Want More Weekly Wire?
"Do you have culottes in black or just khaki?" "How come you're not open 24 hours?" "My kid threw up on something— I don't have to pay for it, do I?" In Erin Stewart's Whirligig! The Musical, directed by Michael Lindgren, a group of minimum-wage big-box workers truly learn the meaning of "slave labor" as they play retail elves for the holidays. For the Whirligig philosophy of "Our Way Is the Only Way"—enhanced with ritualistic meditation in front of a hypnotic peppermint spiral—is just a little more out there than your standard training propaganda. It's easy to sympathize with slacker Claire (Celene Ramadan)'s plight as she's thrown into the Whirligig abyss. "If you quit, you're shit!" sneers her mother, who's clearly never thumbed through a 50-page manual in order to rent out videos, or folded sweaters at the Gap between Thanksgiving and New Year's. But Whirligig workers risk more than boredom when unrequited love between an employee and a supervisor sets dark forces in motion. Though the musical numbers eventually give way to chaos, it's fun to watch the colorful characters work out their psychic ills through song and dance—and tongue in cheek. Live Girls! Theater, 2220 N.W. Market St., 800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com, www.livegirlstheater.org. $10–$15. 8 p.m. Thurs.–Sat.; also 4 p.m. Sat. except Dec. 9. Ends Dec. 16. RACHEL SHIMP
Seattle Early Dance
"Baroque" is often shorthand for florid or fussy, but the dances of the 18th century are nothing like that stereotype. Full of rich and subtle detail, they're a movement equivalent to the curves and spirals of the architecture and music of that time—a three-dimensional version of a saraband by Handel. This is the point in dance history when theatrical performances split from social activity, and these dances reflect that smaller scale: you can see the fine distinctions in the shape of an arm or the tilt of a head. Seattle Early Dance, headed by Anna Mansbridge (pictured, center), specializes in these courtly works, animating a historical period and showing us the humans who danced there. Haller Lake Community Club, 12579 Densmore Ave. N., HallerLakeArts@comcast.net, www.seattleearlydance.org. $15. 7 p.m. SANDRA KURTZ
KEXP Yule Benefit
KEXP's got the power, for sure, to throw a kick-ass Christmas party and to bring certain beloved local bands back from the dead, as they do with Juno this weekend. The post-grunge indie experimentalists share the stage with Annuals and the Hands on Saturday night, and Cold War Kids on Sunday. Now if only the station could work that magic on the Dismemberment Plan, the defunct D.C. band that recorded a split 7-inch with Juno (the former covering Jennifer Paige's "Crush" and the latter DJ Shadow's "High Noon") five years ago, when indie rock routinely offered genuine surprises. Sigh. Filling in your dance card for the shindig instead are Austin shamans Ghostland Observatory (those tight pants are suitable only for adult eyes), and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at Sunday's all-ages show. As usual with these parties, the fourth annual represents the breadth of KEXP's programming by pairing punk and stoned drones with electro-pop, which the Junior Boys provide both nights. Their last, packed audience here surprised with a lack of electronic scene insiders. "They're checking their e-mail," came the joke about the duo's computer setup, a giveaway of someone who's entered unfamiliar territory with an open mind—and a little direction from the friendly airwaves. Neumo's, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467, www.neumos.com. $20. 21 and over. 8 p.m. Also all-ages show 7 p.m. Sun., Dec. 10. RACHEL SHIMP