Summer is ending because Mother Nature hates you—but we at The Stranger do not. As our small contribution to prevent seasonal affective suicide, we've assembled this non-comprehensive list of events worth living for. Attending them will burnish your mind, brighten your skin, and improve your sex life. Laminate this guide, hang it on the bathroom wall, and remember that the best is yet to come.

Jump To: Theater, Visual Art, Film, Books, Music


'The 39 Steps'

Direct from Broadway, this stage adaptation of the Alfred Hitchcock movie has four actors playing 150 characters in all the scenes: the leap from the train onto the Forth Rail Bridge, the biplane collision, everything. In an age where Broadway shows constantly suck off the teat of Hollywood, this should be a thrilling—and difficult—exercise in the possibilities and limitations of theater and film. Sept 25–Oct 18. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 443-2222. BRENDAN KILEY

'The Shipment'

Playwright Young Jean Lee runs with scissors. Her last Seattle show, Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven, deployed an army of Asian stereotypes and some onstage suicides. In interviews, Lee has said she always takes on the projects that scare her most, the ones that are a minefield of theatrical and identity-politics clichés, and then writes them anyway, trying to pull and twist the audience's preconceptions like taffy. For The Shipment, Lee deals with perhaps the most difficult subject to not fuck up: the cultural life and stereotypes surrounding African Americans. She's a bold one, that Young Jean Lee. Oct 1–4. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 271-9888. BK

'Rock 'n' Roll'

An epic about young Czech dissidents, fusty British Marxists, and bands from Pink Floyd to the Plastic People of the Universe, Rock 'n' Roll might be Tom Stoppard's most politically ambitious play to date. Directed by Kurt Beattie and filled with local actors, Rock 'n' Roll jumps from Soviet secret-police interrogation rooms to an English garden where a professor gives lessons on Sappho. As in most Stoppard plays, the relationships are dense and full of smart, witty arguments. Oct 9–Nov 8. ACT, 700 Union St, 292-7676. BK

Joey Arias

The legendary New York drag and performance artist channels Billie Holiday—except not. Joey Arias occupies a middle space in so many ways: in the middle of a gender transformation with a face that isn't strictly beautiful but a gorgeous feminine body. And when Arias opens that mouth and begins to sing Billie Holiday—making those sounds that have meant so much to so many for so long—it'll blow your fucking head open. Oct 20. Triple Door, 216 Union St, 838-4333. BK

'August: Osage County'

The dark family romance that began in Chicago at the Steppenwolf Theatre, then moved to New York and London to win a pack of awards (including the Tony and the Pulitzer for best new play), is beginning its tour of world domination. The Weston family swirls into vicious chaos when its patriarch—who had an affair with a college student—disappears. Mom is addicted to pills, the kids are fucked-up in 10 different ways, and the whole thing sings like a Greek drama in a big house north of Tulsa. It is, allegedly, a comedy. Oct 27–Nov 1. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 800-982-2787. BK

'Hot Pants'

Sort of like the acclaimed NYC storytelling series The Moth, except with liars. The audience will hear four stories and decide which is bullshit, based on a panel of interrogators drawn randomly from the crowd each night. Bret Fetzer and Troy Mink—two storytelling geniuses themselves—are putting together this late-night show. We don't know exactly what will be in it, but the premise sounds awesome. Oct 30–Nov 20. Annex Theatre, 1017 E Pike St, 800-838-3006. BK


Before he wrote this play about the fraught and sometimes seedy back end of a famous string quartet, Michael Hollanger was an Oberlin-educated violinist. The sex, drugs, and fraying relationships between the Lazara Quartet threaten to take over on the night before they're scheduled to play for a U.S. president they all loathe. Directed by the promising young Braden Abraham (My Name Is Rachel Corrie, The K of D) and starring local treasures Todd Jefferson Moore, Charles Leggett, Shawn Belyea, Allen Fitzpatrick, and Chelsea Rives. Oct 30–Dec 6. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 443-2222. BK

Implied Violence

This December, Stranger Geniuses Implied Violence will do... something. It's a three-day event called Dance Marathon and will probably happen at the Central Library, the Frye Art Museum, and maybe a vacant lot behind the defunct J&M Cafe in Pioneer Square. Portland's freakiest dance company tEEth will perform. There are rumors and hopes of appearances by jazz legend Jimmy Scott, '70s soul-pop crooner Scott Walker, and, um, Dolly fucking Parton. Lord knows what will actually happen, but Implied Violence—which has spent the year in travels and residencies with everyone from Robert Wilson to Northern European arts centers—brings the magic. Their ambition knows no bounds. Sometime in December at various locations. BK


A staging of a classic play is only as good as its living director and actors, and this production has got the stuff—acclaimed local director Sheila Daniels (who turned Crime and Punishment into a searing stage drama) holds the wheel in a clown-car full of brilliance. Marya Sea Kaminski, who has fire in her guts and turns everything she touches into luminous beauty, plays the vengeful daughter of Agamemnon. Darragh Kennan plays Orestes and Susannah Burney plays the chorus. This should be Seattle's definitive adaptation of Greek drama for years to come. Jan 7–31. Seattle Shakespeare Company, Seattle Center House, 733-8222. BK

'Penguins, Episode Two'

People loved the first Penguins—a lewd comedy by Scot Augustson about a parish-wide war between the priests and the nuns. It was like The Sopranos crossed with Doubt, a skewering of Catholic culture with lots of guns and profanity to keep the slightly tipsy late-night audiences howling in shock and awe. This episode will feature a papal fashion show and a May/December romance. Jan 29–Feb 19. Annex Theatre, 1017 E Pike St, 800-838-3006. BK

The Cody Rivers Show

These two boys from Bellingham are more than comedy and more than performance art—they envelop both in their sui generis, shape-shifting performance style that is smart, fast, audaciously imaginative, and totally unpredictable. In one scene, they'll travel from French infomercials to a creepy restaurant in space to a he-said/she-said history of a romance between a famous filmmaker and his new paramour. Plus, they dance. You have to see it to believe it, and while they tour relentlessly, they'll be kind enough to drop by and give us something to hope for in the bleakness of February. Feb 19–27. Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave S, 800-838-3006. BK

'The West'

The band/art collective/comedy group "Awesome" is leading the charge to redefine musical theater. They make atmospheric spectacles of songs and dialogue and jokes that explore a mood more than they tell a story. (Or, if a story hides in there, it's more esoteric than most of us have minds to grasp.) They have been working on The West for over a year, performing experimental snippets of it here and there—a bizarre rewrite of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, a long composition about a forest fire—and now we'll get to see the whole thing. Part Rabelais and part Borges (plus a garage band), "Awesome" builds labyrinths of mirrors to get lost and laugh in. April 22–25. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 271-9888. BK


Corin Hewitt

Corin Hewitt's show at Seattle Art Museum is so quiet and so tucked away that people keep missing it. Meanwhile, it's one of the sweetest little contemporary shows at SAM in a long time. It's a crush of photographs of different sizes hung all over the place—the remains of the remains of a performance Hewitt did in Portland in 2007. Decay, reproduction, and anxiety: You can relate. Do not miss his eloquence in person when he comes to talk for the closing on October 15. Through Oct 18. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 344-5275. JG

'The Gift Shop'

Seattle artist Matthew Offenbacher is a center for ideas. He publishes La Especial Norte, the quarterly artist newsletter, and it's actually great. His latest project, when he is not painting his own cat, is to take over the Henry Art Gallery gift shop. What, you say? The Henry has a gift shop? It's been empty for more than a year, so Offenbacher is doing something about it, turning it into "an incubator for Northwest artists. Exhibitions will fall like dominoes: a cascading cavalcade of adventurous, collaborative, celebratory artistic energy. How do artists work together? What can an art exhibition do?" Through early 2010. Henry Art Gallery, 4100 15th Ave NE, 543-2280. JEN GRAVES


Just like in the real world, it's become far less uncool to be a parent in the art world. Parenthesis is a group show at Western Bridge curated by Eric Fredericksen devoted to the subject (and perhaps you will spot the children of the curator and Western Bridge owners Bill and Ruth True at some point in there), including eminent artists like Ann Hamilton and Guy Ben-Ner along with an installation synthesized from elements from her childhood home by Seattle theater designer and Stranger Genius Jennifer Zeyl. Sept 26–Dec 19. Western Bridge, 3412 Fourth Ave S, 838-7444. JG

'The Old, Weird America'

Like this summer's The Puppet Show, The Old, Weird America: Folk Themes in Contemporary Art is a group show of familiar established artists crowded under a new umbrella. In other words, this isn't outsider art—it's a look at how insiders draw on outsider tactics. The artists include Kara Walker, Dario Robleto, Brad Kahlhamer, Sam Durant, and Barnaby Furnas. The Boston Globe's Sebastian Smee wrote that the exhibition, like its namesake (Greil Marcus's book), "has a tendentious, straining quality, and it occasionally veers off into unhinged theater and paranoia. But it is never less than entertaining." Oct 3–Jan 3. Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, 622-9250. JG

'Michelangelo Public and Private'

I do not know how awesome this will be, but since it has the ultimate-genius juice slathered all over it, it will be a spectacle. What you'll see are 12 drawings for the Sistine Chapel, along with some portraits of Michelangelo and some other stuff that he in some way presumably breathed on or touched with his brain, eye, or fingertip. Who isn't going to go to that? Oct 15–Jan 31. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 344-5275. JG

'Polaroids: Mapplethorpe'

From 1970 to 1975, when Robert Mapplethorpe was still becoming Robert Mapplethorpe, he shot more than 1,500 Polaroids, completely unlike the tight formal studio compositions he'd come to favor. "All the themes of Mapplethorpe's mature work—the body as a site of pain and pleasure, the ideals of classical beauty, the celebration of alternative lifestyles—are here, but rendered in a more spontaneous medium," the New York Times wrote last year, when the show opened at the Whitney. Bonus: Newish Henry Art Gallery director Sylvia Wolf curated the show, so it's a glimpse into her brain as well. Oct 24–Jan 31. Henry Art Gallery, 4100 15th Ave NE, 543-2280. JG

Meiro Koizumi

In The Stranger's 2007 Regrets issue, I wrote, "Jen Graves, The Stranger

's art critic, regrets that everyone in this city did not witness Meiro Koizumi's video Art of Awakeningwhen it was on display at Punch Gallery in April. It was a total sleeper, Ms. Graves only wrote about it briefly, and it involved three men poking a plastic-bag creature with a long red stick." Now is your chance: Yoko Ott is curating a career retrospective at Seattle University and a showing of new works at Open Satellite for this brilliant, uncomfortably funny Japanese artist. Oct 14–Jan 9. Lee Center for the Arts, 901 12th Ave, 296-2244. Nov 10–Jan. Open Satellite, 989 112th Ave NE, Suite 102, 425-454-7355. JG

'Stranger Circumstances'

Artists always want you to do something nowadays: No more passive spectatorship. What the hell do they really want from you, and how does this relate to the current political, economic, and social moment? Seattle artist trio PDL joins Italian artist Massimo Guerrera, Montreal's Alana Riley, and Vancouver's Ron Tran in considering—and taking part in—more awkward, open-ended, and infinitely hopeful encounters between artists and strangers. Nov 7–29. Crawl Space, 504 E Denny Way #1, 201-2441. JG

'SAM Next: Heide Hinrichs'

Most of Heide Hinrichs's work is small and sitting right on the floor, and if you stepped on it, you'd ruin it. It's made of paper or string or a sheet or a soccer ball opened up like a honeycomb. And it's playful, even while it's sort of refusing to engage by the overwhelmingness of its humility. It's as if Eva Hesse met a slightly depressed cartoonist and they were trying to build their way across the room to each other.

Nov 7–June 13. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 344-5275. JG


It has been a hard year for Sutton-BeresCuller: One of their works burned down outside Lawrimore Project, and they've spent so much time in meetings—they've been working on their terrific, extremely complicated project Mini Mart City Park, which will transform an abandoned and polluted Georgetown gas station into a pocket park—that it's hard to imagine they've had any time for anything but eating and sleeping. But you know what they say about bad years: good art. This will be all new work. Nov 5–Dec 19. Lawrimore Project, 831 Airport Way S, 501-1231. JG

Marc Dombrosky

The fact that longtime Puget Sound artist Marc Dombrosky (he lived in Tacoma but taught and showed in Seattle) left recently for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is a deep bit of bad news. At least he's still showing, with a new show at Platform to kick off 2010, and who knows what he'll come up with, given his new surroundings. In the past, he's specialized in memorializing discarded words by embroidering on the papers he happens to come across that contain the lists, letters, and marks of strangers. Jan 7–Feb 20. Platform Gallery, 114 Third Ave S, 323-2808. JG

'The Brink: Isabelle Pauwels'

Isabelle Pauwels is known to do a thing on video that veers from performance to documentary and back again, and may include her sister and possibly a dead relative's belongings. She's also the Henry Art Gallery's first-ever choice to win its Brink Award, devoted to throwing the institutional weight of the museum behind one regional creature. This show will say as much about the museum as it will about the artist.

Jan 30–May 5. Henry Art Gallery, 4100 15th Ave NE, 543-2280. JG


'Capitalism: A Love Story'

Clearly we've all come to the conclusion that Michael Moore is kind of a tool. But aren't you even a little bit curious about Capitalism: A Love Story? Twenty years after the debut of Roger & Me, Moore—gutsy, caustic, and, sure, a complete blowhard—explores that time our economy broke (remember?), taking on CEOs and bailouts and stimulus packages and presidents and everything that got us into this mess and what will (maybe, possibly) get us out. Moore is a bully. But what's the pre-collapse American economy if not the earth's biggest bully? And what's more satisfying than a bully-on-bully fight? Opens Oct 2. LINDY WEST


The Maysles brothers (the same directors who brought you the original Grey Gardens) produced their masterpiece in this underappreciated gem from 1969 about Bible salesmen in New England and Florida. Three-quarters of a good documentary is a great subject, and this crew of sweaty, aggressive door-to-door salesmen—with nicknames like "The Bull," "The Badger," and "The Gipper"—are some of the most memorable characters you'll ever find on a movie screen. You won't know whether to root for the miserable salesmen, who are trying to keep from being fired, or their customers, who get cowed by techniques that today seem painfully obvious. Oct 9–15. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 829-7863. PAUL CONSTANT

The Festival of New Spanish Cinema

Now in its second year (and moved from Northwest Film Forum to the very slightly swankier SIFF Cinema), this showcase of films from promising and established Spanish filmmakers is a curious treat. The films are odd and diverse, including Juan Luis Iborra's Desperate Women (a comic thriller about three ladies trying to find a man who might be dead), The Sound of the Sea (dreamy animation from graphic novelist Miguelanxo Prado, involving a viola, a mermaid, and a lost love), and The Shame (about an adoptive couple wondering if the adoption agency takes returns). Oct 15–21. SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St, 448-2186. LW

'Where the Wild Things Are'

Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze's much-hyped and -blogged-of and -longed-for adaptation of Maurice Sendak's creepy childhood picture book (come on, it's terrifying! Those CLAWS!) finally arrives. The story of Max—who is sent to bed without dinner (child abuse!) and sails to a faraway imaginationland peopled by large hairy beasts who crown him as their king (and then what happens, feature-length movie?)—stars Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini, and an adorable child. The trailer makes your heart hurt a little, in the way of childhood loves. Opens Oct 16. LW

'35 Shots of Rum'

Claire Denis's new movie stars the great Alex Descas, who plays a father to a Parisian university student, Mati Diop. But who really cares what this movie is about? All that matters is this one thing: Denis directed it. Anything she makes, we have to watch. Denis is the first important director of our moment, the globalized moment, the moment of immigrants and inner-city pressures. Nov 6–12. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 829-7863. CHARLES MUDEDE

'Fantastic Mr. Fox'

What's with all the beloved indie directors adapting beloved childhood books this year? Something's fishy. Wes Anderson makes his first foray into animation (stop-motion, crackly) with Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the book by Roald Dahl, about a wily fox (George Clooney) trying to save his underground home from being excavated by a bunch of bloodthirsty humans. Mr. Fox loses his tail in the endeavor. Bill Murray plays a badger. Opens Nov 13. LW

'Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire'

According to early reviews, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire has revealed Mariah Carey to be not only a legitimate actress (somehow that didn't come across in Glitter) but a fucking cinematic miracle. In 2009's Sundance darling, Carey plays a social worker tending to Precious, a morbidly obese teen who's been ignored, abused, and/or raped by just about everyone she's ever met. Also starring Mo'Nique as the evil mom and Lenny Kravitz as someone else. Opens Nov 20. LW

'Sherlock Holmes'

Yeah, Guy Ritchie might be the worst director ever. But it seems ever-so-slightly possible that the powers of Sir Robert Downey Jr. and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and foggy Londontown might combine to form something supremely entertaining in Sherlock Holmes, right when we're mired in the usual crop of December Oscar-bait Holocaust weepies. Anyway, Downey is great to watch even in spectacular train wrecks, and Sherlock Holmes might be a spectacular train wreck. And Jude Law is Watson! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Opens Dec 25. LW

'Shutter Island'

The release of Martin Scorsese's woooooo-mental-hospitals-are-scaaaaaary thriller got pushed back from October to February—never a good sign. That's what happens to stinkers. But guess what? Nothing the fuck else will be opening in the bleak midwinter, so you might as well go watch crazy people chase Leonardo DiCaprio around a haunted island. Also, question: I get that they're sometimes unsettling, but why is it still okay to say that mentally ill people will kill you and that their favorite food is the fingernails of the pure at heart? Don't they mind? Opens Feb 19. LW


David Byrne

It's heartbreaking, really, all the celebrities who try to be omni-talented. We have singers who want to be movie stars, movie stars who want to be musicians, rappers who want to be fashion designers, chefs who want to be writers and TV personalities. David Byrne is one of the rare few who succeed—he's made great, bizarre movies (True Stories) and written great, bizarre books (The New Sins). Now he's touring to support his new book, Bicycle Diaries, about his long life cycling in cities around the world. And he's coming to Town Hall this month to talk about it. Sept 22. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 624-6600. BK

Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie reads in Seattle a whole lot, but this is a special one: Tonight, last year's Stranger Literature Genius debuts War Dances, his newest collection of short stories. War Dances sees Alexie trying out some of his most ambitious fiction yet—characters range from children of politicians to clothing-store owners to, um, famous Native American authors. Expect to see Alexie read with even more of his trademark actorly skill: He always brings a little extra kick to the performance when he's reading new material. Oct 6. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 624-6600. PC

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is touring to promote her new sci-fi novel, The Year of the Flood, and the famously book-tour-averse author has directed her considerable intellect toward reinventing the stodgy concept of a reading. Her Flood tour will feature a staged reading from the book with three actors, a choir, and Atwood narrating the proceedings. This reading/theater hybrid is just the kind of thing that readings need more of: drama, atmosphere, and wild experimentation. It'll be worth showing up just to see if the damned thing works. Oct 7. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 624-6600. PC

David Owen

You always suspected that living in the city was smarter than not living in the city, and now you know for sure. David Owen is the author of a stunning 2004 New Yorker article that proved cities are more environmentally sound than rural communities. He's finally expanded on that premise with his new book, Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability. This is your chance to quantitatively justify your nagging feelings of superiority over those God-fearin', gun-lovin', fear-lovin' country folk who keep dumbing down America's political dialogue. Oct 8. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 634-3400. PC

Christos Papadimitriou

The biggest reading week of 2009 caps off with a unique book by a brilliant author. Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth is a comic book about the life and ideas of Bertrand Russell, the mathematician/philosopher best known for his book A History of Western Philosophy. Like its subject, the book is daring, innovative, and intelligent, and Christos Papadimitriou, a professor and author of computer-science textbooks, as well as a former rock musician and Bill Gates study-buddy, should make for an intriguing conversationalist. Oct 9. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 634-3400. PC

Sarah Vowell

Exactly one year ago today, Sarah Vowell read in Seattle from her newest book about the Mayflower, The Wordy Shipmates. Here's what I wrote then: "Don't even get me started on Sarah Vowell. You've got a writer who's hilarious and is fascinated by great assassinations in American history? It's like God decided to make a perfect human being and give her a book deal." Shipmates, now freshly out in paperback, proved a more serious book than Vowell's previous efforts, but she's still the funniest—and swoon-worthiest—author to come to town this fall. Oct 13. University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400. PC

Truth or Dare

Hugo House kicks off its flagship literary series with something familiar and something new. Rebecca Brown (whose essay collection American Romances could be the best book by a Seattle author) reads new work on the theme of "Truth or Dare" here tonight. She'll be joined by poet Eric McHenry and playwright (and Sgt. Rigsby & His Amazing Silhouettes cofounder) Keri Healey. Capitol Hill's own Macklemore is participating in the challenge. Hiphop makes for a natural fit with a literary event, and Macklemore's performance should give Brown a run for her money. Oct 23. Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 322-7030. BK

Jeff VanderMeer with Cat Rambo

In the fall, literary books take center stage—but with this dual reading, all you sci-fi nerds get to take sweet revenge. The delightfully named Cat Rambo reads from her new collection of short stories, Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight, in which mermaids and dryads butt heads with tourists and urban development. And Jeff VanderMeer's Finch, about a detective who becomes the point man for a revolution in a fantastical city controlled by subterranean overlords, looks to be one of the most interesting sci-fi releases of the autumn. Nov 4. University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400. PC

Al Gore

We all let Al Gore down when we didn't riot in the streets after the 2000-election debacle. Maybe we weren't ready for his kind of brainy leadership at the time, but we've finally come around to his way of thinking. Our Choice, his follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth, looks beyond the gloom and doom of climate change to reconceptualize the green economy for the next decade and beyond. Gore can't help being a tragic American figure, but he's turned that disappointment into a mandate to save the world. We're not worthy. Nov 17. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 634-3400. PC

Richard Price

Richard Price would already be acclaimed as the author of such phenomenal crime thrillers as Clockers and Freedomland, but he also wrote several episodes of Serious Competitor for Best TV Show Ever, The Wire. Tonight, Price will talk about his experiences writing for the HBO drama and discuss how he transformed a career as an acclaimed novelist into a career as an acclaimed television writer. He will also screen an episode of The Wire that he wrote and discuss what the process of filming was like. Nov 30. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 344-5275. PC


Grand Archives

Led by former Band of Horses/Carissa's Wierd guitarist and vocalist Mat Brooke, Grand Archives put a Northwestern spin on the hushed, pretty pop used by England's Sarah Records to charm sensitive aesthetes in the late '80s and early '90s (go YouTube the Field Mice). Gossamer-light instrumentation and Brooke's feathery falsetto buoy well-crafted songs that seem to waft effortlessly and incongruously out of these manly men of Seattle. This show celebrates the release of Grand Archives' sophomore full-length for Sub Pop, Keep in Mind Frankenstein, whose winsome understatement cannot be overstated. Sept 24. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave, 441-7416. DAVE SEGAL

Decibel Festival

Decibel, now in its sixth year, is the Northwest's premier electronic-music festival, attracting performers and partyers from around the globe for a long weekend of the finest in 21st-century audio-visual stimulation. This year, the festival's live performances expand to new venues, including the Olympic Sculpture Park and (ahem) a "motherfucking boat" as well as traditional clubs. Artists appearing this year include dub legend Mad Professor, BBC DJ Mary Anne Hobbs, Teutonic techno rockers/jokers Alter Ego, and more next-big-thing dubstep than you can shake a white label at. Do it right and your Monday morning is pretty well fucked. Sept 24–27. Various venues, Eric Grandy

Escalator Fest

Seattle finally gets the psych-rock festival it deserves, thanks to the local Portable Shrines collective. Escalator Fest promises to be a consciousness-raising experience of multimedia expansiveness, featuring several of the city's top head-music bands (Kinski, Midday Veil, Treetarantula, Backward Masks, among others) along with some crucial outsiders (Wooden Shjips, Jackie-O Motherfucker, Eternal Tapestry, Lumerians, Cloaks, Purple Rhinestone Eagle). For too long, psychedelic music has been marginalized and underacknowledged by local media. Escalator should go a long way toward enlightening minds that could use it, as well as satisfying true believers. Sept 25–26. Lo-Fi and Vera Project, DS

Bob Dylan

It would take you the rest of your life to read all of the words written about chameleonic folk-rock legend Bob Dylan. His music and life have become cottage industries for filmmakers, biographers, scholars, and rock critics. With so much reverence thrown his way, Dylan could easily coast on his laurels and become a croaking, strumming museum piece. Instead, he chooses to tour incessantly like a young buck with something to prove, while onstage he whimsically—sometimes perversely—changes familiar elements in beloved songs from his classics-laden canon. Mavericky! Oct 5. WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave S, 628-0888. DS

Why?, Mt. Eerie, No Kids

Why? frontman Yoni Wolf is one of the best lyricists in indie rock or anywhere else: a tongue-tying fast-talker who twists hiphop cadences and tightly wound couplets to his own compellingly morbid, hyper-self-conscious ends. His band's latest, Eskimo Snow, was culled from the same recording sessions that produced 2007's Alopecia, but its songs are sentimental rather than sly, more rock and less rap, instrumentally looser and more live. Mt. Eerie is the ongoing project of the Microphones' equally existentially concerned (though slightly more solaced) Phil Elverum; No Kids are a delightful chamber-pop trio from Canada. Any two of these acts would be a fine show; all three together is just phenomenal. Oct 14. Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. EG

The Cave Singers

Pete Quirk's quirky timbre is the most distinctive element in the Cave Singers' sinister, feel-good folk rock. For some it may be a nasally deal breaker, but Quirk's bray bears a brio that lends the Seattle trio's rambling shuffles, fire-and-brimstone rockers, and stark, haunted ballads a skewed sort of soul. Oct 17. Neumos, 925 E Pike St, 709-9442. DS


Gossip's major-label debut, Music for Men, may not be their greatest (credible arguments could be made for Movement or Standing in the Way of Control), but the band has never been anything less than a total fucking riot live. Hannah Blilie is a fluid and funky drummer, Brace Pain is a serial killer of stripped-down guitars, and Beth Ditto is voice incarnate, belting out the punk soul with grace and force. Gossip were the Northwest's before they were the world's, and every show around these parts feels a little bit like a triumphant homecoming. Oct 23. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. EG

Ghostface Killah

Consensus opinion elevates Ghost-face Killah to the summit of the Wu-Tang Clan's satellite-franchise operators. We won't quibble with that assessment. Ghost's solo records—which feature many of his Wu cohorts, of course—display an unerring eye for compelling lyrical detail (particularly food/drug metaphors/similes) and a keen ear for creamy and gritty soul samples/hooks that nestle indelibly in your noggin. Supreme Clientele remains a pinnacle in the Wu solo-artist pantheon. Ghost's forthcoming LP, Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry, reportedly will be heavily informed by R&B, so expect much of that flavor at this show. Oct 24. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. DS

The Mountain Goats,

Final Fantasy

Each track on the Mountain Goats' new album, The Life of the World to Come (out October 6), is named after a Bible verse. So, for instance, a song about breaking into the house where you used to live is called "Genesis 3:23" ("So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden..."). Frontman John Darnielle's songs are simple, stately things (mostly guitar and piano) that emphasize his keen lyrics about the good and the bad that people do to each other. Final Fantasy is the absurdly ambitious and appropriately fantastical chamber pop project of Arcade Fire touring alum Owen Pallett. Nov 10. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. EG


Pixies—one of the finest indie-rock bands of the late-'80s/early-'90s—are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their finest album, Doolittle, by performing it in its entirety on tour, along with associated B-sides and rarities. The recent trend of reunited or veteran bands reciting their epochal albums start to finish has been done to death, and not every album deserves such treatment, but Doolittle should still, after all this time, sear your face right off. You'd be a fool to miss this. Nov 12–13. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 682-1414. EG

Built to Spill

Every time Built to Spill come to town, I think, "Oh, it's just Built to Spill—they're good, I guess, but, you know, no biggie." And then every time I see them unfurl a set of their joyriding pop anthems, wide-eyed ballads, and classic rocking, smoked-out guitar hero jams, I'm reminded that Built to Spill are totally a biggie. No fucking duh, right? Their fan-selected set at this summer's Capitol Hill Block Party was a perfect reminder, an almost no-filler block of untouchably great songs performed by a band that can bat them out with their eyes closed in bliss. Nov 19–20. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. EG recommended