Hilary Hahn with Tom Brosseau at the Tractor, and Uncomfortably Funny Neil Hamburger

ClassicalHilary HahnAs with actors, it can be tricky for musical child prodigies to transition to adulthood keeping their career and their mental health intact. It helped that Hahn, now 27, was never exploited as a cute wunderkind; from the start she was marketed as an artist serious and mature beyond her years, and seriousness and maturity obviously age better than cuteness. It also helps that she's come up with some fresh ideas about what a 21st-century classical musician needs to do to reach her audience, starting a thoughtful, brightly written online journal (, posting videos on YouTube, and supplementing her Benaroya Hall recital appearances with informal busking at Pike Place Market and Sonic Boom Records. Downtown tonight, she'll play Beethoven, Mozart, and one of the strikingly progressive solo sonatas by Eugene Ysaÿe. Saturday she shows up at the Tractor Tavern to join singer Tom Brosseau for songs from his album Grand Forks, a few tracks of which she collaborated on. Brosseau's album, by the way, is a homage to his hometown (mine, too), a recollection of the 1997 flood that forced evacuation of the entire city. Benaroya Hall, Third Avenue and Union Street, 215-4747, $22–$73. 8 p.m. Fri., Jan. 19. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599, $10. 10 p.m. Sat., Jan. 20. GAVIN BORCHERTComedy?Neil HamburgerNeil Hamburger is uncomfortable to watch. He sloshes around onstage, spilling the many drinks he awkwardly clutches to his chest. Attention is diverted from his greasy, plastered comb-over only by his outdated, enormous eyeglass frames, crooked bow tie, and frumpy suit. It's as though your drunk, depressed, unemployed, thrice-divorced uncle Lester has been unexpectedly shoved out onstage to warm up the crowd. From the moment he takes it, a painfully extended intro of phlegmy throat clearing and monotonously repeated "Let's get this party started . . . " kicks off the comedian's sets, which are bedazzled with rare gems like "Why won't Courtney Love be having any cranberry sauce with her Christmas dinner this year?" (because she'll be dead from a heroin overdose by then!) and "Why did Robert Redford stick his thing in a jar of Paul Newman's spaghetti sauce?" (the two have been friends for years! He'd never use a competitor's sauce). As the cringe factor increases, so does the crowd response, which can range from cheers and laughs to boos and catapulted rotten tomatoes, depending on where in the world the funnyman may be. Australia is particularly kind; Kuala Lumpur—not so much, as documented on his latest DVD release on Drag City, Neil Hamburger: The World's Funnyman. His comic stylings (or lack thereof) are much better (or worse, depending) experienced in person, however, and the Sunset's intimate stage should make it all the more up close and personal. Look out for flying phlegm! With Pleaseasaur. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-784-4880, www.sunset $10. 10 p.m. AJA PECKNOLD

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