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

Robert Shenkkan's LBJ homage, Cornish's star-studded fall dance lineup and the Gaelic (musical) storm brewing at the Neptune.
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Helion Energy CEO David Kirtley holds an ampule of deuterium-laced water.

Robert Shenkkan's LBJ homage, Cornish's star-studded fall dance lineup and the Gaelic (musical) storm brewing at the Neptune.

* Denotes events that are $15 or less

All The Way

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One of the most anticipated theater events is actually the arrival of two plays penned by Seattle resident Robert Schenkkan. His “All the Way” and “The Great Society” take a look at the volatile political career of LBJ, a man almost Shakespearean in nature, the playwright said in an interview last month.

Schenkkan grew up in Texas and was, like many Americans at the time, a fan of LBJ, who took over the presidency after the assassination of JFK. Then the escalation of US troops in Vietnam soured a lot of folks on the Southern Democrat. Schenkkan says now is a good time to reflect, reassess and better appreciate the outsized politician and he’s penned a whopper of a work with dozens of characters.

“All the Way” earned Schenkkan a Tony earlier this year. It opens this week. Seattle Rep commissioned its companion piece “The Great Society;” that opens next month. Both plays will then play in repertory and there will also be days to see the works back-to-back on the same day. If you’re at all interested, get tickets now because they are selling out fast.

If you go: All the Way, Seattle Rep, Now through Jan. 4 ($17 to $150 ) — F.D.

Peggy Piacenza’s Touch Me Here

Peggy Piacenza, a doyenne of Seattle’s contemporary dance scene dating back to the ‘90s, unveils a new feature-length work with a live score by cellist Scott Bell. I’ve been a Piacenza fan for a long time, when she worked with 33 Fainting Spells as well as Pat Graney. Touch Me Here is billed as a “movement memoir” — how cool is that? It’s inspired by her own life and 25-year performance career and is also influenced by Fellini’s “Nights of Cabiria” and “the rolling saint of India” Lotan Baba.

If you go: Peggy Piacenza’s Touch Me Here, Washington Hall, Nov. 20 through Nov. 22. ($15) — F.D.

Gaelic Storm

Oftentimes, Irish and Scottish bands that achieve mainstream success in the U.S. (or anywhere outside their respective homelands) do so by mixing liberal helpings of good old-fashioned rock and roll with their more traditional song structures. Gaelic Storm is exceptional because they do significantly less of this. That’s not to say bands like Flogging Molly and The Dropkick Murphys aren’t talented; they just can’t shoulder the title of a true Celtic band the way Gaelic Storm can.

Since their inception in the mid ‘90s, the group has released more than 10 studio albums containing both renditions of classic folk tunes and a great deal of original material. They’re a very energetic bunch, if their prolific release schedule didn’t already give that away.

If you go: Gaelic Storm, Neptune Theatre, Nov. 20. ($20). All ages. — J.S.H.

Cornish Dance Theater’s Fall 2014 Concert *

Cornish Dance Theater, the performing ensemble of the school’s dance department, embraces a fabulous lineup of choreographers for its fall concert: José Limón, Vivian Little, Michele Miller and Seattle hip hoptress (yes, I’m coining this) Amy O’Neal. Iyun Ashani Harrison, a Cornish faculty member, will world premiere his Mystery of Iniquity, a response to the current civil unrest in Ferguson, MO. And Miller’s I AM the Bully  is a work that explores the psychology of bullies.

If you go: Cornish Dance Theater’s Fall 2014 Concert, The Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, Nov. 21 and 22 ($12) — F.D.

Haunted Horses *

The guys in Haunted Horses self-identify as “Industrial Punk” and they pursue distortion and noise with intimidating zeal. On the surface, their sound is emblematic of a genre of experimental, noisy rock very popular in the Seattle DIY scene right now. The drum/bass/guitar trio is addictively abrasive and almost machine-like in their pacing and delivery.

Their songs often oscillate between a slower, moodier, post punk feel (especially given the doomsaying urgency of singer Colin Dawson) and the frayed fanaticism of punk and hardcore music. This show is a release party for their new 7-inch vinyl.

If you go: Haunted Horses, Dragon Lounge (at Chop Suey) Nov. 20. ($5). 21+ — J.S.H.

Seattle Uncorked: Whiskey and Dark Spirits

I immediately prickle at words like “unpretentious wine club” (the tagline of Seattle Uncorked) but this event looks like the perfect way to spend a November Friday night. For $25, taste whiskey and other dark spirits from local craft distilleries like Sound Spirits, Woodinville Whiskey and Westland Distillery. Sample a bit of everything (from all the places you’ve been meaning to check out) and then purchase hard-to-find liquors in the on-site store.

Don’t forget to also check out Addition Cocktail Spices — owners Matt Hemeyer and Eric Salenski will wow you with their products and insane breadth of knowledge. To top it all off, there will be Mexican street food for sale, and my friends from Epic Ales will be on site pouring their adventurous drafts. As with any trip southward, make this an excuse to stop by the unparalleled restaurant The Gastropod.

If you go: Seattle Uncorked: Whiskey and Dark Spirits, The Factory Luxe (at the Old Rainier Brewery), Nov. 21 ($25) — N.C.

Blockhead *

Hip hop/electronic producer Blockhead, who fashioned the musical backdrops for many of legendary rap wordsmith Aesop Rock’s songs, is playing at Nectar this week. Better yet, chillwave electronica producer Lusine is opening, as is Vox Mod, another excellent local (and slightly more up tempo) DJ. This is an incredible trifecta of producers because each of the three gives their music enough breathing room to be surreal without making things too sluggish.

This night will be a far cry from the canned fury of dub step or the dynamic grooves of House music, but it won’t stray too far into the esoteric, cerebral realm of Intelligent Dance Music either.

If you go: Blockhead, Nectar Lounge, Nov. 21. ($5). 21+ — J.S.H.

John Oliver (SOLD OUT)

While I want to hate him for the Manchester-sized hole he left when he departed The Daily Show, John Oliver is just far too lovable, not to mention smart. Whether introducing us to other brilliant comics on John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show, providing much-needed laughs (and critique) of American politics on his HBO show Last Week Tonight or doing stand-up himself, John Oliver brings an earnestness and passion to everything he does.

We’re lucky to have him here for two shows this Sunday, which are sure to be fun and thought-provoking — like all great comedians, he couldn’t keep it light if he wanted to. In the meantime, enjoy this totally ridiculous stand-up clip about slash fiction (Daily Show slash fiction to be exact).

If you go: John Oliver, The Paramount, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, ($41.25) — N.C.

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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.