Thursday, Feb. 13

Did early modern humans interbreed with Neanderthals? Some scientists believe so, which opens up a million other questions.

Did the early modern human or the Neanderthal pick up the check on the first date? Did dating an early modern human earn a Neanderthal high-fives from fellow Neanderthals around the water cooler? And, most importantly, does this theory explain the existence of the band Nickelback?

Central Washington University biological anthropologist Joe Lorenz will answer all of these questions (except Nos. 2-4) during “Love in the Time of the Pleistocene” at 5:30 p.m. at CWU’s Museum of Culture and Environment in Dean Hall on the Ellensburg campus. The lecture, part of CWU’s Darwin Week, is free.

For information, visit or call 509-963-2313.


Feb. 14-16

Ellensburg is a cowboy town all year, but there are two annual events that really up the cowboy quotient even beyond normal ’Burg levels: the Labor Day weekend Ellensburg Rodeo and the Presidents Day weekend Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering.

It’s a weekend full of cowboy songs, cowboy activities and cowboy poetry. Now in its 10th year, the festival may have its biggest name yet in headliner Suzy Bogguss, who has a dozen Billboard Top 40 country singles to her name. She’ll play Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Some parts are free, others cost money. For a complete schedule and ticket information, visit or call 509-2002.

Saturday, Feb. 15

These Guitars Say Sorry aren’t a band per se; they’re more of a singer-songwriter collective. Sometimes they play together as a trio or in various combinations. Sometimes all three members play solo.

This is one of the latter, and they’ll be joined by singer-guitarist Ben Johnson of local band Shoot Jake for a series of four solo miniconcerts. That configuration allows the foursome to play two venues at once. Confused? Here’s how it works: From 2-4 p.m., one of the four will be playing at both Naches Heights Vineyard, 2410 Naches Heights Road, and the Tasting Room at Wilridge Vineyard, 240 Ehler Road. If you stay at one of those places the full two hours, you’ll see all four of them.

For information, visit Admission is free.

Acoustic duo Once Minutos has developed a dedicated following in Yakima on the strength of its live performances, and now fans can take a bit of the band’s music home for repeated listening.

Sandra Aguilar and Rebecca Garcia, who together play a rich blend of Latin-flavored folk, will release their new CD during a performance at Gilbert Cellars, 5 N. Front St. The free show starts at 7 p.m. For information, visit or or call 509-249-9049.

Thursday, Feb. 20

Seattle orchestral folk-pop band Hey Marseilles is spending this week playing the Cayamo Cruise, a weeklong trip from Miami to the British Islands, alongside such acts as Lyle Lovett, Kris Kristofferson, John Hiatt and Brandi Carlile.

Not a bad gig. And not bad company to be associated with. That’s how it’s been the last couple of years, as the band has seen its profile rise from regional mainstay to nationally recognized touring act. They’ve played Yakima each of the past three summers.

But if you haven’t seen them since the release of last year’s “Lines We Trace,” you should come check them out again; it’s their strongest work to date. They’re at The Seasons Performance Hall, 101 N. Naches Ave., at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For information, visit or call 509-453-1888. For tickets, call 509-853-2787.


Feb. 21-22

The Olson Bros Band plays radio-friendly country music befitting its musical role models Darius Rucker, Big and Rich, Toby Keith and Jason Aldean. It ain’t exactly Hank Williams, but it is a highly polished, well-produced blend of pop and country.

If that’s your thing, you can catch them for free at The Speakeasy, 104 S. Third St., at 7 p.m. Feb. 21. If you miss that show, you can make the drive to The Brick, 100 W. Pennsylvania Ave. in Roslyn, for a free show the following night, Feb. 22, at 9 p.m.

For information, visit or call 509-453-4762.

Saturday, Feb. 22

Connoisseurship need not be limited to wine, not even here in wine country. Indeed, for those who know it well, tequila has all the variation and nuance that wine does.

That’s the idea behind Noche Agave, the Yakima-Morelia Sister City Association’s second annual tequila tasting dinner. This is not about going to Margaritaville or throwing back shots; this is about savoring sips of tequila and mescal as they’re paired with food.

Tequila expert Luis Navarro will be on hand to guide you through the evening at the Yakima Valley Museum, 2105 Tieton Drive. Tickets cost $75. For information, visit or call event coordinator Jessica Moskwa at 509-961-0760.

Sunday, Feb. 23

Central Washington University piano professor John Pickett is among the best musicians in Washington state. He studied at Juilliard, he played Carnegie Hall and now we have him just up the road in little old Ellensburg.

We should appreciate that. If you like music at all, you could do worse than stopping by his free recital at CWU’s McIntyre Music Building at 1 p.m. He’ll play works by Debussy, Beethoven and Liszt, and he’ll premiere a new work of his own, “Winter Portraits.”

For information, visit or call 509-963-1221.