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Chinatown-International District Lunar New Year
Ring in the Year of the Rat at this massive Lunar New Year celebration that showcases the diversity, richness, and culture of the Asian community. See traditional dragon and lion dances, Japanese Taiko drumming, martial arts, and other cultural performances on the Main Stage, plus arts and crafts and family activities—and don't miss the $3 food walk.
Saturday, Various locations (Chinatown-International District)
Democratic Debate Watch Parties
The second Democratic presidential debates of 2020, taking place in Manchester just days before next Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, is the first of three debates this month. If you don't get ABC at home, here's where to watch Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, and Yang over beer and snacks.
Friday, Various locations
Seattle Lantern Festival
Celebrate the Chinese New Year at this Lantern Festival with traditional Chinese music, riddles, a Tai Chi demonstration, a Tongyuan (sweet dumpling) demonstration, and more.
Saturday, Seattle Chinese Garden (South Park)
Tukwila Lantern Festival
Take in lion dances, Kung Fu demonstrations, and other live performances at this Chinese New Year event.
Saturday, Westfield Southcenter (Tukwila)
Seattle RV Show
Like the idea of taking your home with you wherever you go? Explore hundreds of recreational vehicles at this expo.
Friday-Sunday, CenturyLink Field Event Center (Downtown)
See also: The top Black History Month 2020 events.
COMEDY & PERFORMANCES
Playwright Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews)'s new, award-winning play tackles affluent, "liberal white America" through the story of a prep school admissions chief named Sherri. In her professional life, she's successfully helped diversify the student body, but her ideals are challenged when her son reveals his determination to attend an Ivy League university.
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Public Theater (Green Lake)
The Angel in the House
During the Victorian era, Coventry Patmore wrote a poem describing the ideal wife as an "angel in the house" who lives to please her man, as it were. Nobody liked the poem at the time, but it became popular around the turn of the century, and its ideology was pervasive enough to spur Virginia Woolf to write a whole essay collection critiquing it. "Killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer," she wrote. Quadruple-threat Sara Porkalob, who has built her career on a biographical trilogy about her cool family, said her love of Victorian-era literature and her passionate agreement with Woolf's takedown inspired her riff on this cursed character. Like her Dragon Cycle, The Angel in the House will serve as the first installment of a new play cycle based on "magic, the occult, revenge, blood, and sacrifice." Unlike the Dragon Cycle, the show is a thriller that looks like a murder mystery at first but ends up being something else entirely. Major reasons to be excited include local stars Ray Tagavilla and Ayo Tushinde, plus the joy of watching a writer/director exploring completely new territory. RICH SMITH
Friday-Sunday, Cafe Nordo (Pioneer Square)
The Best of Everything
2014 Stranger Theater Genius Valerie Curtis-Newton directs UW graduate actors in Julie Kramer's adaptation of Rona Jaffe's novel about an ambitious woman in a 1950s typing pool who's determined to make her way to the top.
Friday-Sunday, Jones Playhouse (University District)
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.
Friday-Sunday, the 5th Avenue Theatre (Downtown)
In this Tony Award-nominated play by Lucy Kirkwood, two retired nuclear scientists on the coast of an environmentally devastated England receive a disruptive visit from an old friend.
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle Center)
The quintessential fairy tale, performed here by the dancers of Pacific Northwest Ballet, 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.
Friday-Sunday, McCaw Hall (Seattle Center)
I’ve written in the past that I have a warm spot in my heart for Frozen, Disney's second-highest-grossing animated film, about a princess who sets out on a quest (with a group of helpful sidekicks, of course) to find her estranged older sister after said sister's icy magical powers accidentally bring eternal winter to their kingdom. Now the Tony-nominated Broadway show from Disney Theatrical Productions, directed by Michael Grandage, is coming to Seattle for an engagement that promises "sensational special effects, stunning sets and costumes, and powerhouse performances." Expect all those earwormy songs (including the relentlessly triumphant, hard-not-to-sing-along-and-make-dramatic-hand-gestures-to “Let It Go”), plus an expanded score that features a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and EGOT winner Robert Lopez. LEILANI POLK
Friday-Sunday, Paramount Theatre (Downtown)
FIUTS CulturalFest Performance Showcase
University of Washington students from all over will dance, sing, and show off more talents in celebration of the international diversity of the student body. This event is part of CulturalFest, a Foundation for International Understanding Through Students initiative, which aims to foster global connections and culture.
Saturday, Meany Center for the Performing Arts (University District)
Gary Gulman: Peace of Mind
Local rising comic Nikita Oster recently singled out Gary Gulman as one of the world’s greatest comedians, especially for his 2019 special The Great Depresh. The show earned a rare 100 rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It depicts how Gulman overcame clinical depression’s daunting effects, and proves he can wring poignant humor from some of life’s darkest sources. On other topics, he’s the poet laureate of mundane details and laziness, and a scintillating storyteller whose parenthetical thoughts and tangents are as hilarious as his punch lines. Hear him go off on grapefruit: “The only reason grapefruits were invented was because god wanted us to have something to compare the size of a tumor to.” DAVE SEGAL
Saturday, Neptune Theatre (University District)
A Night Like This
Witness acrobats and variety artists act out stories from "exotic travels to the Seven Seas" through dance, aerial feats, song, and more. Michael Cunio of Postmodern Jukebox will step into the role of Master of the House, while Christine Deaver will be your raconteuse. As always, your ticket will include a multi-course dinner.
Friday-Sunday, Teatro ZinZanni (Woodinville)
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.
Friday-Sunday, Can Can (Downtown)
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.
Friday-Sunday, ArtsWest (West Seattle)
She Loves Me
You know the story: two people who hate each other in real life are unwittingly in love with each other in a different realm. It's based on the same 1937 play, Parfumerie, that Nora Ephron's You've Got Mail was based on. In She Loves Me, which is set in the 1930s, the romantic leads are Amalia Balash (Allison Standley) and Georg Nowack (Eric Ankrim). They spar in the perfume shop where they both work and while corresponding anonymously as pen pals connected through a Lonely Hearts Club. No one is as happy as they seem in She Loves Me and everyone seems to be hiding something. Maybe love could fix all this. Through the constant hum of music that serves as the heartbeat to She Loves Me, each character gets a breath of individuality. There are no showstoppers here. Some of the characters shine, and others fade into the background, all while telling us what they yearn for, or what they think they yearn for. Mostly, that's love. NATHALIE GRAHAM
Friday-Sunday, Village Theatre (Issaquah)
Two actors will portray Snow White, the evil queen, seven dwarfs, the talking mirror, and the huntsman in this ambitious children's theater production written by Greg Banks and directed by Desdemona Chiang.
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Children's Theatre (Seattle Center)
Solo Fest 2020
Rich Smith has written that solo performances "hold the attention of a room like nothing else in the world of performance," and this is true in theater as well as in dance. These four plays—Over 140 Lbs. by Susan Lieu, Dare to Claim the Sky by Sharon Nyree Williams (showing this weekend), Left on Yellow Brick Road by Sherif Amin, and Bread Crumbs by Jasmine Joshua (showing next week)—allow a single actor/playwright to delve into deeply personal experiences. From deadly beauty standards to non-binary identities, from Oz-ian fantasy to Black American trials and joys, the Solo Fest will invite you into others' realities.
Friday-Sunday, ACT Theatre (Downtown)
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
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle Center)
Twisted Cabaret 2020
Welcome Frank Oliver and his "retinue" of European circus stars—what? It's just him? That's right: Oliver plays every single juggler, acrobat, magician, musician, mime, and everyone else onstage.
Friday-Sunday, Hale's Palladium (Fremont)
READINGS & TALKS
Designed By Nature (National Geographic Live)
Kakani Katija is quite a character—once part of the US figure skating team, she's now a bioengineer who specializes in studying organisms that live in ocean midwaters. In this multimedia presentation, learn how scientists like Katija model robots on jellyfish and other sea denizens.
Sunday, Benaroya Hall (Downtown)
Eoin Colfer: Highfire
Meet the progenitor of the kid super-criminal Artemis Fowl as he presents his new book Highfire, his first fantasy for adults.
Friday, University Temple United Methodist Church (University District)
Garth Greenwell: Cleanness
Intensity is the novelist Garth Greenwell's subject. The word itself appears twice on the first page of his second novel, Cleanness, a subtly ironic title for the dirtiest novel the New Yorker has excerpted in ages. The narrator is an English teacher from the United States living in Bulgaria. The novel is full of beautiful writing about the pitfalls of teaching, the violence of politics, and the purpose of poetry, but the sex scenes are the most memorable. Few writers write about sex so well and with so much sensitivity. The brilliance and animal warmth of Greenwell's style, the depth of insight, and the range of empathy, confer on even gloomy subjects a kind of radiance. "Sex had never been joyful for me, or almost never, it had always been fraught with shame or anxiety or fear, all of which vanished at the sight of his smile, simply vanished, it poured a kind of cleanness over everything we did," the narrator says. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Saturday, Elliott Bay Book Company (Capitol Hill)
See also: The best readings & talks this winter.
92nd Academy Awards
Snub as they will, the Academy Awards panel honors what they deem the best films of the year and all that went into making them. Check out our roundup of places to watch the ceremony at local bars and restaurants. Plus, find all the nominated films still playing in Seattle here.
Sunday, Various locations
'Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)' Opening
Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), no more the Joker's abused handmaiden, teams up with some superheroes to protect a little girl.
Friday-Sunday, Various locations
Keepers of the Dream: Seattle Women Black Panthers
This mini-fest of five short documentaries, produced by Patricia Boiko and Tajuan LaBee, serves as an introduction to the courageous actions of women Black Panther activists, from Frances Dixon to Phyllis Noble Mobley. Local musical star SassyBlack provides the scores. Stay on for a Q&A with the filmmakers, plus activists Vanetta Molson-Turner, Youlanda Givens, and Winona Hollins Hauge, facilitated by assistant director Malika Lee.
Friday, Northwest Film Forum (Capitol Hill)
MUSEUM SHOWS & EVENTS
Asian Art Museum Reopening
The Seattle Asian Art Museum will finally reopen to the public, after a $56 million, almost three-year renovation. The refurbished museum—which had not been significantly overhauled since its building's construction in 1933—features a new gallery, education studio, conservation center, and community room; a climate-control system so things don't rot on the walls; a new glass-enclosed park lobby; and the restoration of one interior and two exterior fountains. Another major change: The permanent collection will not be organized by country or time period, but by theme. Curator of Chinese art Ping Foong and curator of Japanese and Korean art Xiaojin Wu (both from Seattle Art Museum), along with consulting curator of South Asian art Darielle Mason, collaborated on refiguring SAAM's permanent collection into 13 different themes. They grouped the objects according to their relationship to concepts like spirituality, fashion, divinity, material, text, and storytelling—mixing contemporary work with the ancient across cultures and regions. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Saturday-Sunday, Asian Art Museum (Capitol Hill)
Seattle Museum Month
Visiting Seattle? For the entire month of February, get discounts on admission to a number of local museums, including the Burke Museum, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the National Nordic Museum, MoPOP, and others. When you check into a participating downtown Seattle hotel, ask for a Museum Month packet for a map of participating museums and a guest pass. If you're a local, book yourself a staycation or attend special events.
Friday-Sunday, Various locations
MAJOR CONCERTS & MUSIC SHOWS
2020 International Clash Day: Clash Cover Night
Get ready for a bunch of obscure references and English puns with KEXP's Clash Cover Night. Naked Giants, Tres Leches, Duke Evers, and others will perform tracks from across the Clash discography.
Friday, KEXP (Seattle Center)
The Symphony's Untuxed series is great. They only play one piece, and the expectation is you just show up in jeans, or whatever you wear when you're just walking around picking up stuff at the grocery store. The iconic grandeur of Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony—a piece you'll recognize from any number of movies and TV shows (from The Joy Luck Club to Ren & Stimpy)—is a perfect fit for this casual concert. On Saturday, Antonín Dvořák's Dvořák Symphony No. 8">Eighth Symphony, which plays with Czech pastoral themes, will be brought to life by world-renowned violinist Gidon Kremer, alongside pieces by Mieczysław Weinberg and Dmitri Shostakovich. RICH SMITH
Friday-Saturday, Benaroya Hall (Downtown)
KEXP Presents: Caspar Adultpants, King of Hawaii
Ex-member of the Presidents of the United States of America Chris Ballew, who these days can be found playing music for children under the moniker Caspar Babypants, will change his game tonight with a show for adults that means to help you "get back in touch with the little kid version of your grownup self." He'll be joined by local instrumental surf band King of Hawaii.
Sunday, Tractor Tavern (Ballard)
Few rock bands have emerged on the scene with more raw vitality than did Milwaukee's Violent Femmes with their self-titled 1983 album. The platinum-selling Violent Femmes abounds with instantly catchy, immediately engrossing songs about young-person angst, all stripped down to their most crucial essentials. Front man Gordon Gano channeled Lou Reed and Jonathan Richman vocal tics and lyrical tropes with very relatable results. Tough act to follow, but 1984's Christianity-haunted Hallowed Ground proved the Femmes could go darker yet. I stopped following them after 1986's The Blind Leading the Naked, but one listen to 2019's Hotel Last Resort reveals that Gano and bassist Brian Ritchie's flair for spare, infectious folk rock hasn't diminished much over the last 37 years. DAVE SEGAL
Sunday, Moore Theatre (Belltown)
Westerlies Fest 2020
Brooklyn-by-way-of-Seattle jazz, roots, and chamber-influenced brass quartet the Westerlies (trumpeters Riley Mulherkar and Chloe Rowlands, and trombone players Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch) have never forgotten their Emerald City roots. They’ll return this first full weekend in February to host their second eponymous music fest, which, according to press materials, was created “to give back to the musical ecosystem that raised them by engaging local students, highlighting local talent, and facilitating explosive collaborations between artists from Seattle and beyond.” Basically, workshops at area schools by day, and concerts that find the Westerlies performing with a different guest artist by night: singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Celisse at the Royal Room on Thursday; Seattle-based pianist, composer, and singer Robin Holcomb at the Chapel Performance Space on Friday; and NYC poet duo Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay alongside local spoken word artist Troy Osaki at Town Hall Seattle on Saturday. Sunday closes with the Westerlies Fest JAM-boree of workshops, activities, a listening session, and an open rehearsal followed by a late afternoon Westerlies concert, all at Nickerson Studios. LEILANI POLK
Friday-Sunday, Various locations
See also: Our music critics' picks for the week.
FOOD & DRINK EVENTS
Dive headfirst into chocoholic bacchanalia with 10—count ’em 10—drink tickets in tow at this annual pre-Valentine’s Day bash. Indulge in libations from local breweries, cidermakers, wineries, and distilleries, and sate your sweet tooth with confections from Fran’s Chocolates, Theo Chocolate, Joe Chocolate Company, indi chocolate, and more. When you need to cut your sugar rush with something savory, there will also be bites from local restaurants like Honest Biscuits and Tankard & Tun. And know that all your hedonism supports a good cause—proceeds go to Long Live the Kings, a local nonprofit working to restoring wild salmon and support sustainable fishing practices in the Pacific Northwest. JULIANNE BELL
Sunday, Pike Brewing Company (Downtown)
Li'l Woody's Burger Month
As part of their yearly Burger Month collaboration, Li'l Woody's has assembled a crack lineup of four local chefs to each create their weekly burger specials for February. This year kicks off with the "Good Old Burger" with fry sauce, American cheese, and yubeshi onions from chef Brady Williams of Canlis.
Friday-Sunday, Li'l Woody's (Capitol Hill)
Optimism's 4th Anniversary Party!
The Ballard taproom will celebrate four years of life with four new beers (a hazy Imperial IPA, a strong Belgian ale, a bold Imperial ale, and a "strong sipping ale") at this birthday party and fundraiser for Plymouth Housing Group. Enter raffles, score some free stickers, and try to be one of the first 300 people in the door to get a free "craft master glass."
Saturday, Optimism Brewing (Capitol Hill)
Soul of Seattle
By now, you’ve probably heard of chef Edouardo Jordan, the James Beard Award–winning mind behind acclaimed Ravenna restaurants Salare and JuneBaby, and newer venture Lucinda Grain Bar. For this cultural and culinary event, he’ll be teaming up with the Urban League of Seattle to showcase the tasty talents of 10 Seattle-area chefs of color who “embody the diverse fabric of Seattle’s food scene.” Among them are Makini Howell of Plum Bistro, Trey Lamont of Jerk Shack, and Kristi Brown of That Brown Girl Cooks. Also on tap: a multicourse VIP dinner by Jordan, a reading by James Beard Award winner Toni Tipton-Martin from her new book, Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking, and a silent auction. All proceeds go to organizations that support youth of color. LEILANI POLK
Friday, Northwest African American Museum (Atlantic)
See also: Food & drink specials to try in February.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Cupid's Undie Run
After a kickoff party with music, drinks, and mingling, lace up your sneakers for a "mile-ish" run followed by a dance party. All proceeds will benefit neurofibromatosis research through the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Wear your cutest/comfiest underwear.
Saturday, the Ballroom (Fremont)
Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em Valentine’s Day Dash
You don't need a date (although you can register as a two-person team if you wish) to run around Green Lake in this Valentine's Day-themed 5K, 10K, or half-marathon race.
Saturday, Green Lake Park
My Better Half Marathon
These 5K, 10K, and half-marathon runs promise "romance," "kitsch," and "sweat." Here are the categories: "Bromance," "Besties," "Lovers," and "Lonely Hearts."
Sunday, Seward Park (Rainier Valley)
Seattle Dragons Watch Parties
Head to Bad Jimmy's, Fuel, and other local bars to watch brand-new XFL team the Seattle Dragons slay in their first game ever against the DC Defenders.
Saturday, Various locations