Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

January 13, 2014 at 11:12am

Nerd Alert!: Jack Ryan is back, Elvis tribute, "Sherlock" and more ...

"Sherlock": Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson. Photograph: Robert Viglasky/BBC/Hartswood Films

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When you have eliminated the impossible, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.

FRIDAY, JAN. 17

Which movie character has been portrayed by actors who also played Lamont Cranston, Dr. Richard Kimble, Matt Murdock and Jack Frost? If you said CIA Deputy Director John Patrick Ryan, Sr., Ph.D., CPA, USMC (Ret.), KCVO (Hon), give yourself a hearty pat on the back. Of course, before Ryan was all those things, he was junior analyst Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; his latest movie opens this week. Chris Pine joins a club whose officers emeritus are Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. His latest installment is a reboot from an original screenplay by the guy who wrote, of all things, The Wings of the Dove. Ryan's sent to Moscow to match wits with Viktor Cherevin, a baddie played by the film's director, Kenneth Branagh. Ordinarily, when a film gets pushed back from Christmas to January, that's a bad sign, but this episode may surprise us. That's because Paramount moved Shadow Recruit to clear a slot for its own Oscar contender, The Wolf of Wall Street. Also, Branagh directed the surprisingly effective Thor, so he knows from both acting and action. Opening Friday as well (but not as good): two Ryan-fodder thrillers, Devil's Due and Reasonable Doubt.

I, on the other hand, must delay catching up with Agent Ryan, as I'll be at Tacoma Musical Playhouse for its premiere of Shout! The Mod Musical, a celebration of female musical artists of the 1960s. The show's song list includes such classics as "Downtown," "Son of a Preacher Man," and "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," so I bet I won't mind the wait.

SHOUT! THE MOD MUSICAL, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Feb. 9, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, 7116 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, $20-$29, 253.565.6867

SATURDAY, JAN. 18

As Mia Wallace once opined, "Beatles people can like Elvis, and Elvis people can like the Beatles, but nobody likes them both equally." Well, I'm a Beatles guy, but far from immune to the allure of a soulful rendition of "Suspicious Minds." And that's where Robert Washington, Elvis impersonator extraordinaire, hip-swivels into the picture. This Saturday, the Capitol Theater presents Washington's tribute to the King of Rock and Roll. Don your gold-lamé jumpsuit, enjoy a documentary called Almost Elvis and then "Surrender" to a hunka, hunka "Burning Love." Incidentally, in a stirring tribute to color-blind casting, Mr. Washington - who does a pitch-perfect Elvis - is African-American, yet won the first Elvis World Championships down in peckerwood Memphis. Thank you ... thank you very much.

ELVIS BIRTHDAY BASH, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia, $15, 360.705.1658

SUNDAY, JAN. 19

If you're a regular reader of this column, you know my respect for Doctor Who showrunner and head writer Steven Moffat knows no bounds. He's an absolute genius. His sitcom Coupling is legendary in the UK (though its U.S. incarnation fared poorly), and his Adventures of Tintin script for Steven Spielberg was admirably faithful to its source material. You can establish the quality of any Doctor Who episode by noting how proximate Moffat was to its script. For me, however, Moffat's crowning glory is Sherlock, the BBC's modern-day update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's irascible detective. Each season (or "series" in British TV jargon) includes three movie-length episodes, all loosely based on classic Conan Doyle adventures. If you've never watched the show, I implore you to seek out all six previous episodes while adding Series 3, commencing Sunday with "The Empty Hearse," to your DVR. (In "The Adventure of the Empty House," Conan Doyle explained how Sherlock survived a seemingly fatal encounter with Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls.) Oh, my friends and fellow Sherlockians, the game is once more afoot!

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may I draw your attention to the curious incident of the dog in the night-time?

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