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LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS
Chinese New Year Celebration
Cofounders Raymond Kwan and Barry Chan named their Ballard craft brewery Lucky Envelope for the colorful red envelopes traditionally stuffed with money and given out on Chinese New Year to bring good fortune. So it only makes sense that it's the perfect place to usher in the Year of the Rat. This weekend, they'll debut multiple limited releases, like the Mijiaya Historic Chinese Beer (brewed from an ancient recipe) and Metal Rat Hazy IPA (a collaboration made with the Chinese American–owned Highland Brewing in Asheville), and Panda Dim Sum will serve up Chinese bites from a refurbished school bus. Naturally, 88 lucky red envelopes filled with special surprises will be given out each day. JULIANNE BELL
Saturday-Sunday, Lucky Envelope Brewing (Ballard)
Lunar New Year Fair at Wing Luke Museum
After witnessing a lion dance, take a "passport journey" through the museum to make crafts with local artists, learn about the Asian zodiac, win prizes, and discover all the different ways the Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world.
Saturday, Wing Luke Museum (Chinatown-International District)
Sammamish Lunar New Year
Welcome the Year of the Rat with Asian American cultural traditions like lion dances (performed by the International Lion Dance Team), a martial arts demonstration, and visual arts.
Central Washington University (Sammamish)
This event has been canceled
Snoqualmie Lunar New Year Celebration
Dancing lions will bless select lucky businesses along Center Boulevard with acrobatic stunts "involving lettuce." This Lunar New Year celebration also promises Asian-inspired food trucks, a local gift market, and kids' activities.
Saturday, Snoqualmie Valley YMCA (Snoqualmie)
COMEDY & PERFORMANCES
Bill Maher has the rare ability to anger both conservatives and lefties with equal alacrity through his sociopolitical commentary, whether on his TV shows (Politically Incorrect and Real Time with Bill Maher) or in his documentary Religulous. Maybe that’s the key to his success—outrage everybody and you’ll gain substantial mindshare in the attention economy. Whether you agree or disagree with Maher, you have to admit he’s great at skewering hypocrisy—our grossest national product—and is never dull. And if you enjoy hearing comics flay the traitor squatting in the White House, you’ll likely guffaw to Maher’s withering put-downs (“He doesn’t want to alienate his base by reading”). That may be low-hanging fruit, but it’s exceptionally juicy. DAVE SEGAL
Saturday, Paramount Theatre (Downtown)
This "macabre and mystical" cabaret-style musical from Mark Siano and Opal Peachey, set in 1890s Prague, features the music of Dvořák and Chopin and art nouveau by Alphonse Mucha—plus "beautiful green fairies, aerial numbers, dance, burlesque, classical piano battles, comedy, and original songs." This will be the last edition of Bohemia before the whole crew heads over to Berlin.
Friday-Sunday, Triple Door (Downtown)
Washington Ensemble Theatre's press materials promise "intense feminine energy" from Dance Nation, a Pulitzer Prize–nominated play by Clare Barron about a preteen dance troupe gunning for nationals under the guidance of their frazzled coach. In an interview, Barron, a Yale grad who hails from Wenatchee (!), says the show was inspired by the complex portrait of ambition presented in Lifetime's reality television series Dance Moms, which means there's no way this isn't going to be good. Extra insurance for this prediction comes from the fact that Bobbin Ramsey, who has a gift for organizing chaos onstage, is codirecting the performance with Alyza DelPan-Monley. RICH SMITH
Friday-Sunday, 12th Avenue Arts (Capitol Hill)
This Seattle Opera production brings together the genius of two great Russians: Alexander Pushkin, who wrote the novel in verse, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky (The Nutcracker), who penned the score. It's a simple but moving and melancholy story of a young woman who falls in love with a cold-hearted nobleman, an encounter that tragically changes the course of their lives.
Friday-Saturday, McCaw Hall (Seattle Center)
Jaha Koo: Cuckoo
A few years ago, a rice cooker awakened Jaha Koo from a deep depression. At the bottom of his own black pit, an unlikely voice called out to him and lifted him up. "Cuckoo has finished cooking rice, please stir," the voice said. In that moment, Koo began imagining the rice cooker as a theatrical object. To him, the preprogrammed voice trapped in a mass-market workhorse metaphorically resonated with the life of the average Korean millennial. This spark of associations drove Koo to create Cuckoo, a piece of documentary theater connecting the fallout of the 1997 Asian financial crisis to a larger conversation about capitalism and mental health. The performance features Koo discussing recent Korean history with three talkative rice cookers that were hacked and reprogrammed to speak, sing, and fight with each other. Electronic music scores a kinetic video collage that mixes scenes from the financial disaster with relevant scenes from Koo's own life. RICH SMITH
Friday-Sunday, On the Boards (Queen Anne)
Midwest comic Kathleen Madigan, who skewers such subjects as the Southern school system, retirement villages, the news, and her parents, will bring her wonderfully deep, sardonic voice to the Seattle stage.
Saturday, Moore Theatre (Belltown)
A Night Like This
Witness acrobats and variety artists act out stories from "exotic travels to the Seven Seas" through dance, aerial feats, song, and more. Michael Cunio of Postmodern Jukebox will step into the role of Master of the House, while Christine Deaver will be your raconteuse. As always, your ticket will include a multi-course dinner.
Friday-Sunday, Teatro ZinZanni (Bellevue)
An ambitious young man in 1920s Paris works his way up in a ritzy nightclub in Can Can's latest kitschy-glam, flesh-baring, plot-driven revue.
Friday-Sunday, Can Can (Downtown)
Sound Theatre Company kicks off its 2020 season with the world premiere of Darren Canady's Reparations, a speculative drama about healing inherited traumas using a device that transforms your blood into a time machine. The cast features Allyson Lee Brown, whose turn as Serena Williams in Citizen: An American Lyric drew effusive praise from Stranger editor Christopher Frizzelle: "[Brown is] such a captivating presence onstage, it's hard to look away from her." Jay O'Leary, who did such a great job pulling the good acting out of the players in Washington Ensemble Theatre's B, will direct. This production is stacked with so much talent—it is certainly one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season. RICH SMITH
Friday-Sunday, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (Atlantic)
George Mount will direct Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 18th-century comedy of manners, full of false identities and well-meaning deceptions, and, as the producers say, "duels, dandies, deceptions, and dudes with daddy issues." It's the play from which the term malapropism is derived, thanks to Mrs. Malaprop, a comic character who uses the wrong words that sound like the right ones. The more you know!
Friday-Sunday, Center Theatre (Seattle Center)
She Loves Me
Joe Masteroff, Jerry Bock, and Sheldon Harnick, progenitors of the deathless Fiddler on the Roof, also wrote this sweet musical about two perfume store clerks who butt heads constantly—not realizing that they're also in a romantic letter-writing relationship thanks to a classified. Yes, it's the plot of You've Got Mail.
Friday-Sunday, Village Theatre (Issaquah)
America’s favorite masc4masc playwright Sam Shepard is dead. He passed away in 2017, but the swaggering cowboy, called the “greatest American playwright of his generation” by New York magazine, is continuing to get a retrospective on stages across the country. Now the celebration comes to the Seattle Rep, with the theater putting on True West, a gritty and funny play about two brothers and some identity theft. Expect brawls and belly laughs. CHASE BURNS
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle Center)
Whim W'Him's first production of 2020 is composed of three world premieres by three award-winning choreographers: Sidra Bell, founder of an eponymous dance company in New York; Ihsan Rustem, a Swiss choreographer who's collaborated with Whim W'him dancers in the past; and Whim W'Him's own Olivier Wevers.
Friday-Saturday, Cornish Playhouse (Seattle Center)
MAJOR CONCERTS & MUSIC SHOWS
Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy flew in a day early for his NPR Tiny Desk concert to rehearse with Washington, D.C.'s Howard Gospel Choir, whom he brought along to the performance. Hopefully, this tour stop will also bring some fun surprises.
Sunday, Paramount Theatre (Downtown)
Stranger music contributor Robert Ham recently wrote, "If you seek to understand even a sliver of what the internet has wrought on youth culture, pop music, and celebrity, you’re going to need to spend some time with Poppy. The online world created and nurtured Poppy, helping turn her from a curiosity into a sensation whose YouTube videos have logged more than 450 million views and whose work is debated and analyzed on Reddit by fans and detractors alike. She’s unavoidable, and she’s setting a template for how pop stars create and market their image online." She'll be performing tracks off of her last album on her I Disagree Tour.
Saturday, Neptune Theatre (University District)
Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival
Hear pieces from a variety of composers at the Seattle Chamber Music Society's annual six-day winter program. This year's theme is centered on a celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. The concerts this weekend will feature violin sonatas by Grieg and Mozart, piano trios by Schubert and Ravel, and both of Brahms’ string quintets, along with concluding concerti by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Friday-Sunday, Benaroya Hall (Downtown)
Seattle Pop Punk Festival
Shake off that winter chill and get your energy levels up for two days of double digits' worth of pop punk bands, both local and national, including the reunion of Sicko.
Friday-Saturday, Highline (Capitol Hill)
Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival 2020
Former Stranger contributor Brittnie Fuller has written, "This event in Leavenworth—the infamous German-themed town/tourist attraction nestled in the Cascades—looks like the coziest mid-winter music festival, filled with beardo-magnet amenities like skiing and snowboarding, a hot-toddy garden, wine tastings, and festival-branded flannel shirts. The weekend's musical offerings are generally varied, with numerous local and national acts ranging from indie rock to hip-hop." This year's roster is no exception, boasting sets by Pedro the Lion, Bully, Bearaxe, Lisa Prank, Ivan & Alyosha, CarLarans, Bryan John Appleby, and many more.
Friday-Saturday, Leavenworth Festhalle
FOOD & DRINK EVENTS
10th Annual Belgian Fest
Brewing beers with Belgian yeast yields a range of ales with a distinctive fruity flavor. This festival featuring more than 100 Belgian-style beers crafted by Washington breweries is the perfect opportunity to taste them all, including funky lambics, tangy saisons, dubbels, tripels, abbeys, and wits.
Saturday, Fisher Pavilion (Seattle Center)
Port Townsend's annual beer festival offers pours from over 30 breweries, from classics to Northwest-inspired oddballs.
Friday-Saturday, American Legion Hall (Port Townsend)
READINGS & TALKS
Carmen Maria Machado
She's done it again. Judging by the rave reviews of In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado has written another must-read. But rather than a collection of Borgesian short stories, this one is a harrowing memoir about her abusive relationship with her first girlfriend. Entertainment Weekly called it "the best memoir of the year." NPR says she's invented "a new kind of memoir." Seattle's own Kristen Millares Young said her review of the book in the Washington Post would have been easier to write if Machado wasn't "so good." Brace yourself for this one. RICH SMITH
Friday, Town Hall (First Hill)
Yangsze Choo: The Night Tiger
In Yangsze Choo's second novel (following The Ghost Bride), an 11-year-old boy searches for his dead master's finger, which sets him on a path to encounter a Malaysian dancehall girl and aspiring physician whose one-night partner left her a pretty gross memento.
Sunday, Everett Public Library
GEEKY & SPECIAL INTEREST EVENTS
Burke NiteLife: EARTH
The Burke Museum, aka the best place to get up-close to ancient fossils and dinosaur skeletons, will host an after-hours party for drinking-age paleontology enthusiasts. Wander through the exhibits to witness live performances, get your photo taken with local drag queens, make a memento with a local artist, drink Westland Distillery cocktails and other locally crafted booze, and dance to live DJs. Dress up in jewel tones for the chance to win a prize.
Friday, Burke Museum (University District)
Seattle Boat Show 2020
The Seattle Boat Show is a feast for the eyes of maritime enthusiasts and professionals alike, with vessels lining the harbors along CenturyLink Field, South Lake Union, and Bell Harbor Marina, in addition to indoor displays.
Friday-Sunday, Various locations
Ursulmas Medieval Faire
Experience all the fun parts of the Middle Ages at the 38th annual Ursulmas Medieval Faire, where you'll be surrounded by feats of chivalry, fine arts, entertainment, and a marketplace.
Saturday-Sunday, Evergreen State Fairgrounds (Monroe)
'The Gentleman' Opening
Guy Ritchie's latest wisecracking shoot-em-up, about a British crime lord trying to make a deal with a rich Oklahoman pot kingpin, boasts a huge cast of likelies and unlikelies: Hugh Grant (!), Henry Golding, Colin Firth, Charlie Hunnam, Matthew McConaughey, and so on.
Friday-Sunday, Various locations
'The Turning' Opening
Apparently an adaptation of Henry James's subtle masterpiece of hauntings and psychological ambiguity, but with more disembodied hands and mouth spiders.
Friday-Sunday, Various locations
SPORTS & RECREATION
Northwest Yoga Conference
Yogis can immerse themselves in five days of workshops and talks that cover everything from meditation to the chakra system to yoga for chronic pain.
Friday-Sunday, Washington State Convention & Trade Center (Downtown)
Rainier Roller Riot's 2020 Season Opening Bout
The newly minted Rainier Roller Roller Riot will take no prisoners in this 2020 kickoff bout against Northwest Derby Company.
Saturday, Magnuson Community Center (Sand Point)
Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation (Closing)
The long and varied history of Indian Americans stretches back to the 19th century, and this exhibition explores their contributions to American life from the age of railroads to the Civil Rights movement.
Friday-Sunday, MoHAI (South Lake Union)
Donald Byrd: The America That Is To Be (Closing)
Local Tony-nominated, Bessie-winning choreographer Donald Byrd's dance pieces confront the horrors of contemporary society: gay-bashing, war, racial terrorism, misogyny. This installation, Byrd's first solo museum show, uses archival footage and artifacts to advance the artist's idea of a future America, "multi-racial in every aspect."
Friday-Sunday, Frye Art Museum (First Hill)
Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum (Closing)
Flesh and Blood consists of 40 works by Spanish, Italian, and French Renaissance and Baroque master artists. These works are from the collection of Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, in the hills of Naples, Italy, and this is the first time many of them have traveled together. Perhaps the most exciting thing is the inclusion of Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith and Holofernes (1612–1613). It depicts the Old Testament story of Judith, a beautiful Jewish heroine, assassinating the Assyrian general Holofernes. Judith used her looks and Holofernes's desire to get into his tent, where he passed out after drinking too much. Judith used this opportunity to behead the general with a giant sword, absconding with his decapitated head and saving her city and the people in it. Gentileschi's Judith is clothed, and she shows absolutely no qualms about the task. The surety and determination on her face is matched by the way she grabs Holofernes's hair, holding him so that she can position the sword accurately. She's a butcher of tyrannical men. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Friday-Sunday, Seattle Art Museum (Downtown)
Nicole Gordon: Altered States (Opening)
Once again demonstrating their penchant for art that makes you feel like you're tripping balls, the museum presents the lysergic paintings of Chicago-based Nicole Gordon, who remixes past, future, and alternate realities in eye-boggling colors.
Friday-Sunday, Bellevue Arts Museum
Playa Made: The Jewelry of Burning Man (Opening)
Taking place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, Burning Man is the festival to end all festivals. Crowds of people on hallucinogens? You got it. Lighting a giant wooden effigy on fire? Cool. Constructing a temporary city from scratch where radical self-expression runs free? Great, but I’m also tired. Playa Made is an exhibition that specifically focuses on and celebrates the jewelry of Burning Man, featuring more than 200 objects by 60 artists of various backgrounds, from the very handmade to the professionally done. In addition to jewelry, the exhibition will also feature photography of Black Rock City by George Post. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Friday-Sunday, Bellevue Arts Museum
OTHER NOTEWORTHY HAPPENINGS
Lake Chelan Winterfest
Lake Chelan will host one more weekend of wintery fun for the whole family, including ice sculptures, live music, wine and beer tastings, a polar bear splash, snow yoga, a massive beach bonfire, and a fireworks show.
Friday-Sunday, Lake Chelan Valley
Robert Burns Tribute and Scottish Night
Rival your mid-winter slump with a boisterous evening of bagpipe music, poetry, haggis, whiskey, and other delights honoring the great Scottish Bard Robert Burns.
Sunday, the Royal Room (Columbia City)