The Weekend List: The arts and culture guide to Seattle's good life
*denotes events that are $15 or less
The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess
At the center of this story is Bess (Alicia Hall Moran), an addict hooked on “happy dust” who’s got almost nothing when it comes to self-esteem. What she does have is a huge, lusty, I-can’t-help-myself attraction to the thunderous Crown (Alvin Crawford). And she’s finally allowed herself to believe in the selfless passion of the hugely big-hearted Porgy (Nathaniel Stampley). How Bess struggles between these two men is utterly absorbing in this touring production of the Broadway, Tony-winning show.
Alicia Hall Moran as Bess and Nathaniel Stampley as Porgy in the "The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess." Photo: Michael J. Lutch
If you go: The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, The 5th Avenue Theatre, Now through June 29 (Tickets start at $29). — F.D.
Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical
The new exhibition is the Seattle Art Museum’s first in-depth exploration of a modern art movement birthed in our city and I’ve already decided I have to go see it again because, suddenly, I’m a total Mark Tobey fan! Maybe it’s because the Frye Museum whet my appetite earlier this year with its Tobey/Baiye show. Or maybe it’s because I’ve had one too many OMG, look–at-the-crowds-in-Pike-Place-Market moments. But Tobey’s paintings, as they’re collected in this show, sent me to a deeply contemplative place. Back in the 1940s, Tobey looked at a Pike Place Market throng, but what he wound up painting — all those faces, all those gestures — had me staring non-stop. I know I’m connecting to an art exhibit when I start playing that What Piece of Art Would You Like to Have From This Show? game. The Morris Graves watercolor of an eagle (which looks to me like a snowy owl)? That sculpted otter? That Guy Anderson painting of Deception Pass? All. Yes. Please.
If you go: Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical, Seattle Art Museum, Now through Sept. 7 ($19.50 ) — F.D.
HONK! Fest West*
One of my favorite weekends of the year, and doubtlessly among Seattle’s best outdoor festivals, is HONK! Fest West, a celebration of brass bands from all over the country. The fun kicks off Thursday night at the Nectar but my two favorite locales are always Georgetown on Friday night and Gas Works Park on Saturday. The former adds just the right amount of grungy weirdness as the sound deflects off the highway underpasses. On Saturday, meander through the Roald Dahl-esque land of Gas Works where bands perform on four different stages. Other thing to note: the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders pep bands are always there. Check out the complete schedule here.
If you go: HONK! Fest West, Neumos, Georgetown, Gas Works Park, Hale’s Ales, and Waterfront Park, June 19 to 22 (Most events are free.) — N.C.
Fremont Fair Concert Series
The Fremont Summer Solstice Festival has a new twist this year: a music lineup. And we’re not talking acoustic buskers, either. It’s eight bands over two musically disparate days. Friday has a definite rock feel: Built to Spill is headlining, with local bubblepunks Tacocat supporting, along with The Young Evils and Campfire Ok. Sunday is heavy on the hip hop: brainy DJ/MC duo Blue Scholars headlines, with rap fusion aficionados The Physics supporting, along with The Flavr Blue and Cascadia ’10. Think of it as a Choose Your Own Adventure concert series. The two days will take you through two very different Northwest music culture sects.
If you go: Fremont Fair concert series, Redhook Main Stage (Evanston Ave N & N 35th St), June 20 and 21 ($20). — J.S.H.
A lot of bands signed to Help Yourself Records make their way into these listings, primarily because this local record label and the artists associated with it have a steely grasp on the necessity of the pop hook — but aren’t enslaved to it. High-speed riffs, singing “Oooooo” over and over, deploying drumbeats at machine gun tempos, these are what keep people up past their bedtimes. Dude York and Chastity Belt are both signed to the label, and both understand this principle well. Wimps also works with Help yourself. The band has a similar pop affinity baked into their garage rock style, and they play the Highline on Capitol Hill this week. Additionally, this show is the newest edition of Grudge Rock, a gameshow-esque event where two Bands — on this night it’s Wimps and locals Posse — compete to win all the door money the show pulls in.
If you go: Wimps, Highline, June 21 ($8). — J.S.H.
You’re Looking at Country*
Northwest Film Forum’s description of this all-lady night of live music plus classic country music videos is so full of buzz words that I don’t even know what I’m most excited about. Sequined Nudie suits? Miss Dolly Parton? Cheerful songs about alcoholism, family feuds, murder, man trouble and Jesus? Come for the Loretta Lynn, or the hair, or the frosty brews. No matter what, you won’t be disappointed.
The forecast for the weekend is looking (quite literally) brighter than the current grey funk. We should celebrate this good luck by seeing one of the most heartfelt living soul singers as she performs outdoors at the Woodland Park Zoo. Mavis Staples began her half-century-long (and counting) career singing with her sisters and father as part of The Staple Singers in the late ’40s. More contemporarily, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s role in producing Mavis’ last two albums have given her sound a rootsy sincerity unlike anything she’s previously done.
If you go: Mavis Staples, Woodland Park Zoo, June 22 ($32.50). — J.S.H.
Café Pettirosso’s Weekly Bake Sale *
Café Pettirosso on Capitol Hill does it all: They make great lattes in the morning; they provide a totally adorable, European café to hang out in during the day; they serve up a rave-worthy weekend brunch, and later on, they make some of the most delicious cocktails and French fries in town. Not that they needed to, but they’ve added to their repertoire with a weekly bake sale. Every Monday, the pastry case is overflowing with pastry chef Danell George’s sweet and savory creations. If they’re as good as everything else they touch, this is not to missed.
If you go: Weekly Bake Sale, Café Pettirosso, June 23 from 9 a. m.- 3 p.m. (Prices vary) — N.C.
Crosscut's arts coverage is made possible through the generous support of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.