Thursday, April 18

The common impression that classical music is an old, austere art form is demonstrably wrong. There are pieces being composed today that reflect the zeitgeist just as there were in Mozart’s time.

I’m not saying Central Washington University instructor Neil Flory, whose compositions include pieces for soloists, small ensembles and electronic instruments, is Mozart. But he and countless others making vital, contemporary music prove that classical as a genre has survived into the 21st century and has evolved to fit the times.

You can catch a program of Flory’s compositions at 7 p.m. in the concert hall of the McIntyre Music Building on CWU’s Ellensburg campus. It’s free. For information, visit or call 509-963-1111.

Friday-Saturday, April 19-20

Few 20th century figures loom as large as Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It’s fitting, then, that Ed Asner plays Roosevelt in the one-man show “FDR” showing at the Capitol Theatre this weekend. Asner is an accomplished and iconic presence, whose work as Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and later on the spinoff “Lou Grant” cemented him as a important figure in television history. (Though your kids may know him better as the voice of Carl Fredricksen in the sublime 2009 animated feature “Up.”)

The shows begin at 7:30 p.m. The Capitol is at 19 S. Third St. Tickets cost $16 to $66. For information, visit or call 509-853-2787.

Saturday, April 20

Bill’s Place is throwing an outdoor party with a bunch of bands, barbecue and a laser light show. That this party takes place on unofficial marijuana holiday April 20 (4/20, mannnnn) and that these things — music, food, lasers — are often associated with marijuana (possession of which was recently legalized in Washington state), well that’s probably just a coincidence. Wink.

Headliner Adrian Xavier and his reggae stylings also fit the bill. Other performers include On magazine favorites The Shivering Denizens as well as Chokeout, Blessed Coast, Aaron Daniels and Bad Habit. Gates open at 3 p.m. Music goes till 1 a.m. Bill’s is at 206 S. Third Ave. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For information, visit or call 509-575-9513.

Sunday, April 21

Cowiche Canyon this time of year is a special place, dotted with wildflowers and filled with the music of chirping birds, back from their winter migration. Protecting that beauty takes work, and the people who do that are the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy.

You can pitch in by, well, by joining them for a party at the adjacent Naches Heights Vineyard, 2410 Naches Heights Road. It’s $50 per person, which includes live music, a glass of wine and a buffet. Get out there, have some wine, walk around; you’re going to love it. For information, visit or call 509-248-5065.

Wednesday, April 24

When I was a kid, we used to tell time in “Sesame Street” and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” episodes. If we were going on a 2 1/2-hour trip, Mom would say it was “two ‘Sesame Streets’ and a ‘Mr. Rogers.’” So, when “Sesame Street Live” came to town, it was about the best thing that ever happened to me.

You can give your kids that kind of joy now, too, as “Sesame Street Live: Can’t Stop Singing” rolls into the Yakima Valley SunDome for a pair of shows, the first at 10:30 a.m., the second at 6:30 p.m. Tickets go from $15 to $54. For information, visit or call 509-248-7160.

Friday, April 26

Spring Barrel Tasting is the biggest wine event in Yakima Valley wine country. And it’s the only one devoted to pulling back the curtain and giving devoted wine fans a peek at the process. Tasters can sample unfinished wines straight from the barrel and compare them to finished wines, gaining first-hand insight into how wine evolves over time.

And, of course, many of the participating wineries will have extras such as food and live music that further contribute to the “something special” atmosphere of the weekend.

Spring Barrel Tasting hours and days vary by winery. Most will participate April 26-28. For information and details, visit or

You know how “Portlandia” became a national sensation because of its perfectly observed and ultimately loving skewering of the Rose City’s foibles? Well, John Keister did that back in the 1980s when he hosted Seattle sketch show “Almost Live.” Check it out on YouTube; you’ll be amazed at how well it holds up.

Keister, who has remained a fixture in the Northwest comedy scene, will bring some of that magic to The Seasons Performance Hall, 101 N. Naches Ave., along with national touring headliner Brooks McBeth and local sketch troupe Manic Thunder. The show, “Yakima-HA-HA!!,” is 18 and older. Tickets cost $18. For information, visit or call 509-453-1888.

— Pat Muir