As the go-to source for Americana and roots music, No Depression magazine curates its own festival to showcase both well-established and up-and-coming folk acts. This year's festival is headlined by the dulcet Dublin tones of The Swell Season, consisting of Irish musician Glen Hansard and Czech singer and pianist Markéta Irglová, who starred together in the Academy Award–winning 2007 indie-musical Once. Other acts include acclaimed singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, Seattle indie-folk rockers The Cave Singers, and Alejandro Escovedo—winner of No Depression ’s "artist of the decade" for the '90s. Tickets are general admission, so arrive when the gates open at noon to secure a close-up spot on Marymoor Park's two enormous grass lawns, ensuring that the artists can pointedly ignore your request that they play the entire score of The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Having tamed Redman's farmers'-market frontier with their patented brand of slapstickery, the script spurners of Split 2nd Improv now tend to hatching a twice-weekly staging of off-the-cuff comedy. Like snowflakes or facial tattoos, no two of the audience-directed shows are the same. Friday nights are rated PG-13, suitable for tickling family funny bones, and Saturdays paint the stage blue in adult humor. Track the ever-shifting feature players on Facebook, and bring your blank screenplay for them to autograph.
A group of rowers founded Sammamish Rowing Association (SRA) in 1996, meeting at Idylwood Beach Park in Redmond before each of their journeys across the water. Eager to grow SRA, it wasn’t long before the crew took notice of an abandoned boathouse in Marymoor Park, languishing on the banks of Lake Sammamish. Its ceiling was rotting away, and its oar racks were emptier than a child's pockets after a candy-shop spending spree—but that didn’t deter the passionate rowers or their vision. They put in a bid for the building, formed a strong subsequent partnership with King County Parks and Recreation, and set to work renovating the vintage structure to make it fit for public use.
Ever since, SRA has introduced adults and youth to the benefits of rowing. The sport's fluid, low-impact motions tone muscles all over the body, and the collaborative nature of the sport nurtures sportsmanship and camaraderie. The association's future is bright: members are building a new boathouse scheduled to open in the summer of 2013.
Lyric Light Opera's professional productions of classic American musicals send Broadway actors and top-flight local performers singing and dancing over the stages of beautiful venues around Seattle. Meredith Willson's Tony Award–winning musical The Music Man follows dapper con man Harold Hill's attempt to sell band instruments to a gaggle of school children, leave town with the cash, and purchase a lifetime supply of soda pop and pomade. Romance gets in the way, and soon Harold must choose between the charms of a local piano teacher and his hard-swindled money. Broadway actor Greg Stone and Seattle starlet Megan Chenovick lead the production's lively cast, supported by a full orchestra, dazzling costumes, and musical notes scraped straight from the yellowed pages of the score and dripped through pipettes into patrons' ears.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Owner Steve Olson added Parlor Live to the Parlor complex in 2008 as a way to bring big city-caliber evening entertainment to suburban Bellevue. National comedians take the stage in a wide, shallow room with seating that wraps around three sides of the action as colored shapes produced by a sophisticated lighting system dance across the walls. A globally inspired menu introduces the agonizing dilemma of whether to laugh, fill one’s mouth, or mold little edible hearts to toss toward the performer with shareable dishes that include garlic-gorgonzola waffle fries and coconut prawns. The drink menu, too, aims to surprise with complex cocktails that range from a classic old-fashioned to a sparkling rosemary potion with Aperol.