The weather is supposed to be terrible this weekend. Tonight, rather than standing outside in the pouring rain (or snow), our Gavin Borchert recommends you listen to Benjamin Britten:
A Midsummer Night's Dream With a dozen or so operas already on his résumé, Benjamin Britten was savvy enough to know you can't improve, language-wise, on Shakespeare. So in crafting his 1960 A Midsummer Night's Dream, he just took the original play and trimmed it, weaving his own deft and perfumed musical magic around William's words. With a small orchestra and a large cast, Dream should flourish in just such a production as it'll get from the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program this weekend and next (through April 5). More than ever before, young opera singers (especially those in the YAP) are trained to bring theatrical energy and zing to their work, and there'll be 23 eager performers onstage. On the other hand, in such an intimate venue, you'll be enveloped by Britten's romantic fantasy world. Director Peter Kazaras' staging, set in a British boarding school, will add a third layer of play to the "rude mechanicals'" play-within-a-play. Meydenbauer Center, 11100 N.E. Sixth St., Bellevue, 389-7676, www.seattleopera.org. $15-$35. 7:30 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT
Keep reading for more weekend cultural picks after the jump.
This is an apt name for this joint show by Jason Sobottka and Sarah Dillon (yes, who runs the gallery). On view through tomorrow are critters that lurk just outside your door, often the same crows you see lifting French fries from Pioneer Square trash cans. Dillon's birds forage amid cosmopolitan collages--chain link, old maps, bricks, and graffiti. They're Audubon creatures adapting themselves to our built environment. And that latter construct, the urban grid, is what underlies Sobottka's aerial perspectives on the city. He renders the city blocks as, literally, blocks--wooden lumber scraps and other detritus seemingly found on building sites. Yet even here there are traces of the natural world: a few skulls and animal outlines. Both artists employ a scavenger's ethos, grabbing what they can use, like the downtown birds that nest amid concrete and steel. Gallery 110, 110 S. Washington St., 624-9336, www.gallery110.com. Free. Noon-5 p.m. BRIAN MILLER
Of all the psychedelic stoner rock bands hell-bent on reviving the guitar solo, the Canadian shredders of Black Mountain stand alone as the paladins of your parents' brand of rock and roll. With last year's outstanding sophomore release, In the Future, the band spits in the face of every sour music critic who's had the temerity to write that genre's epitaph. Black Mountain's galloping percussion, howling vocals, and lengthy, perfectly-executed guitar solos prove that there's still some life left in the old sack of bones. Yes, there's a discernible Led Zeppelin influence, but this band has its own unique, 21st-century character, proving it's still possible to create awesome, modern psychedelic rock without sounding like your dad's old college band. The Sadies open. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442, www.neumos.com. $12. 8 p.m. SARA BRICKNER
Shelli Markee draws in cold-fused steel. Her flock of wire birds crowds the airspace at Fancy with fat bellies, fringed wings, and delicate beaks. The outlines are in thicker wire, with the details in a finer gauge. One bird has the familiar profile of a crow, while another wears the longer beak of a tern. "They're not one particular kind of bird," Markee told me. "They're my bird." Her sculptures transform a scribbled rendering of feathers and flight into a few clean lines. 1914 Second Avenue, 956-2945, www.fancyjewels.com. 11 a.m. Tues.-Sun. Free. Ends April 9. ADRIANA GRANT
Justin Bond has played Kiki, the "boozy chantoozee" half of Kiki & Herb, for so long that few people realize the New York performer can sing without descending into snarls, sobs, or bitter asides. In the year since the duo's final show at Carnegie Hall, Bond has performed with the Tiger Lillies and in solo shows in New York and London. He's appearing tonight with a new collection of songs and tales that defies description, yet seems to have awed New Yorker critic Hilton Als. Inspired by a stay last year at a Radical Faerie sanctuary in Tennessee, his Rites of Spring is subtitled "More Songs for the Neo-Pagan Revolution." It's hard to imagine Bond--hilarious and ferociously smart--going all Holly Near on us. So I anticipate that the rites he's inculcating will be far more intriguing...and subversive. Triple Door, 206 Union St., 838-4333, www.tripledoor.net. $22-$25. 7 and 9:30 p.m. JONATHAN KAUFFMAN