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$15 or Less: Neal Stephenson, Shakespeare in the Park and outdoor cinema

Shakespeare in the Park this week features "King Lear" Credit: Photo: GreenStage Facebok Page

This week begins with a couple literary events not to be missed, followed by the Moondoggies album release show, and, of course, the requisite outdoor movie (in this case, the swoon-worthy "Say Anything"). This weekend also marks the end of Shakespeare in the Park, with the final performances of "Merry Wives of Windsor" and "King Lear" taking place at parks in the area.

Stranger Genius Awards: Literature
Wed. 8/14 at 5:30 p.m., $10
Tonight marks the fourth installment of The Stranger Genius nights.  At this event, we celebrate Seattle fiction writer Neal Stephenson, poet Maged Zaher, and the creators of the APRIL book festival. Each will discuss their work – which in this case, really run the gamut – and then participate in a Q&A session. Afterward, continue the conversation at nearby Vito’s, where it’s recently been brought to my attention that they have $3 (gin or vodka) martinis for the month of August.

Peter Orner
Richard Hugo House, Thurs. 8/15 at 7 p.m., FREE
Orner, whose novel "Love and Shame and Love" received a lot of attention in 2011, is back in Seattle for this one-night event at the Hugo House. Orner has been writing “The Lonely Voice,” a column devoted entirely to the short story, for The Rumpus for the last five years. He’ll be reading from his newest book, a collection of short stories titled "Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge" in which Orner portays “a kaleidoscope of individual lives in intimate close-up,” with a Q&A session to follow.

Shakespeare in the Park: "King Lear"
Volunteer Park, Fri. 8/16 at 7 p.m., FREE
This is the last weekend for Shakespeare in the Park by GreenStage, now celebrating its 25th year, and this ambitious rendition of "King Lear" will unfortunately be the last. I’m all about the Shakespeare tragedies (why go light, right?) and "King Lear" is my favorite of them all with veteran local actor Vince Brady as Lear. If you prefer to stay on the bright side, "Merry Wives of Windsor" will be in Volunteer Park on Thursday night. Regardless, think about stopping by the nearby Volunteer Park Café afterward for one of the best meals of your life.

The Moondoggies
Tractor Tavern, Fri. 8/16 and Sat. 8/17 at 9:30 p.m., $15
Everett band The Moondoggies have been tirelessly performing in the area since 2005, making a name for themselves with soulful, harmony-driven indie rock.  Following a week of parties and playing on KEXP, they’ll be continuing to celebrate the release of "Adiós I’m a Ghost," the band’s third full-length album, over two nights at the Tractor. Join them on Friday to see them with Country Lips and the Quiet Ones (both receiving some play on KEXP lately) or Saturday with Gold Leaves and Kevin Large.

MOHAI Movie in the Park: "Say Anything"
Lake Union Park, Sat. 8/17 around 8:45 (dusk), FREE
While I have to admit that I haven’t seen "Say Anything" since teenagedom, reliving it outside with strangers seems like a most excellent idea. Young love! Awkward backseat devirginization! A soundtrack with Peter Gabriel AND The Replacements! An unexpected assisted living scandal! Oh, young Cameron Crowe and John Cusack, part of me would like to freeze you in time forever, before "We Bought a Zoo" and "America’s Sweethearts" ever happened. This is just one of many events MOHAI is hosting during its first summer in its gorgeous new location. See the full calendar here.

Wild At Heart
Central Cinema, 8/17-8/21 at 9:30 p.m., $6
Lest I be described as a closet Nic Cage fan (after recommending "Raising Arizona" last week), I’d like it to be known that I’m first and foremost recommending it as a David Lynch film. Existing contemporaneously to Lynch’s acclaimed series "Twin Peaks," this 1990 crime thriller was written and directed by Lynch and to date, remains one of his most befuddling and polarizing for critics and viewers.  Join the outrage and thrill with a cocktail in hand.

Sign Painters
Northwest Film Forum, 8/19-8/22 at 7 and 9 p.m., $10
There are few things that fascinate me more than lost art forms and this film, focusing on sign painters around the country, exemplifies that fixation. From billboards to storefronts to barn signs, many signs were for a long time entirely hand-lettered by artists in what has been described as “an invisible art, an invisible industry.” This document explores this antiquated trade, alongside its hopeful return and value in a society oft valuing convenience and uniformity above all else.

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