The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 9/15 Stage: Bare Essentials Get a bunch of men to pull down their pants, and you're in for a solid night of entertainment. Common logic to some of us, sure, but who thought a tune-filled tale about unemployed steelworkers who strip for cash would prove so durably pleasing? Broadway's adaptation of The Full Monty, the smash Brit film comedy from 1997, had a two-year, Tony-nominated run starting in 2000; a rousing touring version hit Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre in 2002; and last November, a budget-strapped staging by Balagan Theatre engaged SW critic Kevin Phinney (who praised its "character and heart"). Now Village Theatre is having a go, and there's no reason to believe the thrill is gone. Reset from Sheffield, England, to Buffalo, New York, by book writer Terrence McNally, the musical Monty loses little of the film's underdog appeal. David Yazbek's observant pop score keeps the blue-collar guys sounding amusingly like guys, and, better, expands our empathy for how lousy it feels to be out of work and low on self-worth. The show's a reliable tonic in these tough times. (Through Nov. 21.) Village Theatre, 303 Front St. N. (Issaquah), 425-392-2202, $19–$60. 8 p.m. STEVE WIECKING Visual Arts: A Very Bright Future Though his boldly colored new show, Donguguan Highways in Hot Pink, draws inspiration from that booming new manufacturing city north of Guangzhou, Timothy Siciliano explains it's not about China per se. As a designer of low-cost party favors and tchotchkes for his local wholesale company Party Planners, "I go at least once a year to visit factories and showrooms. It's like you've landed in Tijuana or something. I love going there, just because it's so bizarre and a little bit crazy. It's like L.A. All the buildings lit up at night—it's like Las Vegas." Outside Hong Kong and Guangzhou, new industrial zones feed our insatiable Western demand, not just at Walmart, but also the MoMA design store, which has carried Siciliano's more upscale wares. "They're instant cities," he says. "They didn't even exist 10 years ago. The scale of things is way off. It's just like this insane overgrowth of factories—but then a little village under a freeway." In his bright, teeming acrylic canvases, Siciliano riffs on China's growth, but also follows "a narrative of characters—the women and the bunny boys and the fish and the peacocks." There are traces of Japanese anime, Bosch, Hindu temples, and traditional shrines for ancestor worship. ("I've always been interested in Eastern design.") It all mixes with the relentless engine of commerce; everything is happening at once in a giddy jumble—East and West, capitalism and communism, past and future. Says Siciliano, "It's not right. It's not wrong. It just is." (Through Oct. 9.) Catherine Person Gallery, 319 Third Ave. S., 763-5565, Free. Noon–6 p.m. BRIAN MILLER THURSDAY 9/16 Graphic Design: Poison Pen and Paper How's this for a job that sucks? For the July 2009 cover of Esquire, graphic designer James Victore had to hand-letter the sell copy on the naked body of Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli. (Yes, Leo DiCaprio's Bar Refaeli.) "She ignored me completely," Victore writes in his coffee-table design compendium Victore, or Who Died and Made You Boss? (Abrams, $40). Appropriately, there's not much text in the book, just lots of glorious illustrations printed on thick paper. At tonight's talk, the New York artist will show examples from his book covers, CD jackets, magazines, advertising, surfboards, china, and illegal subway posters from the '80s. He's a proud, vociferous leftie who'll gladly use images of sex and death to grab your attention for a good cause. (Safe sex and opposition to capital punishment are two of his strongest campaigns.) But for writers, too, he has some valuable advice: "Examine the cliché, then dig deeper into the idea, then do that again and again, turning and twisting it each time. The hell with genius. Work hard." Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E. Prospect St., 654-3100, $9–$18. 6:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Film: Sideshow Confidential Forgotten today, novelist William Lindsay Gresham actually worked among the carnival freaks before writing Nightmare Alley, which begins SAM's fall noir series. This 1947 adaptation is fairly faithful to the book's cynical tone, though it softens the ending to a note of hope that Gresham never found in his own life. Tyrone Power's unprincipled grifter learns the code for a mind-reading act from old carny pro Joan Blondell, with which he then makes a profitable sensation among the swells at Chicago nightclubs, aided by his cute new wife (Coleen Gray). The third woman in his life is a shrink (Helen Walker) who questions Power's supposed gifts. If the sex has been edited out of this movie, it still relishes the grimy connivance of carny folk (not so different from their Hollywood cousins). Power's goal, which inevitably destroys him, is to get a line of suckers to pay to see his act. And if he can't have that, he'll settle for "a bottle a day and dry place to sleep." (Through Nov. 18) Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, $55–$60 (series), $7 (individual). 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER FRIDAY 9/17 Comedy: Crashing the Tea Party At home in New York, in the middle of her My State of the Union comedy tour, Lizz Winstead is bummed to hear that Clint Didier didn't make it into the final round of our gubernatorial election. Has the Tea Party been comedy gold, I ask, to her tribe of political satirists? "What's good for comedy is usually not good for the nation," says Winstead, who famously co-created The Daily Show (back in its pre–Jon Stewart era). "The Michelle Bachmann phenomenon has been an absolute boon." Likewise the constant Twittering of Sarah Palin and daily meltdowns of Glenn Beck—more fresh grist for the mill? "It is the greatest thing ever for me, absolutely," she replies. "To be a really good political satirist, you have to be writing constantly. And you have to be willing to kill jokes that aren't in the news. My material is pretty much 30 percent new in each show." So what makes the Mt. Vernon–raised Beck so popular, so visceral to his viewers? "Because he's all emotion-based. He's given people this set of values that requires nothing of them. You instill this fear of the people who've been elected—who [supposedly] don't think very highly of you, who think you're stupid. When people are desperate, they just want to believe anything they've heard. If you bring up the facts, it's inconvenient." Theater Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave. S., 340-1049, $15. 8 and 10 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Dance: Hot Feet Some might say they've been to hell and back after a difficult trip to Costco. For Orpheus, the phrase has a different meaning. Seattle Dance Project is resurrecting its 2008 production of The Orpheus Project, in which choreographers Wade Madsen, Eva Stone, and Olivier Wevers add a contemporary spin to the myth of love found and lost in the underworld. Orpheus meets Eurydice at a nightclub; Hades is a Fortune 500 tycoon; and Hell is an interview for a grant application. Most of the original cast is back, along with debuts by former Spectrum dancers David Alewine and Lara Seefeldt, for this 21st-century interpretation of ancient Greek drama. (Through Sept. 25.) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 292-7676, $20–$25. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ SATURDAY 9/18 Food & Drink: Meet and Meat It is, depending on your perspective, either the best-named or worst-named local festival of the fall: Sausagefest. And it is not a gathering where straight dudes go to meet other straight dudes and stare forlornly at the dwindling keg. Rather, it's an autumnal celebration of beer, brats, and music. And, yes, chicks are strongly encouraged to attend. (For the love of God. Please.) The 21-and-over event promises every variety of brew that sponsor Redhook can provide. The music lineup is led by Hey Marseilles, and also includes the Black Whales, Hillstomp, the Lights, and Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside. And if you insist on checking the Husky score, the UW vs. Nebraska game will be projected live on a big screen. Other activities include a climbing wall—but, seriously, how can you pull a 5.10c with a beer in one hand? Don't even try. Better to get drunk on the ground, where there's less distance to fall. Redhook Ale Brewery, 14300 N.E. 145th St. (Woodinville), 425-483-3232, $5–$10. Noon–7 p.m. T. BOND MONDAY 9/20 Books: Go Climb Gold Mountain Near the corner of Sixth and King, Chinatown, the chief witness in a looming government bribery trial is shot twice in the stomach. It's September 26. He names his assailant, then dies. Days later, the police find his assassin "hanged." The subsequent trial of Frank Tape produces a verdict of not guilty. Tape promptly flees town, abandoning his house, wife, and considerable assets, and returns to the Bay Area. That was 96 years ago, as Columbia historian Mae Ngai recounts in The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26). In an era when discriminatory immigration policies sought to halt the Cantonese immigration boom (begun in the mid-19th century, its labor building the western half of the transcontinental railroad), the family of patriarch Joseph Tape (originally Jeu Dip) profited by assisting—and sometimes exploiting—those who followed them. Assimilated English speakers Joseph and Frank often worked as translators for the feds, and their station allowed them to extort bribes from detainees hoping to reach "Gold Mountain" (as the U.S. was called). At the same time, however, the clan fought to educate its children in the California public schools from which they were prohibited. If their journey to the upper-middle class wasn't entirely honest, Ngai suggests, the Tapes were only as crooked as the system that made them. Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Books: Nerd on the Farm Jonathan Safran Foer, the intellectual crush of many a nerd-set hipster, is best known for his fiction—chiefly Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything Is Illuminated. So when he set out to write Eating Animals (Back Bay, $14.99, new in paperback), perceived to be a vegetarian manifesto, the un-hip nerds raised eyebrows, and rightfully so. But what Safran Foer brings to the table is a realistic and personal perspective that's often lost in the food-justice conversation. He intertwines his investigation of American factory farms with bursts of philosophical inquiry and personal rumination (becoming a father, his grandmother's Holocaust survival, awkward dinner parties, etc.). He unsurprisingly condemns factory farms, yet also disdains terms like cage-free, fresh, and environmentalism. And in the end, he doesn't insist that others convert to vegetarianism, though that's the diet he's chosen for himself. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, $5. 7:30 p.m. MARY PAULINE DIAZ TUESDAY 9/21 Food: Tasty Enclaves Acclaimed food writer Rowan Jacobsen has previously penned books about honeybees and oysters. In his latest work, he looks at the unique culinary ecosystems that produce them—and fill our plates. His fascinating American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters and Fields (Bloomsbury, $25) examines the French concept of terroir—loosely translated as "the taste of place." Jacobsen posits that "certain areas consistently produce better-quality food than others." He scopes out delicacies like Panamanian coffee beans ($130 a pound!) and the perfect plate of moules-frites on Prince Edward Island, enhancing it all with an impressive amount of biological and cultural knowledge. (Avocado comes from the Aztec word for testicle!) Here in the Northwest, the Vermont writer describes our geoduck as "something that might owe a lot of money to Jabba the Hutt." He'll be joined tonight in a conversation about terroir with local chef/author Greg Atkinson, Northwest seafood icon Jon Rowley, and cider connoisseur Sharon Campbell (of Tieton Cider Works). An oyster and cider tasting will follow the talk. (Also: University Book Store, 7 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 23.) Palace Ballroom, 2100 Fifth Ave., 441-5542, $25 (book extra, no-host bar). 7 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON

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