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Originally published Sunday, August 5, 2012 at 5:31 AM

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14 top entertainment picks for the week beginning Aug. 5-11, 2012

The Seattle Times' weekly list of arts and entertainment highlights includes the four-star movie "Ruby Sparks," Seafair Hydroplane Races and Air Show, and Aerosmith at the Tacoma Dome.

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Movies

'Ruby Sparks'

This comedic romance, written with great cleverness and wit by Zoe Kazan, is also a Pygmalion-like drama and briefly a disturbing thriller. It stars Paul Dano as a writer with a unique problem: As a writing exercise, he creates a charming young woman named Ruby Sparks, who turns up, in person (played by Kazan), at his home. Now playing at several theaters. For showtimes, see Page H5. For Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald's four-star review, go to www.seattletimes.com/movies.

'Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry'

Alison Klayman's sharp-eyed documentary conveys the Chinese dissident artist's antic wit, giving vivid examples of his highly conceptual yet visually striking art. It also shows the personal cost of pitting yourself against an authoritarian regime, making "Ai Weiwei" a sobering, cautionary tale. Now playing at Harvard Exit. For showtimes, see Page H5. For Michael Upchurch's 3 ½-star review, go to www.seattletimes.com/movies.

TV

'XXX Summer Olympics'

The 2012 summer games wind down this week, with closing ceremonies scheduled for Aug. 12. Various times on NBC, NBC Sports, Bravo, MSNBC and other networks. See www.seattletimes.com/tvlistings for details.

'Go On'

Do you find yourself pondering what's ahead for fall TV? NBC gives us a sneak preview of the new Matthew Perry comedy this week. 11 p.m. Wednesday on NBC.

Festivals

Seafair Hydroplane Races and Air Show

The final day of the annual Seafair extravaganza combining hydroplane racing, an air show with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, entertainment, vendors and thousands and thousands of your closest friends. 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Genesee Park and Playfield and surrounding area, Seattle; $25/advance, $30/at the gate adults; $10/youth and seniors; free for military with ID; $40/reserved grandstand; $10/pit passes and tours (206-728-0123 or www.seafair.com).

Pop music

Aerosmith

The big news for these fabled hard rockers, celebrating 42 years as a band, is that Steven Tyler is back in the fold full-time, having shed his "American Idol" robe. The eight-time Grammy winners and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will release "Music From Another Dimension!" in November. They perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma; $39.50-$129.50 (800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com).

Festival of the River

Dr. John, Lee Brice, Buffy Sainte Marie, Mickey Hart and Los Lonely Boys headline this three-day summer blowout, which also includes a children's stage and Native American powwow. The festival runs from 1:30 p.m. Friday to 10 p.m. Aug. 12 at River Meadows County Park, 20416 Jordan Road, Arlington, Skagit County; admission free with $5 parking fee (800-838-3006 or www.festivaloftheriver.com).

Nicki Minaj

Minaj has a quirky imagination, to be sure, as her levitation/exorcism tableau at the 2012 Grammy Awards show proved so graphically, but perhaps it was an appropriate augury for her meteoric rise and reinvention since the chart-topping April release of "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded." Minaj appears at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $42-$72 (877-784-4849 or www.stgpresents.org).

Theater

'Liliom'

The Endangered Species Project continues its mission of bringing to light "older or otherwise neglected plays" with a reading of Ferenc Molnar's "Liliom," adapted by Lillian Groag. You might be more familiar with Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Hammerstein's version — they added music and some other changes and called it "Carousel." 7 p.m. Monday, West of Lenin, 203 N. 36th St., Seattle; free (www.endangeredspeciesproject.org).

'Kittens in a Cage'

Billed as "a tough love story about bad broads that can't get no breaks," "Kittens" is the story of Junie, a good girl gone bad, who goes all the way to prison. Bret Fetzer directs. Through Aug. 25, Annex Theatre, 1100 E. Pike St., Seattle; $5-$15 (206-728-0933 or www.annextheatre.org).

Classical music

Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival

The fest marks its 15th anniversary season with some notable events: a concert on Lopez Island (Friday), world-premiere works by composer-in-residence Jake Heggie (Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 14-15), a free outdoor concert (Aug. 19) and a recital by renowned mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade (Aug. 20 and 22). Thursday-Aug. 25, Orcas Center, 917 Mt. Baker Road, Eastsound; most concerts $10-$38 (360-376-2281 or www.oicmf.org).

Olympic Music Festival

The sixth weekend of OMF's annual "concerts in the barn" wraps up Sunday with a program of Beethoven, Prokofiev and Brahms; the fest continues Saturday and Aug. 12 with a program that includes Beethoven's String Trio in C Minor, Op. 9 No. 3. 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays through Sept. 2 (festival grounds open at 11 a.m.), 7360 Center Road, Quilcene, Jefferson County; $18-$33 (360-732-4800 or www.olympicmusicfestival.org).

Literary events

Neal Stephenson

One of Seattle's deepest-thinking authors — science fiction, nonfiction, essays — discusses "Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing" in conversation with Stranger book editor Paul Constant. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Kane Hall, University of Washington, Seattle. For tickets and signing information consult the University Book Store (206-634-3400 or www.ubookstore.com).

Visual arts

Henry Art Gallery

"The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl" explores the culture of vinyl records within the history of contemporary art. The exhibit brings together record-related works by 33 artists, including Jasper Johns, Laurie Anderson and Carrie Mae Weems, and originated at Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art — where Seattle Art Museum's newly appointed director, Kimerly Rorschach, has been director since 2004. The exhibition also features a celebration of National Vinyl Record Day (Aug. 12). 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through Oct. 7, 4100 15th Ave. N.E., Seattle; $6-$10 (206-543-2280 or www.henryart.org).

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