From the return of Dani Tirrell’s “Black Bois” to country star Blake Shelton’s tour stop at the Tacoma Dome, our Seattle Times arts writers dish on next month’s most buzzworthy arts and entertainment events.



Dani Tirrell: “Black Bois”

The sold-out 2018 world premiere of “Black Bois” at On the Boards was a jolting reminder of how energizing, how profound, how communal dance can be. Eight dancers, live musicians (including violin/fiddle player Benjamin Hunter), a poet (J Mase III, who just won a Creative Capital grant) and artists “painting” with water on an upstage wall created what Tirrell called “a love letter to our bodies, our spirits, and our minds.” The result had the crowd rapt, hollering, maybe even crying a little as “Black Bois” moved through the prism of human experience: sacrality, suffering, eros, all that essential stuff. In an art world riddled with clever, knowing, anxious and weary work, “Black Bois” stood out as a strong, living expression. Tirrell brings it back for one night at the Moore. What better way to spend Valentine’s Day?

7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14; Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $40-$50, plus Ticketmaster fees; 800-982-2787,

Brendan Kiley


Blake Shelton

This country star is taking his “Friends and Heroes” tour on the road again. Last year, Shelton toured with the Bellamy Brothers, John Anderson, Trace Adkins and Lauren Alaina. He’s bringing them back for another round of shows, this time in support of his latest compilation album, “Fully Loaded: God’s Country.” In addition to his country-music endeavors, Shelton has been a coach on singing competition show “The Voice” since it first aired in 2011.

7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14; Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma; tickets from $39;

Yasmeen Wafai



The story goes that in 1982, when playwright August Wilson took his mother to see this play at the now-defunct Allegheny Repertory Theatre in Pittsburgh, they arrived by jitney — the not-technically-legal cabs that served Black neighborhoods like the Hill District, where official and licensed cabs refused to travel. Like all of Wilson’s plays, “Jitney” is keenly interested in the economics of Black American life, and the intertwining of love, money and loyalty. Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who won a Tony for directing “Jitney” in 2017, directs this national touring production.


Feb. 28-March 29; Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St., Seattle; $17-$82 (prices subject to change); 206-443-2222,

Brendan Kiley


Anders Bergstrom: “Thick Thin Thinner,” Jacob Lawrence: A Selection

The brown paper bag: You know it, right? Crisp or crinkled, factory-fresh or schmutzy, they’re ubiquitous, just visual white noise. But by meticulously creating brown paper bags — using delicate, skillful etching and traditional printmaking methods — Bergstrom forces our attention to what was always there. Critics and art historians could go any number of directions from this starting place, each of them worth a quick trip: commentary on consumerism, Marcel Duchamp (he of the urinal in the art gallery) and his “readymades,” the hoary old trompe l’oeil trick, and so on. They also raise the chilling specter of the “brown bag test,” a form of racism/colorism where the lightness or darkness of people’s skin was “measured” against a bag. (Bergstrom’s 2014 work “Brown Bag Test” lives at the Met in New York.) Perhaps this echo informs Greg Kucera Gallery’s companion show, some Jacob Lawrence prints concerning slave-liberating revolutionaries Toussaint L’Ouverture (Haiti) and John Brown (U.S.). One was Black, one was white, but both took up arms to fight slavery and were memorialized by Lawrence in a suite of works.

Anders Bergstrom exhibit: Feb. 6-March 28; Jacob Lawrence: Feb. 6-29; Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-624-0770,

Brendan Kiley


Seattle Symphony presents Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1

They’re giving the Shostakovich concerto top billing in this title, but the program might also be called “gems of Scandinavia”: Danish maestro and Symphony music director Thomas Dausgaard conducts Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg’s tuneful “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1” and the Symphony No. 1 of Danish composer Carl Nielsen. The excellent Patricia Kopatchinskaja is the concerto soloist.

8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $24-$134, 206-215-4747,

Melinda Bargreen




Anna Wiener 

Wiener’s memoir “Uncanny Valley” tells, in accomplished and graceful prose, of its author’s strange journey: from a job in New York’s traditional publishing industry to the Silicon Valley tech industry, where she worked for two startups — learning a new language, and a new world, along the way. She’ll speak in conversation with Kristi Coulter, author of the memoir “Nothing Good Can Come from This.”


7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $5; 206-652-4255,

Paul Yoon

Yoon, whose previous novels are “The Mountain” (an NPR best book of the year) and “Snow Hunters” (winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award), comes to town with his latest: “Run Me to Earth,” which follows the lives of three teenagers orphaned during the Vietnam War. Kirkus Reviews described it, in a starred review, as “another masterpiece in miniature about the unpredictable directions a life can take.”

7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Sarah Abrevaya Stein

Stein, a professor of history at UCLA, will discuss her latest book, “Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century,” in which she examines one family’s correspondence to tell their story and their journey — providing, along the way, a history of Sephardic Jews in the last century. She’ll speak in conversation with Devin E. Naar, Sephardic Studies chair at the University of Washington.

7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4; Seattle Public Library’s Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle; free; 206-386-4636,

Eoin Colfer

The author of the wildly popular “Artemis Fowl” series (coming to the big screen in May) has published his first fantasy novel for adults: “Highfire,” the story of a vodka-swilling dragon, a teenage troublemaker and a murderous sheriff in the Louisiana bayou.


7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7; University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 N.E. 43rd St., Seattle; $19.99 (includes book and admission for two people); 800-335-7323,

Garth Greenwell

Greenwell’s much-anticipated second book, “Cleanness,” revisits the territory of his acclaimed debut novel, “What Belongs To You,” but in a different format: a collection of vignettes, about a gay American teacher in Bulgaria. The Washington Post’s book critic Ron Charles noted that of the nine stories — three of which have appeared in The New Yorker — “… almost all of them are extraordinary.” Greenwell will speak in conversation with The Stranger’s Christopher Frizzelle.

7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Diane Rehm

The longtime WAMU and NPR radio host examines the right-to-die movement in her new book, “When My Time Comes: Conversations About Whether Those Who Are Dying Should Have the Right To Determine When Life Should End.” She’ll speak with Ross Reynolds of KUOW.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $5; 206-652-4255,

Waverly Fitzgerald memorial 

Local author Fitzgerald, who died last month, left behind a rich assortment of writing: the Barking Detective series of lighthearted mystery novels (written with Curt Colbert, under the name Waverly Curtis), several Victorian romances, nonfiction works and the mystery novel “Hard Rain,” set in 1999 Seattle. She also taught writing at Hugo House and other locations, and was active in the local chapter of Sisters in Crime. At this memorial event, Colbert will read from “Hard Rain” and discuss their writing relationship, and Fitzgerald’s contributions to the Seattle writing community will be celebrated.


7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13; Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333,

Tayari Jones

Published in 2018, Jones’ elegant, wrenching novel of a love triangle and a wrongful incarceration, “An American Marriage,” won the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) and an NAACP Image Award, and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. Her appearance here is presented by the Everett Public Library.

7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15; Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett; 425-257-8000,

Gish Jen

Jen’s fifth novel, “The Resisters,” takes place in the near future, in a half-under-water land called “AutoAmerica,” and follows a young woman who plays in an underground baseball league. It’s the acclaimed author’s first novel in nearly a decade; her recent nonfiction works are “The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap” and “Tiger Writing: Art, Culture and the Independent Self.” At Hugo House, she’ll speak on the topic “Politics and Possibility” before an audience Q&A.

7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20; Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., Seattle; $15-$30 (higher price includes reception with author); 206-322-7030,

Daniel Mallory Ortberg

Co-founder of The Toast and current writer of the delightful “Dear Prudence” advice column (under the name Danny M. Lavery) at Slate, Ortberg comes to town with his new essay collection, “Something That May Shock and Discredit You,” in which he riffs on topics ranging from William Shatner to “House Hunters.”


7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20; Third Place Books in Seward Park, 5041 Wilson Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-474-2200,

Emily Nemens

A Seattle native, Nemens is currently the editor of the literary quarterly The Paris Review — and despite that has found time to write her debut novel, “The Cactus League,” a tale of intertwining characters who populate a Major League Baseball preseason venue in suburban Arizona. And it’s here just in time for spring training!

7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26; Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-322-7030,

John Sayles

A veteran independent filmmaker whose works include “Lone Star,” “Matewan” and “Return of the Secaucus Seven,” Sayles is also an accomplished writer. He’s in town with his fifth novel, “Yellow Earth,” set on a Native reservation in North Dakota where shale oil is unexpectedly discovered beneath the ground.

7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Charles Finch

The bestselling author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, set in 19th-century London, will discuss his latest book: “The Last Passenger,” the final volume in a prequel trilogy in which the young Lenox must solve a murder without a single clue. He’ll speak in conversation with former Seattle Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn.


6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28; University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., Seattle; 800-335-7323,

Moira Macdonald



Orlando Consort: “The Passion of Joan of Arc”

An intriguing combination of silent film and music, this event features Carl Theodor Dreyer’s famous silent film “La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc” (1928), about the trial of Joan of Arc (played by actress Renée Falconetti). Britain’s famed early-music vocal ensemble, the Orlando Consort, accompanies the film live with sacred and secular music of Joan’s 15th-century lifetime.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, Gerlich Theater at Meany Hall, University of Washington, 4040 George Washington Lane N.E., Seattle; $47-$55, children 5-17 free; 206-543-4880,

Early Music Seattle presents Ensemble Caprice

Chances are fairly good that you’ve never attended a performance of Vivaldi’s “Motezuma” (a variant spelling of “Montezuma”), and now is your chance to catch a semi-staged production of this rare opera presented by Ensemble Caprice. They will bring a vocal cast of seven from North America and Europe alongside a full baroque orchestra of winds, brass and strings, for a highly fictionalized but tuneful account of the famous Aztec leader.

2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $20-$45,

“American Classics,” Mark O’Connor Duo

Northwest favorite O’Connor, a genre-bending violinist/fiddler who brings together American folk tunes and classical traditions, is joined by his violinist wife, Maggie, in a program exploring the diversity of this country’s music. There will be solos, duos (Mark also will pick up the guitar to accompany Maggie), and repertoire likely to include hornpipes, reels and the famous “Appalachia Waltz.”


8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, Gerlich Theater at Meany Hall, University of Washington, 4040 George Washington Lane N.E., Seattle; $45-$57, children 5-17 $39-$45; 206-543-4880,

Seattle Symphony presents Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos

The young prodigy Mozart and his sister Nannerl used to amaze the salons of Europe with his Concerto for Two Pianos. Now you can hear it (and Mozart’s Fugue in C Minor for Two Pianos) at the Seattle Symphony, with pianist Marc-André Hamelin joining the featured pianist/conductor/composer Ryan Wigglesworth. The program also offers the North American premiere of Wigglesworth’s new piano concerto, “Mozart Variations,” as well as Haydn’s “Drumroll Symphony.”

7:30 p.m. Feb. 27; noon Feb. 28; 8 p.m. Feb. 29; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $24-$134, 206-215-4747,

Melinda Bargreen



Grupo Corpo

Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, this crowd-pleasing Brazilian dance company (the name literally translates as “Body Group”) is still run by the Pederneiras brothers: Paolo, who founded the company in 1975, and Rodrigo, a former company dancer who became its chief choreographer in 1981. Their intoxicating trademark is a blend of classical ballet technique with contemporary Brazilian dance. For this Meany visit, the troupe will present two new-to-Seattle works, both from Rodrigo: “Bach,” set to music by Marco Antônio Guimarães, and “Gira,” with music by Metá Metá.

8 p.m. Feb. 20-22; Gerlich Theater at Meany Hall, University of Washington, 4040 George Washington Lane N.E., Seattle; $61-$69; 206-543-4880,

Moira Macdonald

Bridge Project 2020

Three new works by three emerging choreographers: Alyssa Boone, Lucille Jun and Peter Kohring. Expect Jun’s investigation of Asian American upbringing, Boone’s experiences as a synesthete who is curious about the mind and Kohring’s exploration of mental illness through “a dance that unfolds between a collection of dolls.”


Feb. 6-9; Velocity Dance Center, 1621 12th Ave., Seattle; $15-$50 (sliding scale);

Writhing Treasure Feast: A Song of the Western Hemisphere

Butoh dancer Vanessa Skantze presents a full-length solo about “the fierce beauty and wrenching pain of the Americas,” focusing on pre-Columbian gods and the European invasion of the Western Hemisphere. The work is informed, in part, by Skantze’s travels in Latin America and her experiences with a Vodou Sosyete (community) in New Orleans.

Feb. 28-March 1; Base: Experimental Arts + Space, 6520 Fifth Ave. S., Seattle; $20;

Brendan Kiley



Tickets are already on sale for the following movie events:

Noir City

It’s still dark out for much of February, but no worries: Eddie Muller, the Turner Classic Movie host and proclaimed “Czar of Noir,” will be in town to present a week of seasonally appreciate film noir. This year’s Noir City festival is an international edition, with 20 shadow-filled films from Argentina, France, Japan, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Czechoslovakia, South Korea and West Germany.

Feb. 14-20; SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 805 E. Pine St., Seattle; full series pass $150, individual tickets $15; 206-324-9996,

And the Winner Is … Film Series

You’ve just got time to catch the last few days of Cinerama’s tribute to this year’s Academy Award nominees, with “Parasite” (Jan. 31), “Uncut Gems” (not a nominee, but I guess Cinerama thinks it should have been; Feb. 1), “Little Women” (Feb. 2), and “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” (Feb. 3) — all of which should look splendid on Cinerama’s giant screen.


Through Feb. 3; Cinerama, 2100 Fourth Ave., Seattle; $17.50;

Children’s Film Festival

It’s a teenager! Celebrating its 15th birthday this year, the Children’s Film Festival presented by Northwest Film Forum has grown to become the largest film festival on the West Coast dedicated to children. Aimed primarily at ages 3 to 14, the festival presents dozens of family-friendly films from around the world, and opens Feb. 27 with an assortment of feline-themed short films, “The Cat’s Meow.”

Feb. 27-March 8, Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., Seattle; individual events $10/children, $13/general; 206-329-2629,

Moira Macdonald


Dashboard Confessional

Floridian rockers Dashboard Confessional are celebrating 20 years as a band. Since their start in 1999, they have released seven studio albums and have gone through a few lineup changes. At the Seattle show, the band will perform a mix of songs from the albums “The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most” and “A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar.” Some dates have already sold out, so Seattle-area fans looking to go should act quickly.

8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18; The Showbox, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; resale tickets available from $128.19;

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony

This rap group, going on almost 30 years together, has worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, including late rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac. Hip-hop fans looking to feel nostalgic should keep an eye on this show.

9 p.m. Friday, Feb 21; The Showbox, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; tickets from $35;


Tove Lo

Swedish Grammy-nominated pop star Tove Lo is taking her “Sunshine Kitty” album on the road. Lo, born Ebba Nilsson, found success with her single “Habits (Stay High),” which hit No. 3 on the charts in the U.S. in 2013. Also on tour with Lo is singer-songwriter Alma, who has collaborated with Lo several times.

8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24; Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle; resale tickets from $75;

Yasmeen Wafai



“Our Country’s Good”

Leah Adcock-Starr (“The Christians“) directs 11 actors in this 1988 classic by Timberlake Wertenbaker about the penal colony known as Australia in 1787, where a bunch of convicts and guards put together a production of the Restoration stage comedy “The Recruiting Officer.” In case this all sounds distant to you, Strawberry Theatre Workshop notes in its PR material: “The U.S. constitutes four percent of the world population, but keeps 22 percent of the world’s prisoners behind bars.”

Through Feb. 22; Strawberry Theatre Workshop at 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle; $36 (with $10 tickets for the first 10 sold per performance); 800-838-3006,

“You’d Better Sit Down for This”

A world-premiere musical by Jasmine Joshua and Eric Navarrette about Margaret, who is called to the DMV (Department of Monster Verification) to hear she has a robot-involved identity problem.

Through Feb. 29; Annex Theatre, 1100 E. Pike St., Seattle; $10-$40 (sliding scale); 206-728-0933,


John Cameron Mitchell: The Origin of Love Tour

The author and original star of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” comes to town to share stories and observations from the culture-changing musical’s 25-year history.

8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27; Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $50-$65, including Ticketmaster fees; 800-982-2787,

Brendan Kiley


Shaun Kardinal: “Present Tense”

There’s something both beautiful and unsettling about Kardinal’s embroidered aerial photographs of various ecosystems (glaciers, reefs, farmland, estuaries). There is comfort in the elegant geometry of his threaded shapes, woven onto and into the land below — the thread itself looks yarn-y and homey. But imposing human geometries on the rippling, fractal-like landscapes (God doesn’t typically work in right angles) seems like a grim metaphor for how human “progress” and the “taming” of nature has led us to our current catastrophe. Fitting that Kardinal’s artist statement says “Present Tense” is about “space, time, and the climate crisis.” Kardinal will donate proceeds from all sales to The Sierra Club Foundation.

Through Feb. 15; J. Rinehart Gallery, 319 Third Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-467-4508,

“Subspontaneous,” “Natural Horror,” “Love Bite”

The Frye has three unnerving-sounding shows this month. First: “Subspontaneous” by Francesca Lohmann and Rob Rhee, about the zone between “the natural and the manufactured,” inspired by plants that require human action to establish themselves, then spread on their own. Second: Rebecca Brewer’s “Natural Horror,” a reference to a subgenre of horror films about the terrors of nature and featuring wool “scrims.” Third: Agnieszka Polska’s “Love Bite,” which opens Feb. 15, in which freaky computer-generated images and original poetic text plumb the depths of climate change and mass extinction.

Through April 19; Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave., Seattle; free; 206-622-9250,


“twixt cup and lip”

The 10th annual juried exhibition at Gallery 110, this year with curator Amanda Donnan of the Frye Art Museum. She culled 21 works from 1,500 submissions looking at the theme of unexpected events: canvases falling apart, stairways into bushes, tires sprouting fur and other visual oddities.

Feb. 6-29; Gallery 110, 110 Third Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-624-9336,

Brendan Kiley

Freelance writer Melinda Bargreen ( contributed to this report.