Schlichting and his love things strike pop poses at Velocity.

THEATER
ACT Theatre opens Richard Dresser’s Below the Belt tonight, Thurs. May 21, with Taxi star and Tony-winner Judd Hirsch as one of a trio of factory workers who feels his soul stifled by a faceless corporation and mindless job. I can’t imagine anyone in today’s world who could identify with such a plot but perhaps the show will find its audience. Ahem.

Although I said that Village Theatre’s Show Boat lacked staging smarts, and I stand by that, those people sure do sing real pretty. If you’ve never seen the musical I’d recommend going just to hear what it should sound like.

CLASSICAL
Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances are on the program at Seattle Symphony. But the highlight should be the return of its ex-principal cellist, Joshua Roman, in the world premiere of David Stock’s Cello Concerto.

DANCE
Pacific Northwest Ballet provides a Director’s Choice evening that is almost guaranteed at least one good weep: After the Rain is set to music by Arvo Pärt, who never fails to get the hairs at the back of my neck on end and my tear ducts ready for a flood.

Professional dance ties between three cities (including Seattle) pay off when the SCUBA touring showcase lands here on Friday and Saturday. Buzz is particularly good about Minneapolis’s Chris Schlichting and troupe, whose love things is said to be an affectionate, funny, pop paean to the way we moved in the 1970s and ’80s.

CONCERTS
You’ve got to give it up for Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley’s front woman who’ll be solo at the Showbox on Sunday. Still a young woman, she survived life as a child actor—and I do mean survived: the poor thing was on Lucille Ball’s horrifying final sitcom Life With Lucy. I mean, I barely survived Life With Lucy but Lewis had the wherewithal to stay cute, prove she could sing, and work with M. Ward, Conor Oberst, Ben Gibbard and many others from music’s indie in-crowd.

FILM
Don’t forget that the Seattle International Film Festival is in full swing. This weekend, I’m curious about the documentary Facing Ali, because I can’t get enough of the guy who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee; Downloading Nancy, because it’s some dark, kinky drama starring Maria Bello, who’s always having hot screen sex (witness the shagging scene on the stairs with Viggo Mortensen in A History of Violence) and stars here with that carnal, crazy-ass Jason Patric; and Telstar, because it was a hit as a play in London’s West End and, well, when you tell me you’ve made a film based on the true story of echo-and-reverb music master Joe Meek, a gay, tone-deaf nutbag, you have me at hello.

VISUAL ARTS
Oh, would you go see the Muppets, already? You’ll wish you had even one-quarter of Jim Henson’s life spirit.

BOOKS & TALKS
Yes, people now get incredibly rich and famous simply by eating and talking about it in print or on TV. Ask Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali, who’ll be sharing the stage here on Saturday if Bourdain’s head can fit through the door and Batali can pull himself away from his gustatory travels with Gwyneth Paltrow.

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