Food & Culture
Your 2015 Spring Arts Guide
45 arts events--theater, music, film and more--to experience this spring
By Brangien Davis March 5, 2015
Among the many signs that spring has arrived are the wealth of excellent performances, exhibits and concerts suddenly competing for space in our calendars. Will you get to know a Lizard Boy, indulge in Splurge Land or buckle up with Chastity Belt? We recommend all three—and 42 more arts events—in our guide to the best things to see, hear and experience this season.
This season’s lineup teaches audiences some valuable lessons
Seattle playwright/composer/cellist Justin Huertas presents his world-premiere musical, Lizard Boy, a coming-of-age/coming-out story that takes inspiration from comic books, iconic love stories and personal history. Expect catchy folk-rock songs, a boy covered in green scales, a precipitous dragon bite, an all-powerful female rocker and newfound superpowers. 3/27–4/26. Times and prices vary. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St.; 206.443.2222; seattlerep.org
1. Love is Complicated, No Matter Where:
On a Southern Plantation With an Alcoholic Husband
Seattle actors Brandon O’Neill and Laura Griffith play the steamy lead duo in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opening 4/17 at ACT; photo by Hayley Young
Fresh off a stint playing the romantic leading roles in Carousel at The 5th, local stars Brandon O’Neill and Laura Griffith take on another fiery couple: Brick and Maggie in Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize–winning play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. This Southern sizzler is one of several plays ACT is restaging for its 50th anniversary. 4/17–5/17. Times and prices vary. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St.; 206.292.7676
Amid a Land Dispute in Rural Ireland
John Patrick Shanley won several Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for his play Doubt: A Parable, and nabbed an Oscar for his film Moonstruck. With his newest work, Outside Mullingar (nominated for a Tony in 2014), he leaves behind his beloved NYC setting for rural Ireland, where neighboring 40-something farmers turn from feuding to falling in love. 4/24–5/17. Times and prices vary. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St.; 206.443.2222
In Bed with Your Partner and a Stranger
In Threesome, by award-winning Seattle writer Yussef El Guindi, two Egyptian Americans decide a threesome will solve their relationship woes. Guindi has proven himself a pro at penning awkward sexual scenes (see Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World), so expect squirmy hilarity (not to mention politics, gender bias and the repercussions of long-held secrets) to ensue in this world-premiere. 6/5–6/28. Times and prices vary. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St.; 206.292.7676
2. There’s No “I” In Team:
At a Rundown Movie Theatre
Along with the customary humiliations of a first job come first adult friendships, first time figuring out how to pay rent and first glimmers of what the future might bring. Three millennials experience such firsts together—while cleaning up popcorn at a struggling movie theater in The Flick, a 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner by Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation), staged by New Century Theatre Company in its new home. 3/5–4/4. Times and prices vary. 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave.; 206.661.8223
At a High-end Real Estate Office On the Skids
The comedy is dark and the blows are low in Laura Schellhardt’s (The K of D) The Comparables, a world-premiere play in which three women working in real estate go for each other’s throats and after each other’s job security. Billed as a “neo-feminist satire,” the story explores three clashing perspectives on how to get ahead as a businesswoman. 3/6–3/29. Times and prices vary. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St.; 206.443.2222
On a Basketball Court in a Tiny Dust Bowl Town
Meg Miroshnik’s The Tall Girls chronicles a group of young women seeking escape routes from their struggling Dust Bowl town. The exit signs light up when a stranger shows up and organizes the girls into basketball team. This West Coast premiere from the author of The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls, produced by Washington Ensemble Theatre, ups the tension with a basketball game played live on stage. 5/1–5/18. Times and prices vary. 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave.; 206.661.8223
3. Best to Burst Into Song When Faced With Unfamiliar Scenarios, Including…
Sudden Journey to the Underworld
In the new pop-rock musical Jasper in Deadland, a teen boy facing garden-variety demons is suddenly plunged into an underworld awash in more tangible monsters. Searching for a lost love, he encounters all manner of creatures (hailing from a global array of cultural mythologies), and in the process learns what it really means to be alive. 4/30—5/24. Times and prices vary. The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave.; 206.625.1900
Incredibly Persistent Freak In a White Mask
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera still reigns as Broadway’s longest-running musical, and it’s easy to see why, what with the disfigured creeper who lives in a secret lair under the opera house, a heroine who seems to be kind of into her stalker, and, of course, those big, bold songs. 4/30–5/10. Times and prices vary. The Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St.; 206.682.1414
Music: Tunes For All Moods
No need to pigeonhole your musical tastes—try a spring sampler platter
Still loco after all these years, LA-based Los Lobos serve up an unparalleled brand of Chicano rock with roots undertones. 3/19–3/21 at The Triple Door.
Paragons of pop OK Go, at The Neptune 3/24; gus powell
You’ve seen the mind-blowing one-take videos, now see the band live: OK Go plays from its new album, Hungry Ghosts, released in October. 3/24 at Neptune Theatre.
New Orleans Jazz
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will transport you from Seattle to the French Quarter of New Orleans by way of hand-clapping, horn-honking, soul-stirring music. 4/10–4/12 at Benaroya Hall.
Acclaimed Australian violinist Graeme Jennings performs the world premiere of an avant-classical piece by Seattle Modern Orchestra artistic director Jérémy Jolley. Expect far-out sounds and exquisite execution. 4/11 in The Chapel at the Good Shepherd Center.
Stage dive into the “Y’allternative” genre with Vaudeville Etiquette and Massy Ferguson, two of Seattle’s best country rock bands playing together. 4/25 at The Triple Door.
As part of Seattle Symphony’s daring “[untitled]” series, Seattle sound genius Trimpin presents a world-premiere experimental work, featuring his mad-scientist instruments triggered by conductor Ludovic Morlot’s movements. 5/1 at Benaroya Hall.
It’s a question for the ages: Which pleases the public more, high art or lowbrow antics? The Seattle Opera poses it by way of 1912’s Ariadne auf Naxos, which delights in the depiction of both. 5/2–5/16 at McCaw Hall.
Indie band They Might Be Giants is clever enough to know that its (immense) fan base likes shows to start and finish at a reasonable hour. Hence an 8 p.m. start time—with, blessedly, no opening act! 5/7 at Neptune Theatre.
Olympia-born band Sleater-Kinney plays from its utterly kickass new rock album, No Cities to Love, on local label Sub Pop Records. 5/7–5/9 at the Showbox.
KeyArena brings out the big guns this spring, with Neil Diamond (5/10), Barry Manilow (5/27) and Bette Midler (6/1). Prepare to turn on your heart light!
Chastity Belt’s music is unadulterated bliss
Seattle band Chastity Belt releases a new album 3/24; Hayley Young
Ask the members of any wannabe band: It’s incredibly hard to come up with a name that’s unique, memorable and, generally, really good. But Chastity Belt nailed it back in 2009, when the women met as freshmen at Whitman College and began “pretending” they were in an all-female punk band called Chastity Belt. Since then, they’ve honed their sound and stuck with the name, for good reason. It’s suggestive of sex and sexism, of something hardcore and clanky, but also so ridiculous it makes it clear the band doesn’t take itself too seriously.
But maybe it should. The group’s sophomore album, Time to Go Home (out 3/24 on local label Hardly Art Records), inspired NPR to name Chastity Belt one of 10 “musicians you’ll tell your friends about in 2015,” adding, “Please buy this record for every 14-year-old girl you know.” (Tip: The same goes for 40-year-old girls.) With its echoey guitars, shifting tempos and singer Julia Shapiro’s entrancingly moany alto, the record has a ’90s alternative band vibe and radiates with riot grrrl energy. “All of us identify as feminists,” Shapiro says, “and I think that comes across in our music, subtly and not so subtly at times.” Subtle or not, with lyrics like “He was just another man trying to teach me something” (from “Drone”), we suspect you’ll be inspired to sing along. Record release party 3/28 at Highline on Capitol Hill. For info, search “Chastity Belt music” on Facebook.
Expose yourself to visionary new exhibits
Eloquent Objects: Georgia O’Keeffe and Still-Life Art in New Mexico
Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Yellow Cactus” and other modern marvels at TAM 3/1–6/7; fe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Featuring more than 60 pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe and her contemporaries (including Gustave Baumann, Catherine Critcher and Stuart Davis), this show radiates with Southwest inflection and a modernist approach to art. 3/1–6/7. Times and prices vary. Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave.; 253.272.4258
Liz Brizzi: Anagrams
Up-and-coming LA-based painter Liz Brizzi creates urban landscapes both dystopian and alluring, using a technique that involves taking photos, collaging them onto painted panels, then layering them with acrylic washes of color. 3/5–3/28. Times vary. Free. Roq La Rue Gallery, 532 First Ave. S; 206.374.8977
Dirk Staschke: Executing Merit
Vancouver, British Columbia, ceramist Dirk Staschke simultaneously creates fanciful worlds (often involving piles of luscious food) and shakes viewers back to reality by exposing the trickery behind his artful clay facades. 3/3–4/15. Times vary. Free. Winston Wächter Fine Art, 203 Dexter Ave. N; 206.652.5855
Maïmouna Guerresi: Surprise
Mariane Ibrahim Gallery (formerly M.I.A Gallery) celebrates its new name and new space in Pioneer Square with a show of photographs by Italian Muslim artist Maïmouna Guerresi, who stages bold scenes featuring cosmic garment sculptures that blend African and Western iconography and customs. 3/20–5/1. Times vary. Free. 608 Second Ave.; 206.467.4927
Buster Simpson: Double Bound
Seattle’s iconic installation artist is known as much for artistic playfulness as for biting environmental commentary. Made of reclaimed wood, wire and tools, his works often stand in homage to the trees and places that have been lost in the name of progress. 4/2–5/16. Times vary. Free. Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S; 206.624.0770
Henry Horenstein: Racing Days
Longtime photographer Henry Horenstein has a gift for conveying multitudes of meaning from a single moment. This series of black-and-white photos, taken 1976–1986, reveal the many characters and complex emotions at horse races. 4/9–6/13. Times vary. Free. Photo Center Northwest, 900 12th Ave.; 206.720.7222
Jana Brevick: This Infinity Fits in My Hand
The first solo exhibit by local metal artist Jana Brevick showcases her clever hybrids made from everyday objects using exquisite craft. Each mysterious item seems to come from some yet undiscovered corner of the world. 4/17–8/16. Times and prices vary. Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way NE; 425.519.0770
Japanese artist Chiho Aoshima operates with one foot in otherworld, evidenced by her bright neo-Pop landscapes that blend the Superflat anime style and the Japanese kawaii (cute) aesthetic with apocalyptic scenarios. 4/25–10/4. Times and prices vary. Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E Prospect St.; 206.654.3100
Leo Saul Berk: The Uncertainty of Enclosure
Seattle artist Leo Saul Berk has spent the past several years re-creating architectural elements from his childhood home (Bruce Goff’s round, domed Ford House). With Berk’s superior craftsmanship, these deconstructed and reconstructed elements take shape as memories in 3-D. 5/30–9/6. Times vary. Free. Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave.; 206.622.9250
Get kinetic and energetic with this season’s dance events
Taking inspiration from the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 20th anniversary of the abolishment of South African apartheid and the 1960 civil rights record We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite, Abraham creates dance that bristles with history—and beautiful, towering bouffants. 3/4–3/5. 8 p.m. Prices vary. The Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave.; 206.682.1414
Mark Morris Dance Group revisits Meany Hall 3/5–3/7; elaine Mayson
Born and raised in Seattle, acclaimed choreographer Mark Morris never fails to visit with his NYC-based company in tow. This time his group of dancers will perform beloved piece Pacific and three works never before presented here: Jenn and Spencer, Crosswalk and Words. 3/5–3/7. 8 p.m. Prices vary. Meany Hall, UW campus, 4140 George Washington Lane NE; 206.543.4880
Our own Pacific Northwest Ballet performs The Vertiginous Thrill of Forsythe, a triple bill of stunning work by the contemporary choreographer, known for his exacting, relentlessly paced pieces that put dancers through the paces and audiences over the moon. 3/13–3/22. Times and prices vary. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St.; 206.441.2424
Kate Wallich/The YC
Emerging Seattle choreographer Kate Wallich continues to skyrocket in her career. Her new work, Splurge Land, showcases her trademark blend of millennial malaise, cinematic music and strobe-light glimpses of a nightclub, all backed by exquisite modern form. 4/2–4/5. Times vary. $23–$25. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St.; 206.217.9888
Spectrum Dance Theater
Carl Orff’s high-drama, operatic masterpiece Carmina Burana gets a minimalist treatment by Seattle choreographer Donald Byrd, who directs Spectrum Dance in a new performance that emphasizes personal rumination on faith over the more customary extravaganza of worldly pleasures. (Bonus points: Compare and contrast with Pacific Northwest Ballet’s elaborate version, 5/29–6/7). 4/23–4/26. Times and prices vary. The Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave.; 206.682.1414
[AVANT-GARDE] Up-and-coming Italian-American choreographer Alice Gosti is taking creative risks and making an impact on the local dance scene. With the premiere of How to Become a Partisan, a five-hour immersive performance produced with Velocity Dance Center, Gosti explores collective resistance in honor of the 75th anniversary of Italy’s liberation from fascism. 4/25. 4–9 p.m. Saint Mark’s Cathedral, 1245 10th Ave. E; 206.325.8773
Choose your own adventure with these far-out flicks
Former PNB dancer Olivier Wevers directs his recently formed company in X-POSED, a bill featuring three new pieces: one by the always edgy Kate Wallich (opposite page); one by boundary-busting French choreographer Manuel Vignoulle; and one by Wevers himself exploring what’s unfiltered, raw and real. 5/29–5/31. Times and prices vary. Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, 201 Mercer St.; firstname.lastname@example.org
courtesy of seattle theater group
Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent masterpiece Metropolis—the dystopian tale of worker unrest, ruthless rulers, mad science and a rabble-rousing lady robot—has influenced countless sci-fi films since. Experience it anew with an original score performed live by Seattle’s stellar Degenerate Art Ensemble. 3/2. 7 p.m. Prices vary. The Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St.; 206.682.1414
The King and the Mockingbird
Despite being a paragon of traditional animation, The King and the Mockingbird is virtually unknown in the U.S. A satire of totalitarianism, the story follows a cold, cross-eyed king and his foolish fancies. The film was begun in 1948, released unfinished in 1952, completed in 1980 and at last, a restored version is making the rounds in the states. 3/19–3/22. Times and prices vary. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave.; 206.829.7863
The Treasure Hunter
The odd gem of a film Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (an audience favorite at SIFF last year) follows a solitary young Japanese woman who becomes convinced that the Coen brothers’ movie Fargo is a secret treasure map to a fortune buried under Minnesota snow. Her epic journey is lovely, funny and heartbreaking. Opens 3/20. Times and prices vary. SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St.; 206.464.5830
Visiting poets make a stir with beautiful syllables
The Pulitzer Prize–winning poet is known for her short, sharp line lengths, humor, rhythm and an immersive approach—not to mention a lyrical eye toward domestic affairs. She’ll read from her new collection, Itself. 4/3. 7 p.m. Free. Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave.; 206.322.7030
The acclaimed poet—recently awarded a MacArthur “Genius” grant—is known for a clear-eyed, contemporary style and an emphasis on race and masculinity. He comes to Seattle Arts & Lectures with his new collection, How to Be Drawn. 5/5. 7:30 p.m. Prices vary. Chihuly Garden and Glass, 305 Harrison St.; 206.621.2230
As part of the Word Works series, which dives deep into the craft, the award-winning poet encourages writers and fans of poetry to listen critically and hear how sounds, syllables and patterns combine to create music for the ears. 5/8. 7 p.m. Prices vary. Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave.; 206.322.7030
Three authors talk about personal transformation and identity
The author of the much loved memoir Wild joins the Seattle Arts & Lectures lineup to talk about transformative trips, from hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone to having that personal trek turned into a big-budget movie starring Reese Witherspoon. 3/5. 7:30 p.m. Prices vary. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St.; 206.621.2230
The trailblazing U.S. representative from Massachusetts with the trademark accent speaks about his new book, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage, which traces his long career as an outspoken legislator, during which he went from being closeted to being the first openly gay member of Congress. 3/30. 7 p.m. $27 (admits 1–2). University Temple United Methodist Church, The Sanctuary, 1415 NE 43rd St.; brownpapertickets.com
An op-ed columnist (and former restaurant critic and before that, White House correspondent) for The New York Times, Bruni is currently focused on the mad scramble to attend elite colleges, which he chronicles—and challenges—in his new book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be (due out this month). Hear him lay out his “antidote to the college admissions mania” at Seattle Arts & Lectures. 5/1. 7:30 p.m. Prices vary. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave.; 206.621.2230