A&E Dispatch: Herb Ohta. Jr. and Keoki Kahumoku are performing at The Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle, on Oct. 6.

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Aloha is coming into town.

Ukulele player Herb Ohta, Jr. will be performing at The Upstage Restaurant (923 Washington, Port Townsend) on at 8 p.m. Oct. 5, with dinner and festivities beforehand. Tickets cost $15 at 360-385-2216 or www.upstagerestaurant.com.

And, Ohta will be joined by slack-key guitarist Keoki Kahumoku at The Triple Door (216 Union St., Seattle) on Oct. 6. Tickets are $16 in advance and $18 at the door. For more information, call 206-838-4333 or go to www.thetripledoor.net.

Ohta works as a teacher, composer, artist and producer. He has penned two ukulele how-to books with Grammy-award winning artist Daniel Ho. To see the two of them play, go to — www.youtube.com/watch?v=smdp-QluqxI. And for more information on Ohta, head here — www.herbohtajr.com.

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Kahumoku was one of the artists on 2005’s “Slack Key Guitar Volume 2,” the first Hawaiian album to win a Grammy. There’s more information on that album here — www.kahumoku.com/keoki.

Sept. 19: Rapper Common has a persona to please everyone in Showbox SoDo show

Here’s a report from Thursday night’s Common concert from Andrew Matson:

At the packed Common concert last night at Showbox SoDo, a guy in the audience held one of the Chicago rapper’s old records in the air for a long time, through whole songs. This is something you only do if you are a superfan.

The hoisted single was “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” a story-song from 1994 in which Common anthropomorphizes hip-hop as a woman, and raps about the best way to “do” her (with skill and spirituality, he decides).

The record holder wasn’t requesting the song — Common rapped “I Used to Love H.E.R.” earlier. He just wanted Common to look out over the racially diverse crowd — with equally enthusiastic male and female members — and see the record. I think he got whatever solidarity he was looking for.

A lot of girls were excited about Common-the-Sexy-Sincere-Guy last night, but there were more than a few guys like the vinyl dude, guys that came to see a no-less sincere character: Common-the-Ultimate-MC. He pulled off both, doing them straight (“Come Close” was still sweet; “The People” still rousing and lyrical) and flipped (“Go,” an ode to creative sex, was way spikier than the soothing recorded version, delivered instead like a battle rap).

The stage was set up like a bar in a nightclub, tended by girls that might also have been backup singers in Common’s big but not intrusive band. He pretended to argue his way in, then ordered drinks, brought a woman from the audience on stage and romanced her (she was game for some role-playing, and Common’s a pretty good actor).

The sound at Showbox SoDo is bad. It’s all loud echoes in the hangar-like building. Is it the Costco-style cement floors? Luckily, Common’s rapping was clear enough to hear the words.

He impressed with an impromptu rhyme about Seattle that stretched on well over a minute. Yeah, he rhymed “battle” with “Seattle,” which is as lame as “lyrical” with “miracle,” but whatever: He did an astounding amount of local name checking without losing his flow. He also breakdanced.

Pharrell came out during Common’s set drinking a Capri Sun and held it like the Statue of Liberty at the front of the stage. The genius rap producer opened with his not-genius rap/rock fusion band, N.E.R.D.

Andrew Matson: amatson@seattletimes.com

Sept. 19: City arts-space meetings open to public

The City of Seattle is holding several meetings about the diminishing art space in Seattle.

This is in response to a meeting in April, when more than 300 people — citizens, arts and culture workers, business owners, real-estate developers and finance experts — met at City Hall to voice their concerns. City officials in turn formed the Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee to make recommendations, with a goal of implementing ideas by April 2009.

There are three meetings open to the public:

• Informal info-sharing session open to input: 4 p.m. today, Friday, Sept. 19, at the Elysian Brewing Company (1221 E. Pike St.) on Capitol Hill

• Informal info-sharing session open to input: 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, at the Elysian Brewing Company (1221 E. Pike St.) on Capitol Hill

• Meeting with the committee members as they present their initial recommendations to City Council: 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, at City Hall, Council Chambers, 600 Fourth Ave., Seattle

For more information about the committee and to submit comments, questions and ideas, go to — www.seattle.gov/council/codac/default.htm.

Sept 18: SketchFest Seattle brings the laughs next week

Be prepared to ROFL (roll on the floor, laughing). SketchFest Seattle is coming next week. Into its 10th year now, SketchFest began in 1999 and has since increased five times its size, spawning off festivals in Chicago, San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C.

In addition to local comedians from Seattle, there are troupes coming from Los Angeles, Vancouver, Chicago, Ann Arbor and New York.

The SketchFest opening night Gala happens Wednesday, Sept. 24, and sketch performances follow through the next Saturday, Sept. 27. Advance tickets are $15 per show at www.brownpapertickets.com. But, the festival also offers a “shrinking ticket” deal, where if you bring back your starting $15 ticket, your next show will cost $10, then $5, then free. After the free ticket, it starts at $15 again.

For more information, check out — www.sketchfest.org.

Sept. 17: Mayor proposes tax break for music venues

Some nightlife news from the Times’ city reporter, Sharon Pian Chan:

Live music venues in Seattle should get a tax break, Mayor Greg Nickels said Wednesday.

As part of his budget proposal, Nickels intends to exempt clubs that hold fewer than 1,000 people from paying an admissions tax, which is 5 percent of every dollar of ticket sales. If the City Council approves the tax break, city revenues would be cut by $300,000, the mayor’s office estimated.

Nickels did not say that clubs were suffering more than other businesses from the economic downturn but called music and nightlife a priorities for him.

“Our musicians are part of our identity as a city,” Nickels said at a news conference at Neumo’s, a club on Capitol Hill. “With these initiatives, I look forward to building our reputation.”

Nickels’ administration has had a tough relationship with the nightclub industry in recent years.

The mayor cited his work establishing an Office of Film and Music and getting rid of the teen-dance ordinance. But he has also taken steps to close clubs after violent incidents, and last fall Seattle police conducted an undercover sting operation on underage drinking at several bars and clubs.

Steven Severin, one of Neumo’s owners, said the tax break would allow his musicians to collect a larger percentage of ticket sales.

“This is destined to put more money into the pockets of musicians,” he said.

The mayor’s office estimates 65 venues could take advantage of the tax break. Clubs that have a capacity of fewer than 1,000 people, present live music three times a week and hire 16 musicians a week would qualify.

The mayor expects to present his budget proposal Sept. 29.

Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or schan@seattletimes.com

Sept. 16: Upper Playground store opening in Seattle

Underground art and apparel store Upper Playground is expanding to Seattle. Based in San Francisco, the store is known as a destination spot for avid underground art collectors and hip-hop lovers.

The store produces apparel lines and designs off local and international artists — half of the pieces actually hail from such countries as Australia, Europe, Japan and Taiwan. Upper Playground apparel is now sold nationally and internationally in more than 300 boutiques and online. But, when the store started in 1999, founder Matt Revelli said it was a stretch.

“There were very few places where an artist in the genre could show their work,” said Revelli. “We knew that just selling artwork wasn’t going to pay the rent, so we developed the idea of having a place to show the artwork and sell the clothes. … Most people couldn’t afford the original work, but they really responded to the ideas and imagery the artists created on canvasses, so the T-shirts and clothing allowed the fan, or person into the work, to have a piece of that in their lives, without being out $20,000 on a painting.”

Jason Sajko, the Upper Playground Northwest retail partner, started a store in 2006 in Portland and saw Seattle as a “natural fit” for the store.

“We had a really good response in that [Portland] store, so we thought it would be natural to continue up in the Northwest,” said Sajko. “Seattle is a bigger city and has a lot going on in the cultural arts community.”

And besides selling apparel, there is a separate space for art, a gallery called FIFTY24SEA. Local artists like Parskid and Angel 179, will be kicking off an exhibit there.

“People like to check into our stores to see what’s happening in the arts world,” said Sajko.

Upper Playground’s grand opening is set for 5-10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, featuring a signing by photographer Estevan Oriol at 6 p.m., as well as music from DJ Neight1000 and Ubiquity Records artist Ohmega Watts.

Also, from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, there will be an in-store live art installation by Los Angeles artists Munk One and Mear One. Later that Saturday, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., the store kicks off an event at The Chapel Bar (1600 Melrose Ave., Seattle) with music from DJ’s Soul One and SeanCee, plus live art by Mear One. There is no cover charge, but the event is 21 and up.

Upper Playground Seattle, at 4730 University Way N.E., No. 109, in Seattle, will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, and noon-6 p.m. Sundays. For more information on the store, go to www.upperplayground.com.

Sept. 15: Taylor Hicks rides “Grease” to Seattle

Lynn Jacobson contributes this news today:

Taylor Hicks — winner of the 2006 edition of “American Idol” — will appear onstage at the 5th Avenue Theatre next spring in a touring production of “Grease.”

Hicks, 31, will play Teen Angel in the show.

This production of “Grease” was the fruit of an NBC TV talent show, “Grease: You’re the One that I Want.” It opened on Broadway in August, 2007, to lukewarm reviews.

When Hicks joined the Broadway cast in the minor role of Teen Angel this past summer, ticket sales spiked.

The show comes to the 5th Avenue May 12-30, 2009. For information, go to www.5thavenuetheatre.org.

Sept. 12: Neumo’s show has rap, bluegrass, gospel

Andrew Matson with the dispatch today:

The big question about the local rap group’s “Tobacco Road” CD-release party last night was whether or not the bluegrass/rock/rap idea would work out. It was all MC RA Scion’s idea to book an extra-diverse show, and in the end, Neumo’s was sold out, satisfied, and confident they’d witness a unique thing. The bluegrass (The Tall Boys) wasn’t shoved down anybody’s throat — the band played off stage by the merch table, their music for ambiance; the rock (Feral Children; Thee Emergency) could’ve been mixed better but was energetic, and Common Market looked absolutely dominant with the Total Experience Gospel Choir behind them on risers.

Before the show, I talked to lots of Seattle hip-hop “insiders” (producers, artists that have worked with Common Market or just know them) that were worried about the weirdness of the band selection (bluegrass?).

But after Feral Children soldiered through their tribal shriek fest (if “white guys you might see on Capitol Hill” is a tribe) and Thee Emergency was on stage, Common Market manager Dave Meinert asked me “How do you think it’s going?” and he wasn’t really asking. It was clearly a success. The audience was sweaty and wide-eyed, tracking RA Scion as he loped around the stage (it’s not huge, but he seemed to be jogging) and raising their hands whenever he raised his. Not to say Common Market DJ/producer Sabzi was a silent partner, but my feeling about last night is RA Scion should feel pretty good about himself right now.

Andrew Matson, Seattle Times staff

Sept. 11: Metallica set for KeyArena show on Dec. 1

Metallica is coming to the KeyArena Monday, Dec. 1. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, for $59.50 and $79.50 at www.LiveNation.com, www.ticketmaster.com/”>www.Ticketmaster.com, or charge by phone 206-628-0888.

Also on the lineup is Lamb of God and The Sword.

Metallica’s most-recent album, “Death Magnetic,” was widely circulating online after a French store sold the record early by mistake. In the past, Metallica has been very vocal against illegal downloading and even sued Napster, but this time they are OK with it. They have been quoted saying it has been a victory of sorts that the album didn’t leak until a full 10 days out.

“Death Magnetic” will be released tomorrow, Sept. 12. It’s their first studio album in five years. Critics are saying it’s the Los Angeles metal band’s return back to their roots. To hear excerpts from the album, go to — www.myspace.com/metallica.

Sept. 9: Crocodile Cafe to reopen in early 2009

Here’s a dispatch from staffer Andrew Matson:

The Croc lives!

“Right now it still looks like it looked last time you or anyone else was in it,” says Kerri Harrop, spokeswoman for the Crocodile Café, Seattle’s best and most-famous rock club. The Croc’s “abrupt close last year left a lot of people reeling,” Harrop says, and the plan is to reopen in “late January/early February.”

What’s going on between now and then?

Construction.” When that’s done, “I anticipate capacity will be around the 400 mark.”

There will be two businesses in the building and two entrances. According to Harrop, Via Tribunali will sell pizza “where the back bar was,” and that the wall separating the concert area from the cafe area will be knocked out. She won’t specify exactly how the Crocodile will bleed into Via Tribunali.

Last month, The Seattle Times reported that area bar owner Marcus Charles had obtained the Croc’s liquor license (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/entertainment/2008091508_webcroc05.html). Says Harrop, “Marcus Charles has assembled a good group of investors that includes Susan Silver, Peggy Curtis, and Sean Kinney.”

As for who will book the music, Harrop confirms no more than “a human being.”

Former Croc and current Chop Suey booker Pete Greenberg said he’s not been asked to book the club, and Steven Severin, who books and runs Neumo’s, said, “you can write that I don’t know what the hell is going on.”

Perhaps most important, “Jim Anderson will still be running the sound,” says Harrop. In the past, he made the Croc Seattle’s best-sounding rock venue. “All efforts are being made to make sure the room sounds and looks perfect,” says Harrop.

There are new Croc photos online, on artist David Choe’s Flickr profile, here — http://www.flickr.com/photos/invisiblehour/page6.

Andrew Matson, Seattle Times staff reporter

Sept. 8: Tour of Gymnastic Superstars coming to T-Dome

This moved on the AP entertainment wire today:

Shawn Johnson and several other gymnasts from the U.S. Olympic team will be touring the country this fall. Fresh off her gold- and silver-medal-winning performances in Beijing, Johnson, 16, will taking the semester off rather than return to Iowa for her junior year, to barnstorm the country with fellow U.S. gymnastics greats and some hot young singers from Disney, including Jordan Pruitt.

The “Tour of Gymnastics Superstars” kicked off Sunday in Reno, Nev., and is set to come to the Tacoma Dome on at 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27. (Tickets, $29.50-$79.50, are on sale now — more details are at www.tacomadome.org).

“It’s not so serious,” Johnson said of performing without the Olympic-style stress. “We’re still working out and staying in shape and working on our skills but we’re able to just do it without so much focus and stuff. We’re just having fun.”

The 37-city tour (appearing on a MyNetworkTV special on Sept. 26) is part elite athletics, part dazzle, complete with a Chinese dragon and group routines by Shawn and fellow medalists Nastia Liukin, Chellsie Memmel and Jonathan Horton. The Hamm twins Morgan and Paul, both of whom had to sit out the Olympics due to injuries, will also perform.

The routines, some choreographed to songs from the “Disney Girlz Rock 2 CD,” will include live performances from Pruitt and KSM, the up-and-comer girl rockers who recorded the tour’s theme song, “Hero in You,” and will release their debut album next year.

Find more information on the tour here — www.gymnasticssuperstars.com.

Sept. 8: Comic Dave Attell to play the Moore; Kathy Griffin adds fourth show to Paramount gig

Lots of shows to announce today:

• Caustic comedian Dave Attell is coming to The Moore Theatre on Oct. 24. Named one of the 25 Funniest People in America by Entertainment Weekly, Attell has written for “Saturday Night Live,” was a regular on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” as The Ugly American, and has appeared on the “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.”Tickets are $27.50 and $32.50. They go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at LiveNation.com and all Ticketmaster outlets; charge by phone at 206-628-0888.

• Known for her brand of pain twinged pop-rock, Alanis Morissette is planning to play at The Paramount Nov. 5. She released her first studio album in four years, “Flavors of Entanglement,” this past June.

Tickets: $36.50 to $62, on sale 10 a.m. Sept. 13 at LiveNation.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone, 206-628-0888.

• OneRepublic will be performing at the Paramount Nov. 11. Also on the bill: Augustana, The Spill Canvas and The Hush Sound.

OneRepublic is best known for their addictive single “Apologize” which peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 Recurrent Airplay Chart. The pop-rock band’s lead vocalist, Ryan Tedder, has also worked with “American Idol” finalist and Bothell native Blake Lewis.

Tickets are $30 and available at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 (www.LiveNation.com, Ticketmaster outlets and 206-628-0888).

• Kathy Griffin keeps reeling them in. A fourth and final show has been added to her Seattle schedule, at 10 p.m. Nov. 22, following her shows at 7 p.m. Nov. 20, 21 and 22. Tickets: $45.50 to $75.50, and go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 12 at www.LiveNation.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, and 206-628-0888.

Sept. 5: Broadway director Rob Ashford has “fresh eyes” for “Shrek” in Seattle

Here’s a “Shrek”-related brief from Misha Berson:

According to a story on the Playbill.com theater Web site, the show “Shrek the Musical,” currently in previews here at the 5th Avenue Theatre in a pre-Broadway run, has called in a Tony Award-winning director and choreographer to give feedback and support to the musical’s creative team.

The show’s producers affirmed in a press statement that Rob Ashford, who won a Tony for choreographing the tuner “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” is in Seattle at the invitation of “Shrek” director Jason Moore to “provide a fresh set of eyes on the musical staging.”

The creative teams of musical productions aimed at Broadway often invite assistance from outside theater professionals, though it is unusual to announce it in the press.

“Shrek” has its formal premiere at the 5th Avenue Wednesday, Sept. 10. It will move on to Broadway in November, and after previews will officially open on Dec. 14.

Sept. 3: The Decemberists coming to the Moore

The Decemberists just announced their 2008 tour. They’ll be at the Moore Theatre on Nov. 30, and a limited number of presale tickets are available at www.decemberists.tickets.musictoday.com. General tickets go on sale Saturday, Sept 13.

They will be playing music from their upcoming material, “Always The Bridesmaid: A Singles Series,” which will be released this fall. Volume I is out Oct. 14, with Volumes II and III following on Nov. 4 and Dec. 2, respectively.

The series will be released digitally at DSPs on Capitol Records, with a 12-inch vinyl on the Decemberists’ own label, Y.A.B.B. Records/Jealous Butcher Records.

For more information, go to — www.decemberists.com.

Sept. 3: Cornish College names new music chairman

Cornish College of the Arts announced that Kent Devereaux has been appointed the new chair of the music department.

Previously, the composer and stage director served as vice president and dean at Kaplan University, as well as the senior vice president in charge of editorial at Encyclopaedia Britannica. Devereaux has also taught at the California Institute of the Arts, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

His appointment coincides with the development of a new performing-arts complex for the college, which includes state-of-the-art music and dance facilities, as well as enhanced performance spaces. Devereaux has already begun his job at Cornish.

Aug. 28: Pitchfork enjoys Truckasauras’ “Tea Parties”

Seattle club band Truckasauras was nervous about the Pitchfork review of its debut album, but the notoriously harsh online music publication gave “Tea Parties, Guns & Valor” a thumbs up.

The review said “the idea of this record as a mixtape actually strengthens it — too often, ‘heart’ or ‘human’ is lazily applied only to electronic records that feature vocals or acoustic guitars, but ‘Tea Parties,’ ever playful and ebullient just says, ‘here, hope you like it!’ Those that don’t might be trying too hard.”

“Tea Parties, Guns & Valor” has a videogame feel, crunk beats and a party passion. To have a listen, check out www.myspace.com/teapartiesgunsnvalor.

The quartet plays tonight at the Sunset Tavern. Tickets are $8. For more information, go to www.myspace.com/sunsettavern.

The band heads to Portland afterward, and returns Sept. 27 for Decibel In the Park at Volunteer Park in Seattle www.dbfestival.com).

Aug. 19: Indie fave Fleet Foxes to play the Moore

Did you miss Fleet Foxes at the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Festival? The Capitol Hill Block Party, too? No worries — the hometown indie favorite is playing again, bringing their distinct brand of baroque harmonic pop to the Moore Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 19.

Tickets are really cheap — $15 at all Ticketmaster outlets (www.ticketmaster.com, or charge by phone to 206-628-0888) or service-charge free at the Moore box office (info, www.TheMoore.com). The day of the show, tickets cost $17. They go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23.

Here’s more information about the Seattle band — www.myspace.com/fleetfoxes. And here’s a past interview with their frontman, Robin Pecknold — http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/musicnightlife/2008044930_fleetfoxes11.html

Aug. 18: Neil Young and Death Cab tour coming to Everett

Patrick MacDonald with some Neil Young news:

Neil Young announced a North American tour today that includes an Oct. 21 show at Comcast Arena in Everett. Seattle favorites Death Cab for Cutie will open

The eight-week tour begins Oct. 14 in St. Paul, Minn., and concludes Dec. 15 in New York, at Madison Square Garden. Young will be backed by a five-piece band: Ben Keith, Rick Rosas, Chad Cromwell, Anthony Crawford and Pegi Young. Wilco will share opening duties throughout the tour with Death Cab.

Tickets, at $75 for general admission on the floor and $45-$250 for reserved seating in the stands, go on sale Sept. 12.

For complete tour and ticket information, visit www.livenation.com or www.neilyoung.com.

Patrick MacDonald: pmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Aug. 12: Metallica to play KeyArena Dec. 1

Metallica has announced North American tour dates. The heavy-metal band is slated to play the KeyArena Dec. 1, with Lamb of God and the Sword.

The first leg of the North American tour kicks off October and goes through January. Keep checking their site — www.metallica.com/index.asp?item=601097 — for ticket sale dates and times.

Kings of Leon also announced their North American tour, coming to Seattle on Oct. 20 to the Paramount Theatre. The alternative band’s new album, “Only By The Night” will be released Sept. 23. And, every day leading up to that release date, a new home movie, documenting the making of their album, will be featured on kingsofleon.com and the band’s MySpace page — www.myspace.com/kingsofleon.

Aug. 8: “The Lion King” to return to Seattle

“The Lion King” is returning to the Paramount Theatre Feb. 11-March 15, 2009.

Tickets went on sale Aug. 7 for Broadway Across America season-ticket holders, by calling the season-ticket holder hotline at 888-451-4042. Groups of 20 or more can also buy tickets through the corporate and group sales department at 888-214-6856. Individual tickets go on sale in October.

“The Lion King” is now into its second decade on Broadway. It is winner of six Tony Awards, and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

The musical is well known for its scores of masks and puppets, which bring a whole different life to the Disney animated film it was based on.

For more information, go to — www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.

Aug. 6: Weezer bringing Red Album tour to the Key

Weezer will be touring North America in support of its self-titled album, known as “The Red Album” in the same fashion as Weezer’s other self-titled works (the so-called “Blue” and “Green” albums).

The eclectic alternative band comes to Seattle Oct. 11 to the KeyArena. Tickets — $25, $38, and $45 — go on sale Saturday, Aug. 23 at 10 a.m., at www.livenation.com, www.ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 206-628-0888.

Weezer’s first single off their Red Album, “Pork and Beans,” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Modern Tracks chart for weeks. And more than 10 million viewers checked out the song’s video on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=muP9eH2p2PI).

And Andrew Matson has some news today, too:

Past Lives on Suicide Squeeze

Ending a year of speculation, Seattle band Past Lives announced yesterday a new partnership with local label Suicide Squeeze Records. The debut EP “Strange Symmetry” comes out Nov. 4.

Download an MP3 of the title track for free by going to www.pastliveslife.com and clicking “media.”

July 25: Town Hall announced fall lineup

Town Hall has announced a preliminary list of scheduled fall events, as well as a limited change in its ticket purchasing policy.

On the lineup are dozens of lectures, comedy shows, concerts and literary events. Highlights include: “FAQ: Mike Daisey & Reggie Watts Explain the Meaning of Life,” a Sept. 3 performance where funny former Seattleites Mike Daisey and Reggie Watts ponder existential questions with improvisation and storytelling. And a Sept. 22 reading by French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy about fanaticism and why humans tolerate it, from his book “Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism.”

Adding to what has been a “show up and throw down” approach, some tickets for Town Hall-produced lecture events (Center for Civic Life, Seattle Science Lectures, the Future of Health, and occasional literary programs) will now be sold online and over the phone through Brown Paper Tickets. A “substantial inventory” of tickets will still be available at events the day they happen, however. From a prepared statement: “This means that even when the website reflects that no more tickets are available online, there will still be tickets for sale at the venue on the night of the event. And as always — sales at Town Hall will be cash or check only.”

There is an event almost every day at Town Hall, and sometimes there’s more than one. Reach Town Hall at 206-652-4255 or see a full calendar and ticket information at www.townhallseattle.org.

Andrew Matson, Seattle Times staff reporter

July 24: Earshot Jazz Festival announced

Earshot Jazz has announced the dates of its fall festival: Oct. 17-Nov. 8 in venues all over the city. Over 50 performances are planned; the lineup will be posted as it’s booked at www.earshot.org.

A few of the highlights are already set:

• Saxophonist and flute player James Moody in a four-day residency.

• Pianist Cecil Taylor at Town Hall.

• Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane at the Triple Door.

Local jazz lights Wayne Horvitz, Julian Priester and the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra will make appearances, as will the Garfield and Roosevelt high school bands.

Tickets will go on sale in late August through Earshot and local venues. Call 206-547-9787 or go to www.earshot.org for details.

Lynn Jacobson, Seattle Times Arts & Life editor

July 15: Got $425,000? I’ve got a nightclub on Capitol Hill

Clubs seem to come and go these days.

After the much lauded opening of King Cobra nightclub end of February, the venue is up for sale. An e-mail from the co-owner Jamie Garza cited lots of reasons: personal finance issues, management mistakes, lack of experience and lack of marketing.

The e-mail goes on to state that the “current owners, and some citizens of Seattle, would like to sell King Cobra with its current format, including a great calendar of upcoming events, and an all-star cast of employees.”

Garza was a promoter from the all-ages music scene, and the other owner, Che Sabado, owned the punk rock bar Kincora Pub. Kincora Pub was located in Capitol Hill and closed due to condominium construction.

Before King Cobra, the club was named Sugar. It closed after a shooting that left three wounded. Former Seattle Times nightlife reporter Tom Scanlon reported that the venue went through three different clubs in five years. And, the owners of King Cobra had hoped to finally keep the place steady. Many had hoped the club would fill the hole left by the closing of Crocodile Cafe.

The 6,000-square-foot space at 916 E. Pike St., has a capacity of 475. Live music plays three to four days a week, with the rest of the week available for interactive activities, like karaoke. There is a fully equipped kitchen. The venue is also approved for all-ages concerts.

The asking price? $425,000. Stay tuned for more.

July 11: It’s a singing, yodeling, starring Broadway role for Federal Way actress

A local to root for on Broadway:

Yodeling her way across the New York stage is Federal Way native Kelly Sullivan. She plays female lead Inga in “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” on Broadway, replacing role originator Sutton Foster. Foster, who appeared in Seattle when “Young Frank” was on its Broadway tryout last year, will be back in Seattle as Fiona, in the upcoming world premiere of “Shrek” at The 5th Avenue Theatre, playing Aug. 14 to Sept. 21 (www.shrekthemusical.com).

Sullivan grew up in Federal Way and Puyallup, and credits her choir teacher for kicking off her career.

“If not for him, I don’t know if be there today, if not for his encouragement,” Sullivan said about her teacher, Pat Michel, who retired from Puyallup’s Roger High School this year.

Michel encouraged Sullivan to practice and take voice lessons, predicting that she would make it to Broadway someday. With his motivation, as a junior in high school, Sullivan won the state contest for best soprano.

“That was a real big greenlight for me,” said Sullivan

One of the contest judges encouraged Sullivan to pursue her singing at Arizona State University, where she earned a full scholarship and started musical-theater studies.

And soon after graduating, she landed her first Broadway gig, “Bells Are Ringing.”

“It was really Puyallup that started it all — their love and passion for the arts,” said Sullivan, 30. “I’ll never forget that and forget where I’m from.”

For more on Sullivan, go to — www.kelly-sullivan.com. And there’s more on “Young Frankenstein” here — www.youngfrankensteinthemusical.com.

July 3: Ticket alert: Edmonds Center for the Arts

Hankering for Hawaiian music? It’s on the schedule — along with everything from kiddie rock to Native American flute — of the second season of the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Former Men at Work frontman Colin Hay will kick off the season on Aug. 22. The lineup also includes:

• High energy children’s music with Ralph’s World on Sept. 27

• Día de los Muertos with Quetzal on Oct. 30

• Seattle kiddie rock band Recess Monkey on Nov. 1

• The Seattle International Comedy Competition on Nov. 18

• Native American flutist Mary Youngblood with local Grammy award winner Eric Tingstad on January 16

• A slack key and hula show with Keola and Moana Beamer on April 9.

• Indigo Girls on May 8 and 9.

For show information and tickets, go to www.ec4arts.org. Full season subscriptions are available by calling 425-275-9595. And, Indigo Girls tickets go on-sale Dec. 1.

July 1: D List? What D List?

This just in — Kathy Griffin has added a third show at the Paramount Theatre on Nov. 22. With such demand, she’s definitely lifted off the D-list.

Tickets are $45.50 to $75.50 and on sale at www.LiveNation.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone 206-628-0888.

June 30: The Saturday Knights “Mingle” at a hot, sweaty Nectar

Music writer Andrew Matson reporting:

Local hip-hop heroes The Saturday Knights sold out Nectar last Friday night. The Fremont venue was packed downstairs, upstairs, and outside, and even though the club’s street-facing garage door wall was rolled up, things were sweaty. Dozens of fans who didn’t get tickets stayed and listened outside, communicating with luckier fans through the bars that fence Nectar’s front patio.

TSK played songs from “Mingle,” the group’s first full-length album out now on local label Light In The Attic Records. The rappers, Barfly and Tilson, ended with an improvised rhyme session after a high energy set featuring horn players from opening act and purveyors of “Staten Island Soul” the Budos Band.

June 24: Arista says bye-bye Blake Lewis

Bad news for our pal Blake Lewis … unless you think — as Blake seems to — that getting dropped from your label is a good thing.

Blogs picked up the news late Sunday and on Monday the Web site Idolator.com reported that Arista had dropped the Seattle singer-beatboxer. Blake claims he never really wanted to be signed to a major label anyway, and that it was the label meddling that made his one release (last year’s “Audio Day Dream”) so terrible. (Hear a sample at his MySpace — www.myspace.com/blakelewis; read the full Idolator entry here — http://idolator.com/396832/arista-drops-idol-runner+up-blake-lewis-after-less-than-a-year).

Well, sounds like the whimsical, uncategorizable guy is getting what he wants. Good luck, Blake.

And bad news of a very different sort for Boy George. The ’80s icon’s U.S. tour was canceled Tuesday when it was announced that his visa was denied. According to his publicists, this stems from George’s arrest last spring (something involving his male companion, some photos, and “wrongful imprisonment”). Said the statement, “This is… because he is facing a trial in November in London… George has not been convicted of anything in London and there is a presumption in the Western World of innocence until proven guilty… .”

Boy George was scheduled to appear at the Showbox at the Market on July 20.

June 19: Funky new music for funky old Seattle weather

Here’s some offbeat music for the funky weather:

• I love mashups because nothing is better than two funky styles mixed into one. And this group amplifies mashups to a new level, mixing cumbia — a sound fusing old and new music of Colombia — with hip-hop, dancehall, reggaeton and pop.

Here’s are the DJs in this revolving group. You’ll want to bookmark their sites, because their music is going to blow your mind.

Resident DJ Villa Diamante blends Argentine and Latin American music with Northern Hemisphere hip-hop, grime, electro and pop — www.myspace.com/villadiamante.

Newer on the scene, Chancha Vía Circuíto has been featured on mixtapes by DIPLO, M.I.A.’s producer — www.myspace.com/chanchaviacircuito.

And, Fauna mixes Latin elements with electronic beats and live hip-hop/ragga vocals — www.myspace.com/faunapower.

Finally, co -owner of record label Bersa Discos, ORO11 blends cumbia with dancehall and Baltimore club beats. And being from the Bay, he mixes hyphy (hyper hip-hop) goodness with some Latin American flavors. You have to give it a listen at — www.myspace.com/oro11.

The group performs July 22 at the Nectar Lounge. Tickets are $10 on ticketweb.

… Check out some fun punk about stealing music by The Dirty Hearts. Here’s their video “Record Store” — www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zo9JWpS5A0.

Shot at Friends of Sounds Records in Austin, Texas, the band used its own gear and posters for the set. And for the sake of the video, the Austin punk band even destroyed some vinyl in the store. Their album “Pigs” comes out July 22. Check out the rest of their music at www.myspace.com/thedirtyhearts.

June 12: Pearl Jam’s “bootleg” recordings for sale

Now, you don’t have to secretly record the Pearl Jam show on your own — Pearl Jam will provide their “bootlegs” for you.

At the end of their live shows, the band will be selling high-quality digital downloads and burn-to-order CDs of the entire show through their fan club, Ten Club, at www.pearljam.com. There will also be mobile bootlegs of three live tracks per show on V CAST Music phones and at www.pearljamconcerts.com. These will be available as ringtones too.

Digital bootlegs will cost $9.99 (MP3) and $14.99 (FLAC) per show. There will also be hard copies available using recycled material, for $16.99 per show on www.pearljam.com.

All of the bootlegs recordings will be professionally mixed in real time. Launched on the 2000 world tour, the bootleg program has since sold 3.5 million bootlegs.

Unfortunately Seattle fans may only hear the concerts by bootleg — the grunge band has not announced local dates. Here’s a link to their tour — www.pearljam.com/tour

May 20: The reviews are in: Death Cab for Cutie’s “Narrow Stairs”

Sasquatch favorite and beloved local band Death Cab For Cutie has been making headlines with their latest album, “Narrow Stairs.” The reviews have gone from the very positive — Rolling Stone Magazine’s 4-star critique of “a dark, strangely compelling record” — to the decidedly mixed — to the Village Voice proclaiming that it’s simply a “mediocre album.” But, most of the reviews agree that it’s an emotional record that aims to strike out at your heart.

Here’s a listing of reviews. Let me know your thoughts on “Narrow Stairs,” too.

Rolling Stone Magazine


Spin Magazine




The Associated Press






And here’s a site — if you’re too lazy to click through the above links — that aggregates all the reviews and gives them each a rating. Averaging the scores, the album gets a C+.

www.metacritic.com/music/artists/deathcabforcutie/narrowstairs?part=rssAnd one more thing before we leave Death Cab for the day: the Bellingham band played “No Sunlight,” off the new album, in the back of a London cab. Check it out: www.blackcabsessions.com/sessions.php#. The ride must have been smooth, because the recording session is pretty sweet.

Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or mliu@seattletimes.com

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