* Denotes events that are $15 or less
This week’s Weekend List is suggested to you in part by Olivier Wevers, a Seattle choreographer who is the founder and artistic director of Whim W’Him. Once a month, The Weekend List will loop in some local creative in town to find out what they’re eager to see, take in and lose themselves in. And, if it happens that they’ve got something going on that week, it’ll give us a chance to get inside their heads.
Here’s a bit more about Wevers:
“There’s not much dancing going on this week,” says Wevers. It’s not that that’s the only thing he does in his free time. But contemporary dance “is what I love. It’s what I do. It’s my passion and I really want more people to have an appreciation for it.”
Wevers’ first career was on stage as a dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and then Pacific Northwest Ballet. He was always the sensitive and good-looking athletic principal who was choreographing on the side. He founded Whim W’Him in 2009 to not only showcase his own dance aesthetic but to also support other choreographers as well as the Seattle dance scene. And what’s emerged since is a company that puts on high-level dynamic productions — “It’s all about the details” — with sets and sometimes elaborate costumes and live music. And, some of the best dancers anywhere.
Olivier Wevers doing what he does: making dance. Photo: Bamberg Fine Art
2015 is a big year for Whim W’Him: For the first time the company will be adding a third rep. For the dancers, that means 31 weeks of work. For the public, that means an opportunity to see nine new works by eight choreographers from all over the world (including local Kate Wallich).
“It’s an exciting leap forward,” Wevers says.
Wevers looks for artists with distinct voices, he explains about who he invites to work with his dancers. And his own choreography is attracting attention. This year also marks the first time Wevers will be setting one of his own creations (“The Sofa) on a company in Europe, in the Czech Republic.
But that’s the glamorous side of being a professional dance maker, the world travelling (which includes visiting his husband, Lucien Postlewaite, also a former PNB principal who now dances with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo in Monaco). The less glamorous side of running a company: cleaning the bathrooms before a rep and buying bottles of cheap vodka.
“You take a spray bottle and you pour in water and vodka and you spray that on the costumes (in between performances). Kills the germs and it dries fast. My job as artistic director, it encompasses everything and I try to care of it all.”
His Weekend Picks are included below, followed by those from the rest of the List team. — F.D.
Whim W’Him’s THREEFOLD
Three premieres by three choreographers: Loni Landon from New York City, Penny Saunders from Hubbard Street Dance Company and Olivier Wevers. Says Wevers: “Penny uses seven dancers. Her inspiration is (the American painter Edward) Hopper. There’s a wall that looks like a mirror. There’s a window. People might be able to figure out a story.
“Loni uses just three dancers. Her process is about getting into the studio and then figuring out what’s going to happen. The genesis is very different. It’s like looking at a Jackson Pollock.
“I worked with composer Brian Lawlor. The music is Brahms but it’s also his composition. It’s very romantic but it’s also Brahms that is unrecognizable. The work is my response to that notion that ‘We are all the same.’ We aren’t. Everyone is unique. And if we really want to accept our differences we really need to embrace our differences. I’ve been wanting to work on more men-on-men partnering and in this piece, there are two couples (man and a woman; two men). I’m playing with the look of two couples being sensual. I wanted to push that a little more and I’ve been questioning why is it that it makes us uncomfortable?”
If you go: Whim W’Him’s THREEFOLD, Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, Jan. 16 – 18 ($25) — O.W.
Jared Rue |Undercurrent
What the artist says on the gallery’s website about his paintings: My work, at times, leans towards the abstract yet still evokes a transcendent and genuine feeling of being able to enter, or step into, the paintings themselves – whether physically or mentally.
What Wevers says: “He’s a good friend and an amazing artist. And every time, he pushes himself. It’s like nature but it’s not. He plays with it. He makes it ethereal. I’m always discovering something new, which is really fascinating.”
If you go: Jared Rue|Undercurrent, Woodside|Braseth Gallery, Now through Feb. 20 — O.W.
Wonderland at The Can Can
“You’ve never been to The Can Can?” asks Wevers. “It’s great. They have a tiny stage, really tiny. You go, relax, eat and drink and it’s a different experience. There’s some burlesque. Some dance. And the MC (Jonathan Betchtel as Jonny Boy) is really great. He really connects to the audience. It’s really fun, light and entertaining. They have a new show and I’m planning on seeing it right after my own show is done.”
Jonathan Betchtel as Jonny Boy at The Can Can Photo: Can Can
If you go: Wonderland, The Can Can, Now through March 29 ($40) — O.W.
Note: This show, originally scheduled for November, was canceled due to medical issues and rescheduled. I am now so wildly excited that Tig Notaro is in town! that I can only echo my exact same words from when I first urged you to go see her last year.
I first heard comedian Tig Notaro when she did a story about Taylor Dayne on This American Life a few years ago. Like others, I was hooked by her deadpan style, great storytelling ability and impeccable pacing. Unlike a lot of comics, she’s not just packing in cheap, predictable jokes — she’s taking her time and it’s totally worth it.
In the last few years, she’s hosted and toured with her podcast Professor Blastoff, and released the acclaimed album Live, all while recovering from cancer. Watch and listen to every Tig Notaro bit you can get your hands on, and then go appreciate her on her tour “Boyish Girl Interrupted” on Thursday.
If you go: Tig Notaro, The Neptune, Jan. 15 ($25) — N.C.
Katie Kate and Tangerine *
Last week at Neumos, soulful local rock group Tangerine opened for The Dip and blew the audience out of the water. It was amazing to behold. The interplay between members felt so intuitive, with each individual knowing when to play flashily and when to hover in the background. Lead singer Marika Che’s voice evokes Patti Smith (see below), but with smoother edges and a sunnier disposition. The band as a whole is a well-oiled hook machine. Now those who missed this show are in luck because Tangerine plays a benefit show at The Vera Project this week. Proceeds go to Skate Like A Girl, an organization that works to create gender-equal skating cultures in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. Speaking of empowered women, Tangerine shares this concert bill with Katie Kate, one of the sassiest and hippist lady rappers to come out of Seattle. She produces her own beats (which are stellar) and lately has taken on more of a pop sensibility. She’ll often add hooks and choruses into her songs, switching back and forth between rapping and singing.
If you go: Katie Kate and Tangerine, The Vera Project, Jan. 16. ($10). All ages — J.S.H
14/48: Kamikaze 360
In hour one of this whirlwind of a festival, local seasoned theatre professionals show up, ready to draw their role as either writer, actor, director, designer or musician. Fast-forward to a mere 24 hours later, when, as audience members, we get to show up bright-eyed to watch the fruit of their labor in the round Allen Theatre — seven finished plays, written, designed, scored AND performed. And then, the process starts all over again, with seven more plays making their debut on Saturday night. It’s exhausting, thrilling, and, best of all, lets everyone give in to the unexpected.
If you go: 14/48: Kamikaze 360, ACT Theatre, Jan. 16 and 17, ($20 adults/$10 students). — N.C.
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry *
Ooooo… I’m so excited to see this documentary. Chronicling the courage and tenacity of the women behind the modern women’s movement, this documentary uses footage and interviews to take us from 1966 up until the present, where there’s still a lot of work to be done. It’s on incredibly limited release, so watch the trailer and get ready to engage and be inspired. I haven’t seen it but here’s one of my favorite tidbits from a review. “It's rare in today's era of overstuffed nonfiction films that a documentary leaves you wanting more. But that's the case with Mary Dore's cheekily titled She's Beautiful When She's Angry.”- Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter
The Prince and Michael Jackson Experience *
The decades-old Michael Jackson vs. Prince debate is still raging between modern-day club bunnies and party animals, as evidenced by an extra dance-friendly event at Nectar Lounge this week. I’ve always said MJ can dance but Prince can shred, and thus I pick “Purple Rain” over “Thriller” every time. But regardless of your allegiance to either, this should be a corker. DJ Dave Paul has been taking this event on tour for 12 years and a great many Youtube videos attest to the frivolity and high energy level the event brings. Plus it’s free, so there’s not much to lose. Use the money you would have spent on a ticket to rent a glitzy costume.
If you go: The Prince and Michael Jackson Experience, Nectar Lounge, Jan. 17. (Free). 21+ — J.S.H.
Patti Smith’s name should be mentioned alongside the likes of Janis Joplin, Grace Slick and Stevie Nicks more often. She is a classic lady rock titan whose voice could go toe-to-toe with any of those other three. But she’s a long way from forgotten — any fan of punk music or modern alt rock must acknowledge her sizable contributions to the genre. Dynamic modern vocalists like Karen O and Alison Mosshart would not sound as they do if Patti hadn’t come along first. Her embittered warbling vibrato and almost-drawling delivery (like Lou Reed if he had actual range, perhaps?) is instantly recognizable and impossible to forget. She wrote a great deal of her own lyrics, which possess a direct-yet-poetic quality.
If you go: Patti Smith, The Moore Theatre, Jan. 19. ($27.50). All ages — J.S.H.
Crosscut's arts coverage is made possible through the generous support of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.