Stage: The Hooves Have It

War Horse, the West End-to-Broadway-to-Spielberg smash, tells the story of Albert, a poor English farm boy and his beloved


The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events


Stage: The Hooves Have It

War Horse, the West End-to-Broadway-to-Spielberg smash, tells the story of Albert, a poor English farm boy and his beloved foal, Joey, whom he raises then yields to the British Cavalry for World War I. Albert enlists to find Joey; Joey tries to survive battlefield horrors in France. The hard-luck horses are large-scale creations of South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, with people trotting inside, trying not to step in sentiment. Though it's not a musical, the show does underscore the action and ply old English folk tunes. There's even a Songman character who's meant to embody, according to the play's creators, "the living spirit of the village." Is this The Lion King for adults? Well . . . yeah. So? The horses—creatures of steel, leather, and aircraft cables who prance, whinny, and toss their heads with graceful verisimilitude—are magnificent, summoning a heart-swell that Spielberg's 2011 movie couldn't quite muster. When the stage production's Albert gallops right up the theater aisle on top of Joey, it gives you the same buzz everybody got when that elephant lumbered toward the stage in the Disney musical. Some may roll their eyes at War Horse's denouement, in which the whole cast sings a folksong about passing "from this earth and its toiling, only remembered for what we have done." Or, if you're like me and the strangers sitting nearby, you'll shrug, give in, and have a good, dumb cry. Damn horse. (Through Feb. 24.) The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 877-784-4849, $25–$105. 7:30 p.m. STEVE WIECKING

Stage: Cheeky

Bad art is a gift for the ages—not because it will ever hang in a museum for future generations to see, but because it can inspire such immediate, lively parodies. Such is the case for the soft-core porno fiction Fifty Shades of Grey by English writer E.L. James, which has given rise to the musical comedy revue SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody. The touring show unabashedly aims low, thereby hitting its erogenous target. In brief, an author known as EBJ (Amanda Barker) writes and imagines a series of kinky scenarios enacted by Tasha (Michelle Vezilj) and Hugh (the ab-tastic Drew Moerlein). Created by Jim Millan, the show won't have a long shelf life, but if James is working on a sequel (Fifty Hues of Mauve?), you can be sure Millan is, too. Bachelorette parties take note: The Moore's bar will be open before the show, and we recommend a Grey Goose martini. (Through Sun.) The Moore, 1932 Second Ave., 877-784-4849, $35. 7:30 p.m. T. BOND


Books: No. 34 and No. 37

With the disgraced Tea Party squaring off against the GOP's establishment wing, the Republican Party is again at war with itself. But it was ever thus, as Jeffrey Frank relates in his Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage (Simon and Schuster, $30). Dwight D. Eisenhower, a war hero and moderate, represented the old guard during the 1950s, while California Senator Richard M. Nixon was an insurgent—warning against Commies and criticizing Democrats on defense. Eisenhower didn't want Nixon as his running mate in '52, and relations between the two men were always chilly. Ike basked in the public's adulation, while Nixon gained a reputation as a sweaty, scheming hatchet man. Following Nixon's loss to Kennedy in 1960, Eisenhower was famously asked if his old veep had contributed any policies to his administration. His reply: "If you give me a week, I might be able to think of one." Oooh—snap! But in one of those strange political ironies, Eisenhower's grandson would later marry one of Nixon's daughters. By then, 1968, Ike had no choice but to smile on his former underling and bless the engagement, which helped generate favorable publicity for Nixon during that fall's winning campaign. In a sense, Nixon had his boss' approval at last. Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Dance/Valentine's Day: Hearts Aloft

Once you're past buying the SpongeBob Valentine collection at the drug store, it's time to consider more adult celebrations. And what says "Be mine" in our ironical age better than an evening of burlesque? Whether you're out on the town with one special someone or part of a heart-shaped group, you've got choices when it comes to creative disrobing. Tamara the Trapeze Lady is hosting tonight's V-Day festivities at Julia's from her perch in the air, looking down on a talented group of burlesque artists. Scandals on Broadway also includes Susy Queue, Pidgeon von Tramp, and Boom Boom L'Roux, performing aerial and terrestrial work. Down at the Triple Door, The Atomic Bombshells might keep their feet on the floor in J'Adore (through Saturday), but their costumes certainly fly away. Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann are the ringleaders of this particular group, with guests Ben DeLaCreme and Waxie Moon. Still going strong with its astonishing costumes and double entendre, the burlesque revival offers a deep mastery of traditional entertainment styles plus a liberated attitude about gender and sexuality. Which is certainly another way to describe 21st-century romance. Julia's on Broadway, 300 Broadway E., 334-0513, $15–$25. 8 p.m. The Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, $25–$30. 7 & 10 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ


Film: City of Women

Released 50 years ago, Federico Fellini's 8½ is partly a self-portrait of the frustrated filmmaker, but it's equally a fantasy picture. Marcello Mastroianni plays the blocked director juggling two beauties (Anouk Aimée and Sandra Milo—good dilemma to have), bereft of ideas for his next picture (some kind of sci-fi extravaganza), and hounded by press and producers. In response, Guido retreats into memory and fantasy, where yet another woman awaits (Claudia Cardinale, some dream). From the very first scene—Guido trapped in a traffic jam, then flying aloft—8½ conveys claustrophobia and desperation. All these people, asking what he'll do next! All these women, asking if he loves them! Guido's fanciful escapes and reveries are the stories that come easily to him (unlike his dreaded next movie project); they're snippets of the movie running in his head that he could never commit to film (or not a narrative film). My favorite scene is the flashback to Guido's youth, he and his boyhood pals dancing on the beach with the lusty prostitute Saraghina (Eddra Gale). It's a burst of surreal neorealism, a collision of Italian genres, like some broken remnant from an ancient ruin. All of 8½ is like that—precious fragments that won't be made whole. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, $5–$8. 6:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER


Film: Revenge of the Unrewarded

The Oscar telecast isn't until next Sunday, but it's never too soon to start stoking your indignation over who wasn't nominated. Even better, you can savor the outrageous omissions of the past at SIFF's Oscar Snubs Movie Marathon, which you can make an all-day event with options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and unlimited popcorn. The five titles, plus one secret screening, include Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles (comedy: always overlooked), 1934's The Thin Man (ditto), Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing (too angry, too black, too topical), the 1954 A Star Is Born (too close to the Hollywood bone), and the Coen brothers' 1996 Fargo, which actually did win two Oscars: for its star, Frances McDormand, and for her husband Joel's and brother-in-law Ethan's script. But the snow-black comedy was certainly snubbed for Best Picture (won by The English Patient), as was William H. Macy's inept kidnapper for Supporting Actor (won by Cuba Gooding Jr. for Jerry Maguire). Macy would later say the squealing, cowardly car dealer Jerry Lundegaard "was the role I was born to play." Indeed, his dim but persistent Minnesota villain is still a marvel of comic-malevolent invention, a perfect rival to McDormand's cheery moral steel as the pregnant sheriff who tracks him down. It's just a pity that the Academy offered no technical category that year for the best use of a wood chipper. SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, $6–$11 individual, $75–$125 passes. 9 a.m.–11 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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