What's up Friday

Salsa Congress in session, and more!


Bellevue Magic Season

Already weary of the commercial season? Come along and have some free fun and frolic, and perhaps rediscover wintertime magic. Revel in the beauty, creativity, and whimsy of Garden d'Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, with more than 400,000 lights twinkling amid the flora, indoors and out, during this nationally recognized extravaganza. You'll discover that the crowds melt away when you are in thrall—or on the lookout for Willie the slug and Charlotte in her web. Architectural and engineering firms have created Sound Transit Design in Light, downtown's mosaic of lights along the Northeast Sixth Street pedestrian corridor. Catch a snowflake on your tongue? The forecast is for flurries every night on Snowflake Lane, along the sidewalks of Bellevue Way and Northeast 8th Street. Take muster of 60 live toy soldiers with drums, then goggle at the light show. (We hear Santa is flying in at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, at Bellevue Square.) Finally, skate away on the Group Health Ice Arena, gliding and twirling in the glow of Downtown Park's lighted waterfall, then take advantage of the warming hut and refreshments. The arena is covered for all-weather skating. Information and schedules: 425-453-1223, www.magicseason.com. JOANNE GARRETT


The Dina Martina Christmas Show

Like giving birth or Burning Man or giving birth at Burning Man, a Dina Martina show is an experience nearly impossible to describe to someone who hasn't lived it. In her quest to entertain, she'll pull out stops you didn't know an organ had. Last year's show opened with a holiday-themed Pet Shop Boys cover ("North Pole Girls") and climaxed with a rectal cancer joke that left a roomful of people unable to breathe for laughing. Rejuvenated from triumphant East Coast gigs this past summer, she's ready to top herself with a new assault of song, dance, home movies, joyous fashion errors, and, as promised this year, memorable special guests. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St., 206-325-6500, www.ticketwindowonline.com. $20. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sun.; also Thursdays in December and other days. Through Sat., Dec. 30. GAVIN BORCHERT


Seattle Salsa Congress

Forget Joey Lawrence and Sara Edwards; if you're looking for real dancing stars, the Seattle Salsa Congress will be much hotter than any television show. With classes and workshops during the day, and performances and general dancing in the evening, you can learn new moves, try them on the dance floor, and then watch the professionals take them to the limit. The presenters are aiming for this to be the biggest salsa event in the Northwest, and have lined up some powerful artists, including the pan-Latin dancers of Groupo America from Vancouver, B.C., and champions Santo Rico from New York City. Groupo America often performs a more historical version of salsa, keeping close to its Cuban social club roots, while Santo Rico (pictured on previous page) sizzles with the best competition styles. Hyatt Regency Bellevue, 900 Bellevue Way N.E., 206-632-5597, www.seattlesalsacongress.com. $35–$275. Through Nov. 27. SANDRA KURTZ


Billy in the Lowground

In the traditional folk song "Pretty Polly," a young woman is escorted to her own freshly dug grave site before being murdered by William, her fiancé. Or not. Allegedly based on a true story, the ballad originated in 18th-century England and underwent numerous transformations en route to Appalachia. Billy in the Lowground investigates the pit stops in between. The installation is essentially a meditation on how the story of history travels through time. Writer and musician Fionn Meade, composer Rob Millis, and artist and recent PONCHO Special Recognition Award recipient Mary Simpson use restrained movement, repetitive motion, music, and mise-en-scène as metaphors for fractured narrative. The legend may have highballed it from broadside to banjo, but Billy in the Lowground beautifully gives its viewers pause. Punch Gallery, 119 Prefontaine Pl. S., www.punchgallery.org. Noon–5 p.m. Fri.–Sun. or by appointment. Through Dec. 3. SUZANNE BEAL

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