Friday, Feb. 22

It’s not often that a performer of Carrie Underwood’s stature plays Yakima right at the peak of her fame. We get up-and-comers and we get legends, but we don’t usually get straight-up mainstream superstars. That’s what Underwood is. She sells albums in an era when nobody but nobody sells albums. She packs arenas. And she wins Grammys, including this year’s Best Country Solo Performance and Best County Song awards for “Blown Away.” She’s been kind enough to stop by Yakima three times, once in 2008, again in 2010 and Friday.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are going fast, if not sold out already. For information, visit or or call 509-248-7160.

Carrie Underwood isn’t the only first-rate country singer playing Yakima on Friday. Katy Lin, whose bluesy Americana has enough country in it to qualify, may not have Underwood’s Grammys, but she was named this publication’s best local musician in 2011. So, you know, not too shabby.

You can see her for free at Gilbert Cellars, 5 N. Front St., starting at 7 p.m. She won’t have all the fireworks and stagecraft that Underwood has, but parking should be easier. For information, visit or call 509-249-9049.

Saturday, Feb. 23

The Wags to Riches Spay-ghetti and No Balls Dinner, which benefits a spay-and-neuter program for disabled and low-income pet owners, has the best name of any event this week. (Or the worst. It depends on whether you have the comic sensibilities of a 13-year-old boy. Fortunately I do.) For $7 you get regular or vegetarian spaghetti, a salad, bread and a beverage. You can also get takeout. Dessert is extra.

It all goes down from 4-8 p.m. at the Harman Center, 101 N. 65th Ave. For information, visit

The Yakima Symphony Orchestra, in its ongoing quest to appeal to wider audiences, is throwing its poppiest pops concert yet: “The Piano Men: The Music of Billy Joel and Elton John.” Guest Jim Witter and his four-piece rock band will join the full YSO for an evening of middle-brow oldies pumped up by full orchestration at the Capitol Theatre, 19 S. Third St. Tickets go from $14.50 to $51. For information, visit or call 509-248-1414.

Guns of Nevada is based on rock ’n’ roll cliche, and I mean that in a good way. They play songs about whiskey and women and all of the other barroom-rock themes, and they do it well enough to justify a cover charge. Think Social Distortion but a little less punk, a little more straight rock, and you’re getting close.

They’re at Prosody Events, 117 Fourth St. in Ellensburg, at 8 p.m. It’s $5 to get in, which is a bargain for songs like “My Bible and My Gun.” For information, visit or or call 509-962-5100.

Sunday, Feb. 24

The Ellensburg Film Festival each October has become something of a player in the Northwest film scene, but it’s still just a small-town community effort in many ways. And it needs help from the community. Toward that end, the EFF organization is throwing an Oscar Bash to help raise money for this fall’s festival. It starts at 3:30 p.m. at Prosody, 117 S. Fourth St. in Ellensburg. There will be games, prizes, a red carpet, hors d’oeuvres and a screening of the show on the big screen. For information, visit or call 509-962-5100.

Saturday, March 2

The Memorial Follies is one of those things that tends to be a lot better than it really has any right to be. I mean, it’s just a bunch of regular folks from a small town putting on a Broadway-style show. It should be “cute” or “fun,” and well it is those things, but it’s also usually pretty good — in an actual, “Hey, wait; this is pretty good,” sense.

It helps that it’s put together by director Jaime Donegan, a pro who works with amateurs for a living and knows how to get the most out of them. And it also helps that virtually everyone in Yakima’s performing arts circles knows about the follies and wants to participate.

The show, which includes song, dance and comedy, is set for a 2 p.m. matinee and an 8 p.m. evening performance at the Capitol Theatre, 19 S. Third St. Tickets for the early show start at $8.50. For the evening show, they start at $16. Both shows top out at $41. Proceeds benefit Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s campaign for healthy children. For information, visit or or call 509-853-2787.

It’s been a while since singer-songwriter Camille Bloom has come through Yakima. And I’m not sure she’s ever brought her whole band The Recovery with her. So this show at the Yakima Sports Center, which is now fully back in the local music scene after taking a year or so off from hosting shows, promises to be a good one. Bloom is a favorite here for her Gilbert Cellars and Sports Center performances from years past as well as her shows during the Yakima Folklife Festival. For information, visit or or call 509-453-4647.

— Pat Muir