‘Short Stories Live’

This series of spoken literature by noted local actors returns to greet 2013 with selections by several famed 19th-century American authors. The bill includes Louisa May Alcott’s short story “Perilous Play” (about the effects of hashish!); Henry James’ “Europe,” which studies a pair of New England sisters longing for a European sojourn; and excerpts from works by Mark Twain (4 p.m., Feb. 3 at Town Hall, Seattle. Tickets:

Misha Berson, Seattle Times arts writer

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Seattle Noir

What would Raymond Chandler make of today’s Rain City ethos, with its locavore-ism, composting madness and double macchiattos in place of whiskey neat? The Seattle Noir twitter feed (@SeattleNoir) gives a good idea. Knowing and affectionate, the account is home to such gems as, “Said he had a little place in ‘North Ballard’ where I could lay low. He texted me the address. Shoreline. I should have known.” Or funnier still, “She’s my Pike!” “I said I wanted the truth!” SLAP “She’s my Pine!” “The truth!” SLAP “My Pike! My Pine! She’s my Pike AND my Pine!”

Brian Thomas Gallagher, Seattle Times assistant features editor


A cappella

Maybe it’s the residual high from last year’s a-ca-awesome comedy “Pitch Perfect,” about college a cappella troupes, but it seems like the “organized nerd singing” label is gone. Suddenly a cappella covers are everywhere. And man, they’re impressive. Canadian indie band Walk off the Earth made it big on YouTube last year with five people on the same guitar in a Gotye cover. Now their a cappella cover of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” has gone viral, and it puts the original to shame. Find this, and other covers from the band, at

Paige Collins, Seattle Times desk editor