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Celebrate Fantagraphics 40th anniversary this week with book signings, parties, and a stacked panel discussing the Seattle alt-comic publisher's history.

Wed, Dec 7
A Wilhelm Scream
Named for the stock sound effect wail (best recognized by its inclusion in Star Wars films), A Wilhelm Scream plays unapologetic melodic hardcore music that packs a technical and lyrical. The veteran Massachusetts band has built up a not-to-be-missed live reputation by relentlessly touring the underground (to the tune of playing around 250 shows a year). Witness the mayhem when A Wilhelm Scream plays El Corazon with support from Success, Hilltop Rats, and On the Ground. El Corazon, $12–$15

Thur & Fri, Dec 8 & 9 
The Cave Singers
After years working for lauded labels Matador Records and Jagjaguwar, the Seattle alt-rock trio the Cave Singers branched out on their own to self-release 2106's Banshee, a cooperative project that unifies familiar elements like Pete Quirk’s tranquil lyrics and Marty Lund’s soft rolling percussion. The new album soothes with lazy strolling guitar and gentle vocals ("Southern Bell") then excites with exuberant electric guitar riffs ("Christmas Night"), yet always seems to nod to their original busker-esque sound. Ole Tinder and Acapulco Lips join the Cave Singers for two nights of good old fashioned guitar-strumming music at the Tractor. Tractor Tavern, $20

Thur & Fri, Dec 8 & 9 
Freakout Festival
While music festivals tend to cluster in the summer months for temperature-related reasons, there's no good reason why you can't cram in a little live music bonanza in December. Freakout Festival (formerly Psychedelic Holiday Freakout Festival) descends on Capitol Hill when the weather gets wintry to show off some of the city's most entertaining artists on the cheap. The two-day event spreads sets by standouts (and some Freakout Records artists) like Smokey Brights, Erik Blood, Spencer Moody, Maiah Manser, Gazebos, Acid Tongue, and Cumulus across Chop Suey, Bar Sue, Pony, and LoveCityLove. It's a lineup worth bundling up to see. Various venues, $15–$28

Dec 8–24
Ham for the Holidays: Jurassic Pork
What is Christmas without a bit of uncomfortable humor? Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt of Dos Fallopia return to ACT for their annual anything-but-subtle gender-fluid sketch comedy and music revue Ham for the Holidays. At this anything goes hodgepodge performance, the cult comedy duo mashes musical parody, political satire, and general mockery for an unpredictable act. Who knows which quirky characters will attend, but it's a safe bet that the crowd favorites like the infamous mother-daughter country singers the Spudds will make their presence known. ACT Theatre, $20

Fri, Dec 9 
Live Wire with Luke Burbank
Since leaving Seattle for Portland to host Live Wire Radio, Luke Burbank has turned the live variety show into the fastest-growing entertainment program on public radio, with a mix of interviews, standup, storytelling, and music. Burbank returns to Seattle for a Live Wire taping featuring satirical Seattle novelist Maria Semple, Native activist and rapper Gyasi Ross, Supernatural’s Misha Collins, and music from Telekinesis. Neptune Theatre, $19–$34

Fri & Sat, Dec 9 & 10
Fantagraphics 40th Anniversary
Since its founding in 1976, Seattle's Fantagraphics has championed comics as an important art form, publishing some of the top modern cartoonists around and becoming a go-to spot for reprinted classics. This week, the Seattle-based publishers celebrate 40 years of advocating for alternative (aka non-superhero) comics with a double whammy birthday bash with two days of bookish festivities. On Friday, join publisher and co-founder Gary Groth at Folio for a discussion on Fantagraphics’ formative journey (and their new book We Told You So: Comics as Art, An Oral History of Fantagraphics Books) with an esteemed panel featuring cartoonists Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Jim Woodring, Megan Kelso, and Ellen Forney. The celebration continues on Saturday when the artists travel to Fantagraphics Bookstore in Georgetown for books signings and an exhibit showcasing the imprint's art and artifacts, followed by a party at Georgetown Stables. Folio & Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery, Free

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