Closing a trilogy of dances Coleman Pester has made for the Tectonic Marrow Society, PYLON III continues to explore the relationship between humans and the political, economic, and technological systems we have built and are controlled by. All is not dystopia, however: As Pester puts it, “These oppressive systems have disintegrated,” enabling “a better world built on the rubble . . . an exercise in healing as well as an unabashed call for an affirmative vision of the future.” And how will the TMS pull this off? Pester promises “projection mapping, sculptures, robotic arms with lasers, a hazer, and a fuck-ton of sound.” Cornish Playhouse, Seattle Center, cornish.edu. $10–$20. 8 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 8–Fri., Feb. 9.
There was a production of Susanna’s Secret at the Seattle Fringe Festival 20-odd years ago, but that’s the only local performance I can recall of anything since then by one of my favorite composers, Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876–1948). That one-act opera is typical of his music, cutting emotion-rich Puccini-isms with a lot of lithe, neat-as-a-pin neoclassicism looking back at Donizetti, Rossini, and earlier. (If you recall the comic moments in La bohème, that’ll give you some idea of his style.) It’s been taken up by DIY opera company Operamuse and is being performed for one final week in cozy Pioneer Square art-book emporium Mount Analogue. In Wolf-Ferrari’s 1909 original, the secret was that Susanna smokes; here she’s into kinky sex; and in both cases her husband Gil suspects her of infidelity. Well, not as such; she just likes to walk their servant, Sante (a non-singing role), on a leash and flog him now and then while singing wistfully about sharing her hobby with her husband. Baritone Darrell J. Jordan, as the clueless Gil, gives a classic blustery farce performance—a sort of old-school, commedia-dell’arte acting style that provides a sly analogue to his character’s sexual conservatism. Soprano Samantha Gorham, who also directed and lightly adapted the libretto, sings Susanna boldly, making adroit comedy of her comic asides, attitudes, and facial expressions. Together they’re hilarious. Collin Whitfield accompanies on a portable keyboard. Though the last two scheduled performances are sold out, they’re hoping to extend the run; watch this space. (Looking ahead, their April production of Don Giovanni will include a similar contemporization, and a similar examination of sexual mores.) Mount Analogue, facebook.com/operamuse. $15–$50. 8 p.m. Fri., Feb. 9 & Wed., Feb. 14.
Real talk: Diet Cig was the best live band of 2017. The emotional power pop duo’s concerts serve up pure, uncut lines of sweet, glittery bliss. (I may have seen DC play five times last year.) Singer/guitarist Alex Luciano bounces, spins, and high-kicks her way around the stage between delivering clever lyrics about the difficulties of being a punk while wearing a skirt, the awkwardness of dating a boy who shares your name, and the unrelenting desire for birthday ice cream. The group’s most recent album, Swear I’m Good at This, manages to strike a balance of peppy ferocity, vulnerability, and fem positivity. While Luciano might not be her peak whirling-dervish self for the band’s Chop Suey gig—she tore her ACL onstage in November—Diet Cig will fill that sugar rush movement void with an expanded sonic palette thanks to the addition of a touring bassist and keyboard player. Chop Suey, chopsuey.com. $15. 8 p.m. Sun., Feb. 11. SETH SOMMERFELD
Inspired by Soviet poet Anna Akhmatova’s “Poem without a hero,” David Lang’s symphony without a hero will be premiered by Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony this weekend. Lang’s description of his compositional process definitely whets the appetite: “I began by writing a melody that went from the beginning of the piece to the very end—a 28-minute-long tune. I superimposed many different versions of the melody onto each other, simultaneously, in layers of slower and faster speeds. . . I thought I could create the feeling of a distant, elusive memory by making a tune that was constantly in the process of revealing itself, without ever revealing itself completely.” It’ll be followed by its diametric opposite, Richard Strauss’ gargantuan and unabashedly self-quoting A Hero’s Life (1898). Benaroya Hall, seattlesymphony.org. $22–$122. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 8, 8 p.m. Sat., Feb. 10.
As a longtime Seattle-based location scout, Dave Drummond is an ideal tour guide for his collection of clips from more than 25 films shot here. “Made in Seattle: Elvis, Evergreens, and Umbrellas” starts when The King helped the Monorail and the Space Needle become globally recognized icons, and moves up through, among others, Cinderella Liberty, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Singles, and that one houseboat where Tom Hanks had insomnia. SIFF Film Center, Northwest Rooms, Seattle Center, siff.net. $10–$15. 2 p.m. Sun., Feb. 11.
Can you imagine devoting your life to researching and celebrating one song? Well, sure, if it were “I’ve Never Been to Me” or “One Tin Soldier.” But Brooklynite Ben Sisto has amassed a wealth of knowledge, and memorabilia, about one 2000 kitsch-smash in particular—and he’ll tell you all about it in his talk “Who Let Who Let the Dogs Out Out?” As the self-described but surely undisputed “world’s leading expert” on the song, he’ll trace its origins (the Baha Men, who turned it into the love-it-or-hate-it party anthem you know, weren’t the first to record it), the copyright disputes, the gender politics of its near-inscrutable lyrics, its connection to the Mariners, and more. Barboza, thebarboza.com. $5. 7:30 p.m. Fri., Feb. 9.
SAVE THE DATE
Odesza (third show added) at WaMu Theater on March 29
Jon Batiste at Neumos on April 3
Rufus Wainwright at Edmonds Center for the Arts on May 16
Paul Simon at KeyArena on May 18
Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Neptune Theatre on June 3
James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt at KeyArena on June 6
Primus at Marymoor Park on June 22
Hall and Oates (with Train) at KeyArena on August 11
Erasure at Moore Theatre on August 14
Toby Keith at Washington State Fair on September 15