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Step Afrika! melds the African American dance form stepping with the artwork of Jacob Lawrence at Meany Hall.

Dance

Feb 16–18
Step Afrika!
The African American dance form stepping asks performers to transform their bodies into energetic, rhythmic instruments of stomping and clapping. Step Afrika!, the first professional company dedicated to stepping, makes its Seattle debut with The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence. Based on the longtime Seattle painter’s masterful Migration Series (on display currently at Seattle Art Museum), the multimedia performance chronicles the journey of African Americans away from the rural South in the early twentieth century.” Meany Hall, $45–$50

Sat & Sun, Feb 18 & 19
Chop Shop: Bodies of Work
Despite self-identifying as “the smallest nonprofit in the city” (boasting a staff of two), Chop Shop continues to bring renowned artists from around the world to Bellevue each year for a lively contemporary dance festival. To mark its 10th anniversary edition, the Chop Shop: Bodies of Work festival brings back some of its favorite performers for a retrospective lineup featuring experimental troupes from New Zealand, New York, Vancouver, San Francisco, and, of course, Seattle. Meydenbauer Center, $28

Visual Art

Feb 16–May 23
Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterpieces
If art history has proven one thing, it’s that the human eye never tires of natural beauty. Seattle Art Museum’s Seeing Nature showcases 39 influential European and American paintings pulled from Paul Allen’s private collection. Presented in chorological order, the collection showcases the evolution of landscape paintings from Jan Brueghel the Younger’s 17th century sensory works to French Impressionist scenes from Monet and Cézanne to Thomas Moran and Georgia O’Keeffe’s majestic 20th century visions of the American west. Seattle Art Museum, $25

Books & Talks

Fri, Feb 17
Hugo Literary Series: Exhile
Finding connection is hard enough in life without being forcibly expelled from a familiar place. For the latest installment of the Hugo Literary Series, National Book Award nominee Angela Flournoy (The Turner House), chapbook poet Phillip B. Williams, novelist Megan Kruse (Call Me Home), and stellar industrial pop duo Crater dive into the topic of exile. Fred Wildlife Refuge, $25

Fri, Feb 17 
A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment
Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter’s podcast A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment was an earworm for bookworms. With readings, special guests, and plenty of sharp, wideranging conversation between two of Washington’s finest authors, the show highlighted the pair’s joy for the written word. Dormant since October 2015, the project returns with a live taping at Town Hall featuring MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer fiction finalist Karen Russell. Town Hall, $20

Theater

Thru Mar 5
Well

Tony-winning playwright Lisa Kron (Fun Home) is aware she and her mother have a few issues. Well tells Kron’s own story of attempting to get herself healthy while dealing with her mother’s chronic unwellness in a theatrical stand-up memoir that’s packed with dramatic and comedic creativity. And just in case Kron gets hazy with a few details of her story, her mother sits on stage to correct anything she thinks her daughter is getting wrong. Seattle Repertory Theatre, $17–$77

Film

Feb 16–22
Noir City
While there’s no shortage of blockbuster spectacle on the big screen these days, there’s a notable void of slow-burning cinematic dramas like the film noirs of old. SIFF’s annual Noir City minifest brings in noted Czar of Noir Eddie Muller to present forgotten black-and-white classics filled with moody mystery, intrigue, and crime. SIFF Cinema Egyptian, $15; Festival pass $150

Sat & Sun, Feb 18 & 19
South Asian International Documentary Festival
This year’s festival of South Asian films comprises myriad documentary productions from diverse communities. The free films screened range from Cities of Sleep—which explores the trails, tribulations, and sleepless lives of two impoverished Indian men who must search and scrap (including dealing with the infamous “sleep mafia” of Delhi) to find safe sleeping places every night—to the world premiere of Kominas, the story of a Muslim punk band on tour as its members come of age during a tour across the United States. Northwest Film Forum, Free

Comedy

Thru Feb 19
Seattle Festival of Improv Theater
The 15th edition of Seattle’s annual improv festival features 29 groups from around the globe coming together for five nights of stellar and diverse comedy that’s made up on the spot. Far-traveling acts include Screwbuki (improvised kabuki theater from Honolulu) and India’s Improv Comedy Mumbai, which incorporates Bollywood troupes into its uproarious scenes. There is also plenty of local variety represented, ranging from adult comedy puppet shows (Cotton Gin) to queer feminist satire with ice cream (Feelings). Jet City Improv, $18

Concerts

Thur & Fri, Feb 16 & 17
Sisters: Drink Champagne Release Shows
You can hear Andrew Vait and Emily Westman’s beaming grins in every effervescent note of their band, Sisters. The Seattle pop duo has spent the past few years crafting relentlessly positive and buoyant tunes that make the most of their extensive musical talents. The group’s first LP, Drink Champagne, features 11 lushly layered songs that meld Vait’s crisp vocals and flourishing synth lines, Westman’s booming drums and sweet harmonies (and occasional lead singing), and array of other instrumental sounds at the duo’s disposal to create a sugary sweet pop album. To mark Drink Champagne’s arrival, Sisters hosts two sold out nights of atypical release shows at Sole Repair this Thursday and Friday. Instead of a traditional show setup, the band has invited local music pals like Pickwick’s Galen Disson, Porter Ray, Thunderpussy’s Molly Sides, Manatee Commune, and Bryan John Appleby to partake in unique collaborative performances. Soul Repair Shop, Sold out

Fri & Sat, Feb 17 & 18
Cloud Nothings
After going full throttle for most of its first three albums, Cloud Nothings has slowed slightly to zoom out and see a larger worldview on its new album Life Without Sound. It’s not that frontman Dylan Baldi has found a sense of calm, but he’s at least considering searching for one. There’s still plenty of driving rock to enjoy when Cloud Nothings heads to Barboza for two nights of shows. Barboza, Sold out

Feb 17–19
Branford Marsalis Quartet
For saxophonist and bandleader Branford Marsalis, great jazz boils down to a combo of strong melodies and beats. And that’s on display on his quartet’s latest album, Upward Spiral. With the added boost of singer Kurt Elling, the record combines contemporary compositions and standards for a diverse collection of accessible jazz. The Triple Door, $75–$90

Sat, Feb 18
Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen leans into the messy, anguishing emotions her heart creates. On 2016’s My Woman, she polished the raw edges of her folky rock tunes to create a collection of shimmering pop gems like the stunning single “Shut Up Kiss Me.” Best of luck keeping your heart from melting as her powerful voice delivers each line of lovesick poetry with knee-trembling emotion. Neptune Theatre, Sold out

Sat, Feb 18
Bake Sale 4 ALCU
Baked goods and live music is a combo that doesn’t go together enough. In order to raise funds for the ACLU, Fred Wildlife Refuge and Cupcake Royale team up for Bake Sale 4 ACLU. With rainbow cupcakes and sugary tunes from Sisters, Tilson XOXO, and Spirit Award, it should be an evening capable of satisfying any sweet tooth. Fred Wildlife Refuge, $10

Sat & Sun, Feb 18 & 19
Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th Birthday Celebration
There’s a reason Ella Fitzgerald earned the nickname the First Lady of Song. Decades after her death, her radiant voice still resonates. To honor the woman and her centennial birthday, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra brings in powerhouse vocalist Carmen Bradford to perform Fitzgerald’s hit tunes, like “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and “Mr. Paganini.” Benaroya Hall and Kirkland Performance Center, Sold out

Sun, Feb 19
David Duchovny
FBI special agent Fox Mulder—or rather David Duchovny will be on assignment in Seattle in February. But he won’t be examining supernatural occurrences or even promoting his latest acting project. Instead he’s coming to sing. Duchovny and his band, which released the album Hell or Highwater in 2015, come to town to play the Crocodile. The Crocodile, Sold out

Family

Fri & Sat, Feb 17 & 18
Moother Goose Goes to Symphony
We’re not saying you need to trick kids into sitting still and listening to classical music, but a gimmick might help. In Mother Goose Goes to the Symphony, twin sisters Lisa Grace and Linda Sebenius, of Let Your Music Shine, combine beloved nursery rhymes and fairy tales with the music of Beethoven, Dvořák, and Haydn to create an enchanting musical experience for children. Benaroya Hall, $12

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