The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommmended Events

WEDNESDAY 10/27 Books: Forever Plaid To those who came of age in the early '80s, The Official Preppy Handbook was an improbable yet highly influential style manifesto: a call to polite rebellion to troops marching in Sperry Topsiders, chinos, plaids, duck belts, and polo shirts layered beneath button-down oxfords. It was conformity with a wink, archness embedded in the revival of a style predating disco and hippies. You didn't have to be a Reaganite conservative or come from old money to wear pearls or a mallard-embossed tie. Instead, the preppy uniform became a kind of white, heterosexual drag—the playful emulation of a pre-boomer, Gatsbyesque life of leisure, a frivolous neverland of G&Ts and golden retrievers. Ralph Lauren and J. Crew profited most famously from the preppy movement, and now its doyenne is back: Lisa Birnbach has co-authored True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World (Knopf, $19.95) with noted designer Chip Kidd, and they have no use for hoodies, Jersey Shore, and taking cell-phone calls at the dinner table. Though their book is gentle satire, Birnbach also promotes the virtues of "good manners and good eye contact and a nice handshake." And in this economy, so unlike the booming '80s, her new handbook might just help you land a job. Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER FRIDAY 10/29 Zombies: Bring Out Your Undead Vampires may be big in Forks, thanks to Twilight, but Seattle's obviously a city for zombie loyalists. This past July, we broke the Guinness world record for Largest Zombie Walk. For the second time. To reward our devotion, the Grand Pooh-Bah of zombie films, director George A. Romero, will be in attendance at the inaugural ZomBcon, a convention that aims to do for zombie fans what ComiCon does for anime nerds. But instead of, say, Stan Lee, zombie royalty like Bruce Campbell, Max Brooks (author of World War Z), Day of the Dead cast members, and twisted author Chuck Palahniuk will be in attendance for classic and contemporary zombie-film screenings (including a special 25th-anniversary showing of Day of the Dead), workshops, panels, and all the brains you can stomach. (Through Sun.) Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, 305 Harrison St., $15. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. SARA BRICKNER Books: Healthy Without Hassles Mark Bittman made news several years ago when he announced plans to go vegan before dusk. Coming from a New York Times food writer and cookbook author, a man clearly in love with food, this was a radical move. Bittman's recent bestseller, Food Matters, argues that eating meat three meals a day is simply unsustainable, both for our health and the environment. His new The Food Matters Cookbook (Simon & Schuster, $35) is a fat collection of 500 straightforward recipes, including his "no-work mostly-whole-wheat pizza dough," "more-vegetable less-egg frittata," and "beans Bolognese." In the book, Bittman doesn't go so far into the why; by now, anyway, especially in Seattle, his view is near-Pollanesque gospel: Eat local, eat low on the food chain, and eat better, less-processed food. And his recipes are prescriptive. Prosciutto is a condiment, not the main event, and many dishes are meatless. Bittman might be preaching to the choir, but this cookbook ensures that the choir will also remain well-fed. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, Free. 7 p.m. ADRIANA GRANT SATURDAY 10/30 Comix: Dreaming to Stay Awake You wake in a strange room. But it seems familiar. The wood paneling reminds you of childhood. Your head hurts; you can't remember anything. Hey—there's your cat from when you were a kid! Where's it going? Through a hole that leads you, Alice-like, into a phantasmagoric underworld. And there, amid the talking lizard people and giant red-spotted eggs, are traces of your other life, the one you're trying to remember. What happened that night, the night you met that girl? Welcome to the imagination of Charles Burns, who's beginning a new comic series with X'ed Out (Pantheon, $19.95). The Seattle native, now living in Philadelphia, shifts his story between two realms. We can recognize the late-'70s punk scene of Pop-Tarts, bondage-photo Polaroids, jealous boyfriends, and Patti Smith albums. But is it real? Or should our protagonist, Doug, pay more credence to what the lizard people are telling him? On which side is it safer to wake? And which might restore what's been x'ed out of his skull? We should have a new volume in about a year to answer some of those questions. And raise others. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, 1201 S. Vale St., 658-0110, Free. 6 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Cabaret: Dread and Laughter Most of us know El Vez as the outrageous improvisational performer who often steals the show from his Teatro ZinZanni castmates. The self-proclaimed "Mexican Elvis" even contributed to the soundtrack of The Hangover. But tonight he'll put on a (slightly) more serious face to emcee the first installment of Mezzo Lunatico, a new variety show featuring TZZ performers and friends. For this evening's theme, fear, burlesque dancer Catherine D'Lish, Mudhoney's Mark Arm, and others will confront their worst nightmares. But the audience won't be subjected to frightful Halloween clichés. Instead of ghosts and vampires, El Vez explains, expect riffs on the economy, homophobia, and racism. Oh, and rabbits, he adds. We don't know what that that means, either. (Future shows, Nov. 20 and Dec. 18, will address Thanksgiving and Christmas.) Teatro ZinZanni, 222 Mercer St., 802-0015, $20 (21 and over). 11:30 p.m. ERIKA HOBART SUNDAY 10/31 Halloween: Crüde Memories Nine years ago, Mötley Crüe's group autobiography The Dirt was an unparalleled success in the burgeoning genre of backstage tell-alls. Fans couldn't get enough of the ribald humor and hijinks. (They had sexual congress with women and burritos—often on the same night! When they ran out of heroin, they shot Jack Daniels!) Whatever you think of '80s hair metal as music, the book was a decadent delight, and individual bios soon followed from bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee. Now we hear from singer Vince Neil in his Tattoos and Tequila (Grand Central, $27.99). Much like Lee, Neil is not the brightest bulb on the tree. (He claims to be sober, save for regular immersion in his own boutique brand of tequila. Huh?) But ever the showman, he craves attention—and he'll tell any story to keep you turning the pages. He also understands his own nostalgia value, thus his appearance at tonight's KISW Heaven or Hell Ball. It's Halloween, so the costumes and people-watching will be worth the price of admission. Twenty years later, can Crüe groupies still fit into their old jeans and halter tops? Here's your chance to see. Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, 425-888-1234, $24.75. 7 p.m. HANNAH LEVIN Music: She'll Take You There The genius of gospel music is that it's got one foot in the sacred and the other in the secular. This is also the genius of Mavis Staples, who spent decades with one of the hippest Christian groups of all time, the Staple Singers. Recently, Staples enlisted hipster fave Jeff Tweedy of Wilco to produce You Are Not Alone, an album that is surprisingly sturdy and simple, but no less powerful. The 13 tracks prove Tweedy is not there to showboat, but rather to create a sonic environment in which Staples can do what she does best—sing passionately about the road to redemption. Now in her 70s, I'd highly suggest catching this concert, part of the ongoing Earshot Jazz Festival. Performers like her are getting fewer and further between. (Note: Her performance was rescheduled from Saturday to tonight.) Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 800-838-3006, $12–$32. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN J. BARR Books: History Served Cold Ian Frazier is a writer of diverse obsessions. (My favorite: building a contraption to remove empty plastic bags from tree limbs.) Each unlikely new interest seems to have nothing to do with the last. He typically introduces new topics in The New Yorker, then publishes them in long form. So it is with Travels in Siberia (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30), in which he examines the forgotten plains and penal colonies of the Stalin era, a region still rich in resources but ever more emptied of people. Even as modern Russians flock to the cities, eager to forget their unhappy past, Frazier becomes a self-tutored and meandering student of the Cold War. His truck breaks down; the maps are wrong; and his Russian guides share none of his enthusiasm about history. (Nor can Frazier feign much enthusiasm for their vodka binge-drinking.) But he's forever the good-natured humanist on his Siberian detours, relishing the small stories of a very big continent. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, Free. 2 p.m. BRIAN MILLER MONDAY 11/1 Comedy: Chrimbus Countdown There do not exist two more awkward people than comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. They're both squirmy, stuttering, clumsy, and just downright nerdy. Luckily for them, audiences are fascinated by it all— Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job! has become a cult sensation on Adult Swim. Will Ferrell, Marilyn Manson, Zach Galifianakis, and John Mayer have all appeared on the sketch-comedy show. (Particularly addictive are Channel 5's Only Married News Team and the health tips from John C. Reilly's lovable Dr. Steve Brule.) Now, somewhat frighteningly, Tim and Eric are undertaking a live tour to promote their "Chrimbus special," which airs on December 5. Tonight's show will include new videos, raucous standup comic Neil Hamburger, and music from Tim and Eric's band, Pusswhip Banggang. Yet no one really knows what Chrimbus is. In a recent interview on, Wareheim explained, "Chrimbus is a holiday celebrated on December fifth. There's a guy named Winter Man that comes and inspects your Chrimbus bush, and if it's nice and trim and nice and wet, you get a present. But if it's unkempt and messy and dry, you don't get a present." Maybe we really just don't want to know. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151, $25. 7 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON

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