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The Weekend List: The arts and culture guide to Seattle's good life

Pacific Northwest Ballet debuts their Alejandro Cerrudo gem, Shabazz Palaces shakes some tailfeathers and the ACT goes double-bill on Japanese opera.

*denotes events that are $15 or less

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s "Director’s Choice"

A few years ago, when PNB’s Peter Boal saw the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago group, he was immediately floored by a piece called “Lickety-Split,” which was choreographed by Alejandro Cerrudo. Cerrudo is both a dancer and a dance maker, whose works have been described as both fluid and loose. When Boal started asking colleagues across the country about which choreographer to keep his eye on, folks kept repeating Cerrudo’s name.

So Boal snagged the Spaniard to create a new ballet for PNB, which world premieres this week. It’s an abstract piece inspired by, well, everything. Says Cerrudo: “Everything I see or smell or the people I talk to. I always take inspiration from everything.”

As artistic director, it’s Boal who selects the entire season of reps. But Cerrudo’s piece is part of the annual “Director’s Choice” program, which always embraces modern dance and is the one rep I look the most forward to year after year. Also included in the program: Susan Marshall’s “Kiss,” which is an aerial pas de deux. A pair of dancers, dressed in T-shirts and jeans, are literally in the air; they use harnesses to move on and off the floor. Now seriously, when’s the last time you saw something like that? — F.D.

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If you go: Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Director’s Choice” program, featuring works by Alejandro Cerrudo, Molissa Fenley, Susan Marshall and Susan Stroman; McCaw Hall, March 14-23. ($28-$120). 

*Oscar Nominated Short Films

Thursday is the last day to see this year’s Oscar-nominated short films, both animated and live action, at the Harvard Exit Theatre. I went to the animated series last week where I was reminded that short films, the unsung gems of award shows, are more often than not poignant, dark and hilarious, enhanced by their short form rather than limited by it. I was particularly taken by the adorable futuristic tale of Mr. Hublot, which took home this year’s top prize (see trailer below). Two other bonuses: getting to see a handful of films for the price of one and only having to work up a minimal attention span! — N.C.

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If you go: Oscar Nominated Short Films, Harvard Exit Theatre, March 13th, ($10). All ages.

*Baby Gramps

The appeal here is partly from the fact that Baby Gramps doesn’t invite comparison. His voice has the same tires-on-a-gravel-road aesthetic as Tom Waits. But his endless variety of bizarre singing styles (he’s an accomplished throat singer, for example) and a reliance on acoustic guitar have more in common with Devendra Banhart and other members of the freak folk genre. Gramps also has roots in the Delta blues, which shouldn’t be overlooked either. After more than 40 years performing in the Northwest, he’s a hometown legend. — J.S-H.

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If you go:  Baby Gramps, Conor Byrne Pub, March 13 ($10). 21+.

Shpongle

If the word psybient sounds foreign to you, then you should spend Sunday discovering one of the bands that defines it. Shpongle — Simon Posford and Raja Ram’s psychedelic dance project — combines elements of modern EDM music (trap, glitch, dubstep) with world music. The result is something like Beats Antique, but more intimidating; a listening experience akin to a scene from Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. Expect slower builds and longer songs. These guys came up with bands like Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers, so their brand of electronica veers more in that direction, compared to their more modern, drop-obsessed counterparts. Shpongle is touring to showcase their latest LP, Museum of Consciousness.  — J.S-H.

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If you go: Sphongle, Neptune Theater, March 13 ($25). All ages.

*Pi DAY

I would be remiss not to mention what I believe is the most glorious of days. I will be capitalizing on this math-nerd holiday by baking actual pies cherry bourbon, key lime and lamb shepherd’s pie. If you don’t have the time or know-how to make your own, at least go and partake in a slice. Head to Shoofly Pie in West Seattle or go to Seattle Center or Fremont's Pie for sweet and savory confections for $3.14 apiece. A La Mode Pies on Phinney Ridge will also be serving up such wonders as white chocolate banana cream and lemon macaroon tart. “Pie-curious” t-shirts will allow you to continue the celebration year-round. — N.C.


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