The Weekend List: The arts and culture guide to Seattle's good life
Zoe | Juniper’s BeginAgain
The last time I saw a Zoe|Juniper creation, I was lying on a dance floor, watching videos on the wall and ceiling, and feet and legs were doing their thing all around my head. I loved it for several reasons: 1) You could hear the dancers’ breathing and there’s nothing quite like being immersed in something. And 2) I was on the floor. Seriously, who thinks of something like that? This is the newest full-length production by the Seattle-based husband-and-wife duo (Zoe Scofield is the dancer; Juniper Shuey is the lighting/video whiz) who never fail to stoke the flames of creativity. Hurry, hurry, though. As of Thursday afternoon, only the Sunday show still had tickets available.
If you go: Zoe|Juniper’s “BeginAgain,” On the Boards, March 27 – March 30. ($12-$20). — F.D.
Here’s a descriptor you don’t find in a press release everyday: “a lively, historical peep show.” But that’s what this cabaret musical is offering — a production that aims to whisk you back to Seattle’s seedier past. Based on a book by journalist Rick Anderson, the musical spans 80 years. Director/composer Mark Siano opted to focus on 1965, “when this city was really hopping and really dirty at the same time.” There’s an 18-person cast, barely-there (I’m assuming) costumes, and a band playing music that’s a mix of 1960s groove rock and loungesque Vegas songs. I’m just curious how the James Gandalfini-esque Seattle crime boss Frank Colacurcio is going to be cast. Please, let him be clothed.
If you go: Seattle Vice, ACT Theatre Bullitt Cabaret, March 28 – April 19. ($20-$35). — F.D.
You have one last chance to head to Georgetown and take in this small but provocative show about the labels and vulnerabilities and the brutality that surrounds race. The work here, by 6 artists, is (no surprise) unsettling – poems that upend nursery rhymes and turn them into racist songs; a video that juxtaposes the joy of an elephant being freed from captivity, alongside horrific footage of an elephant on a rampage that is shot dead. The work that caused me to linger and absorb deeply is a piece by Barbara Earl Thomas, a call-and-response essay about the comments she endured from whites as an African American child. You speak fluent English and you are so articulate!/Yes, and thank you. Thomas is slated to swing by the gallery after 1 p.m.
If you go: Stereotype, Length Width Height gallery, noon to 4 p.m. on March 29. Free. — F.D.
*Ernest & Celestine
Charming animation, complete with an accordion-heavy soundtrack, illuminates the story of Ernest and Celestine, a bear and mouse who are friends in a world that is very much against them. Cute, funny and totally twee, this is a film whose storyline and animation are mesmerizing. It’ll come as no surprise that Ernest & Celestine scored a 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes; was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, or that Didier Brunner, one of the film’s three directors, was the producer of The Triplets of Belleville. It’ll be showing for a VERY limited run — one week only at the Seven Gables Theatre. So go and be overwhelmed by cuteness.
If you go: Ernest & Celestine, Seven Gables Theatre, March 28- April 4th, ($10). All ages. — N.C.
The Black Lips
Tempting as it may be to write off The Black Lips as one more blues-rock band with black in their name, consider this: Creating super avant-garde music is commendable, but so is the ability to breathe new life into a classic genre. The Lips are deft at this and they pull from more styles (surf, blues, grunge and punk) with alacrity similar to Blitzen Trapper.
If you go: The Black Lips 'ê¨with The Coathangers + Universe People, Neumos, March 28 ($16). 21+. — J.S-H.
The War on Drugs
This band is perhaps the National’s only serious challenger for the title of Most Sophisticated Rock Act. The War on Drugs’ Americana shoegaze sound is most conveniently compared to Kurt Vile, since Vile is a former member of the band. But the foundation of it — both musically and in singer Adam Granduciel’s delivery — harken back to mid-career Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. The way the band combines that influence with newfangled guitar/key effects is pretty stunning. These guys are pedal nerds and rock poets.
If you go: The War on Drugs, The Neptune, 9 p.m. March 28 ($18-$20). — J.S-H.
Washington Hall Benefit Concert
I’m not going to go off about all the new construction that’s taking place in the city, but here’s something if you’re itching to help preserve one of Seattle’s most legendary buildings: Washington Hall. Or, as jazz musician Dave Holden likes to call it: THE Washington Hall. The Central Area building is a direct link to Seattle’s thriving jazz scene from back in the day. Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Count Basie all graced its stage. So did Holden’s father, pianist Oscar Holden, who jammed with Louis Armstrong and once taught Nat King Cole how to play. Dave Holden and four generations of his family will perform in a concert with The Teaching, the local jazz/R&B/hip hop band that’s my go-to for chillaxing.
If you go: Washington Hall Benefit Concert featuring The Holden Family and The Teaching, Washington Hall, March 29 ($20). — F.D.
The latest film in SIFF’s DocBrunch series is bookended by complimentary fried plantains and a Q&A with one of the directors. It’s the touching story of Hillywood, Rwanda’s burgeoning film industry, and there’s nothing quite like watching the pure joy that unfolds when these movie makers see what they’ve created on a big screen. Stirring and thought-provoking, Seattle filmmakers Leah Warshawski (who’ll be in attendance) and Chris Towey have created a doc that “functions as a Rwandan history lesson, but also reveals the power of media as a catalyst for cultural healing.”
If you go: Finding Hillywood, SIFF Cinema Uptown, March 30 at 12:30 p.m., ($11). All ages. — N.C.
This is the band that has been (not so) quietly making the Seattle late-nighters improve their interplanetary funksmanship for the last few years. They are ice cold. They are burning up. They have a song called “Moon Cabbage.” Meet The Polyrhythmics. But in all seriousness, these guys craft sinewy, cinematic funk jams that will make your whole body twist for minute after glorious minute if you let them. The best comparison is The Budos Band, another large instrumental funk outfit. This band, however, draws on a heavier Afrobeat. They’re also based in Seattle and play around here often, so you’ll have other chances to see them. But why not start now?
If you go: Polyrhythmics, The Tractor Tavern, March 29, ($15). 21+. — J.S-H.
I used to think comedian Aziz Ansari was a bit of a one note. Like his Parks and Rec character Tom Haverford, he wears fancy suits, his delivery involves cutesy voices and his material is rife with Jay-Z references. But upon watching his 2013 Netflix special Buried Alive, I was totally blown away. Yeah, he talks about his favorite hip-hop artists and going to clubs, but he also does what all good stand-up comedians should: He makes you think — about marriage, about how women are treated, about technology. He makes you chuckle lightly, and sigh, and laugh until you gasp. It’s a Generation Y sort-of-humor, but it’s cathartic and dead-on and Ansari’s proven he’s capable of growing with the times.
If you go: Aziz Ansari, Moore Theatre, March 30 and 31st ($25- $35) — N.C.
Every time I check Facebook, I’m astounded by the breadth of the Seattle DIY rock scene. Almost every night of the week, there’s a listing for some deliciously noisy band playing at some bar, someone’s house or some semi-legal venue. Monogamy Party is one such delicious band and they’re playing a free show! If you feel like disregarding the work week, or if you have the day off and you feel like banging your head to nihilistic post-grunge, this is your event.
If you go: Monogamy Party, Cha Cha Lounge, March 30 (free). 21+. — J.S-H.
Stranger- turned- Jezebel writer and comedian Lindy West will be in conversation with Stephanie Coontz, Evergreen State College Professor and Co-Chair and Director of Public Education at the Council of Contemporary Families. West, who I’ve seen host The Moth storytelling series, is always a pleasure on stage — candid, hilarious and completely, terrifyingly unafraid. And her writing encapsulates a similar mindset: “I smuggle important, complicated topics to people via super colloquial language.” Whether or not this sort of writing is what feminism needs now is part of the conversation, and this night is sure to provide a fun environment in which to grapple with these issues.
If you go: Today’s Feminism, Town Hall, March 31st at 7 p.m. ($10). — N.C.
Crosscut's arts coverage is made possible through the generous support of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.