The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events



Game Show

"My number-one goal in life is to see a game designer nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. I've forecast that this will happen by the year 2023." Jane McGonigal says this sort of thing with a straight face. To her, gaming is the answer to all of society's ills, including war and famine. And yo, teach, if your kids are falling asleep during long division, that's not their problem—it's yours. You need to introduce them to an online game which makes math seem as cool as Spider-Man. "What we're trying to counteract is the engagement gap that we have where kids show up in the classroom, and they're bored and not engaged. With games, their learning is self-motivated. To not make that connection back to the classroom is a waste of opportunity," says McGonigal, whose latest game, SuperBetter, helps, for example, aspiring marathoners attain benchmarks en route to actually running a marathon. "I'd like to see half the planet spend an hour a day gaming." Her twin sister Kelly, a Stanford psychologist, might disagree: She was recently featured in a New York Times article on Silicon Valley's increased affinity for technology cleanses. But it's Jane, a TED alum, who'll be able to state her case in this group event hosted by Committee for Children. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St. (Seattle Center), $10-$37. MIKE SEELY


Awe and Anxiety

Jenny Lawson's new Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) is by turns hysterically funny, endearingly odd, and—surprisingly—very moving. By email, the Texan also known as "The Blogess" recently discussed her anxiety about public appearances for Let's Pretend (Amy Einhorn Books, $26.95). "I still rely on anti-anxiety drugs," says Lawson, "but the most helpful thing is knowing that if I had to hide in the bathroom to hyperventilate before a reading, people would be okay with it and would understand. That's the benefit of being a known psychopath." Who are her non-psychotic literary idols? "Neil Gaiman, Dorothy Parker, Ray Bradbury, and David Sedaris." And what does Lawson's young daughter, often featured on her blog, think of her writing career? "She's seven. She's fairly unimpressed with the whole thing, but she once saw someone ask me for my autograph, and she was in complete awe." Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, Free. 8 p.m. DEBORAH SUSSMAN



Shine On? Shine Earlier?

Wait, they're going to make a prequel to The Shining? Does Stephen King really need the money that badly? Yes and no. While Warner Brothers, which owns the film rights, has hired the screenwriter who adapted Shutter Island to explain how Jack Nicholson's character went nuts long before reaching the hotel, King is reportedly working on a sequel to his 1977 novel: Doctor Sleep, in which young Danny is now a middle-aged recovering alcoholic trying to protect a 12-year-old girl with special powers from a band of RV-driving ghouls. According to King's website, "The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the 'steam' that children with the 'shining' produce when they are slowly tortured to death." So maybe that, too, will become a movie. In the meantime, screening tonight, Stanley Kubrick's slow, eerie 1980 adaptation of The Shining has a primal, fairy-tale quality laced with Oedipal conflict. It matters less if Nicholson's blocked writer is demonically possessed (or Indian-cursed or evil reincarnated or whatever) than that he's simply a bad father—rough and impatient with son Danny, cruelly dismissive of his wife (Shelley Duvall), selfish in his writerly ambitions. A failure at the typewriter, his imagination turns inward, rotting inside its own topiary maze. Egyptian, 801 E. Pine St., 781-5755, $8.25. Midnight. (Repeats Sat.) BRIAN MILLER


Visions in the Grass

Rick Bass cares very, very much about the rhinoceros. Yet his travel account The Black Rhinos of Namibia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25) is also about the wolves and grizzly bears back home in Montana and all other top-line predators and massive species that, until man's belated arrival on the planet, had unchecked supremacy of their habitats. Why is the black rhino nearly blind? Because, Bass explains, it didn't need to see approaching threats far away in the grass. There were none. Natural selection had, over millennia, made the rhino impervious to assault. Stalking the creature with the fellow conservationists whom he celebrates in his book, Bass marvels that "It is all but impossible to imagine this animal being afraid of any other creature, or even any other force, on Earth." But The Black Rhinos also relates how modern weaponry and the Asian demand for so-called traditional medicine has depleted their numbers and restricted their range to a few small conservation zones. Still, Bass tries to hope for the black rhino that this recent slaughter "has occurred so fast, relative to his evolutionary scale, as to seem like a single brief dream, a nightmare from which he will emerge at any second, blinking." Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, Free. 7 p.m. (Also: Eagle Harbor Books, 3 p.m. Sun.) BRIAN MILLER



Paean to Cakes

Pancakes (served from 9 a.m.-noon) are the traditional draw to the weekend celebration of Scandinavia that is Viking Days, but the culinary indulgence doesn't end there. Vendors will also be serving Swedish meatballs, Norwegian lefse, Danish aebleskiver, and plenty of pickled and dried fish products. The beer garden will be open late tonight (it also serves sausages), and the indoor salmon dinner ($10-$16) is expected to sell out. Besides the music stages, children's activities, and arts and crafts, a special Viking Encampment will be inhabited by sword-wielding role players. Go ahead, ask them about sacking and pillaging as a career. Also, don't forget to visit the museum's Eero Saarinen exhibition, which ends Sunday. Photos and drawings show the great Finnish-American modernist architect's lasting legacy—clean lines and elegant curves we still see in his furniture designs and the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 N.W. 67th St., 789-5707, Free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sat. & Sun.) T. BONILLA



The One and Only King

Now suddenly lukewarm in the AL West, the Mariners should be able to mount a serious challenge to the visiting Cleveland Indians, the coldest team in the American League. The M's are losing less often, which almost feels like winning. In a three-game series beginning tonight, it's fortunate that Felix Hernandez is scheduled to pitch (the powerful Venezuelan right-hander was recently named Best Mariner in our Best of Seattle® issue). He's 10-5 this season with a 2.74 ERA; with Ichiro gone to the Yankees, Felix is the Mariners' only real draw. Now let him take a few Indian scalps. Safeco Field, 1250 First Ave. S., 346-4001, $10 and up. 7:10 p.m. MIKE SEELY

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