The Weekend List: The arts and culture guide to Seattle's good life

Music, music everywhere: Piano man Victor Janusz at ACT, Chive Fest in W. Seattle, Wye Oak at Neumos. Plus, Othello in the park
Music, music everywhere: Piano man Victor Janusz at ACT, Chive Fest in W. Seattle, Wye Oak at Neumos. Plus, Othello in the park

*Denotes events that are $15 or less

Hands Solo

Victor Janusz has been a longtime Seattle Cabaret artist. In this one-man show, he offers up story after story (er, song after song) about what his life as a piano man has been like. There was the time, when he was eight, when he was “fired” by his piano teacher. There was the time when he was sexually confused, back in the 1970s. And there was the time when he was that guy tickling the ivories inside Nordstrom, every Monday morning for nearly nine years.

Crosscut archive image.
Credit: Jimmy Malecki

It was during the Nordstrom gig that Janusz met Andre Previn, the famed conductor who composed the soundtrack for the movie Valley of the Dolls. “It just so happens I am a fan of his cheesy songs (from that film) and I belted out one of them at the piano with the bored Shoe Department clapping along,” Janusz says. “I found out much later that it isn’t so good to remind Previn about that film. But he was doing a little dance-shuffle as I sang and seemed genuinely delighted.”

If you go: HANDS SOLO: Pianoman, ACT Theatre’s Bullitt Cabaret, July 10-July 20 ($25). — F.D.

GreenStage’s Shakespeare in the Park *

Crosscut archive image.GreenStage is presenting its 26th season of free Shakespeare in the Park, and by its own count, it’s one of the few companies in the world that has performed all of Shakespeare’s works. (A whopping 39, although some people say it’s actually 37). Point is: This group is committed to presenting the Bard’s canon in an outdoor, comfy setting and again, I ask you, can you seriously pass up a chance to expand your soul and free your feet from footwear? Even more attractive: Greenstage productions roam from park to park throughout King County (and also Snohomish). On any given night there are as many as three productions in a park that’s likely to be in or near your ‘hood.

There are two larger productions: Othello and Love’s Labour’s Lost. Mini productions (4 actors, 45 minutes) of The Comedy of Errors and All’s Well That Ends Well also continue through mid-August.

If you go: Shakespeare in the Park: Othello, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Comedy of Errors and All’s Well That Ends Well. Various city parks throughout King County (and Snohomish). July 11 through Aug. 16 (Free). — F.D.  

The Internet’s Own Boy *

This documentary is about Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz, who was indicted in 2011 for systematically downloading thousands of academic journals without paying fees. The case ended with Swartz's suicide in the face of a 35-year prison sentence. His sad story sparked conversations about democracy, justice and intellectual property rights in the digital age. The Internet’s Own Boy keeps the conversation alive, framed by the life of Swartz, a pivotal (and unwitting) free speech activist.

If you go: The Internet’s Own Boy, Northwest Film Forum, July 11 through 17th, ($11) — N.C.

West Seattle Summer Fest *

Seattle is a busy city for music this weekend. In addition to Chive Fest (see video on next page), West Seattle’s Summer Fest has a spiffy lineup sprawling across three days. My favorites are the harder local rock acts — The Fabulous Downey Brothers, Hobosexual and Dude York — but local Americana/country favorites The Moondoggies and The Country Lips should not to be overlooked in any way shape or form. The Sub Pop-signed, Oregon alt rock band The Helio Sequence is perhaps the biggest name on the bill. Look for them on Saturday, last act, playing at 9:30 p.m. And it's all FREE!

If you go: West Seattle Summer Fest, The West Seattle Junction, July 11-13 (Free). — J.S.H.

Urban Craft Uprising *

This twice-annual event is like a real Etsy that you can wander through, browsing goods made by talented craftsmen near and far. Highlights include hip screen-printed and waxed canvas bags from such sweet tierney, the coolest wooden jewelry from Bird of Virtue and, in a sea of animal illustrations, the best by Irene Akio. There are also a handful of book signings, including Amy Pennington (popping around again!) and Molly Wizenberg of pizza wonderland Delancey. I always come hom from this with a lot of inspiration, a few gifts and a ton of cards for artists whose work I fall in love with.

If you go: Urban Craft Uprising, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, July 12 and 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Free) — N.C.

Chive Fest

Think of this as preparation for Bumbershoot 2014. Chive Fest is a one-day mini festival of sorts at Seattle Center this Saturday. 2 Chainz —  who is at once the most laughable and laudable southern rapper — is headlining. Joining him is mash-up DJ wizard Girl Talk and semi-satirical heavy metal band Steel Panther, along with several other openers. If those first three don’t make it plain as day, the musical atmosphere is going to be absolutely ridiculous. Seeing these three artists in one day will be an emotional roller coaster that everyone with an extra chunk of change should take a ride on.

If you go: Chive Fest, Seattle Center, July 12 ($73.50). — J.S.H.

Wye Oak

From the first track of their newest album “Shriek” (released this April), it’s clear that Wye Oak has transformed its sound. The song called “Before” opens with a tight, bright keyboard riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of Danger Mouse’s projects (especially Broken Bells). From there, the music swells until it feels enormous, but in a groovy, direct way. It’s a conspicuous departure from the folk and Americana- influenced indie sound of "Civilian," Wye Oak's last album. Throughout this new work, the keys and bass lines take on more dominant roles. Even the band’s use of background and filler noise is different, sounding more digitized and less like the distortion style noise often found in contemporary alt rock. Catch this show and you'll catch a legendary band in an important transitional phase.

If you go: Wye Oak, Neumos, July 15 ($18). 21+. — J.S.H.

Photo of Johnny Patchamatla and Martyn G. Krouse in "Othello" courtest of Greenstage.



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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.