We may be approaching the middle of winter, but the new year (and the new decade!) brings an endless array of performances, concerts, food and drink events, film releases, and more things to do to keep you going. As we do every month, we've compiled the biggest events you need to know about in every genre, from the world premiere of Darren Canady's Reparations to Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival, from the Seattle MLK Day March and Celebration to the Seattle Wine & Food Festival, and from an evening with Isabel Allende to Patton Oswalt. Want more ideas? Check out our complete EverOut Things To Do calendar.
More January guides:
- DRY January
Looking to decrease your alcohol consumption for January? The local botanical-bubbly-soda purveyors at DRY Soda have teamed up with 25 Seattle bars and restaurants (including the restaurants of Ethan Stowell, Tom Douglas, and Thierry Rautureau) to provide interesting zero-proof drink specials this month. See the full list of participating venues here, and check out our calendar of related events here.
- 'The Grudge' Opening
The gargly ghosts of Takashi Shimizu's J-horror films are back! The cast is good: Betty Gilpin, Andrea Riseborough, John Cho, et al. Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother) directs.
- 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.
- Seventh Annual Big Ass Boom Box Festival
Early January is the live-music doldrums, so this free mini-festival of local bands, now in its seventh year, is a welcome respite. The lineup—which includes U.S.E., La Fonda, Powerbleeder, Moon Darling, Racoma, Güero Brown, Alicia Amiri, Antonioni, Bad Saint, and others—is sure to please those seeking local rock and electronic music as usual.
- The Four Seasons
An exploration of color and beauty, Vivaldi's masterwork The Four Seasons will be paired with the uptempo The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by renowned Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla.
JANUARY 3-FEBRUARY 1VISUAL ART
- 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
THROUGH JANUARY 4PERFORMANCE
- Mrs. Doubtfire
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
This year, Santa is enlisting the help of young princes and princesses in helping him find six hidden presents. In addition to the prize-bearing hunt, this kid-oriented indoor festival will also have a gift market (complete with fresh produce and seasonal treats) and a light display.
- Beartooth, Motionless in White
Hardcore punk group Beartooth will journey from Columbus on this joint tour with Motionless in White.
READINGS & TALKS
- Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, Buffalo Jones
It’s the annual stop of nasally, craggy-voiced singer, songwriter, and guitarist David Lowery with his two bands. One is influential DIY garage/alt rock makers Camper Van Beethoven, which formed in 1983, featured members on harmonica and fiddle, and drew heavily on elements of folk and roots rock, punk, jangle pop, ska, and world music in an era when most other like bands generally remained within favored genre ranges. The other is twangy post-grunge alt rock side project Cracker, which Lowery formed in 1990 with guitarist John Hickman. (Remember “Low”? The video has Lowery losing a boxing match to Sandra Bernhard.) Cracker became his full-time gig when Camper V broke up later that year, though a reunion happened in 1999, and Lowery has juggled duties in both ever since. No new records from either group since 2014, though Lowery has 18 LPs' worth of material between the two, so they’ll have plenty to bust out in Seattle. LEILANI POLK
- Tarryn Fisher: The Wives
Bestselling author Fisher will read from her new thriller about a woman in a polygynous marriage who's never met her husband's other wives, until one day her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers something disturbing about her man's other families.
JANUARY 4-FEBRUARY 1VISUAL ART
- 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.
JANUARY 4-FEBRUARY 15VISUAL ART
- Shaun Kardinal: Present Tense
Using aerial photographs of forests, deserts, mountains, and polar ice culled from nature magazines, Seattle-based artist Shaun Kardinal creates compelling and interesting collages, reinterpreting the images by using colored thread. The result are compositions that explore space, time, and the disintegration of our environment, often juxtaposing “opposite” ecosystems to call attention to the effect that climate change is having on our home. The embroidered elements of his work bring a sense of order and precision to a world without either. A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the Sierra Club Foundation, funding climate solutions and conservation. JASMYNE KEIMIG
THROUGH JANUARY 5PERFORMANCE
- Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
The great disco diva Donna Summer gets the musical biography treatment, complete with a score full of her biggest hits—"Hot Stuff," "Love to Love You Baby," and more. VISUAL ART
- 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
The Woodland Park 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.
Holiday traditions don't get more classic than strolling through the Point Defiance Zoo when it's transformed into a luminous wonderland of 3-D animal light installations. Displays from previous years have included hammerhead sharks and sea turtles, a majestic polar bear family, and a giant Pacific octopus.
- The Golden Globes
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will present the Golden Globes for the 77th time, broadcasting live on NBC with Ricky Gervais hosting the proceedings. Find our guide to where to watch the nominated movies here.
JANUARY 6FOOD & DRINK
- Melissa Hartwig Urban - The Whole30 Friends & Family
Melissa Hartwig Urban is the cocreator and CEO of the Whole30, which started in 2009 as a 30-day “dietary experiment” Urban conducted on her blog, to transform her health, habits, and emotional relationship with food. Essentially, it’s a month-by-month method of practicing extreme food abstinence and habit-forming eating (eliminating real and artificial sugar from your diet, plus no alcohol, grains, legumes, peanut butter, soy, or dairy, and no baked goods, junk food, or treats even with “approved” ingredients, because that doesn’t help you change your habits), while avoiding the scale or taking any body measurements. Its success for her and the people who’ve followed her has led to a full-fledged program, and several best-selling cookbooks (It Starts with Food, The Whole30, Food Freedom Forever, and The Whole30 Slow Cooker). The Whole30 Friends & Family offers tips on honoring your health commitments amid enjoying time with family and friends at birthday parties, barbecues, office potlucks, and more. Urban will sign all copies of the cookbook purchased at the event. LEILANI POLK
JANUARY 7READINGS & TALKS
- EJ Koh: The Magical Language of Others
When EJ Koh was 15 years old, she and her brother were left in the United States when Koh's father took a job in South Korea and her mom went with him. The parents moved Koh and her 19-year old brother into a small house in Davis, California, where they more or less raised each other. Though her parents were physically absent, her mother asserted her presence in the form of two-page letters, which she sent to Koh every week. The letters are the heartbeat of Koh's memoir The Magical Language of Others, pulsing between chapters that reveal other details of Koh's life. Like any good poet, Koh uses up everything—every image returns, and every idea chimes with another, so that the book's short 200 pages contain the emotional and philosophical heft of a doorstop. RICH SMITH
JANUARY 7-MARCH 28VISUAL ART
- Ian McMahon: Aperture
New York-based artist Ian McMahon’s work deals with the oversized and overstuffed, the permanent and ephemeral. Upending expectations of material and form, McMahon creates steel structures stuffed with what look like voluminous down pillows. It appears inviting enough to hop onto. But instead of goose feathers, his puffy pieces are made of molded plaster that only mimics softer material. With MadArt’s mission to bring art into people’s lives in unexpected ways, McMahon’s site-specific work is sure to awe and inspire. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- Shooter Jennings, Jaime Wyatt
If his father’s name opened a few doors, Waylon “Shooter” Jennings had to forge a career in his long, ornery shadow. Though he got his start as an industrial rocker with a fondness for Giorgio Moroder, Shooter found his niche as a practitioner of a particularly crunchy brand of country rock. Along the way, he released his father's records and even played him in the Johnny Cash biopic I Walk the Line. More recently, he and coproducer Brandi Carlile brought Tanya Tucker back into the limelight with While I'm Livin', which rightfully topped Rolling Stone's best country albums of 2019 list. KATHY FENNESSY
- Los Lobos
January seems to be the month when all those artists that come to Seattle annually make their way north. Los Lobos land here pretty much every year right around the same time to deliver a multi-night stand at the Triple Door, and 2020 is no exception. You know the Chicano rock band, assuming you’re not too young to have seen the 1987 Ritchie Valens biopic La Bamba (the music was Valens as covered and recorded by Los Lobos). These dudes are venerable pros, with longevity (est. 1973) and a huge catalog (21-plus albums) showcasing their distinctive brand of Tex-Mex and traditional Latin American music dosed heavily with elements of rock, country, folk, R&B, blues, Zydeco, and soul. Recent set lists encompass original material, the odd selections off 2019’s Llego Navidad (an LP of Mexican folk songs, holiday songs from Central and South America, and a new original by frontmen David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez), and covers by artists ranging from Grateful Dead to Vicente Fernández to the obligatory Valens nod. LEILANI POLK
JANUARY 8-FEBRUARY 2PERFORMANCE
Sound Theatre Company kicks off its 2020 season with the world premiere of Darren Canady's Reparations, a speculative drama about healing inherited traumas using a device that transforms your blood into a time machine. The cast features Allyson Lee Brown, whose turn as Serena Williams in Citizen: An American Lyric drew effusive praise from Stranger editor Christopher Frizzelle: "[Brown is] such a captivating presence onstage, it's hard to look away from her." Jay O'Leary, who did such a great job pulling the good acting out of the players in Washington Ensemble Theatre's B, will direct. This production is stacked with so much talent—it is certainly one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season. RICH SMITH
READINGS & TALKS
- 'Underwater' Opening
Kristen Stewart is working on the bottom of the ocean with Vincent Cassel and friends when something very mean emerges from the abysses.
- Samuel Woolley: How Technology Will Break the Truth
Artificial intelligence and shady data collections powered a massive, targeted propaganda campaign on social media that worked in Donald Trump's favor during the 2016 elections. The extent to which those campaigns moved the needle is up for debate. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, that debate is quite heated on social media.) But Sam Woolley, a journalist and member of the European Research Council's Computational Propaganda investigation team, offers a more thorough, sobering, and enlightening view of the issue in his new book on the subject, How Technology Will Break the Truth. Bring your bots, and your questions about how fucked we'll be once those deepfakes starting hitting mainstream airways. RICH SMITH
- Shawn Wong and Tara Fickle: Aiiieeeee!
University of Washington professor Shawn Wong has the distinction of being one of the four editors of the groundbreaking 1974 anthology Aiiieeeee!, which carved out the contemporary Asian American canon and helped articulate many of the conversations about Orientalism, racism, and classism that continue to animate literary scholarship today. The anthology has since been criticized for lacking the voices of women writers, queer writers, and writers with roots in East Asian countries such as Korea and Vietnam, a point likely addressed in literary scholar Tara Fickle's new foreword. Nevertheless, the historic import of this collection is undeniable, and, by examining the recent past, this reading should lead to a lively discussion about the future of Asian American literature. RICH SMITH
- SEAxSEA: The 2020 Southeast Asia x Seattle Film Festival
Filmmakers will highlight issues and topics pertinent to Southeast Asia in this local film festival.
- Beethoven Emperor Concerto
Beethoven's last and most audacious movement, his Fifth Piano Concerto—which is known as the Emperor and which was dedicated to his patron Archduke Rudolf—will be performed here following Mendelssohn’s jubilant Italian Symphony.
JANUARY 9-MARCH 7VISUAL ART
- Wa Na Wari's Winter Exhibition
The Central District gallery Wa Na Wari's winter show is another lineup of terrific black artistic talent: internationally exhibited film artist Amir George, narrative painter Ronald Hall, Afrocentric sculptor Shurvon Haynes, and Jaleesa Johnston. See non-linear video, dynamic painting, a symbolic mandala, and mixed-media sculpture about the black female body.
JANUARY 9-MARCH 12FILM
- French Pleasures: The Films of Eric Rohmer
This, for me, is the core pleasure of French director Eric Rohmer's cinema: the movement of (usually two) actors during a long (and usually heady) discussion. For example: As a man says something philosophical about love to a woman, he walks to a huge nearby rock and puts a hand on it; as the woman responds by saying something about how his ideas about love are self-serving, she steps away from the man and looks at some trees in the distance. The flow of words is sequenced with the motion of bodies. Rohmer also manages to keep these movements as realistic as possible. They never overflow from the zone between natural and artificial, walking and dancing. The art of this great French director, who died in 2010, is the ballet of a conversation. SAM and Alliance Francaise de Seattle are celebrating his centennial during this nine-film series. CHARLES MUDEDE
JANUARY 9-MAY 31PERFORMANCE
An ambitious young man in 1920s Paris works his way up in a ritzy nightclub in Can Can's latest kitschy-glam, flesh-baring, plot-driven revue.
JANUARY 10FOOD & DRINK
- Cloudburst Brewing Four Year Anniversary
In January of 2016, Steve Luke raised the turquoise garage doors of his Cloudburst Brewing and gave Seattle a new definition of hoppy beer. If you hear “hoppy” and think of one-dimensional, oppressively bitter IPAs, then you should pay a visit to Cloudburst, where “hoppy” means pale ale that tastes like strawberries, IPA that is juicier and softer than it is bitter, and lager that is as clean and grassy as your dad’s fresh-cut lawn. Celebrate their fourth trip around the sun with a birthday party that kicks off at noon with rare barrel-aged beer and fresh hoppy treats. Cloudburst’s small Pike Place Market taproom regularly hits capacity, so show up early and expect a line to get in. LESTER BLACK
- OrcaCon 2020
Set aside your consoles and VR headsets for two days of tabletop games including board and card games, role-playing games, and miniatures games. Novice and experienced players are welcome.
- CannaCon Northwest
For the seventh year, the business-to-business cannabis conference CannaCon will come to Tacoma for its flagship expo featuring hundreds of exhibitors across the weed industry.
- 14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival
True to its name, the 14/48 festival turns around 14 brand-new, theme-based, 10-minute plays in two days. The high-pressure nature of the event produces an evening of surprising theater for the audience, who arrive in their seats charged with expectation and anxiety for the performers. Though there are always a few experiments that don't quite come together, it's endlessly fascinating to see the way one theme filters through the minds of several very different theater artists. Expect shit to get weird. RICH SMITH
- Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything
If there’s one sure bet in stand-up, it’s Patton Oswalt. He’s flexed his comedic skills in movies, TV, video games, books, and recordings—but onstage alone with a mic is where the real gold dwells. Whether tackling subjects mundane or profound, Oswalt constructs riveting, hilarious stories out of them with a keen eye for details, a good ear for vocal inflections, and unparalleled use of metaphors and similes. Rare for a comedian, his bits can withstand multiple hearings without losing their punch. Remember this one? “Food and beverage companies test out their new products in the Midwest… for side effects, let’s be honest. If the new venison-flavored Twizzlers are gonna make you grow a vagina behind your knee, it’s better to find out on an onion farmer than on Liv Tyler, isn’t it?” DAVE SEGAL
FOOD & DRINK
- A Celebration of South Asian Resilience
Through dance, film shorts, and conversations, South Asian community members will recognize acts of resilience despite prejudice, isolation, and other challenges.
READINGS & TALKS
- Samish Bay Night Tide Soiree
I like to start each year by randomly doing something I would normally avoid. When I saw the event listing for Taylor Shellfish’s Night Tide Soiree at their Samish Bay farm, my first thought was, “I would never do that.” Which is exactly why I decided I should. Whether or not you find the notion of harvesting oysters in Puget Sound at night appealing, adventurous, or eerie, you have to admit it is an exceedingly Pacific Northwest thing to do. For this event, a bus will pick you up from either Seattle or Bellingham and take you out to Samish Bay Farm, which is just outside of Bellingham. Wine and beer are provided (another draw), as is a shucking knife, and when you’re done, you get to slurp the fruits of your harvest right there on the beach, in front of a roaring bonfire. Headlamp, boots, and all-weather gear are suggested. DAVID LEWIS
- Viet Thanh and Ellison Nguyen: Chicken of the Sea
Pulitzer Prize-winning Vietnamese writer Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer) and his little son Ellison have collaborated on this adorable-sounding book about brave sailor chickens who battle seasickness and the fearsome Dog Knights.
- Eugene Onegin
This Seattle Opera production brings together the genius of two great Russians: Alexander Pushkin, who wrote the novel in verse, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky (The Nutcracker), who penned the score. It's a simple but moving and melancholy story of a young woman who falls in love with a cold-hearted nobleman, an encounter that tragically changes the course of their lives.
THROUGH JANUARY 12VISUAL ART
- Emerge/Evolve 2018: Rising Talents in Kiln-Glass
The winners and some finalists of Bullseye Glass Company's competition, which has been going on for the past 18 years, have kiln-glass on display. Some take geometric vase-like forms, like Andy Plummer's ovoid I Moved on Her Like a Bitch; others are weirder, like Evelyn Gottschall Baker's eerily realistic Bones-Group.
- Bruce McCulloch: Tales of Bravery and Stupidity
Comedian, screenwriter, and producer McCulloch (of the Canadian sketch team the Kids in the Hall) will riff on "some of the bravely stupid things that [he] has done, and things we all do as we get ourselves in and out of trouble as we 'throw ourselves at life.'"
JANUARY 12-14READINGS & TALKS
- National Geographic Live: Pursuit of the Black Panther
If we put aside all the politics and the bullshit for once, I think we would all agree that, technically, the black panther is the coolest animal on the planet. It's athletic and ferocious and wise, like a teenage god. It's also incredibly elusive and rare, which makes National Geographic cinematographer Shannon Wild's new documentary on the big black cat all the more impressive. In a stunning multimedia presentation, the aptly named Wild tells the story of the perilous, years-long journey she took through the Indian subcontinent just to get a peek at the world's coolest animal. RICH SMITH
READINGS & TALKS
I guess I was a little high the first time I came across IDER, so, for whatever reason, I thought they were sisters. They’re not—they met in college—but the chemistry Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville exude together in performances, and in the lithe harmonies dispersed among each thumping electro-pop track the duo drops shows off an almost genetic connection of mind and matter. IDER manages to be both emotionally resonant and danceable, a hard combo to find, and makes me want to make dark club music with my own sister. KIM SELLING
- Pamela Paul and Maria Russo with Maria Semple: How to Raise a Reader
Obtain wisdom on how to raise kids who read something other than memes with Pamela Paul and Maria Russo's new book.
- Nada Surf, Apex Manor
New York alt-rock band Nada Surf remind me of being in high school in the 1990s. There is something so era-specific about their sound to my ears, like Pavement and Breeders, that takes me right back to those intense, angsty years. Nada Surf had their come-up in that particular era, and while they never achieved the fame of peers like Weezer, they have remained relevant—releasing records and touring behind them without a break or hiatus since their formation more than three decades ago. (If you’ve heard anything by Nada Surf, it’s 1996 alt rock radio jam “Popular,” in which frontman Matthew Caws talk-rants through the verses and drones out the chorus, though his vocal can be more tuneful, too.) Ironic considering the title of their forthcoming LP, Never Not Together (out February 7 on Barsuk Records). They’ll be landing in Seattle with their power-pop-infused sounds and will be joined by LA rock quartet Apex Manor, who also have a vaguely ’90s-driving flavor. LEILANI POLK
READINGS & TALKS
- Roddy Ricch
Armed with three Grammy nominations, Compton singer-rapper Roddy Ricch exploded onto the national stage after making a name for himself in South Los Angeles. A friend and collaborator of the late rapper and LA icon Nipsey Hussle, his voice appears in Hussle’s “Racks in the Middle,” which is nominated for both best rap song and rap performance. The third nod from the Grammys comes due to his contribution to prolific producer Mustard’s “Ballin’,” a track about stunting and the come-up. The 20-year-old rapper has a sound and vibe that suits trap beats as well as R&B riffs. You won’t want to miss this. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- Chuck Palahniuk: Consider This
Your college boyfriend's favorite novelist will be signing his new book on the craft of writing, Consider This. There will be no reading.
- David Kessler: Finding Meaning
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's co-author of the important psychological text On Grief and Grieving ventures beyond the five stages of grief—the attainment of meaning—in this new book.
- An Evening with Chris Botti
Amidst career high points like playing alongside Sting and Paul Simon, Grammy Award winner and pop-jazz performer Chris Botti will head back to Seattle with his trumpet and backing band for ballads and jazz and Americana songbook standards.
- Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical about… oh, you know what Fiddler on the Roof is. The important detail here is that this version is directed by Bartlett Sher, a former Seattle theater director who has gone on to fanciness and fame and Tony Awards with unbelievably brilliant restagings of musical classics, including South Pacific and The King and I. A Sher production of an old musical is always a good bet. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
- Itzhak Perlman
Grammy- and Emmy-winning violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, who has played a concert at the White House to honor Queen Elizabeth II and who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will perform an evening set.
- Ski Mask the Slump God, Guests
Like seemingly every young rapper of note in 2018, Ski Mask the Slump God came up through SoundCloud. But while many in that world chase trends, Ski Mask has developed a singular style. Latest mixtape Beware the Book of Eli is defiantly strange, with murky production, absurdist lyrics, and protean flows. Each track is a whirlwind of voices and cadences, referencing Greek mythology, children's cartoons, and blowjobs with equal gusto. The Florida rapper knows his history, both old and recent—MF Doom, Wu-Tang, and Odd Future are clear forebears here—and his work is all the richer for it. ANDREW GOSPE
READINGS & TALKS
- Shin Lim
Card magic wiz Shin Lim (winner of America's Got Talent season 13 and America's Got Talent Champions) will perform impressive feats of sleight of hand.
- Steve Inskeep: Imperfect Union
Steve Inskeep, NPR's Morning Edition co-host, will share the story of a 19th-century American power couple who greatly influenced the United States' push west. John Frémont, an explorer, writer, and Manifest Destiny-type army officer, was the Republican Party's first-ever presidential nominee. His wife Jessie acted as his top political adviser, and the two of them, while advocating westward expansion, also backed abolition and women's rights.
JANUARY 16FOOD & DRINK
- Spilled Milk Podcast Live - 10th Anniversary, Featuring Dewa Dorje
This podcast, created by local writers/comedians Molly Wizenberg (who wrote the book Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, about opening Delancey, the acclaimed pizza restaurant in Ballard) and Matthew Amster-Burton (who wrote Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo), finds its inspiration in specific foods. They'll celebrate their 10th anniversary with a live show filled with "probably awkward small-talk."
- Earthgang, Mick Jenkins, Wynne, Jurdan Bryant
EarthGang have that ATL hip-hop sound I love, keeping the spirit of Outkast (fun and freaky dirty South) alive without sounding much like that particular duo. EarthGang are a duo, too—rappers Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot. They’ve been buzzing since self-releasing their debut in 2013, their quirky, psychedelic rap eventually catching the ears of J. Cole; EarthGang signed to his Dreamville Records last year. Their major label first (and third full-length overall, excluding all the mixtapes and EPs and comp singles and guest spots in between), Mirrorland, is fucking banging. Johnny Venus told Pitchfork that the album is inspired by 1978 Wizard of Oz redux The Wiz: “It’s really colorful. It’s really dangerous. It’s really trippy. It’s literally Freaknik Atlanta in the summertime—folks riding around in cars with big rims with paint on their faces.” Johnny Venus has the gnarly, demented, Caribbean-flecked vocal quality, while Doctur Dot is a tad more straightforward eccentric, slicker, very slightly quicker—though both are lyrically agile, clever, witty as fuck, with the ability to be both odd and catchy. They’re edging toward stardom. Here’s hoping their quirky charm is intact when they arrive. LEILANI POLK
- ECA Presents Mavis Staples
You know the Staple Singers from their R&B, soul, funk, and gospel-fused hits (“Respect Yourself,” “I'll Take You There”), so you’re already familiar with the youngest sibling of the family vocal group, Mavis Staples; she’s got that warm, deep, enveloping vocal quality that feels like a hug. Her sound gotten some modern polish over the last four albums, three with Wilco primary Jeff Tweedy at the helm, another tapping the talents of indie folk singer-songwriter M. Ward. Her 14th and latest soulful, R&B outing, We Get By, finds her hitting the studio with Ben Harper, who wrote and produced the 11-track LP, and lends his husky tenor to the title track. LEILANI POLK
- YBN Cordae
YBN crew outlier and up-and-coming rapper YBN Cordae has expanded his reach tenfold over the last year with popular single drops and a coveted spot on the 2019 XXL "Freshman Class" list. He'll be joined by additional guests on his Lost Boy In America Tour.
READINGS & TALKS
- Stuff You Should Know
Stuff You Should Know hosts Josh Clark and Charles “Chuck” Bryant are taking their popular and informative podcast on the road. The live shows are much like the podcast: Josh and Chuck research the shit out of a subject (ayahuasca, the Satanic Panic, pizza) and tell you what you need to know, as well as what you didn’t really need to know but might find pretty interesting anyway. And it works: Everyone might have a podcast right now, but not everyone does it well. Josh and Chuck, who’ve been hosting this thing for more than 10 years, get the formula right. KATIE HERZOG
- Daniel Levitin: Successful Aging
How does one age successfully? That’s the question Daniel Levitin tries to answer in his new book, Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives. Relying on brain studies as well as interviews with happily aging people, Levitin argues that people can have rich, fulfilling, and healthy lives into their 80s and 90s, but it takes both an individual effort, and accommodation and understanding on the part of society. KATIE HERZOG
This "macabre and mystical" cabaret-style musical from Mark Siano and Opal Peachey, set in 1890s Prague, features the music of Dvořák and Chopin and art nouveau by Alphonse Mucha—plus "beautiful green fairies, aerial numbers, dance, burlesque, classical piano battles, comedy, and original songs."
JANUARY 16-FEBRUARY 23PERFORMANCE
- She Loves Me
Joe Masteroff, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick, progenitors of the deathless Fiddler on the Roof, also wrote this sweet musical about two perfume store clerks who butt heads constantly—not realizing that they're also in a romantic letter-writing relationship thanks to a classified. Yes, it's the plot of You've Got Mail.
JANUARY 16-MARCH 19VISUAL ART
- Exploring Passages within the Black Diaspora
In this massive link-up of the Frye Museum, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Photographic Center Northwest, and independent curator Berette Macaulay, the cause célèbre is female-identifying photographers of the Black diaspora. This is courtesy of the MFON Collective (a journal and movement founded by artists Delphine Barrayn and Laylah Fawundu, and named after Nigerian American photographer Mmekutmfon “Mfon” Essien), which brings attention to photography rarely seen, celebrated, or critically engaged by the art world at large. At PCNW, work by these artists will be on display for viewers to take in. And cheers to that. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- Big Head Todd and the Monsters, JD Simo
Bold and brassy rock band Big Head Todd and the Monsters have been gigging across the country for the last three decades now, and will show off their stamina with a night of their latest tracks.
- Cold War Kids
One of those indie-rock bands turned big-time alternative players you probably always forget about until you’re reminded of them when one of their tracks pops up on the radio, like “First” (“First you get hurt, then you feel sorry”), or “Hang Me Up to Dry” (“You wrung me out / Too, too, too many times”), or “Love Is Mystical” (that newish jam off sixth LP, 2017’s L.A. Divine). Frontman Nathan Willett has that sexy operatic urgency to his vocals, like he could just scream out at any moment, and with perfect pitch, and it would not only sound good, but you’d have to stop and pay attention. LEILANI POLK
Whim W'Him's first production of 2020 is composed of three world premieres by three award-winning choreographers: Sidra Bell, founder of an eponymous dance company in New York; Ihsan Rustem, a Swiss choreographer who's collaborated with Whim W'him dancers in the past, and Whim W'Him's own Olivier Wevers.
- Lake Chelan Winterfest
Lake Chelan hosts two weekends of wintery fun for the whole family, including ice sculptures, live music, wine and beer tastings, a polar bear splash, snow yoga, a massive beach bonfire, and a fireworks show.
- Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival
Hear pieces from a variety of composers at the Seattle Chamber Music Society's annual six-day winter program. This year's theme is centered on a celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. The first weekend of the festival will feature half of Beethoven’s string quartets, performed by the Ehnes Quartet, with each of the first three concerts featuring one work from the three eras of his life and career as a composer. The second weekend will feature violin sonatas by Grieg and Mozart, piano trios by Schubert and Ravel, and both of Brahms’ string quintets, along with concluding concerti by Johann Sebastian Bach.
JANUARY 17-FEBRUARY 16PERFORMANCE
- True West
America’s favorite masc4masc playwright Sam Shepard is dead. He passed away a few years ago, but the swaggering cowboy, called the “greatest American playwright of his generation” by New York Magazine, is continuing to get a retrospective on stages across the country. Now the celebration comes to the Seattle Rep, with the theater putting on True West, a gritty and funny play about two brothers and some identity theft. Expect brawls and belly laughs. CHASE BURNS
JANUARY 17-FEBRUARY 3PERFORMANCE
- Dance Nation
Bobbin Ramsey, who directed 2019's provocative The Arsonists, is back with Washington Ensemble Theatre to premiere Clare Barron's Dance Nation. The "unsettling, and at times terrifying, power of young women" is at the forefront of this play about a team of competitive dancers who'll stop at nothing to make it to the nationals.
- Bavarian IceFest
Each year over MLK weekend, Washington's Bavarian-style village, Leavenworth, celebrates winter's bounties with twinkling lights and frosty activities like frisbee sweeping, ice cube scrambling, and "smooshing." You can also look forward to live ice carving, ice fishing, a fireworks show, and more.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live
Those irrepressible connoisseurs of godawful movies, Joel, Crow T. Robot, Servo, and Gypsy, will head out on Joel's last tour promising live riffs on a cinematic stinker.
- Dessa with String Quartet
Hailing from the lip-savvy land of Atmosphere, Minneapolis’s Dessa (aka Margret Wander) is blending mainstream and feminist rap in a provocative way that satiates both mind and body. For the mind, the 37-year-old strings together heartfelt anthems like “Fire Drills” and a spoken-word consciousness, and she uses her palpable lyricism to impart a more visceral listening experience. For the body, her suede-like melodies and trenchant cadence loosen you up, and before you know it, the polished, synth-driven beat is tingling down your spine. ZACH FRIMMEL
- The Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band
Somewhere between maintaining tradition and plumbing modernity, the Infamous Stringdusters strike a bluegrass balance influenced by the spirits of their forebears, like Bill Monroe, John Hartford, Earl Scruggs, David Bromberg, and other originators.
Up-and-coming pop-electronica hybridist JAUZ keeps climbing the ranks of EDM festival-crowders like Zedd and Skrillex. Join him on the Seattle stop of his Dangerous Waters Tour.
- King Princess
Take in Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist King Princess' smooth vocals and pop beats as she performs tracks that explore queer independence and the complexities of youth.
RESISTANCE & SOLIDARITY
- Womxn's March on Seattle 2020
Even with Donald Trump's impeachment underway, the rights and safety of womxn, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, and anyone else who is not a wealthy white man are still at risk. For the fourth year in a row, join Seattle Indivisible, the Washington Immigrants Solidarity Network, and other local organizations in one of many marches happening around the country.
- Seattle Wine & Film Festival
Get gussied up for a black-tie gala and festival featuring short films, documentaries, and features; a performance from classical guitarist Matt Palmer; and tastings from Eastern Washington wineries you might not know about.
THROUGH JANUARY 19VISUAL ART
- L. A. Ring: On the Edge of the World
On the Edge of the World is the first exhibition of Danish artist L.A. Ring’s work in the United States. Ring worked within the Symbolist and Realist tradition in the early 20th century, documenting the change in lifestyle occurring during that period in Denmark. Though extremely important to both Danish and Nordic culture, his work is relatively unknown outside his native land. The exhibit will feature 25 key paintings that best represents the work Ring did as a whole. The Nordic Museum will also be offering a special aquavit cocktail in their café, Freya, in honor of this exhibition—you can’t miss it. JASMYNE KEIMIG
JANUARY 19FOOD & DRINK
- 7th Annual Robert Burns Supper
James Beard Award-winning chef John Sundstrom will create an exclusive menu centering around everyone's favorite Scottish delicacy, Haggis, paired with scotch and the poetry of Robert Burns. See other ways to celebrate Scotland's national poet here.
- 2020 Seattle MLK Day March and Celebration
Garfield High School's annual day of events celebrates the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. with an opportunity fair, workshops, and pre- and post-march rallies.
- Cursive, Cloud Nothings, Criteria
I've always thought of Cursive as the classy, venerable leaders of emofied post-hardcore realms. Tim Kasher's distinctive style of urgent whisper-singing and abrasion-free shout-singing has always rubbed me the right way, even as others of his ilk have turned me off completely. There's just something about his earnestness and the emotion he wrings from any one moment that just feels more authentic than what you hear from many of his peers. LEILANI POLK
- The Guilty Feminist with Deborah Frances-White
Join Deborah Frances-White if you've "ever felt like you should be better at feminism" for a live and lively recording of her hit podcast, which Phoebe Waller-Bridge (of Fleabag) has hailed as "genius."
- Amber Liu, Meg & Dia, Justice Carradine
K-pop star Amber Liu emerged from massively popular group f(x) to work on her solo career over the last few years. She'll perform tonight with guest sets by Meg & Dia and Justice Carradine.
READINGS & TALKS
- Rex Orange County
Now that Mac DeMarco is a music-biz underdog success story, expect plenty of others to follow his lead. One such spiritual disciple is Rex Orange County, a 20-year-old from South London whose real name is Alexander O'Connor. His sound is retro-leaning, jazz-inflected soft rock; his lyrics are earnest and frequently lovelorn. How he sings is crucial to his appeal among kids to whom Chicago is just a city in Illinois: with a relaxed, free-flowing cadence that draws from contemporary R&B. One fan is Tyler, the Creator, who featured him prominently on 2017’s Flower Boy, an early highlight of what looks like a promising career. ANDREW GOSPE
- William Gibson: Agency
The master of cyberpunk will read from Agency, the sequel to his novel The Peripheral. The new book follows engineer Verity Jane as she's hired to beta-test a human-like AI with capacities beyond what its makers suspect. It weaves this narrative with one that takes place a century later in a post-apocalyptic future, when a tech worker named Wilf looks back into the alternative past to try to help Verity Jane and the AI to avert their own catastrophe.
- Harriet Tubman
Improvised fusion attains several peaks in the dexterous hands and feet of New York’s Harriet Tubman. Brandon Ross (guitar/banjo/vocal), Melvin Gibbs (electric bass), and J.T. Lewis (drums) have been jamming complexly and powerfully for the last 21 years, imbuing their technically brilliant pieces with fiery soulfulness. The show at Langston Hughes Performing Center I caught by Harriet Tubman earlier this year bowled over the crowd with telepathic interplay, rhythmic sorcery, and a turbulent vibe that recalled Jimi Hendrix and ’70s-era Miles Davis at their peaks. DAVE SEGAL
- Midge Ure: Songs, Questions, and Answers Tour
The only musician to play in both Thin Lizzy and Visage, Midge Ure is best known for fronting UK electro-pop prima donnas Ultravox in the ’80s and for co-writing the multi-platinum charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid. (Good cause, awful song.) As a vocalist, Ure projects large, utterly sincere emotions, and you either fall in love with him or laugh in his face. (I dare you to go up to him and belt out, “This means nothing to me!”) Still, there’s no denying this Scottish guitarist/singer’s ability to write a sweeping, blood-rushing tune that makes your every gesture seem terribly important while listening to it. Throughout his solo career, Ure has done nothing to rein in his melodramatic streak, but his capacity to write majestic, earworm melodies remains undiminished. DAVE SEGAL
READINGS & TALKS
- Trippie Redd
Atlanta-based rapper and singer-songwriter Trippie Redd—best known for his songs "Love Scars," "Poles1469," and "Dark Knight Dummo"—will headline on his Love Me More Tour.
- Adam Davidson
Davidson's acute analysis can be heard on the Planet Money podcast, which he co-created, and read in the New Yorker. Among other laurels, he's won a Peabody award for his coverage of the financial crisis, whose devastating effect on the housing market he addressed in the radio documentary The Giant Pool of Money. Seattle Arts & Lectures will bring him to share his economic insights.
- Ericka Hart
Gather for intersectionally focused sexual health with black queer feminist Ericka Hart, a speaker who's been featured in international media as the face of racial reproductive health justice.
- An Evening with Jonny Sun
Join Jonny Sun, author and illustrator of everyone is an aliebn when ur an aliebn and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Gmorning, Gnight! and a writer for BoJack Horseman, for an evening in Seattle.
- 'The Gentlemen' Opening
Guy Ritchie's latest wisecracking shoot-em-up, about a British crime lord trying to make a deal with a rich Oklahoman pot kingpin, boasts a huge cast of likelies and unlikelies: Hugh Grant (!), Henry Golding, Colin Firth, Charlie Hunnam, Matthew McConaughey, and so on.
- The Green
For almost a decade now, the Green has been gaining fans with their earnest, homegrown reggae sound. They'll play tracks off their latest album, Marching Orders.
- Greyson Chance
Ex-teen sensation Greyson Chance is now an adult and touring the country on the wave of his popular singles (notably, "Shut Up," "Yours," and "Timekeeper"). He'll be joined by additional guests on this stop for his Portraits World Tour.
- Midori with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Classical pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, whose music can be heard on soundtracks for films including Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, joins Grammy-winning violinist Midori for an all-Beethoven recital program in honor of the composer’s 250th anniversary.
READINGS & TALKS
South Korean superstar crew SEVENTEEN (who, despite their name, only have 13 members) will arrive in Seattle for a stop on the North American leg of their Ode To You World Tour.
- Peggy Orenstein: Boys, Sex, and the New Masculinity
Orenstein follows up Girls & Sex with a new book focused on the impact of toxic masculinity, media stereotypes, and gender-role-binary thinking on boys and young men. She addresses sexuality, emotion, empathy, consent, and violence in light of "locker-room talk," porn, sex education (or lack thereof), and other troubling influences.
- Ron Rael: Notes from the Borderlands
Ron Rael, an architect with Rael San Fratello whose most recent creation was a bright pink "teeter-totter wall" on the US-Mexico border, will come to Seattle to talk about his work and his new book, Borderwall as Architecture.
- Steve Gadd Band with Kevin Hays, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Landau, and Walt Fowler
Judged by his peers as one of the greatest drummers ever, Steve Gadd has played on a multitude of important records made by legions of legends, including Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Paul Simon, and Steely Dan. Virtuoso fusion keyboardist Chick Corea said, “[Gadd] has brought orchestral and compositional thinking to the drum kit while at the same time having a great imagination and a great ability to swing.” Steve Gadd Band’s self-titled 2018 album is a poised, polished slice of jazz-funk that shows the drummer’s not lost his nimble sorcery, even in his 70s. For these shows, Gadd’s band will include Kevin Hays (keyboards), Michael Landau (guitar), Jimmy Johnson (bass), and Walt Fowler (trumpet/flugelhorn). DAVE SEGAL
- Jaha Koo: Cuckoo
In Cuckoo, South-Korean artist Jaha Koo stands onstage and talks with a bunch of R2D2-looking rice cookers about "the last 20 years of Korean history," which is the strongest premise for any performance I've heard of in awhile. Press materials indicate that Koo is using his extremely advanced rice cooker reprogramming skills as a way to discuss the "tragedy of a lonely life in a thoroughly technologized society," a trenchant tale of caution for city-dwellers in South Korea and South Lake Union alike. RICH SMITH
- Brett Dennen
It should be said right away that redheaded Brett Dennen, who plays the guitar and sings and came from California, seems like a very nice man. He promotes deserving nonprofits on his website and his songs have conscience. They are best called "warm," which they are often called. It makes them sound slightly more generic than they are, but they are still slightly generic—but nice. Rolling Stone called him one to watch. JEN GRAVES
READINGS & TALKS
- Wynonna and The Big Noise
Nashville country singing legend, famous redhead, and musical force of nature Wynonna Judd will throw down all the classics and some tracks from her latest release with her backing troupe the Big Noise.
- Carmen Maria Machado
She's done it again. Judging by the rave reviews of In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado has written another must-read. But rather than a collection of Borgesian short stories, this one is a harrowing memoir about her abusive relationship with her first girlfriend. Entertainment Weekly called it "the best memoir of the year." NPR says she's invented "a new kind of memoir." Seattle's own Kristen Millares Young said her review of the book in the Washington Post would have been easier to write if Machado wasn't "so good." Brace yourself for this one. RICH SMITH
RESISTANCE & SOLIDARITY
- Yangsze Choo: The Night Tiger
In Yangsze Choo's second novel (following The Ghost Bride), an 11-year-old boy searches for his dead master's finger, which sets him on a path to encounter a Malaysian dancehall girl and aspiring physician whose one-night partner left her a pretty gross memento.
- Youth Climate Lobby Day
Our Climate, Zero Hour Seattle, and other environmentally focused local organizations will host a breakfast and lobbying training session culminating in a rally in the Washington State Capitol to demand that local lawmakers pass "bold, equitable, and science-based climate policies this legislative session to protect our futures."
- Seattle Pop Punk Festival
Shake off that winter chill and get your energy levels up for two days of double digits' worth of pop punk bands, both local and national, including the reunion of Sicko.
- Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival 2020
Former Stranger contributor Brittnie Fuller has written, "This event in Leavenworth—the infamous German-themed town/tourist attraction nestled in the Cascades—looks like the coziest mid-winter music festival, filled with beardo-magnet amenities like skiing and snowboarding, a hot-toddy garden, wine tastings, and festival-branded flannel shirts. The weekend's musical offerings are generally varied, with numerous local and national acts ranging from indie rock to hip-hop." This year's roster is no exception, boasting sets by Pedro the Lion, Bully, Bearaxe, Lisa Prank, Ivan & Alyosha, CarLarans, Bryan John Appleby, and many more.
JANUARY 24-JUNE 14VISUAL ART
- Nicole Gordon: Altered States
Once again demonstrating their penchant for art that makes you feel like you're tripping balls, the Bellevue Arts Museum presents the lysergic paintings of Chicago-based Nicole Gordon, who remixes past, future, and alternate realities in eye-boggling colors.
- Playa Made: The Jewelry of Burning Man
Taking place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, Burning Man is the festival to end all festivals: crowds of people on hallucinogens? You got it. Lighting a giant wooden effigy on fire? Cool. Constructing a temporary city from scratch where radical self-expression runs free? Great, but I’m also tired. Playa Made is an exhibition that specifically focuses on and celebrates the jewelry of Burning Man, featuring over 200 objects by 60 artists of various backgrounds, from the very handmade to the professional. In addition to jewelry, the exhibition will also feature the photography of the Black Rock City by George Post. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- Bill Maher
Bill Maher shares his steadfast opinions on politics and life on his HBO show, Real Time. Hear what he has to say in his live stand-up routine.
- Kathleen Madigan
Midwest comic Kathleen Madigan, who skewers such subjects as the Southern school system, retirement villages, the news, and her parents, will bring her wonderfully deep, sardonic voice to the Seattle stage.
- Lunar New Year 2020
Celebrations of the Lunar New Year—which this time is the Year of the Rat—are as varied as the many countries that observe it, from China to Vietnam to South Korea and beyond. Find a full list of ways to celebrate on our complete Lunar New Year calendar. FOOD & DRINK
- 10th Annual Belgian Fest
Brewing beers with Belgian yeast yields a range of ales with a distinctive fruity flavor. This festival featuring more than 100 Belgian-style beers crafted by Washington breweries is the perfect opportunity to taste them all, including funky lambics, tangy saisons, dubbels, tripels, abbeys, and wits.
Bedroom producer-turned-festival headliner BAYNK concocts tropical house, future bass, and tracks ready for all your summer parties.
The Los Angeles-based band and multi-Grammy Award-winning outfit delivers a modern Latinx sound that encompasses hip-hop, funk, reggae and more. These "cultural ambassadors" are characterized by their creativity and festive spirit.
Bizarro pop Barbie web artist Poppy has racked up hundreds of millions of views on YouTube for her many surreal Technicolor videos. She'll be performing tracks off of her last album on her I Disagree Tour.
- Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra - Legendary Women
Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra will present the first U.S. performances of music by underrated women composers Mel Bonis and Ruth Gipps, as well as operatic selections including Ludwig van Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3 and a sampling of French arias with mezzo-soprano Jenny Knapp.
- Thrice, mewithoutYou, Drug Church, Holy Fawn
While they’re just now starting to get traction on commercial-rock radio, Thrice have been putting in work for the past 20 years, rising from the Southern California underground all-ages scene to release 10 albums. They’ve evolved from playing the breakneck metallic hardcore anthems of their early years to a much more straightforward, melodic rock sound. For a couple years, though, vocalist Dustin Kensrue called the Eastside home, as he was gospel leader for the Bellevue Mars Hill Church location before abandoning ship in 2014 as the controversy surrounding infamous pastor Mark Driscoll came to a head. KEVIN DIERS
- Xavier Omär, Parisalexa
Chilled-out R&B thriller Xavier Omär lent his smooth-as-silk vocals to Hours Spent Loving You, a collaborative album with local favorite Sango, and he will bring similarly smoky hits to this evening set.
JANUARY 25-APRIL 19VISUAL ART
- Subspontaneous: Francesca Lohmann and Rob Rhee
Seattle-based artists Francesca Lohmann and Rob Rhee probe the boundaries between "the natural and the manufactured" with sculptures based on the concept of subspontaneous plant species, which spread through human meddling but continue to flourish without further help. Both artists experiment with unpredictability in their processes, like Lohmann's sprouting potatoes, moldy sausage casings, and liquid plaster sculptures hardened in woven fabric bags and tubes, or Rhee's gourds grown in welded steel receptacles.
THROUGH JANUARY 26VISUAL ART
- Donald Byrd: The America That Is To Be
Local Tony-nominated, Bessie-winning choreographer Donald Byrd's dance pieces confront the horrors of contemporary society: gay-bashing, war, racial terrorism, misogyny. This installation, Byrd's first solo museum show, uses archival footage and artifacts to advance the artist's idea of a future America, "multi-racial in every aspect."
- Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum
Flesh and Blood consists of 40 works by Spanish, Italian, and French Renaissance and Baroque master artists. These works are from the collection of Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, in the hills of Naples, Italy, and this is the first time many of them have traveled together. Perhaps the most exciting thing is the inclusion of Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith and Holofernes (1612–1613). It depicts the Old Testament story of Judith, a beautiful Jewish heroine, assassinating the Assyrian general Holofernes. Judith used her looks and Holofernes's desire to get into his tent, where he passed out after drinking too much. Judith used this opportunity to behead the general with a giant sword, absconding with his decapitated head and saving her city and the people in it. Gentileschi's Judith is clothed, and she shows absolutely no qualms about the task. The surety and determination on her face is matched by the way she grabs Holofernes's hair, holding him so that she can position the sword accurately. She's a butcher of tyrannical men. JASMYNE KEIMIG
JANUARY 26FOOD & DRINK
- All Star Truffle Dinner
Chef Mutsuko Soma of Kamonegi will prepare a six-course meal along with Misti Norris of Petra and the Beast (Dallas, Texas), Nite Yun on Nyum Bai (Oakland, California), and Caroline Glover of Annette (Aurora, Colorado)—all of whom were featured in Food and Wine's Best New Chefs for 2019, including Soma herself. The meal will showcase native Pacific Northwest truffles foraged by the chefs themselves, with the assistance of a truffle dog named Stella.
- Dermot Kennedy
Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy flew in a day early for his NPR Tiny Desk concert to rehearse with Washington, D.C.'s Howard Gospel Choir, whom he brought along to the performance. Hopefully, this tour stop will also bring some fun surprises.
- The Distillers x Alexisonfire
Before they teased a reunion on social media back in January 2018, LA-based punk squad the Distillers had gone quiet for 12 years. Like many before them, they went at it hard and burned out fast, releasing three albums in just five years. Through it all, there was only one constant: the snarling howl and fierce guitar playing of frontwoman and founding member Brody Dalle. The Distillers’ final album, 2003’s Coral Fang, found the band arriving at a more mature sound, adding layers of melody to their formula of short, fast, and loud. KEVIN DIERS
READINGS & TALKS
- Motion City Soundtrack
Minneapolis's Motion City Soundtrack will bring their Weezer-esque pop-punk to town on their Don't Call It A Comeback Tour.
- Ingrid Newkirk: Animalkind
Ingrid Newkirk has spent her career advocating against animal cruelty. The President of PETA and co-author Gene Stone are out with a new book, Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries About Animals and the Remarkable Ways We Can Be Kind to Them. An inspection of the inner lives of animals (“Animals love,” they write. “They grieve. They feel emotional pain. They worry. And they can anticipate pain.”), the text offers compelling arguments against animal testing and circuses and in favor of veganism and low-oil diets. They make less compelling arguments against leather, but you still may want to avoid wearing Birkenstocks to their reading. KATIE HERZOG
- Drama Tops, This Is For You
Prolific dancer Elby Brosch, seen in such innovative showcases as Northwest New Works and Next Fest, will present an expansion of his previous work for On the Boards, Falling Short. With two collaborators (non-binary dancer Jordan Macintosh-Hougham and cis male dancer Shane Donohue), this transmasculine choreographer will use elements of drag and cabaret to explore masculinity.
Initially notable for kicking Keith Sweat to the curb, the self-proclaimed "King of R&B" Jacquees is back in town to play tracks off his latest album.
READINGS & TALKS
- Michael Kiwanuka
There’s an entrancing, deeply poignant appeal to the music of Michael Kiwanuka, the UK’s latest high-quality soul export. His vocals are rich, emotive, and resonant with a light scratchiness and a cadence that hints at his Ugandan heritage, while his sound has a funky 1970s feel, with extravagant instrumental accouterments (haunting, gospel-tinged backing vocals, dramatic organ, and swells of strings and brass). Danger Mouse was among the producers of his 2016 second full-length, Love & Hate, which is good from start to finish. (“Black Man in a White World” is straight-up Curtis Mayfield, and I say that with much love.) Fans of HBO’s Big Little Lies should know that Kiwanuka’s “Cold Little Heart” was tapped for the show’s opening theme. LEILANI POLK
- Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker: A Very Stable Genius
These two Pulitzer-winning Washington Post reporters will read from their new book, fully titled A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America, for which they drew on many DC sources to reveal the "pattern and meaning to the daily disorder" in the White House.
- Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
#MeToo heroes Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were instrumental in the fall of Harvey Weinstein after their Pulitzer-winning expose of the Hollywood mogul and alleged rapist was published in the New York Times in 2017. In their new book, She Said, the journalists explain how, exactly, they managed to publish a story that had gone unreported, but whispered about, for so long. Washington Post called it “an instant classic of investigative journalism,” and the New York Times named it an instant bestseller. KATIE HERZOG
- Stephanie Land: Maid
The author of Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive, a single mother, eked out a living cleaning houses while she attended college. She'll share her autobiography, now out in paperback, in an effort to destigmatize women who face the same challenges she did.
- The New Pornographers, Diane Coffee
It’s really hard not to like the New Pornographers; “Letter from an Occupant” off their 2000 debut Mass Romantic still gives me feel-good goose bumps. The Vancouver faves churn out a pleasant mix of indie rock and power pop that’s gained them a relentlessly loyal fan base. If that weren’t enough, they’re also composed of talented music-makers who’ve gone on to fruitful solo careers and side projects, like Carl Newman (aka AC Newman, a quiet storm of lovely), Neko Case (badass alt-folk-rocker), and Dan Bejar (you know you love Destroyer). LEILANI POLK
- Lil TJay
Having opened for other bigger-name PNW artists like Lil Mosey, Lil TJay is finally ready to headline on his own. He'll be back in town with new tracks and special guests on his True 2 Myself Tour.
- Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1
One of the best things about having Thomas Dausgaard as Seattle Symphony's music director is that we now get to watch him conduct the music of his Danish compatriot, Erik Nielsen, all the time. His Symphony No. 1 is a thrilling epic, full of intense moments that could score a viking raid. With Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto also on the menu, the Nielsen work will add some much needed excitement. The program also features Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, which is one of those pieces of classical music you've heard a million times without knowing the name of it. Looney Tunes used the first movement, Morning Mood, extensively, so it's buried deep in your childhood brain. RICH SMITH READINGS & TALKS
- Isabel Allende: A Long Petal of the Sea
Now is the time to read and listen to the Chilean writer Isabel Allende. In the middle of October, protests exploded in Santiago, Chile. These demonstrations, which involved millions of Chileans, were sparked by a rise in the city’s subway fare. But the crisis is not isolated; it’s occurring against the backdrop of Chile’s early experiment with neoliberalism, which was imposed on the country by the brutal dictator, Augusto Pinochet. In her 1982 novel The House of the Spirits, Allende attempted to exorcize the ghosts of that exceptionally bloody dictatorship, which began with the murder of the novelist’s uncle, the democratically elected Salvador Allende. The ghosts of Pinochet still haunt the slim South American country. Allende will certainly have lots to say about how these ghosts have returned as the young protestors on the streets of Santiago, despite the fact that her latest novel shifts the time period backwards, to the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. CHARLES MUDEDE
JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 1PERFORMANCE
- Brian Brooks Moving Company
UW Creative Research Fellow Brian Brooks has developed dance pieces inspired by bodies on stage and within the realm of "immersive technologies." For this program, see three world premieres, including a solo by Brooks, a duet called MOTOR, the premiere of Torrent, and the ensemble piece Closing Distance, set to Partita for 8 Voices by Pulitzer Prize-winning violinist/singer Caroline Shaw.
JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 2MUSIC
LA funk/soul ensemble War have split into two camps: One goes by the name the Lowrider Band, while original lead singer and keyboardist Lonnie Jordan has retained the War moniker. It’s not an optimal state of affairs, but War’s hit-laden 1970s catalog is so potent and redolent of greasily groovy good times and carefree summers (except for the ominous “Four Cornered Room,” which I consider one of War’s peaks) that you can be assured no matter which unit is playing them, they’re going to transport you to a better, warmer place. So, great timing for War to do a four-night run. DAVE SEGAL
- 'Rhythm Section' Opening
In this filmization of Mark Burnell's novel, a woman discovers that the plane crash that killed her family was not an accident.
- Ben Lee
Sydney-born, LA-based singer-songwriter Ben Lee will make a stop in Seattle for some J Mascis- and Grateful Dead-inspired jams.
- Emily King
Sexy-poignant R&B jam "Distance" has more than 11 million plays on Spotify, but I bet you've never heard it, and maybe you haven't heard of Emily King, either. "Distance" is about fighting and making up and making a relationship work when there's distance in the middle of it, about living apart and getting back together, with a rather sweet refrain ("Oh, love is always better / When we take time to get back to who we are / When we are apart / Distance makes the heart grow / Even when I'm lonely / Happy knowing that your love is never far"). The NYC singer-songwriter has soulful, breathy-husky yet sweetly melodic and confident vocals (I'm reminded of Tina Turner, if not in sound, then definitely in spirit). LEILANI POLK
READINGS & TALKS
- Super Diamond
The Surreal Neil, Randy Cordeiro, is apparently a vocal dead ringer for Neil Diamond, who was impressed enough to perform twice with the tribute band named in his honor. Expect loads of glitter and throaty vibrato.
- Spotlight Poetry: Sherwin Bitsui with Elee Kraljii Gardiner
Join acclaimed Diné poet Sherwin Bitsui (Dissolve) and Canadian writer Elee Kraljii Gardiner (Trauma Head) for a joint reading.
JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 1MUSIC
- Excision: The Thunderdome
This electronic music extravaganza boasts two days of artists from all over the place performing back-to-back sets, from 12th Planet, Tramp, and Champagne Drip (Fri) to Liquid Stranger, Sprag Heddy, and Lucii (Sat).
JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 9PERFORMANCE
The quintessential fairy tale gets the Kent Stowell choreography treatment with music by Sergei Prokofiev performed by the great Pacific Northwest Ballet orchestra, a set by Tony Straiges, and fancy costumes by Martin Pakledinaz.
JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 23PERFORMANCE
The third of 5th Avenue's new musicals this season is Bliss, written by Emma Lively and Tyler Beattie and choreographed by Josh Prince (the Broadway choreographer of Shrek and Beautiful). It follows four sister princesses who sneak out of their castle, determined to be belles of the ball in their fairy-tale world.