Three things we love this week: Dec. 2-8, 2012
Three things Seattle Times writers love this week: Classical music album “Hot Music,” a caroling competition and the actor James Spader.
‘The 26th Annual Great Figgy Pudding Street Corner Caroling Competition’
Presented by and benefiting the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank, this bustling annual competition is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Bundle up and head down to the blocks around Westlake Center, where teams of bedecked and bewigged carolers will be singing their hearts out hoping to make it to the final “sing-off.” And who knows, you might see a co-worker or neighbor you never knew had such hidden talents. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. Friday.
Doug Knoop, Seattle Times staff
Anyone who caught Spectrum Dance Theater’s “The Theater of Needless Talents” last month, which paid homage to composer Erwin Schulhoff, will know how seductive Schulhoff’s music is, especially his piano pieces from the 1920s. Serving up ragtime twists with debonair wizardry, he blends touches of Satie and Bach with the fleet-fingered filigree of Ravel. Pianist Kathryn Stott handles both the charms and fiendish challenges of his work with aplomb in “Hot Music,” a generous selection of his keyboard works. Schulhoff died, a victim of the Nazis, in 1942 — but his tunes positively shimmy and cavort with life decades later.
Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts writer
Some actors get more interesting after their leading-man days. Take James Spader: He was a nasty delight as a cynical lawyer in TV (“Boston Legal”) and on Broadway (David Mamet’s “Race”). And now he brings blessed comic relief to Steven Spielberg’s touted film “Lincoln.” Spader plays with boisterous panache the indefatigable W.N. Bilbo, who led a team of men assigned by President Abraham Lincoln to persuade (and/or bribe) congressmen to vote yea on the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to banish slavery.
Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater & arts critic