The Weekend List: Gay softball drama, a sci-fi pop-up, and outdoor movies

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Just some of the cast members of Intiman's "John Baxter is a Switch Hitter."

* Events that are $15 or less

John Baxter is a Switch Hitter

Does one’s sexuality define us? And what does it mean to belong to a group? Those are some of the questions at the heart of a new play based on a gay softball tournament and the actual events (that occurred in Seattle) when a team from San Francisco was accused of having too many straight players. There’s plenty of camp and charm here but “the trial”—when the accusations fly and one of the ballplayers (Adam Standley) recalls the heartbreak he endured after coming out to his father and being rejected—is totally absorbing. I also want to point out how almost every arts organization talks about valuing diversity but Intiman walks the talk: Take a look at who is on stage in this production. Part of the 2015 Intiman Theatre Festival.

If you go: John Baxter is a Switch Hitter, Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, Now through Sept. 27 (Tickets start at $20)—F.D.

Pop up on the Plaza: Celebrate the Life of Octavia Butler *

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Gabriel Teodros and Walidah Imarisha

This very special event will kick-off with a hip-hop set by local artist Gabriel Teodros and then continue with a discussion and celebration of the life and legacy of Octavia Butler. The first science fiction writer to win the MacArthur Genius Grant, Butler continues to inspire new conversations and art. Gabriel Teodros and Walidah Imarisha, editor of the collection Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements, will discuss the intersection of science fiction and social justice. While you’re feeling inspired, get some book recommendations from a librarian and peruse their pop-up offerings.

If you go: Pop Up on the Plaza, Central Library plaza, 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 26 (free)—N.C.

Matilda the Musical

Crosscut archive image.Let’s say you’re a girl named Matilda whose parents call you “a lousy worm” and huff disapprovingly whenever they see you. You seek revenge in the form of, oh, glue on the inside of your dad’s fedora. And you also throw yourself into dozens and dozens of books, eventually spinning marvelous stories of your own creation. That’s the plot in a nutshell, minus a very sweet and shy teacher (who Matilda adores) and a horrible (but very funny) headmistress who Matilda well … you’ll have to go see the show to find out. Based on a Roald Dahl children’s book and winner of four Tony Awards, the lyrics aren’t always easy to make out (Is it the sound quality or the children’s voices doing an English accent?) But, the scenic design and the terrific choreography—on swings, on a trampoline, on scaffolding—is worth the price of admission.

If you go: Matilda the Musical, 5th Avenue Theatre, Now through Sept. 6 (Tickets start at $35) –F.D.

Out to Lunch concert series *

This series of concerts is an ideal lunchtime activity, and there are two great ones going on this week. On Thursday, 10-year-strong jazz/funk fusion band Industrial Revelation will play City Hall Plaza (600 4th Avenue). The group has earned both the Stranger Genius award and Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award. On Friday, lunchtime music fans at Lake Union Park can catch a whole different brand of funky in the form of Eldridge Gravy & The Court Supreme. The Court Supreme is a 13-piece funk factory, and it takes every last one of them to keep up with Eldridge Gravy, the eccentric and charismatic lead singer. Plus, he’s got a voice that rivals any contemporary soul man (yes, Alan Stone, I’m talking to you). The group’s hilarious video, “Hey Big Freak” captures their party-ready vibe perfectly. Skip to minute three if you aren’t amused by the silly faux-rap preface at the beginning and want to get right into the funk. It’s pretty hilarious, though.


If you go: Out to Lunch concert series, noon to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at City Hall Plaza & Aug. 28 at Lake Union Park (Free)—J.S.H.

KEXP Concerts at the Mural: Ha Ha Tonka, Country Lips, Evening Bell *

Thematically, country music is clearly the most appropriate genre for an outdoor show. Farming, hunting, fishing, off-roading, shooting and a general connection to nature are lyrical constants for any musician who sings with a hint of twang or an Americana croon. Country often rejects the material and mental quagmires of urban living in favor of a more rural, down-to-earth way of doing things. This particular three-act show doesn’t actually take place in the country, but it does, at least, take place outdoors— at the Mural Amphitheatre directly under the Space Needle. Appropriately named Seattle band Country Lips plays second. They are a modern country band whose influences skip a generation backward. They don’t take cues from many of the ’80s and ’90s era country fixtures like Garth Brooks or Toby Keith. Instead, they draw more from the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and bluegrass/folk influences that go back even earlier. They are clearly a group of old souls living in modern times. They’re opening for Ha Ha Tonka, a country rock group out of Missouri that have a (somewhat ironic) southern flavor to their music. Another local group with a country slant, Evening Bell, will play the opening set at 5:30 p.m.


If you go: KEXP Concerts at the Mural: Ha Ha Tonka, Country Lips, Evening Bell, Mural Amphitheater at Seattle Center, Aug 28 (Free)—J.S.H.

Last week for Outdoor Movies *

Summer’s end is upon us, meaning goodbye tans, insane lines at ice cream shops and time spent on patios. Many summer movie series around town will also conclude. Head to Fremont or Marymoor to see The Lego Movie (raved about by everyone), The Neverending Story at Cal Anderson, or the quintessential outdoor film The Princess Bride at Magnuson. “Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme…” I’ll be at King’s patio on Friday for bobsled time. The Ballard bar will be showing a double feature of Cool Runnings and Bring It On; if attention wanes, there’s always Skee-Ball and an unbeatable happy hour ($3 for a well or a brew from their great selection).

If you go: Outdoor Movies, Various locations, Aug. 28 and 29 (Often free)—N.C.

NEPO 5k Don’t Run *

Crosscut archive image.After 5 years, the eclectic and feisty arts event known as the NEPO 5K is coming to an end. So this is it; your last chance ever to course a 5k route-- from Hing Hay Park in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District to NEPO House on Beacon Hill--that’s dotted with some 70 artists, musicians and performers. So much creativity topped off by food trucks and beer at the finish line.

If you go: NEPO 5K Don’t Run, Hing Hay Park, Starting time is noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 29 (Suggested donation: $15. Free for children)—F.D.

Seattle Cider Company’s Second Anniversary Party

The Seattle Cider Company, the first cidery in Seattle since Prohibition, has enjoyed immense success in the last couple years with their 16-ounce cans of cider not only showing up in markets across the state but in nine other states as well. To celebrate, the cidery will be hosting a special party at The Woods tasting room in SODO, a space shared with Two Beers Brewing. For the party, The People’s Burger food truck will be onsite and TWENTY taps will be dedicated to cider, including their special barrel-aged ciders and collaborative creations (featuring Theo Chocolate and Mystic Kombucha, among others). My personal recommendation: Their complex and summery Gin Botanical cider.

If you go: Seattle Cider Company’s Second Anniversary Party, The Woods Tasting Room at 4700 Ohio Ave S. 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 29. Ciders and snacks for purchase.—N.C.

Rocky Votolato *

Over his 20-year-career, Rocky Votolato’s has proven himself incredibly consistent, making him one of the defining voices in the Northwest indie and folk scenes. Up here in the rain and gray, these two disparate genres share certain qualities: A propensity for melancholy, lyrical complexity, and sparse, subtle musical arrangements.  Damien Jurado, Neko Case, Elliott Smith, Colin Meloy and Benjamin Gibbard are other key figures of this style, but Rocky Votolato is (unfortunately) not always thought of alongside these celebrated figures. Honestly, his newest album—2015’s Hospital Handshakes—achieves a level of emotional sincerity that neither Death Cab for Cutie or The Decemberists, supposed paragons of that style, have been able to achieve in years. A lot of Votolato’s new songs have a faster pace and higher energy than his stripped-down earlier work. Since he’s performing with a complete band this week, audience members will get to witness them in their full splendor.


If you go: Rocky Votolato, The Crocodile, Aug. 29 ($15)--J.S.H.


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