Lead singer for longstanding Seattle band Presidents of the United States of America (PUSA), Chris Ballew is also known as kindie rocker Caspar Babypants. This month, PUSA releases a new album and celebrates Presidents Day with two local shows: 2/15 at Showbox and 2/16 at The Triple Door.LOCATION: Ballew’s tiny home recording studio in West SeattleBallew’s DRINK: Ginger tea *No actual coffee consumed.NG: PUSA turns 21 this year—how do you keep the old songs fresh?
Drivers complain about reckless cyclists and bristle at the idea of having to share the roads. Increasingly, attention is being paid to the number of bikers fatally hit by cars, with drivers often going unpunished even when they are at fault. That trend prompted a recent New York Times op-ed writer to ask, “Is It OK to Kill Cyclists?”
Must SeePhoto Center NW’s Visual Exploration of Being a Black Male(1/16 to 3/8, times vary) — “What do black men have in common?” In Question Bridge: Black Males, the new video installation at Photo Center Northwest (PCNW), African-American men pose such questions, and African-American men answer, in straight-on, close-up, fascinating video recordings.
“I’m not afraid of the dark,” says photographer Rafael Soldi. He’s talking about the deep gray color he painted the kitchen and dining nook of his Squire Park apartment, but his assertion also applies to the black-and-white photographs he collects and displays in every room and hallway. Born and raised in Peru, Soldi attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, majoring in photography and curatorial studies. After working for a photography gallery in New York City, he moved to Seattle in 2010—only planning to stay for the summer.
Must Shiver & ShakeBundle Up for the Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival(1/10 to 1/11, times vary) — Featuring such excellent local bands as Hey Marseilles, Telekinesis, The Lonely Forest, The Moondoggies and Cataldo, the first-ever Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival in Leavenworth is the chillier counterpart to summertime’s Timber! Outdoor Music Festival.
“What do black men have in common?” “Who are you and what is your purpose?” “Do you really feel free?” In Question Bridge: Black Males, the new video installation at Photo Center Northwest (PCNW), African-American men pose such questions, and African-American men answer, in straight-on, close-up, unadorned video recordings.
Remember all the talk of “sequestration” that dominated the headlines last year? Concerns over the dire impact of governmental spending cuts had everyone up in arms, but attention faded as the reductions took effect. The reality seemed more like nips and tucks than radical surgery.
Ada’s Technical Books and Café (Capitol Hill, 425 15th Ave. E; 206.322.1058; seattletechnicalbooks.com) invites browsers to touch, inspect and discover—just as a scientist might. Named after Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, the bookshop has recently relocated to a sleekly renovated old home (designed with Seattle architects Board and Vellum and built by Model Remodel) on bustling 15th Avenue East.
Kim Fu, 26, grew up in Canada as the only writer in a family of scientists and engineers. Perhaps that experience is what enabled her to so vividly capture the feeling of being an outsider in one’s own family in her powerful, timely debut novel, For Today I Am a Boy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; $23). The story traces the coming of age of Peter Huang, the sole son born to strict Chinese immigrants hell-bent on fitting into small-town Ontario.
Featuring such excellent local bands as Hey Marseilles, Telekinesis, The Lonely Forest, The Moondoggies and Cataldo, the first-ever Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival in Leavenworth is the chillier counterpart to summertime’s Timber! Outdoor Music Festival. If dancing doesn’t warm you up enough, there’s always the hot toddy garden. 1/10–1/11. timbermusicfest.com
In calm seas off the west side of San Juan Island, my kayak bobs gently in a kelp bed. In the water about a quarter-mile distance from me, orcas mill and frolic, most likely hunting their favorite chinook salmon. I drop my hydrophone (an underwater microphone) into the water to listen to their distinct calls.A low clanging—whang, whang, whang—fills my headphones. It is the steady and overpowering sound of a cargo ship, one of the regular features of underwater life in the San Juan Islands’ Haro Strait.
Along the western shore of San Juan Island, across Haro Strait, the view that most people observe when the killer whales are present is generally a placid one: The only noises are the sounds of the currents rushing, the “koosh” of the whales as they surface and blow plumes into the air—although at times, the calm is broken by the engines of the boats, sometimes 30 vessels at a time, that come crowding around the whales to get a close look at them. If there are large ships in view, they are mostly distant and seem almost silent as they glide past.
Acclaimed director John Langs has a long history of working in the Seattle theater world, and in 2012, he moved here permanently to become ACT Theatre’s associate artistic director. This month, he directs one of Seattle’s most beloved and madcap theater traditions, 14/48: The World’s Quickest Theater Festival (1/10–1/18; acttheatre.org).LOCATION: Langs’ office at ACT Theatre downtownLANGS’ DRINK: Bulleit rye *No actual coffee consumed
MUST SEEStunning Glaciers Are Disappearing Before Our Very Eyes(Through 3/2) — Take a weekend drive to Bellingham, where the Whatcom Museum’s gorgeous Lightcatcher building hosts Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art 1775-2012, featuring astonishing photos and paintings of melting glaciers.