Jen Wood

(LIVE MUSIC) If you haven't made it down to a show at the Gordon Biersch yet, here's the perfect opportunity. The GB enjoys a prime location on the top floor of the swank Pacific Place mall, ideally situated in our fair city's prime retail area -- so you can reward yourself for finishing (or starting) your holiday shopping by capping off your downtown experience with a nice microbrew and a set by the lovely and talented Jen Wood. Who says multitasking is evil? BARBARA MITCHELL

Gordon Biersch, Pacific Place, Top Floor, 9 pm, free.

The Rapture

(LIVE MUSIC/READINGS) Love and revolution rev up Northwest Asian American Theater artists-in-residence isangmahal arts kollective -- they ain't too shy to take on social issues and rap 'em out with the crowd -- and combined with hiphop group Piece of Sol and slam poet Fran Varian, Eleventh Hour Productions promises one highly energetic evening of art that may live up to its packaging as "The Rapture." Come down and get your gut wrenched. TRACI VOGEL

Speakeasy Backroom, 2304 Second Ave, 441-4502, 8 pm, $5, all ages.

The Secret Garden

(THEATER) Fans of quality Broadway musicals have a rough time of it in Seattle, since what they're usually offered is grandiose pap on the order of Miss Saigon. To experience a musical with both brains and heart, catch one of the last few performances of The Secret Garden. The show is top-heavy by at least half a dozen songs, and the sets over at the 5th Avenue are a bit wobbly, but Lucy Simon's darkly lush score is beautifully sung by an accomplished cast -- and damned if the story's final redemptive moments don't wring a tear out of you. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman expands on the themes of the beloved Frances Hodgson Burnett children's novel and creates a haunting atmosphere rich with the plaintive human desire to be loved. STEVE WIECKING

The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1326 Fifth Avenue, 292-ARTS (2787), through Dec 19, Thurs-Sat at 8, matinees Sat and Sun at 2, $19-$50.

FRIDAY 12/17

Wild Kingdom Rhumba

(PARTY, LIVE MUSIC) Sometimes I think no one around here knows how to throw a decent party. And that's because, somewhere in the neighborhood of five years ago in Portland, I had the distinct pleasure of attending Pink Martini creator Thomas Lauderdale's virgin Wild Kingdom Rhumba party in all its sparkling glory. No one's sorry-ass excuse for a soiree has compared since. So you can bet I'll be wearing bells when Lauderdale brings Pink Martini and the same party theme to the Showbox tonight, along with 25-piece, Brazilian-styled, carnival/samba percussion ensemble the Lions of Batucada. The evening begins with rhumba dance lessons from 8-9 pm during the Marlin Perkins Cocktail Hour (ever so smart!), and ends with late-night spinning by DJ Darek Mazonne. A word of advice from the party king himself: "Dress fierce and travel in packs." KATHLEEN WILSON

Showbox, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151, 9 pm, $12.

Lucky Devil

(THEATER) What do partygoers, rescue workers, and stranded travelers do in a mid-Western motel lounge during a country-wide blackout? Sing! What does a group of lesbians do to deal with a friend battling with breast cancer? Write the script! One Headlight productions is producing Lucky Devil, a karaoke musical chock full of antics with a righteous soul: All proceeds benefit the Seattle Lesbian Cancer Project, and at the door will be a non-perishable-food bin for the Providence Regina House. BRIAN GOEDDE

Freehold Studio, 1525 10th Ave, through Dec 18, 8 pm, $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and a food donation wins you $3 off.

It's a Wonderful Life

(FILM) Okay, so you've seen it already and then some, but nothing beats the evergreen It's a Wonderful Life for big screen holiday entertainment. This year, the Grand Illusion promises a quality 35mm print of the Yuletide classic. Though the film's flawless supporting cast is enough reason to experience a repeat viewing, you should see it again for Jimmy Stewart in one of cinema's greatest performances. Stewart's George Bailey is a rare Hollywood evocation of both tormented human melancholy and complex joy, and should shame those who continue to mention his name in the same breath as Tom Hanks. Opening night of the run is a formal event with a reception immediately following the film. STEVE WIECKING

The Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th at University Way, 523-3935, through Dec 25 at 4:30, 7, & 9:30, matinees at 2 on Sat and Sun, no matinee on Christmas, $4.50-$7.


Rebecca & Spellbound

(FILM) The years between Rebecca (1940) and Spellbound (1945) mark Alfred Hitchcock's brief working association with the big time American producer David O. Selznick, the man who gave us Gone with the Wind, and who invited Hitchcock to Hollywood. Hitchcock didn't much care for Selznick's buoyant manner, though, so after fulfilling his contractual obligations he left. A drinker and womanizer, Selznick died 20 years later of "acute colonary occlusion." (Some people, however, seem to believe that it was making Duel in the Sun that killed him.) CHARLES MUDEDE

The Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave E at Mercer, 675-2055, $7

SUNDAY 12/19

Boxing Exhibition

(SPORT) It's a sad fact that boxing lovers and the boxing curious have few outlets in Seattle to view the "sweet science." It's rarer still to see an exhibition where one can witness both men and women fighters in the same forum. That's why you should show up for the Sunday Sizzler Boxing Extravaganza at Cappy's Boxing Gym on Union. Five rock 'em, sock 'em bouts are scheduled to take place, along with helpful side commentary for the uninitiated, door prizes, and fun, fun, fun! See you ringside! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Cappy's on Union, 2002 E Union on Capitol Hill, 322-6410, door opens at 3:30, boxing starts at 4, $5 suggested donation.


(FILM) In a quiet mountain village, residents must keep quiet or risk burying everybody under an avalanche. At the local butler school, students learn to get their work done while going unnoticed. Directed by Canadian genius Guy Maddin, Careful is a beautifully tragic comedy of repression -- not just in content but also in structure. Filmed with the old-fashioned constraints of early sound films (large gestures, post-dubbed sound, intertitles, and tinted b/w film), it's the kind of film that you've never seen before -- unless you've already seen it before, in which case, like me, you will probably try to be first in line to see it again. Careful is playing with Maddin's brand new short film, Hospital Fragment, which I hear has plenty of nudity! ANDY SPLETZER

The Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave E, 675-2055, Thurs-Sun Dec 16-19 at 5:30, 7:30, 9:30.

MONDAY 12/20

Millennium Musical

(THEATER) Those irreverent boys who brought us the engagingly stupid The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) are back with an evening that promises to summarize our fleeting millennium "from Beowulf to Baywatch." The Reduced Shakespeare Company opens a run at the Seattle Rep this week with a raucous distraction entitled The Complete Millennium Musical (abridged). Never ones to miss an opportunity for shameless revelry, the Reduced folks even set the Black Plague to music with an emotional number entitled "Rats!!!!" It probably won't change your life, but a laugh at the last 1,000 years couldn't hurt. STEVE WIECKING

Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Center at Second Ave and Mercer, 443-2222, runs Dec 20-Jan 22, Tues-Sun at 7:30, Sat and Sun matinees at 2, $10-$42.



(LIVE MUSIC) Ever find yourself at a loss for words when trying to coax folks into seein' a cool new band? The pitch often gets reduced to something like "go, trust me." Naturally, the band's original sound can often be blamed. In Juke's case, it's mostly a certain soulful somethin' that I can't quite put my finger on. They've concocted a mix of pop, rock, and blues full of those genres' sweetest strains -- such as the yearning urgency of Big Star, or the relentless rawness of Page and Hendrix. Juke's an infectious new breed of power trio -- and they're great live. James Kirchmer

OK Hotel, 212 Alaskan Way S, 621-7903, 9 pm.


The Parker Project

(RADIO) Although Jennifer Jason Leigh nearly single-handedly slaughtered her image in that terrible movie a few years ago, Dorothy Parker -- survivor that she is -- remains one of the most formidable and quotable literary figures of the last century. This six-part radio special on the cocktail mistress covers her life and work, delivering short stories dramatized for radio and belying her famous assertion: "I'm never going to be famous. I don't do anything, not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don't even do that any more." TRACI VOGEL

KUOW 94.9, 9:30 pm.