Once again, planet Earth is flipping you the bird by tilting your hemisphere away from the sun and commencing to autumnize. According to Wikipedia, autumn "has often been associated with melancholy. The possibilities of summer are gone, and the chill of winter is on the horizon. Skies turn gray, and many people turn inward, both physically and mentally." Thanks for bumming my stone, crowdsourced collective wisdom. But we here at The Stranger have assembled this noncomprehensive list of events worth living for. Laminate this guide, hang it on the fridge, and know that the future is secretly full of hope.
Heart of Darkness: The Film Noir Cycle
The Seattle Art Museum never fails our city when it comes to presenting great American film noir from the middle of the previous century. The 2011 series includes some of the best of the best: Samuel Fuller's The Crimson Kimono, Robert Siodmak's Phantom Lady, Fritz Lang's Ministry of Fear, and John Farrow's Night Has a Thousand Eyes. Crime, madness, tortured souls, fatal women, existential dread—this is the dark stuff. Sept 29—Dec 8. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, www.seattleartmuseum.org. CHARLES MUDEDE
'The Mysteries of Lisbon'
The great film critic J. Hoberman had this to say about Raoul Ruiz's final film (he died late this summer): "Adapted from a six-part miniseries (or soap opera) produced for Portuguese TV, Mysteries of Lisbon is a fitting companion to Ruiz's triumphant 1999 adaptation of Time Regained." There is no film that better translates Proust into cinema than Ruiz's Time Regained, an adaptation of the final book in Remembrance of Things Past. Time Regained is also Ruiz's best film, and this is saying a lot—not only was he a great director, but also a prolific one. If Mysteries of Lisbon is a companion of Time Regained, then it will easily be the film of the year. Do not miss it. Sept 30—Oct 13. SIFF Film Center, Seattle Center, www.siff.net. CM
'The Pruitt-Igoe Myth'
The architect critic Charles Jencks is famous for describing the day the Pruitt-Igoe projects were demolished, March 16, 1972, as "the day modern architecture died." The following year, the presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, was bombed by the CIA-backed Chilean Air Force. The urban theorist David Harvey claims that this attack, which killed President Salvador Allende, marked the beginning of neoliberalism. In short, the destruction of Pruitt-Igoe was the death of social democracy, and the bombing of the presidential palace was the birth of an economic program that would eventually be called the Washington Consensus (this program crashed in 2008). The documentary, however, is only about Pruitt-Igoe—which, by the way, was designed by the man who designed the Twin Towers, Minoru Yamasaki. The documentary is an excavation of the land of broken dreams. Oct 8—9. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, www.nwfilmforum.org. CM
Ha-ha-ha! Footloose the remake, starring Zac Efron. Wait. Let me look it up. IT'S NOT STARRING ZAC EFRON! Well, I don't care about it anymore. Zac Efron dropped out of the movie in 2009? Obviously, I haven't been paying attention. In the role of Zac Efron is some child I've never heard of—oh wait, he's in his late 20s. I guess he's not a child. Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid play, you know, the people who don't think Jesus likes dancing or whatever. Is this the same plot? Is this a period piece? The girl on the poster is wearing a disgusting modern outfit. Huh. Julianne Hough was Adam Carolla's partner on Dancing with the Stars. There is no way this is turning out good. Opens Oct 14. LINDY WEST, AS TOLD TO BRENDAN KILEY, AFTER DRINKING TWO BOTTLES OF WINE WITH KATHIE LEE GIFFORD
'The Three Musketeers'
The point of this movie is young people who aren't Oliver Platt wearing feathery bonnets and doing prancy sword fights. One of the young people is Orlando Bloom, and Christoph Waltz plays Cardinal Richelieu, who you might not know was a real person. (From history!!!!) Not cardinal like the bird—cardinal like the red kind of priest. Ummmmmmmm isn't it annoying how there are really FOUR musketeers because of D'Artagnan? People forget about that shit. Also, aren't they supposed to fight with muskets since they're musketeers? What's all this sword shit? I have never seen a musketeer fight with an actual musket. They should be swordyteers. MAKE A NOTE OF IT. In closing, I would like to say that Three Musketeers are the most turdlike of all the bar-shaped candy confections. I will see this movie because the dudes are hot and I like feathery bonnets more than I like my own family (especially you, Nana). I miss Chris O'Donnell. Opens Oct 21. LWATTBKADTBOWWKLG
'A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas'
LET ME GUESS. THEY ARE HIGH ON MARIJUANA. Here's a plot summary: "Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, stoner buds Harold Lee and Kumar Patel cause a holiday fracas by inadvertently burning down Harold's father-in-law's prize Christmas tree." What is a "PRIZE CHRISTMAS TREE"? Who wins a prize for their Christmas tree? That is not a thing. This movie is obviously stupid. But literally everyone you know is going to see it, so you might as well, too. Also, it's in 3-D, in case you ever wondered what it would be like to hang out with high people while simultaneously having a headache. YOU'RE WELCOME. Opens Nov 4. LWATTBKADTBOWWKLG
'Diary of a Country Priest'
There's a scene in this movie, a Robert Bresson movie (meaning, an important work of cinema—it was made 60 years ago), that captures the essence of being a priest in rural France. The young and gloomy priest, played by Claude Laydu, is sitting at a table in his humble home. In front of him is a chunk of bread and a glass of red wine. The priest dips the chunk of bread in the wine and eats it slowly. The scene, which is at once sad and delicious, is the core of a movie that Pauline Kael described as "one of the most profound emotional experiences in the history of film." Nov 18—20. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, www.nwfilmforum.org. CM
Cheap Wine and Poetry
The lesser magic of Cheap Wine and Poetry is in its intelligent curation. Hugo House programs and marketing director Brian McGuigan invites only poets he knows can bring the thunder live and in-person. Tonight is ladies' night, featuring a lineup of young female poets including poet and flash-fiction auteur Elizabeth Colen, slam poet Elaina Ellis, and former Pilot Books owner Summer Robinson. They'll read sharp, short, fun sets to an audience that is drunk on Cheap Wine and Poetry's greater magic: Wine sells for a dollar a glass, making the room extra-receptive to the funny, bawdy verses the poets bring for the evening. Sept 29. Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 322-7030. PAUL CONSTANT
Craig Thompson's most recent full-length graphic novel, Blankets, is a gorgeous, just-sentimental-enough comic book about first love. It appeals to moony-eyed lovers as well as people who wish they were moony-eyed lovers. Thompson's lesser-known side project, a travelogue called Carnet de Voyage, appeals to a completely different crowd—the cynical, world-weary been-there, done-that types who prefer clear-eyed observation to dreamy exposition. His long-awaited new comic, Habibi, promises to bring those disparate Thompson fans together—it's the story of two escaped child slaves on the run in the desert who tell each other stories from the Koran and the Bible to pass the time. After a decade-long wait, it's easy to get too excited for a project like this, but Thompson's deliberate, thoughtful style should improve with age. Oct 5. Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave, 386-4636. PC
Over the past three decades, Terry Pratchett has constructed a fantasy universe—the Discworld—in which all the weary Tolkien tropes are merrily marched out to pasture and shot between the eyes. Pratchett's satire doesn't stop with genre spoofs, though: He's aimed his prolific output at the dying newspaper industry, banking, law enforcement, and other institutions. If Mark Twain wrote Conan the Barbarian, those books would read a lot like Pratchett. He'll be making a rare Seattle appearance in support of his newest Discworld novel, Snuff. Oct 11. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 634-3400. PC
Readings don't have to feel like readings—they can incorporate the structure of a rock concert, a dance recital, a play, and any other event you can imagine. This could be the first poetry reading shaped like a tag sale: Three young, talented local poets—Heather Christle, Zachary Schomburg, and Kary Wayson—will read recent work, then sell their personal items to you. Secondhand objects for sale include "cassette tapes, a (working) lamp, small kitchen appliances, a decorative globe, and a red novelty foam hand." Each item will come with its own short poem. Oct 11. Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 322-7030. PC
Jeffrey Eugenides's last novel, Middlesex, was a rare critical and popular success—a Pulitzer-winning, Oprah's Book Club—approved bestseller—that changed the public conversation for the better. It's the story of a young woman named Calliope who discovers, very early in life, that she's really a man named Cal. Middlesex follows Cal as he struggles to find his place in the world, and Eugenides's language, with its delirious imagery and forceful narrative drive, puts the reader squarely (and comfortably) inside Cal's head. Eugenides's new novel, The Marriage Plot, is one of the most eagerly anticipated novels of the year—it's an exploration of whether the romances of Jane Austen or George Eliot are applicable in the lives of a young couple in the 1980s. Oct 17. Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave, 386-4636. PC
1Q84 Release Parties
It's not every day—hell, it's not every year—we get a new novel from Japanese author (and future Nobel Prize winner) Haruki Murakami. It's rarer still when that new Murakami novel promises to be his magnum opus. 1Q84 has finally been translated and is being released at midnight bookstore parties around Seattle. It's like Harry Potter for lovers of intricate, weird adult fiction! Will this new book—it's reportedly huge—replace Wind-Up Bird Chronicle as Murakami's towering achievement? Is he really the world's greatest living novelist? Answers will be available at the stroke of midnight. Oct 25. Check thestranger.com/books for participating bookstores. PC
Verse Chapter Verse with Colson Whitehead
The latest edition of The Stranger's books-and-music series—in which a local band plays before and after a short reading and Q&A from a big-name author—is unofficially Halloween-themed. The author this time around is Colson Whitehead, who you probably know for his excellent literary novels such as The Intuitionist and Sag Harbor. His newest book, Zone One, is a novel about a small band of people that is trying to reclaim a zombie-ridden Manhattan after an undead apocalypse. Early reviews say the book is a deft combination of genre thrills and the high-quality language readers have come to expect from Whitehead. Hot young psychedelic rock outfit the Curious Mystery provide the evening's soundtrack. Oct 27. Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 366-3333. PC
Sometimes you get the sense that Republican presidential candidates would argue that the earth revolves around the sun, if they could get away with it. (If they have their way with the budgets, future generations of Americans might believe them—but that's another story.) In new book A More Perfect Heaven, beloved science writer Dava Sobel explains how humanity learned the truth about its gravitational relationship to the sun, and how dunderheaded religious jackasses (the Rick Santorums of their day) tried to fight it. If you've read Sobel's books Longitude or The Planets, you know that she makes science a delight for general-interest readers; her take on Copernicus should be a pleasure—and timely, too. Nov 2. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 634-3400. PC
Mary Stuart, by 18th-century writer Friedrich Schiller, begins with Mary Stuart (Anne Allgood) in prison, wondering whether her cousin Queen Elizabeth I (Suzanne Bouchard) will sign her death sentence or her reprieve. The play is a royally fraught tangle of plots, attempted murders, prison breaks, rivalries, and suicide. (In a 2008 production in Los Angeles, actor Daniel Hoevels nearly killed himself onstage while slitting his throat with a prop knife that hadn't been properly dulled.) The play, the director (Victor Pappas), and the actors have been around for a while, which may be Mary Stuart's virtue. Allgood and Bouchard have been acting in close proximity for decades—this face-off by well-acquainted Seattle pros playing monarchs locked in a life-and-death struggle could be the scene-work of the year. Through Oct 9. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. BRENDAN KILEY
'Live! From the Last Night of My Life'
Remember Wayne Rawley? In the 1990s, he was the blossoming theater wunderkind who wrote the trashy, low-rent-crime serial Money and Run for Theater Schmeater, then started working on more ambitious plays—God Damn Tom, Live! From the Last Night of My Life, and a withering gender satire set among 8-year-olds called Controlling Interest—before dropping out, moving to California, and being very quiet for a long while. Now he's back, and he's brought a completed version of Live! with him. The play is a morbid comedy about a young man who works the graveyard shift at a gas station/convenience store called Super Slurp Gas Up and Get Goin' in Marysville, Washington. He chats with a revolving door of freaks—night owls, coworkers, degenerates—on the night he's declared that "if I don't kill myself tonight, I won't be able to live with myself." The 19-year-old Seattle theater-dork in me has been waiting for over a decade to see this fucker hit the stage. Sept 16—Oct 15. Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave, 324-5801. BK
'Te Haré Invencible Con Mi Derrota'
The title of this show—the North American debut for Madrid-based performance artist Angélica Liddell—translates as "I will make you invincible with my defeat." In it, Liddell plays and abuses cellos, smokes a cigarette while snarling about god, allows herself to be demonically possessed by organ music, plays with a blowtorch and a paintball gun, carefully slits her ankles with razor blades, and makes cloth-prints using her blood as the ink. Those of you who were electrified by Romeo Castellucci's spectacular dream/nightmare Hey Girl! at On the Boards a few years ago should seriously consider taking a trip to the land of Liddell. Oct 6—9. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. BK
Boom! Theater Company is a bunch of young whippersnappers who make intelligent, humane, and disturbing theater about subjects you thought had been wrung dry. So far, they've given us Taphonomy (an action-genre play about what it means to be human in the midst of a zombie plague) and A Net (a kidnapping suspense-horror about a rogue physician who tries, among other things, to fuse kidnapped people's brains to computers)—both of which were a little rough around the edges but oddly affecting. In the past, Boom! has been supremely site-specific, building out rooms with scaffolding and literal fourth walls between the audience and the show, so people have to wander up and look through peepholes to see what's happening. Repeat. Repeat. is their fusion-adaptation of the play Iphigenia and Other Daughters by Ellen McLaughlin and the novel Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje. It takes place, the company says, "in a barren and dusty world and centers around a group of characters (including Iphigenia and Electra) struggling to stay alive." Oct 13—Nov 5. Boom! Theater, 429 Fairview Ave N, 800-838-3006. BK
'c.1993 (you never step in the same river twice)'
Annex Theatre turns 25 this year, and it's had a long, varied, and playful history, from producing strong, mind-blowing ensemble work in its old space in Belltown (The Yellow Kid, Cat-Like Tread) to licking its financial wounds and just barely scraping by. c. 1993 promises to be an ensemble-created work in the old Annex tradition. It takes the overdose of River Phoenix outside the Viper Room as a launching point to ask why fucked-up, self-destructive men are considered sexy while fucked-up, self-destructive women are considered clowns. Also, c. 1993 will ruminate on the 1990s in general. Oct 21—Nov 19. Annex Theatre, 1100 E Pike St, 728-0933. BK
'A Crack in Everything'
When people talk about Zoe Scofield (the choreographer) and Juniper Shuey (the designer), they talk about animals. Scofield and Shuey make bestial, feral dance that borrows from the angular rigor of ballet, the fluidity of modern dance, and the psychological brutality of mind and "nature red in tooth and claw." Sometimes they even move like animals—stepping like deer, isolating their heads like birds. We haven't seen these animals around these parts for a while. They've been off at residencies (MacDowell Colony), performing at festivals (Jacob's Pillow), and winning a Princess Grace Award for choreography, which Scofield will receive from the hands of Prince Albert of Monaco this November. They've been working on this latest piece, A Crack in Everything, since 2009. They say it's "a meditation on the moments that divide people's lives into before and after." I'm hoping it'll curl my hair. Dec 1—4. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. BK
Theater auteur Ryan Mitchell is like Ahab—the bold, brilliant, mad captain of a company called Implied Violence that pursues his visions despite physical and psychological peril. The Stranger Genius Award—winning company has stolen set materials from highway construction sites, built towering walls of ice, and raised a herd of chicks for its performances; deranged its senses with sleep-deprivation, cold water, and ether; and galvanized its dreamy, disturbing texts with dance, fistfights, and gallons of stage blood and feathers. At a dinner in his Sodo apartment a few weeks ago—where the courses were punctuated with dramaturgical lectures and recordings of Jim Jones speeches—Mitchell christened his new ship, St. Genet, which will, in his words, "unleash a series of aesthetic presentations upon the sleeping denizens of Seattle." He's teamed up with choreographers Jessie Smith (Dead Bird Movement) and Olivier Wevers (Whim W'him), street artist NKO, installation artist Casey Curran, and "more musicians than you can shake your dick at." Dates, price, and location(s) to be announced. "Please," Mitchell says, "do not bring your children." BK
When Western Bridge opened in April of 2004, it was almost too good to be true: a great big free place, always full of great contemporary art that just seemed to materialize there. (It is owned by private collectors Bill and Ruth True.) Next summer, Western Bridge will close. This fall is the beginning of the end: Repossessed is a look back at the very first show, Possessed, which featured Zoe Leonard's demonic army of female dolls covering the floor of the large main gallery. The show intends to take stock—to ask what it means to own things, and how that has changed in seven years of a private collection displayed publicly. Artists: Zoe Leonard, Andy Coolquitt, Jason Dodge, Shelley Jackson, Brian Jungen, Rachel Harrison, Daniel Pflumm, Fred Wilson, and Sam Taylor-Wood. Through Dec 17. Western Bridge, 3412 Fourth Ave S, 838-7444. JEN GRAVES
'Carolee Schneeman: Within and Beyond the Premises'
Carolee Schneeman has always been only partly in view, as most legends are. As a foundational 1970s feminist artist, she rolled around with piles of meat in one performance (Meat Joy, video), and pulled a written scroll out of her vagina and read from it in another (Interior Scroll, live). Later, art people referred to her as the woman who made out with her cat for a piece. What motivates this fascinating artist, and what's her context? Now we can consider those questions in depth: In addition to a traveling exhibition of her work, Within and Beyond the Premises, the Henry is hosting a Schneeman symposium: Streaming in from the Moon, Nov 18—19, where the artist will be present to help explore "the complex and controversial themes of feminism, performance, and the body through a series of performances, lectures, public forums, film screenings, and other opportunities for public discourse." And maybe her cat. Sept 24—Dec 30. Henry Art Gallery, 4100 15th Ave NE, 543-2280. JG
'Theaster Gates: The Listening Room'
When Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates came to town to introduce himself to the staff at Seattle Art Museum a few months ago, Stranger visual art intern Katy McCourt-Basham was in the audience. She wrote, "I recently sat in a room with the fast-talking, bursting-into-song, impassioned Gates—and a group of SAM curators who are about to have an equally unscripted experience with the artist. Gates is SAM's 2011—12 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellow, which means he'll receive a $10,000 award as well as a solo show at the museum. What will he do at SAM? Naturally, it's still up in the air. But it will possibly include a large collection of soul records. Gates said he recently acquired the collection from a small shop that closed in Chicago. At SAM, he said, he'd like to possibly build a soul 'lounge' of sorts, where people can discuss the importance of soul, all while unpacking issues of race and creating 'cultural moments' in Seattle. He wants people to be able to 'chill out and talk about these issues—to be able to talk about things that are hard, via things that are much easier.'" The Listening Room will take place in the museum and in locations throughout the city. Gates—his practice includes, among other things, "master planning" (!)—knows Seattle; after college, he did urban planning work with black churches and got his artistic start here. Dec 11—July 1. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 654-3100. JG
I've already described Seattle artist Jenny Heishman in this week's paper—she's been shortlisted for the Stranger Genius Award (page 28). This solo show—it will be her first in a few years to last longer than a single night, and she doesn't have a title for it yet, but says it will be a grouping of sculptural works—is at an interesting new venue: Prole Drift, in the International District, run by Seattle artist Dirk Park. Here's how Heishman describes what she does: "What I am interested in is creating approachable objects that elicit confusion or a moment of misunderstanding. I use an unlimited variety of materials: aluminum foil, plaster, ceramic tiles, paper, tape, fabric, Styrofoam. The initial impression is one of a combination of misused material, broken pattern, faux surfaces, and optical illusion. Once this first impression cracks, it falls into puzzlingly simple components... I research, experiment, test, talk to experts, collect or purchase the needed supplies, and then build the work... The risk I take is being a beginner again and again." The reward is that the viewer is put in the refreshing state of beginner, too. Oct 14—Nov 27. Prole Drift, 523 S Main St, 399-5506. JG
'All Things Equal'
Catharina Manchanda, the new modern-and-contemporary-art curator at SAM, is teaming up with the Hedreen Gallery at Seattle University for a game of politically charged, international telephone. The idea: take three highly charged words that mean everything and nothing at the same time—capitalism, socialism, and terrorism—and make an array of 20 artists from completely different cultural backgrounds look them up in their native language's encyclopedias. The end result: a retranslation back into English, negotiated by each artist. The framework provides for all sorts of fun discrepancies and discussions. If you don't see the show, you're probably a terrorist. Oct 5—Nov 30. Hedreen Gallery, 901 12th Ave, www.seattleu.edu/hedreen. KELTON SEARS
Life After People, a documentary (that spawned a TV show) about how the world would look if humanity up and died, was the most watched program ever on the History Channel when it aired in 2008. People love to ponder the absence of people. The paintings and drawings on paper in Patte Loper's 2006 show at Platform Gallery, called Let Our Beauty Ease Your Grief, tapped into that curiosity with some very solemn-looking deer. The deer stood confusedly in posh apartments and on abandoned film sets and construction sites, awkwardly navigating our ruins and relics. From Loper's works, one is left thinking the inevitable thought that humanity is one strange animal. Oct 6—Nov 26. Platform Gallery, 114 Third Ave S, www.platformgallery.com. KS
Sara Edwards of 4Culture and Sierra Stinson of Vignettes are taking what Bumbershoot's visual art program should've been and injecting it into the much-better-anyway City Arts Festival. This upgrade comes in the form of Culture Club, where each day a new art exhibition will go up to keep things fresh and exciting. DK Pan (this year's Stranger Genius in Visual Art), Michael Van Horn, Jennifer Zwick, and Gretchen Bennett will all play a role—as will way too many other amazing Seattle art all-stars to list. All this in addition to a pop-up art market and "creative drinks." How can you say no? Oct 20—22. Fred Wildlife Refuge, 127 Boylston Ave E, www.cityartsfest.com. KS
Isaac Layman's photos don't look like photos. The Seattle native has a knack for taking the familiar and twisting it into new landscapes and worlds. His subjects are highly constructed, textured, and composed—the work appears like painting at first glance. Otter Pops turn into Rothkoesque color-fields, wet tissue paper into gorgeous Van Gogh—like clouds. For his first museum show at the Frye, which he's calling Paradise, Layman created all new work. It's a departure from his usual domestic subjects. These new pieces meditate on the idea of "fabricated escapes," the places we create for ourselves when left to stew in our thoughts. Nov 19—Jan 22. Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, www.fryemuseum.org. KS
Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All
Hyperaware, net-savvy SoCal hiphop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All have been a lightning rod for think-pieces by well-meaning bloggers as well as predictable outrage from good liberals nationwide. Few rappers have wielded language that's more graphically violent or wrongheadedly salacious than Odd Future leader Tyler, the Creator. The youthful crew's inventive wordplay sometimes oozes rancid misogyny and homophobia, but the music is consistently ominous, eccentric, and galvanizing. OFWGKTA could flame out faster than N.W.A. or evolve into a group as enduring and respectable as Wu-Tang Clan. It behooves you to catch them now at a crucial stage of their dynamic development. Oct 4. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. DAVE SEGAL
Nika Roza Danilova, aka Zola Jesus, wields a voice that could part seas and level forests. The recent University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate (French and philosophy) has released a flurry of records in the last three years, each one building in weight and impact. Her song constructions—largely composed of drum machine, brooding synthesizer progressions, and Danilova's operatically informed vocal work (she plays with a full band live)—are dark, ominous, gothic gorgeousness. Last year's four-song Valusia is an all-too-brief triumph, but it might be the first to fully harness Danilova's incredible talent. If the upcoming single (out on Oct 3) is any indication, her forthcoming LP will follow that same auspicious trail. Oct 8. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave, www.thecrocodile.com. GRANT BRISSEY
Portishead have released only three albums in their 20 years of existence, but each one has flaunted the indelible greatness of main producer Geoff Barrow's riveting beatscapes and singer Beth Gibbons's emotive delivery and poignant lyrics. After Dummy (1994) and Portishead (1997) established the group as perhaps the foremost innovators of triphop, Portishead vanished for a decade. When they returned with Third (2008), they'd reinvented themselves as a rare hybrid of stormy krautrock, pagan folk, and torch song. Last time I saw Portishead live, at Coachella in 2008, they were phenomenal; expect nothing less than that from them at WaMu Theater. Oct 23. WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave S, 381-7555. D. SEGAL
Shellac of North America
Since 1982, when Steve Albini first started his pioneering punk act Big Black after borrowing a four-track tape machine in exchange for a case of beer, he’s been a force of nature in the music industry. Outspoken, brash, and steadfast, the man never minces words or opinions. It stands to reason that his current band, Shellac (aka Shellac of North America), would share many of those same qualities. For five full-lengths over 19 years, the booming post-punk trio has delivered superbly (strictly analog) recorded rock with unwavering song structures, thunder-crack drums—those familiar with the man’s work can pick an Albini-produced snare hit just by hearing it—and acerbic lyrics. These are songs for the masochist and the sadist. Oct 27. Vera Project, Seattle Center, www.theveraproject.org. GB
Wild Flag sound pretty much exactly like what you'd think a supergroup built of members of Sleater-Kinney, Quasi, Helium, and the Minders should sound like. Guitars alternate between crunching chords and single-string surf melodies (thank you, Carrie Brownstein and Mary Timony). Vocals blur into singsong chants, split into girlish melodies, and occasionally grate with purpose (take a bow, previously mentioned guitar ladies plus keyboardist/vocalist Rebecca Cole). Drums kill (as ever, Janet Weiss). The songs on Wild Flag's Merge debut are strong and shiny and built to blow up when played live. Nov 11. Neumos, 925 E Pike St, 709-9442. DAVID SCHMADER
Tune-Yards' records—2009's BiRd-BrAiNs and 2011's w h o k i l l—get plenty of attention and rightly so: Out of the scrappiest bits, Merrill Garbus creates towering sound collages, all singed by her ear-pricking roar of a voice. But the live shows are how Tune-Yards make fans of those who'd swear on a stack of Bibles that they'd never fall for a ukulele-stained drums-and-loops act. With a firm grasp of the power of timing and theatricality, Garbus and company build the Tune-Yards sound world right before our eyes, and the result is something to see as much as something to hear. Fans of On the Boards—style performance art are encouraged to investigate. Nov 20. Neptune Theatre, 1303 NE 45th St, www.stgpresents.com. D. SCHMADER
Jay-Z and Kanye West
Here's the thing about the Watch the Throne tour: If it's anything less than amazing, its ego-packed, delusions-of-grandeur-having, perfectionist-tendency-riddled, cocky--bastard headliners will look like dunces, or at least impotent, and neither Jay-Z nor Kanye West enjoys looking like an impotent dunce. In truth, both have dazzling track records for making good on their cocky-bastard boasts, and here's hoping they seize this opportunity to dare each other to new heights, rather than just share a profitable victory lap. Either way, expect ravishing audio and visuals. (Hopeful signs: Kanye West's last two major tours—for Late Registration and Graduation—took live rap to new heights, and Jay-Z hates being upstaged.) Dec 16. Tacoma Dome, 2727 East D St, Tacoma, www.ticketmaster.com. D. SCHMADER
Scratch Acid flourished in the 1980s as one of the American underground-music scene's most demonically intense noise-rock bands. These Texans ground out a highly torqued brand of antisocial skree, topped off by future Jesus Lizard frontmaniac David Yow's theatrically unhinged howl. Over three releases—Scratch Acid, Just Keep Eating, and Berserker—Scratch Acid carved out a vein-bulging space between Flipper's sludgy nihilism and Birthday Party's diabolical thrash. They came back from a long hiatus in 2006, and are getting back in the van once more by popular demand, so you can properly get back to work on your tinnitus. Dec 17. Neumos, 925 E Pike St, 709-9442. D. SEGAL
This article has been updated since its original publication.