The Weekend List: Kyle Abraham, mixed martial arts, Ladysmith Black Mambazo & more
* Denotes events that are $15 or less
Kyle Abraham, a MacArthur Genius winner, unveils three new dance works rooted in poignant historical milestones: the 150-year anniversary of The Emancipation Proclamation and the 20-year anniversary since apartheid was abolished in South Africa. Abraham pulls from all genres of dance; he’s called his choreography “a post-modern gumbo.” The works are inspired by the trailblazing 1960 jazz album, We Insist: Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite. Should be an exceptional night of dance.
If you go: Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, The Moore Theatre, March 4 and 5. (Tickets start at $32.50) – F.D.
Fists & Fury: Mixed Martial Arts Film Festival *
Catch the tail end of Cinerama’s Mixed Martial Arts Film Festival, which, even for a martial arts movie novice like myself, is going out with a bang. The festival features Bruce Lee’s Game of Death and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2. Game of Death, which was finished after Bruce Lee’s death, is notable for Lee’s iconic yellow jumpsuit and a Bruce Lee vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar fight scene (Am I dreaming?). As usual, Lee never relents or disappoints, even when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is leaving his footprint on Lee’s torso.
In the Kill Bills, Tarantino pays homage to both the martial arts movies of the ‘70s and spaghetti westerns, as the inimitable Uma Thurman takes on Lucy Liu, Darryl Hannah, Michael Madsen and (Bill himself) David Carradine. They’re films whose artistry deserves to be celebrated on the big screen.
If you go: Fists & Fury: Mixed Martial Arts Film Festival, Cinerama, Through March 5. ($10) – N.C.
The Dance Cartel
This is the type of event you go to with your best pal or you go to with a blind date in order to assess the funk-worthiness of said date. Because it’s an immersive dance experience and based on the videos I’ve watched and the reviews I’ve read, it’s apt to be one mad-crazy dance performance that by night’s end will have you out on the dance floor doing your own groove thing.
The New York-based Dance Cartel will West Coast premiere its ONTHEFLOOR production and its shows will also feature a whole host of special guests including Reggie Watts (!) as well as Amy O’Neal (!) I love the publicity for this event, which reads: Target audience includes anyone and everyone: performance art nerds, dance fans, transients, music connoisseurs, 18-year-olds, grandmas, Jay-Z, college students, hipsters, Amazonians, comedy radicals, and everyone else. Oh yeah, I am so there.
If you go: The Dance Cartel, Velocity Dance Center, March 6 to 8 ($20) – F.D.
The Dog of the South
This production ends its run at Book-It this weekend and by a friend’s account, it’s very funny, engaging and well deserving of a Weekend List pick. Based on the 1979 novel by Charles Portis, the story chronicles the road trip of a hopeless romantic who’s chasing his wife (who’s left him for her ex). Storms, scammers and hippies threaten to detour Roy Midge from his mission. Author Roy Blount Jr. has called the novel a must-read before you die.
If you go: The Dog of the South, Book-It Repertory Theatre, through March 8 (Tickets start at $25). — F.D.
Seattle Burger Month
Li’l Woody’s Capitol Hill and Ballard locations have gained a solid following year-round for their unpretentious environment and well-executed offerings, elevating burger fare by featuring local ingredients such as Boat Street pickled figs, Molly Moon’s ice cream and Painted Hills beef. For March, they’re taking burger appreciation to a whole new level; each week they’ll feature a different burger, each one passionately masterminded by burger lovers and renowned Seattle chefs Maria Hines, Matt Dillon, Renee Erickson and Brendan McGill.
You’ll inevitably want a burger on some terrible or grand day this March, so head to Li’l Woody’s for an ephemeral, inventive concoction. If burgers aren’t your style, try a salmon or veggie burger, or get some fries with a Molly Moon’s shake for dipping.
If you go: Seattle Burger Month, Li’l Woody’s, Now through April 6 – N.C.
Keyboard Kid and Full House *
This is not a show for the easily offended, or those who don’t enjoy being engulfed in clouds of marijuana smoke. But for those who can tolerate both, it has the best talent-to-price ratio I’ve seen so far this year. The Crocodile has recruited a battalion of hip-hop’s rising stars to entertain you, including Seattle hip-hop producer and headliner Keyboard Kid.
Even more interesting though is the debut of a new rap supergroup: Seattle’s own pun-crazed constantly-stoned rapper Nacho Picasso has joined forces with horrorcore wunderkind rapper/producer Key Nyata (of Internet rap collective Raider Klan fame) and Seattle rapper Mackned to form Full House. The three artists all share a dark, chilled out style.
If you go: Keyboard Kid and Full House, The Crocodile, March 5 ($10). All ages. – J.S.H.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has come a long way since they first drew international eyes for their contributions to Paul Simon’s unquestionably canonized album “Graceland.” One cannot listen to contemporary bands like Vampire Weekend or tUnE-yArDs without feeling this cross-cultural collaboration’s lasting influence on popular music.
The original incarnation of the group formed in 1960, so it almost goes without saying that the group has gone through significant lineup changes since then. But, in the words of founding member Joseph Shabalala when he retired from the group in 2008, “Ladysmith Black Mambazo was never about one person. Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a mission. A mission to spread our message and to keep our culture alive and known.” Several of Shabala’s sons remain in the group today. Over the years and through these changes in personnel, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has retained an atmosphere of unshakable optimism. That’s what happens when you spend a half-century specializing in lifting spirits.
If you go: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The Neptune, March 6 ($33.50). All ages. – J.S.H.
DOOMTREE is the Wu-Tang Clan of underground rap. This maverick DIY collective from Minnesota has gained notoriety by taking similar artistic risks. All of the group's six members have prolific solo careers — often affiliated with Minnesota record label Rhymesayers — but united, they make all decisions by consensus and release music on the collective’s private record label.
DOOMTREE arrives in Seattle this week in support of their fourth studio LP All Hands which dropped in late January. Lyrically, each rapper is intricate and intelligent, weaving metaphor and wordplay together at machine-gun tempos. And the two producers concoct battle-ready industrial beats that match the tenor of each rapper’s delivery precisely. Dessa, the only female member, brings an especially unique brand of lyricism influenced by slam poetry, and she doesn’t shy away from singing the occasional melodic chorus.
If you go: DOOMTREE, Neumos, March 9 ($17). All ages. – J.S.H.