Performing Arts

This Week in Performance: Week of February 20, 2014

Courtesy of the Spectrum Dance Theater. Image by Nate Watters.
Courtesy of the Spectrum Dance Theater. Image by Nate Watters.

If it wasn’t already clear, let’s go ahead and state it outright: The folks at the Star, and This Week in particular like a good alienating experience — simply because it clears the cobwebs, it shocks the system, it allows us to be receptive to the more mainstream fare this city is more than happy to provide. Besides, sometimes the only way to address some of life’s less pleasant realities is by engaging something meant to push your buttons. This may explain why it is that we begin this week’s entry with:

DANCE

Spectrum Dance Theater, Donald Byrd’s dance company, and their remount of their controversial offering, The Minstrel Show Revisited at the Cornish Playhouse at the Seattle Center. This might seem like an odd choice for any company to offer during Black History Month, but Byrd has explained that his decision was spurred by the Trayvon Martin verdict a year ago. One only imagines that the verdict in the Jordan Davis case will further charge performances.

COMEDY

But hey, we also like a good laugh, and this weekend — along with Pocket Theater’s continued residency at West of Lenin — we have the Seattle Festival of Improv taking over the U-District. Featuring every hit improv production you can imagine (Star Trek! Gilbert and Sullivan! Edgar Allen Poe!) as well as Seattle improv stalwarts like Carskee and Jet City Improv (producers of the festival itself), the city’s best in long and short form improv are out in force this weekend.

MUSIC

Going back to the whole discomfiting theme we started the entry with, it’s kind of difficult to try and recommend an entire weekend of different alienating bands. While there are some who would thrive on a weekend of nothing but Gorilla Sleepytime Museum (you know who you are), we like a little variety in our aural mix. Check it out, we start the weekend by going a little mod.

Prom Queen, local chanteuse Leeni’s homage to surf, psychedelia and exotica (among others), is performing at the Swedish Cultural Center this Friday. Yet another one of those magical venue/act combinations that should have taken place long before this weekend. Ridiculously inexpensive ($5!), if you show up before the show begins, you could take advantage of the Culture Center’s dinner buffet…I hear their meatballs are delicious.

The next night, however, we recommend the bone-rattling fare being offered at the Black Lodge. What’s going on? Well, only Thrones, Hot Victory, and He Whose Ox is Gored. We’re only familiar with He Whose’s doom metal offerings, and while we’re not connoisseurs, we can tell when people know what the hell they’re doing. These guys know.

Let’s move forward to Monday, where the Frank Agency begins its monthly residence at the Royal Room with a pair of acts showcasing Beth Fleenor — whom This Week has discussed before: the Beth Fleenor Workshop Ensemble, and Double Yoko, in which Fleenor teams up with hidden Seattle gem, Paris Hurley. Hurley is a dance artist, violinist with Kultur Shock, and head of her own numerous aural projects.

Let’s wrap the week’s Music offerings by going somewhat full circle: Next Wednesday, at the Can Can in the Market, we have a night of bluegrass/folk music revival that the Half Brothers provide, followed by Weimar-esque revelry at the hands of Love Markets. An evening of highly theatrical musical acts that makes for a great wind-down from the rest of the week’s offerings.

OTHER

But if all of that just sounds exhausting, you could simply head over to Capitol Hill’s Jai Thai a few hours after this item goes to print (Thursday evening) for the Breezy Time Variety Hour. A veritable entertainment appetizer platter, Breezy Time features a little bit of everything: video, stand up, drag performance, sketch, and musical comedy. No cover charge, stiff drinks at the bar, this seems like a no-brainer. Really, you should head over, what else are you doing tonight?

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

Omar Willey was born at St. Frances Cabrini Hospital in Seattle and grew up near Lucky Market on Beacon Avenue. He believes Seattle is the greatest city on Earth and came to this conclusion by travelling much of the Earth. He is a junior member of Lesser Seattle and, as an oboist, does not blow his own trumpet. Contact him at omar [at] seattlestar [dot] net