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12 Seattle Events to Catch This February

Steve Jobs is an opera, a noir fest offers sympathy for the jaded, and a local expressionist returns.

By Stefan Milne January 29, 2019 Published in the January/February 2019 issue of Seattle Met

Books & Talks

Zadie Smith

Feb 27 Whether in novels like Swing Time or in her most recent essay collection, Feel Free, Zadie Smith writes—about Billie Holiday, Justin Bieber, the solipsism of Facebook, dance—the way you wish you thought: elegant yet kinetic, erudite yet mercilessly imaginative, provocative yet intimate. If English letters needs a current banner carrier, may we elect Smith? Benaroya Hall

Michael Ondaatje

Feb 26 Last May, Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient, released his first novel in seven years. Warlight, a moody London thriller, begins so scintillatingly that even the year is ominous: “In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals.” Central Library


Scott Yoder

Feb 15 Formerly lead singer for Seattle band the Pharmacy, Scott Yoder now performs solo, but his influences—David Bowie, Mick Jagger—still infuse his nocturnal blend of glam, psychedelia, and folk on albums like last year’s A Fool Aloof. Clock-Out Lounge

TV Girl

Feb 18 Were Grizzly Bear to spend a good deal of time in a dim lounge scratching Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg records, you’d likely end up with TV Girl, a dreamy pop trio from LA. The murmuring vocals and lush instrumentals set a fine bedroom mood, which lyrics on songs like “Cynical One” coolly contradict. Barboza


Feb 23 Katie Crutchfield (who plays as Waxahatchee) followed 2017’s Out in the Storm—which backed Crutchfield’s ever-subtle songwriting with a rocking band and surprisingly sleek production—with Great Thunder, an EP of six songs she previously recorded in 2012. What were originally strummy lo-fi cuts have now become a showcase for Crutchfield’s voice (backed simply, a piano, a guitar) and its increasingly assured gravity. Saint Mark’s Cathedral

Oh Pep!

Feb 25 Oh Pep!, a guitar and strings pair out of Melbourne, has, on their recent album I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You…, undertaken a popular pivot, turning from indie (here folk) to strummy, synth-tinged pop. The meticulous contemplation abides, but now your toe may tap in time with thought. Barboza


The Sleeping Beauty

Feb 1–10 The middle child of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s three ballets, The Sleeping Beauty is—like its siblings, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker—a blockbuster loaded with grand music, decadent sets, and choreography that pushes the limits of dance. McCaw Hall


Noir City

Feb 15–21 Sure, all the cigarettes and slatted blinds have accrued some dust. But film noir, a genre that bloomed darkly in the 1940s and 1950s, was as much about byzantine private eye plots as post-war existential bitterness, a product of reality run amok. If you’re feeling currently jaded, you may find a sympathetic plot at SIFF’s annual noir fest. SIFF Cinema Egyptian


American Junkie

Feb 14–Mar 10 Tom Hansen’s memoir American Junkie is a scalding look at heroin addiction and dealing in grunge-era Seattle. Patched together from medical reports of Hansen’s hospital recovery after near overdose and vignettes about punk shows and selling junk to Kurt Cobain, the book is a brutal reminder that the current opioid crisis is not our first. Hansen says he is “thrilled” to see what Book-It Repertory Theatre does with this adaptation. Us, too. The Center Theatre

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Feb 23–Mar 9 Some of the more counterintuitive by-products of the 1990s Seattle tech boom are art institutions like Benaroya Hall and McCaw Hall. But now tech and opera converge in the West Coast premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, which projects its sets using 3D modeling and flits between the eras of Jobs’s career. Want a preview? Santa Fe Opera’s performance is available, as it happens, on iTunes. McCaw Hall

Visual Art

James Martin

Feb 7–23 James Martin was born in Everett in 1928 and raised in Ballard, and though his popularity has ebbed and flowed, he’s still something of a mainstay in local art. His vision merges various inflections of expressionism (maybe Edvard Munch, maybe Basquiat) with dark wit and absurdist glee, like Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” wrought in gouache. Foster/White Gallery 

Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer

Feb 28 In his first major museum exhibition, artist Jeffery Gibson fuses pop culture and Native art into works of interstitial energy: Everlast punching bags covered in beadwork; paintings on rawhide and canvas; figural sculptures adorned in metal studs, bright beads, and jingles. Seattle Art Museum

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