Vermillion, Thurs. 12/5 at 7 p.m., FREE ($5 for top-shelf tonic drink)
This night is dedicated to the unique and elusive tonic water, a beverage once lauded for its medicinal properties and now often dismissed as a mere mixer, slurred in conjunction with the word gin. Learn about what makes tonic water unique (quinine!) and sample some Bradley’s Tonic Water, the first tonic producer in the Pacific Northwest. There will also be gin and other liquor available for mixing.
A Very Alan Thickemas!
Central Cinema, Thurs. 12/5 at 8 p.m., $8
Admittedly, most of the reason I’m choosing this (80 percent, at least) is the pun — and the out-of-the-blue reference to Canadian actor and Growing Pains dad Alan Thicke. I’ve had a few friends with Thicke crushes (go figure) and maybe seeing the puppet show A Very Alan Thickemas will help me to understand why. A Google search confirms only that the show is puppets only, plus the voice of Alan Thicke, and that he has aged pretty well. I’m already confused.
Resident Finale: Ellen Forney and David Montgomery
Town Hall, Fri. 12/6, $5
I’ve alluded to their many interesting projects and presentations before and finally here we are at the capstone. Local graphic novelist and artist Ellen Forney (whose autobiographical graphic novel about mental illness, Marbles, took the world by storm last year) and beloved (by me) geologist David Montgomery will present the fruits of their joint Town Hall residency. They'll be focusing on how storytelling has shaped their work. Come celebrate an awesome scholar, an awesome artist and this relatively recent Town Hall residency program!
Urban Craft Uprising
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, Fri. 12/7, Sat. 12/8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., FREE
The biannual Urban Craft Uprising returns, just in time for the holidays! Whether you’re buying gifts (for loved ones — or yourself) or simply getting ideas, this gathering of more than 100 vendors (and a few snack stands) is a great way to see the work of Pacific Northwest artists. We’re still riding the anthropomorphic creature wave from a few years back, but last year letter-pressed and handmade calendars crept onto the scene. What's next?!?
The White Buffalo
The Crocodile, Sat. 12/7, $15 advance
The White Buffalo (aka singer-songwriter Jake Smith) is a burly man with a gravelly tender voice that takes me to sunsets and dusty plots of land in frontier America. The song “Sleepy Little Town” (with the internal rhyming of “green” and “kerosene,” and “blue” and “afternoon) is what made me fall in love, but you may know him from Sons of Anarchy, which features seven of his songs.
Sat. 12/7 at 8 p.m., $12 advance
Co-presented by KEXP and Abbey Arts, this is the sixth in a series of “contemplative indie shows” at St. Mark’s Cathedral. Folk singer Sera Cahoone and Tomo Nakayama from Grand Hallway and friends each performs a one-of-kind set that exploits the acoustics of the unfinished, cavernous cathedral. Bring your own cushions and blankets if you really want the intended “living room concert” feel. I recommend listening to Cahoone’s 2012 album Deer Creek Canyon (particularly “Shakin’ Hands”) to get yourself in the mood.
Elliott Bay, Wed. 12/11, FREE
Beloved local writer Sherman Alexie (whose praises I’ve now sung two weeks in a row) has released a new book of poetry, What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned. His books — Tonto and the Lone Ranger Fistflight in Heaven (my personal favorite), The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian — and film (Smoke Signals) are all fairly autobiographical, evoking Alexie’s childhood on the Spokane Indian Reservation. His work is filled with humor and intimacy that makes you forgive any sentimentalism.