Dina Martina Christmas Show 2014
This is hands-down my favorite holiday event. I have called Dina's drag shows, a mix of song, dance, and gust-busting stand-up meanderings, the most entertaining two hours possible. For those of you in the dark, here’s the best all-encompassing Dina Martina description (via her website): “tragic singer, horrible dancer and surreal raconteur” and, most importantly, comic genius. With a character performer Grady West has honed over 25 years, the power of Dina Martina is in seeing all the cracks.
The show runs through New Year’s, but get your tickets now. As with all Dina Martina shows, it will (rightfully) sell out!
If you go: Dina Martina Christmas Show, Re-Bar, Now until December 31st ($22 advance/$25 at the door) — N.C.
Now I’m Fine
Alerting you to this just in case there are still tickets left to the Sunday show. The first three performances have sold out because everyone, it would seem, is eager to see just how glorious Ahamefule J. Oluo s “experimental pop opera” will be. Oluo is the trumpeter in the jazz quartet Industrial Revelation. He’s also a stand-up comedian, a writer, a composer and by the time I finish writing this sentence, he’s likely to have honed some other new talent.
As an artist-in-residence at Town Hall, he worked on and debuted a version of this musical piece for dozens of musicians — some of the finest in town. Now he’s added to it and polished it and it’s an opus that centers on parts of his life including a particularly harrowing 6-month period in 2006 when a whole bunch of things went wrong. Expect to be moved and to be talking about it long after it’s over.
If you go: Now I’m Fine, On The Boards, Dec. 4 through Dec. 7 ($25) — F.D.
Here’s a late-night holiday-themed theatrical event that can be topped off with booze. What’s not to like? Five brand new short plays, each about 10 minutes long, that transport us to Antarctica, to some other planet and to a poker game where Jesus and Santa face off. Directed by Rachel Delmar, the production has partnered with Vittles for a $20 prix fixe meal for patrons as well as a pair of holiday-inspired drinks. Yes, I will take a Santa’s Helper please.
If you go: SnowGlobed, Theater Schmeater, Dec. 5 through Dec. 20 ($12) — F.D.
Urban Craft Uprising *
An epic Etsy browse-a-thon come to life, this biannual event is the perfect place to get unique holiday gifts — and to inspire your own home-crafting projects. Take a few hours to get lost in the aisles, which always have just the right mix of edgy yet memorable jewelry, screen-printed t-shirts, every occasion cards and more tea towels than you ever thought you needed. (Somehow, you'll want them all!)
If you go: Urban Craft Uprising, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, Dec. 6 and 7, (10 a.m.- 5 p.m.), All Ages (FREE) — N.C.
The Muppet Christmas Carol *
Arguably the best Muppet movie, and inarguably among the best Christmas movies, this childhood classic never disappoints. Perfectly cast, with Michael Caine as Scrooge and Kermit and Miss Piggy as the Cratchetts (complete with a brood of baby pigs and frogs), the movie is touching, goofy and musical — in all the best of ways.
Slap on your holiday sweaters and cross your fingers that Central Cinema's screenings offer up boozy eggnog and cider and tins of holiday popcorn to make these showings even better.
If you go: The Muppet Christmas Carol, Central Cinema, Dec. 6 through Dec. 9, All Ages ($7) — N.C.
Drawing Jam *
Fifty live models, live music, demos and food trucks will be on hand so you can sketch your little heart out at Gage Academy of Art’s 15th Drawing Jam. Just think of how satisfied you’ll feel after spending a couple of hours creating your own work of art. Who knows, you might even walk out with something to gift someone — and, did I mention, everyone who attends gets free art supplies?!
If you go: Drawing Jam, Gage Academy of Art, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 6 ($10, FREE for those 15 and under). — F.D.
There are few methods of philanthropy more convenient or enjoyable than a benefit concert. Besides the obvious fact that attendees get to feel especially good about choosing to spend their money on a musical experience, the musicians themselves often play with special enthusiasm. Perhaps it's because music's power to do good in the world is especially apparent at such events.
This week, folk-legend-gone-psych-rock-experimenter Sam Beam, AKA Iron and Wine, will play alongside Surreal rap futurists Shabazz Palaces to support uncompensated health care at Seattle Children's Hospital. It's a perfect marriage between highly lauded artists and highly important philanthropy.
If you go: SMooCH 2014, Showbox Market, Dec. 6 ($60). All ages. — J.S.H.
Deck the Hall Ball featuring TV on the Radio
This year's Deck the Hall Ball brings a funny and unlikely pair of headliners to Key Arena: Weezer, a crowd favorite whose last several albums were panned critically, and TV on the Radio, a longtime critic's favorite. The latter, strangely, still almost falls into the "cult favorite" category despite having created no fewer than five excellent albums. That's counting their newest, "Seeds," released last month.
Hearing Weezer play their classics is a singular experience, but far more interesting is the opportunity to hear TVOTR unleash their emotionally intelligent synthesis of shoegaze, soul, funk, doo wop, and ambient music.
If you go: Deck the Hall Ball featuring TV on the Radio, Key Arena, Dec. 9 ($70 and up). All ages. — J.S.H.
Johnny Marr is perhaps not a household name the way that Morissey is, but the guitarist from The Smiths is undoubtedly a living legend — and looks the part. Still rail thin at 51, his (doubtlessly) dyed black hair, angular face and classic minimalist goth/punk fashion sense come off as immortal and classy rather than tacky. Sonically, one is reminded of a high fidelity Velvet Underground with a lot more polish. Sort of like if The Strokes had been from London instead of New York City.
Marr also has a notable penchant for participating in supergroups and joining other people's bands. His jangly, almost twangy guitar style, for example, was clearly an influence in Modest Mouse from their inception in the '90s and in 2006 Marr joined the band himself for a brief stint. This willingness to collaborate has made Marr a truly seminal rock guitarist.
If you go: Johnny Marr, Neumos, Dec. 8, ($27). 21+ — J.S.H.