* Events that are $15 or less
The 5th Avenue closes its season with what’s arguably the perfect show for the summer. Because what could be better than watching Sandy swoon over Danny or Danny pine over Sandy or Frenchie angst over dropping out of beauty school or everyone doing the hand jive? A whole host of local talent is involved in this production: Eric Ankrim directs; Byran Gula plays Danny Zuko; Solea Pfeiffer stars as Sandy and Kirsten deLohr Helland takes on the role of Rizzo. I suspect I will not be the only one wearing a ponytail and singing along to every song and yes, even doing the arm choreography (if it’s the same as in the film) to Greased Lightnin’.
If you go: Grease, 5th Avenue Theatre, Now through August 2 (Tickets start at $29)—F.D.
Steely Dan, Elvis Costello
Not all rock stars age gracefully (or at all, in many tragic cases) but Elvis Costello and Steely Dan retain their relevance and appeal with the younger generations. On Thursday, they play together at the White River Amphitheatre. The two performances should contrast with each other sharply, but harmoniously. Steely Dan’s smooth, jazzy songs never fail to establish a groove from which no listener can escape. There are also hints of funk, R&B and even a little reggae from time to time keeping things interesting. Costello, on the other hand, is all hardboiled jittery urgency. He cut his teeth in the pubs of his native England and has retained a love for hooks and brief, high-octane songs that endures even when he forays into other realms of pop music. Imagine dancing to these groups outside with the wind in your hair.
If you go: Steely Dan, Elvis Costello, White River Ampitheatre, July 9 (Tickets start at $45)—J.S.H.
West Seattle Summer Fest *
West Seattle Summer Fest celebrates its 33rd year this week, and there’s a spectacular lineup of local acts. The schedule is heavy on rock, with a number of great louder bands including Pony Time, The Thermals, Wimps and Kithkin. Slightly mellower are surf pop ladies La Luz and surf rock hook machine The Shivas. To be totally fair to The Shivas, they hit pretty hard, their tunes are just so catchy it goes down easy. Folk rock crooners The Cave Singers are perhaps the most established band performing, but it would be a shame to forget about Navvi and Vox Mod; these artists deliver to very different brands of electronic music, each deserving of high praise. There will also be beer gardens, a separate play area for kids, a Garden and Sustainability expo, and (of course) a ton of shopping options. Check out the website for show days and times.
If you go: West Seattle Music Festival, West Seattle Junction, July 10-12 (Free)—J.S.H.
Sometimes large rap groups fall prey to disorganization and dissention. The immortal Wu-Tang Clan is the classic example; Odd Future is a more modern one. During 22 years of recording and touring, Jurassic 5 has never fallen prey to this unfortunate trope. And when you look the band up on YouTube, Outkast pops up in the related videos list.This is because both groups have a positive, energetic tint and owe a deep debt to the traditions of funk music. One of the 5 rappers that comprise the posse splits his lyrics in a deep, sonorous voice that’s a dead ringer for the style George Clinton popularized on the Parliament-Funkadelic recordings. As an added bonus, the group tends to rap more about dedicating their lives to the craft of wordsmithing rather than pontificating about their experiences with sex and drugs—always a welcome respite from a genre rife with smut.
If you go: Jurassic 5, The Showbox, July 10 ($35). 21+ —J.S.H.
Yoga in the Arboretum *
Come summer, outdoor opportunities to practice yoga (as a beginner and beyond) abound, from Cal Anderson to the Sculpture Park. I suspect the backdrop of the lush, shady Arboretum will be particularly relaxing and magical--not to mention the perfect crash pad for practicing your balancing poses. Multi-talented instructor Sarah Belisle will lead 90-minute flow yoga classes throughout July and August. Give it a try for free this week and next and then sign up for Saturdays in August ($20 drop-in, $15 each for the whole month).
If you go: Yoga in the Arboretum, Washington Park Arboretum, 9: 30 a.m. July 11 and July 18 (free)—N.C.
Chantey Sing *
Four years ago, Half Price Books (HPB) on Capitol Hill inherited an epic collection of sea shanty records. The records forced HPB to create a short-lived Sea Shanty section. Fatefully, I bought one of the records. And now, my love—our love?—of sea shanties can go up to the next level.
Each month, the Northwest Seaport hosts Chantey Sings aboard an 1889 tugboat in South Lake Union. Once used to tug sailing ships into the Columbia River and bring miners to Alaska during the Gold Rush, the Albert Foss (now a National Historic Site) is itself a destination. Head down Friday to join in the choir as sea shanties of old are relived. This is unparalleled entertainment: amateur singing aboard a historic landmark on a July night, on the water, at sunset. Not to mention it’s an excuse to wear my boat shoes off of land. Here’s a one-minute maritime gem by folk great Paul Clayton to get you excited.
If you go: Chantey Sing, Aboard the Albert Foss on Lake Union, 7:30 p.m. on July 11 (Free)—N.C.
Zoolander Quote-Along *
For serious Zoolander fans, this event provides an outlet to watch the 2001 comedy classic the only way we can: quoting every ridiculous line alongside Ben Stiller (not to mention Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell). From the emotionally-charged “freak gasoline fight accident” to “How are we supposed to educate children there if they can’t even fit in the building?” to the feeble “Merman! [cough, cough] Merman!” the film remains an absurd, fun watch. Central Cinema is not just a great local institution with drinks and snacks, but it’s also an air-conditioned venue. Bring your friends!
If you go: Zoolander Quote-Along, Central Cinema, July 11 through 15 ($8)—N.C.