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

Bask in Kinky Boots' drag queen magnificence, get intimate with Bruce Lee and learn the secret to perfect pies. (GF, no problem.)
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The cast of the First National Tour of Kinky Boots, coming to The 5th Avenue Theatre.

Bask in Kinky Boots' drag queen magnificence, get intimate with Bruce Lee and learn the secret to perfect pies. (GF, no problem.)

* Denotes events that are $15 or less

Kinky Boots

I could tell you the plot here is about a small business trying to make it. How sons push against their fathers’ expectations. Or, the definition of a man. But what you really want to know about are the drag queens: Are they gorgeous? Are they sexy? Can they actually walk around in Mt. Rainier-high heels? The answer is, deliciously, yes and the entire production is one wonderfully absorbing shimmery spectacle; plenty of va va voom but also, piercingly poignant. (“Not My Father’s Son”)

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The cast of the First National Tour of Kinky Boots, coming to The 5th Avenue Theatre. 'ꀋCredit: Matthew Murphy

Cyndi Lauper wrote the music and lyrics; Harvey Fierstein wrote the book. Jerry Mitchell choreographs and directs. The show won the 2013 Tony for Best Musical. The touring production features Kyle Taylor Parker as Lola, lip smacking, god-that-body, sensuality oozing out of her pores Lola and she is a marvel to behold. I would go back just to hear Parker say the words red and tubular, to stare at those arms and to watch him in that gauzy blue dress and sing “Hold Me In Your Heart.” Outstanding.

If you go: Kinky Boots, 5th Avenue Theatre, Through Oct. 26 (Tickets start at $45.25) — F.D.

Do You Know Bruce? *

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One of the most remarkable things about Bruce Lee are the legions of fans who continue to admire him, fans born long after Lee’s death in 1973. These are the fans who continue to trek to Seattle’s Lake View Cemetery to pay their respects and to leave behind trinkets of affection, like jewelry or a speech written out on index cards. Or, the fans that’ll find their way to the oldest Chinese restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown International District (Tai Tung) to sit at the table where Lee used to order a plate of oyster sauce beef.

At right: Bruce Lee dressed for the chilly weather in Seattle. Photo: Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

And yet, there are still things to discover about Lee, whether you’re an expert or a newcomer, and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Experience offers a thorough vehicle through which to learn about him. Photographs, magazine covers, his college notebooks outlining his martial arts philosophy, even a replica of the letter offering him the groundbreaking role of Kato in “The Green Hornet” — all of it is on display in a newly-built gallery at the museum. The exhibit is the only one of its kind outside Hong Kong and whether you’re on a quest to find out more about Bruce Lee’s quotidian Seattle years or Bruce Lee the iconic martial artist, you’ll find it here.

If you go: Do You Know Bruce? Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Experience, Through 2017 ($14.95) — F.D.

Kate Lebo: Pie School *

Kate Lebo has made herself a local celebrity by talking about pie. And making pie. And writing about pie. And, luckily for us, teaching others how to make pie. You may have spotted her zine The Commonplace Book of Pie around Seattle over the last few years. The mini manifesto includes humorous poetry, recipes and “fantasy zodiac” all dedicated to one of the most delicious and versatile foods: you know, pie! The food writer and poet’s new full-length book, Pie School, features 50 perfect pie recipes, plus the secret to good gluten-free crust and other tricks. She’ll be at Book Larder to share her passion and a lifetime of tips, as well as demonstrating an all-butter crust.

If you go: Kate Lebo: Pie School, Book Larder, Oct. 16 (Free), All ages. — N.C.

Blood Squad *

While comedy horror improv troupe Blood Squad is always on their game, Halloween is the perfect time to see these four talented individuals on stage. For a horror neophyte like me, it’s two hours of gut-busting laughs, knee slaps and sidelong glances (by arguably the best improv troupe in Seattle); for lovers of the horror genre, however, the experience is something special as they spoof specific subgenres with aplomb and chilling accuracy. This time, in their first ever double feature, they’ll be presenting “Part One: Victorian Ripper Slasher” at 7:30 p.m. and “Part Two: Deep Space Terror” at 10:30 p.m. Buy tickets now because it will sell out, as it well should.

If you go: Blood Squad, Annex Theatre, Two shows on Oct. 17 ($10/show or $17 for both) — N.C.

The Horrors 

The Horrors, a UK rock group, are a lot more accessible than their name might suggest. Each one of their four studio albums — including this year’s “Luminous” — have made it onto the British Top 40 chart. The group’s first release, 2007’s “Strange House” has an eerie and aggressive garage punk sound that is more fitting of both the album title and band moniker. They’ve strayed into the more melodic realm of dream pop and Goth rock of late, which means even more prominent keyboards in the instrumentation and serene crooning from lead vocalist Faris Badwan. I’m optimistic that the live performance will fully explore their sonic range and walk the line between their early cacophony and more recent euphony.

If you go: The Horrors, Neptune Theatre, Oct. 18 ($16.50). All ages. — J.S.H.

Ex Hex and Speedy Ortiz *

Ex Hex is fronted by Mary Timony, who is probably best known for her work in the band Wild Flag with Carrie Brownstein (of Portlandia fame) and the ‘90s alt rock group Helium. Ex Hex’s sound continues in the classic-sounding, more-or-less straight-laced alt rock of these other groups. Ex Hex’s recent single “Hot and Cold” features melodic, but not quite dream-poppy singing and crisp, forthright guitar that doesn’t venture afield into shoegaze or surf as many alt rock groups tend to these days. Opening is another female-fronted group, Speedy Ortiz. Pitchfork describes them as a “noise pop quartet” but that description underplays the band’s rock influences. They simply offer a catchy interpretation of the alt rock and garage sounds.

If you go: Ex Hex and Speedy Ortiz, Barboza, Oct. 18 ($15). 21+. — J.S.H.

The Fabulous Downey Brothers *

Seattle is blessed with a veritable parade of big-name bands every week. Because of this, sometimes it’s too easy to forget about the bevy of excellent cheap shows featuring local bands. So maybe skip whoever’s playing at The Showbox or The Paramount this Saturday and instead head to Capitol Hill’s finest vegan punk rock bar, The Highline, and see The Fabulous Downey Brothers. This group, formed in Olympia, is a hybrid of punk rock and the theatrical aping style of The B-52s. Their shows consistently feature bizarre alien costumes and freaky dancing. Tickets are only available at the door, with Falcons of Fine Dining as the headliners.

If you go: The Fabulous Downey Brothers, The Highline, Oct. 19 ($15). 21+. — J.S.H.

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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.