The best kind of cool, I’ve long thought, is the kind that outlives uncoolness. The prototype is Johnny Cash, who had to wander for a spell in the kitsch wilderness—post-TV variety show, pre-American Recordings—before reaching a peak of gravitas and awesomeness in his last decade that probably no musician will equal. (A friend observed who never turned their backs on Cash when he recalled attending a concert in the early ’80s: “It was me and 5,000 housewives.”) Other instances come to mind: Johnny Carson, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones—and Barry Manilow may be getting close (your mileage may vary); all of them had to suffer being dismissed as cheese before their cultural icon-ness was justly recognized, simply through longevity. (If Karen Carpenter had survived, she’d probably have been fully rehabilitated by now too.) Burt Bacharach is another example; though his marriage to Angie Dickinson made him Rat Pack-adjacent, which always gave him a certain cachet, the turning wheel of pop/rock fashion did overshadow the brilliance of his best work—especially the jazz sophistication and watchmaker craftsmanship of his collaborations with lyricist Hal David as interpreted by Dionne Warwick. Though he turns 90 on May 12, he’s still eagerly performing, and he’ll preside over Jazz Alley for four nights this weekend. Jazz Alley, jazzalley.com. $150. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., March 22–Sun., March 25.
It’s not exactly breaking news that a lot of people feel increasingly alone in this age of digital hyper-connectivity. Seattle comedian (and proprietor of all things weird and awesome) Emmett Montgomery is here to help via Lonely Together, his new “talent show/friendship machine/dating show.” The unique event starts with Montgomery interviewing comedians, poets, musicians, and more about the type of connections they seek. The creatives will also perform their various crafts. That’s followed by a social hour where the audience can interact with the panelists and apply to connect with them. “A lot of my shows are about connecting people and community; this one is a little more aggressive about it,” says Montgomery. Expect proceedings to be messy, sincere, chaotic, and very human. SETH SOMMERFELD Northwest Film Forum, nwfilmforum.org. $16. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., March 22.
It’s been said that before the 20th century, there were exactly two careers in which a woman could amass an independent fortune: singer or courtesan. Which one was Barbara Strozzi (1619–77)? She was definitely a singer, and a prolific composer too, of extravagant and emotive vocal music. Slanderous rumors circulated that the Venetian also engaged in an even older profession. Joy McCullough-Carranza’s bio-play Smoke and Dust explores this and other obstacles this musical pioneer had to face. Theatre Off Jackson, machatheatreworks.com. $18–$25. Opens March 23. 8 p.m. Thurs.–Sat. plus 8 p.m. Mon., April 2 and 2 p.m. Sun., April 8. Ends April 14.
It’s rare for dance-based theatrical performance to leave the audience with wobbly legs, but the beautiful and heart-crushing horror of Kidd Pivot and Electric Company Theatre’s Betroffenheit demands that viewers search for solid footing in the wake of the emotional devastation. Jonathan Young’s mental demons come to life in this dark, surreal exploration of his real-life experience dealing with PTSD and addiction in the wake of his family members’ death in a fire. SS The Moore, stgpresents.org. $32.50–$39. 8 p.m. Fri., March 23–Sat., March 24.
All kinds of friends and colleagues, composers and chamber musicians, will gather to celebrate flutist Paul Taub’s 38 years at Cornish and his long career as one of Seattle’s most fervent new-music advocates. On the program, works old and new from Bern Herbolsheimer, Beth Fleenor, Alexandra Gardner, Jovino Santos Neto, Angelique Poteat, and Helena Tulve. PONCHO Concert Hall, Cornish College of the Arts, cornish.edu. $5–$10. 7 p.m. Sun., March 25.
BOOKS & SPEAKERS
Thirty-nine evergreen episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, plus a handful of cult-classic films with the troupe: For these alone, John Cleese gained comedy Parnassus, but he went on to cut the flawless diamonds of the 12-episode Fawlty Towers—voted by Britons their greatest TV comedy series ever—and advanced from there to a second act as the Python most visible in America (thanks to a recurring role on Will & Grace, among others) and a third as public curmudgeon aghast at the absurdities of modern life. Thus the title of next Monday’s lecture: “Why There Is No Hope.” McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, uniquelives.com. $48–$120. 7:30 p.m. Mon., March 26.
SAVE THE DATE
Sarah Vowell and Michael Giacchino Benaroya Hall, April 7
Branford Marsalis Federal Way Performing Arts & Events Center, April 13
Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa ShoWare Center, Kent, April 21
Bettye LaVette Benaroya Hall, April 23
Angélique Kidjo Benaroya Hall, May 2
Barbara Ehrenreich Town Hall, May 2
Animal Collective The Moore, July 29
Courtney Barnett and Waxahatchee The Paramount, Oct 8