THROUGH AUGUST 15: BLACK REFRACTIONS: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STUDIO MUSEUM IN HARLEM AT THE FRYE ART MUSEUM
Right NOW is one of the best moments to see Black art in Seattle. A new show at the Frye, Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem, truly blessed our city. It features works by almost eighty artists over the past century from the collection of the Studio Museum, a vaunted institution that has been the conduit for many influential Black artists across several generations. The exhibition, separated into six sections, presents glittery bejeweled paintings by Mickalene Thomas, which loom over Wangechi Mutu's mythical nguva sculpture. Elizabeth Catlett's mahogany wood carving of a mother and child is next to a gallery devoted to Black abstract painters. Lorraine O'Grady's Sister IV diptych is featured in the same room as Beauford Delaney's Portrait of a Young Musician. It's a sprawling and cosmic show that must be soaked in IRL to be appreciated. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem is up at the Frye Art Museum until August 15. Reserve your (free) timed tickets here.
A BOOK RECOMMENDATION: CARLO ROVELLI'S HELGOLAND
The future may well recognize Benedict Cumberbatch's (or, put another way, Doctor Strange's) greatest contribution to culture as a whole to be his reading of The Order of Time, a book by the Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli. (There is nothing worse than a book that's read badly, and nothing greater than a book that's read beautifully.) Rovelli, who is a proponent of a school of physics that sees the unification of the really large (general relativity) and the really small (quantum mechanics) in an idea that sees space and time as essential granular (made of grain-like things). This theory is called loop quantum gravity. It is one of the three leading programs in physics in the hunt for the equation that explains everything. Rovelli however began his search in his early 30s. He is now in his mid-60s, and during that time (youngish man to oldish man), not much progress has been made toward the unification of the two major regions of reality. His new book, Helgoland: Making Sense of the Quantum Revolution, which I rate as his best work so far, implicitly recognizes this failure, but, also, implicitly recognizes that now is the time to return not so much to the drawing board of physics, but that of philosophy. Rovelli's deep understanding is that the break of his profession with philosophy (the art of speculation) may have dried up one of its important resources. Read the book. It's not long or hard to understand. Rovelli is one of the giants of our times. CHARLES MUDEDE
Carlo Rovelli's Helgoland is available at Elliot Bay Book Company and other local bookstores.
OPENING THURSDAY: LIONEL VANCE'S HARD WOOD AT THE FACTORY
For Seattle's Queer Art Walk, painter Lionel Vance will present a suite of new works at The Factory in his solo show, HARD WOOD. In this exhibition, the recent Cornish grad covers the comfort that blossoms out of queer companionship. He fixates on the items that decorate (or litter) the corners and floors of intimate spaces like bedrooms or artist studios. In his collage-like paintings, you might spot chalk ink pens, a shared tee shirt, bits of painter's tape, a Soft Sounds From Another Planet record, a bright edge of a rug, a photobooth photo strip taken with his partner. These things are just that—things—but also the stuffing that makes up an identity, offering a glimpse into Vance's world and home space. A warning: This show is blink-and-you-miss-it—it's only up until Sunday, so be sure to swing through on Thursday's art walk or steal away some time to see it this weekend. Vance's work is the perfect complement to the clear skies we've been having. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Lionel Vance's HARD WOOD will open to the public in The Kitchen at Museum of Museums on June 10, from 5 - 10 PM, and will be on view for museum guests through June 13. Reserve your tickets here.
FRIDAY: A K-POP DANCE PARTY AT UW
K-Pop right now is like email in 1992, in that one minute I’d heard about it and didn’t know what it was, and the next minute I couldn’t imagine my life without it. (Also, I’m never sure what the rules are about hyphenating it.) One of the most delightful aspects of the fandom are the informal dance parties wherein a bunch of folks gather for an hour to show off the choreography that they learned by watching music videos. It is absolutely the most charming, exuberant, and wonderfully dorky party you will ever attend: A big crowd of happy revelers, many of them total strangers, all of whom speak the same physical language of hip pops, neck snaps, and that wild rising-up move that Infinite does in BTD. This particular party is hosted by UW’s first/only K-Pop dance company, and will be held outdoors with social distancing to keep everyone safe. (Bring a mask.) So far the most popular song requests are Dreamcatcher’s Odd Eye; fromis_9’s We Go, and Rollin’ by Brave Girls (who’s bringing the stools???), so practice your choreo now and get ready to wow ‘em. MATT BAUME
This K-Pop Dance Party is from 4 to 5 PM this Friday in UW's Red Square.
FRIDAY: ROBERT LASHLEY'S BOOK LAUNCH
Hilltop's poet returns with Green River Valley, a new collection of poems that chronicle and celebrate and condemn and redeem and otherwise fully inhabit the lives of people who walk that old Duwamish valley. Lashley's poems read like a high modernist looking out the window in Tacoma, like Tolson on a stroll. But of course Lashley's blend of mystic-seer and Tacoma brogue gospel is all his own. In "Hillside Terrace Memorial Commencement Poem," for instance, a "Double Dutch crew" flies "past the block’s starless air," and past the hill "where the adults left are men, / the men left are boys / and the children were already dead / before new buildings got sided." He speaks of the land "where emcees pose then pop their white collars / then make mixes from bones to Milly rock to / where reenactors troll and patrol / then Crip waltz for imagined lands." The whole book is that good, and every persona in it—including the writer's—is that complex. Though his skills on the page remain sharp as ever, the real treat is hearing him give voice to these poems. In an email Lashley assured me that he's "finally gotten good at reading on Zoom, but shit is still different." RICH SMITH
The reading will start at 7 pm on Friday, June 11. Register for the Zoom link by shooting an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
FRIDAY: BLACK PANTHER DRIVE-IN MOVIE
The best Marvel film is, and please feel free to @ me on this because I know I’m right, Black Panther. Not a single dud of a scene, all the way through, and that music! The costumes!!! ANGELA BASSETT!!! What a joy. Delightfully, Stone House Cafe will show the film at their Drive-In Movie Night, with tickets at a relatively affordable price point for a big-screen experience: $15 per person, with a $60 minimum per car. Oh, yes, about that … you have to have a car to watch the movie. “We cannot allow outside seating,” say Stone House’s rules. That’s not great — you should be able to go to a movie without having to buy a vehicle, for crying out loud, and it sure does seem like people would be a safe distance apart if they were allowed to put down picnic blankets in the parking spaces. UGH, sorry, I just hate cars so much. But I love Black Panther and local businesses, so what’s to be done? For now, go enjoy the movie and the very good food and drink at Stone House, and then dream of a city of the future. MATT BAUME
SATURDAY: SECRET COMEDY
On Saturday, there's going to be a comedy show in a secret location. All we know is that it's at 8 PM and in Columbia City. Who will perform? Where will it be? You'll have to grab tickets to find out. The show—Don't Tell Seattle—is put on by Don't Tell Comedy, a nationwide network of comedians and comedy lovers that hosts mystery pop-up shows in cities across the country. Seattle is their next target. After the first show this Saturday, the group hopes to have shows every week in Seattle by the end of July, a spokesperson told me. So many mystery locations to unlock.
If you decide to take the leap of faith, you won't know where this weekend's show is until noon on Saturday. Does anyone have any guess for the venue? The only hint I have based on the event description is that there will be drinks available and you can bring outside food to eat. Judging from pictures of other events, the show could be anywhere from a random backyard to underneath the marquee of a theater. I love the suspense. Part of the magic to something like this too is that I can't pre-judge the event by its line-up or venue, the things that might normally make me drag my feet and not buy a ticket. Don't Tell Comedy is purely trusting in the process. NATHALIE GRAHAM
It's a mystery!
MONDAY: THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF JUNETEENTH: ANNETTE GORDON-REED WITH MARCUS HARRISON GREEN
I've become a fan of South Seattle Emerald publisher and editor Marcus Harrison Green. Take, for instance, his recent column in the Seattle Times on tennis star Naomi Osaka, mental health, and pernicious suicidal thoughts, with its line: "All you can do is wait for the poetry to return inside of you, supplanting the stubborn emptiness that’s there." Or any of his recent appearances on the radio. Or the South Seattle Emerald on all days of the week. Green repeatedly embarks on the challenging project of being vulnerable in public, and he does it with calm precision. This coming Monday, he'll appear in conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author Annette Gordon-Reed through Town Hall Seattle to discuss her brand new book On Juneteenth. Co-presented by Seattle's NW African American Museum, the $5 event will set the tone for a week dedicated to Juneteenth, a time and space where, as Gordon-Reed writes, we can ask ourselves if we really know what we're celebrating. CHASE BURNS
This virtual event starts Monday at 7:30 PM. Pick up your tickets here.
TUESDAY: STREETWISE AND TINY GET A NEW FANCY DVD/BLU-RAY RELEASE
Streetwise is an essential documentary, but it's especially essential if you call Seattle home. Set around downtown Seattle in the early 1980s, a team of filmmakers (including director Martin Bell, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and journalist Cheryl McCall) profile runaway teens who live on the margins of Seattle's streets. The team specifically focuses on Tiny, a perceptive, sweet, and strong girl who survives through sex work, and they dedicate a follow-up documentary (Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell) to her thirty years after Streetwise's release. Both of these docs are available on Criterion Channel at the moment, and starting this coming Tuesday, they'll have a glorious Criterion release devoted to them. Fans will get treated to a new restoration and master of the films, as well as additional essays and commentaries. If you still haven't managed to watch these, this week's your week. CHASE BURNS
The two films are available to stream on Criterion Channel and release on DVD and Blu-ray this coming Tuesday.