Bohemia, Straight White Men, and Spontaneous Combustion

The week’s best events.


On offer this week: two satires of contemporary American society by women playwrights of Korean descent (Straight White Men and Peerless);

• Two dance events explicitly driven to heal America’s sociopolitical discord (Whim W’Him and Chasm);

• Two plays imaginatively extrapolating on an actual event in the life of a U.S. President (Frost/Nixon and Camping with Henry and Tom);

• And two mini-festivals of chamber music. The established one is the two-weekend winter edition of the Seattle Chamber Music Festival. (James Ehnes, artistic director and violinist, is pictured above.) Three concerts of the six will feature Robert Schumann’s three piano trios; three include works by Shostakovich; and four of the six spotlight music by women, namely Clara Schumann, Amy Beach, Fanny Mendelssohn, and the medieval polymath Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179). (Her Three Antiphons are surely the earliest music the SCMF has ever programmed.) Benaroya Recital Hall, Third Ave. & Union St., Single tickets $16–$52. Jan. 19–21 & 26–28.

Spontaneous Combustion—new this year, and intriguingly eclectic, it’s founded by composer Scott Anthony Shell—offers seven concerts of new music, with a miscellany of performing ensembles and venues, Jan. 19–Feb. 1. Featured composers with current or former local ties include WWU’s Roger Briggs and Bruce Hamilton, Cornish’s Laura Kaminsky, and John Teske, curator of the Seattle Composers’ Salon. All concerts $20; see or for full details.


Bohemia has a distinct double meaning as the title of Opal Peachey and Mark Siano’s theatrical extravaganza: It refers literally to the western chunk of the Czech Republic and also to its 19th-century implications of artistic nonconformism (cf. Puccini’s La bohème, which has nothing to do with Prague). Their “macabre and mystical dream cabaret” suggests that the region’s most famous composer, Antonin Dvorak, is trying to cure his writer’s block with absinthe—and the resulting fantasy includes aerial numbers, dance, burlesque, piano music, comedy, original songs, George Sand and Sarah Bernhardt, the ghost of Chopin, Mucha-inspired decor, and green fairies serving the decadent elixir to audience members in the Triple Door’s VIP section. The Triple Door, 216 Union St. $18–$50. Runs daily Jan. 19–27 (except Jan. 22); see for exact schedule.

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