The Weekly Wire: The Week’s Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 8/4Stage: The Possible DreamThe biggest stars of Taproot's production of Man of La Mancha are the designers: Mark Lund (scene and sound), Sarah Burch Gordon (costumes), and Andrew Duff (lighting). Together they transport us into the 16th-century prison where Don Quixote (Jeff Berryman) enlists fellow inmates to assist him in creating his fantastical play-within-a-play. The prison wall is appropriately intimidating and the clothing appropriately drab, setting up a hopeless environment where the cast remains for the duration. But the arrival of Don Quixote puts an ironic twist on the prison: One flicker of the lights, and suddenly he's beyond the walls, surrounded by, and being seduced by, gypsies. The 1965 Man of La Mancha contains plenty of memorable musical numbers, which partly explains its long-running success and many revivals. Taproot's cast performs the songs adequately, if not always stunningly. The exception is Don Darryl Rivera, who brings wonderful humor to Sancho, Quixote's squire, and whose musical delivery never fails to energize the audience. Berryman's comic timing is perfect, making for a very funny production. (Ends Aug. 21.) Taproot Theatre, 204 N. 85th St., 781-9707, $20–$35. 7:30 p.m. BRENT ARONOWITZFilm: A River of WhiskeyIn The African Queen, you get Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, their little boat, and a very hokey—but very enjoyable—mismatched romance as they careen downriver toward a German gunship. World War I has broken out in Europe, and Hepburn's spinster is determined to strike a blow for England. Bogart's drunken river captain wants nothing to do with heroics—he's like Casablanca's Rick gone to seed (the part earned him an Oscar). But wouldn't you know he gradually softens to Hepburn and embraces her cause? Director John Huston shot the 1951 Technicolor picture on location in Africa, where Hepburn got very sick while Huston and Bogart got very drunk. The movie begins the Wednesday night Metro Classics series, which also includes titles like the original King Kong, Meet Me in St. Louis, and The Apartment. (Through Sept. 29.) Metro, 4500 Ninth Ave. N.E., 781-5755, $7.50–$10. 7 and 9:10 p.m. BRIAN MILLERBaseball: Vlad CompanyHad the offensively anemic Mariners had the foresight to sign Texas Rangers slugger Vladimir Guerrero to a modest free-agent contract in the off-season, they'd have likely not been compelled to trade ace pitcher Cliff Lee, who was enjoying one of the best years in team history before being traded a few weeks ago to...Texas, which leads the AL West as the M's dwell in the cellar. So it's gone for second-year Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik, for whom a second trial's been ordered after a premature rendering of a "genius" verdict after what was, frankly, a lucky first year at the reins. Nothing exemplifies Zduriencik's sophomore slump like the decision to let free agent 1B/DH Russell Branyan sign with Cleveland after hitting 31 home runs for the M's last year, only to trade a pair of prospects to bring him back shortly before the Lee trade, which yielded a hot 1B/DH prospect in switch-hitting Justin Smoak. While there's often method to a man's madness, sometimes madness is simply what it is. (Tonight is the second in a series of three games, continuing through Thurs.) Safeco Field, 1250 First Ave. S., 346-4001, $8–$70. 7:10 p.m. MIKE SEELYTHURSDAY 8/5Dance: Import ImprovSometimes you have to travel to see what the dance world has to offer, but this is the weekend to stay in town. Every summer the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation brings an incredible roster of artists to Seattle. This year's program, "Off the Cuff," offers a double handful of stellar performers who'll join their local counterparts in two shows. Tonight, hometown favorites KT Niehoff, Alia Swersky, and Christian Swenson share the bill with out-of-town guests including Ohio-based powerhouse dance-maker Bebe Miller, who's been blazing trails in the alt-dance world for two decades. Some may remem ber seeing her pointed little wing, part of the 1997 Hendrix Project and often revived, in which her combination of virtuosity and attitude perfectly match Jimi's signature guitar sound. Friday's show offers a fresh program with a different mix of dancers. Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 686-7323, $15. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZVisual Arts: Roll With ItGood art often inspires bad art. Occasionally you get the reverse. Then there's the 1980 roller-disco musical Xanadu, inspired—if in name only—by the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem. The movie is a certified kitsch artifact, and it's the leaping-off point for 16 artists in the group show Xanadu: A Stately Pleasure Dome. Certainly they've got a lot of material to work with: the opium-eating reverie and dream palace of Coleridge; the Hollywood iconography of Gene Kelly; the Aussie-pop confections of Olivia Newton-John; the soundtrack by Electric Light Orchestra and other bands. Some participants are responding directly, like Tony Gua, who embeds Newton-John's pretty mug in a block of Lucite. Others allude indirectly to visions of paradise, like Edie Bresler's bleak nighttime photo We Sold a Winner 350 Food Mart, where a lucky lottery number might be the ticket to bliss. And even if you don't like the art at tonight's reception, there's always the music of ELO. (Through Aug. 28.) Soil Gallery, 112 Third Ave. S. (Tashiro Kaplan Building), 264-8061, Free. 6–8 p.m. BRIAN MILLERFRIDAY 8/6Festivals: Bright Lights, Lake CityCommunity festivals are a dime a dozen this time of year, but a couple really separate themselves from the pack. Lake City's Pioneer Days is one such festival. Why? Model fucking trains—they're part of a weekend program that also includes a street fair, vintage car show, salmon bake, 5K run, and parade. Seattle's most northeasterly neighborhood is such a newfangled-retail coldbed that there are still brick-and-mortar storefronts devoted to miniature trains. Also, need a watch or clock fixed? Lake City's got you. The neighborhood also boasts a Dick's, Claire's Pantry, Toyoda Sushi, a great Thai restaurant with an awful name (Thai One On), and Seattle's top-ranked dive bar, the Rimrock Steakhouse—although it's best to forget the "steakhouse" part of this moniker. The festivities will not kick off with fire juggling or a live set from a band that intentionally misspells the word "weird." Instead, the national anthem will be sung and a white dove released into the sky by a proper color guard. God bless Americana. (Through Sat.) N.E. 125th St. & Lake City Way N.E., Free. Noon–7 p.m. MIKE SEELYBooks: Running on EmptyIn the endless Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement debate, Seattle politics falls into two warring camps: carless car-haters who won't be inconvenienced by vehicular gridlock (e.g. Publicola, The Stranger, Cary Moon, and Mayor Mike McGinn), and those who admit to the necessary evil of occasional driving, and therefore advocate the costly deep-bore tunnel (e.g. the City Council, Seattle Times, and Crosscut). Into this battle wade sisters Catherine Lutz and Anne Lutz Fernandez, who've written the provocatively titled Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile & Its Effect on Our Lives (Palgrave Macmillan, $28). In addition to the usual damning ammunition in the car wars (pollution, obesity, global warming, 40,000 traffic deaths per year, oil prices, etc.), the authors recently penned an op-ed in The Huffington Post about auto dealers' predatory car loans. Don't be surprised if the mayor shows up to hear them speak. City Hall (Bertha Landes Room), 600 Fourth Ave., 684-8888, Free. 3 p.m. (Also: Elliott Bay, 5 p.m. Sat.) BRIAN MILLERSATURDAY 8/7Comedy: Mr. DoomAt age 43, comedian Doug Stanhope is clearly part of Generation X. However, he thinks the Millennials are pretty boring. "Older generations always complain how the newer ones are more deviant," he says, "but I'll be the first one to complain the other way. I mean, we used to do crank off topless dancers and shit. But these kids? The closest they've gotten to a fistfight is on a message board. It's like, 'You lookin' at my girl? I'm gonna delete you from my Facebook! You've got some blocked-user messages in your future!'" Known for his crass, vitriolic, and hilarious observations (often delivered while smoking and drinking onstage), Stanhope's humor is not for the faint of heart. And you better see him while you can, as he's planning to wrap up his career with an "End of the World" concert on December 20, 2012, the last date on the Mayan calendar. Studio Seven, 110 S. Horton St., 286-1312, $20 (21 and over). 8 p.m. (Also: Laughs Comedy Spot in Kirkland, 7 p.m. Sun.) ROB RUGGIEROOutdoor Movies: "My Name Is Inigo Montoya"Blessed with the nicest, grassiest (yet smallish) venue for outdoor cinema, this year's Movies at the Mural series begins with a proven family favorite from 1987, The Princess Bride. Bring your blankets well before dusk to stake your claim and start your picnic dinner early. Rob Reiner's charming PG-rated adaptation of the classic William Goldman children's tale is sweet, funny, and well-played down the line for both parents and kids. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright Penn are the handsome, occasionally quarrelsome lovers; Wallace Shawn, Mandy Patinkin, and the late André the Giant help get them together after many amusing adventures. It's followed by a Twilight doubleheader: the first Forks-set teen vampire movie on Sat., Aug. 21, then the New Moon addition of werewolves (chiefly Taylor Lautner, sigh!) on Sun., Aug. 22. The very popular new Star Trek movie ends the series on Sat., Aug. 28. Mural Amphitheater (Seattle Center), 684-7200, Free. 9 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSUNDAY 8/8Soccer: Farewell, FreddieA season-high three-game winning streak has the Sounders back in the playoff picture, and there's a score to settle tonight against the Houston Dynamo, which knocked Seattle out of last year's playoffs. The Sounders are in transition; franchise face Freddie Ljungberg was traded to the Chicago Fire last Friday. The Swedish star's replacement in midfield is Alvaro Fernandez, who made his debut in Saturday's 1-0 win at San Jose. Fernandez—at 24, nine years younger than Ljungberg—played in four World Cup matches, helping lift Uruguay to a surprising fourth-place finish. The recent addition of another World Cup participant, Blaise Nkufo, is already paying dividends for the Sounders. The veteran Swiss striker's big, physical presence up front has freed smaller forward Fredy Montero to play back, in a more natural set-up spot. Another beneficiary has been midfielder Steve Zakuani, who scored both goals, one on a Montero assist, in the July 25 home win over Colorado—the Sounders' first victory against a Western Conference opponent in eight attempts this season. Qwest Field, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 877-657-4625, $25–$95. 8 p.m. MICHAEL MAHONEY

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