The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 9/1 Books: The Upside of Flooding We've had our fill of environmental-disaster movies (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, etc.), but now scholars are seriously starting to contemplate how we'll have to live with a warmer, wetter planet. UCLA professor Matthew E. Kahn is an economist who studies carbon costs and development issues. And though he identifies more with the Huffington Post left, he offers a counterintuitive thesis in Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future (Basic Books, $26.95). Kahn previously criticized the Obama stimulus package because it didn't go far enough in "de-carbonizing the economy." Instead, he wants to see incentives and subsidies to the right kind of businesses—not the ones like BP and the Big Three that got us in trouble, of course. He puts his faith in the market and suggests we worry less about rising greenhouse gases and more about proper pricing for dry real estate, potable water, and energy. (Local author Peter Ward would beg to differ in The Flooded Earth.) Large cities, Kahn argues, are greener and more efficient than other models of human development. And very few people are willing (or able) to live off the grid, raising their own goats in splendid, libertarian isolation. Where others despair about global warming, Kahn sees cause for optimism. Of course, Seattle may feel different in another century, if our precious deep-bore tunnel becomes an aquarium. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, $5. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER THURSDAY 9/2 Stage: Sad Circus When God cuts the strings of angelic marionette Frank in puppet-maker Brian Kooser's morbid fable Frankenocchio, the poor little fellow falls to Earth (with much poignant flapping), and his head rolls off. Adopted by a grim circus, Frank endures multiple indignities as old geeks Benevecchio and Tragico attach a series of surrogate bodies beneath him, most of them from other species. Upping the eeriness, hooded, dark-clad puppeteers manipulate the puppets and produce their accented voices. Mute Frank's gentle desire to reunite head with body (and reattain God's love) plucks the heartstrings without artificial sweeteners. Live music by God's Favorite Beefcake (led by Shmootzi the Clod, formerly of Circus Contraption) hovers between klezmer and New Orleans funeral dirge. A futility-born sadness pervades the 95-minute piece, but some moments (such as when Tragico's phallic nose lodges in an elephant's rectum) are bitterly funny. (Ends Sat.) Seattle University (Lee Center for the Arts), 901 12th Ave., 800-838-3006, $18. 8 p.m. MARGARET FRIEDMAN Photography: Unquiet Desert A country some deem "the next Afghanistan" owing to its service as a lawless, tribal refuge for Al Qaeda, Yemen is a place few Westerners dare to visit. But 23-year-old Canadian photojournalist Ed Ou did just that, and his haunting desert images are on view in the group show Perspectives (also featuring Cara Barer, Toby Smith, and Luce Pelletier). With a small, weak, corrupt government that controls little of the country, Yemenis are basically left to themselves. Clan and village provide the organizing units for society; then there are the various Islamic militias and foreign fugitives, all very well armed. But Ou focuses less on the political than on the quiet, quotidian scenes of life at the mosque, soccer field, and marketplace. In the capital city of Sana'a, scorching hot by day, the narrow labyrinth of streets fills with nighttime strollers headed out to drink tea, gossip, or hit the Internet cafes. One notices, however, that in this rigidly segregated country, they're all male. And you can imagine that overhead, out of frame, our Predator drones are silently circling, looking for targets. (Through Sept. 25.) Foster/White Gallery, 220 Third Ave. S., 622-2833, Free. Reception: 6–8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Baseball: The Agony and the Agony The abysmal Mariners are starting to look iconically bad, like a terrible team for the ages. Firing managers, shuffling the lineup, making disastrous trades, alienating fans, daring to question the sanctity of Ichiro...the list of follies goes on and on. People will cite this season for years to come as a landmark in suckage—maybe even study it in business school, as they do Enron or Washington Mutual. With our luck, Safeco Field will go into foreclosure and be sold for scrap metal. But the good people of Cleveland understand our plight, because over in the AL Central division, their Indians also occupy the cellar. They're equally lacking in power and morale. Their bleachers are just as glum. So this four-game series, which begins tonight, should actually be an evenly matched contest. It'll be like a battle between kittens: Aawww, how harmless and cute! They can't hit, pitch, score, or inflict any other damage! And should you meet a Cleveland fan (granted, more likely at a bar than at Safeco), buy that pitiful soul a beer. With both teams sinking into oblivion, the best option is to drown your sorrows together. (Series continues through Sun.) Safeco Field, 1250 First Ave. S., 346-4001, $7 and up. 7:10 p.m. T. BOND Photography: Portraits From Diana The photographs Amy Blakemore takes with a crappy plastic camera can make you cry. When Amy Blakemore: Photographs 1988–2008 originally opened at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts, people kept stopping and lingering in front of Dad (1999), which she took of her father just after he died. Images of death lure people, but usually it's the shocking photojournalistic kind. This simple, quiet picture dunks your head in a bucket of loss. Every photo captures a particular moment in time, but Blakemore's capture concentrated doses of human experience. If you know her work at all, you probably know that she shoots her photographs exclusively with a Diana, a 1960s plastic camera made in Hong Kong by the "Great Wall Plastic Factory." The Diana was so cheap, it was given away as a carnival prize. But its sheer crappiness is part of the appeal. Its inherent defects—the photos it produces are vignetted and blurry, with low-contrast, oddly colored images—yield haunting images in Blakemore's hands. Amy Blakemore is a solid, thoughtful artist, as low-key and unassuming as her work (and her choice of camera equipment). At tonight's opening reception, Blakemore will join SAM curator Marisa C. Sánchez to discuss her work. (Through Feb. 13; see her recent work at James Harris Gallery.) Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, $9–$15. 7 p.m. KELLY KLAASMEYER FRIDAY 9/3 Film: Divide and Be Conquered The title of Ran, Akira Kurosawa's sweeping 1985 adaptation of King Lear, translates as "chaos." True to Shakespeare, that's precisely what ensues when a doddering medieval lord (Tatsuya Nakadai) unwisely cedes power. We all know the tragic story (only with three sons instead of daughters), but the new 35mm print of this great, long film is worth seeing for several reasons. Kurosawa's famous perfectionism is evident in every well-composed frame. Arrangements of horsemen on green, grassy hills are stunning; pre-CGI battle sequences are remarkable, with their color-coded armies and red, red blood. Indoors, daughter-in-law Lady Kaede (Mieko Harada) is unforgettably scary and determined in her drive for vengeance. Naturalistic acting and makeup aren't the point (both reflect Noh theater); instead, the pageantry and ritual gestures help make an old English play a universal epic. (Through Thurs.) Varsity, 4329 University Way N.E., 781-5755, $10. Call or see website for showtimes. BRIAN MILLER Stage: Laugh, Clown, Laugh "The clown is the most expressive of all creatures," writes Christopher Bayes on his website, "and is most at home in the midst of gleeful pandemonium." One can reasonably assume, then, that he means to create some serious havoc for the head fool of his new production (co-adapted with playwright Steven Epp) of Molière's A Doctor in Spite of Himself. Bayes previously provided the movement and choreography for Broadway's manic Hitchcock tour-de-farce The 39 Steps, which visited Seattle last fall. And the Yale-based director has a strong past record with Intiman, having assisted with Bartlett Sher's genuinely raucous and reverent The Servant of Two Masters in 2001 and helming his own engaging take on Molière's Scapin a year later. The guy respects shtick and believes that "we must try valiantly to give the theater back to the curious, inspired, and virtuosic actor." Enter Daniel Breaker, who'll take the lead in Doctor—a rascal whose vengeful wife forces him to pretend he's a brilliant physician—and who should be able to firmly hold the center of gleeful pandemonium. He earned a Tony nomination in 2008 for his energetic supporting turn as the younger, thinner version of musician Stew in Passing Strange. Hey, you try not getting lost in the shuffle of a show starring someone named Stew. (Through Oct. 10.) Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), 269-1900, $10–$65. 8 p.m. STEVE WIECKING Film: I Remember Mamma Very much a transitional work for Pier Paulo Pasolini, his 1962 Mamma Roma is also about a woman (Anna Magnani) and nation in transition. She's the veteran whore retired from her trade to be a mother to her teen son, who scarcely wants one. Around them, Rome is rebuilding from the rubble of World War II. Italian cinema is moving from neorealism to cheap, modern amorality. Much as the boisterous, earthy Mamma Roma might wish to return to simpler times, her sluggish, heavy-browed son recognizes they're gone. She wants him to work in a restaurant, a job she secures with a bit of sexual blackmail. He just wants to hang with his homies—the thick, sticky bond between them portending Pasolini's later, gayer work—and rob hospital patients. They live in a new apartment block at the edge of Rome, and a church dome can just be glimpsed over the other rising towers. In a film suffused with religious imagery, it's a shot Pasolini repeats often: There lies grace and salvation, a release from sin and earthly desire, yet who has time to pray anymore? Rome's new generation of hustlers has no need for tradition or faith. (The film screens through Thursday on a new 35mm print.) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 267-5380, $6–$9. 7 and 9 p.m. BRIAN MILLER MONDAY 9/6 Happy Hours: Do You Come Here Often? Granted, the Fairmont Olympic isn't the first place that comes to mind for happy hour—who wants to risk spilling a drink on imported Italian decor and plush carpeting? Plenty of (rich) people, apparently. Sundays through Thursdays, business travelers, newlyweds, socialites, and even their teacup Yorkies gather in the lobby for hors d'oeuvres ($5 each) and martinis ($7). Prices still sound a little steep for happy hour? Request the "endless starters" ($12), which includes as many decadent dishes as you can stomach, including asparagus salad, tuna carpaccio, and Dungeness crab/cheddar sandwiches with truffle fries. Note: Not all guests are shameless enough to take advantage of this special, so once your spread arrives, it will be subjected to envious stares. Savor the moment. Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St., 621-1700, Free. 21 and over. 3:30–6 p.m. ERIKA HOBART

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