The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events


Film: Travels With Cary

Alfred Hitchcock's wonderful 1959 chase movie North by Northwest is one of his absolute best, an espionage romp for the ages. Criss-crossing the country from cornfield to Mount Rushmore, Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint embody every sly, sexy nuance of Ernest's Lehman's excellent script. Sample dialogue exchange: Grant—"When I was a little boy, I wouldn't even let my mother undress me." Saint—"Well, you're a big boy now." So cool. So hot. Then, beyond the famous crop-duster sequence, there's that priceless final train shot, still guaranteed to raise a hoot. The film plays as part of the Wednesday-night Summer Classics Series, projected scratch-free from digital prints, which concludes next week with Cabaret. Sundance Cinemas, 4500 Ninth Ave. N.E,, 633-0059, $8–$10.50. Call for showtimes. BRIAN MILLER


Comedy: Outlasting the House

Consider all the things that have happened in the world since Full House ended its eight-year run in 1995: Princess Di died, a black man was elected president, and Seattle finally made a decision on the viaduct. And since then, how much have we heard from those identical Olsen sisters? Not very much. Yet Bob Saget has not only endured, he's thrived. He's mocked his nice-guy persona on Entourage, talked dirty in The Aristocrats, and done HBO specials. Even if he never received the Seinfeldian acclaim (or paycheck) of a true sitcom hit, Saget's been a working comic for more than 30 years, and his durability stems in part from his regular-guyness and lack of a gimmick. No funny voices, no props, no reliance on politics. He's just Saget being Saget—now middle-aged, divorced, and a bit curmudgeonly. His Full House fame is part of his routine and even the basis for a song, a little ditty called "Danny Tanner Was Not Gay." The show gives him a ready punch line and an excuse for his constant cussing: "I did so much family television that I have Tourette's now." The Moore, 1932 Second Ave., 877-784-4849, $30. 7 & 9:30 p.m. T. BONILLA


Stage: No Shelter From the Storm

Although it was the loaded brevity of his dialogue and the weight of the in-between silences for which playwright Harold Pinter (1930–2008) is arguably best known, his biographer Michael Billington notes a more interesting thread you can follow through ACT's Pinter Festival: "There is no such thing as a harmless sanctuary." Physical and emotional boundaries are breached in each of the four Pinter classics being performed. Two frustrated hoods-for-hire wait out a dubious job in the cramped room of The Dumb Waiter; waxing nostalgic turns into a battle at a farmhouse near the sea in Old Times; the manor house in No Man's Land becomes a kind of oblivion; and Celebration, Pinter's last play, makes a swank restaurant nobody's idea of a good night out. The fest, however, looks to be just the opposite, with evenings enlivened by many of the best actors ever to tread Seattle stages (including Frank Corrado, Peter Crook, and Anne Allgood), as well as directors who'll know what to do with them (for example, Victor Pappas, who helms Old Times, was the man behind Intiman's luscious staging of Pinter's Betrayal many seasons ago). Film screenings and rare short works round out the fest, which begins tonight with previews of The Dumb Waiter and Celebration. (Through Aug. 26.) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 292-7676, $5–$55. 8 p.m. STEVE WIECKING


Outdoors: Berry Adventure

In the annals of fruit-themed island festivals, the Mercer Island Mango-Fest never caught on; busy New Yorkers couldn't be bothered with the Staten Island Banana Jam; and Hawaii essentially constitutes its own ongoing paean to pineapples, so we'll ignore that too. All of which leaves the Vashon Island Strawberry Festival, founded in 1909, as your top summer island/fruit combo, and it has many excellent qualities. First, of course, is the fruit: red and perfectly dimpled, equipped with its own green handle (the stem), nature's natural complement to whipped cream. Second is the process of getting there: Everyone loves a ferry ride, and the 40-minute passage from Fauntleroy to Vashon offers just the right scenery/duration ratio. (Let's face it: The Bremerton run always strains your patience, and it's a let-down once you're there.) Biking on and off the ferry adds to the berry adventure; or you can take the $1 shuttle to Ober Park (about two miles south of the ferry dock). There, a beer garden, music stages, local craft vendors, and many food stands await. And yes, there's more on the menu than just strawberries. You can even eat Cajun-prepared alligator steak, though it won't go so well with the whipped cream. Vashon Island (Ober Park), Free. 10 a.m.–7 p.m. (and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.) BRIAN MILLER


Books: A Big Leap

Abandoned at a young age by his Egyptian father, Khosi Saqr is stigmatized by his name while growing up in the polluted and provincial old mining town of Butte, Montana. Apart from a trip to Seattle, he's never left. In his mid-20s, he's OCD, works in a museum, and tends to his mentally unstable mother. Escape is one big imperative of the novel Evel Knievel Days (Crown, $24), named for the festival honoring Butte's most famous son. But Khosi's other project is recovery—to find his father in the squalid heat of Cairo and, by extension, rewrite the script of his complicated family history. While that quest isn't autobiographical, writer Pauls Toutonghi also has an Egyptian father, though he grew up in Lake City and graduated from Garfield before moving east for college and a Ph.D. (he now teaches at Lewis & Clark College in Portland). Toutonghi gives his smart, self-aware hero a host of neuroses, but also some unexpected resources. Among them is the ghost of Khosi's great-grandfather, an advice-dispensing copper baron (just imagine Sam Elliott in The Big Lebowski). A generous and generally comic novel, Evel Knievel Days even contains a few recipes, but it's mainly concerned with family and place. Far from Butte, Khosi realizes, "Inhabiting a place doesn't require being in that place. It lives in you long after you leave it." Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER


Music: Fresh Partnerships

For all the derivative tendencies in pop music today, you'd think the kids would have picked up on the most important trait of the old school: to be entertaining! Those interested in a primer on how to give a gin-sipping audience every penny's worth of their cover charge have two nights to get schooled. John Pizzarelli's quartet exists to give the audience—not the artist's ego—what it wants, and that's fresh interpretations of familiar tunes. Backed by his brother Martin on bass, pianist Larry Fuller, and drummer Tony Tedesco, the guitarist and crooner has made pop/jazz mashups the subject of his latest album, Double Exposure. In pairings like the Beatles' "I Feel Fine" and Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder," or Tom Waits' "Drunk on the Moon" and Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life," Pizzarelli renders standards with a swing entirely his own. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729, $26.50. 7:30 p.m. (repeats Wed.) CHRIS KORNELIS

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