The week of Dec. 27 brings traditional New Year’s fare such as the Polar Bear Plunge, New Year’s at the Needle and Beethoven’s Ninth at the Seattle Symphony, as well as Amy Schumer and concerts by Digable Planets and Shabazz Palaces.

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‘New Year’s Eve Live’

For a ninth year, comedian Kathy Griffin joins CNN anchor Anderson Cooper to ring in the new year from New York City. 5 p.m. (live) and 10:05 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, on CNN.

‘Sherlock: The Abominable Bride’

It’s elementary. Start the new year out right with this new special starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, set in the Victorian era. 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1, on KCTS.


Winterfest/New Year’s at The Needle

Come to the party: An all-ages dance, 8-11:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, at Seattle Center Armory, free; ice skating, 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, at Fisher Pavilion, Seattle Center, $2-$7; fireworks show at the Space Needle to ring in the New Year at midnight (206-684-7200 or

Polar Bear Plunge

Seattle Parks and Recreation hosts a New Year’s Day plunge into Lake Washington, with “badges of courage” for participants who immerse themselves neck-deep in the water. Costumes are welcome. Registration opens at 10 a.m.; Friday. The Polar Bear Cub Club plunge for children, and anyone needing more room shortly before main plunge, is at noon. Matthews Beach Park, 9300 51st Ave. N.E., Seattle; free (

State Parks First Day Hikes

Jan. 1 is a state parks free day, with all-ages hikes at most parks, including Saltwater State Park, Dash Point State Park, Flaming Geyser State Park, Wallace Falls State Park, Cama Beach State Park, Camano Island State Park, Deception Pass State Park, Dosewallips State Park, Fort Worden Historical State Park. Discover Pass not required for parking (


The Return of Digable Planets

Three years after internal disagreements forced the cancellation of this landmark hip-hop reunion, the show is finally back on. Not only that, it’s so popular, it’s been moved from the Neptune Theatre to the larger Moore Theatre. Known for smooth ‘90s hits like “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” Digable Planets features Seattle-bred MC Ishmael Butler, though the group was formed in New York. When Butler came back to Seattle, he formed the more electronic-influenced hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces, which plays the Neptune on New Year’s Eve (see below). 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30, at the Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $24, or $40 for two-show pass including Shabazz Palaces, $40 (877-784-4849 or

Shabazz Palaces

Shabazz Palaces, the duo of Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire — son of the late, great marimba ensemble leader Dumi Maraire and Sukutai Marimba Ensemble leader Lora Chiorah-Dye — makes swirling, mysterious music that mixes hip-hop and electronic strategies. Though the duo enjoys an enthusiastic local following, it has not caught on nationally the way Butler’s Digable Planets did in the ‘90s. You can hear both groups this week on successive nights, with Digable playing Wednesday (see above) and Shabazz taking the stage New Year’s Eve. 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec., 31, at the Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $25 or $40 two-show pass including Digable Planets (877-784-4849 or


Amy Schumer

In 2015 Amy Schumer garnered awards for her sketch comedy series “Inside Amy Schumer,” achieved box-office success with her romantic comedy “Trainwreck” and hosted an episode of “Saturday Night Live.” She caps off her wildly successful year with a nearly sold-out stand-up show at KeyArena on New Year’s Eve. 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, at KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., Seattle Center; $40.50-$146 (800-745-3000 or


‘The Book of Mormon’

The blockbuster musical satire of Mormonism, missionaries and “The Lion King” returns to Seattle. Created by some of the best comedic minds alive — Robert Lopez of “Avenue Q,” Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” — “The Book of Mormon” has won all the awards, both mainstream and alternative: a Grammy and several Tonys, plus Drama Desk awards, Outer Critics Circle awards, etc. Dec. 29-Jan. 10 at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $58-$166 (877-784-4849 or

Moisture Festival New Year’s Extravaganza

The neo-vaudeville/varietè impresarios of the Moisture Festival are throwing a New Year’s Eve party with European-style clown Bill Robison, giant puppet-clown Godfrey Daniels, music by Lamonte & The Family Affair and more. 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, at Hale’s Palladium, 4301 Leary Way N.W., Seattle; $40-$65 (206-297-1405 or


Seattle Symphony Orchestra

There probably is no better way to see out 2015 than with Beethoven’s big, sweeping (really loud) Ninth Symphony. The orchestra continues its tradition of inspiring reflection and hope on the cusp of the new year with concerts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30; 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 3 at Benaroya Hall. Andrew Grams is guest conductor; guest vocalists include Caitlyn Lynch (appearing in Seattle Opera’s “Marriage of Figaro” next month), Sasha Cooke, Daniel Shirley and Corey McKern. Tickets from $28 (206-215-4747 or


‘Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art’

The time is growing short for Seattle’s peek at the “Intimate Impressionism” collection, which features small, sometimes off-the-cuff works by Impressionist majors and minors: Cézanne, van Gogh, Vuillard, Gauguin and the rest of the gang — plus Antoine Vollon’s 140 year-old portrait of butter. Catch it while you can. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays-Sundays; until 9 p.m. Thursdays through Jan. 10, 2016, Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., Seattle; $14.95-$24.95 (206-654-3100 or

Heikki Seppa

A collection of objects made by the Finnish-American master smith whose metalwork ranged from cubist-influenced tea sets to Richard Serra-like, minimalist micro-sculptures. Born in Sakkijarvi, Finland, Seppa spent his final years on Bainbridge Island. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, 550 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island; by donation (206-842-4451 or

‘The Duchamp Effect’

In 1917, Marcel Duchamp puzzled and infuriated the art world by submitting a factory-made urinal to an exhibition. Seattle Art Museum presents a small collection of work inspired by the moment, including a handmade urinal — constructed of wood, plaster, wire and paint — by Robert Gober. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays, until 9 p.m. Thursdays through July 24, Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., Seattle; suggested donation $12.95-$19.95 (206-654-3100 or