The Pick List: The Week’s Recommended Events

Wednesday, Dec. 25

Fiddler on the Roof Sing-Along

What do Jews love about Christmas? Where to start? The parking? Easy! You can go for a nice walk around Green Lake, and nobody’s there! The city is yours, provided you can find places that are open. And here, as in New York, that generally means two things: movies and Chinese food. SIFF is answering that call on both fronts. The 1971 movie Fiddler on the Roof, as you know, is based on the 1964 smash Broadway musical, itself based on on Sholem Aleichem’s stories of shtetl life in Czarist Russia. Topol plays Tevye, and you can join him on the famous songs—including “Tradition,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” and “Sunrise, Sunset”—originally written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. But the music actually begins before the movie: Local klezmer ensemble Orkestyr Farfeleh will play in the SIFF lobby while you graze on a spread by Leah’s Gourmet Kosher Foods. (Yes, there’s an intermission during the three-hour show, so you can get more snacks.) Then, because I am bossy, let me make the following recommendation: The movie ends at 4:10 p.m., so you can buy your tickets to The Wolf of Wall Street (4:20 p.m.) during intermission, then see American Hustle at 9:30 p.m.—all in the same theater. It’ll be the best Christmas ever. SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., 324-9996, $15–$20. Noon (movie at 1 p.m).

Thursday, Dec. 26

Messiah Sing-Along

For those who want Christmas music but aren’t content to let it be merely a spectator sport, there’s this annual tradition. Director Karen P. Thomas (Seattle Pro Musica) will lead a chorus and orchestra of whoever shows up through Handel’s oratorio—“every aria, every chorus, every recitative, every note!”  Thomas promises. But unlike other Messiahs, here there’s no division of labor: “The choral singers—a few hundred—sing all of the choruses, and all of the solos . . . the entire soprano section sings the soprano arias, etc. We have some amazingly good singers who do a fantastic job leading the solos. As you can imagine, though, having 100 people trying to sing a recitative or solo together with no rehearsal is a challenging undertaking.” But, Thomas says, Messiah is an ideal piece for such a communal endeavor: “The piece plumbs the depths and heights of human emotion in a very accessible way. And because it’s so familiar, it is actually a reasonable proposition to put hundreds of people together with no rehearsal and be able to read through the entire piece without having a train wreck. Even in a sing- and play-along performance, there can be moments of transcendent beauty.” University Congregational Church, 6556 35th Ave. N.E.,, 800-838-3006. $13–$18. 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 28

Janet Hamlin

Courtroom sketches are strange. Depicting alleged murderers, rapists, and thieves in cartoon form lends the proceedings an otherworldly air. They make the legal process seem even more charged than it already is. Imagine, then, the surreal job Hamlin had when she became the sole courtroom sketch artist for the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals. Accused terrorists and enemy combatants, a grab bag of actual perpetrators, and some innocent Muslims caught in the crossfire became the subject of her drawings, made between 2006–13. Thanks to the government’s strict limits on media access, Hamlin’s drawings are the only visual record of the proceedings. Her depictions had to face the scrutiny of the military as well as the internment compound’s defendants, making her task doubly difficult. Sketching Guantanamo (Fantagraphics, $29) compiles both her official handiwork from the period and personal details from her strange, arduous experience. Tonight Hamlin will talk about her book, sign copies, and dole out curious details—like the one she gave Wired, recalling how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “would turn and pose—a deliberate turn, facing me, holding very steady.” Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, 1201 S. Vale St., 658-0110, Free. 6 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 29

Seahawks vs. Rams

This game wasn’t supposed to matter. The Seahawks were supposed to whip the Arizona Cardinals in the Clink last week, clinching home field throughout the playoffs and making their final regular-season game an exhibition match. But those scrappy Cards pulled a fast one Sunday; and assuming the 49ers win Monday night (which falls after our early Christmas-week deadline), the Hawks must beat the St. Louis Rams to secure all the spoils of being the best team in the NFC. While no Hawks fan wanted it this way, it will make for better viewing. What was going to be a lot of playing time for backups Tavaris Jackson (love you, TJ!) and Robert Turbin will be forgone for the main attractions: Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. To boot, the Rams aren’t a gimme: They shocked the playoff-poised New Orleans Saints two weeks ago, and looked like a young team having a scary amount of fun in their double-reversing romp over Tampa Bay last week. Make no doubt, the Hawks are supposed to win. Supposed to. CenturyLink Field, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 381-7555, $114 and up. 1:25 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 31

Artist Home New Year’s Eve Celebration

Revelers on the hunt for booming bass, seizure-inducing lights, and masses of humanity with whom they can rage into the New Year have plenty of options. Finding a more personable, cozy gathering to bid the past year adieu, though, is a bit challenging, leading some to stay at home and watch the ball drop while partying with PJs and ice cream. But that’s no way to toast Father Time. The Artist Home celebration is the perfect party in between, featuring the Artist Home All-Star Band, which, full disclosure, I hired to play my wedding after seeing last year’s New Year’s show. Artist Home has invited a litany of talented musicians to join them and close out a huge year—during which the booking and promotions company started the Timber! Music Festival—and welcome a fruitful 2014—during which it will undertake another new fest, Timbrrr! (Jan. 10–11). Glad tidings and cover songs will abound, including a Velvet Underground cover by Ravenna Woods leader Chris Cunningham and a Kinks cover by Gabriel Mintz. Julia Massey will sing Queen, and Ryan Devlin will cover LCD Soundsystem. And after the clock strikes midnight, the band will lead a sing-along of “Auld Lang Syne” (and they actually know all the words). With Big Sur, Invisible Shivers, Youth Rescue Mission, Friday Mile. Conor Byrne Pub, 5140 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-3640, $15 (21 and over). 9 p.m.

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