Celebrate the final days of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and check out the new Bertha-born SR 99 tunnel with a bike ride, live music, food trucks, and more at this weekend's Step Forward festival. COURTESY OF THE SEATTLE MUNICIPAL ARCHIVES 62237
Our music critics have already chosen the 40 best music shows this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn to recommend the best events in their areas of expertise. Here are their picks in every genre—from a reading with the founder of the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party, Aaron Dixon, to a stand-up show with Dana Gould, and from Belgian Fest to a live podcast taping of Unorthodox featuring Dan Savage. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.

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Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

MONDAY

PERFORMANCE

B
The letter "B" stands for "bomb" in this 90-minute thriller by Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón. Two young, nonviolent female anarchists consort with a veteran anarchist named Jose about the best way to disrupt a capitalist system that has led to rampant economic inequality, giving us a look into the personal motivations that drive violent political action. Jay O'Leary (who previously staged Welcome to Arroyo's) directs this production from Washington Ensemble Theatre. RICH SMITH

READINGS & TALKS

Katherine Boo
New Yorker staffer and former Washington Post reporter Katherine Boo has won a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur "genius" grant, a National Book Award, and like 17 other accolades for investigative journalism focusing on the lives of poor people. She's written moving, well-researched, obsessively detailed accounts of welfare recipients, mentally disabled people who were abused in group homes, and Indian families trying to escape poverty in Mumbai. If you haven't read The Marriage Cure, her ~12,000-word piece on two African American women participating in a government-mandated marriage program in Oklahoma City, you'll want to figure out a way to carve four or five hours out of a Sunday and do it. Then go to this Seattle Arts & Lectures reading. RICH SMITH

MONDAY-THURSDAY

VISUAL ART

Meghan Elizabeth Trainor: Witancraeftlic
Meghan Trainor (who bears no relation to the pop star Meghan Trainor) unites witchcraft and electricity in her sculptural portrayal of folk healing, magic, and technology, an eerie installation of bones, jars, sigils, and "familiars." The result is an unsettling yet weirdly optimistic vision of hidden feminine occult power.
Closing Thursday

MONDAY-FRIDAY

FOOD & DRINK

99 Reasons to Stay Downtown
At the various restaurants that comprise his empire, Tom Douglas presents just shy of a hundred compelling reasons (read: happy hour deals, drink specials, and menu items) to choose happy hour in lieu of rush hour, from the "Tear Down This Tiramisu" at Cuoco to the "Traffic Is Not-So-Awful Falafel Waffle" at Assembly Hall.

MONDAY & THURSDAY-SATURDAY

PERFORMANCE

Everybody
This show looks like a fun mess. At the beginning of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's Pulitzer-shortlisted revival of a 15th-century morality play, none of the actors know which role they're going to play. Actors playing the characters God and Death randomly select the roles for the other actors, and the show gets underway. Ben Brantley at the New York Times called the first run "self-consciously whimsical and repetitive," but he didn't seem to say it in a mean way. Strawberry Theatre Workshop's production features some actors who are good on their feet—Justin Huertas, Lamar Legend, MJ Sieber—and so I have every confidence that they'll be able to turn this "work in progress," to use Brantley's terms, into an exuberant romp about the inevitability of death. RICH SMITH

MONDAY-SATURDAY

PERFORMANCE

Dear Evan Hansen
All I know about this show is that I very badly want to see it, it won a bunch of Tony Awards, and it’s about how social media can really screw up people’s lives. I’m so there. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

VISUAL ART

Kamryn Tulare: 100 Heads
Kamryn Tulare was discovered by Statix gallery director Peter Robinson (aka Ten Hundred) the way a lot of up-and-coming artists are discovered these days: through Instagram (@kamt.art). Tulare was posting her iridescent colored-pencil illustrations as part of #100heads, a challenge to create one hundred portraits. When she started in February, her posts garnered a few hundred likes. Her most recent post—a devilized portrait of LA artist Max Gunkel—has more than 1,500 likes, and she now has almost 12K followers. All 100 Heads (many of them of her friends) will be on view during the first gallery show ever for the 20-year-old, mostly self-taught artist, and for sale from $75 to $120. KATIE KURTZ
Closing Saturday

MONDAY-SUNDAY

FILM

Children's Film Festival Seattle
The Children's Film Festival is founded on two premises: 1) Children are not stupid and 2) they deserve beautiful world cinema just like us grown-ups with underused film degrees. The organizers at Northwest Film Forum believe that art can do heavy lifting for "racial equity and diversity, inclusivity, social justice, [and] global awareness" through brilliant storytelling and lovely sound and imagery. Special events this year include a sing-along with The Muppet Movie (1979), a live score by Miles and Karina for The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Lotte Reiniger's 1926 animated film, and a silhouette-animation installation for kids in the lobby.

VISUAL ART

Heikki Seppa: Master Metalsmith
Heikki Seppa, who died in 2010, was a master smith born in Finland who immigrated west and eventually taught in the USA, where he co-founded the Society of North American Goldsmiths. The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art displays a range of his works, including jewelry, functional pieces, and sculpture. Loops, wings, and graceful asymmetries abound in his pieces.
Closing Sunday

TUESDAY-SATURDAY

VISUAL ART

East European Printmakers
The wonderful print-focused Davidson Galleries presents mainly 19th- and 20th-century works by Czech, Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian, and other artists, with an abundance of whimsical, fabulist, surreal figures.
Closing Saturday

Sylwia Tur, Nicholas Nyland
Linguistics scholar Tur sculpts angular, delicate, architectural, mysteriously symbolic-looking shapes in white porcelain. Her pristine objects are complemented by Nyland's blazes and tangles of color, painted onto ceramics or paper.
Closing Saturday

TUESDAY-SUNDAY

VISUAL ART

Quenton Baker: Ballast
In 1841, American-born slaves on the brig Creole, led by a man named Madison Washington, commandeered the ship bringing them toward a continued life of misery and cruelty. They landed on British territory, where they found their freedom. Award-winning local poet Quenton Baker takes off on this story to examine black history from a personal standpoint, as he did in his collection This Glittering Republic. The survival struggle of long-ago people and the lingering effects of slavery on the psyche of those born free inspired Baker’s “erasure poems,” which he created by blacking out words in the Senate report on the Creole. Baker uses this selective elimination process to take control of the historical narrative, directing the viewer’s consciousness to unintended meanings. The title of this exhibition, which grew out of Baker's book-in-progress, refers to the ballast counterweighting the Creole's human cargo. JOULE ZELMAN
Closing Sunday

WEDNESDAY

READINGS & TALKS

Challenging Gender: The 2019 History Lecture Series
In this lecture series, UW history faculty delve into issues of power, gender, and love in settings from medieval France to Mughal India to 1960s America. For the final installment tonight, William Rorabaugh will give a talk titled "Women of the 1960s: Betty Friedan, Janis Joplin, Angela Davis."

Michael Valeri: Swipeless in Seattle: How to Live Without a Smartphone
Life without iPhones is possible, even in a city like Seattle, where the mandatory uniform is earbuds and a lack of eye contact because you’re staring at your device while you walk across the road. Or at least, that’s what 13-year flip-phone veteran Michael Valeri says, and that an app-free life is not just possible, but can even be fulfilling. During this free General Assembly presentation, Valeri offers tips and tricks on how to get by without Lyft, Uber, Car2Go, LimeBike, OneBusAway, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GPS, and all the rest. As to how to get by without Slog? That’s just not possible. KATIE HERZOG

Murray Morgan, Master Storyteller of the Pacific Northwest
Any of the good stuff you've heard about Seattle's early history (the boozing, the brotheling, the lumberjacking, etc.) likely comes from Murray Morgan's 67-year-old book Skid Road, which was given a fancy new cover last year by  University of Washington Press. Morgan was a people's historian, a guy who wrote about the lives of everyday folks while working on a bridge in Tacoma and moonlighting as a reporter-commentator for a small radio station. At Foilo's Athenaeum, join "Seattle Times books columnist Mary Ann Gwinn; Lane Morgan, Murray's daughter; and Jim Lynch, acclaimed Olympia novelist" in a discussion about the book's enduring legacy. RICH SMITH

WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY

PERFORMANCE

Bonbon
The slinky dancers of Pike Place's kitschy cabaret return with another tasty show. Ever wanted to ogle athletic dancers twirling from chandeliers inches from your face? Go. There's also a family-friendly brunch version that you can guiltlessly take your out-of-town relatives to.

I Do! I Do!
Get ready to weep nostalgic tears at the Village Theatre's production of a multiple Tony Award-winning musical by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, which portrays 50 years of a loving marriage.

Uncle Vanya
For the last eight years, the Seagull Project has been working with ACTLab to stage all four of Anton Chekhov's major canonical works. The production of Uncle Vanya is the fourth and final installment, marking the end of a long and theatrically fruitful partnership. This is a big deal, and a real turning point for the group, and nobody is sure what they'll do next, but I'm real excited about their take on this hyper-melancholic doozy from the great Russian realist about unrequited love, adultery, boredom, and despair. (If you've been tuning in for the last several years, you'll know those are all common themes.) This show has three of my favorite actors in town—Alexandra Tavares, Peter Crook, and Kevin Lin—so there's no way it's not going to be good. RICH SMITH

THURSDAY

COMEDY

Pretty Funny Ladies
Pretty Funny Ladies, an all-female stand-up comedy show featuring local funnywomen, will donate proceeds from this event to API Chaya, a non-profit that seeks to put an end to human trafficking and gender-based discrimination and violence. 

FILM

The Magic Lantern of Ingmar Bergman
Swedish visionary film director Ingmar Bergman would have been 100 this year. His deeply introspective, unabashedly emotional, despairing yet strangely life-affirming oeuvre will once again be onscreen at Seattle Art Museum (in association with the Nordic Museum). Oh, hey, and they’re showing one of the most traumatizing movies about relationships ever made, Cries and Whispers, on Valentine’s Day. Happy coincidence? On tap this week: the war film Shame. JOULE ZELMAN

FOOD & DRINK

A Midwinter's Night Dinner Pop-Up
Chef Aaron Tukulve will highlight the Pacific Northwest's midwinter bounties with a seven-course tasting menu. Prepare your palate for pumpkin seed risotto, charcoal beets with chevre, Aja Blanco, pistachios, and thyme, braised octopus, green apple and ginger granita, and Burnt Wood ice cream. 

READINGS & TALKS

Aaron Dixon: My People Are Rising
According to Anisa Jackson in Ghosts of Seattle Past, in 1968, Aaron Dixon and his younger brother Elmer created the Black Student Union at Garfield High School. Later on that year, they also founded the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party. In his memoir, My People Are Rising, Aaron Dixon discusses the history of the movement in the Pacific Northwest from the perspective of one of its leaders, and he goes on to "imagine what Black radical imagination might look like in the 21st century and beyond," according to press materials. King County Council member Larry Gossett likes it! Cornel West called it "powerful and poignant." And Laura Chrisman, editor in chief at The Black Scholar, said it was "required reading." RICH SMITH

The Body and Place
Of his fourth collection, The Bushman's Medicine Show, Seattle poet Gary Copeland Lilley says, "I write from this African American existence from the blues/gospel/country/rock and roll rhythms and sweat humidity of the American South." He'll read alongside Tara Hardy (who received the 2017 Washington State Book Award for her second collection, My My My My My) and Michele Bombardier, who will read from her collection What We Do.

Gage Georgetown Calling: Art Lecture Series with Emily Pothast
Emily Pothast, artist, art scholar, curator, and co-founder of the bands Hair and Space Museum and Midday Veil, will lecture on diverse, unusual topics in art history, such as tonight's "The Aesthetics of Fascism."

Hal Foster: Conversations about Sculpture
Essential for admirers of the large-scale sculptor Richard Serra, this book by art historian Hal Foster draws on 15 years of conversations with the artist. Hear Foster hold forth in person on Serra's life, work, and influences, including his "work in steel mills as a young man; the impact of music, dance, and architecture on his art; the importance of materiality and site specificity to his aesthetic; the controversies and contradictions his work has faced; and his belief in sculpture as experience."

Myrna Keliher and E.J. Koh
Myrna Keliher of poetry publishing outfit Expedition Press and local writer E.J. Koh will join in conversation.

Seattle Arts & Lectures: Soraya Chemaly
Chemaly's 2018 book Rage Becomes Her exhorts women to harness their righteous anger for social change. Go listen to her for an evening of feminist inspiration.

THURSDAY-SATURDAY

VISUAL ART

Escapism from LA
A host of accomplished local artists tackles the current exodus of Los Angeles residents to the Pacific Northwest as a springboard for pieces about escape, growth, and unmooring. Contributors include Nola Avienne, Seann Brackin, Jane Callister, Sijia Chen, Emily Counts, Alex Couwenberg, Tom Dunn, Roni Feldman, David French, Elizabeth Gahan, Yvette Gellis, Jimi Gleason, Cable Griffith, Ben Jackel, Jeffrey Mitchell, and Steven Wolkoff.
Closing Saturday

Lynne Rotholtz: Re Cast
Vintage magazines and paper products achieve a second life in Rotholtz's impressively painterly collages, which are equally beautiful and controlled-chaotic in tributary, organic, and right-angled shapes.
Closing Saturday

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

PERFORMANCE

The Bridge Project
In Velocity's Bridge Project, three up-and-coming choreographers—this year, Danielle Doell, Vladimir Kremenovic, and Beth Terwilleger—each create a fully produced new piece over the course of three weeks. At the end of their residency, you get to see the birth of these brand-new works.

We Are Here: Intiman Emerging Artists
Discover fresh work by new theater-makers from Intiman's Emerging Artist program, including Alexandra Kronz and Cassandra Leon in "Fat Chance! & Regresando," Steven Tran and Aaron Jin in "asian|american," Sara Geiger and Laurie Lynch in "Do You, A Journey Home," Chris Quilici and Alfonso "Ponch" Campos in "Never Did It," and Kenju Waweru and Greg Kleciak in "The Color of Our Hearts." They promise contemporary themes as well as such diverse images and elements as "beards, stand-up comedy, Grandmas, child dance competitions, Duolingo, queer motherhood, pastors, La Croix, race as a construct, classical piano, first date blues, AND SO MUCH MORE."

FRIDAY

COMEDY

Dana Gould
Dana Gould is one of the most inventive, brilliant, and respected comics in the business. He was a writer on The Simpsons for seven years, and has been closely associated with excellent TV, including The Ben Stiller Show and Parks and Recreation. More recently, he wrote an episode of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Netflix reboot and created the IFC horror-comedy show Stan Against Evil. He's acerbic, self-flagellating, and capable of spinning off into elaborate physical set pieces (you'll never hear the phrase "day-old chocolate cocks" the same way again) that shock you with their dark majesty. Go see Dana Gould do live stand-up so you can know what it's like to be in the presence of actual, uncomfortable greatness. SEAN NELSON

Safeword
Watch kinkster and vanilla comics incorporate random perversions into their routines in this sexy comedy game show, a brainchild of Claire Webber and Bobby Higley. As you might guess from the title, the audience enters into a "verbal contract" with the performers to ensure everyone's fun and safety. If the safeword is used, Claire and Bobby get spanked by someone who's shelled out to be in the "SplashZone"—these lucky folks also get to interact kinkily with the comics. Don't bring the kids, obviously, but there will be no nudity and no actual sex.

FOOD & DRINK

PNW Crab Feast
This class at the Pike Place Market Atrium Kitchen provides a primer on the notoriously sweet and succulent Dungeness crab. At this class, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the celebrated crustacean, from choosing it to breaking it down to cleaning it, and how to prepare a luxurious meal with it. You’ll get to tuck into a crab feast with nonalcoholic beverages for lunch, too. JULIANNE BELL

PERFORMANCE

Chop Shop Experience Dance Program
The Chop Shop: Bodies of Work dance festival offers free dance workshops for all abilities every year as a prelude to its main event in mid-February. This year, there are two programs: "Reading Dance," in which choreographers give insight into the artistic creation process in contemporary dance; and "Introduction to Modern Dance," which focuses on movement.

READINGS & TALKS

Pam Houston: Deep Creek
In her delightful novel Contents May Have Shifted, Pam Houston took on the need to flee. In her latest book, Deep Creek, she takes on home—her own home, in particular, a 20-acre homestead high in the Rockies, where she watches over the resident Irish wolfhounds, horses, donkeys, Icelandic sheep, and wild animals that pass through, protecting both them and herself from the forces that threaten to undo them. It is here, reflecting on her life and her travels, that Houston begins to finds sanctuary, and to heal from a devastating and traumatic past. KATIE HERZOG

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Chinese New Year Celebration
Taste a lineup of Chinese New Year beers, including the Mijiaya Historic Chinese Beer, the Lychee Sour, and the Buddha's Hand Citron IPA. Panda Dim Sum will provide additional nourishment. 

PERFORMANCE

Fresh
Seattle is a drag capital. We've nominated many girls and ghouls to participate in the Hunger Games of Drag (RuPaul's Drag Race) and the Hunger Games of Spooky Drag (Dragula). But Seattle's booming scene is more often defined by drag created in opposition to glitzy TV drag—even our queens who do get on these shows tend to flip off convention (hello, BenDeLaCreme)—and Arson Nicki's new(ish) drag show Fresh is the best place in Seattle to find the latest drag talent riotously flipping off convention. CHASE BURNS

La Chambre de Valtesse XXX
For those with a yen for high-end kink, the performers of Valtesse will revel in opulent "couture burlesque, aerial, whips, chains, dance, and doms." Look out for special guests like Entwined, Moth and the Masque, Porcelain (performing on V-Day weekend), 2018 Miss Exotic World Inga, and others who'll make the evening extra titillating. Wear black, red, and/or fetish gear to fit in, and stay on after the show for a party by the fireplace.

The Three Yells: A Crack in the Noise
This collaborative performance by local interdisciplinary modern dance troupe the Three Yells focuses on the refugee crisis in the United States and aims to lead to "greater consciousness, support, and healing."

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

PERFORMANCE

The Sleeping Beauty
Ronald Hynd's adaptation of Marius Petipa's choreography gracefully brings the story of the dormant lovely to life, accompanied by the classic Tchaikovsky score. Join the Pacific Northwest Ballet for what promises to be another spellbinding performance—the final one of this production.

Twisted Cabaret Presents: My Twisted Valentine
Welcome Frank Oliver and his "retinue" of European circus stars—what? It's just him? That's right: Oliver plays every single juggler, acrobat, magician, musician, mime, and everyone else onstage.

SATURDAY

COMEDY

The Blue Show: Adults-Only Improv Comedy
Improvisers have been saving up their dirtiest material for the Blue Show, an emphatically adults-only improv comedy night that happens just once a month—and that has attracted celebrity guests Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher.

Miscast
Funny and spontaneous performers will be paired with actors following a script to reshape scenes from real movies that the improvisers aren't familiar with in this series directed by John Carroll.

FILM

The Grave Plot Film Fest
Resurrect Halloween in February with a panoply of gory, nasty, scary, funny short films.

FOOD & DRINK

Belgian Fest
Brewing beers with Belgian yeast yields a range of ales with a distinctive fruity flavor. This festival featuring more than 100 Belgian-style beers crafted by Washington breweries is the perfect opportunity to taste them all, including funky lambics, tangy saisons, dubbels, tripels, abbeys, and wits. If you work up an appetite, food trucks like Dante’s Inferno Hot Dogs and Buddha Bruddah will be on-site slinging hearty fare. JULIANNE BELL

PERFORMANCE

ArtHaus 5.0: ArtHaus Ball
This seventh "episode" of the drag battle ArtHaus will take a break from its usual competitive nature for the first-ever ArtHaus Ball, where a representative from each drag house will sashay down the runway as "an outfit, a scepter, and a pet." The performers will still be judges (by Miss Texas 1988, Betty Wetter, and Cookie Couture), but the results will have no effect on the overall status of the winning and losing houses. However, the winner will get $100.

FIUTS CulturalFest Performance Showcase
University of Washington students from all over will dance, sing, and show off more talents in celebration of the international diversity of the student body. This event is part of CulturalFest, a Foundation for International Understand Through Students initiative, which aims to foster global connections and culture. Discover the students' talents like Chinese dance, Taiko drumming, Chilean folk dance, Iranian choir singing, and Indian-Western musical fusion. Come before the show for an expo. 

Unorthodox Live: Featuring Dan Savage
You're invited to expand your knowledge of sex and "news from the Jews" during this Valentine's-themed live recording of the online magazine Tablet's popular podcast. The Stranger's own intimacy advice dealer Dan Savage and other guests will join regulars Mark Oppenheimer, Stephanie Butnick, and Liel Leibovitz. Expect gossip, culture, and a Jewish-gentile dialogue on sex and matchmaking. VIP ticketholders can hang out with the guest artists for happy hour.

READINGS & TALKS

Saturday University: Winter Lecture Series
This year, the Gardner Center lectures on art and culture will focus on plants of Asia, including today's talk from Nicola Menzies on how traditional Chinese knowledge of plants gave way to scientific botany between 1850 and 1950.

VISUAL ART

Thriving While Trans: A Love Manual
Celebrate the release of a literary anthology by trans authors at this performance showcase produced by Cody Pherigo, featuring diverse, experienced performers like Ebo Barton, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Nic Masangkay, and others. The ticket price, half of which will be donated to the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, includes a copy of the anthology. 

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

FESTIVALS

SR 99 - Step Forward
Celebrate the final days of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and check out the new Bertha-born SR 99 tunnel, which will provide new routes for getting to and through downtown Seattle, at this grand opening festival that will include a fun run and bike ride, live music, food trucks, and tours.

SUNDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Themed Sunday Brunch: Vegas Buffet
If what happens at this Vegas-style brunch stays at this Vegas-style brunch, we guess you'll have to refrain from telling your friends how much you enjoyed Chef Eric Rivera's late-morning buffet spread.

READINGS & TALKS

Paul Nelson
Paul Nelson, founder of Seattle Poetics LAB, will share a few interviews with literary people like Rupert Sheldrake, Jean Houston, Wanda Coleman, Allen Ginsberg, and others from his new book, American Prophets: Interviews with Thinkers, Activists, Poets & Visionaries