The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events

WEDNESDAY 12/26

Classical: The Trumpet Shall Sound

In the chorus "For Unto Us a Child is Born" in his Messiah, Handel sets the syllable "born" to a chain of 56 rapid notes—which actually can make you sound something like a woman in labor if you don't read ahead in the score and pace your breathing. Just a tip from someone who's joined one of the popular sing- and play-along readings that dot the holiday season. Seattle Pro Musica director Karen P. Thomas leads University Unitarian's 43rd annual DIY performance tonight. Bring your instrument (and a music stand) or come to sing (bring a vocal score if you have one). Though most of Messiah's text deals with Christ's life and death—the 1741 work was in fact intended for Easter—the radiance and sparkle of the Nativity section has made it a Christmas tradition. If the later stuff about stripes and iniquity and worms destroying this body can be a bit of a downer, it's less so if you're singing it yourself. University Unitarian Church, 6556 35th Ave. N.E., brownpapertickets.com. $13–$18. 7 p.m.

FRIDAY 12/28

Film: La-Di-Da, La-Di-Da

Woody Allen cannot be stopped. Not by age, not by scandal, not by the lack of domestic financing that has made him a virtual exile in recent years—he and Scarlett Johansson traipsing around Europe together. But the Woody Allen in the '70s retrospective, running through January 17, harkens back to his golden decade in New York. Beginning the series is the 1977 Annie Hall, which earned four Oscars—most notably for Diane Keaton, forever associated with the title role. Back when "feminist" was considered a compliment, when Republicans supported abortion rights and birth control, Keaton's quirky, pants-wearing heroine was an icon of the times—for both her fashion sense and independence. Keaton and Allen were past being a couple by then, though Allen based his script partly on their relationship history. Annie is an idealized, exaggerated Diane, the role a tribute to a woman who won't be pinned down or burdened by a neurotic, unreliable boyfriend. In a sense, Annie Hall is a love letter to a woman after she's left. Following in the series are Bananas, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask, Manhattan, and Love and Death. (Through Thurs.) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$8. 7 and 9 p.m.

Classical/Dance: Tinsel & Tango

Gerard Schwarz liked to pair Beethoven's imposing Ninth, in his Seattle Symphony New Year's concerts, with something hors-d'oeuvre-y from the same Austro-German tradition: Haydn, maybe, or Humperdinck. But Ludovic Morlot, now in his second season leading the orchestra, is prefacing it this weekend with a startling choice: Astor Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, his dashing rethinking of Vivaldi in tango style. In fact, they're even bringing in live tango dancers, Eva Lucero and Patricio Touceda, to perform to the music. Come to think of it, maybe it's not so odd a combination; the Friedrich Schiller text Beethoven set for the symphony's finale does get a bit steamy: "Joy all creatures drink/At the breasts of nature . . . Kisses she gave us, and vines." (Also 8 p.m. Sat. and 2 p.m. Sun.; Monday's New Year's Eve gala, $52–$152, at 9 p.m. switches out Piazzolla for Rachmaninoff's stirring Piano Concerto no. 2.) Benaroya Hall, Third Ave. & Union St., 215-4747, seattlesymphony.org. $28–$128. 8 p.m.

SATURDAY 12/29

Museums: Living History

This weekend's MOHAI Reopening celebrates its $60 million renovation and move to the 70-year-old Naval Reserve Armory, whose central atrium now features an enormous new dangling wooden sculpture, Wawona (made from the timbers of the old schooner) by John Grade. New silo-like structures house high-tech interpretive stations; MOHAI has finally entered the computer era—thanks in part to a gift from its neighbor, Jeff Bezos. The atrium looks to be an excellent party rental space (along with the rooftop deck), and the new Compass Cafe should also draw Amazon workers who want to stare at the boats bobbing outside. The permanent collection, artifacts from our civic and maritime history, sits in galleries on four levels ringing the atrium, linked by a handsome staircase. Additional new exhibits showcase video games (!), Seattle's history at the movies, and a youth poetry/photography curriculum. Food and music are also part of the weekend festivities, and January 3 will introduce the museum's Free First Thursdays program—another excellent chance to check out the new digs. Museum of History and Industry, 860 Terry Ave. N., 324-1126, mohai.org. $12–$14. 10 a.m.–7 p.m.

 
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