THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2: PIONEER SQUARE ART WALK
This Thursday is the first Thursday of the month, which means one thing: Pioneer Square Art Walk. This month's edition is a promising one. First, you need to roll, walk, run, sprint—I don't care how you get your ass to Greg Kucera Gallery, where they are showing quilts and etchings by Gee's Bend Quilters; just get your ass over there. Quilting in Gee's Bend, Alabama, goes back to the 1800s, stitched and created by Black-American women from the hamlet who have passed down the tradition for generations. In 2002, Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times called these quilts "some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced." Seriously, sprint.
The Seattle Art Museum will also have a free community celebration of the recent opening of Imogen Cunningham: A Retrospective. From 1 pm until museum-close at 5 pm, experience three pop-up performances by movement artists Abdiel Jacobsen, Akoiya Harris, and Nia-Amina Minor responding to Cunningham's work or go on a My Favorite Things tour with performance artist/choreographer (also my former roommate) Alice Gosti at 4:30 pm. If you're feeling so totally anti-social that you Can't Even, the museum will still be free ALL DAY (including special exhibitions), and there will be a "self-guided art activity" if you just want to look and not interact!
Pioneer Square Art Walk runs from 5 pm-8 pm on Thursday, December 2. The event is free and masks are required (at the Seattle Art Museum, so is proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test).
STARTING THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, AND RUNNING THROUGH FRIDAY, DECEMBER 24: SCOTT SHOEMAKER'S WAR ON CHRISTMAS AT THEATRE OFF JACKSON
After going virtual last year, the beloved local holiday variety show Scott Shoemaker's War on Christmas is back and in-person, baby. In an interview last month with The Stranger's Matt Baume, Shoemaker assured that the show is "the same format as always, a '70s variety show that goes awry." This year, he and his castmates Waxie Moon, Adé, Faggedy Randy, and Mandy Price have prepared a "twisted version of A Christmas Carol" that they have translated from Re-bar (rest in power) to Theatre Off Jackson in the International District. Shoemaker told The Stranger that they're taking every precaution they can to make sure this very naughty night of song, dance, comedy, videos, and (partial) nudity goes down without a hitch. They have even consulted with UW virologists to make sure you can laugh your little Christmas booties off in (relative) peace. It's time to make the Yuletide gay!
Scott Shoemaker's War on Christmas kicks off on Thursday, December 2 at Theatre Off Jackson. Tickets start $28 and performance times vary. The event is 21+, and masks and proof of vaccination (or recent negative COVID test) are required for entry.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3: ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA AT THE BEACON
It looks like this weekend will be another spent under the haze of rain, clouds, and cold—so let's kick the sads with a day at the movies. And not just any movie, a kung-fu movie. On Friday, The Beacon will screen Tsui Hark's Once Upon a Time in China, a movie epic starring Jet Li as Wong Fei-hung, a martial arts badass and folk hero who battles Western imperialists encroaching on mainland China. As it so happens, my colleague Chase Burns wrote about Hark's film for our Unstreamable column last year. Here's some of what he had to say about it:
Wong was an expert in Hung Ga, a Cantonese martial art characterized by movements like the "sei ping ma" horse stance and tiger claw. Once Upon a Time in China is hardly the only popular film to feature Wong—he's portrayed in over 100 films and TV series; there's even a theme song associated with him—but it's probably the most significant.
Tsui's plot-making can be hard to follow but his direction is famously balletic. The opening sequence of Once Upon a Time in China is one of the best hooks of all time. Watch it, it's clear why it became a decade-defining franchise.
Once Upon a Time in China plays at The Beacon on Friday, December 3 at 8 pm. Tickets are $12.50 and masks and proof of vaccination are required.
ENDING SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4: EMILY COUNTS' GHOST GARMENT GARDEN AT STUDIO E GALLERY
I had a chance to catch Emily Counts' truly resplendent solo show Ghost Garment Garden at studio e gallery last weekend and it was absolutely worth the two buses I had to catch to get there. The exhibition is an ode to the maximalist and magical qualities of grandmothers, from their ancient-seeming baubles to their aura of infinite wisdom. Counts is a master of her medium, wizardly manipulating clay to create flower bouquets, textured panels, and power figures lit up from inside. Many of her pieces are self-portraits that imagine what her future self will look like, in what studio e describes as inviting "a sense of optimism and power to the aging process." Nature and imagination collide beautifully in this show that's colored with lapis lazuli blues, radiant oranges, and one of the most compelling shades of beige I've ever seen. Pro-tip: ask to have the overheads dimmed inside the gallery to see the colorful lights Counts placed in some of her pieces more clearly.
Emily Counts' Ghost Garment Garden ends on Saturday, December 4 at studio e gallery in Georgetown. The gallery is open Fridays and Saturdays from 12-5 pm or by appointment. Masks are required.