The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

From zombies to Antarctica.

WEDNESDAY 11/10 Stage: Season's Bleedings I don't know whether Evil Dead auteur Sam Raimi is a musical-theater fan, though I suspect Rodgers and Hammerstein never wrote anything with enough gore for his taste. In his adaptation of Evil Dead: The Musical, director George Reinblatt has taken some liberties to turn a campy movie franchise into a campy musical. His concern for the source material, though, is evident in the vast amounts of blood poured on the stage—and, in some cases, on audience members. Reinblatt is a comedy writer, and he never resists the opportunity to throw in an extra joke—some incredibly funny, some incredibly stupid. What makes this production entertaining is that the actors never back down, fully embracing their over-the-top characters. Particularly good is Kate Jaeger, playing the daughter of the man who inadvertently sets evil demons free in rural Michigan. With excellent comic timing and a beautiful voice, she stands out in a cast of very talented demons. (Ends Nov. 20.) ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave. S.W., 938-0339, $10 and up. 7:30 p.m. BRENT ARONOWITZ THURSDAY 11/11 Film: Internal Exile Something of a tarnished brand, what with his Oscar and child-rapist-fleeing-from-justice status, Roman Polanski wasn't always so notorious. And you can't judge the formative work of a young artist by his future offscreen transgressions. For that reason, SIFF and the Polish Film Festival—continuing through Sunday—are offering a selection of Polanski's student-era shorts, made between 1958 and 1962, long before Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby. His ability to mix innocence and malice is demonstrated in the 15-minute Two Men and the Wardrobe, where two Keatonesque clowns lug a piece of furniture out of the sea. Wandering through the streets of Lodz with their allegorical burden, these gentle, playful souls are rejected by society and finally beaten by a gang of American-style juvenile delinquents wearing plaid shirts and jeans. (Look for Polanski among them.) What does the wardrobe symbolize—perhaps the director's Jewish ethnicity? In Communist-era Poland, Polanski is wise not to say, but it's evident this is a place to leave. The five shorts will be accompanied live by visiting Polish avant-jazz duo SzaZa, whose Pawel Szamburski and Patryk Zakrocki employ violin, clarinet, and electronica to underscore Polanski's brand of whimsy and cruelty. SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St. (McCaw Hall), 448-2186, and $10–$12. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER FRIDAY 11/12 Stage: Weep, Memory A heartsick narrator recalls a summer in the Irish countryside in 1936, when he was just 7, when life with his mother and four aunts began to shift from hardscrabble to hopeless. The sisters battle the lack of work, love, and any consistent sense of security in a world on the cusp of wrenching change. You'd have to reach all the way back to The Glass Menagerie, arguably, to find a more haunting, lyrical memory play than Brian Friel's 1990 Dancing at Lughnasa. And you'd have to be made of a very cold steel not to respond to the moment that gives the piece its title—a fleeting outburst of spontaneous celebration around the time of a harvest festival that finds the family of disparate women up on their feet in joyful abandon. Indeed, Lughnasa is so beautifully constructed that it'd be difficult for any production not to be affecting. The Rep, which first gave it a solid staging back in 1995, won't be coasting on that fact, however. This current take is in the trustworthy care of Sheila Daniels, who earlier this month won a local Gregory Award for her work last season on, among other projects, Intiman's Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Daniels wears her heart on her sleeve. Prepare to wipe tears away with yours. (Ends Dec. 5.) Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), 443-2222, $12–$42. 7:30 p.m. STEVE WIECKING Comedy: Stuck in the Middle After two decades of showbiz acclaim, Louis CK occupies a comedy sweet spot. Or maybe a treacherous middle ground. He's not a trendy young alt-comedy darling, and he's too smart to be a Vegas headliner who caters to conventioneers. He kills on Letterman, Leno, and HBO specials, but his sensibility doesn't quite translate into sitcom land. (Though he's trying yet again with Louie, currently on FX.) He's a balding middle-aged dad trying to make sense of the world, but with a profane candor that can't be safely squeezed into Dockers. He's a curmudgeon who also laughs at his own petty outrage. He'll make a standard, Seinfeld-style observational joke about being stuck in the slow line at the grocery store, then reframe it as if to say Look at me being such an asshole to complain about this shit. In his struggles through marriage, kids, and divorce, he's similarly double-minded. Musing about why, outside of family, no one would ever tolerate a delay because someone—i.e., his 4-year-old daughter—won't put on her shoes, he exclaims, "Nobody ever calls her on her bullshit!" Then he turns the third corner: What kind of a jerk would say that about his child? And we laugh again. The Moore, 1932 Second Ave., 877-784-4849, $33–$35.50. 8 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Coastal Culture: Sound to Bayou Both port cities, New Orleans and Seattle are otherwise far different in temperament: humid, friendly, and boozy versus soggy, standoffish, and caffeinated. Yet the bilocal exchange program seeks to bridge those differences. This weekend's gathering of writers, musicians, filmmakers, and chefs from the two cities will be repeated next spring in New Orleans. The event, a benefit for online news site The Lens, also launches the anthology Where We Know: New Orleans as Home (Chin Music Press, $16), whose editor, David Rutledge, will appear and read in the company of locals Megan Kelso, Molly Wizenberg, and Jonathan Evison. Tonight's musical headliner is Cajun troubadour Coco Robicheaux, to be followed by our own Robin Holcomb on Saturday. Catering for an optional no-host reception is by Tom Douglas, Matthew Dillon, and others. (A companion exhibit at Tether Design Gallery continues through Nov. 26.) Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255,, $15–$20. Reception 6:30 p.m., show 8 p.m. (Repeats Sat.) BRIAN MILLER SATURDAY 11/13 Visual Arts: Vintage Visions The first thing you see at the group show Steambot is a log perched atop a metal pole. This is the Log Camera, a chunk of timber hollowed out and fitted at one end with a lens. Whimsical, yes, and functional: Visitors can peer through the log for a hazy, inverted view of Market Street. That feeling of looking through antiquated machinery to the present is the essence of this engaging exhibit by Rebecca Cummins, Pat Gallagher, Rusty Oliver, Randy Moss, and Simon Winder. Not exactly steampunk, the predominantly sculptural works in Steambot fuse an early-1900s aesthetic with modern tech. You can feel Tesla in some of these clever objects. Nearly every piece has an interactive component—buttons to push, pedals to crank, new angles for the viewer to assume. For me, the standout work is Ember, a crown-like chandelier suspended in midair in a darkened room, softly thrumming and pulsing with a hypnotic orange incandescence. As you listen to it hum, while also hearing the noise of internal-combustion vehicles passing outside, you have one foot in the now, the other in an indeterminate, unrealized past. Steambot is like a time machine in miniature. (Ends Dec. 3.) Kirkland Arts Center, 620 Market St., Kirkland, 425-822-7161, Free. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. JOHN WOOD Winter Sports: Passport to Snow The 61st annual Warren Miller ski movie isn't afraid of an old pun. Skiers are addicted to skiing, so they need . . . a Wintervention. Get it? If not, the joke is repeated often over the film's 98 minutes. But what makes the venerable franchise endurable, like the hours-long weekend drive to Crystal, is the snowy payoff. It doesn't matter if the featured athletes speak only in clichés, if the movie relentlessly plugs ski resorts and helicopter-guiding services, or if the music sucks—you can just cover your ears and imagine it's you being deposited by chopper at the top of an untracked peak in Alaska's Chugach Range. Or getting off the funicular in the Arlberg. Or dropping into the back bowls at Vail. Since it never mentions ticket prices, airfares, or the cost of helicopter time, Wintervention peddles a pleasant fantasy in these recessionary times. Few of us will be making such distant, expensive trips this season. But the predicted La Niña cycle means big local dumps in January. And Alpental is a lot closer than Antarctica, where penguins peer incuriously at the skiers among them. (Through Sat.; then Nov. 16 at Kirkland Performance Hall and Nov. 19–20 at McCaw Hall.) Meydenbauer Center, 11100 N.E. Sixth St., Bellevue, 800-745-3000, $21. 3, 6, & 9 p.m. BRIAN MILLER Photography: Exploring the Limits Manufactured in China as cheap plastic knockoffs of conventional SLRs, Holga and Diana cameras are defiantly primitive, explains Seattle photographer Michelle Bates. Most models have "next to no adjustments. The camera doesn't do anything for you." With a plastic lens, a single shutter speed, two F-stops, and minimal focus range, an entry-level Holga ($28) forces the photographer to do things "a little bit backwards," she adds. Bates discovered the Holga in 1991, as other artists began to experiment with these low-tech cameras, yielding grainy, often distorted images—the opposite of megapixel precision. Her work, and that of 49 others (including Sylvia Plachy and Nancy Rexroth), is featured in the newly revised second edition of her Plastic Cameras: Toying With Creativity (Focal Press, $29.95). It's less a monograph than a how-to manual. For instance: how to take an underwater photo? Put your Holga in a zip-lock sandwich bag. "They're not precious, so you can do stuff like that," says Bates. And it's no surprise that the growing trendiness of the Holga—now sold at Urban Outfitters!—has coincided with the rise of digital photography. "There's tons of mixing going on with analog and digital," Bates explains. "Once the Internet came along, it started exploding." No matter what blurry image emerges from the crude, flimsy device, there's always Photoshop to accentuate the imperfections. (See more such photos at the ongoing Amy Blakemore exhibit at SAM.) Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, Free. 2 p.m. BRIAN MILLER MONDAY 11/15 Comedy: It's Always Cocktail Hour New York comedian Zane Lamprey really, seriously has the coolest job on the planet—which he roams as host of the popular Travel Channel program Three Sheets. Ostensibly he's learning about diverse drinking cultures by hanging out with expert brewers and bartenders, but it seems to be written into his contract that he must get smashed everywhere he visits, be it Brussels, Bangkok, or Belize. With great zest, he's downed pineapple liqueur in Tahiti, ouzo in Greece, and African firewater in Namibia. Lamprey is also the recent author of Three Sheets: Drinking Made Easy! 6 Continents, 15 Countries, 190 Drinks, and 1 Mean Hangover. Tonight, he and sidekicks Steve McKenna and Pleepleus the Monkey will perform comedy and sing tunes like "Beer, I Love You" (featured on his album Sing the Booze). Good thing this is a 21-and-over show, because, according to Lamprey, "The more you drink, the better I sound." Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, $25–$30. 7 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON

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