredding of guitarist Dave Fiuczynski, the clean and fervid swing of pianist George Colligan. But with DeJohnette stirring the pot, it all sounds like a recipe for splendor. Tonight and Wednesday will likely be the jazz shows of the summer, at a club that rarely ventures into such unknown territory. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729, $28.50. 7:30 p.m. MARK D. FEFER

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