Back to Archives

Dancers, games and bad sweaters

Arts and cultural picks of the week

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon


Josh Rizeberg can “MOVE!”

Josh Rizeberg and producer Xaviant are about to answer a lot of prayers. The native poet and beatsmith have alchemically distilled something really special. It’s not hip-hop. It’s not spoken word. Don’t call it fusion, please. The duo’s first collaboration, dubbed “Spoken Worlds,” features tight, grimy euro-bangers by Tacoma-born, Cuba-raised, Miami-forged Xaviant, and silky, smart, multi-rhythmic flows from Rizeberg. The full-length album evolves too much to fit into any pop-culture box, so I’ll call it what it is. It’s plain ill. You can catch him performing a commissioned work for the MLK Ballet’s MOVE series this Friday, Nov. 16, and Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Tacoma School of the Arts Auditorium, 118 Commerce St.

Rizeberg self-identifies as a poet, not an emcee. He shuffles between beat-era, coffee-shop serenades and energetic anthems, mixing styles, metaphor and cadences with clear intention. His lyrical skills have won him several poetry slam titles. Xaviant’s dark, thumping dirges stand out as much as Rizeberg’s words. The long-time producer spent his teen years in Cuba and cut his teeth sharp in Miami’s heavy hip-hop scene. He spent several years travelling and performing in Europe, where he found comfort in the overwhelming prevalence of Wu-tang symbols.

Rizeberg considers the album as a sort of singularity. It has a diverse roster, comprising Rizeberg’s impressive network. Look especially for stop-you-in-your-tracks verses from Tacoma legend General Wojack, and flute by jazz soloist Dawud Hassan Mateen.

“That’s only something that could happen on a Josh Rizeberg album,” says the artist. “But that’s not forced. That’s really how it is for me.”

“Spoken Worlds” is about real isht, says Rizeberg. Love songs give way to politcal polemics, which give way to stories about everyday struggles. Rizeberg is serious about everyday struggles. The album represents reconciliation with hip-hop for producer Xaviant, who was nearly drowned in Miami by monotony.

“I had to hear krunk music all the time in Miami,” he says. “People didn’t like it if you didn’t sound like you were from Miami. I wanted to make something that I can take everywhere.”

Rizeberg agrees.

“I don’t want it to be any one thing,” he says. “I don’t want it to be some college hip-hop or some hardcore. It’s a new style. It’s its own thing. It has its own gravity, and I hope people are drawn toward it.” — Paul Schrag

[Tacoma School of the Arts, Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m., $14, 118 Commerce St., Tacoma, 253.906.2190]


“Dances of the Stars”

After the failure of his First Symphony, Russian composer Rachmaninoff became deeply depressed. He consulted a respected psychiatrist, who told him to repeat positive phrases while in a hypnotic trance. It worked so well, he went out and created his Piano Concerto No. 2. So, the next time someone laughs at you for the “I am special” mantra you repeat each morning, tell them the Rachmaninoff story. Keep in mind that you may have to explain who Rachmaninoff is, but this is just another reason you should not take such a close-minded person to Tacoma Concert Band’s “Dances of the Stars” concert. The 60-piece wind and percussion ensemble presents an evening of dance music by Brahms, Gounod, Weber and special person Rachmaninoff. — Suzy Stump

[Pantages Theater, Friday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m., $10-$21, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.591.5894]


Wind Up Here

Games have long been reputed to ward off memory loss. But as any control freak worth her weight knows, those benefits are useless if incomplete crossword puzzles have already sent her to the madhouse. Hell, it’s better to just make up words than let a Type A catch sight of those empty black boxes ... you know, so they say. That’s why I’m headed to Wind Up Here in Olympia Friday for their Game Night.  The store will yank out RukShuk, Froggie Boogie, Bendomino, Aquarius, Amazing Animal Trivia Game and Backgammon beginning at 6 p.m.  Keep your kids away from me.  I’ll have my game face on. — SS

[Wind Up Here, Friday, Nov. 16, 6-7:30 p.m., no cover, 121 Fifth Ave. S.E., Olympia, 360.943.9045]


Yule Boutique

Even if you don’t personally celebrate a single holiday in winter — even if you say Hanukkah schmanukah and bah humbug in the same breath as you tell the Kwanzaa candle lighters what they can do with their ujamaa — it’s still cold and wet outside, and we know somewhere in your desiccated non-denominational soul there is a desire to share something with others in this dark season. Something merry. Perhaps even bright. Yes, well, festivity doesn’t get any more vague than the description for the Yule Boutique: “The 36th annual Yule Boutique sale features quality arts and crafts gifts made by Puget Sound artists and a variety of food vendors.” Those who have been before know it’s a feakin’ festivus of holidayness. All are welcome. Happy mid-November. — SS

[Pacific Lutheran University Olson Auditorium, Saturday, Nov. 17, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., no cover, 10th Avenue South and 124th Street South, Parkland/Tacoma, 253.531. 7481]


Bad Xmas Sweater

You knew there was a reason to hold on to the Christmas-light-laden and obscenely geometric printed green-and-red sweater. You once thought even the one with reindeer had potential. Now it’s time to explore your closets because, ladies and gentlemen, the ugliest holiday sweater contest will be held at Doyle’s Wednesday, Nov. 21.

The ugliest holiday sweater contest prizes will be shelled out for the worst male, worst female and worst couple/group. Doyle’s co-owner Russ Heaton says, “This aint no Cosby contest, this is strictly holiday sweaters.”

Begian beers Stella, Hoegaarden and Leffe Brune will be featured. — Brad Allen

[Dolyle’s Public House, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m. to midnight, 208 Saint Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253. 272.7468]

comments powered by Disqus