Me, but at home.
Me, but at home. Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images

I'll be honest, the spread for New Year's Eve celebrations does not look great. A few weeks ago, during the window of time before our nearly vertical growth in COVID cases, there was a whole bunch of great NYE events to choose from.

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Now, venues are canceling events left and right, leaving whatever remains up to revelers to assess whether or not they wanna risk COVID to ring in the New Year at a public party. Personally, all it took was a look at the case numbers and almost slipping on the icy sidewalk to decide I'm going to keep my ass parked inside when the clock strikes midnight. If you're like me and want to put off your date with Mx. Omicron for as long as possible, I've rounded up some alternatives to a night on the town. Hopefully they're enough to distract you from the fact that we're going into our third pandemic year. (I know they're not!)

Here's my suggested schedule:

AROUND NOON, CATCH ROCKIN' ROCKFISH NOON YEAR'S EVE AT SEATTLE AQUARIUM

My editor keeps telling me that he's pretty sure Seattle Aquarium's virtual Rockin' Rockfish Noon Year's Eve noontime celebration is just for kids, but after watching last year's dispatch, I think people of all ages will get a kick out of it. For one, it's at noon—a literally incorrect hour to welcome the New Year. But I love the unhinged idea of a "Noon Year" (what even is it?) and time is fake, etc. For second, the image of host Diana Cardiff dancing along to Mikey the Rad Scientist's riff on "Auld Lang Syne" in front of the aquarium's giant-ass tank where two divers are also dancing is honestly delightful. Seattle to its core. In any case, the gang is getting back together again this year to celebrate the New Year 12 hours before it happens. Diana will be joined by Jasmine Williams in her hosting duties, with Mikey the Rad Scientist making another musical appearance. There will be lots of facts about Puget Sound and the critters that live in it as well as a dance party. Registration for this (free) event closes at 10 am on December 31, which you can sign up for here.

...CUDDLE UP AND WATCH PIG...

My favorite kind of Nicolas Cage movie is one that puts him through a bunch of shit—a bareknuckle brawl, a Constitution heist, BEES—just to get him to his signature blunt line readings, then sending him off again. And in that respect, Michael Sarnoski's Pig—released this year and available to stream on Hulu—certainly does not disappoint. The movie has Cage just where we like him: haggard and recovering from some distant emotional trauma that will slowly reveal itself over the 92-minute runtime. Here as Robin Feld, a reclusive former chef, he's posted up deep in the Oregon woods hunting truffles with a pig as his only means of company. When she's violently stolen, he enlists his smarmy truffle dealer Amir (Alex Wolff, formerly of the Naked Brothers Band) to assist him on his mission to find his beloved pig in Portland. What unfolds is a surprisingly moving (and very weird) story about love and what truly matters in life, set against the unmistakable Pacific Northwest color palette. Truly one of my favorite movies of the year and a perfect one to close out 2021 with.

...THEN RAGE AROUND YOUR HOUSE WHILE LISTENING TO WILD POWWERS' WHAT YOU WANTED...

A couple of weeks ago in the Before Omicron (B.O.) times, I recommended Freakout Records' New Year's Eve party at the newly reopened Crocodile. Unfortunately, that event was canceled due to the surge in COVID cases currently rocking the city. But just because that event is canceled doesn't necessarily mean that you can't still enjoy the bands slated to perform that night. I strongly recommend turning on some Wild Powwers as you tidy your house to prepare to welcome 2022, adding some grunge-inspired sheen to the evening's proceedings. Earlier this year, the trio released What You Wanted, rated the seventh best local album by Seattle-area critics (me included). On tracks like "...Sucks" drummer Lupe Flores (of Situ Tacos fame) and bassist Jordan Gomes compose a foundation for lead singer and guitarist Lara Hilgemann to lay screams and riffs over. If there's one thing that 2022 is going to be defined by, it's angst.

...ALL WHILE EATING SPICE BOX...

Spice Box is built differently than a lot of the other restaurants on Capitol Hill. The tiny turquoise Indian restaurant on Broadway is open from 11 am-11 pm every day—we love that kind of consistency. It also opened in what Capitol Hill Seattle Blog termed "the COVID takeout era," meaning they are primed to handle lots of to-go orders without worrying about serving a full dine-in restaurant. Spice Box's menu is expansive, with perfectly crispy samosas and pakoras as well as delicious signature entrees like their creamy tikka masala and the wonderfully tangy vindaloo. In addition to wraps, tandoori, and biryani dishes, they also have pretty substantial vegetarian offerings—I recently tried their paneer makhani and was absolutely blown away by the richness in flavor and generous serving size. Also, their naan is the size of a small child. And everything is a reasonable price. Skip the expensive, precious New Year's Eve dishes from other places and grab take out from here to go along with your cheap bottle of bubbly. Just note: their spice levels are serious! The spice-sensitive should proceed with caution. And remember to tip heavy!

...THEN FINISH OUT YOUR NIGHT WATCHING A VIRTUAL LIGHT SHOW AT THE SPACE NEEDLE...


Truly, what would New Year's in Seattle be without a gleefully disappointing light show.

At the beginning of 2020, heavy winds around the Space Needle stopped the fireworks in their tracks (what should have been our first sign that something was Very Off). And to welcome in 2021, the Needle got the virtual light show treatment, something only visible on television or by computer in order to make sure no crowd formed around the base of the structure. I think I was a little too stoned last year to realize that "virtual light show" meant "augmented reality show" and that it could somehow be just as dorky—and divisive—as the real thing. Everyone and their mother seemed to be on Twitter giving their spicy takes about the show: some loved the thoughtful elegance of it, others thought it looked like an Evangelion angel. Either way, the virtual show is going down again this year, with a twist. There will be live fireworks as well (no crowds permitted), in what is billed as "the first-ever live fireworks show to be augmented live with exclusive special effects." The mash-up will give local a-holes another chance to dispense their unsolicited opinions about the affair (it's me, I'm local a-holes). Find out more about the celebration here.

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