See Stranger Genius C. Davida Ingram’s two-channel video installation Rootsystems and Ley Lines, which reflects on the 1999 “Battle of Seattle” World Trade Organization protests, at the Seattle Art Fair. Courtesy of C. Davida Ingram
Our music critics have already chosen the 34 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 Seattle Art Fair to Todd Barry's 30th Anniversary Crowd Work Tour to the Williams Project's Blood Wedding. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.

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MONDAY

PERFORMANCE

Persimmon Nights
Last year, Sara Porkalob fully realized Cafe Nordo’s potential for gustatory and dramatic pleasure with Madame Dragon’s 60th Birthday Bash, a musical adaptation of her Dragon Lady series. The show was equal parts hilarious and poignant, and she meaningfully incorporated the food menu into the performance. Now she’s back at Nordo directing and starring in a brand-new show by Seattle playwright Saeyoung Yim (Do It for Umma). Backed by a pop group called the Kimchi Kittens, Porkalob and Ray Tagavilla (one of the best actors in town) will tell the story of a “brash, young Korean immigrant” who balances “two lovers and many debts in the 1960s.” RICH SMITH

READINGS & TALKS

Ken Bensinger: Red Card
Buzzfeed investigative reporter Ken Bensinger tells the story of one of the largest and most consequential sports scandals in history. After years of investigation, the FBI and IRS nailed FIFA for racketeering, money laundering, and wire fraud. Fourteen of the filthiest, richest fucks in the world ended up being indicted, all thanks to the work of Loretta Lynch’s DOJ. Reviewers say Bensinger’s summary of the investigation reads like a thriller. With the World Cup over, this book might be just the thing to keep your fútbol fever alive. Well, this and your extremely contentious intramural outdoor coed adult soccer team. RICH SMITH

MONDAY-FRIDAY

ART

Troy Gua: Immaculate Disasters
In 2011, Stranger critic Jen Graves wrote an article on Troy Gua that the artist then incorporated into a pee-themed installation called Pissing Contest. Gua usually plays with slick pop-culture surfaces and symbols as well as found materials, with an eye (and possibly a middle finger) to art history and criticism. For this show, he has drawn on something more peaceful: the vistas of the Northwest filtered through the sensibilities of ukiyo-e, the predominant form of Japanese figurative art from the 17th to 19th centuries. Gua borrows the aesthetic of balanced, simplified landscapes and adds his own glowering colors. By his own account, his aim to depict utopias "took an apocalyptic bend" over the course of the project—he now seems less preoccupied with pop than with the frightening beauty of potential planetary doom.
Closing Friday

MONDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Chris Crites: Australians
Ghost Gallery had to close its previous location early in 2018, but it’s back now with an opening show by Chris Crites, whose portraits of arrestees from decades ago, painted on paper bags, are fleshed out with individualistic detail and nonrealistic color. This exhibition focuses on accused criminals of the land Down Under in the 1920s, drawn from photos in Peter Doyle’s books City of Shadows and Crooks Like Us. Like his previous works, Crites’s approach is less prurient than humanistic. When you gaze at the two sheepishly grimacing men nabbed for Stealing a Large Quantity of Chocolates. 1921, or a placid woman wearing a matted fur stole in a portrait called Cocaine, you see subjects of stories, not pinned-down victims of the mug shot’s brute categorization. JOULE ZELMAN
Closing Sunday

TUESDAY-SATURDAY

ART

Naoko Morisawa and James Wills: Between the Lines
Japanese artist Naoko Morisawa arranges "hand-cut, oil-stained wood and paper" into intricate abstract collages, full of earth tones and nature-inspired compositions. James Wills, a Whidbey Island artist and former student of Frank Okada, creates graceful lines in pencil and acrylic.
Closing Saturday

TUESDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Gettin' Ghibli With It
Many artists pay tribute to the unmistakable style of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, who's brought you the monsters and spirits of My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and more. Expect this to be a popular show as fans of Miyazaki's bewitching, childlike, sometimes ominous, sometimes deeply comforting world congregate.
Closing Sunday

Towards Impressionism: Landscape Painting from Corot to Monet
This exhibition traces the development of French landscape painting from the schools of Barbizon and Honfleur through Impressionism, featuring over 40 works from the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Reims. One focal point of the exhibition is the brilliant artist Camille Corot, who exemplified the transition from idealized academic studies to paintings directly inspired by the French countryside.
Closing Sunday

PERFORMANCE

Lauren Weedman Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Usually, when you run into someone you knew years ago who left Seattle for NY or LA to pursue their showbiz dreams and are back for a visit, it’s fun to talk about the folly of youth and ambition and, really, dreams in general. When that someone is Lauren Weedman, who was a big fish in the brackish pond of local comedy/media before going legit and winding up with credits like The Daily Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, Childrens Hospital, and loads of others, the conversation has many more interesting possibilities. Weedman will be returning with the latest in what has become a series of solo (with guests) shows that incorporate monologue, sketch, and song—the last one I saw ended with a rendition of “Stand Up” by Ludacris that no one present will be likely to forget—all in the service of a noble goal: revealing the facets of herself that may be less than exemplary while also being very funny. Weedman says the new show, directed by the mighty Alison Narver, PS, deals with “the issues of being betrayed and getting divorced,” but that “the themes are applicable to most anyone—for example, discovering who you really are, or finding yourself alone, or perhaps realizing that you're not who you thought you were.” SEAN NELSON

WEDNESDAY

READINGS & TALKS

Brenda Cooper: Keepers
Futurist short fiction author and novelist Brenda Cooper, who is also the Chief Information Officer for the City of Kirkland, will share her latest collection of short stories, Cracking the Sky.

WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Lino Tagliapietra: La Poesia Della Forma
The Italian glass artist Tagliapietra is known as "the world's greatest glassblower," and this exhibition is full of asymmetrical patterns (called, for example, Dinosaur and Cayuga) and classic and innovative forms.
Opening Wednesday

PERFORMANCE

Femme Fatale
A Prom Queen and Can Can collab!? Yes, please! The Can Can culinary cabaret, which serves up some of the best butts and beignets in town, is partnering with rising music star Prom Queen for their summer show, and it's a safe bet that it will be a hit. That said, the team could have chosen a better subject than Mata Hari, who catapulted to fame using an outsider's vision of Indonesia. Hopefully their adaptation will avoid Hari's pitfalls by doing more than just simply reproducing the Dutch dancer's problematic early-20th-century Orientalist style. Otherwise, this will be a spectacular shitshow. CHASE BURNS

THURSDAY

ART

Pioneer Square 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. In August, check out the one-night-only photo exhibition Marcus McDonald: Ephemeral Panic, impossible work in M.C. Escher: Transformations, the opening of enigmatic object-filled Natalie Ball: grab a plate, a painting and ceramic duel show with Timea Tihanyi and Peter Gross, the 1 Room group exhibition, up-and-coming Cornish grad Anthony White's Tier 2: Sold Out, Colleen RJC Bratton: Good Mourning, and Destinations' Wedding Chapel and Wig Sales, plus the closing of No Theme, Anything!

FILM

Carole Lombard: Queen of Comedy
The cool, brainy star of 1930s cinema acted in great movies like To Be or Not To Be, My Man Godfrey, and Hitchcock’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Watch the films that made her famous, including tonight's True Confession, at this weekly SAM series.

Movies in the Park with Scarecrow Video
Scarecrow Video and Seattle Parks and Recreation are providing children's movies that won't bore or patronize you—or your kids! A Cat in Paris (tonight's screening), Ponyo, Coco, and Queen of Katwe will introduce them (and you?) to other countries and cultures. Come on time for art activities.

FOOD & DRINK

Tiki Bar Pop-Up
Tacky tiki tipples are an American tradition dating back to the kitschy cocktail culture of the 1950s. These libations are many things, but subtle is not one of them: As charming gastropub Brimmer & Heeltap puts it, at times the drinks can be “boozy enough to be set aflame and other times sweeter than your Grandma’s pecan pie.” At this pop-up in their back studio and garden space, the Ballard bar will aim to temper the ostentatiousness of the genre with a mix of classic cocktails and original interpretations. JULIANNE BELL

PERFORMANCE

Dance Innovators in Performance
This edgy, improvised performance features prolific artists who have yet to make it to the mainstream.

THURSDAY & SATURDAY

ART

Summer at SAM
These Thursday and Saturday events offer a range of family-friendly arts programming throughout the park, including yoga and Zumba on Saturdays, tours, shows, workshops, food trucks, and more.

PERFORMANCE

Blood Wedding
The Williams Project is a scrappy, inventive theater outfit with a worthy goal: “to make theatrical excellence accessible to diverse and engaged audiences, while paying our artists a living wage.” Their production last year of Blues for Mister Charlie by James Baldwin was phenomenal. Now the group tackles an even more ambitious project—Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca, as translated by Langston Hughes—which involves three acts, a forest, a moon played by an actor, a bunch of woodcutters, and a wedding. Can they pull it off? There's only one way to find out. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

The Great Inconvenience
Playwright Holly Arsenault won a lot of praise and acclaim for her last premiere at Annex, Undo, which was about a conscious uncoupling. My former colleague Brendan Kiley called it "such a beautifully written play." She's hoping to reproduce that success with her latest effort, The Great Inconvenience. Arsenault sets the play in the not-too-distant future, during a time when the American government has abandoned any pretense of helping the poor and underserved. In this hellscape, a group of friends keeps fed by whitewashing "some of the worst atrocities in American history for audiences of wealthy schoolchildren." Then a stranger comes to town and forces them to finally reckon with the history they've been avoiding. RICH SMITH

She Kills Monsters
The Seattle Rep’s production of Qui Nguyen’s Vietcong ruled, and the Schmee’s production of this earlier work by Nguyen—a nerdy, funny, dramatic comedy about a teen girl using Dungeons & Dragons to cope with her sister’s death—will probably rule also. Shortly after rehearsing for “the final lip sync sword fight,” Butch Alice described the play on Facebook as the “wildest drag show/theater crossover” she’s ever directed, so come prepared. RICH SMITH

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Becoming American
The "Pig War" of 1859, so called because it flared up over the shooting of a pig on San Juan Island, marked the last time the UK and US fought over territory. With no humans killed or shots exchanged, the episode has become something of a historical joke. Twenty artists organized by the nonprofit cefalonia drew inspiration from this once ambiguous borderland, creating on the very site of the bloodless conflict. It's worth taking the ferry out to the English and American Camps in the piney San Juan Island National Historical Park to discover the results. But if you prefer to stick closer to home, you can see works by Stranger Genius Award winner Barbara Earl Thomas, Dori Scherer, Rodrigo Valenzuela, and 11 others at Seattle's studio e, with a solo exhibition by Korakrit Arunanondchai at Specialist. In September, the 24 members of the SOIL collective will respond with an exhibition of their own. The diversity of artists yields an abundance of themes, but race, frontiers, barriers, immigration, and history all figure large. JOULE ZELMAN
Opening Thursday

On the High Wall: Tracy Rector
The Stranger Genius Award winning filmmaker Tracy Rector, who co-founded Longhouse Media and has curated many exhibitions and screenings emphasizing Native cultural life, will have a new piece, You Are On Indigenous Land, projected onto the high wall.

Seattle Art Fair
The fair, only in its fourth year, is on its way to becoming a major tradition. This year's fair edition will "explore identity, modes of play, and technology," with monumental machines, performances based in indigenous ceremony, and talks on cultural spaces of the future hosted alongside visual displays. Galleries from Korea, Canada, Japan, the UK, China, Singapore, and France will show pieces; New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco will also be well represented. The art will range from intimate and esoteric to large-scale and cutting-edge. Some of Seattle's most essential galleries will attend in force: Davidson, Greg Kucera, Foster/White, Linda Hodges, and more.

PERFORMANCE

Disenchanted!
The Disney fairy-tale princesses are here to slay your preconceptions and tell their own versions of the stories you know in this comedic musical.

Henry IV, Part 1
You can keep your Hamlets, your Macbeths, your Kings Lear—the drama of Prince Hal’s apprenticeship to Sir John Falstaff, and of Falstaff’s delusional mentoring of the future king is Shakespeare’s most emotionally resonant dramatic achievement. It’s about the way people love and betray themselves and each other. It’s a story of family, transformation, and loyalty, of fathers and sons both logical and biological. It’s about how people reconcile themselves to the rewards and requirements of honor. (It’s also the source of the old adage about discretion and valor, PS.) There’s a LOT of Shakespeare available to Seattle audiences this summer, and by all means, see as much as you can. But start with the first of the three essential Henry plays, because, as Hotspur reminds us, “the time of life is short; to spend that shortness basely were too long." SEAN NELSON

King Lear
George Mount will direct this outdoor Wooden O performance of the bleak and stormy play about an aging king and his foolish decision to expel his only honest daughter and bequeath his lands on her power-hungry older sisters.

Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation
The Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, presented by Velocity Dance Center, is a diverse weeklong exploration, with intensive classes, drop-in workshops, talks, "jams," and performances, including the avant-garde Dance Innovators showcase on August 2.

FRIDAY

COMEDY

Book Club: The Holiday Party
This improv performance centers on the story of "a group of well-off mid-thirties adults" who have gathered for monthly book club meeting "in the Nice part of town on a regular night, after their Barre classes and upscale juice crawls." Audience members are asked to bring a book to the performance, which the improvisers will then discuss, with "no self-awareness, an entire bottle of wine, and an absolute lack of critical skills."

Todd Barry: 30th Anniversary Crowd Work Tour
Still laconic, still acerbic, still incredibly funny, Todd Barry continues to be what he has been for at least 25 of the past 30 years: one of the funniest stand-up comics in the USA. The Crowd Work Tour, with its emphasis on improvised audience mockery, returns to show that Barry remains light on his feet and reliably hilarious. SEAN NELSON

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

ART

This Noble Work
Ten Seattle artists sculpt light at this neon art show, a tribute to the noble gas's "particular American quality." Curator Tania Kupczak has been accorded a Jack Straw New Media residency and two Artist Trust GAP awards, and her exhibition, which includes Alleson Buchanan, Kendall Cortese, Kelsey Fernkopf, Koko Jamison, Dani Kaes, Ramie Kraun, Inna Peck, Kristen Ramirez, and Renee Shure, should be a good and cheap alternative/complement to the Seattle Art Fair.
Closing Sunday

FESTIVALS

Seafair Weekend Festival
The summer-long Seafair Festival culminates in a three-day extravaganza of signature outdoor activities like air shows, Hydroplane racing, the Graham Trucking Seafair Cup, and a wakeboarding championship.

PERFORMANCE

H.A.G.S. (Have a Great Summer)
The versatile actor and talented playwright Keiko Green (Nadeshiko, Bunnies) has penned a new play for young actors about a 10-year high school reunion, secrets, identity, disappointments, and "the mystery of being who we're meant to be." Student designers and actors have collaborated with professionals on this commissioned work. From the description, it seems like it might be a little less dark than her previous plays, but we expect it will be just as cuttingly relevant.

Queen
In this drama by up-and-comer Madhuri Shekar about the agonies of science and academia, two PhD candidates researching beehive declines are about to publish a major paper when one of them discovers an error in their work, putting them to an ethical test. Shekar has won multiple awards for her plays, including a Jeff Award for this one.

She Loves Me
This musical doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It’s funny and sweet and set in a perfume shop, where two coworkers who hate each other, and who are both corresponding with secret pen pals they met through lonely-hearts ads in the newspaper, don’t realize that they are, in fact, corresponding with each other. It also has the most romantic song about vanilla ice cream you’ve ever heard. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

SATURDAY

ART

Ghost Cabin: Unveiling Party
When contractors dug below the basement of the Chophouse building in 2013, they discovered a concrete foundation outlining a small house. They learned that it was part of an original layer of pioneer settlement that had existed on the block, before the streets were raised and leveled in the early 1900s. This installation imagines a slightly distorted version of the frontier homestead using cedar wood planks.

COMEDY

Ten Percent Luck
Two improv groups (laugh machine hosts Yeah Okay plus Bedlam) will do their comedic thang with instruction and suggestions by a featured stand-up comic (Matt Valdespino).

FESTIVALS

Movies at the Mural
Park your bum on some blankets in front of the Mural and see free, highly enjoyable movies, like The Princess Bride, Get Out (tonight's screening), and Wonder Woman. Each screening will be preceded by short films by Cornish students.

FOOD & DRINK

Newaukum Valley Farm-to-Table Dinner
Before digging into a meal prepared with fresh ingredients from the farm by Cantina Leña's Chef Kyle Johnson, guests will learn about the farm's growing methods on an educational walk. Some other local farmers will also be in attendance, and their products will be featured throughout the five-course meal.

PERFORMANCE

Drag Musical: Bacon Grease Drag Show
Sizzling, salty-mouthed queens, led by Mizz Honey Bucket and Sylvia O'Stayformore, will devour the musical genre.

SUNDAY

ART

August Collect: Seattle Art Fair Edition
This collectors' club will take you on a tour of various arts shows around the city: the Capitol Hill Block Party 2018 Poster Show, the studio of the prodigious John Grade (known for the giant growing tree sculpture in the Seattle Art Museum lobby), studio e's 1 Room show, a surprise pop-up, and in a split second (it happened). Your ticket includes unlimited champagne and yummy snacks by Tarik Abdullah.

Swerve Zine Library
Grab a drink and flip through a collection of zines from local and international zinesters at this edition of the traveling library. A few of them will read from their collection and discuss their creative process.

READINGS & TALKS

Alice Bolin: Dead Girls
Why does pop culture romanticize and obsess over the figure of a murdered woman? Alice Bolin (the New Yorker's Page Turning blog) roves through touchstones in literature, movies, and TV, from Twin Peaks to James Baldwin to Britney Spears. Also addressed: white feminism and its shaping by patriarchy and personal reflections on the writer's own life.

Diana Khoi Nguyen: Ghost Of
Denver-based poet Diana Khoi Nguyen will read from her debut collection, Ghost Of, an exploration of a family riven by "history, exile, and loss" that earned praise from Terrance Hayes. Poets Prageeta Sharma and Ryo Yamaguchi will also read their recent work.