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

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey's The River. Credit: Photo: Paul Kolnik

* Denotes events that are $15 or less

*The Soweto Gospel Choir Sing-A-Long

I did a triple take when I saw the press release for this event: The Soweto Gospel Choir — for free! The legendary, two-time Grammy-winning choir, who's played for the likes of world leaders and late-night talk show hosts, are in town as part of the UW World Series at Meany Hall. But before their weekend performances, they'll perform at Langston Hughes, joined by local choirs including members of The Sound of The Northwest and Seattle Pacific University. I have no idea what they'll be performing, but if I had my way, their song list would include the goosebump-inducing Malaika. First-come, first served; the venue only seats 300.

If you go: The Soweto Gospel Choir Sing-A-Long, The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Thursday, April 10. (FREE).  Also performing as part of the UW World Series at Meany Hall on Saturday, April 12. ($41-$46). — F.D.

Youryoungbody

This is music to walk home to at 3 a.m. on a night when the streetlights turn the raindrops a glowy yellow. Youryoungbody is a Seattle electronic duo consisting of vocalist Emily Cripe and producer Killian Brom. Cripe’s singing evokes Beach House, her delivery deliberately obfuscated until the singing becomes less lyrical and more musical. On the beat-making end of things, Brom's influences draw upon millennial-era drum and bass and contemporary electronica. The pair has significant range within their niche, however, moving comfortably between frantic club beats and hypnotic slow burners.

If you go:  Youryoungbody, Highline, Thursday, April 10 ($8). 21+. — J.S.H.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

I’d be shocked if a performance of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations didn’t inspire a standing ovation. And hand clapping. And let’s not forget the stirring of one’s soul, which is what happens when gospel songs and spirituals are married with lyrical, athletic choreography.  This is modern dance that embraces African-American culture and always packs an emotional punch. (And, on a local note, the tour marks the first time Jeroboam Bozeman, formerly of Spectrum Dance Theater, will be performing).

If you go: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Paramount, Friday, April 11 – Sunday, April 13. ($25 – $51). — F.D.

Impenetrable

A billboard goes up in a Chicago suburb. It shows a young woman in a bikini — and a bunch of arrows pointing to her problem areas. The women in town throw a fit and suddenly the spa that commissioned the billboard is the topic of much discussion. So is the spa’s Muslim proprietor, the bikini model, the photographer and the larger issue of female beauty and societal pressure to look attractive.

Chicago-based playwright Mia McCullough took a look at these actual events and then created her own set of characters for her play, Impenetrable. “It’s this paradox between feminism and this idea of how women are supposed to be,” she explains. “We want to pass on this idea [to younger generations] that you should love yourself no matter what, but we also have this inner self-loathing. So, how do you balance both things?”

At right: Ruth Yeo Peterman in SIS Production's of "Impenetrable." Photo: Rick Wong

This is the West Coast premiere by SIS Productions, which focuses on works about Asian Americans. The play is part of SIS’ “Celebrate Women” campaign.

If you go: Impenetrable, West of Lenin, Friday, April 11 – May 3. ($12 – $16). — F.D.

Little Shop of Horrors

I swear I’ve seen guys who look like Seymour, Little Shop of Horrors' green-thumbed protagonist — same plaid shirt, green pants, baseball cap — on Capitol Hill. We are a town full of fashionable nerds. We’re also a town that likes the silly. So here’s a musical about a total square, a ditzy blonde and a voracious, carnivorous plant. What’s not to love? Though if you don’t trust my opinion, consider the fact that Macklemore saw the show last week. How’s that for cred? 

At right: Seymour (Joshua Carter) and the Audrey II (puppeteer: Eric Esteb, voice: Ekello Harrid Jr.) in Little Shop of Horrors, a co-production of ACT and The 5th Avenue Theatre.  Photo: Tracy Martin

If you go: Little Shop of Horrors, ACT Theatre, Through June 15. ($20 – $69). — F.D.

* Kithkin and Wishbeard

Since genre labels are often very silly, let’s go out on a limb and invent one for Kithkin: caveman rock. The term suits them because the young Seattle band imbues their tracks with an unquantifiable, primal energy. Most members of the band will dabble in percussion over the course of a live show. Such drumming — heavy yet eclectic — along with energetic hoots and hollers that punctuate their songs result in a set that falls somewhere between garage rock and a Saturday-night drum circle on the beach.

As a bonus, another excellent Seattle rock act, Wishbeard, is also on the bill. They specialize in heavy psychedelic rock that dissolves into moments of shoe-gazy droning, known to elicit headbanging.

 

If you go:  Kithkin and Wishbeard, Neumos, Friday, April 11 ($7). All ages. — J.S-H.

* Lorrie Moore

Here’s what David Sedaris says about Lorrie Moore: “When you try to take apart a Lorrie Moore story, it’s joke, joke, joke, joke, joke and then at the end you’re devastated. And you think, how did she do that?” Which is precisely the kind of sorcery that Moore is capable of. Every story contains a line I wish I’d written, moments that are laugh-aloud hilarious, and scenes so human you look up from your book with overwhelming self-awareness. For the first time since her 1998 NYT bestseller (and work of perfection) Birds of America, she has a new collection of short stories, titled Bark: Stories. It’s an art form of which Moore is one of the masters and hearing her read one of her creations is a rare privilege.

If you go: Lorrie Moore, Central Library, Saturday, April 12, All Ages (FREE). — N.C.

ScHoolboy Q and Vince Staples

Last year, Kendrick Lamar was the one getting press on behalf of Cali hip-hop collective Black Hippy, for his cinematic concept album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.” This year, it’s Black Hippy member Schoolboy Q’s “Oxymoron” that’s got the group's name back in the news.

Don’t expect anything like Kendrick’s meticulous intellectualism — Q does not run in those circles, and isn’t trying to. He’s cited East Coast greats like Jay-Z and Biggie as his idols, and Q pays tribute with his raucous rhyme patterns and unapologetically brash lyrics. His opener, Vince Staples, is perhaps best known for his work with Odd Future, another L.A. hip-hop collective. The killer verse at the end of Earl Sweatshirt’s “Hive?” That’s him. His flow is the personification of Cali slacker rap: witty and seemingly effortless. I confidently predict that both of these acts will get people’s hands in the air.

If you go:  Schoolboy Q and Vince Staples, Showbox SoDo, Monday, April 14 ($25). All ages. — J.S-H.

Crosscut's arts coverage is made possible through the generous support of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

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