The beloved venue and bar is back! Itll fill the cavernous husk Barça left behind on Capitol Hill.
The beloved cafe, bar, and venue is back and ready to open in grand fashion, or at least as grand a fashion as COVID allows. It'll fill the big hole Barça left behind on Capitol Hill. Cafe Racer


THURSDAY THROUGH SUNDAY: MS. PAK-MAN...BREAKOUT!

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How did Ms. Pak-Man make it through the last year and a half? Well, she’s a survivor. And with all the pharmaceuticals in her life, she’s bound to have gotten a couple of vaccinations in there at some point. Scott Shoemaker’s weird campy comedy show, which was originally scheduled to debut back in the spring of 2020, is finally back for an all-new run at the Century Ballroom (RIP to her previous home, Rebar). Expect some singing, some dancing, and some tragic monologues that culminate (if the past is any guide) in a darkly funny triumph. Where else are you going to get nerdy celebrity gossip about your favorite 1980s video game characters, all accompanied by backup dancers? MATT BAUME

Ms. Pak-Man: Breakout! runs Thursday through Sunday, with showtimes at 8 pm on Thursday, at 7 and 9:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, and at 8 pm on Sunday. Tickets start at $28, and you can find them here.


THURSDAY: JOURNALIST SUCHITRA VIJAYAN READS FROM MIDNIGHT'S BORDERS: A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF MODERN INDIA

As Indian prime minister Narendra Modi continues his attempt to transform the world's largest democracy into a Hindu nationalist enterprise ruled by right-wing politics (man, authoritarianism is really getting around, isn't it?), journalist and lawyer Suchitra Vijayan is out with her people's history of the modern country. To write Midnight’s Borders, Vijayan took seven years to travel the 9,000 miles of India's borderlands, photographing and recording accounts of lives lived in those often heavily militarized regions. The level of terror and oppression that follows these people reveals the daily devastations and indignities wrought by distant imperialists and raging nationalists. "These stories are likely to haunt a reader long after the reading is done," Bhupinder Brar wrote for The Tribune. RICH SMITH

Town Hall Seattle will host a virtual reading with Vijayan on Thursday, September 9 at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $5, and you can find them here.


FRIDAY: BIKE AND DANCE PARTY 12

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Bike a little, dance a little, get back on your bike, get off and dance — ah, the cosmic ballet of the universe. This weekend’s Bike & Dance party (the twelfth installment in a series) returns to the U District with wheels and tunes. Meet up at Red Square at 7 pm, then roll out for a fun, low-pressure ride around the neighborhood, stopping to dance at a couple of locations. Costumes are encouraged, as are masks — though neither is required. Rides like these are a great way to build confidence as a city cyclist; when I was new to getting around on two wheels, years ago, it was a series of bike-and-dance Critical Masses that helped me overcome my nerves. At the very least, events like these helped me overcome my nerves about biking around a city — I’m still anxious about everything else in life. MATT BAUME

Bike and Dance Party 12 happens Friday, September 10. The meet-up at Red Square is at 7 pm, and then it’s scheduled to go until 1 am, though that seems a LITTLE ambitious.


FRIDAY THROUGH JANUARY 2022: VAN GOGH: THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE AT A SECRET LOCATION?

This is certainly a way to engage with art!
This is certainly a way to engage with art! COURTESY OF VAN GOGH EXPO

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is one of two immersive Van Gogh exhibitions coming to the Seattle area this fall. The other—Imagine Van Gogh, the Original Immersive Exhibition in Image Totale©—will hit Tacoma in December. Yes, the names are similar. No, the exhibitions aren't the same. Yes, this is confusing as fuck. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of the differences between the traveling shows (and determine whether or not it's a scam), I wrote a handy guide for you here. But starting on Friday, you have the chance to judge Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience for yourself when it opens in a still-secret location somewhere in the Pike/Pike corridor.

Run by European "edutainment" company Education Hub since 2017, this immersive exhibition promises a "360-degree digital show" and a "one-of-a-kind VR experience." They say you will "feel the shift in reality as you dive deep into the world created by Van Gogh's brush strokes" during your 60-75 minute all ages tour. Fine! If this is what it takes for people to engage with art, then we are in a pretty desperate place. The hype (and ubiquitous online advertising) for this exhibition has caused the next three months to sell out. So if you'd like a ticket to the show, go ahead and snag one for December or January. JASMYNE KEIMIG

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience opens on Friday, September 10 and runs through January 2022. Get your tickets here.


EVERY DAY BUT SUNDAY: VISIT ONE OF THE STARS OF THE SUMMER ON THE AVE, KAI'S BISTRO & LOUNGE

Right next to the new University Station, which opens on October 2, is a relatively new Thai restaurant, Kai's Bistro and Lounge, in a space that has for many years seemed cursed. Several business opened, tried, and died here on the ground floor of a two-story brick building. But all of these efforts were, if truth be told, unmemorable. Kai's, however, is the real deal. The food is good and comparatively affordable. The establishment also has an outdoor seating situation that provides excellent Ave-people watching. My favorite dish here is the Grilled Beef Salad, which is rich with fresh veggies and fatty pieces of meat. Summer on the Ave, a pro-urban program that counts Kai's as one of its participants, provided the city with a view of what the future could be if we privileged pedestrians. CHARLES MUDEDE

Eat outdoors at Kai Bistro & Lounge


SATURDAY: THE REBIRTH OF CAFE RACER ON CAPITOL HILL

This is how the universe works sometimes. First, something bad happens; then something good happens. In the case of the space with the address 510 11th Ave, the bad thing was the closing of a much-loved and cavernous Barça. It was one of the first bars to completely do away with food and focus on drinking. Its foodlessness and many excellent bartenders made it cool. Then the pandemic killed this wonderful place, and all seemed lost. Then the people at Cafe Racer, another much-loved business that seemed to be in the dark region of pandemic extinction, announced they would open not in their old location on Roosevelt Way, but rather in the one formerly occupied by Barça. This was an obvious example of something good happening in the universe. The new Cafe Racer opens on Saturday, September 11. (And, yes, we will never forget that date as the day the CIA orchestrated a very bloody coup in Chile in 1973.) Velvet Q, Taylar Elizza Beth, Moroccan Dog, Mt Fog and DJ Marvelette will play music. CHARLES MUDEDE

Support The Stranger

The Grand Opening of Cafe Racer starts at 8 pm on Saturday, September 11. Under 21 tickets cost $5, and general admission tickets cost $12. Find the tickets here.

SATURDAY: SHORT RUN BOOK LAUNCH AT FANTAGRAPHICS

One of the many things I still yearn for from the pre-pandemic times is Short Run Comix & Art Festival. I loved cramming into Fisher Pavilion with other weirdo comics enthusiasts and perusing the zines, stickers, prints, badges, and posters lovingly handcrafted by artists both near and far. It's an experience that feels distant but necessary to getting Seattle back to some sort of "normal." Though the fest’s 10th anniversary passed by last year, Short Run organizers still wanted a way to celebrate a decade of weird, wild comix fun.

Dropping on Saturday and designed by Paper Press Punch's Jessica Hoffman, Short Run will present a new book to the masses, Decade: 10 Years of Short Run Comix & Arts Festival. The editors try to replicate the experience of going to the festival by stuffing the book with pictures, essays, and doodles from artists associated with the festival. Think of it as a big yearbook of much of the Seattle comics scene. For the release party at Fantagraphics, you can pick up a copy of Decade as well as look through posters from festivals past, prints, and other Short Run ephemera. I'll have more on this later, but the book is so cute! JASMYNE KEIMIG

The release party for Decade: 10 Years of Short Run Comix & Arts Festival goes down at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery on Saturday, September 11 from 5 to 8 pm. The art show will be on view through October 7.


SATURDAY THROUGH SUNDAY: ODD PLANT SALE

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Take a break from cruising in the underbrush at Volunteer Park and indulge your green thumb at the Conservatory’s biggest fundraiser of the year. They’re teaming up with the Cascade Cactus and Succulent Society to bring you some particularly hardy plants, suitable for all living situations, including a handful of rare and exotic varieties. Experts will be on hand to help you find the plant you’re least likely to kill, or an “unusual species” that will trick all of your house guests into thinking you’re interesting. It's a much better method than simply uprooting whatever flora you happen to find while trawling for anonymous hookups behind the art museum. MATT BAUME

The Odd Plant Sale runs Saturday, September 11 from 9 am to 4 pm and Sunday, September 12 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Volunteer Park Conservatory. The event is free to browse, but register here if you'd like.

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