The Weekend List: African dance, comedy horror improv and an artistic celebration of the Duwamish River

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Members of Gansango dance group, one of several performers at Thursday's DanceGarden event at The Neptune.

* Events that are $15 or less

DanceGarden: A Celebration of World Music & Dance *

Not only does this event showcase contemporary and traditional dance and music from across the African Diaspora — in other words, it’s a feast for the eye, ear and soul — it’s free. Performers include Gansango Music & Dance, De Cajón Project, Bahia in Motion, Dance Brazil, Flamenco Danzarte and Suzanna & Friends.

If you go: DanceGarden: A Celebration of World Music & Dance, The Neptune Theatre, July 2 (Free) — F.D.

Duwamish Revealed *

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Estuary, a sculptural installation and performance space by Christian French.

Seattle’s only river is being showcased and celebrated with a whole host of art installations, performances and workshops all summer-long. There’s a tapestry made from recycled materials that’s outfitting the South Park bridge. There’s a large illuminated and mirrored sculpture by Ben Zamora holding court at 12th Avenue South and South Elmgrove Street, also in South Park. And Buster Simpson tackles climate change and the river’s temperament in an installation involving two skinny and very tall chairs floating on spheres on the river at 8th Avenue South. You can actually see Anne Blackburn’s Witness, which is documenting human and animal activity along Hamm Creek with a motion-sensitive wildlife camera, by taking a look at an Instagram feed. But the whole point of Duwamish Revealed, which is organized by the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle and features more than 3 dozen artists and performers, is to get you to connect with and think about this often-dismissed waterway. So check out the map and the calendar of events and spend a couple of hours at the Duwamish taking everything in.

If you go: Duwamish Revealed, Various art installation sites along the Duwamish from West Seattle south to Georgetown, Now through September 30 (Free)—F.D.

Museums on Us *

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Roger Shimomura, American in Disguise, 2012. Acrylic on canvas, 34 × 34 inches.

If you happen to have a Bank of America account, your card grants you free admission to a handful of Seattle museums this weekend. Head to Northwest African American Museum (open Sunday only) to catch the last day of Stranger Genius winner C. Davida Ingram’s exhibit Eyes to Dream: A Project Room, exploring identity and beauty. The Wing Luke Museum continues to present its acclaimed Do You Know Bruce? exhibit, which is all about Bruce Lee. It’s also added a new exhibit Constructs: Installations by Asian Pacific Women Artists. Other local institutions offering free admission this holiday weekend include the Seattle Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum and the Bellevue Arts Museum. Perhaps the exhibit I’m most looking forward to is TAM’s An American Knockoff, featuring 53 pop art paintings and prints exploring two of Roger Shimomura’s major life events: his family’s internment during WWII and his move from NYC to the Midwest. And in case you need another motivator for some cultural exploration: museums tend to be air-conditioned.

If you go: Museums on Us, Various cultural institutions throughout town, July 4 and 5 (Free)—N.C.

Zola Jesus (DJ Set) Youryoungbody, Nightspace *

If mysterious and edgy electronic sounds are at all your thing, Kremwerk is the only place you should be Thursday night, other obligations be damned. This is a darkwave extravaganza, with genre master Zola Jesus performing a rare headlining DJ set. Typically, singer/songwriter/producer Nika Roza Danilova (she’s American-born and of Russian and Slovenian descent) performs her excellent, slightly gothic original material. On this occasion, she’s “dusting off her wildest records” according to her Twitter page. Supporting her is Youryoungbody, who interpret New Wave style synth sounds with a more modern EDM perspective, and Nightspace, an impressive solo singer/producer with a slightly industrial sound who performs awesome  barebones, beats-and-keyboard sets.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO7_0GTs68M[/embed]

If you go: Zola Jesus (DJ set), Kremwerk, July 2 ($8)—J.S.H.

Blood Squad *

Comedy horror improv troupe Blood Squad is always stellar and it’s one-night only shows are such a rarity (they only do these kinds of events three times a year). So whether or not Amber Waves of Brain actually delivers Independence Day-themed horror, the show featuring four improv vets should elicit tears of laughter and moments of genuine surprise. Consider this your unparalleled introduction to Seattle improv (with the bar set quite high). But act fast because the shows always sell out.

If you go: Blood Squad, The Annex Theatre, July 3 ($10)—N.C.

Grace Love and the True Loves *

“Seattle’s first lady of soul” certainly deserves the title she’s been informally awarded. Grace Love sings like she has an old soul,  bringing the kind of rapturous charisma rarely found outside a gospel choir. Her voice is mellower than some of her neo-soul contemporaries—like Sharon Jones or Bettye Lavette. But she doesn’t have the deep, demure vibe of Mavis Staples either. Love’s singing voice is mellow, rich and sublimely melodic. Behind her, a just-jazzy-enough funk band matches her energy and tone perfectly. Some might call her sound dated, or anachronistic, but, in actuality, it’s timeless. She opens for funky jam band Dug at the Lo-Fi this week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nnt2dr7888Y

If you go: Grace Love and the True Loves, The Lo-Fi, July 3 ($10)—J.S.H.

Porcelain Raft *

In 2012, Pitchfork’s Larry Fitzmaurice described Porcelain Raft’s penchant for “burying his hooks and lyrics in layers of shimmery fuzz until they sounded so far away that you had to squint just to make 'em out.” This is a perfect characterization. Mauro Remiddi, who performs under the aforementioned moniker, got his start scoring films in Italy and began layering shimmery guitar on top of keyboard loops and Sparklehorse-esque vocals in 2010. His music has a definite chillwave feel, but it’s crystal clear and stirring. Porcelain Raft avoids the mind numbing reverb doldrums where so many shoegaze and dreampop groups take up residence. Remiddi truly pulls off the solo artist approach, carrying the charisma that seemed so much easier to find back in the singer/songwriter heyday of the ‘90s.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLNeAEMU7AI[/embed]

If you go: Porcelain Raft, Barboza, July 7 ($10)—J.S.H.

Sarah Kay *

Sarah Kay said she first regarded spoken word poetry as a combination of her two secret loves: poetry and theater. Her TED talk, which has had over 7.8 million views, shows the power of poetry to highlight the beauty in everyday minutiae as well as the complexity of the world. Kay, who's from New York City, will be performing alongside beloved Seattle superstar poet Karen Finneyfrock, with all proceeds benefitting Nepal relief.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0snNB1yS3IE[/embed]

If you go: Sarah Kay, Fremont Abbey Arts Center, July 8 ($12)—N.C.

March of the Penguins with the Seattle Symphony

The delightfully poignant documentary is paired with a live performance of Alex Wurman’s score as played by the singular Seattle Symphony. Oh, the drama: will that penguin egg hatch? Oh, the cuteness: penguin chicks!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7tWNwhSocE[/embed]

If you go: March of the Penguins with the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, July 8 (tickets start at $25)—F.D.

  

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