The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 6/8 Books: The God of Feathers What do puffy Patagonia parkas and plumed Vegas showgirls have in common? Northwest writer Thor Hanson explains all in Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle (Basic, $25.99). He's a conservation biologist, yet the book isn't too weighty a treatment of a very light subject. It's popular science as he travels from Wyoming fossil beds—in search of Archaeopteryx, the first feathered dinosaur—to New Zealand, where he helps Maori hunters gather the charmingly named muttonbirds during their flightless molting period. We also get lessons on tying fly-fishing lures and hand-carving quill pens, and visit a down-feather broker right here in Seattle. (Chinese geese keep your quilt poofy at night.) There's a lot of protein (keratin) packed into feathers, we learn, one reason why the ground-up fluffy by-product of poultry farms ends up in dog food and fertilizer. If you're not an ornithologist or dedicated birder, it's a novelty to consider the ground-up versus tree-down theories of flight: Did those first scaly/feathery ancestors run away flapping from predators in a bounding, hopping panic? Or did they awkwardly swoop down from tree branches to fall on their unsuspecting prey? The fossil record is unclear, but Hanson's survey extends to the present day, including the avian debris that gums up jet engines (recall the famous double bird strike of Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger's "Miracle on the Hudson"). Never mind the Latin; aviators simply call it "snarge." Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, $5. 7:30 p.m. (Also: Seward Park Environmental & Audubon Center, 6 p.m. Thurs.) BRIAN MILLER SIFF: Sandy Oblivion Marking the emergence of yet another talented young Mexican filmmaker, Yulene Olaizola's first feature, Artificial Paradises, sketches a platonic triangle between an old man (Salomón Hernández), a young woman (Luisa Pardo), and the vices that help them cope with their lives. While ostensibly telling a story of addiction—weather-beaten laborer Hernández is a hash smoker who tries to help the beautiful Pardo score and later kick smack—Olaizola has no judgments to offer or invite, privileging presence over consequence, tactility over action. She shoots her actors with the same fascination that she does the lush Gulf Coast landscape, giving it all time and space to breathe. Harvard Exit, 807 E. Roy St., 324-9996, $11. 9:30 p.m. (Repeats 4:30 p.m. Thurs.) ERIC HYNES FRIDAY 6/10 Dance: Sweet 16 Each year greets new artists performing in On the Boards' Northwest New Works Festival (which spans two weekends with 16 acts), but the general categories remain strangely consistent. There is big chaos (Jessica Jobaris and company brandishing invective and whips), powerful dialogue (storyteller Danielle Villegas connecting distant Aztec ancestors with contemporary Mayan descendants), genre-crossing (art-rock band The Blank Department, moving into performance art), and something just plain beautiful (Donna Belmont Isobel and Matthew Smith, surrounded by a stage full of paper). But there are always a couple of works that feel absolutely original and totally inevitable. Haruko Nishimura's butoh-inflected physical performances are full of childlike wonder without sentimentality, while puppet master Kyle Loven tells a horrific story so gently that you're too fascinated to be repelled. (Through June 19.) On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, $14. 8 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ SUNDAY 6/12 Sports: Wags per Mile Join the fun this morning with thousands of panting owners and jogging dogs—or vice versa, depending on the fitness level of the owner and dog in question. Canines ranging from dotted Dalmatians to puffy Pomeranians will strut their stuff in the Furry 5K, which benefits the Seattle Animal Shelter and its subsidiary, the Help the Animals Fund. Together they care for some 7,000 homeless pets each year—some sick or abused and requiring expensive medical care. (To adopt, you'll have to visit the shelter or browse its website, Top-three medals will be awarded for humans and dogs alike (both solo and paired), and trick-performing dogs will provide entertainment after the race. Or, to help cool down your yellow lab, just toss a tennis ball into the lake. Seward Park, 5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S., $20–$30. 10 a.m. KRISTY HAMILTON TUESDAY 6/14 Film: Lord of the Franchises Maybe the summer sequel season has got you down: Johnny Depp's pirate swagger has grown creaky; nobody really cares about Thor or the Green Lantern; and more of those damn cute-animal pictures are coming from Jim Carrey (Mr. Popper's Penguins) and Kevin James (Zookeeper). Why can't it be 2012 already? That's when Peter Jackson's The Hobbit is expected; he's currently filming his add-on to the Lord of the Rings trilogy down in New Zealand. To whet your appetite for that Tolkien adaptation, and to pimp a new Blu-ray DVD set (coming June 28 on 15 discs!), longer cuts of the entire LOTR cycle are being screened the next three Tuesdays at several Seattle theaters. Tonight, the initial 2001 The Fellowship of the Ring extends Frodo and company's quest by 49 minutes (!), meaning more ring wraiths, more orcs, more Gollum . . . in short—well, there is no short—more, more more. (Our math says it's three hours and 45 minutes long.) Additionally, from the set of The Hobbit, Jackson will provide a taped introduction, likely to include teasers from his new film. Honestly, would you rather see this or the X-Men going back to high school? Thornton Place, 301 N.E. 103rd St., 517-9953, $12.50. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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