Food & Drink

15 Best Things To Do in Seattle in January 2019

The best bets for entertainment this month

By Gavin Borchert December 28, 2018


This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Seattle magazine.

This article appears in print in the January 2019 issue. Click here to subscribe.

Dear Evan Hansen
The history of the American musical is a seesaw between pure escapism (which the genre does really well) and the urge to tackle serious social issues. The lineage of Show Boat, South Pacific, West Side Story and Rent lead straight to this 2017 Tony winner, in which creators Benj Pasek and Justin Paul explore social anxiety and teen suicide in a high school that could easily be in Seattle. Times and prices vary. Paramount Theatre, downtown, 911 Pine St.; 206.682.1414

Il Trovatore
Its switched-baby, love-triangle plot is notoriously spoofable (it’s the opera that the Marx Brothers reduced to rubble in A Night at the Opera), but Verdi’s 1853 swashbuckler can still pack a punch—especially if you have a soaring soprano like the Centralia-raised Angela Meade, making her Seattle Opera debut, in the lead role of the patrician Leonora. Times and prices vary. McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, 321 Mercer St.; 206.389.7676

Castellanos’ 2018 mixed media and re-purposed garment sculpture, “Eye Pudding 8.” Courtesy of Laura Castellanos

Laura  Castellanos
Through 1/26
“Being on a budget shouldn’t get in the way of living with art,” says this Manhattan-born Seattle artist of her Brujx website, on which she sells her vibrant, kooky bags and tchotchkes. Her ArtXchange show—called Bodega (Love Materials) in honor of her Cuban grandparents, who ran just such a store—features more work in her “funky frugal dandy” style. Tues-Sat., 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Free. ArtXchange Gallery, Pioneer Square, 512 First Ave. S; 206.839.0377

Children’s Film Festival Seattle
The lineup of more than 150 films from some 40 countries (from Swaziland to Switzerland)—chosen to “inspire empathy, understanding, and a nuanced view of the world”—includes a sing-along screening of The Muppet Movie (assuming you can get past “Rainbow Connection” without tearing up) and 1926’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the oldest surviving animated film. Times and prices vary. Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill, 1515 12th Ave.; 206.329.2629

Greta Van Fleet 
Yes, we’re going to talk about that Pitchfork review—the one that graded the Michigan-based, Led Zeppelin–lite band’s October debut album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army, 1.6 points out of 10. It’s cruelly hilarious but also the epitome of rock-critic cliché, in essence slagging on the band for not being, you know, authentic. The band’s fans hit back just as hilariously: As one web headline puts it, “Did Greta Van Fleet F*** Somebody at Pitchfork’s Girlfriend?” 8 p.m. Prices vary. Paramount Theatre, downtown, 911 Pine St.; 206.682.1414

Photo by Karen Sayre

Soraya Chemaly 
Civility? We’re all for it, right? Until you ask whose voice is being tamped down in the process—and what serious social change has ever resulted from “being polite.” At the talk by this award-winning journalist/activist, presented by Seattle Arts & Lectures, Chemaly will discuss her new book, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger, and the constructive power and importance of women’s rage. 7:30 p.m. Prices vary. Benaroya Hall, downtown, 200 University St.; 206.215.4747;

Seattle International Dance Festival Winter Mini Fest
1/18, 1/25–1/26
Cyrus Khambatta and his Khambatta Dance Company have anchored this festival since its 2006 founding, and he’s invited three other choreographers this year to create dances for the company: Shura Baryshnikov (you’ll remember her famous dad), New York–based Gabriel Forestieri and Singapore’s Danny Tan, soon to become the festival’s associate artistic director. 8 p.m. Prices vary. Erickson Theater Off Broadway, Capitol Hill, 1524 Harvard Ave.; 888.377.4510;

Last of the Boys
As historian Paul Fussell noted in his book Class, the 2-S draft deferment for college students, which kept the privileged from being sent off to die in Vietnam, “will poison life here for generations.” Seattle playwright Steven Dietz examines this unhealed cultural wound in his play about a reunion of two vets whose lives, perhaps unavoidably, took different paths. Times and prices vary. Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Center, 155 Mercer St.; 206.443.2222

Courtesy of SJCC Arts + Ideas

Ophira Eisenberg
Impressively versatile, this Albertan-born stand-up comic (and host of NPR’s Ask Me Another) can spin poignant tales as a regular on live storytelling series and podcast The Moth, then switch to delivering snappy punch lines on comfort-food topics like dating, marriage and Jewishness (“‘Sorry’ is like ‘shalom’ in Canadian”). 8 p.m. Prices vary. Stroum Jewish Community Center, Mercer Island, 3801 E Mercer Way; 206.232.7115

James Rupp
Rupp’s recently released book, Art in Seattle’s Public Spaces: From SoDo to South Lake Union, examines the city’s identity as public art incubator and looks at the city’s collection—the good, the bad and the ugly—including love-’em-or-hate-’em installations, such as the typewriter eraser at the Olympic Sculpture Park. He’ll discuss a selection from the book’s 300-plus color photographs, by photographer Miguel Edwards, at this reading. 7 p.m. Free. Elliott Bay Book Company, Capitol Hill, 1521 10th Ave.; 206.624.6600

Mozart Birthday Toast
For so many composers other than lively, fun-loving Mozart, it would seem odd to have an annual birthday party. Bach? Too lofty. Beethoven? Too stormy. Chopin? Too melancholy. Tchaikovsky? Too melodramatic. But there’ll be champagne and chocolates, plus a festive selection of Wolfie’s lighter chamber music, at this concert curated by keyboardist Byron Schenkman. 7 p.m. Prices vary. Seattle First Baptist Church, First Hill, 1111 Harvard Ave.; 206.325.6051;

Andy Borowitz
This humorist’s “The Borowitz Report” satire column in The New Yorker—consisting of Onion-esque short takes on the news of the day, which are shared prolifically on Facebook (“Putin Loses Control of the House” read his post-midterm headline)—has probably done more to even the left’s keel during the past three years of chaos than Vicodin and Cab Sauv combined. 7:30 p.m. Prices vary. The Moore Theatre, downtown, 1932 Second Ave.; 206.467.5510

Nyland’s 2017 ceramic/metal sculpture “Charm Burro.” Courtesy of Linda Hodges Gallery

Sylwia Tur & Nicholas Nyland
In a way, Tur’s porcelain works resemble little buildings, or plans for buildings, reflecting what she describes to be her “awareness of the internal structure of things” and interest in “basic geometric shapes which are often devoid of inherent identity.” (She’s inspired by architecture, but cites language structures as an even more profound influence.) Her work’s cool whiteness contrasts delectably with the dashing, slashing, splashing arrays of color in Nicholas Nyland’s calligraphic acrylics and ceramic sculpture. Tues.–Sat., 10:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Free. Linda Hodges Gallery, Pioneer Square, 316 First Ave. S; 206.624.3034

Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival
The first of the two weekends of this mini fest gives the Kathleen Turner of the orchestra—the rich alto of the viola—a little more of the spotlight than usual, in music by Brahms, Martinů, Kodály and Debussy. Also watch for the world premiere of Philadelphia composer Chris Rogerson’s duo for violin and cello, on January 19. Times and prices vary. Benaroya Recital Hall, downtown, 200 University St.; 206.215.4747;

Tasveer South Asian Literary Festival
Formerly focused on film (its flagship event is October’s South Asian Film Festival), South Asian cultural nonprofit Tasveer, devoted to art from the South Asian diaspora, is branching out with this festival of writers. Among the authors are Sharmila Sen (Not Quite Not White), Amitava Kumar (Immigrant, Montana) and others, hosted by venues across the city including the Seattle Art Museum, Elliott Bay Book Company and Hugo House. Times vary. Free. Venues vary.

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