ALICE WHEELER/SEATTLE ART MUSEUM

This list is the best of what's coming. Unless somebody dies. Or falls off the stage. Or just has a shitty day. What can we say? Sue us if you don't end up liking this stuff. TRY IT, BITCHEZ.

Visual Art

Tim Rollins and Angel Abreu

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Tim Rollins is a gay, white conceptual artist who, in the 1980s, went into a South Bronx public school and began the lifelong project of making art with kids whom everybody else had already given up on—mostly macho black and Latino guys, including Angel Abreu. What surprised everybody was how good the art turned out to be, and how strong and enduring the bond was between students (who called themselves Kids of Survival) and teacher. What the hell was it really like in there? It'll be standing room only at this talk with Rollins and Abreu, who lived in Seattle for a while after leaving the Bronx. Once a Kid of Survival, always a Kid of Survival. March 18, Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, 622-9250, 7 pm, free but call to reserve tickets. JEN GRAVES

The Whole Cremaster Cycle

Matthew Barney's Wagneresque, five-limbed monster of movies named after the muscle that controls the descent of the testes—hey! It's your cremaster!—represents the ultimate in art-filmmaking masturbation by Björk's babydaddy. But they are super-purty, and they have crazy-sublime moments involving bees and molded Vaseline and heavy-metal drumming and the Chrysler Building and white vinyl interiors and gagged, bloody mouth wounds. Nobody (but nobody) has really seen them all, since they're not available on DVD. Their combined running time—and SIFF Cinema is throwing in De Lama Lamina, Barney's 45-minute, 2004 movie focused on "biomechanical erotica"—is 420 minutes. Seven hours. The Ring operas go 17 hours; Wagner whups Barney. April 9–15, SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St, 633-7151. JG

Heather and Ivan Morison

In the middle of a park in Bristol, England, artists Heather and Ivan Morison organized a barn raising as a public artwork. Except that sounds nice and old-timey while the barn in question was called Black Cloud, was made of scorched-black wood, and hosted such events as a discussion with scientists, theorists, and fiction writers called "How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years." What they'll do during their residency in Bellevue is still up in the air, but it will involve them building—and inviting others to join them in building—a giant sculpture made of trees recently cut down in a development by the same company that owns this contemporary art space. Awkward? Fucking weird? Expect oddity. April 28–June 12, Open Satellite, 989 112th Ave NE, Suite 102, Bellevue, 425-454-7355, free. JG

Blank Signs

The funny thing about art is how much it wants to speak without saying anything directly. Say something directly, and it's not art. Blank Signs, the group show at Western Bridge, is related to this condition: "Built around work that creates conditions for communication while omitting, obscuring, or leaving open the content of that communication," says director Eric Fredericksen. The artists are a hot international lineup, as usual. The failure to communicate should be immense. May 8–July 31, Western Bridge, 3412 Fourth Ave S, 838-7444, free. JG

Kurt

This is the highest-stakes game in town this season: A ballsy move to make an exhibition in Seattle of contemporary art based on Kurt Cobain, by artists from around the world and right here. Curator Michael Darling has been in Seattle only a couple of years and he throws it down: Who's afraid of Kurt Cobain? He's the one who organized the big, messy, inspiring Target Practice: Painting Under Attack 1949–78 at Seattle Art Museum last year. Let's see what he does with the rock star from Aberdeen. May 13–Sept 6, Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 654-3100, $15 suggested. JG

Into the Void: The Battle of the Martyr as Told by Ingres

Rob Davis and Mike Langlois met at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and they made this wild show of paintings first for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; now it's coming to James Harris Gallery in Pioneer Square. Check out this description: "Davis/Langlois conceived Into the Void as a meta-fable narrated by a resurrected Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres [the French neoclassical painter]. The story features Iman, a 15-year-old Palestinian American, as she contemplates the plight of Suquamish leader Chief Seattle, who is forced to relinquish his sacred land, to the tune of Black Sabbath and the howls of Soundgarden." YEAH. May 20–June 19, James Harris Gallery, 312 Second Ave S, 903-6220, free. JG

Powhida

Turn your gallery over to William Powhida and anything might happen. The last place that did it, in New York, wrote this press release: "Winkleman Gallery is slightly nervouspleased to present..." It was a month of a million events: gallerina performances, panels dissecting the art world and mocking its power players, art yoga, the popping of balloons by said power players, brandy, vodka, and the Tweeting of it all. This summer at Platform in Seattle, Powhida will curate a show that "likely will include work by artists who presently have no gallery representation"—but it's unclear who they'll be, where they'll be from, and whether they'll be curated by Powhida-the-Brooklyn-artist or Powhida-the-alter-ego-of-the-Brooklyn-artist. Slightly nervous feels good. June 24–July 31, Platform Gallery, 114 Third Ave S, 323-2808, free. JG

Music

Blue Scholars

Seattle hiphop populists Blue Scholars only seem to take the stage in their hometown a few times a year. The duo of MC Geologic and DJ Sabzi surf on top of the current wave of Seattle hiphop, and they make it look easy. Geo's rhymes balance Chuck D rhetorical fire with an easygoing vibe that's distinctly West Coast (or Seattle in the summertime), and his lyrics sleeplessly give it up to the 206, or, on the recent OOF! EP, to Hawaii's 808. And Sabzi's productions are impeccable: beats heavy, samples dusty, hooks deep. March 26–27, Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151, 8 pm, $16 adv/$21 DOS, all ages. ERIC GRANDY

Animal Collective's ODDSAC

Recently, experimental electronic pop band Animal Collective and director Danny Perez staged a happening, a "kinetic, psychedelic environment" that New York's Guggenheim Museum called Transverse Temporal Gyrus. There were masks and robes, glowing blobs and fans in face paint, and hours of music with no discernible songs. ODDSAC is Perez and the band's new "visual album" (aka totally trippy movie, bro!), and it's probably the closest thing you're going to get to that Gyrus this side of the Guggenheim. The film is 54 minutes of Brakhage-esque multiple exposures and quick cuts set to new music by the band—expect less Merriweather sing-along and more early AC psyched-punch freak-out. March 30, Egyptian Theatre, 805 E Pine St, 781-5755, 7 and 9 pm, $15. EG

Spoon, Deerhunter, Micachu & the Shapes

Veteran Austin band Spoon satisfy that school of fans who want rock stripped down to its bare, swaggering basics. Britt Daniel sings with the kind of sultry, lip-curling "aw c'mon" that, as some have pointed out, could make him sound cool doing something as mundane as ordering a burrito. The band hits town headlining a tour of impressive diversity, supported by the drearily psychedelic, Sonic Youth–ful noise of Deerhunter and the grimy art-school snot-rock racket of Micachu & the Shapes. Something for everyone. April 9–10, Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave, 443-1744, 6:30 pm, $27.50, all ages. EG

Public Image Ltd.

If anyone actually got the feeling they'd been cheated by the sudden onstage demise of the Sex Pistols in 1978, then John Lydon's post-Pistol project, Public Image Ltd., should have provided more than enough of a payoff. PiL embraced dub dread, safety-pinned it to punk's increasingly ratty threads, and then took it all out dancing in the newly dead discos. The band was a bastard sound clash that produced anthems every bit as enduring, if not as idiotically immediate, as the Sex Pistols—the searing, sneering art-as-commerce screeds "This Is Not a Love Song" and "Careering," that inescapable crap bass line of "Death Disco." This is their first U.S. tour in 18 years. April 20, Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151, 7 pm, $39.50 adv/$45 DOS, all ages. EG

Wolves in the Throne Room

Seattle has one of the world's foremost black-metal bands in its backyard—well, on a farm outside Olympia, anyway. Wolves in the Throne Room mine black metal for its more ambient and symphonic possibilities, stretching blasts of noise into near static and scoring ambitious songs that shift through multiple melodic passages, with feral screaming always far off in the distance. The trio also handily dispenses with the genre's more unsavory ideological tendencies (cf. Burzum), instead evincing an apocalyptically minded green-anarchist agenda that they walk as well as they talk. April 23, Neumos, 925 E Pike St, 709-9442, 8 pm, $12, 21+. EG

Liars

Los Angeles–based art-rock band Liars strike an imposing figure onstage. Much of this is due to the sheer physical stature of lanky, scowling, stage-stalking Australian frontman Angus Andrew, but it's also an effect of their sound—an alternately droning and jarring take on rock music that shifts from relentless, jaw-clenched amphetamine riffing to spooked séance chants to unlikely, upset dance rhythms. Their latest album, Sisterworld, adds orchestral touches (such as a seasick cello) to the band's established mess of percussion, guitars, and samplers. Far from a mellowing influence, it only makes things more sinister. Expect Liars to put the Mayday back in your May Day. May 1, Neumos, 925 E Pike St, 709-9442, 8 pm, $15, 21+. EG

Support The Stranger

Los Campesinos!

"Welsh indie pop septet" is perhaps not a phrase you use very often—but it should be. That's because, beyond fitting that description, Los Campesinos! are the most giddy, thrilling, morbid, and romantic rock act going today, and you should be spreading the word. They walk a tightrope between gothic and twee, and their latest album, Romance Is Boring, finds them leaning toward the former, though with tongues still firmly in cheek. The music is an increasingly acrid fizz of bass, drums, and guitar, but also violin, keys, and brass, with singer Gareth Campesinos! spitting out cute and cutting epigrams faster than he can catch his breath. And they're fucking fantastic live. May 4, Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151, 8 pm, $17.50 adv/$20 DOS, all ages. EG

Sasquatch!

Yeah, we know—the drive, the camping, the $28 beers. But this year's Sasquatch! Festival boasts the best lineup of the event's history, anchored by the long-anticipated reunion of 1990s indie-rock icons Pavement. Also playing: smart, heartfelt dance/rock powerhouse LCD Soundsystem, one of the best live bands going; the archly preppy, Afropop-inflected indie rock of Vampire Weekend; the equally Afro-influenced (and Ivy League educated) but far more disjointed avant pop of Dirty Projecters; triphop pioneers Massive Attack; polymath pranksters Ween; sprawling Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene; the intimate electro pop of the xx; and on and on and on. The most good music in 72 hours you're going to get this season. May 29–31, Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Road NW, George, www.ticket master.com, $70–$86/day, all ages. EG

Books

Sam Lipsyte

With Home Land, Sam Lipsyte became the funniest living American fiction author. His new novel, The Ask, is just as funny and twice as affecting. After unleashing an unprintable tirade on a student, a tiny university's development officer finds his job in danger unless he can get an old friend—now a tech mogul—to donate a disgusting amount of money to his school. Home Land made you laugh until your sides hurt. The Ask's beautifully written comedic tragedy makes you laugh, punches out your heart, and makes you fall in love with language all over again. March 25, Neptune Coffee, 8415 Greenwood Ave N, 634-3400, 7 pm, free. PAUL CONSTANT

Frances McCue

From his namesake institution on Capitol Hill to former students like David Waggoner who still shape Seattle's poetry scene, the late Richard Hugo looms large over Northwest literature. So poet Frances McCue, a founder and former director at Hugo House, signed up for a daunting task when she decided to follow the memory of Hugo through small towns of the Northwest. As she wandered around the beautiful wrecks hidden in the mountains of Washington and Montana, she fell in love with Hugo's ghost; The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs documents their phantom relationship. April 6, University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400, 7 pm, free. PC

Elliott Bay Grand Reopening Block Party

On March 31, we'll say good-bye forever to the creaky floors and heavy stone walls of Elliott Bay Book Company's Pioneer Square location. And on April 15, Elliott Bay's new neighbors will welcome the store to its newly bustling new neighborhood on Capitol Hill, closing down 10th Avenue for book-loving pedestrians, serenading the bookstore with bands, and welcoming book lovers to their new home away from home. This will be one of those auspicious occasions when you'll remember exactly what you were doing when a new chapter began. April 15, Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600, 10 am–10 pm, free. PC

David Remnick

America's whirlwind romance with Barack Obama is still very new; we got swept up in our adoration, and now we're eyeing each other, trying to figure out what we got ourselves into. If there's any man who can help us determine who we woke up with, it's New Yorker editor David Remnick, whose The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama charts our president's ascension to power. Remnick's jeweler's eye and steady hand, when applied to that guy whose logo we all wore unquestioningly a few months back, should be revelatory. April 19, Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 652-4255, 7:30 pm, $15. PC

David Sedaris

I don't know if it's because of his best-selling books or his frequent appearances on NPR, but we had an essay contest to give away David Sedaris tickets on Slog last year, and it was a virtual stampede: gay men, lesbians, pregnant women, straight dudes, teachers, teenagers, and at least one creepy contender who seemed to fit the "none of the above" category a little too well. The point is this: Everybody loves Sedaris. He filled Benaroya Hall twice-over last year and killed on both nights. This year, he's doing a one-night-only appearance, and tickets are already going fast; join the stampede and enjoy the trampling. May 9, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 215-4747, 7 pm, $38–$47. PC

Cory Doctorow, Pillow Army

Cory Doctorow is perhaps best known for his blogging at Boing Boing, but he's also a wildly popular science-fiction author, and he's making a name for himself with informed, passionate anticopyright activism, too. He manages to combine all three things into one cohesive career: He's a literary futurist with a strong opinion about what's coming next. Doctorow will celebrate the release of his new young adult novel, Makers, with a reading, a Q&A with some douchebag named Paul Constant, and a full set of rock and roll from on-their-way-to-huge lit-minded rock band Pillow Army. May 14, Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave NW, 634-3400, 7 pm, $5. PC

Sebastian Junger

Sebastian Junger is the kind of reporter who almost never writes books anymore. Just from reading The Perfect Storm, about fishermen who wound up on the wrong end of badass weather, you can tell that Junger is a man's man from his granite jaw down to his brass balls. His newest, War, is about Junger's 15-month tour with a platoon of American soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. It's the kind of up-close, exciting, bare-knuckle journalism that Wolf Blitzer wouldn't be able to even think about without melting into a puddle of tears, and it threatens to cause America to rethink what we're doing in Afghanistan in the first place. May 27, Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 652-4255, 7:30 pm, $5. PC

Theater

Winky

The Satori Group is a bunch of young persons who were making theater in Cincinnati and decided they needed a new city. They took field trips to Austin, Chicago, and a few other places, but settled on Seattle (take that, local defeatists!). Lucky us. They're still young and a little rough around the edges—their maiden Seattle voyage, TRAGEDY: a tragedy by Will Eno, was merely good—but they're ambitious, energetic, and relentlessly interested in new work. Their latest project is Winky, based on a short story by George Saunders. Saunders picks up the torch of sweet, sad American absurdity left behind by Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, and Satori has been working on the adaptation since last year. They found a gigantic room in Pioneer Square for the show and asked avant-­puppeteer Kyle Loven (my dear Lewis) to help them create the stage effects. Promising. March 19–April 5, 619 Western Ave, 909-1725, $15. BRENDAN KILEY

The West

At their best, "Awesome"—a seven-piece, pop-rock-performance-art collective—represent the future of the American musical: moody, poppy, oblique, esoteric, and funny. (Six of their seven members were sketch comedians before they became musical-­theater pioneers.) Their shows Delaware and no­SIGNAL were superficially about mermaids, bees, suicide, more suicide, magical berries, driving in the rain, computers, and ten thousand other things, while being fundamentally about the sweetness, sadness, and stupidity of being an American (and—let's be honest—being a middle-class American male) in the 21st century. Like the best of the West, "Awesome" are iconoclastic, brave, and not ashamed to be populist: The West (about the West) could be the perfect plinth to display their many talents. April 22–25, On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888, $18. BK

Cabaret de Curiosités

I'll just say it and take the haters as they come: "Erotic" performance is an intellectually, aesthetically, and (ironically) erotically impoverished genre where people behave as if being cute/hot is a talent. Spare me your brain-dead burlesque and self-indulgent "sex-positive" slam poetry. But Cabaret de Curiosités—a performance piece starring burlesque dancers Waxie Moon, Inga Ingenue, the Shanghai Pearl, and many others—could make a convert out of me. It's written and directed by Roger Benington, the director who loaned his gale-force intellect and bravery to Washington Ensemble Theatre for its versions of Crave and God's Ear, two of the best productions at that theater. And Cabaret is being designed by Stranger Genius Jennifer Zeyl (also of Crave fame). April 30–May 2, Seattle Erotic Art Festival, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, www .seattle­erotic.org. BK

On the Nature of Dust

The first production by New Century Theatre Company—an old play, Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine—sent a shock wave through the Seattle theater world. It was superbly acted (especially by Paul Morgan Stetler and Amy Thone as Mr. and Mrs. Zero), starkly designed in black and white, and the veteran actors of NCTC brought an elegant, understated magnificence to the 1923 script. Now the company is producing its first world premiere, On the Nature of Dust by Stephanie Timm. Her plays (most recently Crumbs Are Also Bread at Washington Ensemble Theatre) are terse and sometimes perverse postmodern fables. Her emotional intelligence plus NCTC's inventive, loving staging should equal excellence. May 5–30, ACT, 700 Union St, 292-7676, $25. BK

The Thin Place

The Seattle theater world has been doing some public soul-searching about its local playwrights and why the big houses seem so disinterested in them—and now comes The Thin Place, by Sonya Schneider, only the second world premiere by a local writer in Intiman's history. The script is based on interviews with Seattle residents: a survivor of the fatal shooting at the Jewish Federation in 2006, a survivor of a reeducation camp in Vietnam, a gay political activist who grew up in South Africa under apartheid, and many others. Whatever the merits of the production, it will (for better or worse) serve as a kind of referendum on local writers in big houses. (No pressure, Sonya.) May 14–June 13, Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St, 269-1900, $25–$61. BK

Ruined

Ruined, set in a brothel and based on interviews with Congolese women who survived civil war, was built by playwright Lynn Nottage and director Kate Whoriskey. It also won last year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Whoriskey was tapped as successor to Tony Award magnet Bart Sher at the Tony Award–winning Intiman Theatre—this production will serve as a major test of that decision. July 2–Aug 8, Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St, 269-1900, $25–$61. BK

Film

Hot Tub Time Machine

John Cusack (America's boyfriend), Craig Robinson (Darryl on The Office), Rob Corddry (baldnoxious), and some pudgy man-child (whoever) hop in a ski-lodge hot tub for some man-time and are transported to 1986, because, as it turns out, the hot tub is a time machine. Hot tub time machine. Allegedly a riff on 1980s raunch comedies, so far the funniest discernible thing about Hot Tub Time Machine is its title (Hot Tub Time Machine), and the second funniest thing is Robinson—so high, so smooth, so joking like he's not joking. I love him. Let's hope the rest of the movie lives up. Opens March 26. LINDY WEST

Clash of the Titans

Do not sit there and look me in the face and act like you do not enjoy a giant sea monster fighting a warrior. Do you dislike hot babes? Are you anti-dragon? Are you weirdly emotionally attached to the original Clash of the Titans, even though that movie was pretty much nothing special? I mean, it's not like someone decided to remake Star Wars or something. Although that would be the hilariousest thing ever. Oh please oh please oh pleeease! Opens April 2. LW

My Son My Son What Have Ye Done

Hey! You got your Werner Herzog on my David Lynch! You got your David Lynch on my Werner Herzog! You got your Chloë Sevigny on my Willem Dafoe! You got your Willem Dafoe on my Sophocles! You got your matricidal Greek myth on my San Diego psychodrama! Well you got your San Diego on my ostrich farm! You got your David Lynch in my mouth! Fuck, I am just covered with Werner Herzog over here! Does anyone have a towel? Fuck. April 9–15, Northwest Film Forum. LW

Iron Man 2

Honestly, this sequel doesn't look nearly as fun as the original, which buzzed with neurotic oddball energy and unlikely heroics and a hilarious excess of Grecian Formula. Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark is, frankly, a self-aggrandizing dick, and it was fun to watch him transform—out of necessity, not nobility—into a bottom-kicking, evil-fighting robot. From the trailers, Iron Man 2 appears to be much more straightforward: just a bunch of big, invincible metal robots punching each other. It's Robert Downey Jr. as Optimus Prime. But when's the last time Downey did anything (anything!) that wasn't completely fucking delightful? THE ANSWER IS NEGATIVE ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. In other words, never. You'll see Iron Man 2 and you will like it. Opens May 7. LW

Seattle International Film Festival

Just in time for the life-affirming return of Seattle sunshine comes an irresistible excuse to sit in a dark theater and watch movies for a month. SIFF, this city's expansive annual celebration of global filmmaking, is a monumental effort—last year, it screened 392 films from 62 countries over 25 days—and one that inspires me to say corny shit like "Your passport to faraway lands!!!" and "Visit people and places you never knew existed!!!" But that's exactly what it feels like! Embrace the corn. (Also, some of it is shitty. Make sure to read our great big SIFF guide before you commit to anything.) May 20–June 13. LW

Sex and the City 2

Instead of seeing this movie, why not allow your body to be digested slowly and painfully (still conscious, btw!) by the rancid stomach acids of a very large and spiteful anaconda? Opens May 28. LW

BadMovieArt: Teen Witch

You should keep an eye on Jason Miller's BadMovieArt series (and the newly revamped and fun-injected programming at Central Cinema) year-round, but this one I'm particularly excited about. It's Teen Witch, the 1989 cult classic featuring Zelda Rubinstein, vanity-motivated witchcraft, and the most life-changingly funny dance/rap battle ever committed to film. There's nothing else like it. You must see it. May 10, Central Cinema. LW

This story has been updated since its original publication.