Our music critics have already chosen the 38 best music shows this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn to recommend the best events in their areas of expertise. Here are their picks in every genre—from Amanda Montell: Wordslut to Voltage! cabaret to plenty of New Year's Eve events. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.
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Sandbox Radio: Journey's End
Sandbox Radio is an old-school-radio-style podcast that periodically stages fresh, fun, live shows. On New Year's Eve Eve, celebrate with the voice actors, the Sandbox Radio Orchestra, and special guests the Drunken Tenor, Megan Renee Parker, and Mark Rabe as they stage a holiday story.
Stonington Celebrates 40: 40th Anniversary Group Exhibition
Celebrate 40 years of top-notch Northwest Coastal and Alaskan art with a Native focus as this excellent gallery hosts a group exhibition. There is awesome talent on view here, in everything from Preston Singletary's Wood Carver's Totem to Maynard Johnny, Jr.'s Heron Paddle to Paige Pettibon's caləɫali Altarpiece, the latter a fascinating merging of European painting tradition and Lushootseed language.
It seems impossible, doesn't it, to make a good stage musical out of the 1993 Robin Williams movie Mrs. Doubtfire? Go in with low expectations like I did, and you will leave with the unmistakable impression that director Jerry Zaks has done the impossible. It is an exuberant, dazzling, imaginative, funny, and unbelievably good update of the film set in Trump's America. If you have a kid, take them. If you have a joint in your pocket, smoke it beforehand. It's fun for the whole family. This is your chance to see it before it goes to Broadway, where it will win Jerry Zaks even more Tony Awards. The guy's already got four; this musical's bound to win him a few more. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
No show on Wednesday.
The zoo will light up with thousands upon thousands of (energy-efficient) LED lights that recreate wild scenes and creatures. You can also throw fake snowballs at your friends, get up close with certain animal residents, and sip hot chocolate.
Wonderland is divided into three short acts that make up a brisk 90-minute show. Hosted by the exceedingly charismatic Jonny Boy (Jonathan Betchtel), each act gets progressively naughtier, although the most scandalous thing an audience member sees is a jock-strapped ass and bare tits covered by pasties. The show has danger, but it's found in the cancan lines that occur mere feet from audience members' dinner salads. During the third act, two dancers perform an athletic duet that—when I saw it—nearly knocked over a birthday girl's wine glass. But it didn't. Everyone whooped. CHASE BURNS
No show Wednesday.
Jen Tucker: Feel It In My Bones
In thoughtful watercolor and mixed media, Jen Tucker explores physical manifestations of emotions and intuition in the body.
Prince from Minneapolis
Prince’s “If I Was Your Girlfriend” did to my erotic imagination what the flower revolution did to the earth millions of years ago—transformed a monochromatic vision of sexuality into one blooming with color. Listening to the song for the first time in 1986, I realized that sex was more (if not all) about play, rather than function, mission, or purpose. Many years later in college, I learned that this form of play was not specific to humans, but was the state of things in nature—most developed animals are not blind and efficient fuckers, but conscious wasters and abusers of sex. Fucking is mostly waste, wonderful waste. And lovers are only fully such when they are playful, when the borders between them are destabilized, when the sex is purely the energy of sex—a glowing substance that’s there to be exploited and explored. Prince will never die, especially with exhibits like this one at MoPOP that uses nearly 50 artifacts (instruments, photographs, artworks, clothes) to delve into what made the late soul-pop artist a superstar. CHARLES MUDEDE
TUESDAYFOOD & DRINK
Bateau New Year's Eve Dinner
Renee Erickson's upscale French-inspired steakhouse will serve a special tasting menu by chef Taylor Thornhill and the rest of the Bateau crew, plus optional wine pairings, champagne specials, and a full selection of steak cuts selected by in-house butcher Tom Coss.
Canon New Year's Eve 2019
Canon’s thing is extravagance, and they do it well. For New Year’s Eve, the James Beard Award–nominated “whiskey and bitters emporium” is pulling out all the stops with a hedonistic feast that includes scallop tartare, Hudson Valley foie gras, tuna carpaccio, spaghetti chitarra, tea-smoked duck breast, dry-aged char-grilled ribeye, and mango bavarois, all paired with drinks.
New Years Eve Karaoke & Yakitori Party
What better way to end the year than with food on a stick? This evening with chefs Melissa Martz and Eric Tanaka revolves around two of Japan's finest exports: karaoke and yakitori (charcoal-grilled, skewered chicken). Come clad in black, white, or gold, then snack on bottomless grilled snacks and drink sake slushies, beer, or wine for liquid courage as you summon the nerve to belt out your favorite ABBA hits in front of a crowd. There's also a midnight champagne toast, and you'll be well-situated for a view of the Space Needle from Sixth Avenue. JULIANNE BELL
One Night in Osaka: NYE 2019
Seattle in the 2020s might not be an easy place to live, but at least it will have great Japanese cuisine. Adana chef and owner Shota Nakajima is opening another new bar/restaurant venture, Taku, next year, and he’ll be previewing what’s to come at this One Night in Osaka New Year’s Eve party. Nakajima’s culinary talents and Osaka street food offerings (the theme is “Alleyways of Osaka” and it’s also the style of food he’ll serve at Taku) will be bolstered by another Japanese cuisine biggie, Kamonegi’s Mutsuko Soma, one of Food & Wine magazine’s best new chefs of 2019, plus Umami Kushi, and chefs Jose Garzon (Latinx Street Food pop-up) and Justin Khanna (The Emulsion Podcast, Voyager’s Table). With Seattle’s top Japanese chefs already confirmed to be in attendance, and a selection of Japanese libations (Haku vodka, Roku gin, Toki whiskey, Kirin beer), dancing, and “surprise guests” delivering the entertainment, it’s sure to be a deliciously fun way to end 2019. DAVID LEWIS
Réveillon 2020: Tour de France
Take a tour through France with the cheekily romantic, sparkling bistro L'Oursin's five-course menu. First, you'll begin in Normandy, with Virginica oysters with refreshing apple and cidre mignonette for a taste of the region's famously delicious cider. Next, make your way to Brittany for scallops with beurre demi-sel and clam vinaigrette, then proceed to the Loire Valley, Basque country, and the Côte d’Azur for some crab consommé, octopus basquaise, and black cod. Finally, finish the evening with crème brûlêe in Jura. You can also avail yourself of optional natural wine and cider pairings from each region. JULIANNE BELL
Viet-Cajun New Year's Eve Dinner
For something decidedly different than the usual oysters-and-caviar New Year's Eve dinner, opt for Central Smoke's Viet-Cajun-inspired supper, with boiled crawfish, seafood gumbo, braised collard greens, broad bean succotash, cajun pickled green beans, corn bread, and—wait for it—an entire alligator smoked in a bacon lattice.
New Year’s Eve pARTy
Choose this New Year's Eve party if you want to watch fireworks through the glass ceiling, tour the glass museum, hear live music by the Michael Benson Band, and drink a champagne toast at midnight (and if you've got 250 clams to throw around). Dale Chihuly's wriggly, organic-looking glass sculptures will surely be dazzling by firework-light. JOULE ZELMAN
Nordic New Year's Fest
Feast on a Scandinavian smörgåsbord prepared by two visiting Swedish chefs and dance to Scandinavian music by Skandia Kapell and the tunes of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass performed by Rat City Brass, then grab a glass of champagne and watch the Space Needle's fireworks show.
Spectra: NYE 2020
Wrap up this decade with a swanky, speakeasy-style night out—very appropriate given the centennial of the roaring '20s—under the Space Needle. Tickets include virtual and augmented reality experiences, live DJs, laser karaoke with Baby Ketten, craft booze, and after-hours access to exhibits. For a dash of scientific geekdom, you can check out a diamond-making demonstration, build glammed-up robots, marvel at a Van de Graaff Generator, and get up close with "exotic animals." ELAINA FRIEDMAN
T-Mobile New Year’s at the Needle
You can't get a better view of the Space Needle's annual fireworks show than inside the Space Needle itself, on its rotating glass floor. Before the spectacle, T-Mobile's New Year’s Eve party at Seattle's flying saucer-shaped structure will also bring a "musically choreographed light show," lots of drinks and bites, live music from the Dusty 45s and DJ Orion, and champagne toasting. ELAINA FRIEDMAN
Totally Radical New Year's Eve
Instead of donning a flapper dress or seersucker suit on New Year's Eve like the rest of Seattle, tease your hair into an Aqua Net masterpiece for a 1980s bash commemorating the 1985 completion of Columbia City Tower. Party band Free Rain will play classic rock, R&B, and "anything you can dance to," and you're promised unobstructed views of the Space Needle fireworks. ELAINA FRIEDMAN
BeautyBoiz Wear Masks
After the year we've had, a queer circus extravaganza sounds like the perfect way to set the tone for a triumphant new year. This masquerade dance party will come complete with live performances by the talented BeautyBoiz collective and music by DJs Essex and LA Kendall, plus sexy go-go dancers Orion and Cesar and additional performances by LüChi, Angel Baby Kill Kill Kill, and Michete. You're encouraged to wear your skimpiest gown.
Jet City Improv’s New Year’s Eve Extravaganza
Party with one of Seattle's excellent improv companies at this shindig offering two hours of comedy, dessert, favors, prizes, a countdown to the fireworks at the Space Needle on the screen, and dancing after midnight. Sadly, this will probably be Jet City's last celebration in their beloved yellow theater, which will soon be torn down to make way for apartment buildings, so the party will double as a farewell to an icon of theatrical Seattle. JOULE ZELMAN
Valtesse New Year's Eve Party!
Be led into the new year by the kinky, alluring weirdos of Valtesse as they prowl through this lavish venue in fancy fetish gear and jewel-studded garments. Bring the person (or people) whom you most want to impress, and toast 2020 in "immersive rooms" with some of the hottest burlesque performers in town. JOULE ZELMAN
Kink, luxury, and avant-garde fashion combine in Valtesse's signature style at this "futuristic sex dream" of a cabaret. Be sure to dress in red or black cocktail attire.
Bart at TAM: Animating America's Favorite Family
This unauthorized look at the first 13 seasons of The Simpsons features 100 animation cels, scripts, and drawings in a zanily decorated exhibition space.
This tattoo parlor/gallery/shop always has fun ideas for group shows. For this exhibition, more than 50 local artists have worked their magic on clock faces.
Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Their Circle: French Impressionism and the Northwest
The Impressionists, far from ethereal or wishy-washy, were artistic badasses, turning traditional academic painting on its head. Don't miss this chance to see paintings by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Gustave Caillebotte, Paul Gauguin, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, and Edgar Degas, plus American artists inspired by these innovators.
Pierre Leguillon: Arbus Bonus
French artist Leguillon's medium is the exhibition itself. In this show, he uses 256 photographs by or inspired by the 20th-century photographer Diane Arbus, as well as appropriations of her eerie postwar Americana. In the words of the museum, "Arbus Bonus reveals the ways larger cultural histories are assembled and disseminated, and encourages us to form our own, more inclusive counter-narratives."
New Year’s Day with Sugar Plum Gary
A misanthropic disposition combined with a strong satanist worldview distinguishes Sugar Plum Gary from other yuletide figures. Every year around this time, "somewhat beloved storyteller and comedian Emmett Montgomery" slips into a red onesie and takes the stage to give audience members completely unsolicited advice on how to best navigate the season, and it's often pretty funny if you're into dark, absurd humor. What's his favorite holiday decorating tip? In an interview with Brett Hamil in City Arts, Sugar Plum Gary gives his answer: I like to "find a dark place and put myself in a corner and wait," he says, with a creepy uncle grin. Merry Christmas. RICH SMITH
Antiquated Boundaries: Five Centuries of Maps
Revisit lost worlds with these exhibitions of antique maps that highlight the impermanence and instability of borders.
Artemio Rodriguez: Full Scale
See Mexican artist Artemio Rodriguez's pastoral, mystical, and politically-charged large-scale linocut The Garden, an adaptation of Hieronymus Bosch's trippy triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights.
Hershey Felder as 'Monsieur Chopin'
After his stint as Beethoven, the protean musician and actor Felder embodies the composer/pianist Fryderyk Chopin in a one-man show set just after the 1848 Revolution in France.
Chris Buening: Empty Heads
Face jugs have a long history in the United States, especially in the South where enslaved folk artists crafted ceramic jugs depicting human heads. These face jugs were said to have spiritual value, or perhaps served as a form of visual representation of a people who were denied any sort of reflection on their appearance or selfhood. These jugs immediately came to my mind when seeing the work of Seattle-based artist Chris Buening in his new show, Empty Heads. Pulling from his past, Buening is presenting new ceramic pieces—jugs, vases, jars, etc.—influenced by these face jugs, 1970s-era creamers and vases, memory pots, and other folk pottery. JASMYNE KEIMIG
FRIDAYREADINGS & TALKS
Amanda Montell: Wordslut
The host of the Dirty Word web series will read from her first book, subtitled A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language. It's a linguistic critique of the way we talk about women and other non-men—"from insults, cursing, gossip, and catcalling to grammar and pronunciation patterns"—and a primer on changing language to increase equality and fight against marginalization.
Derek Sheen, whom former Stranger staffer Lindy West called "a human hug," will offer some of his tragic humor.
Klara Glosova, Mya Kerner
This show brings us work by two Seattle-based artists. Klara Glosova is a Czech-born multidisciplinary artist who creates primarily through drawing and painting. Drawing inspiration from her history growing up in Eastern Europe, as well as her experiences as an artist and mother, Glosova’s work is bright, its figures draped in bold swatches of color. Mya Kerner—a multidisciplinary artist with a background in permaculture—works in mediums like paint and wire to create tranquil mountainscapes that seemingly exist outside of space and time. Her approach to her work is influenced by her Eastern European forester lineage, which aids in her exploration of place and memory. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Well, this sounds a little dangerous: Improvisers violate secret rules (secret from them, that is) as they play and must take a shot every time they do so. Poor things! After they reach their limit, they're booted off the stage, presumably for their own safety.
Jacob Lawrence: Drawings and Prints
Perhaps one of the greatest artists of 20th-century Seattle, Jacob Lawrence depicted Biblical and historic themes through the lens of hardship and resilience in African American communities with boldly covered, color-blocked narrative compositions. Get familiar with his striking, kinetic work.
SUNDAYFOOD & DRINK
Root Stoup Boogie Beer Pairing Feast
Winter is root vegetable weather: beets, potatoes, turnips, and the like. Nothing pairs better with a baked potato or a beet soup than a good beer. But what beer pairs best with those hearty, earthy veggies? Ballard-based Stoup Brewery, famous for its scientific approach to brewing, teams up with Palace Kitchen for this dinner hosted by chef Erika Murphy that will make you an expert on the subject. Among the pairings on the five-course menu are Stoup’s NW Red paired with beer braised oxtail, plus leek and asiago ravioli, parsnip puree, and watercress salad. And later, Stoup’s Winter Warmer will be paired with a beer toffee croquant, whipped bitter chocolate mascarpone, and sweet potato fudge. Next time your friend is fretting over what suds to pair with his rutabagas, you can give him a knowing smile and put your newfound knowledge into practice. DAVID LEWIS
Skookum Beer Dinner & Whole Pig Roast
Arlington-based microbrewery Skookum Brewing will provide five beers for a four-course meal of "super secret special treats" and an entire roasted pig at Maple Leaf's beer pub/butcher shop the Shambles.
Bon Appétit: The Julia Child Show
Strolling through the Smithsonian Museum one afternoon, I stumbled upon a full replica of Julia Child's kitchen. I walked in because I had recently finished watching some classic episodes of The French Chef, including her infamous lobster show. "You have to cut him right here," Child says as she sticks her knife into the lobster's neck, "where all of his brains and hearts and feelings are." Genius. Anyway, in the Smithsonian exhibit, I saw a picture of Child bent over a counter in a small French kitchen. On the placard next to the photo was a quote from the famously tall chef: "When I get my own kitchen, I'm going to build the counters up to my waist. I'm through with this French pygmy bullshit!" If you haven't figured it out yet, Child is one of the greatest and funniest people ever to wield an eight-inch knife. In this light opera, a shade of the chef will crack you up while also making a chocolate cake. A serving of cake is included in the ticket price. RICH SMITH
Kate Wisel, Lucy Tan
Kate Wisel's first collection, Driving in Cars with Homeless Men: Stories, deals with women overcoming violence in "working-class Boston." It won the Pitt Drue Heinz Lit Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. She and Lucy Tan, author of the Shanghai-set What We Were Promised, will talk about their different publication processes.