This Week in Performance: Weekend of January 17th, 2014

An image from Whim W'him's 2011 project 3SEASONS. Courtesy of their website.

An image from Whim W’him’s 2011 project 3SEASONS. Courtesy of their website.

DANCE

So many world/Seattle premieres in the days ahead coming from the Dance scene. As mentioned last week, Whim W’him looms large over the weekend, and while it’s pretty late in the game to attempt to get tickets, it never hurts to find out if they are still available (just do it quickly).

Instantly Bound is the fifth season launch of Olivier Wever’s company and comprises three works: The Seattle premiere of the eponymous work, which is based on the gun control debate; the world premiere of Wever’s Les Sylphides; and the US debut of Spanish choreographer Juanjo Arques.

Those who aren’t talking about Bound this weekend are talking about Will Courtney and Syniva Whitney’s Gender Tender: Sync or Swim, the local duo’s collaboration with artists associated with Gay City Arts. Both Wevers and Courtney/Whitney exhibit a deviant sense of humor, a gift for expressive movement and a general sensuality, but where Wevers focuses on subverting the tropes of classicist movement, this time Whitney challenges hetero-normative ideas of family and togetherness.

If your best efforts to get a ticket to one of this weekend’s events prove futile, you could try to get ahead of the game for next week by looking into UW World Series’ Grupo Corpo. The Brazilian contemporary dance group come to town with two Seattle premieres, Sem Mim and O Corpo. If you haven’t done yourself the pleasure of seeing international work, this would be a great place to start.

MUSIC

We at the Star still bemoan the loss of the UW’s old radio station KCMU — while its replacement, KEXP, is a decent enough variation on KCMU’s free-for-all programming, the current format lends itself of a form of rigidity and inflexibility that’s hard to express. One exception to this observation can be found in Expansions, the 19-year-old program (the brainchild of Seattle treasure, DJ Riz) earns its name by fully exploring the wide soundscape that makes up the Electronic music scene.

This Sunday, the 14th Annual Expansions MLK Unity Party will take over the Columbia City Theater in Rainier Valley. DJs Riz, Masa and Kid Hops will be in attendance, so both your ears and your body will be treated very very well.

THEATER

Where to begin with this week’s theater selections?

Let’s go with the latest from the folks at the Strawberry Workshop, who bring us a new production of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart at Capitol Hill’s Erickson Theater. About the early days of the AIDS epidemic in New York City, Heart is a challenging play to produce, but one that’s filled with humor, poignancy and power. It’s been 14 years since the last production of this play (at Theater Schmeater, with John Farrage, Tim Gouran, and Marty Mukhailian under the direction of the oft-missed Sean McEnaney), which cast a fairly large shadow at the time — this production, helmed by Sheila Daniels and featuring Stephen Black, Greg Lyle Newton, Amy Thone and Andrew Russell should be up to the task of at least matching the former’s impact.

Of course, there’s also the second weekend of 14/48 afoot, which features a whole new set of artists from last weekend. This week includes David Schmader, Keri Healy, Stan Shields, Jennifer Jasper, Courtney Meaker, Erin Stewart — and those are just some of the writers. The keen eyed will be able to spot our publisher, Omar Willey, whose work behind the camera lens will be featured on the screen before the show and during intermission.

Along with these productions, the Seattle Rep’s production of A Great Wilderness opens this coming Wednesday, which promises to be a taut psychological drama about a man forced to reconcile his past as a gay reformist.

Finally, if you wanted to glimpse what the future of Seattle theater could look like, we’d recommend going to see Homemade Fusion this weekend at Cornish’s Raisbeck Performance Hall. Fusion is a song cycle written by NYC cabaret act Kooman and Dimond, and is meant as a showcase for a handful of their students that are set to graduate this year. Plus, it’s absolutely free.

Vashon

Yes, Vashon. A.K.A. “The Island” to its denizens, Vashon is primarily known for its eccentricity and its insularity. The stereotype that exists regarding the Island’s populace is well founded: if the breadwinners who live there didn’t have to leave their precious isle, we would never see one of these elusive characters in person.

Despite the fact that Vashon should have served as the location for Neil Labute’s remake of The Wicker Man, the truth is that the island is home to a ton of artists who regularly get together to put on a stunning display of talent. Case in point: This weekend’s 50 Sense Circus, in which women past their ingenue phase showcase their ability to wow you with their skills.

Featuring members of Teatro Zinzanni, the UMO Ensemble, Storme Webber among others, this is absolutely worth the trek through West Seattle and quick ferry trip. Just be wary of anyone asking you to participate in their religious rituals.

Have an event you’d like to have included in the Star calendar? Send an email to events@seattlestar.net