Our music critics have already chosen the 22 best concerts this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn. Here are their picks for the best events in every genre—from the Arts in Nature Festival to the Old Ballard Crayfish Party and the last few nights of Girl at Annex Theatre. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.
READINGS & TALKS
Cody Walker and Friends
This evening of readings will feature Ann Arbor-based poet—and former literary Seattleite-about-town—Cody Walker (The Self-Styled No-Child), who will be joined by local authors Rebecca Hoogs (Self-Storage), Rachel Kessler (founding member of the Typing Explosion and The Vis-a-Vis Society), Julie Larios (whose work has appeared in The Best American Poetry), Sierra Nelson (Take Back the Sponge Cake), and Jason Whitmarsh (Tomorrow’s Living Room).
Girl is a choose-your-own-adventure immersive theater experience about the thousand-million choices that women have to make in a given day, as well as the choices that people of all genders make when interacting with women. Director Mary Hubert has transformed Annex Theatre into an apartment full of roomies, all of whom appear to be pre-gaming for a mysterious costume party. The "girls" direct audience members through the apartment with a light hand, act out brief scenes, and operate activities. The setup flips the script on ye ole performer/audience agency dynamic. Though the actors embody characters who are exploring ideas about consent and choice, the audience is literally exploring ideas about consent and choice. It's weird, it's cheap, it's witchy, and, most importantly, it's not humorless. RICH SMITH
READINGS & TALKS
Class, Race, and the Civil Rights Movement: A Discussion with Jack Bloom
The Seattle International Socialist Organization will host this discussion with author Jack Bloom, who wrote Class, Race, and the Civil Rights Movement: The Changing Political Economy of Southern Racism (Blacks in the Diaspora) (1987): a book that investigates civil rights history and institutional racism alongside exclusionary economic trends.
Preservationist and author Ray Bane will speak about the book he co-wrote with Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan—Our Perfect Wild: Ray and Barbara Bane’s Journeys and the Fate of the Far North—and recount his time spent in Alaska, as well as pressing environmental concerns for the region.
Crazy for Swayze
Watch the cult Swayze-in-drag film To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar and raise money for Lambert House: "a center for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth that empowers youth through the development of leadership, social and life skills."
READINGS & TALKS
Floyd McKay: Reporting the Oregon Story
Author Floyd McKay will read from Reporting the Oregon Story, a nonfiction book about McKay's long journalistic career that explores politics, environmentalism, and the media in Oregon.
FOOD & DRINK
Happy Hour Food Walk
Every third Thursday, participating restaurants in the Chinatown-International District will have $2, $4, or $6 bites.
READINGS & TALKS
Matthew Zapruder and Srikanth Reddy
Poet and poetry editor Matthew Zapruder (of Wave Books, a Stranger Genius nominee) will read from his most recent collection, Sun Bear from Copper Canyon Press. Zapruder will be joined by brilliant poet and scholar Srikanth Reddy (Changing Subjects: Digressions in Modern American Poetry and Voyager).
Outdoor Movie Nights
Soak up the warm weather—or hide from the rain—at Peddler's outdoor yet covered beer garden, where you can watch a movie while enjoying the great outdoors. (You can even bring your dog.) Tonight, watch 10 Things I Hate About You.
Prince vs. The Jacksons Sing Along
Sing (and dance!) along to more than 30 videos starring Prince, Michael Jackson, and Janet Jackson at this night of intense music video competition. Who will be crowned the winner?
What You See Is What You Sweat
The title of this group exhibition, What You See Is What You Sweat, is taken from a 1991 Aretha Franklin album of the same name, and the show is about appropriation—about noticing where stories and objects come from, and about figuring out how to care for them rather than to rattle them around and break them. That sounds abstract, but that's just my clumsy words—the show is visceral. JEN GRAVES
Do It for Umma
Written by Seayoung Yim and directed by Sara Porkalob, Do It For Umma deals with themes of immigration and inheritance, investigation into family secrets, and revenge.
Highlarious Comedy Festival
Combine comedy and cannabis at the Highlarious Comedy Festival (conveniently timed for Hempfest weekend), when Seattle will collectively get a bad case of the giggles. No smoking required—all you need to do is not hate weed, and you’ll be welcome. Some shows will also happen at Eclectic Theater.
FOOD & DRINK
Old Ballard Crayfish Party
Crayfish has never been something I’ve associated with Nordic food. A citrusy, sausage-studded New Orleans Sunday boil, perhaps, but not a Friday night buffet in Ballard. However, I’ve learned that, when it comes to all things Scandinavian, I can always depend on Lexi, the owner of Old Ballard Liquor Co., to educate me. To that end, she’s throwing a traditional Swedish crayfish boil at Pacific Fishermen Shipyard’s unofficial Ballard history museum. It doesn’t really get more Ballardy than that, short of a mustache-waxing competition. Oh wait, it does: All proceeds from the cash bar benefit the Ballard Senior Center, which just might help you feel better about the “screams” coming from the crayfish pot. Fun fact: That awful noise isn’t a thousand tiny cries of agony, just steam escaping from their shells. Unlike their orange and cayenne-laced Cajun cousins, these crayfish will be immersed in a brine made with foraged wild fennel, which should pair phenomenally well with the bar’s excellent aquavits (especially their Midsommar). TOBIAS COUGHLIN-BOGUE
The Fierce Awakens
You cannot possibly consider yourself a worldly homosexual if you cannot quote at least some portion of the movie Barbarella. Now is your chance to experience Jane Fonda as the double-rated astronavigatrix at a lovely outdoor screening. Thrill as our heroine enjoys some essence of man, writhes in postcoital bliss, and gets to know an angel who does not make love but is love. For extra credit, follow up with a home viewing of Danger: Diabolik and CQ—or if you’re a true masochist, Modesty Blaise. A pre-show visit to Uncle Ike’s might not be entirely inappropriate. Just watch out for leathermen. MATT BAUME
READINGS & TALKS
A live amateur storytelling competition much like The Moth, in which audience members who put their names in a hat are randomly chosen to tell stories on a theme—tonight, it's Back to School.
25th Annual Hempfest
Hempfest! It’s a word that floods love into the hearts of countless marijuana activists and pot aficionados (tie-dyed Phish-shirt division). Since its 1991 kick-off as the “Washington Hemp Expo” in Volunteer Park, Hempfest’s grown into a nationally recognized destination event on the Seattle waterfront, where hundreds of thousands of weed-curious citizens gather for a three-day festival of weed-themed music, speeches, and tchotchke commerce, and law enforcement looks the other way as dense puffs of smoke sporadically fill the air. DAVID SCHMADER
Columbia City Blues Festival
The fourth annual Columbia City Blues Festival allows the Royal Room to do what it does best: spotlight important historical music developments and put them into contexts that 21st-century folks can comprehend. The event’s three nights will explore—with key contributions from Wayne Horvitz and his coterie of scholarly musician pals—the crucial impact that blues pioneer Robert Johnson had on his fellow American bluesmen and how he and Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters, and others influenced rockers such as the Yardbirds, PJ Harvey, and Nick Cave. The final night will delve into how late, legendary New Orleans composer/musician Allen Toussaint has inspired many modern blues-rock groups. DAVE SEGAL
Arthaus 3.0: Werks of Art
Version 3.0 of Kremwerk's drag-queen battle royale/dance party is upon us. Teams of hilarious and artsy queens will compete for bragging rights, shade throwing rights, and the right to play puppet master at the following year's Arthaus series. As I predicted, Betty Wetter, Cookie Couture, Miss Americano, and Khloe5X of Halfway Haus won the series last year, and they'll be hosting and picking the themes this year. For the launch party, Haus of Hocus and Haus of Trash Qweenz will compete. Hellen Tragedy will perform along with returning champions Halfway Haus. Pizzarina Sbarro will DJ. Drinks will be had. The theme for the night is "Werks of Art," so expect to see some drag queen Andy Warhols, or maybe some Yayoi Kusamas. I've got my fingers crossed for a drag queen Rothko. RICH SMITH
FOOD & DRINK
Urban Ag Bike Tour
Anyone who eats at Southeast Seattle’s many Vietnamese and East African restaurants knows that it’s one of the most diverse areas of the city. Unfortunately, it’s also an area that has high rates of poverty, food insecurity, diabetes, and asthma, as well as lower rates of physical activity. To counteract these health issues but also celebrate their communities’ commitment to providing good food for residents, two great organizations, the Rainier Valley Food Bank and Columbia City’s Bike Works, are teaming up to host family-friendly bike tours of some of Southeast Seattle’s local food havens, open to bicyclists of all levels. Afterward, you’ll sit down to a meal made from produce grown along your route. The whole thing is, miraculously, free. ANGELA GARBES
READINGS & TALKS
Kaveh Akbar, Paige Lewis, Michelle Peñaloza and Jane Wong
Two visiting poets and editors (Kaveh Akbar and Paige Lewis, both from Florida) will join two local poets (Michelle Peñaloza and Jane Wong) for a promising evening of readings.
Linda's Fest 2016
Capitol Hill brunch-and-brews institution Linda’s Tavern continues to give back to the community with a yearly sample of free local music. And while the average income of the restaurant’s neighbors continues to change, the sonic fare of Linda’s Fest does not—heavy, rhythmic, and loud continue to be adjectives of consequence. Because, really, what is the sound of brunch? It is the aural equivalent of that which quenches the hangover: grease, carbon, caffeine, and further blood-borne ethanol. This year’s amp-worship seminar features Fred and Toody Cole of Dead Moon as keynote speakers. Support comes from extra-reverb surf-punk outfit Acapulco Lips, bile-spewing queercore group Sashay (see this band live at all costs), and others. Maybe Steal Shit Do Drugs will cover Cop Shoot Cop and achieve peak sassy name power. JOSEPH SCHAFER
FOOD & DRINK
Seattle Street Food Festival
Head to South Lake Union to check out over 100 local food trucks at the fourth annual Seattle Street Food Festival.
Arts in Nature Festival
The Arts in Nature Festival presents a series of acoustic, unplugged performances by musicians, dancers, actors, and other performers, set against the most beautiful backdrop: real nature.
Out of Sight
Now that the madness of the international Seattle Art Fair has subsided, take some time with the artists who actually live here. For months, a team of eight curators and exhibition designers worked to bring you Out of Sight, a survey of more than 200 works of art by more than 100 artists and artist collectives from across Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. This is a show you really, truly must not miss, because it is a massive task to bring together artists from all up and down Cascadia, and it never happens at this scale, and may never again. JEN GRAVES