The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events 

WEDNESDAY 7/28Outdoor Art: A Five-Mile Art WalkThe poet Joyce Kilmer famously wrote, "I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree." The Center on Contemporary Art, curators of "Overgrowth & Understory," a series of 15 sculptures by regional artists in the meadows of Cougar Mountain, seem to have gotten the message. Rather than trying to compete with the landscape of the Issaquah Alps—a losing proposition among the sun-dappled foliage and sweeping views of Lake Sammamish—the best art here blends into its environment. Sarah Savidge's Sea Changes, a box of blue and white glass shards in a pattern that will shift over time, seems organic, more accumulated than installed. Burnt Offering, a charred, twisted stump embedded with copper wires and mosaic tiles, looks like it was decorated by forest fairies (actually Debra Harvey, Catherine Thompson, and Bob Prowda). But though the art is appealing, the most beautiful part of this exhibit is still the five-mile hike between its two sections. Trees are hard to beat. (Through Oct. 10.) Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, 18201 S.E. Cougar Mountain Dr., Issaquah, Free. Open during daylight hours. REBECCA COHENTHURSDAY 7/29Jazz: Peninsula HarmoniesYou'd be hard-pressed to find a better weekend getaway spot than Port Townsend; and for any jazz fan, this is the weekend to do it. Some of Seattle's top straight-ahead players make the trip to Centrum's Jazz Port Townsend, like pianist Dawn Clement and saxophonist/trumpeter Jay Thomas, alongside hard-swinging headliners like pianist Benny Green and the Heath Brothers. Saturday alone will deliver nearly 12 hours of music, with concerts happening all day at Fort Worden State Park followed by shows in downtown clubs past midnight. It's about the most charming and scenic jazz setting you're going to find, outside of the Django Reinhardt Festival at Samois-sur-Seine. (OK, I'm just guessing Samois-sur-Seine is charming and scenic.) To complete the community feeling, there's a Wikispaces page for ride-sharing. Club shows begin tonight at the Upstage, Public House, and Northwest Maritime Center. (Through Sun.) Fort Worden State Park (and other locations), 800-746-1982, $18–$25. 7:30 p.m. MARK D. FEFERBooks: Mud to GloryMaybe you didn't think much about SoDo until March 26, 2000, when the Kingdome was imploded. What was once South of the Dome became, in a dusty instant, South of Downtown: a roughly four-square-mile patch that looms large in our city's history. There's no better person to write about SoDo than Dan Raley, a native Seattleite who spent nearly 30 years at the P-I. His coffee-table book Tideflats to Tomorrow: The History of Seattle's SoDo (Fairgreens, $29.95) is packed with little-known history, fascinating anecdotes, and rare photos. From the old Duwamish mud and brine, SoDo has risen from Indian clamming ground to a Hooverville in the 1930s to the present headquarters of Starbucks, Filson, and other international companies. It's still the city's industrial heart, proximate to railroads and the Port of Seattle, even as housing is planned along its northern border and rezoning is discussed. (Oh, and the Mariners, Seahawks, and Sounders still play there, too.) Barnes & Noble, University Village, 517-4107, Free. 6:30 p.m. (Also: Elliott Bay, 2 p.m. Sun.) MICHAEL MAHONEYFRIDAY 7/30Film: The Perverse PoetActor-director João César Monteiro's films often take place in just a few quiet corners of Lisbon, but their philosophical scope encompasses everything between his cojones and the cosmos. Monteiro (1939–2003) was a modernist scavenger, his artistic persona a tramp Dumpster-diving through Western civilization, pinching from movies, music, painting, theater. This five-film retrospective ("The Genius of Insanity") begins with 1989's Recollections of the Yellow House, in which Monteiro plays a world-weary, chain-smoking, pubic-hair-collecting girl-watcher. With his vulture-like countenance, weedy hermit's frame, and exquisite gestures, Monteiro cuts a figure fit for silent film comedy. His alter ego, João de Deus, has a Peeping-Tom fixation on his landlady's daughter and an obsession with old movies (including Nosferatu and those of Erich von Stroheim). Monteiro reprises the character in subsequent pictures, which share a mood and style: Microscopic gags, epic run times, erratic plots, perfectly snipped-off long takes, and dreamy sensuality. João is not a great seducer, but the films are perfumed with his love of women. (Through Thurs.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, $6–$9. 7 and 9:30 p.m. NICK PINKERTONSATURDAY 7/31Opera: Love Potion #9Never had a composer dared to use a musical metaphor so unabashedly and yet with such refinement until Richard Wagner began Tristan and Isolde in 1857. Many operatic lovers had met tragic ends, but Wagner unprecedentedly wrote music that languishes and dies right along with them. Just as T & I never consummate their forbidden passion, so his score wanders, surges, agonizes, and seems only to come to rest at the very end as his heroine expires—after an orchestral orgasm—in a luminous B major. She's an Irish princess being forced to wed against her will; he's the knight tasked with bringing her to the wedding. In her anguish, Isolde takes what she thinks is poison—oops! Her maidservant switched it for a love potion. (Also, never had a composer made anything so transcendent out of such a dopey farce premise.) Clifton Forbis and Annalena Persson play the title roles in a Seattle Opera production directed by Peter Kazaras that will make use of the company's visual projection system—and, everyone hopes, atone for some of the legendary weirdnesses in SO's 1998 staging of the opera. (Through Aug. 21.) McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, 389-7676, $25–$191. 6:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERTBeer & Bikes: Fatties on ParadeThe Tour de France is over. Lance Armstrong has retired, again. The naked cyclists of the Fremont Solstice Parade have put their clothes back on (and, BTW, thanks for that). The STP is past and probably already oversubscribed for next year. What's left for local cyclists to do? Drown their misery in beer at the Tour de Fat, where your skinny carbon-fiber frames are most unwelcome. (And you fixies keep away, too.) The focus today is on big, slow, 50-pound cruiser bikes with coaster brakes—the way God intended us to ride. A parade, a raffle, music, and a Franken-bike display are also part of the activities, sponsored by the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and New Belgium Brewing Co. But mainly, for those 21 and over, it's all about the beer—meaning, if you get too tipsy, wear your helmet even when dismounted. Gas Works Park, 2101 N. Northlake Way, $5 suggested. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. T. BONDFilm: Back to the FutureFritz Lang's great 1927 silent Metropolis is probably the most influential sci-fi picture ever made, certainly one of the most influential movies ever made. Labor relations, class warfare, Oedipal conflict, mad scientists, robots, German romanticism—all combine in a dialectical struggle (and resolution) that Hegel would love. Metropolis' long legacy is apparent in everything from Blade Runner to The Matrix. Though often screened in truncated versions, the film recently received the best and most complete possible restoration. (New intertitles explain the gaps where scenes are missing.) In her dual roles, Brigitte Helm still makes the robot Maria a figure of vampish, delectable evil—laughing uncontritely even when she's being burned at the stake. Tonight, the Super 8s will perform a live musical score to the film. Fremont Outdoor Cinema, North 35th Street & Phinney Avenue North, 781-4230, $5. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERParades: Clowns vs. Pirates!This year's Torchlight Run has been substantially detoured, with a new start/finish area near South Lake Union Park. Still, as in past years, runners and walkers will travel a section of Fourth Avenue, where onlookers gather for the following parade. (The 5K and 8K runs begin at 6:30 p.m.; registration $25–$30.) The 61st Torchlight Parade follows its traditional route, meaning clowns and pirates, marching bands and vintage cars, drill teams and horses, civic groups and politicians. (Will Mayor Mike McGinn ride his bike or walk? And will he join he clowns or pirates?) The parade will pass by Westlake Park, where Miss Seafair is to be crowned—and don't call her a mere beauty queen, since at least one past Miss Seafair we know went on to be a doctor. Parade route: Seattle Center via Fourth Avenue to Second & King. 728-0123, Free. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERTUESDAY 8/3Photography: Warm and FrostyOne of the warmest rooms in Seattle is the central gallery displaying eight huge panels of Otter Pops (a tubular subspecies of Popsicles), part of photographer Isaac Layman's show "110%." The larger front gallery at Lawrimore features cooler colors of ordinary domestic objects—china cabinets, a crystal doorknob, broken drinking glasses, a clothes-dryer door—similarly enlarged beyond household scale. Their shapes and uses are so familiar that we ignore them at home. Here, supersized, they become strange and pull our eye in. (None more so than the fire-blackened maw of an old oven.) But the Otter Pops gallery is the most pleasing part of the exhibit: It's like walking into a tanning parlor, surrounded by 56 multicolored lamps, all of them 5 feet tall. Stand in the middle, and you see how the freezer pops are actually in their melted state. They're defrosted, yet blast us with sugary light: ultraviolet, ultrared, ultrablue, ultraorange, ultrasucrose. Several of the Otter Pops have already been sold, meaning this is your last opportunity to experience them as a set. Please don't lick the photos. (Through Aug. 14.) Lawrimore Project, 831 Airport Way S., 501-1231, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLERBooks: What's Your Credit Score?With eBooks outselling hardcovers on Amazon, the uncertain future of traditional reading makes Super Sad True Love Story (Random House, $26) even more topical. It's a near-futuristic satire of corporations gone amok whose nebbishy hero clings to print, even as his wavering girlfriend complains that books smell funny. But Gary Shteyngart (Absurdistan) is caught in the same technological/generational divide: He frets in The New York Times that nobody has the patience to read anything longer than the latest tweet on their iPhone. At the same time, the book's hilarious YouTube promotional video (with cameos by James Franco, Jay McInerney, Edmund White, and Jeffrey Eugenides) portrays the author as a bumbling illiterate. (But, as the Times also reports, his shtick just bought him a $1 million Gramercy Park apartment.) SSTLS envisions America on the verge of collapse and past. The dollar is worthless. The Chinese own our overleveraged asses. Black helicopters fire missiles at passenger ferries on the Hudson. Tech companies are selling eternal youth, and every casual hookup is carefully considered for its financial value. Credit scores are flashed and monitored for all to read; privacy is extinct, and personal information a commodity. Yet Shteyngart's idealistic schlemiel continues to believe in love and letters, even as society crumbles around him. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., 366-3333, Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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