No fooling—the second official month of spring brings tons of entertainment options across genres to Seattle, not to mention major happenings like 4/20, Easter and Passover, National Poetry Month, and Earth Day. Below, we've compiled the biggest art and theater shows, concerts, food events, and other great things to do, from Lizzo to Dance Theatre of Harlem's 50th Anniversary Celebration, from the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival to Seattle Restaurant Week, from the SPLIFF Film Fest to the Bibliophilia Storytelling Festival, and from Independent Bookstore Day to Record Store Day. If all of that isn't enough, you can also look ahead to the rest of this year's big events, see our list of cheap & easy year-round events, or check out our complete Things To Do calendar.
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- Ilya Kaminsky
Ilya Kaminsky is a Russian Jewish poet and translator who's as good a writer as he is a steward of the genre. In addition to editing tons of anthologies and guest-editing tons of journals, his two previous books—Musica Humana and Dancing in Odessa—were widely praised. Deaf Republic, his new book of linked lyrics about an occupied population trying to resist the government after soldiers kill a deaf boy at a protest, is getting similar treatment. Kaminsky performs the poems from the perspectives of the different characters in the narrative. In one mode, he speaks in a pretty standard Russian-accented English. And in another, he wails and sings like my Russian Jewish grandpa. This style is arresting and makes for a powerful performance. RICH SMITH
- Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
After the long, hard, and—this year—snow-filled-winter, the best way to shock you out of seasonal depression is to stick your face in a ton of fresh flowers. You’re in luck, because Skagit Valley’s annual Tulip Festival is really something to behold as, quite literally, millions of pink, yellow, purple, orange, and red tulips shoot up from the ground and announce that winter is finally over. (Or at least, it’s over in the rest of the world. It’ll be chilly here through June.) While you could fly to Holland to get your fill of tulips, the trip up I-5 is quicker, cheaper, and, with one mountain range to the east and another to your west, even more Instagrammable than Amsterdam. KATIE HERZOG SPORTS & RECREATION
- Seattle Mariners 2019 Home Games
Seattle's MLB team's 2019 home season includes games this month against the Los Angeles Angels (April 1-2), the Houston Astros (April 12–14), Cleveland Indians (April 17), the Texas Rangers (April 25–28), and the Chicago Cubs (April 30).
- José González & the String Theory
José González can mesmerize with a single verse—his vocals are just that exquisite. Tender, elegant, high-toned, quiet and soothing yet arresting, a melodically sublime caress to the ears. The Swedish singer-songwriter, nylon-stringed finger-style acoustic guitarist, and one-half of Swedish folk duo Junip pits those glorious pipes against sparse folk arrangements marked by gentle or sprightlier finger-picked guitar, his set list encompassing originals as well as gorgeous, stripped-down renderings of songs like Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” and the Knife’s “Heartbeats.” The whole “man and his guitar” shtick isn’t easy to pull off, but I’ve seen González do it, and his serene intensity keeps your eyes glued. He’s coming to Seattle behind the freshly released Live in Europe, a two-LP live recording from his tour with avant world orchestra the String Theory, which join him on this tour. LEILANI POLK
- Zakir Hussain
Few things in life surpass the pleasure of witnessing an exalted tabla player, and tonight Seattle is blessed by world-class Indian musician Zakir Hussain. The son of tabla great Alla Rakha, Hussain has caressed the small Indian drums with Shakti, Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, and Diga Rhythm Band. His byzantine structures and chakra-aligning tonalities intertwine in cosmic synchronicity and proceed with quicksilver fluidity. Prepare to spend most of the night with your mouth agape as your mind reels to one of the most enchanting instruments humanity has ever conceived. DAVE SEGAL READINGS & TALKS
- Laila Lalami: The Other Americans
After a Moroccan immigrant is murdered in California, his composer daughter and homesick widow come together with an undocumented witness, an Iraq War vet, and a detective in this novel by Pulitzer Prize finalist Lalami (The Moor's Account). This complex story of lies and disillusion in an American town is told through nine different narrators. It's earned praise from such towering authors as Viet Thanh Nguyen and J.M. Coetzee.
- Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra
Delfeayo Marsalis isn’t as prolific or renowned as his older brothers Wynton and Branford, but the trombone playing member of one of New Orleans’ most venerated musical families still has some mighty fine chops—technically excellent, but fun and inventive, too. He also gets props for his production quality and is often credited as being responsible for the resurgence of acoustic recording in jazz. Delfeayo founded the 16-piece multigenerational Uptown Jazz Orchestra in 2008, though their debut recording, Make America Great Again!—which traces American music from its African roots to the present—didn’t come out until 2016. Nevertheless, it’s full of swinging and grooving big-band tunes that kick off with a gentle, brass-fueled rendition of “Star Spangled Banner” before launching into lushly layered instrumentals that feel worldly and fresh and kissed by that NOLA flavor while also drawing on genres ranging from Latin music to gospel to hiphop. LEILANI POLK
- Shen Yun
By all accounts Shen Yun is a stunningly gorgeous dance explosion driven by classical Chinese movement and set before a giant screen that transports you to Imperial Chinese palaces, heavenly heights, and glorious color fields. But it is also the product of the Falun Gong movement, a religious group persecuted by the Chinese government. Members of the religion seek to reignite passion for traditional Chinese culture as a way to draw a comparison to current authoritarian leadership. Audiences are in for songs promoting Falun Gong's conservative values, which include--according to SF Gate and people who have seen the show--creationism, homophobia, sobriety, and no spreadin til the weddin. I recommend this performance to you only so you can watch the look on peoples' faces as they slowly discover they're being indoctrinated. But if it's too expensive, or if their ideology threatens your very existence, then obviously you should do literally anything else. RICH SMITH
- James Bay, Noah Kahan
English singer-songwriter James Bay aims to seduce everyone in the Seattle metro area with his aw-shucks blue-eyed-soul vibes, tracks off his latest album, and new short haircut on his Electric Light Tour.
- Queensrÿche, Fates Warning
Back in 2012, Queensrÿche publicly feuded over the use of their name with former vocalist Geoff Tate. After securing the copyright to the well-established name, the remaining members made a risky move, hiring former Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre. Many feared this change, as Tate’s voice was synonymous with Queensrÿche’s prog-rock sound. What fans received was a love letter to the vintage Queensrÿche years, shying away from their softer, more ballad-driven material and embracing their original soaring, power-metal-esque anthems with 2013’s self-titled album and 2015’s Condition Hüman. There’s no end in sight for this old-school Northwest rock institution. KEVIN DIERS
There is a chance that you know Spiritualized from the short but memorable tapping of their music in Vanilla Sky. (“Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space” played during Tom Cruise’s elevator ride toward his fate.) That track spurred me to seek out more by the Jason Pierce–driven space rock group, and it’s why I continue to follow them today even though, eight albums deep, they haven’t put out anything else that has touched my heart so deeply and profoundly. One thing that has remained the same between then and 2018 LP And Nothing Hurt is Pierce’s near-symphonic style of composing, his richly textured music encompassing multi-voice choruses and lush instrumentation, from brass to strings to an array of axes, bass guitars, and synthesizers. Also, its lead track, “A Perfect Miracle,” could be the happy-go-lucky kid sister to “Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space”—both in cadence and melodic framework. LEILANI POLK
- Through the Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice in Wonderland
The producers of The Burlesque Nutcracker, Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann, will once again re-imagine Lewis Carroll's classic story as Alice visits Wonderland's hottest nightclub, the Looking Glass. With Lily Verlaine as the Caterpillar, Tory Peil as the Cheshire Cat, and Paris Original (House of Verlaine; Mod Carousel) as the Knave Of Hearts.
- The Master and Margarita: A Remix of Bulgakov
Last time this Theatre Simple production by Rachel Katz Carey came to town, in 1997, Stranger writer Bret Fetzer noted that it "deftly weaves together multiple story lines and metaphysical romance with vigorous hands-on theatrics." Now it's back, with the same director and a new score by Brent Arnold. If you haven't read Bulgakov's 1930s masterpiece, it's the story of the Devil and his entourage (including a scene-stealing talking, smoking cat) testing the residents of Stalinist Moscow to see if Communism has really changed their nature. But it's also about Pontius Pilate, love, and the immortality of art.
- Hippie Sabotage, Sebastian Paul
California's Hippie Sabotage, much like our own local boys gone grand Odesza, perform the sort of sun-baked beachtronica that will make you feel like cracking open a Corona and playing hooky for a week. If you're looking for a techno-pop fix on a Saturday night, it wouldn't be wrong to steer you here, but why would you ever need a fix of techno pop? Just watch the ads before YouTube videos. KYLE FLECK
- Smino, Phoelix
The first Smino song I ever heard was the truly amazing “Anita” remix that featured T-Pain; it was so good, it got its own music video. The track is appropriately chill, retro, and fun, the perfect backdrop to warm weather fun. Now the Saint Louis–born, Chicago-based MC—who has worked with the likes of Chance the Rapper, Noname, and Saba—is back in support of his sophomore album, NOIR, that dropped last November. The record is a moody, sexy, R&B-drenched thing, and Smino’s voice is chameleon-like, versatile, changing on every track. Listen to “KLINK,” with its guitar tightly simmering over a trap beat, before you head out. And “FENTY SEX” when you bring someone back home. JASMYNE KEIMIG READINGS & TALKS
- Cadence Video Poetry Festival
Video poetry has been around since the late 1970s, but it's been enjoying a slight revival in a world where three-minute videos on the internet serve as our primary mode of media consumption. Local fiction writer Chelsea Werner-Jatzke is curating the second iteration of this festival, which will include video poems from Shaun Kardinal, Catherine Bresner, and Sierra Nelson. Bresner and professor-poet Amaranth Borsuk will lead workshops throughout the month for those who want to learn to create their own cinepoems. RICH SMITH
- Morgan Parker: Magical Negro
"Magical Negro" is a term popularized by director Spike Lee in 2001 to describe a Black stock character whose function is to help the white protagonist in a film realize or achieve something with their quasi- mystical powers of Blackness. Think Will Smith in The Legend of Bagger Vance. Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile. Jennifer Hudson in Sex and the City. Los Angeles–based poet Morgan Parker titling her new potent book of poetry Magical Negro is hilarious, because this book doesn't cater to white selfhood or knowledge at all. Instead what we get is a portrait of 21st-century Black womanhood: our complexities, our sadness, our everydayness, our shared ancestral trauma and the violence done against us, our splendor, our humor. My body is an argument I did not start. That's the pitch of Parker's language. It's hard not to feel completely undressed by every poem. If the world suddenly became a reflection-less place, this book of poetry is what I'd look into to see myself. The poet's vision of Blackness is resplendent, multivalent, complicated, heavy, ever-changing. And beautiful. True, too. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- Ballet Preljocaj: La Fresque
This world-renowned, 30-plus-years-old French dance company will bring La Fresque, a ballet meant to depict a "painting come to life," to Seattle. The story, based on a Chinese tale, follows a man who steps into a painting to be with the woman he loves. Full of impressive synchronicities and appealing geometries, this performance looks irresistible.
- Michelle Ellsworth: Post-Verbal Social Network
Language is a problem, especially if you're trying to communicate emotional information to someone else. Words aren't enough, and yet they mean too much. And some words even mean the opposite of what they mean—I'm looking at you, "weathered," "cleave," "literally," and all other contronyms. Wouldn't it be nice to just dispense with all this word nonsense all together? Michelle Ellsworth seems to think so. In this installation/performance piece, she's constructed "21 prototypes (aka possible solutions to language)" and placed them throughout On the Boards, including in the bathrooms and stairwells. "The work is particularly site responsive to the plumbing at OTB," press materials read, somewhat cryptically. (Urinal art?) She's also doing a live demonstration of another prototype in the studio space. She's setting all this up to create "non-language-based, non-mediated, human-to-human encounters" in the theater. RICH SMITH
Also see Michelle Ellsworth: The Rehearsal Artist, for which Ellsworth will invite a few audience members at a time to gaze at a dancer who is doing two things at once: watching reenactments of 2001: A Space Odyssey and "participating in a mash-up of some of the most canonical social science experiments of the last 50 years."
- Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1
The whole program for this evening plays to incoming Seattle Symphony music director Thomas Dausgaard's strengths. He's known for his interpretations of Brahms, one of the daddies of the romantic era, but one who nevertheless stayed true to his classical roots. Both Dausgaard and pianist Garrick Ohlsson offer passionate intensity without sacrificing a bit of intellectual rigor, so it will be interesting to see them tackle Brahms's formidable First Concerto. Nielsen's angsty, manic Second Symphony will come as a relief after Rued Langgaard's prelude to Antichrist, which is gorgeous, but also sounds like the orchestral equivalent of edging. Both pieces were written in Dausgaard's native Denmark.RICH SMITH
- Peabo Bryson
Sway to two-time Grammy-winning vocalist Peabo Bryson's pop-soul ballads.
This festival highlights solo shows, variety, magic, sketch, and other diverse forms of off-beat performance, like José Amador's drama Ague, set in a low-income emergency room; Marisol Soledad's clowning fairy tale Here at Home; a show about underground construction workers in Calgary called Surfing Underground, and more.
APRIL 4-27VISUAL ART
- Preston Singletary: Illuminated Forest
Tlingit artist Preston Singletary does things with glass that I didn’t know were even possible. I think I’m hung up on the colors, or maybe the way light moves through his pieces, which are conversely vibrant and opaque. Singletary’s work brings European glassblowing traditions to a new level, combining those techniques with Northwest Native art. His pieces explore themes of transformation, animal spirits, and shamanism in glass forms and sand-carved Tlingit designs. Illuminated Forest features entirely new blown-glass sculptures by the prolific and internationally recognized artist. JASMYNE KEIMIG
APRIL 4-MAY 11VISUAL ART
- Swoon: Every Portrait Is a Vessel
“Every portrait is a vessel” is an interesting proposition. My brain begins to fill in the rest of the sentence. Every portrait is a vessel of love. A vessel of self. A vessel of truth. Every Portrait Is a Vessel is the first solo exhibition by Swoon (aka Caledonia Curry) in the Pacific Northwest. Swoon is a legendary street artist, most famous for her portraiture-based artwork and large-scale installations. At Treason, she’ll be showing a mix of new and old pieces in a range of formats, from music boxes to mixed-media pieces. JASMYNE KEIMIG
APRIL 4–JUNE 1VISUAL ART
- Semi-occasional Secondary Market Exhibition of Excellent Pictures
See selections by celebrated Northwest artists like Guy Anderson, Whiting Tennis, Jacob Lawrence, Michael Dailey, and others.
APRIL 4-JUNE 9VISUAL ART
- Riffs: A Residency and Works-in-Progress Exhibition
God, so many good things come together from collaborations. You ever heard of Kanye West and Bon Iver? Virgil Abloh and Louis Vuitton? My parents? In any case, the minds over at Photographic Center Northwest are on a similar collaborative tip. For the past three months, Seattle-based photographers and media makers Tara Champion, Peter de Lory, Christopher Paul Jordan, Natalie Krick, Kat Larson, Mary Ann Peters, Joe Rudko, and Preston Singletary have been bouncing ideas off each other. The show is a result of that mind-melding, that cooperation, those conversations. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- 'Ash Is Purest White' Opening
Cinema is often at its best when it places characters in a social and cultural world that is rapidly changing. The grandeur of the latter infuses the little events of the former (drinking in a bar, dancing in a club, walking down a street) with the force of an epic. This is Ash Is Purest White, a crime drama by the highly regarded Chinese director Jia Zhangke. The background is China’s recent and still-occurring economic inflation; in the foreground are two lovers, one of whom is a small-time gangster in a town that’s becoming a huge city. Their love is tested and twisted by the world-historical experience. CHARLES MUDEDE READINGS & TALKS
- Rachel Cusk: The Outline Trilogy
In this trilogy, beginning with the "lethally intelligent" (Heidi Julavits, NYT) Outline, a British writer whose very presence induces people to confess their secrets copes with her own traumas and transitions. Outline and its sequels, Transit and Kudos, have together racked up about a dozen mentions and awards, including Vogue, NPR, the New Yorker, and the Guardian's Best Book of the Year.
APRIL 5-7READINGS & TALKS
- Orcas Island Lit Fest
This festival is a boon to anyone who loves both literature and gorgeous island landscapes. Last year, you could attend a lit crawl with major authors, generate some masterpieces of your own at workshops, and chime in on panel discussions, as well as meeting regional authors, poets, and publishers. Featured artists will include poet Rick Barot, novelist Nicola Griffith, author and graphic novelist Mat Johnson, singer/songwriter Laura Veirs, screenwriter Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith, and many others, and the panels will sport many local favorites like Donna Miscolta, Anastacia-Reneé, Elizabeth Austen, Katrina Carrasco, Joe Ray, and more.
- Mark Haim: Parts to a Sum
In a world being driven apart for political gain, choreographer Mark Haim wanted to make something joyous and humorous that brings people together. He asked 432 people from more than 20 countries for a video of them doing 5 to 10 seconds of movement. He chose dancers, students, friends, and relatives, some of whom he hadn't spoken to in years. The idea was to learn all their "dances" and perform them from oldest to youngest, becoming a single vessel for hundreds of different people. In the end, 371 people sent in videos. The dance has taken more than two years to learn. The show premieres on April 5. After his dance, the bar will open up and a postshow party will begin. Haim will play the sequence of video submissions on a big screen so the audience can see the hundreds of parts that made up his joyful sum. RICH SMITH
APRIL 5-JANUARY 4VISUAL ART
- Prince from Minneapolis
Prince’s “If I Was Your Girlfriend” did to my erotic imagination what the flower revolution did to the earth millions of years ago—transformed a monochromatic vision of sexuality into one blooming with color. Listening to the song for the first time in 1986, I realized that sex was more (if not all) about play, rather than function, mission, or purpose. Many years later in college, I learned that this form of play was not specific to humans, but was the state of things in nature—most developed animals are not blind and efficient fuckers, but conscious wasters and abusers of sex. Fucking is mostly waste, wonderful waste. And lovers are only fully such when they are playful, when the borders between them are destabilized, when the sex is purely the energy of sex—a glowing substance that’s there to be exploited and explored. Prince will never die, especially with exhibits like the one that’s opening at MoPOP that uses nearly 50 artifacts (instruments, photographs, artworks, clothes) to delve into what made the late soul-pop artist a superstar. CHARLES MUDEDE
Don't miss the opening party on April 5
- Kaleidoscope Ballard
Get a little woozy this spring at Kaleidoscope, a new music and art festival that will feature live sets by Fruit Juice, Wild Powwers, SHARK LEGS, Peyote Ugly, Sea Salt, b r a c k e t s, the Whags, and FROND, all accompanied by a Space Pyramid-made "analog light experience" for some extra sensory overload. FOOD & DRINK
- Beecher's Cheese for All
Rainy spring days call for comfort food, and Kurt Beecher Dammeier’s household-name handmade cheese company will rise to the occasion. At this tour, local chefs will prepare mac and cheese and cheeseburgers made with the company’s various cheeses and Mishima Reserve Wagyu beef. JULIANNE BELL
- Edible Book Festival
View (and then devour) tasty tomes on display at this festival devoted to punny "books" made out of food and inspired by famous literary titles—past winners have included Donkey Oaties and A Pringle In Time. MUSIC
- Bob Mould Band, Hutch Harris
After his 2014 record, Beauty & Ruin, shook his fanbase with exquisitely executed gloom after the death of his father, one might expect something more straightforward and punk-oriented from ex-Hüsker Dü songwriter Bob Mould. Of the recent record, Patch the Sky, the '80s indie-rock/thoughtful-punk pioneer says, "The words make you remember. The music makes you forget." Now in the context of the last year's death of his former Hüsker Dü bandmate and co-songwriter Grant Hart—whom he honored in a tear-jerking tribute on his Facebook page—tonight's show should yield an appropriately somber tone. Mould's spirit seems optimistic in the face of more loss, however, and this performance promises to be electric in both acoustics and emotional dynamism. BRITTNIE FULLER
- Dermot Kennedy
Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy flew in a day early for his NPR Tiny Desk concert to rehearse with Washington, D.C.'s Howard Gospel Choir, whom he brought along to the performance. Hopefully, this tour stop will also bring some fun surprises.
- An Evening with Michael Bublé
Stadium seducer Michael Bublé will bring his lounge act on a 27-city U.S. tour this spring on a wave of success following five sold-out world tours, winning four additional Grammy Awards, and selling over 60 million records.
- The Fab Four - The Ultimate Beatles Tribute
Get the next best thing to a live show with John, Paul, George, and Ringo at this Beatles Tribute with the Fab Four.
Up-and-coming star of the Parisian electronic scene, FKJ, also known as French Kiwi Juice, is a gatekeeper for the New French House music zone.
- Laserface by Gareth Emery
Ready yourself to be blown away by the self-described "World's Greatest Laser Show," choreographed by internationally renowned laser designer Anthony Garcia and set to the electronica of Gareth Emery.
- Seattle Jewish Film Festival
This annual film festival explores and celebrates global Jewish and Israeli life, history, complexity, culture, and filmmaking. It showcases international, independent, and award-winning Jewish-themed and Israeli cinema, and the audience votes on their favorites. In April, the fest migrates to the Eastside. This year's VIP guest is Jamie Bernstein, author and daughter of the famous composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story, Candide).
APRIL 6 & 27SPORTS & RECREATION
- Rat City Roller Derby Bout
All four of Seattle's Rat City Roller Derby teams will compete in the Champions for the club's 15th anniversary season. Check out a game to make some new friends and to witness some badass athletes duking it out in the rink.
APRIL 6-28SPORTS & RECREATION
- Seattle Sounders 2019 Home Games
Seattle's Major League Soccer team's home season will include games this month against Real Salt Lake (April 6), Toronto FC (April 13), the San Jose Earthquakes (April 24), and LAFC (April 28).
APRIL 6-MAY 6FESTIVALS
- Daffodil Festival
Pierce County's daffodil farmers have dwindled over time, according to the organizers, but it's still fertile ground for the yellow perennial flowers, who have had their own festival in the area since 1934. The event boasts four parades, but the highlight is its grand parade (Sat April 6), where the festival's royal court (made up of 23 "princesses" from Pierce County high schools) sail down the street on daffodil-covered floats.
APRIL 6-MAY 26PERFORMANCE
- Urinetown: The Musical
The themes of scarcity, greed, populism, and capitalism running amok make the triple Tony-winning post-apocalyptic musical Urinetown, with music by Mark Hollmann, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis, and book by Kotis, a perfect satire for our times. This is a co-production with the 5th Avenue Theater.
APRIL 6-JUNE 28, 2020VISUAL ART
- You Are on Indigenous Land: Places/Displaces
Traditional and contemporary art of Native peoples reflects matters of land, ancestry, and kinship through modern forms and handicrafts like basketry and weaving. Go for the artists' mastery of their media, but also for a reminder of the deep roots of pre-Western cultures and the urgency of sovereignty and environmental issues.
THROUGH APRIL 7FOOD & DRINK
- Plate of Nations
Every year, Plate of Nations presents a two-week-long opportunity to avail ourselves of the rich and varied cuisines of Rainier Valley, with shareable plates priced at $20 and $30. This year, 14 restaurants are participating, with Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, Peruvian, Mexican, Mediterranean, and more represented in the mix. Among the highlights are Szechuan fare from Little Chengdu, smoky Peruvian charcoal-roasted rotisserie chicken from Big Chickie, inimitable tacos from Tacos Chukis, and Ethiopian food from Cafe Ibex. “If you’ve never been to Cafe Ibex... you’re missing out on some of the best food in town,” former Stranger food editor Angela Garbes once wrote about the event. “South Seattle is where it’s at. Catch up." JULIANNE BELL PERFORMANCE
- Moisture Festival
Moisture Festival is devoted to the variety of performers Seattle has fostered over the years, from circus acts to comedians, burlesque dancers to musicians, and jugglers to tap dancers. Variété is the main, recurring event, with a rotating lineup, and there are also matinée and rather racier late-night versions. The bawdy Libertease Cabaret is for adults only and features burlesque dancers and scantily clothed aerial performers. There are also workshops, talks, and special opening and closing nights. New guest artists this year include French clowning duo Viktor Levillon and Alexis De Bouvere, comedian Mike Wood, and juggler Anne Küpper. If you love circus acrobatics, clowning, comedy, and/or sexy dance, you owe it to yourself to go.
- Julia Michaels, Corey Harper
Fresh off supporting shows for P!nk, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Julia Michaels will stop in Seattle on her first headlining tour across North America.
- Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
The Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world, is coming to us this year, with live sets by huge jazz talents like Cecile McLorin Salvant and three winners of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. READINGS & TALKS
- Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott's friendly, nonjudgmental, and vague brand of Christianity (as encountered in her latest book Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy) irritates many critics even as they praise her linguistic facility and approachability. But she wrote Bird by Bird, an indisputably great book, and she is funny as hell onstage. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
APRIL 7-18FOOD & DRINK
- Seattle Restaurant Week
Frugal gourmands everywhere rejoice over this twice-yearly event, which lets diners tuck into prix-fixe menus at more than 165 different restaurants hoping to lure new customers with singularly slashed prices. Three courses cost a mere $35, and many restaurants also offer two-course lunches for $20. It’s an excellent opportunity to feast like a high roller at an accessible price point and cross some otherwise spendy establishments off your food bucket list, including critically acclaimed restaurants like Tilth, Sushi Kappo Tamura, and Adana. JULIANNE BELL
- CupcakKe, Lil Woadie, Thee Prophecy
CupcakKe is really fucking important! For the uninitiated, the Chicago rapper is most known for her sexually explicit songs—like the one where she talks about going “duck duck goose” on the dick and, in the accompanying NSFW music video, goes around patting dildos of all colors and sizes on their heads. Or the one where she raps, “His dick smaller than my toes / I’d rather ride Squidward nose.” But CupcakKe has got range: Her candid style reflects on all areas of her life and finds her rapping about her personal struggles, LGBT acceptance and allyship, and police brutality. She’s the Renaissance woman of modern hiphop. Come and be free! JASMYNE KEIMIG
- Lennon Stella
You may recognize Lennon Stella for her role as Maddie Conrad on ABC's Nashville, but she's also a teen chart-topping pop sensation. Catch her in Seattle on her Love, Me Tour.
- Tito's Handmade Vodka 22nd Birthday Party with Matt & Kim
Anthem-loving rock duo Matt and Kim will help Tito's Handmade Vodka celebrate their 22nd birthday, with all proceeds going to FareStart.
- The Wokeness Festival
Donald Byrd's Spectrum Dance Studio has long striven to express in performance the urgent fight for justice, particularly for black Americans facing police violence and discrimination. This festival is a natural outgrowth of that effort, with dances like Shot: A Presumption of Guilt and Dangerousness, a protest against deadly bias; Dance Dance Dance #2, which includes a piece by Merce Cunningham and a new piece by Byrd, as well as a recent work by Vincent Michael Lopez; and Strange Fruit, a dance-theater hybrid in the spirit of Abel Meeropol's tragic song about lynching.
APRIL 8-MAY 18VISUAL ART
- George Rodriguez: Reflect and Gather
Texan-born Rodriguez makes stunning, monumental ceramic masks and sculptures inspired by traditions of indigenous Mexico. In this installation, he creates small rooms out of 1,000 clay relief tiles. He also invites visitors to enter a wet-clay room where they'll leave their own physical traces. Visit during the open studio phase (through April 24) and when the installation is finished (April 26–May 18).
- Dennis Lloyd
Tel Aviv-born, chart-topping "Nevermind" singer and producer Dennis Lloyd (who was born Nir Tibor and chose his name in an attempt to sound more interntational) will come to Seattle on his Never Go Back Tour.
- Steel Pulse
British Grammy-winning reggae band Steel Pulse will come to Seattle.
- Gunna, Shy Glizzy
Georgia-born rapper Gunna, who's on Young Thug's YSL Records, will breeze through town on his Drip or Drown 2 Tour with opening support from D.C.'s Shy Glizzy.
Considered one of the most influential girl groups in Japan, futuristic electro-pop trio Perfume (consisting of A-Chan, Kashiyuka, and Nocchi) will bring their "4th Future Pop" world tour to Seattle for an evening of internationally renowned pop and electronica. READINGS & TALKS
- Dave Barry: Lessons from Lucy
The somewhat corny but still goofily vulgar and curmudgeonly humorist takes his favorite dog Lucy as a role model for living well in old age.
- An Evening with Edward S. Curtis by Clay Jenkinson
National Humanities Medal-winning scholar Clay Jenkinson will speak about the famed photographer Edward S. Curtis, whose works have become iconic of the European American gaze on American Indians. Sometimes adopting the character of Curtis, Jenkinson will address Curtis's art, career, travels, and patronage relationship with Theodore Roosevelt, as well as the controversies raised by his oeuvre and biography. This event also will raise money for the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.
- Lori Gottlieb and Luke Burbank: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Gottlieb—you Ithaqua know her from the Atlantic column Dear Therapist—demystifies her profession in Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, in which she chronicles her career and her own attempt to get her psyche in order. She'll be chatting with comic Luke Burbank, who's been an NPR host and currently presides over Live Wire.
- Michio Kaku: Our Future Beyond Earth
If we screw up this planet irretrievably—and physicist Michio Kaku thinks we will—can we settle on a different planet in another solar system? Kaku's new book explains how we might be able to do so thanks to advances in robotics, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. Hear him speak at this Town Hall talk.
APRIL 11FOOD & DRINK
- Ruth Reichl: Save Me the Plums
As a restaurant critic for the New York Times in the 1990s, legendary food writer Ruth Reichl gained renown for her acerbic observations and penchant for donning disguises to maintain her anonymity in restaurants, and she went on to become the editor in chief of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine. Reichl has since penned several best-selling memoirs as well as cookbooks and a novel, has won four James Beard Awards, and is known for her warm voice and fierce advocacy of home cooking. In her newest book, Save Me the Plums, she shares recipes alongside stories about her time at Gourmet. At this event, she'll join Food for Thought cohost Nancy Leson in conversation. JULIANNE BELL MUSIC
- The Black Tones, Black Ends, Payge Turner
The Black Tones' 2018 Capitol Hill Block Party set was the kick in the ear required to understand the furor they'd been creating. Playing as a trio at Barboza, they injected classic rock, blues, and funk with extraordinary energy and personality while maximizing excitement in their dynamics. Their songs aren't innovative, but in that room, they wowed the crowd thanks to the Walkers' natural exuberance and ingenuity within familiar genre moves. That they're making great music in a guitar-heavy rock style not typically associated with African American performers—even in 2019—adds another frisson to the Black Tones experience.DAVE SEGAL
On part two of his Desde El Alma tour, Puerto Rican singer Chayanne will bring his winning smile and golden vocal cords to Seattle for a night of chart-topping hits.
- Dan & Shay, Chris Lane
Singer-songwriter duo Dan & Shay have been hard at work prepping their latest self-titled album, and will play hits from their last three releases while on tour.
- Switchfoot, Colony House, Tyler Motsenbocker
Somehow in their second decade of existence, San Diego group Switchfoot are back in town for a night of true throwbacks and posi vibe alt rock, with Colony House and Tyler Motsenbocker at their side.
- Puyallup Spring Fair
After a long and historically snowy winter in Washington, welcome springtime by riding roller coasters, playing carnival games, watching pig races, taking in free music and comedy shows, seeing monster trucks in Motorsport Mayhem races, checking out garden displays, and more. There's also a "Fun on the Farm" area where kids can pet baby animals and learn about agriculture. MUSIC
- MoPOP Pop Conference 2019
At this annual pointy-headed music-nerd conference, which was started in 2002, academics, critics, artists, and hardcore fans come together to hear panels on a broad theme relating to the art form that connects them all. This year's weighty theme will explore "the many ways music reflects and expresses the realities of the end and the possibilities of rebirth."
- Tower of Power
Oakland’s fabulous funk and soul-jazz heavies Tower of Power return for yet another Seattle residency. Reports from the most gushing-est of fans claim that every TOP show is a killer dance party, but then they are the “Hipper Than Hip” from “Bump City” and would obviously know how to dig it deep “In the Slot”! That they keep killin’ it time and again is REALLY saying something, as Tower of Power have been active for 50 years and show no signs of getting up from all their serious getting down! MIKE NIPPER
- 'Hellboy' Opening
David Harbour, the grumpily heroic sheriff of Stranger Things, steps into the boots of Mike Mignola’s stump-headed lobster-red hero. Co-starring Milla Jovovich and Ian McShane. GEEK
- Science Night: An Evening of Drunken Experiments
Get drunk and have fun with liquid nitrogen, levitate metal, make mini explosions, craft a handmade lightbulb, create an impenetrable bubble, and much more. MUSIC
- Girlpool, Hatchie, Claud
As buzz bands go, Girlpool are pretty good. It’s easy to get blasé about yet another LA rock group dipping toes into shoegaze revivalism, but Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker accomplish the difficult task of prompting a jaded critic to make comparisons to—and think longingly of—early Lush singles. Girlpool’s recent Powerplant album skews toward the hushed and twee, but never cloyingly so. They write concise and pretty songs that caress your ears with breathy unison vocals and guitars that spangle and jangle with poised assertiveness. These tunes go down easy and raise your spirits just as facilely. It’s a rare new rock record that’s worth playing on repeat. DAVE SEGAL
Seattle prodigal son Sol continually re-emerges on the PNW scene throughout the years with surprise track bundle drops, essential humanitarian actions, and underwhelming beef with other local notables, but he always manages to make time for the occasional high-energy, sunshine-filled set in the city that raised him. PARTIES & NIGHTLIFE
- Yuri's Night
Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth in space on April 12, 1961. Express your appreciation for this historic spaceflight by joining an electronic dance party in the style of an intergalactic nightclub for the second year in a row. READINGS & TALKS
- Damon Young: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker
On VerySmartBrothas.com, website co-founder Damon Young offers witty, passionate, and beautifully constructed takes on culture and the news. That same élan is expected to animate this memoir about the "extreme sport" of being black in America. It's also a self-examination of the constant anxieties and complexities born of the pressures of white supremacy and heteronormativity, and the uncertainties of might-have-beens. Local activist and writer Ijeoma Oluo will engage Young in conversation.
- Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: Minutes of Glory
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's name gets thrown into the ring every time the Nobel Prize committee convenes to select the year's winner. And for good reason. Known early on for his great plays, The Black Hermit and This Time Tomorrow, the Kenyan genius went on to lead postcolonial thinking with books such as Decolonising the Mind and Moving the Centre. His 2006 novel, Wizard of the Crow, was released to critical acclaim. The man hasn't stopped since the mid-1960s, and it doesn't look like he plans to. Thiong'o returns to Seattle with a new book of short stories called Minutes of Glory, which begins with the very first story he ever wrote and tracks his long and laureled career from there. Reviews have been mixed, but a chance to see such a captivating storyteller in the flesh is not to be missed. RICH SMITH
- Ahmed Bharoocha
A shaggy everyman whose dad is Muslim Pakistani and his mother Irish Catholic, American stand-up comedian and actor (on the YouTube sketch series Dead Kevin) Ahmed Bharoocha says he can only experience “half-white guilt.” No matter his ethnicity, Bharoocha possesses distinctive perspectives on religion, refugees, and atheism. He has a clever metaphorical explanation about how atheists can be annoying that involves a tightrope, a hilarious bit about our galling love of cows and their milk, and a brilliant takedown of anti-gay-marriage assholes. Bharoocha’s humor is relatable without being cloying, and his observations about well-worn subjects are just skewed enough to smack of freshness. DAVE SEGAL FESTIVALS
- Our Fest
This inaugural DIY music fest celebrates the womxn, queers, and POC of Seattle's punk music scene. Look forward to two days of live sets from Seattle punk-rock stalwarts Wimps, Salt Lick, dream-punks Porch Cat, hometown hiphop hero DoNormaal, and many others.
- Yoni Ki Baat
Watch South Asian performers present Yoni Ki Baat, a take on The Vagina Monologues, an annual event that this year is directed by Jaya Ramesh. The festival says: "Yoni is a complex word: it is used to refer to the vagina or vulva. In Sanskrit it can also mean 'sacred space' and serve as a symbol for divine creative energy." The event is inclusive and acknowledges the complexity of gender. PERFORMANCE
- Frederick Douglass Now
Roger Guenveur Smith blew the top off my fucking skull when he came through Seattle a few years ago with his Rodney King solo show. Smith is an incomparably good character actor with an incredible command of language and a jazz-infused storytelling technique I haven't seen from anyone else. Our own Sean Nelson called the show "a master class in wringing glorious art from life's tragic dimension," a sentiment I agree with completely. Now Smith is coming through with Frederick Douglass Now, a solo show about the self-liberated abolitionist who is "getting recognized more and more," the president notices. Somehow, tickets for Rodney King didn't completely sell out back in 2016. Don't make that mistake again, Seattle. RICH SMITH
- A Midsummer Night's Dream
George Balanchine's beautiful choreography of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream will get a Northwest forest setting in this Pacific Northwest Ballet production.
APRIL 12–MAY 4PERFORMANCE
- Language Rooms
Before his ACT Theatre premiere of People of the Book this fall, Stranger Genius Award winner Yussef El Guindi will have another play—a very dark comedy—staged by Pony World Theatre. Ahmed is a regular, if rather awkward, American guy who works at "a secret military intelligence group that interrogates terrorism suspects." When he's forced to grill someone very close to him as a test of loyalty, Ahmed must confront his own roots and patriotism.
APRIL 12-AUGUST 11VISUAL ART
- Simon Hanselmann: Bad Gateway
You know that moment when you’re in the middle of a session with your friends—slamming beers, passing a joint, shoving chips into your mouth, binging old episodes of Project Runway—and suddenly the smoke clears, a space opens up in your brain, and you realize the depth of your complete unhappiness? Tasmanian-born, Seattle-based artist Simon Hanselmann’s beloved comic characters Megg, Mogg, and Owl all constantly wrestle with that moment, their relationships to each other, drugs, and existence. In this show at the Bellevue Arts Museum, Hanselmann will be presenting new sculptures and watercolors to coincide with the release of a new volume of Megg, Mogg & Owl published by Fantagraphic Books. JASMYNE KEIMIG
APRIL 13FOOD & DRINK
- Ballard Brewed Spring Beer Festival
Ballard is known for its high density of quality breweries, and this fundraiser for Bellwether Housing will let you taste two beers from 11 of them, including Bad Jimmy’s, Hale's Ales Brewery, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Lucky Envelope Brewing, Maritime Pacific Brewing Company, NW Peaks Brewery, Obec Brewing, Peddler Brewing, Populuxe Brewing, Reuben’s Brews, and Stoup Brewing. Each brewery will also bring a never-before-tasted new release. Honey Mustard and the Tall Boys will provide music. MUSIC
- Alsarah & The Nubatones
Lauded Sudanese singer-songwriter Alsarah East blends African and Arabic influences for a sound she calls "East African Retro-Pop." Catch her with her band, the Nubatones.
Many years have passed since the '70s Kansas classic Point of Know Return, so, natch, they're back to revamp the glory of its release as well as all their other rock hits.
- Record Store Day 2019
Excellently divisive music-nerd holiday Record Store Day acts as an annual reminder of how Seattle is still very much a music-obsessed town. For those of you who aren’t saving your pennies for Spectrum’s Highs, Lows, & Heavenly Blows, Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 as a day of celebration and discounts for vinyl enthusiasts. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either a booster shot to music retailers or a headache for smaller labels that have to compete with major labels to get their releases pressed on time. Many Seattle shops participate by offering special releases and sales, and some even have in-store performances. DAVE SEGAL
APRIL 13–16READINGS & TALKS
- Seattle Reads: Thi Bui's 'The Best We Can Do'
For the 21st time, the Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Wallace Foundation will invite the public to discuss a single book, Thi Bui's The Best We Could Do, a graphic novel memoir of growing up in America as a Vietnamese refugee. The author will be at several events around town during the week, including the Central Library's Centerpiece Evening on the 13th.
- Game of Thrones: Season 8 Premiere
The eighth and final season of everyone's favorite dragon-filled HBO show premieres on April 14. Seattle is, appropriately, excited, and there will be lots of viewing parties and special events around town, including DJ Hodor (April 10), a premiere viewing party at Nectar, and Kremwerk's Game of Thrones: The Drag Show (April 19). MUSIC
- Earl Sweatshirt, Liv.e, MIKE
In 2015, Earl Sweatshirt gave the world the 10-track, 30-minute album I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside—a cross-generational rallying cry if I ever heard one. It appears that 2015 Earl is even more preternaturally pissed-off and alienated than before, but he hasn't lost a lick when it comes to the vivid wordplay. I can't front and say I was on it from the gate—maybe it's the diet-bass, washed-out SoundCloud wallpaper passing for production, or just the sound of young'uns being way too grouchy for their age—but this release left me pretty cold at first. On the second pass, I was hooked. Don't Go Outside is a subtle mood piece that further cements Earl as not just the Odd Future torchbearer, but one of the primary pantheon of young rappers we're blessed to be privy to in this year of our lord. LARRY MIZELL JR. READINGS & TALKS
- Elizabeth Gilbert
So you saw Eat, Pray, Love and think you know a little something about Elizabeth Gilbert? Well, you’re wrong about that. The milquetoast movie, which was adapted from her 2006 memoir of the same name, in no way captured the true brilliance of Liz Gilbert, a woman who isn’t a crazy good writer (seriously!), but is funny as fuck and has a life story that’ll make you weep more than you want to. This is especially true when she talks about leaving her husband for her best friend, the writer Rayya Elias, who was dying of cancer at the time. It’s a heartbreaking story, but Gilbert tells it with reverence, pathos, and humor. Bring tissues. KATIE HERZOG
- Tara Westover
In many ways, Tara Westover had a pretty idyllic childhood. She grew up on a beautiful mountain in Idaho with a lot of brothers and sisters. She had cool pets, and even a scrapyard she could play around in. But her father was the lord of all these joys, and he was an abusive Mormon conspiracy theorist who refused to send the kids to a hospital when they got sick or injured. He and his wife also prevented the kids from getting a formal education. In Educated: A Memoir, Westover tells the story of her escape from an isolated, backwoods hellhole into the hallowed halls of Harvard and Cambridge. Her reckoning with her parents and her subsequent search for a chosen family serves as a good model for those of us who may have also had unsupportive and/or actively bad parents. RICH SMITH
- Write Here, Write Now!
This one-day writing intensive (founded by Seattle7Writers, hosted by Hugo House) promises mini-lessons, hangouts with authors, and plenty of time to buckle down and put pen to paper. Plus snacks!
APRIL 14-16READINGS & TALKS
- National Geographic Live — Wild Seas, Secret Shores
Shark-obsessed photographer and scientist Thomas Peschak will show photos of great whites, manta rays, whale sharks, and other amazing fish in this special talk and presentation.
APRIL 15READINGS & TALKS
- Abby Wambach: Wolfpack
International soccer star Abby Wambach—an Olympic gold medalist, World Cup champion, and multiple winner of the US Soccer Athlete of the Year Award—will present her new book. She calls for a revolution for women to take power together, scrapping old rules and supporting one another in solidarity.
- Valerie Jarrett: Finding My Voice
Valerie Jarrett worked for the Obama White House during its entire tenure, but her connection to the Obamas goes back even further. Jarrett hired Michelle Robinson, the future First Lady, back in 1991 for a position in the Chicago City government. In her memoir, Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, she details her own life in public service.
- Eric B. & Rakim
My esteemed colleague Charles Mudede reminds me weekly that Eric B. & Rakim's “Follow the Leader” is the greatest hiphop track ever—and he may be right. Nothing in the genre more evocatively captures what it feels like to move through hiphop's birthplace at night with every synapse firing maximal awareness of your overstimulating surroundings. As millions of gray-haired rap fans will tell you, Rakim is the GOAT microphone fiend. His flow, vocab, rhyme schemes, imperial demeanor, and countless brilliant expressions of braggadocio make most other MCs sound like stammering weed carriers. With three classic albums upon which to draw for this surprising comeback tour, Eric B. & Rakim demand your attention, even in 2019. DAVE SEGAL
- Maggie Rogers
Ex-Maryland banjo player and current New York singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers will play a set of indie pop and Americana tracks. READINGS & TALKS
- Hanif Abdurraqib: Go Ahead in the Rain
Hanif Abdurraqib writes good poetry about music, and he writes good music criticism using the tools of poetry. Combining personal narrative with an electric analytical mind, Abdurraqib has made me consider the work of artists like Celine Dion, Macklemore, and Carly Rae Jepsen more deeply than I ever imagined I would. And, as much as it pains me to say, it's true: He has written powerfully about the band Fall Out Boy. His essay about going to see a Bruce Springsteen show after visiting Michael Brown's plaque is a must-read, too. So when news came out that Abdurraqib was working on a biography / book-length personal essay about his love for A Tribe Called Quest, I jumped for joy. Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest is now here, and it's getting rave reviews. Go hear about the kings of jazzy rap from a music writer in his prime. RICH SMITH
- Irene Butter: Shores Beyond Shores
Holocaust survivor Irene Butter—who has shared the stage with the likes of the Dalai Lama and Elie Wiesel—will share her life story with experts from her memoir Shores Beyond Shores.
- Jennifer Eberhardt: Biased
Stanford University psychologist Eberhardt will explain the science of implicit racial bias in all its forms, overt or low-key, and the resultant impacts on people of color in everything from education to criminal justice. She'll read from her new book, Biased: Uncovering The Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do.
- 'Penguins' Opening
A cute Adélie penguin named Steve pals up with emperor penguin Wuzzo in this new nature doc from the Disneynature studio. The footage looks gorgeous, if nothing else. MUSIC
- Mr. Eazi
Nigerian singer, songwriter, and cultural entrepreneur Mr Eazi will showcase the fusion sound he's pioneered, known as Banku music, which blends Ghanaian highlife touches with Nigerian chord progressions and patterns. READINGS & TALKS
- Seattle Arts & Lectures: Valeria Luiselli
Don't miss this appearance by this celebrated Mexican author, one of the most talked-about figures in current literary circles: The New York Times has called her new novel, The Lost Children Archive, a "mold-breaking new classic." The Lost Children Archive calls urgent attention to the horrors befalling unaccompanied refugee children trying to reach the US from Central America. But through its protagonists, an unhappy couple working on different projects at the Mexico-US border, the book also questions the right to make art from others' real-life suffering, according to NYT critic Parul Sehgal.
- Life of Brian
This deathless masterpiece is as smart, silly, and overpoweringly hilarious as it was in 1979 (officially 40 years ago). Life of Brian's ingenious production design (by Terry Gilliam, no less) and whole-cloth satirical takedown of religious/ideological idiocy gives it the nod as the most essential of Monty Python's features.SEAN NELSON MUSIC
- Why Don't We
Gen-Z boy band Why Don't We, comprised of Daniel Seavey, Zach Herron, Corbyn Besson, Jonah Marais, and Jack Avery, combine their singer-songwriter talents and social media prowess to form a pop culture monolith. READINGS & TALKS
- Danny Goldberg: Serving the Servant
If the current trend holds, the number of books written about Nirvana—and especially Kurt Cobain—will eventually match those about Bob Dylan. The latest is by Danny Goldberg, who managed Nirvana from 1991 to 1994, when they rocketed from Sub Pop–backed grunge-rock hopefuls to global superstars. Having that access to Cobain, to whom he became a close friend, should lend Serving the Servant a trove of insights and anecdotes that may have eluded other chroniclers of the pain-racked voice of a generation. Word is, the book focuses on the positive aspects of Cobain’s life. That this event is happening at the Neptune indicates how strongly people still feel about Nirvana’s small but influential canon. DAVE SEGAL PERFORMANCE
- First Wives Fight Club
RuPaul's Drag Race champs and favorites Brook Lynn Hytes, Raja, Ginger Minj, and Peaches Christ will star in Varla Jean Merman and Christ's mash-up of First Wives Club & Fight Club.
- 'Babylon' Opening
Set in Brixton—which is to London what Harlem is to New York City—and starring the Rasta singer Brinsley Forde (the front man of reggae band Aswad), and co-written by Martin Stellman (he also wrote the cult film Quadrophenia), Babylon is a feature-length film about British black life, black music, and black struggles in the early 1980s. The British economy is in the toilet, Margaret Thatcher has begun her assault on labor, and UK city after UK city is becoming what the Specials classically described as “a ghost town.” The film is simply amazing. Every minute is rich with cultural information of a period and milieu that’s rarely seen on film. Babylon also has a dub score that’s dark, crackly, and deep. Those echoes, those old Brixton buildings, the dreads, the factory smoke, the street markets, the old ladies, the thick accents. All of this and more is just utterly wonderful.CHARLES MUDEDE MUSIC
- Lil Pump, Lil Skies
You either know rapper Lil Pump for his ubiquitous track "Gucci Gang" or for his now infamous SNL antics with Kanye West, but now you'll get to see what he can do live on this tour stop with Lil Skies.
- Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Dax, Mayday, Ubi
Hiphop legend and frequent PNW visitor Tech N9ne will bring his many evolutions back to Seattle for a night on his 2019 It Goes Up Tour with opening guests Krizz Kaliko, Dax, Mayday, and Ubi of CES CRU.
THROUGH APRIL 19PERFORMANCE
- Marie, Dancing Still: A New Musical
This new musical from Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens, and five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman shines a light on the life of Marie van Goethem, a young "opera rat," as they called ballerina students at the Paris Opera in the 19th century, who inspired Degas's Little Dancer Aged 14. The sculpture was the only one the impressionist master ever displayed in public. Though critics of the era praised the piece, they also "protested almost unanimously that she was ugly," according to the National Gallery of Art, mostly because they were fucking losers. Flaherty and Ahrens's story takes you behind the curtain of a cutthroat world of ballet, where a bunch of young, working-class girls have to beg, borrow, steal, and land a perfect grand jeté to get ahead. New York City Ballet principal dancer Tiler Peck will play the title role. RICH SMITH
- Kermet Apio
A road-tested veteran of stage, radio, and small screen, Seattle comic Kermet Apio has won the Great American Comedy Festival and Seattle Comedy Competition contests. Yet in some circles, he’s not very respected. Maybe that’s because Apio’s work lacks edginess and exudes an eminently palatable patina of middlebrow relatability. But within those narrow parameters, Apio excels in the profanity-free realms of family-oriented, self-deprecating humor. Sometimes we need clever truth bombs dropped about the lamentable condition known as being in your 40s or a riff on how absurd it seems now for students in 1970s-era grade-school art class to be making ashtrays. DAVE SEGAL FILM
- SPLIFF Film Fest
Hey stoners, have you heard the most important news of 2019? (Big claim, but definitely true.) We’re baking up a trippy new film festival! The creators of HUMP! and Savage Love have created SPLIFF. It’s the world’s first film festival created by the stoned, for the stoned. Expect trippy films, comedic shorts, quickie documentaries, parodies of anti-pot educational films (think Reefer Madness), total mind-fucks, and maybe even some pot-influenced actual fucks. (21+ only, thanks!) CHASE BURNS FOOD & DRINK
- Seattle Scotch & Beer Fest
The "region's biggest spring beer festival combining craft beer, Scotch, whiskey, and wine tasting," this two-day event showcases authentic Scotch and Irish whiskey tastings, seminars, and craft beers from West Coast brewers. PERFORMANCE
- The Fifth Annual Boylesque Festival
Boylesque is burlesque that has a lot more "boy" in it. Think Chippendales, if Chippendales were queer and the men put sparkly tassels on their butts and occasionally looked hyper-femme. (So, really, it's nothing like Chippendales. Thank God.) Strappy lingerie, gender-bending, sequined crotch pieces, kicks, wieners, flips, and twerking all appear to be promised. The thing features more than 30 performers from across the country, and it tends to sell out, so nab your tickets ASAP if you're looking for extra-creative ways to pull slutty socks off your body parts. CHASE BURNS
For one weekend, see life through an anime lens as cosplayers gather again for the Northwest's "oldest and most well-attended" convention devoted to the art, presented by the Asia Northwest Cultural Education Association. It's a members-only festival, but once you're a member, everything else is free—contests, panels, "cosplay chess," gaming, and the Kawaii vs. Kowai Dance Party. Meet artists and browse their works, watch models strut outlandish looks on the runway at two fashion shows, and hear musical guests. PERFORMANCE
- Bibliophilia Storytelling Festival
Bibliophilia is back! Rather than force audiences to sit and listen to four writers simply read from their work for two hours (which can be great!), writer and organizer Jekeva Phillips combines the powers of improv and literature to create wild, dynamic performances. This year features some of the region's best poets and storytellers, including Amber Flame, Donna Miscolta, and Jalayna Carter. If you can't attend the whole festival, I'd check out the Beginning, Middle, and End event on Friday and the Poetry Verse Play: Featuring Amber Flame event on Sunday. In the former, three different artists tell the beginning, middle, and end of a story using three different genres—poetry, prose, and theater. For Poetry Verse Play, a group of improv artists will create a one-act play based on a first hearing of one of Flame's poems. This year, all events will take place at Hugo House, where I'm sure the bar will be open. RICH SMITH
- Anime Film Series
It's back! Time to treat your eyeballs to some of the most beautiful and otherworldly images ever projected on a (huge) movie screen. Selections this year include Studio Ghibli masterworks like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbor Totoro; Satoshi Kon's gorgeous, hallucinatory Paprika; the devastating Grave of the Fireflies; cyberpunk classics Akira, Cowboy Bebop, and Ghost in the Shell; and lovely recent features like Your Name and The Red Turtle.
- Kat Robichaud's Misfit Cabaret Presents: A Space Oddity
The Voice finalist Kat Robichaud and her cohorts promise a musical romp through classic sci-fi.
APRIL 20FOOD & DRINK
- Hama Hama Oyster Rama
If you’ve ever tried a Hama Hama oyster, you know they’re not quite like any other oyster out there. Harvested at low tide from the Hama Hama Company’s farm, they’re briny and salty with a hint of citrus. At this event, bivalve-crazed beachcombers can visit and learn all about how their oysters are raised. Take tours with intertidal ecologists and oyster growers, harvest all the oysters and clams you can shuck, and put your shoveling and shucking skills to the test in the “Shuckathalon” competition. There will also be activities for kids, a beer and wine garden, live music, and lots of food. JULIANNE BELL
- Seattle Cheese and Meat Festival
This food fest is happening on 4/20, which is either a happy coincidence or telling you something about its organizers. Cured meat. Fromage. You get a charcuterie board and glass upon entry, and more than 50 vendors offer tastes and sips (wine, cider, beer, spirits, and kombucha included). Take a puff somewhere discreet, then spend the afternoon eating your heart out. LEILANI POLK MUSIC
- Nicky Jam
Latin soul and hiphop artist Nicky Jam will bring a SODO audience through hits like "Travesuras," "Te Busco," and popular singles from his album Fénix.
- North Bend Jazz Walk 2019
Get ready for a whole day of jazz, with double digits' worth of different North Bend venues celebrating their seventh Jazz Walk anniversary. Food, drinks, and plenty of jazz talent will all be available for consumption. PERFORMANCE
- Radiolab's Jad Abumrad: The Miracle of Indoor Plumbing
NPR's insanely popular podcast/broadcast Radiolab is the brainchild of Jad Abumrad, who won a Peabody Award and a MacArthur "Genius" Grant for his audiodocumentary innovations. He also hosts More Perfect, a newer series about the Supreme Court. READINGS & TALKS
- Julia Cameron
Filmmaker/writer/artist/journalist Julia Cameron, the author of the celebrated guide The Artist's Way as well as The Vein of Gold and Finding Water, will give a talk presented by East West Bookshop. WEED
Celebrate cannabis in all of its (mostly) legalized glory by getting stoned. Find ways to celebrate in Seattle on our weed calendar, like Cheech & Chong, Laser 420, and IPA Daze.
APRIL 21FOOD & DRINK
- Seattle Magazine Brunch Run 5K
Congratulate yourself on running a 5K by feasting on all-you-can-eat brunch bites from Seattle restaurants—complete with a beer and mimosa garden—at Seattle Magazine's annual event benefitting Northwest Harvest. There will also be an Easter egg hunt and a visit from the Easter Bunny for kiddos.HOLIDAYS
Chicken eggs! Chocolate eggs! Chocolate bunnies! Pastels! The alleged resurrection of Christ! Find it all on our Easter calendar, like BunnyCon Bunny Bar Hop (April 20), and Pastor Kaleb's Easter Service 2019 (April 20–21). MUSIC
- Kimya Dawson, Your Heart Breaks
Grammy winner, former Moldy Peach, and current champion of DIY and anti-folk Kimya Dawson will headline this show with legendary Seattle queer band Your Heart Breaks as they promote the release of their latest album, Drone Butch Blues.
- Leikeli47, Yung Baby Tate, JAMESDAVIS
Her mask gets much of the press, but Leikeli47 is more notable for her endlessly energetic live shows and machine-gun bars that somehow maintain a sense of radical positivity. KIM SELLING
- Leslie Jordan's 'Exposed'
Playwright, actor, and comedian Leslie Jordan may be most familiar for his Emmy-winning turn in Will & Grace as well as his parts in The Help and American Horror Story. He'll perform live to support the AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway in Cal Anderson Park. HOLIDAYS
- Earth Day
It's more important than ever to protect the Earth from the destruction of climate change, and there are always lots of ways to do so in Seattle. Check out a full list of events on our complete Earth Day calendar, including the Pints & Public Lands Film Fest at Peddler Brewing (April 19) and HERE: Poems for the Planet (April 25). MUSIC
- LP, Lauren Ruth Ward, Slugs
New Yorker singer-songwriter and self-styled "rock rebel" LP is all about brash honesty and soulful, stripped-down yet spirited rock. She'll showcase her latest work on this Heart to Mouth Tour of 2019.
APRIL 23READINGS & TALKS
- Myla Goldberg: Feast Your Eyes
Former Stranger Arts Calendar Editor Julia Raban once wrote: "Myla Goldberg is awesomesauce. Bee Season was a wonderful debut and her second novel was a brave, brilliant failure of a book." Goldberg will be back with Feast Your Eyes, a high-concept novel in the form of catalog notes to a photography show at the Museum of Modern Art. In it, she follows the scandal-filled life of a photographer who becomes famous when she is charged with obscenity for a semi-nude double portrait of her and her daughter.
- Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate
Housing Development Consortium's 11th annual benefit luncheon will feature a reading from U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Elliott Bay booksellers will be on hand with copies of her books for sale, including Wade in the Water, Life on Mars (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), Duende, and The Body's Question.
- The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
This musical is an adaptation of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series' first entry, in which a 12-year-old Greek demigod discovers his divine heritage—much to his annoyance.
Eternal Rough Ryder and legendary New York rapper DMX, or the other Uncle Earl, will return to Seattle to show us that all men are truly dawgs on this 20th-anniversary tour for his debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot.
APRIL 25FOOD & DRINK
- Dining Out For Life
For the 26th year, over 90 restaurants in Seattle will donate between 30 and 50 percent of their proceeds to Lifelong's programs that support people facing serious illness and poverty. MUSIC
- The 1975, Pale Waves, No Rome
Manchester alt-rock revivalists and teen-favorites the 1975 will return to Seattle on their North American 2019 spring tour with Pale Waves and No Rome.
- Kero Kero Bonito
J-pop meets Britpop meets 8-bit meets dancehall! How does such a swirl go about swirling, you might well ask. Well, Sarah Midori Perry sings and raps in both Japanese and English, and while I can’t vouch for her Japanese accent, she sounds cute and sometimes slightly standoffish in both languages. Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled—with the beats and melodies—like the Casio, throw in plenty of noises from nonexistent video games, love Windows 98 (I sure hope that’s a joke), and remind us that it’s okay to be yourself and not what society wants you to be. Damn. Looks like we still need as much of that as we can get. ANDREW HAMLIN
- Knife Knights
If you dig Shabazz Palaces, you’ll likely flip for Knife Knights, the new project featuring that innovative hiphop ensemble’s rapper/producer Ishmael Butler and studio wizard Erik Blood (both are Stranger Geniuses, by the way). Knife Knights’ music has been percolating for about a decade, tracks cohering between the two artists’ many other endeavors. Their enigmatic songs sound like a blueprint for a brighter yet darker future, encompassing otherworldly atmospheres, eldritch melodies, and atypical rhythms. Trust me: It will be worth the effort it takes you to grasp them. DAVE SEGAL READINGS & TALKS
- Stacey Abrams: Lead from the Outside
Stacey Abrams may not have won the 2018 gubernatorial election, which means she didn't become the first African American woman governor of a US state. But she's made a mark over the past few decades as a legislator and an orator (she responded to Trump's 2019 State of the Union). She'll share insights from her book Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change, a book about achieving power and change.
This Connecticut-based modern dance company headed by Moses Pendleton (co-founder of Pilobolus) has been playing with light, movement, and props to create gorgeous illusions since 1981.
- Langston Hughes African American Film Festival
I have yet to attend a Langston Hughes African American Film Festival that doesn’t have an important black-directed or black-themed film that’s somehow been missed by the wider film community or is unavailable in any format—web, disk, cable, theater. CHARLES MUDEDE
- 'Avengers: Endgame' Opening
We all know what happened in the last Avengers movie, right? Clearly, the superheroes have a lot of cleaning up to do: basically the entire universe. MUSIC
- King Princess, Banoffee
Take in Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist King Princess' smooth vocals and pop beats as she performs tracks that explore queer independence and the complexities of youth.
Born in New Jersey but hustling in Los Angeles, producer and DJ Julian Scanlan, going by his more summery stage name Slushii, leans heavy on the electronica touchstones of dubstep and future bass. Catch him on his Monster Energy Outbreak Tour.
- The Spring Quartet: Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spalding, Leo Genovese
Four stand-out talents from the jazz and jazz-rock scenes—Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spalding, and Leo Genovese—will join together to perform as the Spring Quartet for a night of expansive, dynamic work. READINGS & TALKS
- Nathaniel Rich: Losing Earth—A Recent History
You may have read Nathaniel Rich's extraordinary full-issue article on climate change (and our missed chance to stop it) in the August 2018 edition of the New York Times Magazine. Now, Rich will present his book-length expansion of the article, in which he examines the fossil fuel industry's thwarting of scientific consensus and the public will to cope with the problem.
- Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival
In appreciation of the 1,000 cherry trees gifted to Seattle by Prime Minister Takeo Miki 40 years ago, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of Japanese culture. It's the oldest in the Seattle Center Festál series, featuring live performances, Taiko drumming and artisan demonstrations, food, and more. This month is also a good time to check out the UW Cherry Bloom.
- Seattle Erotic Art Festival
For the past 17 years, the Foundation for Sex-Positive Culture has gathered enthusiasts of erotic art in all its forms. See the galleries of visual and interactive art, draw sensually posed models, hear sexy readings, compete in some contests, gasp at the contortions of pole dancers and other acrobats, and more.
APRIL 26-JUNE 2PERFORMANCE
- Nina Simone: Four Women
Journey back to 1963 as Nina Simone, horrified by the killings of four black girls in the bombing of an Alabama church, writes the agony of the civil rights struggle into her music. Valerie Curtis-Newton, a 2014 Stranger Genius Award laureate, will direct this play by Christina Ham.
- Ari Shaffir: Jew
Ari Shaffir, former host of This Is Not Happening on Comedy Central, will perform a set based on his upbringing as an Orthodox Jew, the two years he spent at a yeshiva (Jewish seminary) in Israel, and his turn to atheism upon returning to America. MUSIC
- Lil Mosey, Yung Bans, Lil Tjay, Polo G, C Glizzy, Bandkids
Seattle native Lil Mosey released his first bedroom-made track on SoundCloud, and he's been raking in fans ever since. He'll be joined by fellow northwest hiphop artists Yung Bans, Lil Tjay, Polo G, C Glizzy, and Bandkids at this mini-fest.
- RÜFÜS DU SOL
Dang, I thought the 1970s/’80s funk-soul group that charted with “Tell Me Something Good” and “You Got the Love” and featured a young Chaka Khan on vocals had reunited. But no. This new, umlauted, and all-caps RÜFÜS are an Australian trio that topped the charts Down Under with their 2013 debut LP, Atlas. The RÜFÜS sound wavers somewhere between Hot Chip’s chipper electro-house and James Blake’s woebegone, yearning soul meditations. It’s a very commercial approach, and RÜFÜS do it with poise and skill. They’re certainly better at it than the Chainsmokers, but it’s still rather mild sauce to anyone who’s put in more than a few years of serious electronic-music listening. DAVE SEGAL PERFORMANCE
- Darci Lynne & Friends: Fresh Out of the Box
Cute li'l singing/ventriloquizing America's Got Talent winner Darci Lynne will bring her friends along to entertain you with antics and funny voices. READINGS & TALKS
- Independent Bookstore Day
Seattle's celebration of the city's plentiful and various independent bookstores. This year they're bringing back the Passport Challenge. If you visit all 21 participating stores (including Horizon Books) and get a stamp at each one, you'll receive 25 percent off on books all year from those stores. Enjoy a good spring day of buying books in person from booksellers who love you and want you to be happy. Also: FUCK JEFF BEZOS. LONG LIVE INDIES. RICH SMITH
- Dance Theatre of Harlem 50th Anniversary Celebration
Shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., renowned dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell founded the first African American classical ballet company: the Dance Theatre of Harlem. They've highlighted works by choreographers from George Balanchine to Jerome Robbins, and are known first and foremost for their thoroughly impressive performances and innovative commissioned works. Do not miss their two-day Seattle stop.
APRIL 27-SEPTEMBER 15VISUAL ART
- Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen
This is the first major US solo exhibition of the prolific Chilean-born artist Cecilia Vicuña. The show will encompass sculpture, installation, drawing, video, text-based work, and found object sculpture that dates back to Vicuña’s practice since the 1960s. Vicuña’s work is difficult to categorize, but resplendent and full of many possibilities—at once operating within conceptual art, land art, poetry, and feminist art practices. JASMYNE KEIMIG
THROUGH APRIL 28PERFORMANCE
- A Doll's House, Part 2
Nora, in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll's House, is arguably one of the most famous female roles in 19th-century theater. Every leading ingenue has had her turn playing the "little lark"—even Seattle’s Cherdonna Shinatra recently took on the role. But the ending of the play is famously up for interpretation, and Tony Award nominee Lucas Hnath’s cheekily titled A Doll's House, Part 2 takes on the challenge of picking up where Ibsen left off. It’s funny, smart, and maybe the best old play to come out of the 2010s. CHASE BURNS
- Hollywood & Vine
Enjoy a vintage and magic-filled tribute to Tinseltown with the 20-year-old circus troupe Teatro ZinZanni as they perform in their new Woodinville space. VISUAL ART
- Cherdonna Shinatra: DITCH
Cherdonna Shinatra is a drag performer, dancer, choreographer, and generally fun lunatic. Her drag shtick is that she’s a woman playing a man playing a woman, which used to be a radical idea but has now become pretty run-of-the-mill. Which is great! That said, Cherdonna is more than a woman playing a man playing a woman, she’s a performance artist dedicated to interrogating how the female body is consumed by the male gaze/gays. Her new work at the Frye, DITCH, will create immersive DAILY performances that are COMMITTED to making the world happy in a time of Trump. If anyone can do that impossible task, Shinatra and company can. CHASE BURNS
While you're at the Frye, make sure to also check out their other shows closing this month, The Rain Doesn’t Know Friends from Foes: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian and Tschabalala Self.
- The Vikings Begin
The Vikings Begin grew out of findings by researchers at Gustavianum, the museum at Uppsala University—the oldest still-operating university in Sweden. Dating from the mid-seventh to late 11th century, these artifacts come from 15 grave boats found buried around the grounds of Uppsala. Seattle is the farthest west these objects have ever been. The exhibition space is moodier and more sense-stimulating than I thought possible in a museum. The gallery is completely dark, set away from the outside world, as if it takes place at a point outside of linear time. The ominous drumbeat playing throughout the space and the two giant screens depicting animal sacrifices and Viking battle scenes only added to the sensual nature of the gallery. I actively fought feeling weirdly turned on by the glittering coins, animal bloodletting, and other finery surrounding me. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- Juice WRLD, Ski Mask The Slump God, Lyrical Lemonade
Rapper Juice WRLD will come to town with hits like "Lucid Dreams" and "All Girls Are the Same" on his Death Race for Love Tour. He'll be joined by Ski Mask The Slump God, and Lyrical Lemonade.
- Lizzo, Tayla Parx
Lizzo is an unforgettable performer—she’s compelling, entertaining, and always feeling good as hell. Lizzo sings and raps about body positivity, independence, and self-acceptance better than anyone, and her beats are next level. On stage, Lizzo is joined by the Big Girls, two of the most fabulous backup dancers, and the ultra-chic DJ Sophia Eris. The four of them combined make for a powerhouse of pop, from Lizzo’s speaker-blasting rhymes to the choreographed dance routines. You’ll leave this show feeling so empowered, you won’t remember life pre-Lizzo. ANNA KAPLAN
- Los Temerarios
Mexican music duo Los Temerarios formed in 1978 and are featured in the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. Catch them here in town.
- YBN Nahmir x Bhad Bhabie
Alabama rap crew YBN Nahmir—fronted by Nicholas Simmons—will share the stage with rapper Bhad Bhabie (who coined the phrase/meme "cash me outside, how 'bout dat" on a 2016 episode of Dr. Phil).
- Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Guthrie will stop by Seattle to play a concert on tour for the 52nd anniversary of Alice's Restaurant, and in honor of the countless classics he penned throughout his prolific career as America's country-crossing bard. READINGS & TALKS
- Anthony Ray Hinton
Anthony Ray Hinton knows firsthand what racial bias and corruption in the justice system can inflict: Though innocent, he spent 30 years on death row before being released in 2015. Now a speaker for the Equal Justice Initiative, which helped him obtain liberty, he'll stop in Seattle to educate the community on his ordeal, and the suffering of others in similar situations.
APRIL 30-MAY 1MUSIC
- The Delfonics with Greg Hill
I’ve always thought of the Delfonics as the easygoing alternative to the Temptations; they enjoyed their heydays around the same time (the 1960s and ’70s) and resided in the same general sonic realms (soul and R&B). But where the Temptations got psychedelic and rocking, the Delfonics got smoother and more loving. The Philly group had a resurgence when their music was featured in Jackie Brown, but you likely know them from famous covers and samples of their material, from NKOTB’s rendition of “Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” to “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide from Love),” tapped numerous times but most notably by the Fugees in “Ready or Not” and Missy Elliott in “Sock It 2 Me.” This Delfonics lineup (there are three) is led by Greg Hill. LEILANI POLK