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

PNB does Balanchine's "Jewels", Stephin Merritt reads "101 Two-Letter Words" at Town Hall, Men in Dance at Broadway Performance Hall, King Crimson at the Moore, Yacht at Neumos & more
PNB does Balanchine's "Jewels", Stephin Merritt reads "101 Two-Letter Words" at Town Hall, Men in Dance at Broadway Performance Hall, King Crimson at the Moore, Yacht at Neumos & more

* denotes events that are $15 or less

James Adomian

If you don’t know James Adomian, he does an hysterical impression of drunk Orson Welles, as well as a killer embodiment of George. One of my favorites is his “lovingly weird homage” to Huell Howser, a real-life California TV personality (known pretty much only in The Golden State), which Adomian has done on Comedy Bang Bang over the years. Not only is he a master of impersonation, but Adomian is also an awesome stand-up comic, who brings social politics to the stage in a way that is thought provoking, while never failing to be funny. I cannot wait to hear his new material.

If you go: James Adomian, Calamus Auditorium at Gay City, Oct. 2 and Oct. 4. All Ages ($18) — N.C.

SIFF at the Egyptian Grand Opening *

The Egyptian Theatre, in the heart of Capitol Hill, is finally re-opening! To celebrate, SIFF will be screening the biggest movie hits in the Egyptian’s history. The festivities start with Amélie and Enter the Dragon on Friday. Other highlights include: O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Orlando, Y Tu Mamá También and My Neighbor Totoro. Check out the full schedule and plan ahead as I imagine shows will fill up fast. Tickets are $5 or free with a receipt (date 10/1-10/5) from any Capitol Hill business, so head out for dinner or a drink first. The best part of all? Years of great SIFF programming at this incomparable historic space for years to come.

If you go: SIFF at the Egyptian Grand Opening, The Egyptian, Oct. 3 through Oct. 5. All Ages ($5 or Free) — N.C.

Crosscut archive image.
Pacific Northwest Ballet presents George Balanchine’s “Jewels”

The legendary choreographer George Balanchine reportedly walked into New York City’s Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry store one day, and decided he had found the inspiration for his next ballet. And does it shimmer, ever so elegantly (“Diamonds”), sometimes with a bit of oomph and pizzazz (“Rubies”) and sometimes, just as some nice-looking eye candy (“Emeralds”). This is a plotless ballet, meaning you can come up with your own storyline while falling under the spell of the PNB dancers and a Fauré, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky score. If you’ve ever wondered what that teeny plastic ballerina in your childhood jewelry box would have danced like if she could have just gotten off that spinning pedestal, this is it.

If you go: Jewels, McCaw Hall, Oct. 3 through Oct. 5 ($28-$179) — F.D.

Against the Grain/Men in Dance

A radically different line-up of dance also continues this weekend, showcasing the male dancer across all genres. The best part about a festival such as this one is that it serves up an eclectic menu; even the finickiest of fans is bound to connect to some work or performer on stage. Choreographers for this second (and last) weekend of shows include Mark Morris, Bill Evans and Darren Bersuk (of Cirque du Soleil).

If you go: Against the Grain/Men in Dance, Broadway Performance Hall, Oct. 3 through Oct. 5 ($25) — F.D.

Yacht

The weekend begins with yet another exceptional band taking part in the New Wave Revival whirling through the pop music industry. Last week, Neumos hosted the more modish party pop Hercules and Love Affair. This week, they’re doubling down on the neo-‘80s sounds by bringing in Yacht. To the good people of Neumos: well played! Yacht is a bit more rock-centered, with electrifying percussion and zealous, sometimes spoken-word lyrics delivered by captivating front-woman Claire L. Evans (The New York Times called her the neo-Annie Lennox!) The live performance is a little more like The Talking Heads, but there’s no dispute about the quality and charisma of the music.

If you go: Yacht, Neumos, Oct 3. ($15). All ages. — J.S.H

King Crimson

There’s a joke about King Crimson that explains the vast scope of the band's influence quite well: Imagine a teenager sitting down with his father, a die hard classic rock fan. The son begins talking about the musical achievements of his favorite contemporary acts and all dad has to say is “King Crimson did it first.” In many cases, dad is exactly right; King Crimson blended Prog rock, jazz, blues, heavy metal and more, all with an intimidating majesty that only ‘70s bands can get away with. (Who could name an album “In the Wake of Poseidon” these days and be taken seriously?) This is one of the priciest shows I’ve ever recommended, but King Crimson fans will understand that sometimes you have to go the extra mile when the music is this important.

If you go: King Crimson, The Moore Theatre, Oct 6. ($85). All ages. — J.S.H.

Stephin Merritt on 101 Two-Letter Words

There are times when it feels like you dreamt a piece of art into life. For me, this is one of those times. Stephin Merritt, songsmith and bass vocalist behind the Magnetic Fields (Full disclosure: one of my favorite bands), comes to the stage at Town Hall sans ukulele, to talk about his new book, 101 Two-Letter Words. The tome is full of fun poetry based on the 101 two-letter words allowed in Scrabble. It’ll be a night with a lot of heart; Merritt is hilariously dry and painfully smart, and Scrabble is on a short list of games that can bring people together — and tear them apart. Merritt is a dabbler of seemingly unending breadth and talent, composing the Coraline soundtrack, the songs for Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events audiobooks, among many other projects, and I have no doubt his turn at Town hall will be equally genius.

If you go:  Stephin Merritt, Town Hall, Oct. 8.  All Ages ($25, includes a copy of the book and admission for two) — N.C.

Mos Def AKA Yasiin Bey

These days, rapper Mos Def (now called Yasiin Bey) is almost as well known for his impressive acting abilities — he preformed laudably in feature films like “Brown Sugar” and “Monster’s Ball” and in the Showtime series “Dexter.” But the rapier-witted wordsmith has been in the hip hop game for nearly two decades now, and he is an undisputed master of the craft. His immortal first album, “Black on Both Sides,” is so expansive and versatile it has a track describing the siren song of a bad girl (“Miss Fat Booty”) and another that engages in a chilling discussion of global warming and water issues (“New World Water”). Bey has four other solid solo albums of material to pull from beyond that debut LP, so I’m betting the set will be long enough to be worth the price of admission.

If you go: Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey), Showbox Market, Oct 8. ($31.50). All ages. — J.S.H.

"Jewels" photo courtesy of Angela Sterling.

  

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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.