Blaise Agüera y Arcas

(BOOKS) Blaise Agüera y Arcas is not just one of the most interesting AI researchers of our times, he is also a sociologist, a fact made plain in his very readable (and dare I say entertaining) new book Who Are We Now? For Agüera y Arcas, AI is not just about the mind, but all that makes a mind possible (inside and outside of it). There is, therefore, no real separation between what's in the head and in the body and what surrounds the body. The case that Agüera y Arcas's book makes—with its surveys, graphs, images, and footnotes concerning anthropology, history, primatology, sociology, sexology, neurology, and much more—is that AI is not understood if the human is not understood. Did I also mention he is a vice president at Google? (Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 7 pm, free) CHARLES MUDEDE


Wonka at SIFF Cinema Downtown

(FILM) As you should know by now, SIFF now runs what was once called Cinerama. This deeply loved theater, now called SIFF Cinema Downtown, opens today, December 14, with a 21st-century reboot of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Wonka. The film stars the young man of our moment, Timothée Chalamet. I have, at this point, no idea about the movie or if the experience of the new cinema is comparable to the Cinerama our city's recently dead prince, Paul Allen, pumped a good amount of money into. Time will tell. (SIFF Cinema Downtown, 2100 Fourth Ave, various showtimes through January 10, $14.50-$19.50) CHARLES MUDEDE 

FRIDAY 12/15 

Sugar Plum Gary

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(COMEDY) Blending Christmassy cheer with a touch of Lovecraftian horror, Sugar Plum Gary will return with some gentle-hearted Satanism for your holiday season. The production follows Gary, a bushy-bearded fellow who is possessed by the ancient, mystical force that is Santa Claus. He'll lead another improv convo with audiences, answering their pressing holiday questions with twisted Christmas glee and a little cosmic fright. The show was dubbed “legitimately Seattle’s best holiday tradition” (Seattle Weekly) that “beautifully sleighs from the absurd to the existential” (Crosscut). (18th & Union: An Arts Space, 1406 18th Ave, Dec 15-17 and 22-24, $15-$50) LINDSAY COSTELLO


Bait Shop Holiday Market

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(SHOPPING) Have you seen the holiday light show at Bait Shop yet this season? We've got the perfect reason for you to stop by—everyone’s favorite Capitol Hill dive bar is hosting a holiday market this weekend! Peruse goods from local vendors including saucy cross stitch pieces from Stitch Tits, gorgeous ceramics from Erni Made Pots, and sudsy bars from Stand Out Soaps. We recommend grabbing a frozen painkiller for maximum cheer. (Bait Shop, 606 Broadway E, noon-4 pm, free, 21+) SHANNON LUBETICH

SUNDAY 12/17 

Hanako O'Leary: Izanami

Venus Jar 2: Utsuro Bune [Hollow Ship], 2018, by Hanako O'Leary. Sarah D King/Frye Art Museum

(VISUAL ART) Weaving together Shinto mythology and contemporary feminist ideologies, local artist Hanako O’Leary’s ceramic objects create a unique visual vocabulary embedded with stories from her childhood travels to Japan’s Setonaikai Islands. O'Leary also draws from folkloric Japanese imagery, fertility icons, Noh theater traditions, and her personal matriarchal lineage to "narrate her own American story" in her first solo museum presentation. Izanami is named after the Shinto goddess of creation and death; in the Shinto pantheon, she dies during childbirth, but O'Leary lends her story a contemporary reframing by “embracing the mystical feminine realm in its entirety and celebrating the right to create or destroy what lies within our own underworld.” O'Leary will also be hosting a happy hour at Frye Thursday, December 14 from 6 to 8 pm. (Frye Art Museum, Wed-Sun through Jan 28, free) LINDSAY COSTELLO

MONDAY 12/18 

Poor Things

(FILM) Real Lanthimos heads know that he doesn't direct anything without dystopic, black comedy underpinnings and plotlines that make audiences ponder why they're on the planet at all. He is weird, as directors should be, and you're either in or you're out. This time around, he's adapted a '92 Scottish novel for the screen, painting the picture of a young woman (played by Emma Stone, who is raven-haired and looks charmingly bananas) brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist (played by my famous dad, Willem Dafoe). Best part? Poor Things "saved" my other dad, Mark Ruffalo, from "depressed dad typecasting." Praise be. (SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 805 E Pine St, various showtimes, $13-$14) LINDSAY COSTELLO

TUESDAY 12/19 

The Music of A Charlie Brown Christmas at Royal Room

(MUSIC) Because the Royal Room does the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas every year, every year I have to write this love poem to the core tune, "Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental)," this masterpiece of American culture. It is, I think, one of the most beautiful pieces of jazz ever composed. Listening to it is like watching the falling snow through a window. The room is warm, something is roasting in the oven, and outside, the flakes are falling faintly through the universe and upon the trees, the hedges, the water gutters, the telephone poles, and the rooftops of a thousand apartment buildings. This is where you want to be forever. This is Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental)." It opens with a trembling bass, like someone coming out of the cold, stamping their feet, brushing the snow off their shoulders, hanging their winter coat, rubbing and blowing on numb fingers, and entering the living room where there is a window, watching the flakes falling faintly upon all the buildings and the living. (The Royal Room, 5000 Rainier Ave S, Dec 19 and 21, 5 pm, donation suggested, all ages until 10 pm) CHARLES MUDEDE