Sacrilege and faith clash in a scene from George Gershwin’s unmissable opera Porgy and Bess, which opens on Saturday. Karli Cadel
Our music critics have already chosen the 38 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 multidisciplinary festival:festival to poet/novelist Ben Lerner's Word Works talk, and from Arson Nicki's Slow Burn: a Durational Drag Performance to a Milk Bar Ice Cream Social & Bake Sale. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.

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MONDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Author Talk: Cured Meat, Smoked Fish & Pickled Eggs by Karen Solomon
Food writer and preservation expert Karen Solomon’s latest cookbook, Cured Meat, Smoked Fish & Pickled Eggs, purports to “turn your kitchen counter into a deli counter” with its recipes for smoked, pickled, cured, canned, and dehydrated proteins, including fish, meat, eggs, and even cheese. It also touches on no fewer than eight recipes for beef jerky. Imagine making your own bacon, smoked salmon, cured sardines, pork rinds, or even duck prosciutto. At the Book Larder, Solomon will share her preserving savvy and sign copies of the book purchased on-site. JULIANNE BELL

St. Louis Style BBQ
St. Louis is famous for such peculiar regional food specialties as St. Louis–style pizza (made with a cracker-thin crust and white processed cheese) and gooey butter cake (an irresistible sticky-sweet confection, apocryphally attributed to a Depression-era mix-up). Perhaps most of all, it’s known for St. Louis–style barbecue, defined by ribs that are grilled (rather than dry-rubbed and slow-smoked, as with most American barbecue), then liberally drenched in sauce. In fact, St. Louis is said to consume more barbecue sauce per capita than any other city in the nation. If you’d like to partake in this unique, condiment-laden style of barbecue, wood-fired pizzeria Delancey will be hosting a delightfully down-home barbecue night, led by their St. Louis native kitchen manager Graham Elliott (not to be confused with chef Graham Elliot of Top Chef and MasterChef), including barbecue chicken, pork ribs, steaks, slaw, potato salad, toast, and chow-chow. JULIANNE BELL

READINGS & TALKS

Andrew Shaffer: Hope Never Dies
I don't normally judge a book by its cover, but this one is so strong, I can’t not recommend the event. Adam Shaffer’s latest thriller features a rendering of Barack Obama and Joe Biden speeding down the highway in a frost-white Pontiac Trans Am T-top. Biden is at the wheel (his hands on 10 and 2, his seat-belt buckled), and Obama is popping out of the roof while pointing straight-ahead, ever onward, toward the future. In this obvious piece of escapist fiction, the former president and vice president team up to solve train crimes in Delaware. The book might not help you make sense of the world we're living in right now, but it will help you make sense of the world as it should be. RICH SMITH

Dunya Mikhail: 'The Beekeeper' and 'The Iraqi Nights'
Before Dunya Mikhail’s name appeared on winners’ lists for literary awards honoring her wry and powerful poetry, it appeared on Saddam Hussein’s list of enemies. The Iraqi American poet was targeted for her writings and translations as a journalist for the Baghdad Observer and was forced into exile in the 1990s. Though she’s known for addressing issues of war and violence in her poetry, her latest work, The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq (New Directions), is a piece of nonfiction that “gives voice to women who were captured, raped, tortured, and otherwise brutalized by Daesh (ISIS), and managed, one way and another, to survive and escape.” This one’s a rough read, but Mikhail’s focus on the strength of these women and the courage of an Iraqi beekeeper who organizes a network of smugglers to help the women escape offers some hope. RICH SMITH

Kristi Coulter with Claire Dederer: Nothing Good Can Come From This
In her "hilarious and heartrending" debut book of essays, Nothing Good Can Come From This, Kristi Coulter shares how she dealt with feelings of emptiness after quitting drinking. She'll be joined in conversation by local author Claire Dederer.

MONDAY-SATURDAY

PERFORMANCE

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
No performance on Tuesday or Wednesday

TUESDAY

PERFORMANCE

Great Soul of Russia: Love Their Children
The Seagull Project's Tyler Polumsky will introduce you to the world of Russia's favorite cartoons using "voiceover, projections of cartoons, wacky hijinks," and more.

READINGS & TALKS

Valerie Trueblood: Terrarium
Local author Valerie Trueblood, whose previous work has been shortlisted for the PEN/Faulkner and Frank O'Connor International Short Story awards, continues to grapple with "the complexities and contradictions of human nature" in her fourth collection of stories, Terrarium.

TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY

PERFORMANCE

This Is My Dinner: The Perform-ART Dramedy Musical
Two bratty performance artists are forced to deal with life beyond art school in this original satirical musical, which has clawed its way out of the Fringe Festival pit. They say: "There's as much truth in this show as there is metal trashcan: 32 gallons."

TUESDAY-SUNDAY

ART

In the Spirit: Contemporary Native Arts
For the 13th year, native artists will showcase their work at the In the Spirit contemporary Native arts exhibition, which will offer prizes in categories including Best of Show, Honoring the Northwest, and People's Choice. There will also be an accompanying festival on Saturday, co-hosted by the History Museum and Tacoma Art Museum, featuring dancing, drumming, a fashion show, vendors, and more.
Closing Sunday

Natasha Marin: Black Imagination
I don't say this lightly: Artist and activist Natasha Marin is a tornado of brilliance that consistently leaves thoughtful projects in her wake. Best known as the founder of the conceptual internet project Reparations, which encourages people with privilege to offset it by engaging in acts of generosity, Marin made splash as a curator last year with the astoundingly poignant exhibition Black Imagination: The States of Matter at Core Gallery. Her latest project is Ritual Objects, a celebration of Black joy centered on the power of healers who can transform trauma into beauty. Knowing Marin's past work, it's safe to say that this show will be nothing short of life changing for those who let it. EMILY POTHAST
Opening Tuesday

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

FOOD & DRINK

Trap Kitchen Cookout Tour: Compton 2 Tha 206
Malachi Jenkins, aka “Chef Spank,” and his best friend Roberto Smith, aka “Sous Chef News,” members of rival gangs (Crips and Bloods, respectively), decided to partner up to create “underground culinary sensation” Trap Kitchen, a catering service they advertised through Instagram that has since expanded to include a cookbook, a tour, and a location in Portland. They say the “trap” in their name also stands for “take a risk and prosper,” and prosper they have. Their wildly popular Compton-based pop-up and catering company has counted Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, and Snoop Dogg among its customers. Catch their sought-after grub at this buffet-style pop-up dinner on their tour. JULIANNE BELL

READINGS & TALKS

Don Mee Choi and Joshua Beckman
Stranger critic Rich Smith has called poet and translator Don Mee Choi "particularly skillful at mixing registers and tones to create brilliant and multilayered critiques." Her last book was Hardly War, an amalgam of verse, photography, postcards, and untranslated Korean text. She'll be joined by Joshua Beckman, whose The Lives of the Poems and Three Talks was brought out by local publisher Wave Books this year. Amaranth Borsuk will interview the two poets.

Keith Gessen: A Terrible Country
As a staff writer for the New Yorker and one of the founding editors of n+1, Keith Gessen has brought into the world a bunch of kinds of writing, but he is best known for his nonfiction essays on Russia. He’s also the brother of journalist Masha Gessen. And he has a side gig writing literary fiction, including his latest novel, A Terrible Country, about a New Yorker who moves to Russia and ends up feeling alienated from both countries. George Saunders says it’s “big-hearted, witty, warm, compulsively readable, earnest, funny, full of that kind of joyful sadness I associate with Russia and its writers.” CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Segregated Seattle: Walk the Infamous Red Line
Merlin Rainwater has lived in the Central District since 1980. According to Ann Dornfeld at KUOW, for the last few years Rainwater has been taking elderly people on biking tours around the city to train them up on the pleasures and perils of urban biking. Now she’s expanding her biking tour repertoire to include this extensive walk around Seattle’s 10-mile “red line,” a demarcation used by banks and housing authorities to discriminate against black people and other POC looking for a loan to buy a house. Over the course of the long walk, Rainwater will point out the lasting physical effects of segregation and disinvestment in communities of color in Seattle. RICH SMITH

WEDNESDAY & SUNDAY

COMEDY

Sacrificial Tofu
Sweetly dark-humored ex-Mormon comedian Bobby Higley will bartend AND host a competitive show with the aid of co-producer Lucy Tollefson.

WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY

PERFORMANCE

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera is fog-machine technology’s greatest achievement. It has been running on Broadway for 30 years and shows no signs of stopping. This national touring production boasts “newly reinvented staging and stunning scenic design,” according to advance word. Christine will be played by Eva Tavares, a performer from Vancouver, BC, who has studied opera seriously. The phantom will be played by Quentin Oliver Lee, who was in the national tour of Porgy and Bess. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

THURSDAY

ART

Capitol Hill Art Walk
Every second Thursday, rain or shine, the streets of Capitol Hill are filled with tipsy art lovers checking out galleries and special events. In August, check out Sam Wolfe Connelly: Underbrush, Danny Jauregui and Elise Rasmussen's in a split second (it happened.), and James Vitale: Junglebugs.

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 at this weekly SAM series, including tonight's Nothing Sacred.

Khu.éex: The Magic of Noise
Dave Segal has written, "Led by bassist [and renowned glass artist] Preston Singletary, large Seattle ensemble Khu.éex’ forge a unique fusion of robust funk, fiery, Pharoah-esque jazz, and Tlingit vocalizing and storytelling." Nights at the Neptune will screen a documentary on the fascinating musical group.

PERFORMANCE

Slow Burn: A Durational Drag Performance
Delightfully freaky local drag artist Arson Nicki "pushes the art form of traditional drag lip sync to its extremes," this time by hitting "shuffle" on a nine-hour-long playlist (without breaks) and mouthing the words while moving around the room. Attendees are free to come and go as they please, and blankets, pillows, and other comfy items are encouraged.

READINGS & TALKS

Word Works: Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner started off writing nerdy books of poetry that were so good, you could actually feel your brain and heart growing as your read them (see: The Lichtenberg Figures and Angle of Yaw). Then he turned his attention to reinventing the American novel. Both Leaving Atocha Station and 10:04 were phenomenal, genre-altering books that blurred the lines of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry as they explored contemporary politics, art, the life of artists, and the shallows and depths of love. Humor and intelligence abound in these books. Expect as much at this lecture, where Lerner will "examine the novel as a curatorial form." RICH SMITH

THURSDAY-SATURDAY

PERFORMANCE

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

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 & 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.

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

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.

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.

Queen
In this drama by up-and-comer Madhuri Shekar about the agonies of science and academia, two Ph.D. 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.

FRIDAY

ART

Lusio. A Night to Awaken
This is a free, family-friendly, inviting evening of light, art, and sound, featuring more than 30 light installations and more. You'll have to roam around the park to take it all in.

COMEDY

A Night of Comedy from the Cast of Bob's Burgers
Thrill to the hilarity of Eugene Mirman, H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, Larry Murphy, and John Roberts as part of Sub Pop's 30th anniversary festivities. Proceeds will benefit the wonderful program YouthCare.

FILM

'BlacKkKlansman' Opening
Spike Lee has not made a good movie in more than a decade (Inside Man, which stars Denzel Washington, was released in 2006). His 2015 film Chi-Raq was a disaster (read Ijeoma Oluo’s review, “Fuck You, Spike Lee,” of the work). The Netflix reboot of his 1986 classic She’s Gotta Have It was an embarrassment that only succeeded in showing his age. If you thought Lee, who is 61, was washed up, you were not alone. Now there is BlacKkKlansman, which premiered at Cannes and stars Denzel Washington’s son, John David Washington, and is described by Variety critic Peter Debruge as “How Spike Got His Groove Back.” That is very high praise. And there are good reasons to be excited about his new film. One, it’s produced by Jordan Peele, the director and writer behind the defining Obama-era feature Get Out. And two, its story, which is set in the early-1970s and concerns a black cop who infiltrated the KKK, is, of course, timely. Where Chi-Raq attempted to capture the mood of the Black Lives Matter moment, BlacKkKlansman is for the Make America Great Again moment. MAGA is the white hood of our times. CHARLES MUDEDE

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

FESTIVALS

festival:festival 2018
This multidisciplinary festival, with contributors selected by Mario Lemafa, Sara Porkalob, and Amina Maya, offers the chance for photographers, multimedia artists, dancers, and others to create artwork on intersectional identities. Their lineup this year is dynamite: artist Christopher Paul Jordan, Khadija Tarver, Natasha Marin, Benjamin Gale-Schreck, Simba Mafundikwa, and Matt Offenbacher, musicians Goodsteph, Guayaba, Déjà Speaks, mmuumm, and performers David Rue, Randy Ford, and Hanan.

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.

SATURDAY

ART

Georgetown Art Attack
Once a month, the art that resides in the tiny airport hamlet of Georgetown ATTACKS all passersby. In more literal terms, it's the day of art openings and street wonderment. In August, don't miss the multimedia performance [Rem]ember and Becoming American at studio e.

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, and Wonder Woman. Each screening will be preceded by short films by Cornish students. Tonight's screening is Little Shop of Horrors.

FOOD & DRINK

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck Seattle Appearance
Sugar fiends and Sanrio freaks can pick up some sweet treats and other goodies from the Hello Kitty cafe truck, which will visit Southcenter for one day only.

SILVA - The Story of Washington
At this pop-up named after the Latin word meaning "forest," chef Eric Rivera will tell the story of Washington with an evolving 12-15 course tasting menu that will teach guests about the "people, ingredients, and preparations from across Washington."

READINGS & TALKS

Claiming Identity: Self-Representation & Cultural Invention
A panel of artists whose work focuses on indigenous identity—Natalie Ball, Fox Anthony Spears, and Shirod Younker—will discuss the power and politics of self-representation and its importance in depictions of Native cultures.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

ART

[Rem]ember
This arts event, in conjunction with festival:festival, draws a connection between sleep and anti-racist resistance, asking "What happens when the protesters have become tired of being sedentary? What happens when a community is tired of being tired? In sleep, we are able to resolve the trauma of our everyday lives? Why can’t this tactic be used to heal the past/present/future at the same time?" Come for a multimedia performance in a retro-boudoir and see footage of an August 4 sleep-in protest.
Opening Saturday

FESTIVALS

Stillaguamish Festival of the River and Pow Wow
This festival offers musical performances, a circus, a fun run, a salmon bake, a pow wow, and more, courtesy of the Stillaguamish tribe.

PERFORMANCE

Porgy and Bess
The setting: Charleston, South Carolina. The time: long ago. The story: Porgy is a beggar ("I Got Plenty o' Nuttin"); Bess is a loose woman ("Bess, O Where's My Bess?"). The two are part of a love triangle completed by Crown, a rough and manly longshoreman. Early in the opera, a craps game happens. But the pleasures of gambling do not last long. A fight erupts. Crown kills another man, Robbins. Crown flees before the police arrive. Bess, who is hated by the other women of the ghetto, moves in with the only man, Porgy, who will offer her protection from the law. Porgy falls in love with her; Bess fails to fall totally in love with him. The opera has a sad ending. But the George Gershwin opera provided jazz with two giant standards: "Summertime" and "I Loves You, Porgy." It's also considered by many as the United States' only legitimate contribution to the opera canon. CHARLES MUDEDE

Wars Outdoors: A New Hope in the Park
Inclusive casting and very primitive special effects are two of the charms of this outdoor theater series. They've been putting on Outdoor [Star] Trek for some time, but this time they're switching to the universe of George Lucas.

SUNDAY

FILM

Moving History: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Film Forum
Probably the best and worst thing about my brain is the zeal with which it approaches the task of rummaging. The idea that the next stack of papers, the next bin of records, the next shelf of books, the next batch of DVDs, or the next weirdly unmarked reel of film is going to reveal some irreplaceable treasure is enough to keep me searching through dusty junk forever. This presentation appeals to that little particle in my psyche. Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound scoured the vaults of local museums and libraries, and their findings include oral history recordings, archival footage, and photographs from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society’s Log House Museum, a “gay camp classic” from Scarecrow Video, selections from the recently digitized Vi Hilbert Collection at the UW Ethnomusicology Archives, as well as clips from Seattle Art Museum, King County Archives, and UW Libraries Special Collections. SEAN NELSON

FOOD & DRINK

Milk Bar Ice Cream Social & Bake Sale
Following their smash-hit parking-lot pop-up with Shake Shack, Canlis will next team up with illustrious New York pastry chef and junk-food queen Christina Tosi, whom you might know from her Momofuku Milk Bar empire, notorious treats like cereal milk soft-serve and crack pie, and from her recent episode on Chef's Table: Pastry. Milk Bar will serve that famous soft-serve and crack pie as well as a selection of truffles and cookies, and Canlis chef Brady Williams will put his spin on such country-fair classics as turkey legs, corn on the cob, corn dogs, fried cheese, and popcorn. Guests can scarf the bounty of summertime snacks while listening to music from the Tallboys and participating in activities and carnival games, and there will even be an opportunity to snap a Polaroid with Tosi herself and decorate it in a craft tent (where you can also snag a Milk Bar-branded friendship bracelet). All proceeds benefit Queen Anne Farmers Market. JULIANNE BELL

The Original Coffee Break: Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
Cultures all over the world have their own traditions for gathering and sharing a cup of something caffeinated while socializing: teatime, the Swedish practice of fika, the coffee break. As the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia has developed a daily ritual around the brew that lasts a couple of hours and honors the process, from roasting the beans to steeping to sipping. (According to Ethiopian legend, coffee was first discovered by a goatherd named Kaldi, who noticed his flock seemed to dance with energy after getting hopped up on the red berries of a shrub, and decided to try them himself.) At this event hosted by Milen Medhane—owner of the Ethiopian cafe and restaurant Kaffa Coffee in Rainier Beach—and Atlas Obscura Society Seattle field agent Christopher Blado, guests can participate in an authentic coffee ceremony that includes pan-roasting fresh beans and heating and pouring water from the jebena (a traditional water vessel). JULIANNE BELL

Snohomish Hard Cider Festival
This festival will showcase "cidermakers from around the Pacific NW and beyond." Wander in and out of the barn enjoying eight four-ounce tastes and grazing from food trucks.

READINGS & TALKS

Caroline Fraser: Prairie Fires
This year's Pulitzer Prize, Plutarch, and National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography winner Caroline Fraser will read from the book that netted her these laurels: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, which unveils the myth-making behind the American pioneer classic.