Don’t know what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered; here are this week’s top picks for entertainment in the Yakima Valley.
■ “Neither Wolf Nor Dog”
7 p.m. and 9 p.m. today; Heritage Theater, Yakima Nation Cultural Center, 100 Spiel-yi Loop in Toppenish; $9, $8 ages 55 and older and ages 11 and younger; www.facebook.com/neitherwolfnordog, www.yakamamuseum.com, 509-865-7499
An independent film about the Lakota people — with broader themes about the Native experience in contemporary America — “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” premiered at four sites in February 2017, including the Yakama Nation’s Heritage Theater. The other sites were in Minnesota and South Dakota, where much of the film — a story of a white man drawn into Native culture when a Lakota elder asks him to write a book based on a box full of notes — is set. It opened here because one of the film’s producers, Kathryn Young, is a Yakama Nation member and because one of its stars, Christopher Sweeney, was born in Toppenish and raised in Yakima. The acclaimed independent film has been back at Heritage Theater for the past week, ending this evening with a final pair of local screenings.
■ Thanksgiving in Wine Country
If your family is coming to town for the holiday and sticking around through the weekend, you’re going to need something to do. And if your family is like most families, you’re going to want there to be some wine involved. The stage is set, then, for the annual Thanksgiving in Wine Country event thrown by the local wine industry. Offerings vary depending on which wineries you visit. Some will have food or live music. Others will offer rare bottlings and discounts on gifts. Wherever you go, though, it won’t be your house.
■ The Thanksgiving Trees
10-11:30 a.m. Friday; Yakima Area Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Drive; free; www.ahtrees.org, 509-248-7337
William Cronon’s 1983 book “Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England” is considered a groundbreaking work of environmental history for its examination of how colonists and Native people interacted with and shaped their natural environments. At the Yakima Area Arboretum, that book will serve as the basis for a guided tour of trees common to New England forests and a discussion of how those species were affected by their interaction with humans. Naturalist Bob Chicken will lead the walk, which will travel about a mile within the arboretum grounds.
■ Greta Matassa Quintet
Jazz singer Greta Matassa is well-known to local music fans, having played The Seasons several times over the years. Her performances are dynamic, demonstrating the full range of not just aural possibility but of human emotion. Matassa isn’t a cold technician, though her technique is beyond reproach; she’s a very human singer, one who can shade and color notes to whatever ends she feels. As longtime Seattle Times critic Misha Berson put it, “Matassa can sound husky or crisp, ebullient or wailing, girlish or jaded. She recalls Billie Holiday in one phrase and Cleo Laine the next.”
■ Santa Poco
So many country bands out of Seattle have this winking, ironic thing going on. It’s hard to describe exactly, except to say you can tell they don’t really have any connection to their music. It’s like they don’t mean what they play. Santa Poco, on the other hand, seems to actually mean it. And, while notions of authenticity in pop culture are tricky, that still matters to me. I don’t necessarily need my country singers to be working long-haul truckers or cattle-drivin’ cowboys or whatever, but I do want them to treat the century-old country music tradition as something other than the latest trend. Santa Poco does that. And, not for nothing, they sound real good, too.
— Pat Muir