The Weekend List: Movie theater theater. A Forsythe dance revival. Argentineans gone wild. And more.

By Florangela Davila, Nicole Capozziello and Joseph Sutton-Holcomb
Crosscut archive image.

Emily Chisholm, Sam Hagen, & Tyler Trerise in NCTC's "The Flick."
Photo by John Ulman

By Florangela Davila, Nicole Capozziello and Joseph Sutton-Holcomb

* Denotes events that are $15 or less

The Flick

It’s been 10 days since I saw this production (yes, I’m counting) and thinking of it still makes me gush. For anyone who loves movies, for anyone who has ever worked a crappy low-wage job, for anyone who gravitates towards smart dialogue and nuanced performances that make you feel like you’re watching real people, not some forced imagined caricature, this is your show.

The Flick takes place in a Massachusetts movie theater, an independent, grungy, actually-has-a-film-projector venue, where three employees banter, debate, flirt and lash out about much in the world – and in their own unfulfilled lives.

Annie Baker won the 2014 Pulitzer for this drama; this is the Seattle premiere and in the hands of the New Century Theatre Company, it’s superb. From the movie theater set, to the dingy water in the mop bucket, to the soundtrack of movie trailers, to the Six Degrees of Separation film actor version of the game, to the poignancy of learning about Sam’s (Sam Hagen) family, to the poignant, embarrassing, uncomfortable moves of Rose (Emily Chisholm) on Avery (Tyler Trerise), to Avery’s empowerment speech, to the way Chisholm dances. I could go on.

It’s three hours and during intermission you start thinking, Hey, nothing’s really happening here but somehow, I’m really enjoying myself. And then it’s over and you start figuring out when you can go see this production again.

If you go: The Flick, 12th Avenue Arts, Now through April 4 ($30) – F.D.

The Vertiginous Thrill of Forsythe

For weeks, Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers have been posting photos on social media of rehearsal, being backstage and mugging with choreographer William Forsythe. Forsythe was in town for two weeks earlier this year, helping fine-tune the company’s all-Forsythe production – the first for any U.S. company.

Clearly, the choreographer has his dancer fans and that translates into some of the best dancing I’ve ever seen from the company. There is so much energy on stage and so much passion that pours forth in all three works and that has everything to do with the choreography. It’s not just the steps, it’s that the dancers come off as so utterly enjoying the complicated, athletic, unexpected dancing that Forsythe invites them to do.

Jonathan Porretta, Carrie Imler, Benjamin Griffiths, Seth Orza – each are dynamic marvels, but what I loved about opening night was the discovery of William Lin-Yee. He’s not new to the company but in the final piece, “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated,” it’s as if he’d been waiting all his life to dance Forsythe. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.…

If you go: The Vertiginous Thrill of Forsythe, McCaw Hall, Through March 22 (Tickets start at $30). – F.D.


A white American businessman tries to make a business deal in China, with the help of a Chinese-speaking Brit, and they awkwardly, sometimes humorously, fumble. But what surprised me about this culture clash story, written by playwright David Henry Hwang (his M. Butterfly nabbed the Tony), is the character of Xi Yan (fully, terrifically embraced by Kathy Hsieh). Xi is the vice-minister of culture with a savvy, complicated

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Kathy Hsieh (Xi Yan) and Evan Whitfield (Daniel Cavanaugh) in Chinglish, now playing at ArtsWest. Photo by Michael Brunk.

business agenda and without entirely spoiling the plot, she’s a sexually vivacious woman as well.

The whole “power issue” is explored here – in the boardroom, in the bedroom – and in charge (sometimes) is a Chinese woman who deliberately winds up in her underwear. I can’t remember the last time I saw an Asian female character, a woman — not an “exotic” young girl – in a lead role like this. And I know I’ve never seen a play where the sex talk was in Chinese. About one-quarter – one half? – of the play is in Chinese; there are supertitles.

Director Annie Lareau, in the program, notes how Seattle is blessed with a talented but underused group of Asian American actors. Here, then, is a chance to see some of them in a really fine show.

If you go: Chinglish, ArtsWest, Now through March 29 (Tickets start at $34.50) – F.D.

Wild Tales *

Damián Szifrón's Wild Tales is an anthology film (think Paris Je T’aime) with six short films all circling a single theme: losing control. The director places characters in relatable situations, such as being on the receiving end of bad restaurant service or road rage, and then entertainingly and bizarrely, all rationale goes out the window as characters cross into madness to exact revenge.

This beautifully shot Argentinean film, Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language film, has garnered praise for its inventiveness, outrageousness and the dark laughs that come from witnessing revenge and outrage.


If you go: Wild Tales, Seven Gables Theatre, Now through March 26 ($10.50) – N.C.

Moisture Festival

You’ll have a few weeks to make it to the (enigmatically named) Moisture Festival, now in its 12th year as unparalleled entertainment. Because of my generally bad experiences with vaudeville and singular fandom of Teatro Zinzanni, I didn’t have high expectations when I went last year. And boy, was I wrong. The Comedy/ Varietè performance that I attended was hilarious, zany and enveloped by a rare casual, authentic warmth.

The variety show attracts entertaining talent from around the country, from jugglers to aerialists to dancers, and each performer overflows with charisma and joy. The Moisture Festival also includes Burlesque, workshops and a few benefit shows.

If you go: The Moisture Festival, Hale’s Palladium, Georgetown Ballroom, and Broadway Performance Hall, March 19 to April 12 ($25-30) – N.C.

Pickwick *

Last summer, The Sunset Tavern got renovated big time. Their new set-up cleverly divides the bar from the performance area and has a magnificent sound system. This Friday, the rootsy, poppy and, above all, soulful young Seattleites who perform as Pickwick are playing for free. Their stellar harmonies (and of course lead singer Galen Diston’s unforgettable bluesy pipes) deserve The Sunset's new speakers.

Live, this group is nothing short of spellbinding. They possess the rock-and-roll precision and southern flavor of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Musically, the piano, organ, bass and percussion blend gritty and smooth just as deftly as Diston oscillates his voice between crooning and wailing. These free tickets are only good on a first come, first serve basis, so getting to the show early is a good idea.


 If you go: Pickwick , The Sunset Tavern, March 20 (free). 21+ — J.S.H.


Just a few months after an epic Christmas show (including a holiday version of “Just the Two of Us” that’s still stuck in my head) Dina Martina returns with her newest spring show. DINA MARTINA: TONIGHT! promises a new video, and of course, the same offbeat comedic stylings, expressed in song, dance and winding monologues.

Whatever I say won’t do her justice: Dina Martina is drag for people who didn’t think they liked drag, laugh-out-loud funny for the stoic and absolutely my favorite way to spend two hours. This time I’m buying a t-shirt so I can start identifying potential friends faster.

If you go: DINA MARTINA: TONIGHT! Re-Bar, Weekends through April 26th ($20) – N.C.

Wind Burial *

Wind Burial takes cues from some of the grandest subgenres of darker rock. Lead Singer Kat Terran’s voice echoes Grace Slick’s deep, eerie wail, but set adrift in a sea of reverb. It’s also tempered with the formal bitterness of British alt-rock patron saint PJ Harvey. Behind her, subtly textured 12-string guitar, drums and bass swirl together, forming waves of shadowy atmospheric psychedelic with understated aftertastes of EMA’s drone pop and Heartless Bastards’ somber blues rock.

Wind Burial’s sound, easily generalized as dark, is in fact beautifully textured beneath the veneer. Although Hypatia Lake is headlining this show at The Highline, this is Wind Burial’s debut album release show. The record is called “We Used to be Hunters.”…

If you go: Wind Burial, The High Dive, March 21 ($8). 21+ -- J.S.H.

Lemolo *

Beach House will always be the apex of the dream pop genre, but they do have one tiny fault: lead singer Victoria Legrand’s vocals tend to become overly dreamy, fading away into reverb and synth. Seattleite Megan Grandell, who releases music as Lemolo, does not have this problem. Her voice, like a towering wall of crystal, is at once massive, fragile and perfectly transparent. Every well-placed word rings with crispness and euphony.

She’s opening for From Indian Lakes, who pull a very interesting Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act, switching sneakily between sweet-sounding alt-rock and post-hardcore scream-and-shred tactics.

If you go: Lemolo and From Indian Lakes, The Vera Project, March 25 ($12). 21+ — J.S.H.

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