Every person in Seattle should see the films and photographs in Streetwise Revisited at the Central Library. Mary Ellen Mark
Our music critics have already chosen the 20 best concerts in Seattle this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn. Here are their picks for the best events in every genre—from the classic absurdist play Rhinoceros to the public art installation Leviathan Helm. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.
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MONDAY, THURSDAY-SATURDAY

THEATER & DANCE

Rhinoceros
You're probably going to spend a lot of time while watching Strawberry Theatre Workshop's production of Eugène Ionesco's classic absurdist play thinking, "Okay, but do the rhinoceroses stampeding all over this French town represent Trump supporters, or do they represent Bernie Bros, or do they represent Hillbots perfectly enacting the Democratic nominee's vagenda of manocide?" And then once you figure that out, you're going to be thinking, "All right, well, is this funny and pointed parable about the rise of the 20th century's worst -isms a critique of the idea of the state of political discourse, or a critique of incrementalism, or…?" By the end of the show, you'll think Rhinoceros is either EXACTLY the play we need to be seeing right now or EXACTLY the play we don't need to be seeing right now. RICH SMITH

MONDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Streetwise Revisited: A 30-Year Journey
In July 1983, Life magazine published a story by Cheryl McCall with photographs by Mary Ellen Mark about the place that was that year being touted as America’s most livable city: Seattle. But rather than contentment, the story, called “Streets of the Lost,” displayed a crush of homeless teenagers scraping by in the heart of downtown through prostitution, pimping, drug dealing, and whatever other hustle they could muster. Sound familiar? The unforgettable Life piece and the film that followed it, Streetwise, directed by Mark’s husband, Martin Bell, could be made today in Seattle, with only the details changed. In this era of “emergency” homelessness, as the mayor has named it, Seattle Public Library is organizing an entire season of events around what’s come from those first days of Mark and McCall roaming the streets of Seattle in 1983. There will be screenings both of Streetwise and of Bell’s new film Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell, which follows one of Streetwise’s subjects, a woman still in Seattle, still struggling 30 years on. Photographer Mark died in 2015, and her images from Streetwise remain a landmark in the history of documentary imagery. The library will exhibit about 60 of them on loan from Aperture, and host discussions about art, documentary, social disaster, and Seattle today. Every person in Seattle should see these films and photographs, and consider, despite the lasting power of the art, why things don't change. JEN GRAVES

FILM

70 mm Film Festival
Put down your phone, close your laptop, and surrender to the splendor of 70 mm cinema in the retrofuturist movie cathedral that is the Cinerama. Not much unites the films in this 10-day festival (a couple of Kubricks, a pair of PT Andersons) other than their commitment to MAGNITUDE, but several are essential viewing. I know it's an old saw, but I will say it again: Seeing a film in a darkened theater with strangers is a secular sacrament. The fact that you can't pause, talk, text, or tweet until it's over is a measure of its value. Please enjoy it while it's still available. (And if you must pick one, the answer is always Lawrence of Arabia.) SEAN NELSON

TUESDAY

COMEDY

Comedy Nest Open Mic
Comedy Womb has become Comedy Nest in the name of inclusivity, and unsurprisingly, they write that "although the name has changed the mission is still the same." The rules of this pro-lady stand-up night are refreshing in their simplicity: no misogyny, racism, homophobia, hatred, or heckling. Based on the size, quality, and diversity of the crowds it attracts, the rules work. Every Tuesday night, fans pack the Rendezvous Grotto to watch two and a half hours of comedy, about half of which is delivered by women. Having so many women onstage and in the crowd makes male comics more mindful of their sets and their audience, while reinforcing what should be obvious: Women can be just as funny (or unfunny) as men. Equality, hurrah!

TUESDAY-SATURDAY

ART

The Underground Life of Piero Heliczer
This multimedia exhibit explores the life of Beat Poet and filmmaker Piero Heliczer through film, artwork, publications, and ephemera.

TUESDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Chronicles of Solitude: Masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi
Chronicles of Solitude: Masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershoi is, as its title suggests, an exercise in old, formal European seriousness. Pale galleries are dotted with desolate paintings of stunned, claustrophobic rooms. Hammershoi chose to paint a pretty waterfront, then waited until fog covered over the water, turning the vista into a void. That's the kind of painter he was. He lived from 1864 to 1916 in Denmark, and would have us believe that this time and place was without color and noise. That Scandinavian reserve ended up becoming part of Seattle's identity, as the Scandinavian immigration to this city peaked around 1910. JG

Seattle Design Festival: 2016 Design Change
Last year, this annual two-week celebration by architects, designers, and aesthetes of "the ways design makes life better” took a turn for the radical. Per Charles Mudede: “By intersecting social justice, urban planning, ecology, and capital, [SDF 2015] transforms design into a moral issue.” Here’s hoping the 2016 theme “Design Change” builds on that transformation, to address the crises of a city in increasingly desperate need of ways to make life better. SN See the full schedule of events on our Seattle Design Festival calendar.

WEDNESDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Columbia City Farmers Market
Enjoy farmstead artisinal food, wine, beer and cider, market bites, and fresh local produce from May to October every year.

READINGS & TALKS

Lit Fix 15: The Cooling
Celebrate the changing seasons with this edition of Lit Fix, which will feature readings by local stars including Claudia Castro Luna, Joshua Mohr, Kristi Coulter, and Sonya Vatomsky, with music by Wes Weddell.

WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY

THEATER & DANCE

Choreographic Shindig
Celebrate emerging talents in dance and choreography with the annual Whim W'Him Choreographic Shindig—where the performers get to choose their choreographer. This time, see new works by Austin Diaz and Jonathan Campbell from MADBOOTS Dance in NYC, Joseph Hernandez from Germany, and Lauren Edson, a former Trey McIntyer Project dancer based in Idaho.

Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White
Stranger Genius Valerie Curtis-Newton told me over the phone that she would "crawl across glass" to produce Alice Childress's Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, a play about an interracial relationship in the Jim Crow South. Back in 2013, she directed Childress's Trouble in Mind, which former Stranger theater editor Brendan Kiley raved about in his review for the show, and directing this one will mean that, over the course of her career, Curtis-Newton will have directed all of Childress's plays. How are you not going to be there to witness that? Wedding Band serves as the bookend drama for the Intiman Theatre Festival, which has focused on plays written by black women. RS

The Winter's Tale
Seattle Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare's absorbing "problem play" The Winter's Tale, so called because of its mishmash of comedy and brutal drama.

THURSDAY

COMMUNITY & CIVICS

Local Transgender Narratives and Collective Identities
This conversation, presented in conjunction with Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects, will explore the formation of community histories and the way that memory affects personal and collective identity.

FILM

Adult Swim Drive-In
Watch "unaired [as] episodes, never before seen pilots & specials" at this one-night-only Adult Swim drive-in at CenturyLink field—plus enjoy food trucks, trivia, prizes, "and friendship."

FOOD & DRINK

Guest Chef Night with Breanna Beike
FareStart is a fantastic organization that empowers disadvantaged and homeless men and women by training them for work in the restaurant industry. Every Thursday, they host a Guest Chef Night, featuring a three-course dinner from a notable Seattle chef for just $29.95. This week FareStart welcomes Chef Breanna Beike of the Seattle Yacht Club.

READINGS & TALKS

History Cafe: Archaeology of Early Seattle
Learn about the city block near Pike Place Market that once held the remains of a 19th century shantytown from Alicia Valentino, PhD, an archaeologist with Environmental Science Associates in Seattle.

Peter Ho Davies: The Fortunes
Peter Ho Davies (The Ugliest House in the World, Equal Love, and The Welsh Girl) will read from The Fortunes. David Mitchell, the New York Times best-selling author of Cloud Atlas, wrote that the book is “a poignant, cascading four-part novel about being Asian and western, about immigrants and natives, about belonging in a country and one’s skin. It’s outstanding.”

THURSDAY-FRIDAY

FESTIVALS

Millennial Weekend Seattle
This weekend of events created by and for #millennials aims to explore the impact of "the largest generation alive," via a Millennial Town Hall (presented by Prudential) and a "StartUp Lounge" for brainstorming and networking (presented by Wells Fargo).

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Leviathan Helm
This interactive sculptural installation by Lauren Grossman will use steel, aluminum, glass, fabric, and sound to re-imagine "the observation deck as the belly of the mythical beast, one that swallows up humans and spits them out again."

FRIDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Oktoberfest Brewer’s Kick-Off
Oktoberfest is upon us! Though many of us ignorant modern folk regard it as a somewhat tepid beer-garden thing, Oktoberfest started as an epic wedding party, celebrating the union of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese, held in Munich in 1810. It being a 19th-century wedding, they did way cooler shit than we do now. Instead of getting wasted and sucking at the Macarena, they raced horses, had tree-climbing contests, and generally ruled shit. They also feasted on delicious German food, which goes way beyond pretzels and mustard, by the way. This year, instead of paying $10 for mass-market copper lager, go to Alstadt's Oktoberfest Brewer's Kickoff party on the 16th. Chef Megan Coombes will be serving up Oktoberfest specials (like grilled whole mackerel stuffed with lemon and herbs), four local breweries (Seapine, Silver City, Chuckanut, and Alpine) will be serving up specially brewed seasonals, and you'll get to feel extra German by participating in a traditional Oktoberfest keg-tapping, featuring Butburger's very traditional Benediktiner abbey style weissbier ("The choice of the Vatican," according to Bitburger). Prost! TOBIAS COUGHLIN-BOGUE

READINGS & TALKS

Rae Armantrout
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rae Armantrout will read some of her work, including selections from her newest collection Partly: New and Selected Poems, 2001 - 2015.

Seattle StorySLAM
A live, amateur storytelling competition much like The Moth, in which audience members who put their names in a hat are randomly chosen to tell stories on a theme.

COMEDY

Princess, Ian Schuelke, and The World Extreme Pencil Fighting League
The World Extreme Pencil Fighting League, a staple of Seattle institution Re-bar, will showcase its very particular set of skills. The four-man group Princess will supply dick jokes, and Ian Schuelke will offer absurdist social commentary.

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

THEATER & DANCE

Woyzeck
Seattle Theatre Works presents Georg Büchner’s last (and unfinished) play Woyzeck, adapted and directed by Daniel Tarker. The plot is based on a real murder case, and follows the story of a soldier trying to survive—physically and mentally—while also being subjected to strange experiments.

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

COMEDY

TWE Presents Mike Epps
Mike Epps—known for his comedic performances in movies including Friday After Next and Next Friday—will perform at this comedy special presented by TWE.

THEATER & DANCE

Working
Studs Terkel's book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, is a brilliant, best-selling depiction of the American workforce and how they as individuals relate to both their daily lives and the nebulous concept of "work." The 1977 musical, based on the book, combines Terkel's social commentary with music from geniuses including Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor—and this production, from the 2012 version of the show, will feature new songs by the hottest composer of the moment, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

SATURDAY

ART

A Slice of the Expanse
A Slice Of The Expanse offers two takes on landscape: Erika Hanson's video-based artwork, and Ian Breidenbach’s installations with "constructed memorabilia" from road trips.

COMEDY

Maria Bamford
The incredibly popular and talented comedian Maria Bamford—whose new show Lady Dynamite is now out on Netflix, and who Stephen Colbert called his "favorite comedian on planet Earth"—will make you laugh.

READINGS & TALKS

Colson Whitehead
Oprah told everybody to read Colson Whitehead's latest book, The Underground Railroad, giving the best-selling MacArthur fellow a huge signal boost. Whitehead appreciated the nod, as does, I imagine, anyone who's taken the weekend to drop into the world of this book. The novel follows Cora, a third-generation slave, through a literal underground railroad as she attempts to escape from a life of bondage. The subtle powers working within Whitehead's language put to rest any question of the book's a-little-too-on-the-nose premise. By way of example: At times he uses a matter-of-fact, even brusk tone when describing people being traded for gunpowder and cases of rum, a deft deflation that emphasizes the quotidian nature of the slave trade's inhumanity. You'll want to hear him read from it because almost every other sentence falls into poetic rhythms and every other image burns into the mind. Whitehead has written a handful of books before this one, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist John Henry Days and the zombie thriller Zone One, but this is the one you want, at least for now. It's incredible. Plus, Whitehead will be joined in conversation with our very own Charles Mudede. RS

Jeffrey Toobin: Politics, Media and the Law
CNN analyst and author Jeffrey Toobin is one of the lawyer-writers we want to have knocking around in our brains as the Supreme Court continues to take on what is essentially a policymaking role. He knows the justices well (he's been buds with Kagan since their days at Hah-vard) and writes well about them in his latest book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. Also, his sports column for the Harvard Crimson was called "Inner Toobin," and that is endearing as all get-out. His talk for the Seattle Public Library is called "Analyzing Politics, the Media and the Law," which should give us a few new and useful tools for understanding the train wrecks that pile up in that intersection. RS

QUEER

Pride Lives 2016
For the second year running, volunteers will traipse about the hill with info on suicide prevention in the queer community. This is important and essential work, and feel free to join in if you're able. They'll start at the Cuff, and make their way around town, visiting local businesses and giving them signs and handouts to display.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Black Box
Black Box is one of the best, most underknown events in the city all year. Curated by Julia Fryett of AKTIONSART, Black Box is a "nomadic" and "experiential" festival of events "presenting new work and ideas from around the world in unexpected spaces throughout the city." It was Black Box that gave you James Coupe's installation employing Amazon's Mechanical Turk workers in a deserted schoolhouse blocks from Amazon headquarters. Black Box has presented big-name films by artists around the world, as well as premieres of artists' videos and projects online. Even hackers are invited to submit proposals. This festival, unlike most, has urgency as well as excellence. Every year it's a landmark. JG

SUNDAY

FILM

Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley: Heidi
Watch a collaborative film by artists Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley based on the children's novel Heidi. The film promises to tackle big issues: it "questions sexually repressive social hierarchies, challenges the conventions of horror films, and examines mass media portrayals of family life."

READINGS & TALKS

Word Works: E. Lockhart
Bestselling author and National Book Award finalist E. Lockhart (who wrote the Ruby Oliver series for young adults, beginning with The Boyfriend List) will speak about the use of experimental techniques and stylized language in writing for young adults.

THEATER & DANCE

Naked Girls Reading
This show is exactly what it sounds like—a literary salon with naked readers.