Given the tendency of bars and restaurants to rely on Pandora Internet radio or iPod playlists to provide background music, it’s a rare and genuine thrill to walk into a joint and discover someone tickling the ivories on a real piano. That’s especially the case when you encounter one of Seattle’s longstanding piano-bar pros, such as Ruby Bishop, Jerry Zimmerman or June Tonkin. With a combined 252 years of life experience, the city’s most seasoned lounge pianists add instant atmosphere wherever they play.
Downtown Bellevue‘Tis the season at Bellevue Square’s ever-popular Snowflake Lane, where live toy soldiers march alongside toy soldiers to festive music, a dazzling light show brightens the dark sky and snowflakes fall nightly. 11/29-12/31; 7 p.m.; Bellevue Square, sidewalks of Bellevue Way & NE 8th at The Bellevue Collection; bellevuecollection.com/snowflakelane
Seattle sketch comedy group The Habit is back with a new live show (11/15–12/1. 8 p.m. $19. The Bathhouse Theater at Green Lake, 7312 West Greenlake Drive N; thehabitcomedy.com). We asked Habit cast member John Osebold (second from right) for a few tips on upping our own comedic ante this season. Q: What are comedy’s “10 Essentials”?A: 1.) Pants2.) Something on which to record great ideas that will later turn out to be mediocre3.) Coke Zero
When Sarina Behar Natkin gave birth to her eldest daughter eight years ago, she had everything going for her: a great support system, a loving husband and a wealth of family nearby. “And yet, it knocked me off my feet,” says the 40-year-old.
Multidisciplinary performer Dayna Hanson is known for making stage work that is very smart, very funny and very strange. Her new show at On the Boards, The Clay Duke (12/5–12/8; $20; ontheboards.org), delivers on that reputation. COFFEE SHOP: Macrina Bakery in SoDoDAYNA’S ORDER: A glass of water and a slice of quiche. (No actual coffee consumed.)Nancy Guppy: Give me the elevator pitch for your new show.
Seattle-based photographer Eirik Johnson is captivated by the most modest of dwellings: makeshift hunting shacks, remote forest campsites, animal burrows. In his show Barrow Cabins, he reveals such structures in stark relief, pairing twin shots—one taken in winter, one taken in summer—of slapdash shanties at the northernmost edge of our continent. Built by members of Alaska’s Iñupiat tribe, who use them as hunting cabins (walrus and whales in winter, caribou and seals in summer), the ramshackle plywood abodes sit on black gravel expanses abutting the Arctic Ocean.
Seattle has topped a variety of lists lately, including (and not surprisingly) Flavorwire’s 20 Great American Cities for Writers That Aren’t New York. That fun factoid combined with this month’s National Novel Writing Month, in which an endless stream of writers challenge themselves to complete a 500,000 word novel by November 30, means Seattle will likely have even more caffeinated wordsmiths typing away in neighborhood coffee houses.
Must SeeTodd Jannausch at Method Gallery(11/15 to 12/21, times vary) — Seattle sculptor Todd Jannausch—known for bringing local artists together for collaborative, renegade public art projects—brings his inspired eye to a solo show, Callus, focused on the tools of his trade.
Seasoned Nutcracker fans know exactly when to watch for it: at the top of the second act. That’s when an “Easter egg” of sorts appears in the background of the set illustrator Maurice Sendak designed specifically for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Nutcracker. All but hidden, the sneaky little Wild Thing gets a glimpse of the action, with Sugar Plum Fairies dancing in its horned head.
Dear Mayor Murray,I hate to-do lists—my mother was always thrusting them in my teenage face—but that doesn’t mean I can’t make myself obnoxious by offering you one now that the election is over. The coming four years are big ones for Seattle, with numerous huge projects coming online and posing challenges. So, here’s my modest list of top priorities.1. Public Safety
Must Get TicketsTickets Still on Sale for BREW SeattleSnap up your $40 pass to Seattle magazine’s inaugural BREW Seattle, a beer tasting festival on November 14 with oodles of brews on tap. Your ticket earns you six tasting tokens, each one good for a five-ounce pour (in your own special BREW Seattle mini mug).
Must CelebrateRock on with Barsuk Records
It’s probably not a ballet dancer’s lifelong dream to be described as buggy, but in the case of Crystal Pite’s piece Emergence, it proves the highest compliment. The Vancouver B.C.–based choreographer—whose own contemporary dance company, Kidd Pivot, performs brilliant, edgy work—had swarm intelligence on the brain when she crafted the piece, originally for the National Ballet of Canada in 2009.
Must ListenGroove at the Earshot Jazz Festival(11/1 and 11/2, times vary) — The festival continues its 25th anniversary extravaganza, with an incredible lineup that includes local master musician Bill Frisell.Must CelebrateRaise a Glass at the Two Beers Brewing Anniversary Party
Last week on NBC’s singing contest, The Voice, two local contestants represented the Pacific Northwest well and gave star-quality performances that left us wanting more. Austin Jenckes, a native of Duval, Washington, battled it out against his teammate and nabbed a spot in the knockout rounds.
Contemporary Seattle music isn’t all about hip-hop and beard rock. The city has a thriving and ever evolving jazz scene, exemplified by local supergroup Industrial Revelation. With Evan Flory-Barnes on upright bass, Ahamefule Oluo on trumpet, Josh Rawlings on keyboard and D’Vonne Lewis on drums, the quartet is rooted in jazz, but branches off into fresh and unexpected directions that range from avant-jazz to indie rock to hard core to post-bop—all in evidence on the new album Oak Head.