It’s time to get weird.

For more than two years we’ve been stuck in our small and safe social-distancing bubbles, living off of whatever mildly interesting cultural scraps fall our way. Enough!

Fall is finally here. It's the season for change, for reinvention. And now that the majority of the population is vaccinated, boosted, and boosted again (go get your flu shot, too, if you haven't!), people are getting back out into the world with fresh enthusiasm, exhibiting the kind of genuine curiosity and excitement that can only come after long periods of scarcity and denial.

There are hundreds of things happening around the city over the next few months—our calendar, EverOut, has literally all of them listed here—but if you're still being picky about where to spend your time and where put your money, The Stranger's devoted team of arts and culture know-it-alls have sorted through the noise to find the best of the best. The coolest of the cool. The weirdest of the weird. The shit you absolutely must not miss.

In November Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun is bringing, as editor Rich Smith describes it, "a multimedia, multicultural, multidimensional symphonic bonanza" to Benaroya Hall. What does that mean exactly? Life-size projections of Buddhist caves! Percussionists who literally play water with plastic cups! And indigenous khoomei throat-singing! All the fascinating details are here.

On the other side of the music spectrum, also in November, is the 10th anniversary of Freakout Festival, a four-day genre-defying live music spectacular in Ballard. Music writer Dave Segal sat down with organizers to find out how a music festival, which books mostly unknown and lesser-known but nonetheless legendary acts with dedicated followings, managed not just to survive a whole decade but also grow bigger and bigger year after year.

There's big news in the gaming world this fall, too. Ken and Roberta Williams, the couple who created your favorite PC games in the 1980s and '90s, disappeared from the industry 20 years ago. Now, to everyone's surprise—even their own—they're back, and Roberta gave Matt Baume the scoop on how the couple plans to revolutionize the industry with new VR technology inspired by life at sea.

If you really want to get out there—and by out there I mean away from the city entirely—hop on a seaplane or a ferry and attend the Orcas Island Film Festival, a weekend celebration of film that Jas Keimig describes as the Pacific Northwest's very own Cannes

Plus! Meet the promoter who's keeping Black music alive in Columbia City! Visit Seattle Art Museum to see works from two of the greatest living photographers! And read all about how Grace Jones turned Charles Mudede into a Marxist.

Welcome back, weirdos.