SUN
DEC 16, 2012


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Happy Hour at El Gaucho

Why: If you’ve never been to El Gaucho, that’s understandable—it’s so fancy, the booths are trimmed with mink, uniformed employees escort the ladies to the restroom, and a steak costs approximately one arm and half a leg. But it’s a real-deal, old-school Seattle experience—one you can have on the cheap during happy hour in the lounge, which goes all night long on Sunday and Monday. The service is more relaxed (you might even hear a mildly scandalous joke), they’ll let you venture unaccompanied to the lavatory, and the live piano music is gratis. On a cold, dark night, it’s extra luxurious. (El Gaucho; 2505 First Ave; elgaucho.com; 5 pm–close; drinks $4–$10, snacks $4–$9; 21+)

MON
DEC 17, 2012


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The Mountain Goats

Why: The first song I heard in 2012 was the Mountain Goats’ anthemic “This Year.” It blasted through the speakers of a friend’s house, and the small group of New Year’s Eve partyers loudly, drunkenly sang along to the insistent chorus “I am going to make it through this year if it kills me!” Mountain Goats singer John Darnielle is the master at delivering lines that both comfort and inspire. The band’s new album, Transcendental Youth, is no different. The opening line is “Do every stupid thing that makes you feel alive.” It just might be the anthem for 2013. (Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, showboxonline.com, 7 pm, $24, all ages)

TUE
DEC 18, 2012


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‘Holy Motors’

Why: The newest film by Leos Carax is the cinematic mindfuck of the year. At the center of the story: Monsieur Oscar, a middle-aged man working his way through a day of nine mysterious “appointments,” each one of which requires him to transform into a new character and plunge himself into what is essentially a new film. It’s disorienting by design, but Holy Motors is so brilliantly conceived, executed, and acted, you’ll be happy to get lost in its inexplicable folds. (SIFF Film Center, Seattle Center Northwest Rooms, siff.net, $10)

WED
DEC 19, 2012


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The Soft Moon

Why: San Francisco musician/producer Luis Vasquez began the Soft Moon as one of America’s more rewarding revivalists of the motorik-rhythm worship pioneered by krautrockers like Can, Neu!, and Faust. With 2012 album Zeros, Vasquez and his efficient bandmates have shifted into an aerodynamic model of goth rock that will push the depressed buttons of listeners enamored of Joy Division and the Cure’s 1980–82 output. In Soft Moon’s music, morbid atmospheres roil over propulsive beats, scoring the perfect soundtrack for graveyard chase scenes. (Barboza, 925 E Pike St, thebarboza.com, 8 pm, $10 adv, 21+)

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THU
DEC 20, 2012


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Louis CK

Why: Comedian Louis CK is such hot poop these days that tickets to all four of his Seattle shows sold out months ago. Still, that means more than 10,000 Seattle ticket-holders are currently crapping their pants with excitement about getting to see America’s greatest living standup comedian with their own eyes. If you’re among these 10,000-plus ticket holders, lucky you. If you’re not, stay home and watch both seasons of Louie and then Pootie Tang on Netflix. (Paramount Theater, 911 Pine St, stgpresents.org, 7 and 10 pm, $45)



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Max Kraushaar and Graham Downing

Why: In what they’re calling the “highly anticipated sequel to the 1997 groundbreaking art exhibit How Many People Are in This Coffin: You," Seattle artist pair Max Kraushaar and Graham Downing present a show of performance, sculpture, and photography called How Many People Are in This Graveyard? All of Them. It’s a horror show for the holidays, by two funny abjectionists who have, in the past, encased their limbs in cement and hung out (munching on snacks) for a performance called stoned, or on the other end of the spectrum, set up junk objects to cast such beautiful shadows that they make your eyes ache. (Blindfold Gallery, 1718 E Olive Way, blindfoldgallery.com, 1–7 pm, free)

FRI
DEC 21, 2012


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Phil Kline’s ‘Unsilent Night’

Why: It’s a boom-box parade, and here’s how it works: You dress for the weather, then show up at Chapel Performance Space with your own playback device (CD/cassette boom box, iPod, or phone with battery-powered speakers), you download the music for free, and then you all set out together to make the night unsilent in the streets of Wallingford. Composer Phil Kline created this in New York in 1992, and it’s performed around the world every December. It’s perfect for closet sentimentalists hankering for something like holiday caroling, but with an avant-garde streak. (Chapel Performance Space, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, chapelspace.blogspot.com, meet at 6:30 pm/procession at 7 pm, free)

SAT
DEC 22, 2012


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‘Homo for the Holidays’

Why: You could call Homo for the Holidays a holiday-themed burlesque revue, but that’d be like calling the virgin birth an unintended pregnancy. A merrily profane satire-ball wrapped in glitter and false eyelashes, Homo pulls in some of Seattle’s best drag/dance/queer performance talents: Ben DeLaCreme, the Cherdonna and Lou Show, Faggedy Randy (of the Can Can Castaways), Jinkx Monsoon, and tons more. I’m kicking myself for missing it last year, but Dan Savage said it was “fucking great” and “fucking hilarious.” (Odd Fellows West Hall, 915 E Pine St, brownpapertickets.com, 7 and 10 pm, $20 adv/$25 DOS)

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