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Seattle Weekender: Mapping the brain, Damien Jurado plays that sad song, and someone gets naked

Crosscut's guide to a culturally enriching weekend in the city. Or at least some fun.

Damien Jurado

Damien Jurado Flickr - sprungli

Award-winning actor and playwright Maria Glanz exposes her body and soul in her comedic monologue, “See Me Naked.”

Award-winning actor and playwright Maria Glanz exposes her body and soul in her comedic monologue, “See Me Naked.” Omar Willey

Sebastian Seung, How the Brain’s Wiring Makes us Who We Are: One of the most baffling and complicated things in the universe (at least, for this writer) lies within our craniums: that pinkish-grayish, squishy, gooey mass called the "brain." MIT Professor Sebastian Seung, though, is determined to find out how that thing works, by mapping out all of the different connections, "neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse," according to the Town Hall website. What he hopes to discover is no less than what makes us the way we are, from our identity to the way we act, and perhaps why certain brain disorders come to exist. Where neuroscience will go from there is almost unimaginable (and, for those obsessed with science fiction, perhaps a bit scary).

If you go: Town Hall, 119 8th Ave., Friday, Feb. 17, 6pm-7pm, $5, more info

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Taking inspiration from the playwright George Pettie, who in 1590 wrote, "So long as I know it not, it hurteth not," three writers will talk tonight (Feb. 17) about things no one else wants to talk about. The Richard Hugo House site explains that "there are plenty of questions we don't want to ask," as well as things we don't want to know, or, on the flip-side, things we don't want to reveal. The bill for the night includes some talented writers, and their answers should be more thought-provoking than that wishlist you wrote to Santa when you were five.

On the bill are: Heather McHugh, Pollock Professor of Poetry at University of Washington; Lidia Yuknavitch, author of the memoir "Chronology of Water"; and Chad Galler-Sojourner, Seattle-based writer and solo-performer. The writers will be backed by Led to Sea, the solo project of Alex Guy.

If you go: Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, Feb. 17, 7:30pm, $20, more info

Damien Jurado, Gold Leaves, Bryan John Appleby: Damien Jurado plays the type of thoughtful, melancholy music that makes you want to lie down on the floor, stare up at the ceiling, and just think about life. But you can't think about life, because you're too busy thinking about Damien Jurado, and what's making him sing the way he is. In any case, Jurado is a breath of fresh air, singing with real voice and passion in an era when so many others have taken to unnatural high-pitched falsettos and auto-tuning.

If Jurado weren't enough, he is being joined by Gold Leaves and Bryan John Appleby, which might be enough beautiful, melancholy music to flood the Neptune Theatre with tears. So bring tissues with you, or a date to distract you, and don't cause flood damage. That can be expensive.

If you go: Neptune Theatre, 1303 Northeast 45th St, Feb. 17, Doors open at 8pm, Show starts at 9pm, $15, more info

See Me Naked: Despite the title, this play is more than just about seeing a woman naked — in fact, other than pictures, you don't for a good while — it's about feeling naked, not only physically, but emotionally as well. Maria Glanz, star of the one-woman show, challenges herself as well as the audience about thoughts on nakedness, at times engaging the audience and interrogating them with questions of when they've been naked, how many people they have been naked in front of, and, at least on the Valentine's Day showing, whether one luckless fellow would show his penis, according to a Crosscut review by Katherine Luck. (He didn't.)

The entire show wrestles with two concepts: nakedness and nudity. What's the difference? Luck provides the answer: "Being naked means being embarrassed, deprived of covering, and ultimately ashamed. Nudity, on the other hand, is without discomfort; a condition of utter confidence. As Glanz struggles throughout the hour-long piece to get out of her clothing, she is in truth wrestling with the dichotomy of her fear of nakedness and her desire for nudity."

If you go: West of Lenin, 203 N 36th St, Feb. 17-18, 8pm, $20 adv/$25 at door, more info


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