The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 7/13 Books: Distant Gunfire If the name Leon Czolgosz is remotely familiar to you, it may be as one of the pathetic gunmen in Stephen Sondheim's Assassins. But the killer of William McKinley gets a more serious look from Scott Miller, a veteran journalist lately settled in Seattle. His The President and the Assassin (Random House, $25) brings back into focus a distant era of breathtaking corruption—McKinley essentially had the presidency purchased for him by party bosses—and stark economic inequality. If today we worry that the Koch brothers and their secret, unlimited spending are subverting American democracy, it hardly existed in 1896. Republican puppeteer Mark Hanna, industrialists, and media barons Hearst and Pulitzer bought or manipulated public opinion and ballots. Strikers, mostly low-paid immigrants like Czolgosz, were violently suppressed by the government. Women couldn't vote and blacks were mostly disenfranchised. Only after McKinley's 1901 assassination, when Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him, would he, Wilson, and the Progressive era bring some of the reforms that the dimwit anarchist Czolgosz fumbled toward. If anything, Miller is too evenhanded in portraying the worst assassin, and arguably worst president, in U.S. history. Barnes & Noble, 600 Pine St., 264-0156, barnesandnoble. com. Free. 7 p.m. (Also: Third Place, Fri., 6:30 p.m.) BRIAN MILLER Happy Hours: Southern Comfort Sazerac is the Southern-themed bar and restaurant next to the über-trendy Hotel Monaco. Its celebrity sightings have included Adam Lambert, Fergie, and Sean Penn in an intense discussion with Eddie Vedder. But it's the Monday–Saturday happy hour, not the potential for A-list encounters, that draws so many downtown drinkers after work (in addition to hotel patrons). The house wine and beer list drops to $3. Chow priced at $4 and under includes gussied-up comfort food like mini-pulled-pork sandwiches and sweet-potato fries with sea salt. Despite such appealing prices, Sazerac is not the sort of place where you order several rounds and get hammered in a hurry. It's classy yet cozy, adorned with a brick bar, chandeliers, and velvet drapes. The servers, however, manifest true Southern hospitality and pour generously, meaning you should enjoy, tip well, but proceed with caution. Sazerac, 1101 Fourth Ave., 624-7755, Free (21 and over). 4–7 p.m. ERIKA HOBART THURSDAY 7/14 Film: Swimming and Cinema Outdoor-movie season is in full swing, and new to the usual roster is the Outdoor Movies at Magnuson Park series, which takes a very family-friendly approach. The gates open at 7 p.m., well before the dusk showtime, meaning you can stake out your patch of grass, set up the lawn chairs, and go for a swim. You can bring your own picnic spread (but no booze), with popcorn and other food vendors also on hand. Games and trivia contests precede the movie—tonight's opener being the evergreen The Princess Bride. Rob Reiner's charming PG-rated adaptation of William Goldman's classic children's tale is sweet, funny, and well-played down the line for both parents and kids. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright Penn play the handsome, occasionally quar-relsome lovers. Wallace Shawn, Mandy Patinkin, and the late André the Giant help get them together after many amusing adventures. Future titles in the series include How to Train Your Dragon, Top Gun, and Ghostbusters. (Thursdays through Aug. 25.) Magnuson Park, 6500 Sand Point Way N.E., $5. Dusk. BRIAN MILLER FRIDAY 7/15 Food: All You Can Eat. All You Can Endure If you live anywhere near Seattle Center, or hope to drive across Mercer or Denny this weekend, there is no escaping the Bite of Seattle. Now in its 30th year, now sponsored by Xfinity—or, wait, is it still Comcast?—the event most recently drew more than 400,000 (!) hungry visitors. Expect the same avaricious throng this year, who'll sample from dozens of local vendors ranging from Bombay Grill to Zieglers Bratwurst Haus. (Portions are individually priced once you enter the free event.) Tom Douglas again has his own concession ("the Alley," guaranteed to be sanitary and hobo-free, as compared to any Pioneer Square alley); there's also a beer-and-wine garden (with a box-wine blind tasting!), a barbecue contest, a speed-dating booth, sundry children's activities and music stages, and a contest for dogs to leap off a dock and into a pool. To burn off the calories, you may wish to park some distance away, or bike, since the Bite is the Center's most popular and traffic-congested weekend of the year. Seattle Center, Free. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. today and Sat., 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun. T. BONILLA Wine: Stay Glassy, Kirkland! Come summertime—at the risk of sounding like one of The Real Housewives—there really is nothing better than a mid-afternoon glass of crisp white wine. Kirkland Uncorked runs with that sentiment. Set on scenic Lake Washington, the three-day festival boasts a tasting garden featuring 20 Washington wineries, including Five Star Cellars and Naches Heights Vineyard. But there are still plenty of options for those averse to the grape—including Pyramid Breweries' beer garden, food from restaurants like Lucia and Milagro Cantina, the boat show, and a dog modeling contest. Embrace the frivolousness; and if you expect to get tipsy, bicycle valet parking will be available. Marina Park, 25 Lakeshore Plaza Dr., 633-0422, Tasting garden: $25–$30 (21 and over), otherwise free. 5–10 p.m. today, 1–10 p.m. Sat., 1–6 p.m. Sun.) ERIKA HOBART Flowers: My Violet-Blue Heaven Seas of ethereal purple mist lining the highways herald your approach to Sequim, "The Lavender Capital of North America" on the Olympic Peninsula's north shore, which celebrates the fragrant herb (and pillar of the local economy) at the annual Sequim Lavender Festival. Many of those farms (and their gift shops) will be open for free tours; a downtown street fair will offer more than 150 craft and food booths selling lavender-infused products from pancake mix to shampoo; and "Lavender in the Park" at Sequim's Carrie Blake Park will offer even more music, workshops and demos, and plants for sale. For women, and men extremely secure in their masculinity, I recommend lunch at the Cedarbrook Garden Cafe at the Cedarbrook Lavender & Herb Farm ( Also be sure to pick up a calming sachet of lavender buds if you travel via the Edmonds/Kingston ferry, which looks on paper to be the most direct route from Seattle to Sequim. Last year we waited in line, in our car, for four hours (9 p.m.–1 a.m.) to get back home on the eastbound boat. At a high-traffic time such as this, it's surely quicker to drive around the Sound: south on I-5 through Olympia and back up north on Highway 101. and 9 a.m.–7 p.m. today and Sat., 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun. GAVIN BORCHERT SATURDAY 7/16

Installation Art: Decay and Display The little row of houses, soon to be demolished, is almost an eyesore, with peeling paint, sagging roofs, and detritus left on the curb by former tenants. But the Mad Homes installation, which sets 11 local artists loose on five condemned properties, isn't meant to be a pristine, permanent site. Rather, as wood sculptor Meg Hartwig cheerfully explains, balanced on a ladder and bolting a big cabinet to a tree, "The point is using the site and utilizing the houses, in full knowledge that most of them will be destroyed. This is an opportunity to do something we've never done before." In her case, that means deploying around 100 burnt-wood objects in and around No. 711. She uses flame in her studio, she explains, like a paintbrush to scorch and blacken her scrap-wood creations. (Her day job is carpentry, meaning unlimited supplies.) Visitors will have full access to four of the five houses, with two or three artists represented in each. The most eye-catching, No. 723, has already been shrink-wrapped and labeled by Troy Gua. All the artists are expected at today's opening, but Hartwig says she enjoys the prior grunt work: "We like working outside, because people ask us about it." (Through Aug. 7, after which some artifacts will move to the UW's Jacob Lawrence Gallery.) 711–723 Bellevue Ave. E., Free. Noon–7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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