Pick List: Conan O’Brien, Shout Your Abortion, Deck the Hall Ball

The week’s best entertainment options.


Thought experiment: Suppose VP Mike Pence and family show up unexpectedly to stay for a few days? And now you need some quick ideas about what Seattle has going on this week to keep the Pences entertained? Well, Wednesday you could drop by the book release party for Shout Your Abortion, in which contributors speak openly and without shame about their reproductive choice. Lindy West, Amelia Bonow, Angela Garbes, and others will read and be joined by live music. GAVIN BORCHERT The Neptune, stgpresents.org. $10.50–$29.50. 8 p.m. Wed., Dec. 5.

The Pences would also surely enjoy a talk by Karen Finley—yep, that Karen Finley, the performance artist whose work, during the 1990 kerfuffle over federal arts funding, made Congressmen positively drop their lorgnettes in consternation. While there, be sure to snatch up a copy of Grabbing Pussy, Finley’s cunning new book of poetic and prose reflections on the current administration. And get one for Mike, too, so he can dive into it on the plane home. GB Elliott Bay Book Company, elliottbaybook.com. 7 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 6.


The idea some people don’t think that Conan O’Brien is clearly the funniest talk show host alive is frankly as absurd as the best of his show’s willfully stupid absurdist bits. As Conan prepares to reformat to a half-hour starting in January, O’Brien has been focusing on non-televised entertainment. He just launched his delightful Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend interview podcast, and he’s currently cracking jokes on the road with his tour Conan & Friends: An Evening of Stand-up and Investment Tips, which features fan-favorite comedians Ron Funches, Flula Borg, Laurie Kilmartin, and Moses Storm. SETH SOMMERFELD The Moore, stgpresents.org. $67–$525. 8 p.m. Tues., Dec. 11.


It’s easy to fly a bit under the radar as a singer-songwriter due to Seattle’s embarrassment of riches in the field. Still, don’t sleep on Valley Maker (aka Austin Crane). There’s an alluring shadowy haze to his music and forlorn sweetness to his voice, which set him apart from the folky pack. In October, Valley Maker put out his best album to date in Rhododendron, and after spending the fall touring the East Coast and U.K., he finally presents the new tunes for a hometown crowd. Barboza, thebarboza.com. $10. 8 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 6.

With KeyArena under construction, 107.7 The End had to find another hall to deck this year. This year’s Deck the Hall Ball takes place at WaMu Theater, and, as per usual, the lineup is loaded with modern rock headliners. Seattle’s own Death Cab for Cutie headlines the holiday bash with tunes from its 2018 LP, Thank You for Today, but the slate also includes rockers Bastille and Young the Giant, plus electro-pop from rising star Billie Eilish and Jenn Champion (whose Single Rider is one of the best Seattle albums of the year). SS WaMu Theater, 1077theend.radio.com. $75–$300. 5 p.m. Tues., Dec. 11.


Call me a sucker, but there’s something so endearing about Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical is essentially a Biblical children’s show that weirdly takes silly turns into country, reggae, and Elvis-impersonation numbers, but if you lean into the cheese it can be a blast because so many of the tunes are so … damn … catchy. Seattle Musical Theatre’s production—a family-friendly escape from the realm of “important” theater—is led by Garrett Dill, who plays Joseph like an adorably dumb golden retriever. There’s no design glitz (the set is stationary, the actors wear sneakers, etc.), but this Dreamcoat is the type of community theater that leaves a smile on your face (well, except the sound tech, which was an absolute disaster—just turn on everyone’s mic who’s onstage!). SS Seattle Musical Theatre, seattlemusicaltheatre.org. $40. 7:30 p.m. Fri.–Sun., 2 p.m. Sat.–Sun.. plus 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 13. Ends Dec. 16.

Poor People’s TV Room,a dance/theater piece by Igbo-Nigerian American artist Okwui Okpokwasili (an October recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant”), was inspired by the Women’s War of 1929, a resistance movement against British colonial powers, and the 2014 Boko Haram kidnappings. GB On the Boards, ontheboards.org. $12–$30. 8 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 6–Sat., Dec. 8, 5 p.m. Sun., Dec. 9.

Bard in a Bar: Much Ado About Nothing is Shakespeare karaoke. Scripts and props provided, but you do the reading. GB Ounce of Prevention–Pint of Cure. Free (21+). 7:30 p.m. Fri., Dec. 7.


A new exhibit, Light in the Attic Records: A Visual Archive, in the label’s record shop in the KEXP Gathering Space in Seattle Center’s northwest corner, presents rare and wonderful photos of LitA artists like Townes Van Zandt, Betty Davis, Sly Stone, Mark Lanegan, Glenn Danzig, and many others. GB Opening reception 3–6 p.m. Sat., Dec. 8 with KEXP DJ Greg Vandy.

Two works of public art are projected after dark onto the Pier 86 Grain Terminal for Let There Be Light: one by Nicolas and Rick Sassoon (Dec. 7-9), and the other by Chris Rojas and Craig Winslow (Dec. 14–21). GB Myrtle Edwards Park.

Roq La Rue Gallery showcases Trilobites and other stunningly detailed metal miniatures from U of Chicago science professor D. Allan Drummond’s Curiosity. GB Roq La Rue, roqlarue.com. Opening reception 6 p.m. Fri., Dec. 7. Ends Jan. 6.

Skateboard decks and canoe paddles not only facilitate transportation, they can be media for personal statements as the new exhibit Fast Forward showcases. GB Stonington Gallery, stoningtongallery.com. Opening reception 6 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 6. Holiday brunch 11 a.m. Sat., Dec. 8. Ends Jan. 6.


Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Beals, Seymour Cassel, and Stanley Tucci star in In the Soup, a reconstructed, rediscovered 1992 comedy. GB Northwest Film Forum, nwfilmforum.org. $7–$12. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 and 7, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 15.

Of the four adaptations of Patrick Dennis’ 1955 novel Auntie Mame—stage play, movie, stage musical, movie musical—the film, from three years later, is probably the most fondly remembered. It’s largely, I’m sure, because of the magnificent Rosalind Russell in the title role of a flamboyant bohemian who becomes the guardian of her guarded nephew and tries, through the Depression and beyond, to keep him off the straight-and-narrow path. Never too sententious, it’s a lavish, particolored celebration of nonconformity; without a single openly gay character in it, it’s about the gayest movie Old Hollywood ever released. GB Three Dollar Bill Cinema screens it for their annual fundraiser. AMC Pacific Place 11, threedollarbillcinema.org. $20–$120. 6 p.m. Wed., Dec. 12.


Spectrum Dance Theater’s OCCURRENCE series collages, Merce Cunningham-style, bits of this and that from its repertory. GB Spectrum Dance Theater, spectrumdance.org. $15–$20. 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 6, 8 p.m. Fri., Dec. 7–Sat., Dec. 8.

Choreographer/dancer Rebecca Margolick and composer/graphic artist Maxx Berkowitz collaborated on birds sing a pretty song, a multimedia exploration of solitude, beauty, chaos, and technology. GB Stroum Jewish Community Center, Mercer Island, sjcc.org. 5 p.m. Sun., Dec. 9.


The Dina Martina Christmas Show extravalooza delivers “questionable song, unnecessary dance, overburdened costumes, and side­splitting video.” GB ACT Theatre, acttheatre.org. $20. Opens Dec. 6. Runs Wed.–Sun. plus Mon., Dec. 17 and 24; see acttheatre.org for exact schedule. Ends Dec. 24.

It’s 1963, and the producers of Judy’s TV show have decided that what she needs is a nice Christmas special. But when she does show up, can they keep her on the set and off the booze? The Judy Garland Christmas Special presents a stage version of the actual, infamous TV episode. GB Theatre Off Jackson. $22. Opens Dec. 6. 8 p.m. Thurs.–Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Dec. 22.

Cafe Nordo’s new immersive culinary theater event is a holiday-themed “Dragatha Christie” mystery titled Murder on the Mistletoe Express. GB Cafe Nordo, cafenordo.com. $89. Opens Dec. 7. 7:30 p.m. Wed.–Sat., 6 p.m. Sun. Ends Dec. 29.

Kitten N’ Lou host the annual Homo for the Holidays revue boasting “an all-star international cast of burlesque, cabaret, dance, drag, and musical luminaries,” including Cherdonna Shinatra, The Luminous Pariah, Rebecca Mmm Davis, and many others. GB West Hall, OddFellows Building. $35–$40. Opens Dec. 7; runs Wed.–Sun. plus Mon., Dec. 24. Ends Dec. 30.

In its 13th year, Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann’s Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker makes the holiday chestnut a little spicier. GB The Triple Door. $45–$85. Opens Dec. 7. Runs daily (except Dec. 25) through Dec. 30; see thetripledoor.net for exact schedule.

Buttcracker IV is the hair metal for the holidays dance revue. GB Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, 1524 Harvard Ave. $20–$28. Opens Dec. 7. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.–Sun. Ends Dec. 16.

The Grand Illusion marks 48th annual run of Frank Capra’s irresistible holiday button-pusher, It’s a Wonderful Life. GB Grand Illusion, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$9. Dec. 7–27.

Reinis Zariņš takes on Olivier Messiaen’s breathtaking Christmas cycle for piano, Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jesus, in a performance by candlelight. GB Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, saintmarks.org. $15–$20. 7:30 p.m. Sat., Dec. 8.

Danny Elfman’s best score ever, and a memorable hero in Jack Skellington, elevate The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton’s tale of clashing holidays, to masterpiece status. GB Central Cinema, central.cinema.com. $8–$10. 1:30, 4, & 7 p.m. Sat., Dec. 8; 7 p.m. Sun., Dec. 9–Tues., Dec. 11.

Vince Guaraldi’s immortal score comes to life when Jose Gonzales Trio plays the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas as a fundraiser for Strawberry Theatre Workshop. GB Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, strawshop.org. 1 p.m. family ($18–$24), 7 p.m. main event ($30–$75), Sun., Dec. 9.

A Rogue’s Christmas is a literary holiday celebration featuring readings of stories by John Updike, Augusten Burroughs, Harper Lee, and others. GB Taproot Theatre, townhallseattle.org. $5–$15. 6 p.m. Sun., Dec. 9.

The popular annual holiday blowout for the Seattle Men’s Chorus features the debut of their new vocal ensemble, The Supertonics. GB Benaroya Hall, seattlechoruses.org. $25–$85. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 20, 21, 23; 8 p.m. Dec. 16; 2 p.m. Dec. 23

Cinerama’s Holiday Film Series features days of faves, from A Christmas Story and Elf to Love Actually and Gremlins. GB Cinerama, cinerama.com $17. Dec. 10–12.

In the 1989 French cult thriller, Dail Code Santa Claus, a home invasion by Santa is stopped by “a mulleted 10-year-old with an arsenal of toys.” GB Grand Illusion, grandillusioncinema.org. $5–$9. 9 p.m. Tues., Dec. 11 & Fri., Dec. 14; 7 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 20.