This weekend in Ballard, the highly anticipated new Nordic Museum will open. Festivities will include musical and dance performances, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and ticketed admission to exhibits like Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed, where you can see this piece by Tori Wrånes. COURTESY OF THE NORDIC MUSEUM
Our music critics have already chosen the 30 best music 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 the grand opening of the Nordic Museum to Free Comic Book Day, and from the Translations Film Festival to the Seattle premiere of Broken Bone Bathtub. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.

Stay in the know! Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app (available for iOS and Android), or delivered to your inbox.


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MONDAY

FILM

Silent Movie Mondays
On a recent podcast, Janice Min, the woman credited with transforming Us Weekly from a C-minus People magazine clone into a culture-defining celebrity news faucet in 2002, observed that the Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan era, which Min helped inscribe, now feels like a very long time ago, all but forgotten. It’s a strange parallel to the lingering devotion a small number of viewers keep for the first generation of film actors, who, like nearly all humans, even the most famous, are largely forgotten by the world. I know that going to a silent movie, much less a month’s worth of them, sound like medicine to most people, but this series is a true joy. The majesty of the Paramount Theatre is on full display, as is the glory of the Wurlitzer organ accompaniment. And seeing the films really does feel like time travel. The grammar, pace, and style are simultaneously fascinating and obscure, but the faces are a straight, vivid line from a century ago to right now. Tonight, the series will wrap up with Colleen Moore's appearance in Ella Cinders. SEAN NELSON

FESTIVALS

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
For the 35th consecutive year, flower enthusiasts will flock to Skagit Valley to see sprawling fields covered with hundreds of colorful tulips in bloom. The festival is designed as a driving tour, as there's no one spot to enter. Today is the last official day of the festival.

READINGS & TALKS

Ellen Forney: Rock Steady
If you've picked up a copy of The Stranger in the last decade or so, or if you've admired the giant hand paintings hanging in the Capitol Hill light rail station, then you likely know and love Ellen Forney's work. We certainly do, and we gave her a Stranger Genius Award to prove it. Her new self-help book/graphic novel thingy, Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice from My Bipolar Life, serves as a practical (and extremely useful) follow-up to Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me, her memoir about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Learn Forney's tips and tricks for maintaining a stable life in unstable times. P.S. Her advice is good for everyone, not just people with diagnosed mental-health issues. RICH SMITH

Kit Bakke: Protest on Trial
In Protest on Trial, author and activist Kit Bakke dives into the case of the Seattle 7, the group responsible for building the Seattle Liberation Front. This group and the case against them should be at least as widely known as the WTO protests, but because it's just a little more complicated, it hasn't gotten the recognition it deserves. Tl;dr: After organizing Seattle's version of The Day After demonstration in protest of the treatment of the Chicago 8, the FBI slapped the Seattle 7 with federal rioting charges. Were the charges justified or was the FBI trying to break up a group bent on creating a "region-wide, antiwar, anti-racist community service organization?" I'll give you a few moments to think. In the meantime, here's a fun fact from the book: Jeff Dowd, who "later became the inspiration for The Dude in The Big Lebowski," counted himself among the accused. The Dowd abides. RICH SMITH

National Geographic + Pop-Up Magazine
This "live magazine" will present journalism—photos, stories, audio elements, film, and more—on the stage, with a live score by Magik*Magik Orchestra.

MONDAY-TUESDAY

COMEDY

Kondabolu Brothers Live Podcast Taping
Of Hari Kondabolu, Sean Nelson once wrote: "You could make the case that his asides, self-edits, and ad-libs are as funny as the individual finished bits. Though the finished work is, all in all, a whole other level of funny." Now see him with his brother Ashok as they "get into heated conversations about gentrification" or "discuss the news of the day on a poorly constructed powerpoint." Get to know the brothers in hilarious detail.

MONDAY-SUNDAY

PERFORMANCE

The Nether
What if there were a virtual world where men could live out their most fucked up, rapacious fantasies? Would such a world pacify violent behavior? Or would it only serve as a refinery for that violence? Those are some of the questions playwright Jennifer Haley asks in The Nether. Haley's known for incorporating into her writing the tricks of Hollywood genre flicks, and this one's billed as a thriller. We'll see if the characters and dialogue suffer as a result of that choice, as former Stranger writer Brendan Kiley said they did when WET produced Haley's Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom back in 2009. RICH SMITH
No performance on Tuesday or Wednesday

TUESDAY

COMEDY

Hasan Minhaj
America could do with more Muslim comics and their under-acknowledged observations, especially if they’re as sharp-witted as Hasan Minhaj. His charming demeanor belies a deceptively acerbic humor, honed during his trenchant appearances on The Daily Show. Minhaj truly rose to the occasion at the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he delivered hundreds of punishing left jabs at right-wing politicians. It was a roast for the ages, and if it made the president’s blood pressure rise to dangerous levels, Minhaj deserves a Nobel Prize. His Netflix special Homecoming King proved he could conceive exceptionally moving personal comedy, too. DAVE SEGAL

FOOD & DRINK

All Consuming: Food In Art, History, Romance, and Religion
For Atlas Obscura Society’s new series at the London Plane, journalist Harriet Baskas will present short lectures on edible oddities and cultural comestible curiosities in an attempt to “uncover the social role of food in our lives.” This week, she'll discuss "Food and Love," which will touch on "cake from the Civil War-era marriage of P.T. Barnum circus performers General Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren to the role a roll of lifesavers played in a couples’ courtship."

Jackalope Winemaker Dinner
Named for the mythical jackrabbit-antelope hybrid, which founder and former civil engineer Corey Schuster’s older cousin used to tell him tall tales of in postcards from Nebraska, the Oregon-based urban craft winery Jackalope Wine Cellars aims to create “quality, affordable wines that express the uniqueness of the Pacific Northwest.” At this dinner, Schuster's wines will perfectly complement the wood-fired fare of the Whale Wins, from Pacific Northwest queen Renee Erickson herself. JULIANNE BELL

READINGS & TALKS

Gentleman Bosses: Anis Mojgani, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz & Derrick C. Brown
Prolific author and slammer Anis Mojgani, poet and nonfiction author Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (Dr. Mutter's Marvels), and comic performer Derrick C. Brown will read their dark poems from Write Bloody Press.

TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY

PERFORMANCE

Crewmates
In Sameer Arshad's comedy, a Muslim man from a conservative background starts dating an atheist Asian American woman, and things go swimmingly—until the supernatural, disgusted by their lovey-dovey nature, starts interfering. This play looks sweet, clever, and spooky all at once. Shahbaz Khan will direct.

TUESDAY-SUNDAY

PERFORMANCE

Familiar
Wedding drama abounds in Tony-nominated playwright Danai Gurira's Familiar (you also saw her in Black Panther): surprise guests, revealed secrets, and the tension that arises when a young woman wants to observe traditional Zimbabwean customs for her Minnesota wedding. Charles Isherwood of the New York Times writes, "Ms. Gurira weaves issues of cultural identity and displacement, generational frictions, and other meaty matters into dialogue that flows utterly naturally." This production will be led by acclaimed Egyptian American director Taibi Magar, and produced in association with the Guthrie Theater. JOULE ZELMAN
No performance on Thursday

Ride the Cyclone
In this macabre musical comedy, a teenage chamber choir is trapped in fairground purgatory after a roller coaster accident kills them all. Rachel Rockwell will direct this 5th Ave/ACT co-production, which the New York Times called "a delightfully weird and just plain delightful show."

WEDNESDAY

ART

'Closer Than They Appear' Live ft. Sondra Perry
Carvell Wallace's Webby-nominated podcast about discovering his own family history while trying to make sense of present-day America. Tagline: "If America is an estranged family, this podcast is our awkward holiday dinner." At this special live recording, Wallace will speak with multimedia artist Sondra Perry, whose exhibit Eclogue for [in]HABITABILITY is currently at SAM. They discuss "race, imagination and survival." Whatever's on the agenda, it should be fascinating to hear a conversation between the New Yorker-published podcaster and the Jacob Lawrence Prize-winning artist.

Design Soiree 2018: Bitter and Sweet meets BONFIRE
Revel in Seattle's architecture and design at one of the nation's official landmarks, the Panama Hotel, built in 1910 by architect Sabro Ozasa. Jan Johnson, who restored the tea- and coffeehouse, will guide you through its hidden spaces. Afterwards, head over to BONFIRE to view Dave Calver's very trippy exhibition Limbo Lounge, with art from his graphic novel of the same name.

READINGS & TALKS

Barbara Ehrenreich: Natural Causes
The author of the brilliant Nickel and Dimed and Living with a Wild God returns with an inquiry into the deeper physical and moral ramifications of trying to strive for well-being against the backdrop of capitalism, mortality, and the health industry. SEAN NELSON

Chuck Palahniuk: Adjustment Day
Here's a perfect gift to give the Fight Club quoter in your life: This ticket includes a copy of the new book, which has some tagged and severed ears on the cover. Chucky will not be reading, only signing.

Jeffrey Simmons: The Op Art Movement
Local abstract precisionist Jeffrey Simmons will reintroduce you to the 1960s Op Art movement, whose trademark was inducing illusions of movement or change through abstract designs. Discover its history, its practitioners (Jesús Soto, Bridget Riley, and Seattle's own Francis Celentano), and its impact.

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

WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Akio Takamori: Portraits and Sleepers
Seattle's art community is still reeling from the loss of beloved University of Washington professor Akio Takamori, who passed away early last year. Best known for his influential figurative work in ceramics—and for helping to make UW a nationwide destination for ceramics students—Takamori also completed a residency at the Museum of Glass in August 2014. During this time, he created mold-made figurative flasks inspired by ancient Roman glass art, embellishing the surfaces with enamel paints. Portraits and Sleepers is an exhibition of these glass works. It's a rare opportunity to see another side of a local treasure. EMILY POTHAST
Closing Sunday

Laura Van Horne
Pretty shapes resembling colorful cells, buttons, or slices of fruit populate Laura Van Horne's abstract work inside the TASTE cafe.
Closing Sunday

PERFORMANCE

Angels in America Part II: Perestroika
The second part of Tony Kushner's "Gay Fantasia on National Themes" is like the 1980s' fever dream of illness, awe, terror, sex, and religion, and it is a great American work that you should see.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Book-It brings Junot Díaz’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, to life onstage. Elise Thoron directs the Literature to Life adaptation, during which audiences will follow Oscar de León’s journey as he grapples with adolescent love, a looming family curse, and the meaning of life—or at least his own life. In light of Díaz’s most recent essay for the New Yorker about his own childhood trauma, the heartbreak from this story may reveal even deeper depths. Those with faint hearts, beware—according to the overview, “the show contains mature content including strong language, slurs, and references to suicide.” SOPHIA STEPHENS

THURSDAY

ART

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. Find a list of recommended openings for May here, including Kelly Bjork's Gentle Cravings, Come Back with a Warrant, a lone, Karey Kessler's A Portable Homeland, and Clyde Petersen and Ellen Forney's Exhale.

Mr. Nude Cascadia 2018
Revel in the male form at this clothes-on-and-off contest hosted by queen Sylvia O'Stayformore.

FILM

Alfred Hitchcock's Britain
Sure, with the exception of the modestly budgeted, black-and-white Psycho, Hitchcock is known for his lavishly Freudian Technicolor thrillers from the ‘50s and ‘60s. But the films he made in his native Britain are just as worthy of note—taut, intricate, their perversity more elaborately disguised. Tonight, the series will turn to Suspicion.

Classic Movie Night: Explorers
Young Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix star in Joe Dante's immortal story of pre-teens obsessed with old sci-fi (and new sci) who contrive to build a spaceship in their backyard the way normal kids would make a tree fort. The thrill of seeing these unlikely friends band together is matched only by the poignancy of seeing Phoenix—surely the most talented actor of his generation—growing into his talent before your very eyes. Once they get to space the movie goes off the rails, but in that fun cartoon way that everything by Dante tends to fall apart. The magic is in the first hour, and it really is magical. SEAN NELSON

FOOD & DRINK

16th Annual Rosé Revival and Cool Whites
You won't find any red wines at this festival dedicated to pink and white vintages. Taste a variety of rosé, including Sangiovese, Syrah, Cab Franc, Tempranillo, Grenache, and Pinot Noir, and white wines, such as Semillon, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Albarino, Gruner, and Pinot Blanc, all from Northwest winemakers, and snack on wild salmon. Proceeds benefit Save Our Wild Salmon.

PERFORMANCE

Alan Cumming: Legal Immigrant
The man who almost singlehandedly reinvigorated the musical Cabaret with his extroverted take on the role of the emcee in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival in the 1990s, Alan Cumming went on to host the Tony Awards, design a perfume, make films with Stanley Kubrick, appear in a Jay-Z video, voice a Smurf, and more. He also has his own variety show, which he’s bringing to Seattle for one night only. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

READINGS & TALKS

Asad Haider: Mistaken Identity
Red May will sponsor this talk by the founder of Viewpoint magazine. It seeks to circumvent "one of the primary impasses of the left," identity politics. Asad Haider's book proposes a different approach based on the black revolutionary theory.

Charles Johnson: Night Hawks
The National Book Award-winning writer and local sage Charles Johnson (The Way of the Writer, Taming the Ox) is coming out with a book of short stories—like the title tale, drawn from late-night conversations with August Wilson; "The Weave," about a hair extensions thief; the sci-fi satire "Guinea Pig"; and more.

Edward Tenner with Wier Harman: The Efficiency Paradox
With support from his book The Efficiency Paradox: What Big Data Can’t Do, Edward Tenner—a scholar at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation—will share a long-term history of technology, touching on "what we and our institutions can learn from the random and unexpected when equipped with an astute combination of artificial intelligence and trained intuition." He'll be joined by Town Hall's executive director, Wier Harman.

THURSDAY-FRIDAY

COMEDY

8 to 6
In what will probably be a cathartic improv show, three women in the workplace take revenge on their awful chauvinist boss according to your suggestions.

THURSDAY-SATURDAY

FILM

Translations Film Festival
Here is something that Seattle should take pride in. We have the world’s largest trans film festival. Not Berlin, not London, not New York City—but Seattle. The festival is called Translations, and this year it features a bunch of films from places that do not have the largest trans film festival. One film that caught my eye immediately is Man Made, which concerns the only transgender men bodybuilding competition in the world. Of course, this subject opens and examines a society that, for the most part, has yet to come to terms with this significant group of its family. CHARLES MUDEDE

THURSDAY-SATURDAY

PERFORMANCE

Year of the Rooster
Olivia Dufault's play satirically examines cockfighting and toxic masculinity in America.

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

PERFORMANCE

Broken Bone Bathtub: Seattle Premiere
Siobhan O'Loughlin's experimental show will take place in actual bathtubs in actual homes as she acts out the story of an injured cyclist dealing with trauma and learning to ask for help. Presented by prolific Seattle clown artist Christine Longé.

Guest Artist Series: Sean Dorsey
Sean Dorsey's work The Missing Generation honors gay and trans people lost to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, based on oral history contributed by survivors.

An Octoroon
ArtsWest will continue its sharp reflections on race relations and history this season with An Octoroon, Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins's play set in the latter days of American slavery, in which a young man inherits a plantation and falls in love with the titular "octoroon"—a woman with one-eighth black heritage. Will their relationship survive the machinations of a cruel overseer?

Smoked!
Ray Tagavilla will star in an Eastwood-esque tribute to the Western, in which an ace shooter arrives in the town of Sauget to defend a farmer accused of "eco-terrorism." Paul Budraitis will direct a production that's paired with Chef Erin Brindley's four-course meal.

The Wolves
Ben Brantley at the New York Times says Sarah DeLappe's debut play, The Wolves, is like a Robert Altman movie about a suburban girls' indoor soccer team except in play form, and that's all I really need to hear to buy a ticket. In case you need more: Freehold Theater Lab's Christine Marie Brown will play the role of a soccer mom charged with wrangling up the likes of nine up-and-coming actors. Those include Meme García, an excellent character actor and theater artist who's recently returned to the Pacific Northwest after polishing up her classical chops at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and Rachel Guyer-Mafune, whose pluck and charm brightened Book-It's production of Howl's Moving Castle and WET's Teh Internet Is Serious Business. Sheila Daniels directs. RICH SMITH

FRIDAY

FILM

Cambodian Rock 'n Roll: Film, Talk, and DJ Party
The music archivist ORO, aka Rotanak Oudom Oum, will offer an evening of film and Khmer music. The short film From ORO with Love chronicles the researcher's travels in Cambodia rescuing pre-Khmer Rouge pop music, much of which had been destroyed under Pol Pot's murderous regime. Stay on after for a talk and a dance party with ORO himself at the console.

READINGS & TALKS

An Evening with Jenny Han & Nicola Yoon
Spend an evening with two successful and skillful young adult authors, Jenny Han (Always and Forever, Lara Jean) and Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything), with moderation by Martha Brockenbrough.

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

ART

Exhibition on Screen: Cézanne - Portraits of a Life
This film highlights the significance of Paul Cézanne's paintings on 20th-century art, featuring interviews with curators and experts from the National Portrait Gallery London, New York's Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art Washington, and Musée d'Orsay Paris, and correspondence from the artist himself.
Closing Saturday

GEEK & GAMING

New Nordic Grand Opening
The Nordic Museum has moved out of its quaint Old Ballard digs, a 1907 schoolhouse, and into a modern 57,000-square-foot building on Market Street to continue to expand its mission of education on Nordic and Nordic American art, community, and history. There's been some positive buzz in Architectural Digest and Artnet about the new building and collections—it was designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, "the firm that helped create the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Newseum, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC." On this May weekend, they'll finally open their doors with much fanfare, including musical and dance performances, along with ticketed admission to the galleries, where work by Fridtjof Nansen, Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed, and Nordic Journeys will be on view.

PERFORMANCE

Little Shop of Horrors at Reboot
Expect inclusive casting at this production of the witty, grim horror musical about a nerdy, lovesick plant shop clerk, his vulnerable crush, and the mean green mother from outer space that insidiously takes over their lives.

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

FESTIVALS

Crypticon 2018
Crypticon will fill the DoubleTree with hundreds of gorehounds, bloodsluts, zombbros, and creepazoids. This year will feature Richard Brake of Game of Thrones, Kimmy Robertson and Harry Goaz of Twin Peaks, and more. Dress up and enter the cosplay contest, compete in the writing and horror makeup competitions, browse haunted Cthulhu/zombie/vampire/etc. goods, and party on the 13th floor.

SATURDAY

ART

Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith
According to Al Smith's 2008 obituary in the Seattle Times, Smith never considered himself a professional photographer. But his photographs of the Central District, jazz clubs, and African American community in Seattle number in the tens of thousands, and their quality, depth, and breadth are unparalleled. In particular, his documentation of the Jackson Street jazz scene has helped preserve memories of a relatively fleeting but culturally formative time in our city's history. Smith's archive is gigantic, so selecting images for this exhibit will be tough, but there will almost certainly be shots of a few famous musicians touring through Seattle—he photographed legends including Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Jimmie Lunceford, Kathryn Dunham, Lionel Hampton, Erskine Hawkins, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie.
Gallery talk on Saturday

COMMUNITY
El Centro de la Raza Cinco de Mayo Celebration
In addition to a special Pop up Mercado, El Centro de la Raza's Cinco de Mayo celebration will celebrate Mexican culture with live musical performances by José Iñiguez, Banda Vagos, Juan Gabriel Imitator, Los Folklore Mexicano Tonantzin, and others.

FOOD & DRINK

Oaxacan Dinner
Partake in an authentic Oaxacan-style Mexican dinner inspired by food writer Ashley Rodriguez's recent trip, with dishes like fried peanuts with lime, Oaxacan cheese-stuffed peppers, mole negro with carnitas and herbed rice, and passionfruit curd tart with hibiscus and candied cocoa nibs.

PERFORMANCE

Miss Bacon Strip
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 is their "unpageant," which promises to contain much bawdier and more bizarre competitions than your typical beauty contest fare.

Romeo & Juliet
Everyone's favorite underage romance will be performed by the ARC Dance Company to Prokofiev's symphonic take on the classic tale.

READINGS & TALKS

Chuck Klosterman
Klosterman's new book is subtitled "A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century" and assembles his varied writings from publications like GQ, Esquire, Billboard, A.V. Club, and the Guardian. Among his topics: "Breaking Bad, Lou Reed, zombies, KISS, Jimmy Page, Stephen Malkmus, steroids, Mountain Dew, Chinese Democracy, The Beatles, Jonathan Franzen, Taylor Swift, Tim Tebow, Kobe Bryant, Usain Bolt, Eddie Van Halen, Charlie Brown, the Cleveland Browns," and more.

Free Comic Book Day
Free Comic Book Day is exactly what it sounds like—head to local shops to get your geeky/artsy/literary fix (and probably meet some fellow comic enthusiasts). Stores will be giving out the special Free Comic Book Day issues, and some will also have special deals on other comics. Many of these free issues star favorite pop-culture characters—Doctor Who, the Avengers, Transformers, Tank Girl, and Spider-Man—but the day is also a chance to check out lesser-known material, like Strangers in Paradise, Silver, and Fantagraphics' World's Great Cartoonists. Take advantage of deals at Phoenix Games and Comics, Kinokuniya, Grumpy Old Man, Golden Age Collectables, Outsider Comics, Comics Dungeon, and Fantagraphics (where Ellen Forney will make an appearance).

Lisa Dordal and Carolyne Wright
Nashville poet Lisa Dordal (who holds a Master of Divinity as well as an MFA) has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and recently had her work published in Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. Reading alongside her will be a prominent local and frequent reader Carolyne Wright with her 2017 collection This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems, whose title poem received a Pushcart Prize.

Nikhil Singh: Race and America's Long War
In this Red May-sponsored presentation, Nikhil Pal Singh will address the United States' "imperial statecraft," which has isolated internal and external "enemies" to justify war and persecution. Singh, an associate professor of social and cultural analysis and history, will articulate arguments from his book Race and America’s Long War that tie this American tendency to the election of Donald Trump, rendering it more understandable if not less shocking.

Rob Lowe: Stories I Only Tell My Friends LIVE!
As the portrait in his attic molders, the eternally handsome and engaging actor (best loved as Sam Seaborn on The West Wing, but eternally remembered from ‘80s films he made before he was good, like The Outsiders, Oxford Blues, and St. Elmo’s Fire) brings the live version of his first memoir to the stage. The book is funny and well-written, and Lowe seems constitutionally incapable of not being charming. Interesting context may arise from the fact that Lowe’s career has survived a truly major sex scandal (a 1988 sex tape three-way at the DNC with partners who were 16 and 22) and a gradual evolution from Democratic party activist towards political conservatism. And yet, he remains both human and engaging. Maybe there’s a lesson there. SEAN NELSON

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Ellen Forney
Ellen Forney's wonderful cartoons have enhanced The Stranger's pages for years, and we loved her memoir about her bipolar disorder, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me—oh, and we also gave her a Genius Award, so you can bet we're delighted to see that she's following up with a new book. This one's called Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice from My Bipolar Life, and you will probably need it on your shelf.
Opening Saturday

Jessixa Bagley: Hide and Seek
Award-winning children's book author Bagley (Boats for Papa) shows ink drawings inspired by dreams.
Opening Saturday

PERFORMANCE

Aida
Seattle Opera's production of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida is going to be massive. We're talking more than 150 performers, 200 costumes, innovative sets from graffiti artist RETNA (Marquis Duriel Lewis), complex choreography, and a wild story about an enslaved Ethiopian princess who falls in love with her Egyptian captor, who is himself betrothed to the pharaoh's daughter. This one is shaping up to be the production of the year from Seattle's largest opera house, and it's not to be missed. RICH SMITH

Ghosts of Hell Creek
In collaboration with paleontologists Dr. Greg Wilson and Dr. Dave Evans, Ari Rudenko is directing a prehistoric animal dance that combines Japanese butoh theater and Indonesian traditional/contemporary dance influences with "a science-based comparative examination of the anatomy, locomotion, and theoretical behavior of key extinct species featured in the performances." Earlier this spring, free workshops were offered to the public, and now's your chance to watch the final production. Ghosts of Hell Creek is a dance depicting one of the last birdlike dinosaurs in the days before the cataclysm that ended the reign of the "terrible lizards," and one of the first mammals to emerge from the wreckage.

SUNDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Taco Libre Truck Showdown
At the sixth annual edition of "Seattle’s largest taco challenge," over 30 food trucks will vie to have their taco-inspired dish declared the finest. Guests can peruse over 150 booths over two blocks in Fremont "from local makers, finders and foodies alike."

READINGS & TALKS

LeVar Burton Reads Live!
Good God, can anything be more comforting than this in our anti-intellectual times? LeVar Burton of the beautiful, long-running kids' show Reading Rainbow will take you back to your bookwormish childhood—well, except that the short story he'll read to you will be more suited to adults. Past selections on Burton's eponymous podcast have included tales by Elmore Leonard, Laura Chow Reeve, and Neil Gaiman, but we don't know what he'll select this time.

Marcia Gay Harden: The Seasons of My Mother
Wrong though I was about Sean Penn’s novel, my heart remains full of hope for books written by great actors—partly because the work of impersonation with conviction, of dissimulation via details, of telling the truth by making things up—is common to both art forms. Marcia Gay Harden, who won an Oscar for her work in Pollock, and who has been a riveting presence in films for nearly 30 years (especially in Miller’s Crossing, Crush, Mystic River, and the TV series Damages), has written The Seasons of My Mother, a memoir about her complex relationship with the proper Texas belle who raised her throughout an unconventional childhood that included stints living overseas. I have no reason to know whether Harden is a gifted prose stylist, but I’m a sucker for stories like this because while not everyone is a writer, everyone has a mother. SEAN NELSON

Poetry in Conversation: Kate Greenstreet's 'The End of Something'
Kate Greenstreet will share the final book in a series of four, The End of Something, which the organizers describe as having a "floating thread of narrative, but one without defined characters or setting."

Red May: Poetry After the Crisis
Poets Tongo Eisen-Martin, David Lau, and Jeanine Webb will talk about a "new period of poetry" influenced by post-2008 American economic crises.

Red May Resist! Poetics in the Service of Revolution
During this "month-long vacation from Capitalism," be sure to set some time Sunday to hear local poets declaim. Readers will include David Lau, Rae Armantrout, and many others, and the last evening is a "mass reading" with a great number of poets and writers, including the Stranger's Charles Mudede.