The Book of Mormon's two-week Seattle run starts January 2. Joan Marcus

Our music critics have already chosen the 20 best shows this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn to pick the best events in their areas of expertise. Here are their picks in every genre—from David Sedaris's Workshop Readings to Black Imagination: The States of Matter to the beginning of the Shellfish Showcase. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.

Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play.

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Science in the City: The Future of Transportation
In this talk, Bryan Mistele, cofounder of transportation information company INRIX, will discuss how technology (specifically Autonomous, Connected, Electric, and Shared vehicles, or "ACES") is impacting how we think of transportation and what it will mean for the future.



Carina del Rosario: Passports Series
See Carina del Rosario's collaborative "passports," for which she asked participants to create identity papers by "using their own words to describe the most important parts of themselves." In this commentary on self-determination, individuals escape rote categorization.
Opening Tuesday



Holiday Mini Art Exhibit
Sadly, the Ghost Gallery is losing its lease—although we hope to see it pop up elsewhere. Pay them a visit and buy some mini-art "in the 10"x10"x10" range") for $300 or less.
Closing Sunday

Two Centuries of American Still-Life Painting: The Frank and Michelle Hevrdejs Collection
At this exhibit, see influential still-life paintings from the past 200 years created by artists including James Peale, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andrew Wyeth, and Wayne Thiebaud.
Closing Sunday


The Book of Mormon
As human civilization rapidly approaches the end times, some of us need entertainment that skewers religion just to keep from going crazy. One deceptive, brilliant thing about The Book of Mormon is that the show unexpectedly ends up being okay with religion in the end—so long as you’re using your religious beliefs to make the world better. Plus, there are unbelievably funny tap numbers (“Turn It Off”), parodies of pop-culture juggernauts like Star Wars and The Lion King, and lines like “I can’t believe Jesus just called me a dick!” CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE



Silent Reading Party
The silent-reading party turns nine years old in 2018. For almost a decade, people have been gathering in the Fireside Room of the Sorrento Hotel to escape the distractions of the city, and the distractions of their cell phones, to read silently to themselves in overstuffed chairs or couches in front of the fire while waiters bring them things and Paul Moore plays exquisite piano. It’s an odd phenomenon—nothing happens—but it’s as popular as ever. At last month’s party, there was a line out the door. Get there at least an hour early for prime seating. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE



International Mezzotint Invitational
Douglas Bosley, Karinna Gomez, Julie Niskanen, Judith Rothchild, and Kouki Tsuritani's mezzotints (a type of intaglio print invented in the 17th century) will reveal the versatility of the medium, ranging from detailed botanical depictions to fantastic "quantum" landscapes.
Opening Wednesday



Fareed Al-Aboud
See a new series of mosaics by Al-Aboud, whose work reflects his studies in architecture and the many places he's traveled.
Artist reception on Saturday


Love, Chaos, and Dinner
Beloved circus/cabaret/comedy institution Teatro ZinZanni will return to Seattle for a dinner theater production of Love, Chaos, and Dinner. They promise "the same stunning, velvet-laden, and iconic Belgian spiegeltent Seattleites will remember from Teatro ZinZanni’s former location on lower Queen Anne." The cast is led by first-time "Madame ZinZanni" Ariana Savalas, and will feature a duo on aerial trapeze, a magician, a "contortionist-puppet," a yodeling dominatrix, a hoop aerialist, and a Parisian acrobat.

Wonderland returns! Can Can will transform its venue into a snowy chalet and populate it with teasing beauties. VIP tickets get you champagne and a meal as well. There's also a brunch show that's safe for kids.



First Thursday Art Walk
Once a month, Seattleites flock to the streets in Pioneer Square for a chance to stroll, sip on booze, and attend as many art openings as possible at First Thursday. It's the city's central and oldest art walk, and takes place in a historic neighborhood known for its abundance of galleries. Wine and hobnobbing will steal the scene for some, but at its core, it's an impressive communal unveiling of new artwork. This month, don't miss the opening receptions for Francisco Guerrero's Loaves and Fishes, Black Imagination: The States of Matter, Claire Cowie's Selvedge and Brad Winchester's RINSE/REPEAT, SuttonBeresCuller's Old, New, Borrowed & Blue, Whiting Tennis's Drawing Room, and Zhi Lin's Confronting History | Retrieving Memory. This week is also your last chance to check out Julia Freeman's The Will to Synchronize.


Lunch Club: Timpano
On this lunch-break cooking class, chef Bridget Charters breaks down how to make a timpano, a dish you may know from the movie Big Night and described as "a gorgeous, impressive dome of pasta stuffed with meatballs, hard boiled eggs, cheeses, sauces and other wonderful things." Do you really need to know more?

New Belgium's Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA Launch Party
Celebrate New Belgium's latest release, the bright and tropical Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA, with free live music from Sandrider, Spinning Whips, and Glose.


Anastacia-Reneé: Answer(Me) Book Launch
Seattle’s civic poet celebrates the launch of her third collection of poetry this year, Answer(Me), inside the glorious tree house that is Third Places Books in Seward Park. When I last spoke to Anastacia-Renée about the book, she described it as lyrical lesbian erotica. “But I won’t let them put it on that shelf,” she said. “I feel like a man and a woman can both go home with a hard-on from this book.” Being essentially dead inside, I can neither confirm nor deny this speculation. But her books this year evince the poet’s incredible range, from the incisive commentary on black womanhood and the limitations of activism in (v.), to the poly-vocal exploration of trauma in Forget It, to Answer(Me)’s queer love hymns. RICH SMITH



Barbara Robertson: Architectonic
Seattle-based artist Barbara Robertson's site-specific installation is composed of three projected animations that use the gallery space as a central part of its image. The artist will continue to add new elements to the installation until it closes.
Closing Saturday



Cotton Gin: An Improvised Puppet Show For Grown-Ups
Rowdy, bawdy puppets, worn out from entertaining children, hang out at the Cotton Gin bar and entertain you with songs and jokes in this improv show.


14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival
True to its name, the 14/48 Festival turns around 14 brand-new, theme-based, 10-minute plays in two days. The high-pressure nature of the event produces an evening of surprising theater for the audience, who arrive in their seats charged with expectation and anxiety for the performers. Though there are always a few experiments that don't quite come together, it's endlessly fascinating to see the way one theme filters through the minds of several very different theater artists. Expect shit to get weird. RICH SMITH



Crime + Punishment: A Psychological Account of a Certain Crime
The Akropolis Performance Lab will bring theatrical muscle and live a cappella music to Dostoyevsky's intense 19th-century moral parable about a dropout student who decides that he has the right to commit murder if it benefits humanity at large.


David Sedaris "Workshop" Readings
The witty, self-deprecating, hilariously judgmental David Sedaris will return to Seattle to workshop his new manuscript, Calypso. His work will probably be polished and beautifully performed, with perfect timing and absurdly funny material. Feel lucky that he chose our town for the second year in a row, and help him out by being a responsive, honest audience.



Brandon Aleson, Reilly Donovan, Benjamin Van Citters: Mind at Large
Taking its name from Aldous Huxley's visionary essay The Doors of Perception, Mind at Large is a site-specific virtual reality installation that examines the ever-tightening gap between the digital world and analog experience. The gallery is painted with opposing red and green walls that reference the Cornell Box, a standardized 3D environment for testing software's rendering ability. By engaging with digitally encoded sounds and objects in this hybrid space, visitors are invited to probe the slippery line between the real and the virtual; appearance and understanding. EMILY POTHAST
Opening Saturday

Indira Allegra: 'BODYWARP'
Indira Allegra is an artist who works with tension as creative material—both figuratively, as a weaver, and physically, as a human being who mines intimacy and social interactions for content. Allegra's BODYWARP is a performance that places the artist's body in creative tension with the act of weaving as an analogue for the accumulation of memory. (On a loom, the vertical thread held under tension is known as "warp.") EMILY POTHAST
Opening Saturday

Matt Browning
Before Neddy Award winner Matt Browning moved to Vancouver to earn his MFA from the University of British Columbia, he was a Seattle artist represented by Lawrimore Project (RIP) and a member of the artist-run gallery Crawl Space (also RIP). Known for works that examine athleticism, masculine socialization, and hierarchical value systems, Browning's sculptures also exhibit a tender handmade sensibility—a potent combination that earned him a place in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. His most recent work involves zinc spheres made out of the cores of pennies (since 1982, pennies are copper-plated zinc), exploring the constantly shifting relationship between perceived value and materiality. EMILY POTHAST
Opening Saturday


Empty Orchestra
Improv comedy show Empty Orchestra is a celebration of the ever-enjoyable art form of karaoke. The theater is temporarily transformed into "the world’s best karaoke bar," complete with drinks, fog machines, and lasers.


Saturday Secret Matinees
Grand Illusion and the Sprocket Society will continue their tradition of pairing an adventure serial with a different secret matinee movie every week. This year, the serial is Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, and the theme of the feature film will change every fortnight (maybe they stole the idea from the Stranger's new printing schedule. Though probably not). These themes include "Alien Invasion!" "Swashbuckling Heroes!" "Very Bad Deals," "Twisted Intrigues," "Atomic Monsters," and "Widescreen Thrills." The coolest part, from a film buff point of view? Everything will be presented on 16mm.


Art Haus 4.0: Kidz Bop Redemption Round
Tonight marks the halfway point for the most triumphant trash drag competition in the city. This week, two losing hauses from last month (Haus of What?! vs. Light Haus) return to compete in a redemption round. All of the numbers must be based on Kidz Bop, that deeply strange and yet still somehow extant compilation of children's choir covers of pop songs. Your host will be Uh-Oh, who looks like a tall baby clown with a fondness for trees. Special guests include Abbey Roads, Strawberry Shartcake, and Miss Texas 1988. RICH SMITH

Bacon Strip: John Waters Tribute Night!
The drag company Bacon Strip, helmed by Sylvia O'Stayformore and Mizz Honey Bucket, sets a gaggle of mischievous queens to shocking shenanigans every month. This time, they'll pay tribute to a filthy inspiration, the creepily be-mustached director of Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble. "Bolt" Cass Bolton will join House of Darling, Harlotte O'Scara, Irene Dubois, and other locally worshipped queens. DJ Tony Burns will provide the soundtrack.

The DanceCrush awards honor local dancers and choreographers, who this year comprise Daniel Costa, Lauren Linder, Cameo Lethem, Nia-Amina Minor, Mary Sheldon Scott, Marlo Ariz Dance Project, and Purple Lemonade Collective. Cherdonna Shinatra and Nico Tower will also receive accolades. See the performances of the honorees and drink a toast.



Boozy Hot Chocolate Bar
Get cozy with a deluxe boozy hot chocolate from indi chocolate (up to you whether to spike it with OOLA Chili Pepper Vodka or OOLA Bourbon Whiskey) and customize it yourself with all the fixings from a toppings bar, including toasted marshmallows, flavored whipped cream, sprinkles, cookies, and more. You'll also get a mini doughnut from Pike Place's Daily Dozen and a tour of the chocolate factory (with tastings, of course).

Food Truck Round-Up
Chow down on fare from a variety of food trucks. There's even one with baked goods for your canine friends!

Shellfish Showcase
Shellfish Showcase is the seafood counterpart to Restaurant Week, organized by Dine Around Seattle. The organization has rounded up a host of restaurants to devise exclusive menus with four items highlighting fresh local shellfish, at least two of them entrées. Some notable participants include underground Pike Place trattoria Il Bistro, cozy Belltown wood-fired kitchen Orfeo, Fremont sushi bar Chiso, Sodo Korean steak house Girin Ssam Bar, Wallingford Japanese yakitori joint Yoroshiku, and Frank’s Oyster House in Ravenna, just to name a few. It’s a great opportunity to slurp some briny bivalves and scope out some hidden gems you wouldn’t otherwise try.


Stephen Tobolowsky
You’ve seen Stephen Tobolowsky in films (Memento, Groundhog Day), and, if your radio dial has gotten anywhere near an NPR or PRI station in any North American city for more than 10 seconds in the past 10 years, you’re certain to recognize his deep, slow, hypnotic voice. Tobolowsky is justifiably celebrated for the strength of his discursive storytelling, which is fueled both by the narrator’s seeming bemusement with the events that befall him and by his unfailing capacity to deliver the kind of stunning, out-of-nowhere surprise details that make you wonder (A) how much is fiction, and (B) why things like this don’t happen to you. He will read from his latest book, My Adventures with God, which is about his quest for meaning and order in a haphazard life. SEAN NELSON