The Weekend List: "The Consul" at Seattle Opera. LA rappers Eligh and The Grouch. Noguchi and mentor.

Plus, "Winter is Coming" art and the genre-defying music of Heartwarmer at the Tractor.
Plus, "Winter is Coming" art and the genre-defying music of Heartwarmer at the Tractor.

Crosscut archive image.
Seattle Opera's "The Consul." Photo: Elise Bakketun

* denotes events that are $15 or less

The Consul
The villain here is government bureaucracy, with its floor-to-ceiling filing cabinets and a consulate secretary insisting that one just waits. A woman’s doing the waiting and she’s desperate to save herself and her young family. “I ask you for help/All you give me are papers.” Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Consul” touches on the themes of hope and displacement and it’s about as accessible a story as you can find in the spectacle that is opera. (It’s even sung in English). When it was produced in New York in 1950, it broke records: 269 performances to sold-out crowds on Broadway. It struck a chord back then and you deserve to let it connect with you now.

If you go: The Consul, Seattle Opera at McCaw Hall, Through March 7 (Tickets start at $25). – F.D.

*Winter in the Blood

Virgil First Raise wakes up in a ditch in the plains of Montana. He’s hungover. He’s hurt. His father is dead and his wife has just taken off — with his rifle. What transpires is a story about loss and recovery. Shot in Montana, with a large Native American cast (including Chaske Spencer from the “Twilight” movies), the film is based on the seminal 1974 Native American novel by James Welch. Directors Alex and Andrew Smith, actor Chaske Spencer and producer Sherman Alexie are scheduled to attend some of the early screenings. Check listings. Presented in partnership with Longhouse Media.  

If you go: Winter In the Blood, Northwest Film Forum, Through March 6, ($11). - F.D. 

*AWP Conference Off-site Events

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs selected Seattle as this year’s host city. Which means more than 100 free off-site events that celebrate everything from the chapbook to the visual language of jewelry. What I’m most looking forward to are the poetry readings, especially the group reading hosted by Northwestern University Press at Elliott Bay.

If you go: Various venues throughout the city, Through March 1. (FREE). – N.C.

The Grouch & Eligh

Crosscut archive image.The Grouch & Eligh, the two lynch pins of the LA-based rap collective Living Legends, are spitting rhymes at Neumos. Musically, they land somewhere between G-funk inspired Cali rap and the multi-layered, mile-a-minute rapping style characteristic of the Minneapolis Rhymesayers. While both rappers have longstanding solo careers, they also have a mountain of material to draw upon. The duo’s collaborative work spans several albums and mixtapes over a 12-year period. Earlier this month they dropped a new triple album, “The Tortoise and the Crow.” As a rule, posse rap shows are high energy and these rappers have been perfecting their two-man routine for quite a while now. There are worse ways to get an early start on the weekend.

If you go:  The Grouch and  Eligh, Neumos, Feb. 27, ($17). All ages.- J.S.H.

*Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930

Crosscut archive image.There was a serious language barrier when the artists Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi met in 1930 in Beijing. Noguchi spoke no Chinese; Qi no English. But they bonded over art and craft and Noguchi apprenticed under the master ink painter for the next six months. Their friendship and influence on one another plays out through the exhibit, which is a unique opportunity to see Noguchi’s abstract ink and crayon paintings of nudes, wrestlers and squirmy babies. The Japanese-American artist, who died in 1988, is more well-known for his sculpture and furniture designs. Qi painted the lowliest of objects — stalks of corn, a grasshopper, shrimp. “Who says that plants have no passion?” reads an inscription on a painting of daffodils. And with a brushstroke, a master profoundly influenced a mentee who, years later, would refer to Qi as “my art’s teacher.”

If you go:  Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930, Frye Art Museum, Through May 25 (free). – F.D.

*Sync Music Video Festival + The Ultimate ‘80s Music Video Sing Along
It’s a musical double header: a showcase of music videos by four Northwest directors and a sing along. Which means you can take pride in hometown talent Sera Cahoone, Hey Marseilles and Cumulus while also showing off your best “Come on Eileen.” Yes, there’ll be subtitles.

If you go: Sync Music Video Festival and The Ultimate ‘80s Music Sing Along , SIFF Cinema Uptown, Feb. 28. ($11 - $15) – N.C.  

Most of the time, when you upload anything by Tom Waits into iTunes, the program wants to define the genre as “unclassifiable.” Adding the band Heatwarmer to your music library is likely to produce a similar result. Theirs is quirkily genreless, if not meticulously composed. The band is rooted in jazz, which makes sense, as frontman and bass warlock Luke Bergman is immersed in the local jazz scene and teaches in the Jazz department at the UW School of Music. But Heatwarmer ventures far afield from jazz, exploring an impossibly wide spectrum of music with only slick bass, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and groovy synths as a constant. The classic rock band King Crimson might be the best analog, as members blended similar elements of folk, jazz, and prog rock. If you haven’t seen this Seattle mainstay perform, now is the time.

If you go: Heatwarmer, The Tractor Tavern, Feb. 28, ($10). 21+. - J.S.H.


*The Coup
Live rap concerts can be so disappointing. You fall in love with the way the album sounds in headphones and then the in-person versions never live up. But that’s not likely to happen with The Coup. Much like local act Theoretics and classic rap-rockers Rage Against the Machine, The Coup combines funk, rock and heavily politicized rap, all driven by the James Brown-influenced swagger of frontman Boots Riley. They play in the all-ages Vera Project, which means the younger set will be out on a school night to soak up some subversive hip-hop. But Vera always welcomes an older crowd, which is good for a lot of us folk. 

If you go: The Coup, The Vera Project, Mar. 2, ($13). All Ages. - J.S.H.


*Winter is Coming: The Art Show
With his A Song of Ice and Fire best-selling book series — adapted into HBO’s “Game of Thrones” — author George R.R. Martin has created a fantasy empire like no other. Now you can embrace a carefully curated collection of art inspired by the characters and locations of the epic series. Works by more than 50 fantasy and pop artists will be displayed while DJ Hojo spins; Georgetown Brewing Company, maker of Manny’s and Lucille IPA (which are both pretty epic themselves) provides refreshments.   

If you go: Winter is Coming: The Art Show, Ltd. Art Gallery, March 1 through March 23 (FREE). – N.C.

Photo credits: Peking Man drawing (The Noguchi Museum).


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About the Authors & Contributors

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Joseph Sutton-Holcomb

Joseph is a full-time landscaper, part-time journalist and full time culture junkie discovering the hidden joys of life as a UW graduate in Seattle. When not taking care of plants or writing, he spends his time in the company of good friends enjoying film, music and the great outdoors.