The 49 Best Things To Do This Week: December 14-20, 2015

Mass Caroling, An Art Exhibition Inspired by Black Lives Matter, Sarah Galvin's Book Launch Party, And More Picks for Dec 14-20
December 9, 2015

This week, The Stranger's arts critics have recommended the best events for you in every discipline, from an art exhibition inspired by Black Lives Matter to a blues night at Seattle's only 100-percent women-owned microbrewery to a Smokey Brights concert to Sarah Galvin's book launch party. See them all below, and, if you still want more great things to do this week, check out our complete Things To Do calendar.

Molly Crabapple
Molly Crabapple is a famous activist, writer, and artist whose work has been featured on Occupy Wall Street posters, and who was commissioned by CNN to illustrate "power" for the 2012 presidential election. Her new memoir, Drawing Blood, was released on December 1, and Elliott Bay calls it "one of the year’s most powerful, astonishing books."

Hanukkah Menu at Golden Beetle
Celebrate the last night of Hanukkah at Golden Beetle, featuring delicious fried goodies like latkes and donuts (celebrate the oil!), stellar sweet/savory pairings, and kosher wines.

It's a Wonderful Life
"Paralyzing joys are the very heart of George Bailey's dilemma; they are, to borrow words from George's father, 'deep in the race.' The sacrifices George makes for being 'the richest man in town' resonate bitterly even as they lead to the finale's effusive payoff. Those sacrifices are what make It's a Wonderful Life, in all its 'Capraesque' glory, endure." -Sean Nelson (Playing every day until 12/28; Thursday's screening is free)

Okkervil River
"Okkervil River’s third album, Black Sheep Boy, may not cut as deep as Big Star’s Third with its exposed-nerve laments about love, death, and love as death—but it comes close. Front man Will Sheff holds nothing back on the Austin sextet’s masterpiece, though what impresses some may merely exhaust others (one critic dubbed them “Overkill River”)." -Kathy Fennessy

Porter Ray
"Once dubbed 'the golden child' by Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler, the kid Porter Ray Sullivan is grown, and, as a matter of fact, has been older in spirit than his youthful face and shimmering soprano have let on all along." -Todd Hamm

Wynne Greenwood and K8 Hardy: "New Report, Artist Unknown" Opening
"If this were a feminist world, the artist Wynne Greenwood once proposed, you'd have to have not only public policies and leaders that prioritized women but also, like, feminist car washes and feminist amusement parks, and what would those look like? The entire world would need to be reimagined. Starting with TV news, Greenwood and fellow artist K8 Hardy have an ongoing series of performances and videos they call New Report, in which they create pointed, funny, layered broadcasts for their fictional feminist TV news station, whose tagline is 'Pregnant with Information.'" -JEN GRAVES

A Celebration of Poetry & Readers with Dean Young and Deborah Landau
This reading/celebration/book sale presented by Hugo House and Copper Canyon features two stellar poets: Deborah Landau (The Uses of the Body and The Last Usable Hour) and Pulitzer finalist Dean Young (Elegy on Toy Piano and Fall Higher). They'll also have surprise guests, cash bar, snacks, and a special gift upon entry, not to mention the offer of personalized, intelligent recommendations for poetry books and gifts. This event is free, but make sure to pre-register!

Patterson Hood
"If you don't recognize the name Patterson Hood, let me toss a few more syllables out there: Drive-By Truckers. If you don't recognize Drive-By Truckers, maybe you're just not interested in balls-to-the-wall Southern rock paired with affecting and novelistic lyrics." -Joseph Schafer

Come From Away
"Normally, I'm a stone when it comes to musicals, but by minute six or seven, I was smiling at all the small-town charm and rooting for the spirit these people projected." -Rich Smith

Comedy Womb Open Mic
Having so many women onstage and in the crowd makes male comics more mindful of their sets and their audience, while reinforcing what should be obvious: Women can be just as funny (or unfunny) as men. Equality, hurrah!

Conversations with Curators: Crossed Paths with Chiyo Ishikawa
"Chiyo Ishikawa is SAM's Deputy Director and the museum's Curator of European Sculpture and Painting. She is also a terrific resource and a gem of a human. So you'd want to go to hear her talk even if her subject didn't sound interesting. But it does: 'What were World War II's effects on works from the European collection?' Find out with Chiyo." -Jen Graves

Pop Up Pop In
A group show at James Harris Gallery featuring works by Claire Cowie, Steve Davis, Jason Hirata, Alexander Kroll, Alleghany Meadows, Anthony Sonnenberg, Akio Takamori, and Bari Ziperstein. (Closes Sat)

Homo for the Holidays
"This drag and burlesque gigglefest features a bunch of wacky little holiday-themed skits that our own Dan Savage once called 'FUCKING GREAT....FUCKING HILARIOUS!' Now its seventh year, Waxie Moon joins the likes and liknessess of the great BenDeLaCreme and Cherdonna. You should get plastered before you go, if only to help make your yuletide gayer." -Rich Smith (Through Sun)

Dancer & Prancer
"Daye say’dat the four-piece bahnd formed abaht foive ’ah six years ago while dayes a’waitin’ in line ter meet da’ Santa Claus at Nahdstrom Depahtment Stoe. Bondin’ oer their mutual love ov Christmas and rawk-ahn-roll, they realized wot better way ter spread the bloomin’ joy of da season dan playin’ instrumental-surf versions of ’oliday classics! Wahd spread quickly, and our boys soon found deir act ter be 'in demand' at clubs and ’oliday parties from all da way from heah to Tacoma, tah Bellingham, and aw points in-between!" -Kelly O
(They'll also play a free show on Tuesday.)

The Nutcracker
George Balanchine's The Nutcracker is at McCaw Hall every night through Sunday this week.

9 Ounces: A One-Woman Show by Anastacia Tolbert
This one-woman show, featuring characters Alice, Luna, and Saraphina, was written by Hugo House writer-in-residence Anastacia Tolbert and first premiered at The Project Room. The performance promises themes that loop around, interweave, and pop back through, all through multiple characters portrayed by a single actor. (Through Sat)

Holiday of Errors
"Holiday of Errors (Or, Much Ado About Stockings) is a [new] star in Seattle's holiday-theater constellation and an addition to the micro-genre of comedies about Shakespeare as a working playwright, stuffed with winking references to his plays. Theater about making theater has a high risk of being intolerably geeky and self-referential. But playwrights Frank Lawler and Daniel Flint skirt the edge of that chasm without falling into it." -Brendan Kiley (Through Sun)

Electric Fields: 2015 Juried Exhibition
"Punch Gallery's seventh juried group show, featuring works by a dozen West Coast artists selected by curator Julia Fryett from an application pool of more than 1,000, is remarkably strong and coherent. The show is all about fields of energy, visible and not." -Jen Graves (Closes Sat)

C. Davida Ingram
"C. Davida Ingram won the 2014 Stranger Genius Award in Art. As an artist, she combines writing, curating, and performing to create "counter-narratives about Otherness and identity." Tonight, she'll give a talk about the two new videos she has on view during the Genius / 21 Century / Seattle programming—pieces that inspired plenty of debate when they were unveiled this fall. Listen to how Ingram herself talks about her work, which is always eloquent, and also always shifting and developing. This will be well worth your time." -Jen Graves

Campout Cinema: Gremlins
See a creepy, beloved tale about a pet gone wrong in this "Campout Cinema" presentation. You'll watch Gremlins on the amazing SkyChurch EMP screen, and get free admission to Can't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film, the EMP exhibit currently displaying Gizmo the Mogwai (used in the film!) plus displays from other horror classics.

Cartoon Happy Hour
A two hour block of free classic cartoons, plus food specials.

Seattle’s "Best Damn Happy Hour"
On the third Thursday of the month, the “Best Damn Happy Hour” (their title) has live DJs, mini golf, board games, giant Jenga (TIMBERRRRR!), and deals on cocktails and food at the many places inside the Armory.

Guest Chef Night: Tyler Krost
FareStart is a fantastic organization that empowers disadvantaged and homeless men and women by training them for work in the restaurant industry. Every Thursday, they host a Guest Chef Night, featuring a three-course dinner from a notable Seattle chef for just $29.95. This week FareStart welcomes Chef Tyler Krost of Tendrils Restaurant at Cave B Resort.

Black Breath
"With this year’s Slaves Beyond Death, Black Breath have delved fully into the metal world, jettisoning most stylistic vestiges of their punk past. But what they’ve given up in no-frills fury, they’ve more than compensated for in savage agility." -Brian Cook

The Dears, Dear Boy
"The Dears, a Canadian band who've been around since 1995, create sweeping, melodramatic orchestral-pop songs with dramatic titles like 'Here's to the Death of All the Romance' and 'You and I Are a Gang of Losers' that recall, in sentiment and in sound, a total Morrissey vibe, while Dear Boy conjure up some WB teen soundtrack indie-rock longing." -Robin Edwards

The Valley
"Seattle’s the Valley started out in the mid ’00s plowing the same seam of tuneful, ruggedly psychedelic grunge as Sub Pop luminaries Truly and Love Battery, with exuberant but not assholistic macho white-dude vocals by Dan Beloit. One senses that this music will always exist in Seattle, like some sonic equivalent to a Starbucks logo emblazoned on the Space Needle that's draped in a Kurt Cobain wig." -Dave Segal

Boss Guitar: Game Changers Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen
"Tonight Kathy Moore, RL Heyer, Thaddeus Turner, and Danny Godinez will, according to the venue’s website, 'unpack [Hendrix and Van Halen’s] lasting impact on the sound, role and mystique of their instrument.' Here’s a chance to witness these badasses demonstrate the innovative, deeply soulful psych-blues and flamboyant, heavy-metal maneuvers that launched a thousand Rolling Stone canon-building lists." -Dave Segal

"The fifth iteration of SnowGlobed is a medley of 10-minute plays written by local playwrights, some of which are pretty good and two of which are great. "White Kwanzaa (an appropriation comedy)," by Nicky Davis, was straight up gold (two misguided white couples celebrate Kwanzaa), but Kelleen Conway Blanchard's "Rats & Roaches" was the best 10 minutes of theater I witnessed that evening." -Rich Smith

The most brilliantly-titled show playing in Seattle. It features modern dance and "the energy of an '80s rock concert." (Through Sun)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
"What will the new Star Wars episode be about? This will not be known until the waiting billions get to watch the J.J. Abrams–directed movie today. But the millions of us who watched the very first Star Wars back in 1977 know what that one was about. The leading theme of that movie is junk: what to do with it, how to get rid of it, and how you can be confused with and crushed by it..." Read more by Charles Mudede


"Inspired by a question posed by Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors, this four-artist exhibition provides specific instructions for how to make DIY bulletproof clothing—and how to consider constructing direct action... Definitely don't miss the opening reception, which will feature a conversation with cárdenas, Betts, Kiyomi Fujikawa, C. Davida Ingram, and Nikkita Oliver." -Jen Graves and Julia Raban

Seattle StorySLAM
A live amateur storytelling competition much like The Moth, hosted by Lindy West, in which audience members who put their names in a hat are randomly chosen to tell stories on a theme (this week: joy).


All-Star Women’s Blues Jam
"The neighborhood of Hillman City is home to Spinnaker Bay Brewing, Washington’s only 100-percent women-owned microbrewery. Owners Janet Spindler and Elissa Pryor don’t hold back, brewing robust, flavorful—and strong—beers. They’ve just released Spinnaker’s seasonal Island Time coconut porter, a 7.2-percent porter made with hand toasted coconut flakes. This Friday gives you the opportunity to get toasty and loose at the brewery’s monthly All-Star Women’s Jam, featuring a rotating roster of female blues musicians." -Angela Garbes

Chef Joe Holberg: Winter is Coming Pop-Up Dinner
Chef Joseph Holberg presents this event in celebration of the winter harvest. He'll serve a decadent meal fit for the holidays, including charred winter greens, roasted chestnut soup, kobe oxtail, grilled octopus, winter squash, and more.

Chimurenga Renaissance
"The duo translates this fire (ballots or the bullets) into a music that’s richly and thickly innovative. Chimurenga Renaissance’s contribution to the trans-African Black Constellation (Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, Erik Blood) is very bright indeed." -Charles Mudede

X, Mike Watt and the Secondmen
"Whether it’s 1981 or 2015, the LA-based legends—led by John Doe and Exene Cervenka—sound spot-fucking-on. Founding Minutemen member Mike Watt is no slack, either, as he’s constantly working on side and solo projects, one of which will be opening the show. The Secondmen, his stripped-down (surprise, surprise) bass-driven punk trio is proof he’s not content just living in the past." -Kevin Diers

Psychedelic Holiday Freakout
"Given the past half decade’s run of successful lo-fi garage-rock bands (to vignette an obviously longer tradition), LA’s No Age could have slapped their enjoyable fuzz-rock riffs down on a handful of hip indie blogs, toured the grimy punk venues of America with reasonable success, and called it a day. Instead, they’ve collaborated with multimedia artists for installations around the globe, constructed handmade zines and thousands of their own album packages, and pushed the boundaries of their sound with ambient psych-rock formations and electronic elements that have made their records sound like far more than the two-man production they are." -Todd Hamm

Lil Wayne
"It’s funny to think that Lil Wayne may now, in 2015, find himself at the most interesting point in his career. This is the post-Rikers Island stint, post-assassination attempt, post-rock-music foray, current-Cash Money lawsuit-pressing, continuously syrup-slugging Weezy, and for better or worse, he’s probably more himself than ever." -Todd Hamm

"LA electronic duo Phantoms look like nice, attractive young men, playing their sets in suits, using glow-in-the-dark drumsticks, releasing their music on the Universal Music subsidiary, Casablanca/Republic." -Dave Segal

Devin the Dude
"His sleepy drawl and penchant for hilariously kush-addled observations have afforded him a cult fan base many up-and-coming rappers would kill for, and his remarkable streak of good-to-great releases (from 2002’s Just Tryin’ Ta Live to his latest, One for the Road) suggest a quality control that may surprise you, given his nonchalance and chilled demeanor on record." -Kyle Fleck

Bacon Strip: Christmas Gits
A new Christmas show with all types of drag from Sylvia O'Stayformore. Each night features a different cast, so don't be shy about showing up twice. (Through Saturday)

Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night
"Phil Kline's Unsilent Night is like a bell-heavy, mobile version of Zaireeka by the Flaming Lips. Everybody shows up at On the Boards with a smartphone or some music-playing device, downloads one of four tracks from Kline's song, and then slowly marches around Lower Queen Anne. The different tracks ring out from each participant's speaker, creating a kind of holiday symphonic orchestra in the streets. This event happens simultaneously all over the world, so there'll be plenty of international fellow-feeling and good-cheer vibes in the air." -Rich Smith

Kremwerk's 2nd Annual Holiday Party
"A night of deep techno, heady house, and ugly holiday sweaters. About those sweaters: $100 prizes will be given out for 'most grandma sweater,' 'most over-the-top sweater,' and more, so you better come to play. Excellently well-versed DJs Pinky Promise, Hyasynth, and friends will provide the funk all night long." -Kyle Fleck

Smokey Brights
"Go to the Tractor Tavern. Do it. Do it for Smokey Brights, who are the kind of crackly and warm guitar-driven rock that you already know and love, even if you’ve never heard it. It’s that warm blanket that you throw over your head to avoid dealing with your uncle’s off-color rants about refugees." -Kathleen Tarrant

The 5th Annual March of the Mistletomosexuals
"While the Santa pub crawls of other major cities have gotten increasingly gross and disorderly, somehow Seattle's gay Santarchy has managed to maintain its composure. The rules are simple: Wear a costume (just a hat does not count unless it's the only thing you're wearing), bring your ID, tip well, and be cool. Participants will be meandering between Pony, Purr, Diesel, and Madison Pub throughout the night, with a rendezvous at the Cuff around midnight with jaunts to the Eagle likely. You're not required to bring candy canes to hand out to passers-by, but what kind of Santa doesn't carry treats in his pocket?" -Matt Baume


Book Launch Party for Sarah Galvin’s The Best Party of Our Lives (with David Schmader)
"In her latest book, The Best Party of Our Lives, Sarah Galvin interviews and recounts the stories of 23 couples—the majority of them seriously committed for more than a decade—whose weddings followed shortly after the legalization of same-sex marriage. Galvin is a writer you can't stop reading. She pulls out deeply weird facts about her subjects and peppers the writing with lines like "I served enough champagne to fill a Cadillac and enough hors d'oeuvres to bury one." I'd happily pay $50 for that line and many others in this book, and I'd pay as much to go to this book launch, too. Luckily for us, it's free, and it's bound to be good. After the reading, Galvin will be joined by the beloved David Schmader for a Q&A." -Rich Smith

Holiday Sweets Baking Class
Take your holiday cookies to the next level. Learn to make cookies from scratch with jam or caramel. Each person will go home with a dozen mini cookies and four recipes.

David Bazan
"Sink into new arrangements from [David Bazan's] vast catalog, remember what it is like to feel again." -Kathleen Tarrant

ArtAche Holiday Market
"Chop Suey’s ArtAche Market is a reliable treasure trove of hand-crafted art, clothing, and other bits and bobbles, and this 'holiday edition' promises to be extra-special, with DJ sets by Explorateur and One Eye, plus a live performance from electronically inclined singer-songwriter Briana Marela." -Kyle Fleck