* denotes items that are $15 or less
ARC Dance Summer Dance at the Center
The Seattle-based contemporary ballet company debuts a word premiere by Gérard Théorêt (Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Cirque du Soleil) as well as works by Jason Ohlberg (Hubbard Street Dance), Alex Ketley (San Francisco Ballet, The Foundry), Kirk Midtskog (Halby Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet), and Marie Chong (ARC Director). The Midtskog piece is paired with Chong’s work and offers a dance diptych: classical and structured with something contemporary and free form. Why the pairing? Chong choreographed her “Something Fun” to that loveliest of songs The Beatles’ Blackbird, which she learned was inspired in part by Bach’s Bouree in E Minor. That’s the score for Midtskog’s “A Short Bouree.”
If you go: ARC Dance Summer Dance at the Center, Seattle Rep’s Leo K. Theater, July 17-19 ($25-$35) — F.D.
Summer at SAM
Free events return to my favorite incarnation of the Seattle Art Museum: the Olympic Sculpture Park. Each Thursday night, musical entertainment, an art activity, a park tour and food trucks (including Off the Rez and Where Ya At Matt?) are lined up between 6 and 9. Every Saturday between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., SAM hosts free yoga by 8 Limbs, and yet another free tour and opportunity to create art, guided by Gage Academy teaching fellows. Head down with a sketchbook and a picnic blanket to soak up the summertime rays beneath giant installations of new and old.
If you go: Summer at SAM, Olympic Sculpture Park, Thursdays and Saturdays until September 6th, All Ages (Free) — N.C. *
Outdoor Summer Movies
A bunch of summer movie series have launched around town. If you are a cinephile with a small pocketbook, you could literally go to four a week until you’ve totally fine-tuned quoting The Princess Bride in its entirety. Three Dollar Bill Cinema hosts movies on the theme of Teenage Dreams (Bring It On! Clueless! Dirty Dancing) in Cal Anderson on Saturdays in August. Over at Seattle Center, “Movies at the Mural” kicks off on July 26. On its schedule: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Gravity, and The Great Gatsby. Head to Fremont for the Outdoor Movies series on Saturdays where you can watch three of Wes Anderson’s most beloved works along with cult classics such as Office Space and The Big Lebowski. But here’s what’s really important: Fremont’s official sponsor this year is Talenti Gelato (look for my forthcoming manifesto on their Sicilian Pistachio gelato) and they’ll be providing free gelato pops.
If you go: Outdoor Summer Movies, Various locations throughout Seattle, Dates and times vary (Prices also vary) — N.C. *
Vince Staples is still at the point in his career where he is better known for his collaborations and features than any of his solo work. That said, he has proven himself an alacritous rapper on so many occasions (his mixtape with Mac Miller and my personal favorite, his verse on Earl Sweatshirt’s single “Hive”) that he deserves Seattle’s vote of confidence at this solo show. His flow stands out as at once complicated and languid. He articulates convoluted metaphors and scenarios in a tone that seems to say “I could try harder, but this is already excellent so why bother?”
If you go: Vince Staples, Neumos, July 17 ($18). — J.S.H.
The Hold Steady
This is a band that draws its influences from the heart of American rock, and has, in turn, influenced an entire subsequent generation of musicians. But when explaining The Hold Steady to new listeners, I often mention The Boss — Bruce Springsteen that is. They have the same juice and the same brash sensitivity that fuels Springsteen’s Blue Collar anthems. Vocalist Craig Finn’s voice is at once punk rock rough and Americana deep. His lyrics, which are often emotional human stories, pair excellently with the band’s keyboard laced hard rock. They’re touring behind the new LP “Teeth Dreams,” the band’s first in four years.
If you go: The Hold Steady, The Neptune, July 18 ($21). — J.S.H.
Blood Ensemble's "Barn Show"
Yes, it’s sold out but before you hate me, I’m including this as a public service announcement. The group, per its website, says it’s possible it could be adding more dates. So you’re invited to check back on their website in case things change.
And who is Blood Ensemble and what are they up to? The local theater group does site-specific work and this time, they’re staging a ghost story inside a Marysville barn. I procrastinated and didn’t get a ticket in time so I’m kicking myself — and now you know.
If you go: Blood Ensemble’s “Barn Show, Somewhere in Marysville. Sold out through Aug. 2. To find out about additional dates go here. — F.D.
Doktor Kaboom Live Wire Mash Up!
First, there’s his name: Doctor Kaboom! Then, the props: Arcing Bolts of Plasma (Yowza!). The Electric Pickle (Awesomesauce!). Science meets comedy (or maybe it’s the other way around) in a show aimed for the younger set but that’s being billed as entertaining for the adults in tow. But, warning: Actual high voltage electricity will be involved in at least one demo so anyone with pacemakers or other implanted electrical devices is advised to stay away.
If you go: Doktor Kaboom Live Wire Mash Up! West of Lenin Theater, July 19 and 20 ($8-$10) — F.D. *
The Polyphonic Spree
I love bands that are so humongous that the best descriptor for them is the more accurate "pop orchestra." Pink Martini is one of these. So is Arcade Fire. But The Polyphonic Spree may well outstrip them both in terms of size. The group will have 22 members at this week’s performance at The Triple Door. As one might expect, the collective’s music has jaw-dropping depth, with layer upon layer of vocals, strings, horns, guitars and percussion. Lead singer and founder Tim DeLaughter rides this cavalcade like a wave with his singsong and just slightly quivery voice.
If you go: The Polyphonic Spree, The Triple Door, July 21 ($30). — J.S.H.
Crosscut's arts coverage is made possible through the generous support of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.