Our music critics have already chosen the 50 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 Fiddler on the Roof to Southpaw's annual Robert Burns Supper, and from the opening of Emily Tanner-McLean's Rose/rose/rose/rose to a reading with NPR Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.
Note: Events may be canceled or rescheduled due to snow. Double-check to be sure.
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Multi-disciplinary artists Porscha Shaw and Jay O'Leary will perform dance and spoken word that aims to "resuscitate the image of Blackness in America."
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
Julia Wald: The Golem: A Family History
In this very personal show, Seattle-based artist and illustrator artist Julia Wald will present work that details her Jewish family’s time as refugees. Using pen and ink, she’ll tell the history of her family using the metaphor of a golem, an anthropomorphic creature made of stones, mud, and clay that can be a monster, hero, or villain to the Jewish people, and is called upon in times of hope or despair. Wald connects this creature with the experiences of her family, saying, “My family’s history can be summed up pretty nicely as a combination of hope and despair, monsters and saviors.” JASMYNE KEIMIG
TUESDAYREADINGS & TALKS
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.
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
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
WEDNESDAYFOOD & DRINK
DiVe - Okonomoyaki
Enjoy traditional Japanese-style savory pancakes by Addo's Eric Rivera.
An Augur: Future Visions
On the Boards will continue its long tradition of gathering emerging and seasoned artists for an evening R&D cabaret of dance, theater, and music, and other experimentation and audience feedback. This edition, evoking the ancient Roman practice of augury, will feature Shelby Handler, Sarah Brickman, Fox Whitney, Jéhan Òsanyìn, Julianne Chapple/Future Leisure, and the Vis-à-Vis Society (Sierra Nelson and Rachel Kessler).
History Café: Legacy of Exclusion in the Northwest
Historian David J. Jepsen shares stories of women, people of color, the poor working class, and immigrants throughout the Pacific Northwest who overcame societal roadblocks in Contested Boundaries: A New Pacific Northwest History. Join him for a reading.
Lunch-and-Learn: Shanghai Memories
Before the outbreak of World War II, thousands of Jews sought refuge in Shangai—the only place in the world that didn't require an entry visa from those fleeing Nazi persecution. Tonight, hear from a panel of survivors as they share memories and artifacts.
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.
WEDNESDAY & SATURDAY-SUNDAYPERFORMANCE
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.
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.
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.
Christopher Titus’s comedy revolves around his unsparing observations about his flaws, conflicts, relationship fuck-ups, and other fiascos. The modus operandi here is “You gotta laugh to keep from crying,” and few excel with more wincing humor than Titus. You leave one of his sets grateful you’ve not suffered the harrowing situations and familial dysfunction he’s experienced. The California-born comic has parlayed these painfully funny/funnily painful tales into a booming career that’s encompassed seven albums, seven Comedy Central stand-up specials, and a Fox television show called Titus. Titus’s rapid-fire barbs sting and tickle with unerring accuracy. By show’s end, expect to be exhausted with laughter. DAVE SEGAL
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."
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." This will be the last edition of Bohemia before the whole crew heads over to Berlin.
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
Prolific director Kelly Kitchens will stage Lauren Gunderson's comedy about four strong women in perilous revolutionary France: the feminist playwright Olympe de Gouges, the assassin Charlotte Corday, the prisoner Marie Antoinette, and the Haitian freedom fighter Marianne Angelle.
Exploring Passages Within the Black Diaspora
In this massive linkup of the Frye Art 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
Seventy-Nine Cents: an all womxn comedy show
Named for the 79 cents—or less—womxn make for every dollar a man makes, this comedy show with Stephanie Nam, Kathleen Nacozy, and others will leave you in a curious state of joy (because the comics are funny) and rage (because the patriarchy).
Lynch: A History: Documentary with Director David Shields
See a documentary about the life and career of professional American football player Marshawn Lynch (the running back for the Seattle Seahawks). Director David Shields will be in attendance to discuss the film.
Bearded & Beautiful Vol. 1
Who says you can't be gorgeous and feminine while sporting a beard? These performers will prove it once and for all: Jane Don't, Karma Amor, Kenzie, SHE, and host Dion Dior Black.
Glory Hole: A Drag/Art Show
This lineup of local drag performers—Miss Texas 1988 (who Jasmyne Keimig attests "quite literally throws herself into her performance, using her best tool—her body—to express and heighten emotion"), The Stranger's own Uh Oh, Bitch Hazel, and Irene Dubois—should be enough to get you to this experimental show.
Dani Boss and Melissa Korbel: Burn It Down
Dani Boss and Melissa Korbel, two contributors to Burn it Down: Women Writing About Anger, will appear live to debunk the somehow pertinent myth that "ladies don't get angry." Local writing teacher Theo Nestor will also read.
Michael Damian Thomas with Caroline M. Yoachim: The Best of 'Uncanny'
Celebrate the launch of Uncanny Magazine's new anthology The Best of Uncanny with co-editor and publisher Michael Damian Thomas and contributing authors Caroline M. Yoachim and E. Lily Yu—the creators promise "stunning cover art, passionate science fiction and fantasy, gorgeous poetry, and provocative nonfiction."
Emmett Montgomery is a wizardly ex-Mormon who runs two great comedic showcases: Joketeller's Union and Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery. Here's one of his insights about Seattle, told to The Stranger: "Last year, I put out a call for someone with clowning experience to help me do a dumb thing I wanted to do onstage, and I was both horrified and delighted by the multitude of responses I got. This is a city of clowns that are walking around without makeup. Our friends and lovers, the people who make our coffee, and even our neighbors, all of them could be secret clowns, and now that I know that, it affects every social interaction I have."
Once Told Tales Improv Festival
This festival of improv troupes assembles really fun indie groups, with different lineups of four or five every night. Go on Fridays for uncensored shows and Saturdays for all-ages performances.
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
Showing Out: Contemporary Black Choreographers (Part 2)
Powerhouse local queer performer Dani Tirrell has curated an evening of performances by black choreographers from the Pacific Northwest: Saira Barbaric, Markeith Wiley, Keelan Johnson, Michael O'Neal Jr, Brian J Evans, Kyle Bernbach and Gilbert Small, and Neve Kamilah Mazique-Bianco.
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.
The Master of Suspense
The Whidbey Island Film Festival presents three days of Alfred Hitchcock classics, from Rear Window to Rebecca to Vertigo.
Washington Ensemble Theatre's press materials promise "intense feminine energy" from Dance Nation, a Pulitzer Prize–nominated play by Clare Barron about a preteen dance troupe gunning for nationals under the guidance of their frazzled coach. In an interview, Barron, a Yale grad who hails from Wenatchee (!), says the show was inspired by the complex portrait of ambition presented in Lifetime's reality television series Dance Moms, which means there's no way this isn't going to be good. Extra insurance for this prediction comes from the fact that Bobbin Ramsey, who has a gift for organizing chaos onstage, is codirecting the performance with Alyza DelPan-Monley. RICH SMITH
America’s favorite masc4masc playwright Sam Shepard is dead. He passed away in 2017, 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
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.
Bandit Theater will ask one brave audience member to share their dating site profile for critique. (Don't worry, the Bandits are nice people; you'll be in good hands.) Then, talented improv comedians will take inspiration from their volunteer's Tinder (or whatever) to play out some scenes.
Assemblage: Juice Club x Disco Nap x Double Sunrise Club
The irreverent natural wine pop-up Juice Club, "party supplies and design services" Disco Nap, and disco DJs Double Sunrise Club will come together for a trifecta of party vibes.
At this annual festival, join hundreds of other beer lovers to try Pacific Northwest brews from over 30 breweries and take in local music in various downtown Ellensburg businesses and venues.
Saturday University: The 21st Century Silk Road: China's Belt and Road Initiative
For this Saturday University lecture, UW political science professor David Bachman will discuss the impact of China's Belt and Road Initiative, which now includes land and maritime silk roads, an arctic silk road, and a digital silk road.
Michael Doyle, Christopher Gee, David C. Kane, Emily Pettigrew, and Sue Rose generate uncanny scenes drawn from the ambiguity of dreams and reality.
Emily Tanner-McLean: Rose/rose/rose/rose
Riffing off the line in Gertrude Stein’s 1913 poem “Sacred Emily” (“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”), Seattle-based artist Emily Tanner McLean is playing with this symbol of love, devotion, and sexuality by iterating the flower throughout her multimedia installation. The rose will make visual and sonic appearances in video “wallpaper,” organic and found materials, and audio compositions. Seeking to disrupt the visitor’s experience with the flower but also “their security of symbolic conventions in general,” enthusiastic participants are invited to spend select nights in the gallery within the installation. JASMYNE KEIMIG
SUNDAYFOOD & DRINK
7th Annual Robert Burns Supper
Five years after the death of Scottish bard Robert Burns in 1796, a group of friends gathered on his birthday (January 25) to celebrate his life. Today, the tradition persists and involves haggis, recitations of poetry, songs, and, of course, plenty of Scotch. If you'd like to witness the unusual ritual for yourself, James Beard Award–winning chef John Sundstrom of Lark, Southpaw, and Slab will prepare an exclusive menu with his take on the Scottish delicacy, and the choral project whateverandeveramen. will sing the poetry of Burns along with some traditional drinking songs. JULIANNE BELL
Oyster Feast with Pleasant Bay Oyster Farm at The Growler Guys
Slurp some superlatively fresh oysters (pulled from the ocean that very morning and shucked on the spot) from Pleasant Bay Oyster Farm, paired with four kegs of Breakside Brewery beer (including a 2019 Salted Caramel Stout).
Jenna Eady: Residency Open House
Resident theater artist Jenna Eady, working with her father, the Palestinian playwright Hanna Eady, will reveal a new piece on "exploring the role of traditional music and dance in the context of cultural occupation."
Jite Agbro: Deserving
Jite Agbro is concerned with what you’re wearing. Well, okay, maybe not exactly with what you’re wearing right now, but more with how what we wear and how we wear it is an expression of our “projected narratives and our authentic selves.” JASMYNE KEIMIG
Artist talk Sunday