*Denotes items that are $15 or less
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
ACT, in case you haven’t heard, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. So it’s gone back into its archives and resurrected the Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning classic about a horribly unhappy married couple that it first produced in its inaugural 1965 season. What a way to kick-off a milestone year. It is (as the press release likes to say) a scorcher of a production with a shitload (my word, not from the press release) of Seattle talent: John Aylward as rich, mean Big Daddy; Charles Leggett as greedy, jealous brother Gooper; and my new favorites (Seattle is lucky to have these New York City arrivals) Laura Griffith and Brandon O’Neill headlining as Maggie and Brick. (They were magnetic earlier this year in Carousel). This is not a happy story but the production is ferociously good.
If you go: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, ACT Theatre, Now through May 17. ($20 to $44) — F.D.
Dining Out for Life
Lifelong AIDS Alliance presents the 22nd Annual Dining Out for Life Seattle, in which restaurants all over the city donate 30 percent or more of their proceeds to help the charity. Wherever you may reside, there’s a participating restaurant nearby. (More than 100 this year.) So, make a dinner date and head somewhere you’ve been wanting to try, whether it’s Capitol Hill’s new updated Chinese restaurant Zhu Dang; longtime market favorite Le Pichet; or Eastlake's Cicchetti Kitchen and Bar (where the housemade tincture-based cocktails alone are worth it).
If you go: Dining Out For Life, Many venues throughout Seattle, April 30 — N.C.
Flushed: Into the World of Wastewater Treatment *
Stokley Towles is a wonderfully curious performer who comes up with the quirkiest and most interesting 1-man shows about Seattle. Part journalist, part anthropologist and a bona fide storyteller, Towles will whisk you away to some underbelly part of Seattle — a garbag dump, a sewer — and make you care about it. I love how he thinks and how he delivers his findings and how he packs so much into a tightly written show. In this latest effort, he’ll share stories about the nasty world of wastewater treatment and I’ll bet money, when his 50 minutes are up, you’ll have had a lot of fun.
If you go: Flushed: Into the World of Wastewater Treatment, New City Theater, May 1 through May 8 ($15) — F.D.
My Neighbor Totoro and Serenity *
Sometimes Central Cinema programs a pair of screenings that caters to me in a perfect and brilliant way. This usually happens once a year and my “NO WAY!” lasts for weeks, as the comforting John Hughes movies and wacky cartoons of my youth parade on and off the screen for an entire month. This weekend is a grand slam for most audiences with the fantastical and lovely Miyazaki favorite, My Neighbor Totoro, followed by the cult classic Serenity. The latter is the continuation of Joss Whedon’s Firefly, the short-lived TV show.
If you go: My Neighbor Totoro and Serenity, Central Cinema, May 1 to May 6 ($7) — N.C.
The Handsome Family
As the name implies, The Handsome Family sound formal and nostalgic. The band, married couple Brett and Rennie Sparks, perform timeless country ballads full of banjo, harmonica and heartbreak. Both sing and play instruments. Although their swinging, strummy sound harkens back to days gone by, it’s markedly different than the “faux folk” reminiscences churned out by groups like Mumford & Sons. The Handsome Family has an air of authenticity few contemporary folk or country acts can match. Their music reminds the listener of Bonnie Raitt, John Prine and Johnny Cash without disrespecting these legends. The duo’s “Far from Any Road” was the opening theme for HBO’s nihilistic mystery series “True Detective.” You can view a video here. (Alas, embedding was disabled.)
If you go: The Handsome Family, The Triple Door, May 1 ($18). All ages — J.S.H.
Sera Cahoone *
Seattleite Sera Cahoone's quiet charisma can enchant a roomful of people armed only with an acoustic guitar and microphone. Now imagine what it’s like seeing her with a band! Which is how she'll appear this week at Neumos. Cahoone’s songs are clear-cut country-western; her voice and music don’t stray far from tradition. Her lyrics, however, are a bit less literal than typical country song. They draw instead from the more abstract tradition of contemporary indie rock.
The Horde and the Harem open. The group has undergone some sonic transformations since the project began in 2009, but their sound falls broadly into the alt-rock category with some country/folk/psychedelic influences. Their shows are high energy, with lots of guitar and cool tempo changes.
If you go: Sera Cahoone, The Horde and the Harem, Neumos, May 1 ($15). 21+ — J.S.H.
Lusine, Manatee Commune, Emerald Strata *
Nectar Lounge put together a great lineup of electronica this week. Specifically, it pairs a longtime veteran of the genre, Lusine, with a brand new Seattle supergroup, Emerald Strata. Lusine (aka Jeff McIlwain, a native Texan living in Seattle) crafts liquid, ambient beats held together by poppy, house-music-esque bass lines that keep listeners from zoning out on the dance floor. McIlwain has helped compose scores for major Hollywood films and has played the festival circuit back to front. This is also the release show for Emerald Strata’s first album, “BPM,” a partnership between producers Vox Mod and 5H1F7Y, both of them local. Their stuff hits a lot harder than Lusine, with the kind of deep majestic bass and in-your-face production best heard late in the evening. Seattle producer Manatee Commune (a.k.a. Grant Eadie) is also on the bill, and will share his sparkly, chillwave beats with the crowd.
If you go: Lusine, Emerald Strata, Nectar Lounge, May 1 ($15). 21+ — J.S.H.
Independent Bookstore Day
The annual Independent Bookstore Day returns! Support your favorite local book shop or stop by ALL 17 by taking the Indie Bookstore Challenge. The usual favorites (Third Place, University Bookstore, Elliott Bay) will, of course, be participating, with special events, giveaways and, at Third Place, cake! But don’t forget all the other booksellers. Visit Fantagraphics down in Georgetown for a free copy of Hip Hop Family Tree 3-in-1 by Ed Piskor (while supplies last); or drop by Fremont’s always adorable The Book Larder, which will be offering bites from their favorite cookbooks AND a free tea towel with every $20 purchase. At Seattle Mystery Bookshop, you can pick up a bag of mystery books with a $10 purchase. Whatever you do, treat yourself to some time scouring the (cramped and dusty, or tall and majestic) shelves of a local gem and give them some support.
If you go: Independent Bookstore Day, Various venues, May 2 — N.C.
Night Music: Music for the Soul