It goes without saying that October is dominated by Halloween events—and Seattle takes the season of ghouls and gourds very seriously—but it's also filled with concerts, major author appearances, festivals, food & drink events, and tons more. As we do every month, we've compiled the biggest events you need to know about in every genre, from Morrissey and Interpol to Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, from the Earshot Jazz Festival to the Seattle Queer Film Festival, and from Seattle Restaurant Week to Refract: The Seattle Glass Experience. 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.
- Feast at the Market
- Morrissey, Interpol
- Taylor McFerrin
- dodie, Adam Melchor
- Lana Del Rey
- Ijeoma Oluo: 'So You Want to Talk About Race' with Charles Mudede
- Zombie Cheerleaders from Hell
- French Cinema Now
- 'Joker' Opening
- Brew at the Zoo
- Rising Appalachia
- Vote with Vera: Kimya Dawson, Nikkita Oliver, Summer Cannibals, & More
- Alice Hoffman: The World That We Knew
- Taste America: Seattle Gala Dinner
- Tacoma Film Festival
- Seattle Latino Film Festival
- Social Justice Film Festival
- Seattle Made Week
- Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor
- Charli XCX, Brooke Candy
- Daniel Norgren
- Mallrat, Allday
- Tegan and Sara
- Al Franken
- 15th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival
- Kate Wallich + the YC with Perfume Genius: The Sun Still Burns Here
- Oktoberfest Northwest
- Warner Bros. Studios Presents Bugs Bunny at the Symphony 30th Anniversary Edition
- Leavenworth Oktoberfest
- Austen’s Pride: A New Musical of 'Pride and Prejudice'
- Earshot Jazz Festival 2019
- Maria Phillips: Hidden in Plain Sight
- Robert Williams: The Father of Exponential Imagination
- 17th Annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival
- Rainier Beer's R Day 2019
- NGHTMRE + SLANDER, Seven Lions, The Glitch Mob
- Oh Sees, Prettiest Eyes
- Tasveer South Asian Film Festival
- Carmina Burana + Agon
- Ashe, Charlie Burg
- Keb' Mo' Solo
- Kishi Bashi
- Patti Smith
- Sofi Tukker, Haiku Hands, LP Giobbi
- Tank and the Bangas, Adia Victoria
- Fatima Bhutto: New Kings of the World
- GeekWire Summit
- Silent Movie Mondays
- Aaron Lee Tasjan
- Clairo, beabadoobee, Hello Yello
- Logic, J.I.D., YBN Cordae
- MARINA, Allie X
- Stiff Little Fingers, the Avengers
- Bryce Dessner's Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)
- Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers
- Lang Lang with the Seattle Symphony
- Mercury Rev & Beth Orton, Marissa Nadler
- Paul Cauthen, Kyle Craft
- Peter Frampton, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Evening
- Four Tet
- Injury Reserve, Slauson Malone, XXX
- Steve Hackett
- Autumn Knight: M_ _ _ ER
- Orcas Island Film Festival 2019
- Seattle Polish Film Festival 2019
- Seattle Queer Film Festival
- Jónsi & Alex Somers
- Prom Queen's 'Midnight Veil' 5th Anniversary
- Felicia Day
- Lawrence Weschler: And How Are You Dr Sacks?
- Nick Cave
- Rachel Maddow: Blowout
- Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival
- Olympic Peninsula Apple & Cider Festival
- Taste of Iceland
- The Great Moment
- Dane Cook: Tell It Like It Is
- Water Lantern Festival Seattle
- Seattle Fresh Hop Beer Festival 2019
- Big K.R.I.T.
- Cathedrals XXVII: Lemolo, Galen Disston, Brenda Xu
- Ingrid Michaelson, Maddie Poppe
- Jonas Brothers, Bebe Rexha, Jordan McGraw
- Augusten Burroughs: Toil and Trouble
- Together Live
- New Burke Grand Opening
- Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition
- Donald Byrd: The America That Is To Be
- Matty Matheson
- Bear Grillz, Somnium Sound, OG Nixin
- J. S. Ondara
- Postmodern Jukebox
- The Rocket Summer
- Sum 41, The Amity Affliction, The Plot In You
- Altin Gün
- Susan Rice: Tough Love
- Dropkick Murphys, Clutch, Hatebreed, Russ Rankin
- An Evening with Pete Yorn
- Stereolab, Wand
- Timothy Egan: A Pilgrimage to Eternity
- KEXP Presents: Aldous Harding, Hand Habits
- The Tempest
- Babymetal, The Hu
- Black Lips, Blue Rose Rounders
- Bring Me the Horizon, Sleeping With Sirens, Poppy
- Knife Knights, Darius Jones, Stas Thee Boss
- Max Richter Performing with American Contemporary Music Ensemble and Grace Davidson
- Todd Snider, Ramblin' Jack Elliott
- Jeanette Winterson: Frankisstein
- Paul Theroux: A Mexican Journey
- Highly Suspect, Slothrust
- Richard Kenney
- Seattle Interactive Conference 2019
- Sankai Juku
- Sean Dorsey Dance: Boys in Trouble
- Refract: The Seattle Glass Experience
- The Thanksgiving Play
- Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum
- Abhi the Nomad
- Jade Bird, Flyte
- Marisela & Amanda Miguel
- Son Volt
- Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton: Gutsy Women
- This Is Halloween
- The Revolutionists
- Andrew Bird, Meshell Ndegeocello
- Big Boi
- Devendra Banhart
- Gloria Trevi, Karol G
- Hozier, Freya Ridings
- The Who, Liam Gallagher
- Minecraft: The Exhibition
- Craig Robinson
- JPEGMafia, Butch Dawson
- Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes
- Ta-Nehisi Coates
- GWAR, Sacred Reich, Toxic Holocaust, Against the Grain
- Steve Lacy
- Black Belt Eagle Scout
- Lucy Dacus
- Sara Bareilles, Emily King
- Josh Campbell: Crossfire Hurricane
- John Leguizamo: Latin History for Morons
- Dinosaur Jr., Steve Gunn
- Judah & The Lion
- Hanif Abdurraqib
- Literary Luncheon: David Guterson
- Jon Pardi, Riley Green
- Kero Kero Bonito
- Comedy Bang! Bang! Live!
- Lit Crawl Seattle
- Lemonhaze Cannabis Convention & Uncanny Festival
- Seduction 2019
- Nick Kroll: Middle-Aged Boy Tour
- 'The Lighthouse' Opening
- 'Parasite' Opening
- FreakNight 2019
- Tyler Childers, Courtney Marie Andrews
- The Moth Seattle GrandSLAM
- Built to Spill, Prism, Sea's Apprentice
- Big Thief
- Shovels & Rope, John Paul White
- Fremonster Spectacular 2019
- Lovers Fetish Fantasy Halloween Party
- Sea-Meow Convention
- Brockhampton, Slowthai
- Mumiy Troll
- Todrick: Haus Party Tour
- Akashinga: The Brave Ones (National Geographic Live)
- Seattle Restaurant Week
- Electric Guest, Wafia
- Elizabeth Strout: Olive, Again
- Tiffany Young
- Miss Saigon
- Cat Power, Zsela
- Natasha Bedingfield
- Andrew Rea: Book Tour With Babish
- Danny Brown, Ashnikko, Zeelooperz
- Tacocat Halloween with Sundae Crush!
- The Atomic Bombshells... PUT A SPELL ON YOU!
- Fright Fest 2019
- STAR 101.5's Georgetown Morgue Haunted House
OCTOBER 1FOOD & DRINK
This progressive meal/self-guided tour lets you eat your way through Pike Place Market, tasting dishes from Aerlume, Honest Biscuits, Matt's in the Market, the Pike Brewing Company, Red Cedar and Sage, Seatown Market Diner, and other restaurants, capped off with desserts at Pike Place Market Atrium Kitchen. Proceeds benefit Neighborcare Health at Pike Place Market Clinic, which provides comprehensive primary healthcare to low-income and uninsured people in downtown Seattle.
Sean Hughes once said that “everyone grows out of their Morrissey phase… except Morrissey.” Well, all due respect, etc., but the Wamu Theater will be filled with close to 4,000 people who beg to differ with the late Irish comedian/writer/DJ. The Morrissey phase is a complicated matter, and Morrissey himself doesn’t do much to make it easier, between the increasingly reactionary public pronouncements and the late-period music—most recently the keyboard-y “Spent the Day in Bed” (which is qg, actually)—one strains to love. And yet, the love of Morrissey is not easily renounced, because it tends to be foundational, in a way that is unique among lovers of pop music. It’s the kind of love you might feel you ought to grow out of, but then, without it, like, who would you even be? SEAN NELSON
The music of Taylor McFerrin isn’t much like what you’ve heard from his dad Bobby, whose own catalog leans heavy into the vocal jazz and scat-driven spectrum, save for ’80s-era hit (and the reason you know him) “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” Taylor maintains his dad’s style of effortless breeziness while exploring the realms of future-soul, post-jazz, and ambient R&B, with shades of hip-hop in the rhythms and funk in the bass lines. My turn-on was Taylor’s luscious, melody-pricked number with Robert Glasper and Thundercat, “Already There,” off 2014 debut Early Riser. He didn’t sing much then, but sophomore follow-up Love’s Last Chance, which dropped in August, reveals a casually elegant and velvety vocal that glides over classy, understated, but often ethereal grooves, the latter imbued via vintage (’70s-era) synths. LEILANI POLK
Though she's only 23, chart-topping English singer-songwriter Dodie started releasing music on her YouTube channel, "doddleoddle," when she was 16. She'll sing about things like mental health, sexuality, and bullying on this Seattle tour stop.
READINGS & TALKS
It doesn’t matter that she used to be a failed musician called Lizzy Grant (and several other names), or that her past personas looked and sang completely differently than the Lana Del Rey we see draped across posters now. And I’m not interested in the alleged fibs/ploys when it comes to her backstory and just how rich her dad might be. All that matters: Is she talented? Your stance on that voice is a personal choice (or maybe a genetic thing, like cilantro), but I find it skews too closely to the cringeyyy side of sultry. SO SULTRY, and low, but with hints of pouty dramatic baby on downers, with an arsenal of sloppy accents? Oh, and in one flimsy song about coming of age, she whispers the words “Pabst Blue Ribbon on Ice.” Gew. EMILY NOKES
So You Want to Talk About Race—the breakout book by Seattle-based writer, speaker, and emerging social-media icon Ijeoma Oluo—offers a fresh, compassionate, often witty approach to helping us have productive conversations about race and navigate these turbulent times. Drawing from a well of personal experience as a black woman with deep and intimate ties to the white world, Oluo distinguishes herself as a relatable yet nuanced commentator on a subject that so many others have tried less successfully to take on. It’s evident that she knows her theory, but she doesn’t get mired in the academic debates, instead offering vivid anecdotes from life on the front lines as well as practical advice that both longtime students of race in America as well as newcomers to the field will find useful. DEEPA BHANDARU
OCTOBER 2-NOVEMBER 3PERFORMANCE
The Heavenly Spies are back with their annual Halloween show featuring scary hot dancers—plus "terrifying masks and pretty pasties, black cats and twerking booties, sweet transvestites and dancing cuties."
THROUGH OCTOBER 3FILM
For one week, Seattle turns into a center for French and Francophone cinema culture, offering some of the best movies you'll see all year. The fest will close with the family drama Real Love, the farce Kiss & Tell, and Synonyms, about a young Isreali man who moves to Paris.
FOOD & DRINK
Batman's most famous nemesis gets an origin story in Todd Phillips's sinister tale of a failed comedian's spiral into bloody madness, starring your favorite tragic maniac Joaquin Phoenix.
What's better than a day at the zoo? Sampling beer and enjoying exclusive animal encounters, we'd say. This tasting event offers attendees seven tokens, a souvenir tasting glass, a pair of general admission zoo tickets, and special meet and greets with wild creatures.
The sister duo of Rising Appalachia claim to "redefine folk music as a truly living art," with their backing band and layered folk, jazz, soul, and old mountain traditions readily apparent in their work.
READINGS & TALKS
An all-star lineup of local artists, activists, and speakers will take over Vera Project to encourage you (and young people, especially) to vote in November. The lineup includes beloved anti-folk artist Kimya Dawson, Summer Cannibals (who "fucking rule" and "play with the punishing urgency of young Superchunk," according to Sean Nelson), activist and spoken-word poet Nikkita Oliver, and other special guests.
The author of Practical Magic and The Dovekeepers will read from her new magical realist novel about Jewish girls trying to survive the Nazi era with the help of love...and a golem.
OCTOBER 3-4FOOD & DRINK
At this star-studded supper, the James Beard Foundation (named after the late, great cook and food writer) will bring together a stacked lineup of acclaimed local chefs. This year, a brand-new cocktail reception called Seattle: Raising the Bar on October 3 will feature drinks from local mixologists alongside bites from respected local chefs like James Beard Award winner Edouardo Jordan of Junebaby and Salare. At Friday’s main event, visiting all-star chef Kwame Onwuachi—who has won acclaim for his Washington, DC, restaurant Kith/Kin and whose recently published memoir, Notes from a Young Black Chef, is slated to be adapted into an A24-produced film starring Lakeith Stanfield—will team up with local all-star Rachel Yang of Joule and Revel to create an unforgettable meal, with bites and dessert provided by other top local chefs. This is a unique opportunity to catch a ton of culinary luminaries in a single evening—don't miss it. JULIANNE BELL
Tacoma's offering to the Northwest international film scene, named one of the "Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" by MovieMaker, includes more than 200 movies, talks by visitors from around the world, a VR studio, workshops, and parties. If you missed offbeat hits like Greener Grass and The Death of Dick Long at SIFF 2019, here's your chance to see them. This year, The Stranger's own Charles Mudede will be a juror, and his 2005 film Police Beat (co-directed with Robinson Devor) will be screened October 6. Students get in free to the whole fest!
This year's Seattle festival of Chicanx and Latinx cinema will feature 10 days of independent movies, filmmaker panels, workshops, and more, beginning with a splashy opening gala. The organizers say that this year's festival will feature "110 titles from 22 countries: films, short films, documentaries, and animation." There will be a special focus on young Latinx filmmakers in the US.
This film festival highlights fierce and powerful progressive movements around the world. As social justice provides the only throughline, many of the movies have little in common. But the selection skews toward limber, on-the-ground filmmaking in the midst of protests and conflicts. This edition's theme is "Courage." See documentaries about, among other topics, the gospel singer and activist Patrinell, Argentinian teenagers recovering from sexual assault, Native and Indigenous opposition to industrial projects that destroy the environment, fighters against vote suppression, and the Chinese dissident artist Hu Jie.
Not only do local producers and manufacturers make cool stuff, but they also create jobs and allow our region to rely less on the global economy. Seattle Made’s annual celebration of local makers features a week of pop-ups, meet-the-maker events, a party, a panel discussion, and vendor showcases.
OCTOBER 3-NOVEMBER 2PERFORMANCE
The world-famous Seattle-based drag queen BenDeLaCreme has written and performed three acclaimed solo shows, but Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor, premiered in 2017, was the artist's first foray into writing, directing, and starring in an original play of her own. It's a spooky, campy twist on the horror flick genre, featuring ghosts, dancers, music, and special effects. The chemistry between BenDeLaCreme and Scott Shoemaker alone is worth the price of admission. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Essex-raised chart-topper Charli XCX, who got her start on MySpace in 2008, will make you dance after an opening set from Brooke Candy.
Swedish singer-songwriter Daniel Norgren will bring his lovely, melancholy piano melodies and wispy vocals to the Seattle stage.
Rising Australian pop artist Mallrat, whose sincere lyrics about teenhood and dogs are highly underrated, will grace Seattle on her North American Tour, taking the stage after Aussie rapper Allday.
READINGS & TALKS
Being a queer teen is rough, and there are no rubrics and very few examples of representation to follow, so coming across my older sister’s CD copy of So Jealous was an important moment in my adolescence. Tegan and Sara’s razor-sharp and almost feverishly relatable pop that centered queer experience was the first of its kind in my life and was exactly what I needed at the time. Even now, 13 years later, it still resonates heavily with me. KIM SELLING
The ex-SNL writer and performer, ex-senator, and current Al Franken Podcast host will revisit his years in showbiz and politics. He may or may not address the contentious circumstances under which he was forced to leave the Senate, but he does promise insight into the grisly realm of Mitch McConnell and co.
OCTOBER 4-5FOOD & DRINK
Though pumpkin beer is a decidedly divisive beverage, Elysian Brewing Company’s annual squash-themed celebration continues to draw fans year after year. The great pumpkin in question—a gigantic gourd weighing in at several hundred pounds—is scooped out, scorched, filled with pumpkin beer, sealed, conditioned, and tapped at the event. What’s more, over 80 pumpkin beers, including around 20 from Elysian, will be poured. JULIANNE BELL
The Sun Still Burns Here is a new live album by Perfume Genius (aka Mike Hadreas) in the form of a Kate Wallich + the YC performance. It's a perfect fusion of Wallich’s cold-blooded rituals and Perfume Genius’s pathos-drenched chamber pop, and it’s like nothing the two artists have ever done before. Perfume Genius isn't just playing music alongside dancers. Hadreas and the rest of the band have full-on dancing roles, each one with its own character arc. And yet Wallich and her dance company, the YCs, aren't merely backup dancers for Perfume Genius. Each of the dancers in the YCs appears to be on their own journey, variously embodying the music, disregarding the music, or creating the music themselves. The project represents growth for all the artists involved. It's Wallich and the YCs' fifth evening-length performance, and their experience is starting to show. Each dancer is dancing better than they ever have. And Wallich's juxtapositions of the high and low dance vocabularies—combining Janet Jackson moves with Pina Bausch moods—really works. RICH SMITH
OCTOBER 4-6FOOD & DRINK
Enter the indoor Munich and Bavarian Festhalles for an Oktoberfest celebration filled with German-style food, bier, and live entertainment. Families can also enjoy wiener dog races, a Stein Dash 5K or kids' Root Beer Run, and more.
If you watched the Looney Tunes cartoons as a child, you probably have their music imprinted on your brain. This 30th anniversary program with Seattle Symphony and guest conductor George Daugherty celebrates the most famous characters (Bugs Bunny, obviously, but also Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Wile E. Coyote, and Road Runner) with screen projections while the symphony plays the series’ original scores, which touches on classics like The Rabbit of Seville and Rhapsody Rabbit plus fresh, new Warner Bros. 3D theatrical shorts. Get ready to have your nostalgia tapped. LEILANI POLK
OCTOBER 4-19FOOD & DRINK
Since Leavenworth is Washington's Bavarian-style village all year round, we believe them when they say that their Oktoberfest celebration is "the next best thing to Munich." Kicking off with an opening ceremony complete with a keg tapping and an oompah-style marching band dressed in dirndls and lederhosen leading a procession, the festival promises German-style fare like bratwurst and coleslaw, family activities, and enough beer to keep your stein full at all times.
The season begins with Austen's Pride, a quasi-adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that is also about Jane Austen's writing of the novel. Written by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs, Austen's Pride has been in development for years. It started without Austen in it—but over time, it's become about the author herself. One of the reasons producing artistic director Bill Berry picked it is because "it's about a female character at the center, a woman who is powerful, has agency, is literally forming her own narrative." CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
OCTOBER 4-NOVEMBER 6MUSIC
Earshot Jazz Festival, an annual month-long examination and celebration of the art form, includes over 50 concerts featuring acts both local and (inter)national, old and young. This year's docket includes big names like Cécile McLorin Salvant, Chucho Valdés, Chick Corea Trio with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Myra Melford, Kiki Valera, Tyshawn Sorey, Makaya McCraven, and many more.
OCTOBER 4-MARCH 8VISUAL ART
Instead of being completely paralyzed into inaction by the overwhelming lack of response to climate change and environmental degradation, Seattle artist Maria Phillips is diving head first into interrogating her own consumption habits. Using non-recyclable plastics and single-use items generated by Phillips and her family over the course of nine months, the artist has created a two-part exhibition at BAM. The first part will feature a series of jewelry pieces and small-scale works accompanied with a video installation. The second will be a large-scale, immersive installation that’s meant to confront viewers with the role that plastic has in our everyday life. Spooky, beautiful shit. JASMYNE KEIMIG
The work of Robert Williams is sick, perverse, offensive, violent, erotic, profane, and firmly without any sort of god to speak of. That is also precisely why it is incredible. A technically skilled draftsman, Williams’s works are often psychedelic, depicting an alternate, unhinged reality. He is naughty to the nth degree, hemmed in neither by “good taste” or any type of moral responsibility. In addition to being an artist and comic book illustrator, Williams was also a key figure in the California hot rod scene of the late 1960s. This exhibition coincides with the release of a major new monograph of Williams’s work, published by Fantagraphic Books and due out in November. JASMYNE KEIMIG
OCTOBER 5FOOD & DRINK
Amazingly, Yakima Valley supplies more than 75 percent of the nation’s hops. During this time of year, local craft brewers avail themselves of the proximity and abundance of the hops crop, making ales with hops processed no more than 24 hours after being harvested. The result? Brews with a milder, more botanical profile and less bitterness than is normally associated with hoppy beers. Because of the fragile nature of those little green, cone-shaped flowers, it’s hard to rival the range of fresh hop beers found in our region, and they’re available for an extremely limited time. Yakima’s Fresh Hop Ale Festival, which benefits Yakima County–based arts and science organizations, provides a rare opportunity to taste a range of these hyper-seasonal, ephemeral beers in one place before they’re gone. JULIANNE BELL
Join Artist Home and the Georgetown Merchants Association for a celebration of a tried-and-true Northwest standby, Rainier Beer, with live music from Red Fang, Wild Powwers, and Chong the Nomad. They promise a rowdy community mini-fest with plenty of Rainier to drink. This event will also double as a benefit for the Georgetown Merchants Association.
All right, show of hands: Who first heard Jidenna on Netflix’s Luke Cage? The Wisconsin MC and singer made the most of the show’s live musical guest segment with a minimal rendition of his song “Long Live the Chief.” That tune, the highlight of his debut album, The Chief, goes harder than his otherwise tropical-pop oeuvre. A Janelle Monáe protégé, he pulls both styles off: His earlier single “Classic Man” made waves in 2015, as did his uniquely aristocratic fashion sense. Whether spitting bars or singing Auto-Tuned choruses, Jidenna’s appeal lies in his seemingly endless well of charisma. Few artists sound so self-assured this early in their careers. JOSEPH SCHAEFER
Nathan John Feuerstein, better known as NF, will rap about his childhood trauma and his anger issues on this stop on his The Search Tour.
Big-time LA electronic DJs Nghtmre and Slander will team up with Seven Lions and the Glitch Mob for an epic tour.
OCTOBER 5-6FOOD & DRINK
You can slurp freshly shucked bivalves and quaff wines and microbrews in peace knowing that all the proceeds from this festival will go into the hands of the charities that help host it. There will also be live music, the annual West Coast Oyster Shucking Championships, water quality exhibits, and non-oyster food offerings like garlic shrimp and spring rolls.
There's nothing novel about Oh Sees, but over 40 albums, EPs, and singles in 22 years, they've cycled through numerous styles with panache and passion. Thanks to Dwyer's doggedness and prodigious songwriting nous, Oh Sees have become paradigmatic 21st-century rockers—great synthesizers and energizers of rock's multifarious modes. Effortlessly diverse and dynamic, their songs pour out of Dwyer like the sweat he excretes during their galvanizing concerts. DAVE SEGAL
THROUGH OCTOBER 6FILM
Seattle is lucky to have one of the largest South Asian-focused film festivals in the world, second only to Toronto. Now in its 14th year, the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival continues with a focus on stories from under-heard communities via a women-geared short film series (dubbed “She Persisted”) plus programming of seven LGBTQ+ movies. Films of note: the Tibetan refugee-driven drama The Sweet Requiem, with wife-and-husband directing team Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam in attendance, the folktale-inspiredadventure story Jhalki, and Hira Nabi’s portrait of Pakistani shipbreakers All That Perishes at the Edge of Land. LEILANI POLK
Pacific Northwest Ballet kicks off its 47th season by hanging a 26-foot-long, 2,500-pound golden wheel from the ceiling for founding artistic director Kent Stowell's Carmina Burana, a ballet based on a 13th-century medieval poem written by a bunch of saucy Catholic clerics. As a choir belts out one of the most dramatic—if not most played—pieces of classical music, "O Fortuna," more than 100 dancers do their thing beneath the wheel of fortune, embodying fate's random mood swings. PNB pairs this epic dance with George Balanchine's Agon, which Balanchine himself called "the quintessential contemporary ballet," according to press materials. RICH SMITH
Songwriter and jazz vocalist (aka Ashlyn Wilson) used collaborations with the likes of Louis the Child, Whethan, Shaun Frank, and Ben Phippson to sink her teeth into the electronic world. See her on her first headlining tour, joined by Charlie Burg.
Four-time Grammy-winning blues artist Keb' Mo'—whose '60s upbringing serves his contemporary protest songs well—will do his thing.
READINGS & TALKS
The fourth and latest album from Kaoru Ishibashi (aka Kishi Bashi) is bright, poignant, heartfelt, and infused with a sense of hope, even during its more melancholic moments. From the breezy, acoustic-guitar-picked opening of “Penny Rabbit and Summer Bear” with its Harry Nilsson “Everybody's Talkin'” feel, to the sweeping symphonics and forlorn beauty of “Summer of '42,” to the twangy fiddle-rousing banjo-plucked closer “Annie, Heart Thief of the Sea,” Omoiyari is a stunner that remains uplifting despite its bleak inspiration: the WWII internment of Japanese Americans. It’s also a bit of a departure from Kishi Bashi's previous efforts, folkier while conversely more finely composed and orchestrated, as the Berklee-trained musician (who sings and plays violin primarily, but also guitar and keys) brought in a band and some chamber players to back him up (normally he records mostly solo). Kishi Bashi sold out his last date here in June and has upgraded to roomier digs for his return. LEILANI POLK
Did the world begin to collapse in 2016 because corporate greed reached its zenith as political courage reached its nadir, or because it was the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese zodiac? Mystic punk rocker Patti Smith investigates in Year of the Monkey. Listen, Patti Smith is a legend, her album Horses rules, and the writing here is good and full of a genuine curiosity about the world. But the book elicited two major responses from me: the occasional sagacious nod, and eye rolls that hit with concussive force. For Smith, the world's serendipitous events and strange associations seem to be little clues to the great detective story that is life, but they're also just errant equations that prove the inherent chaos of the world. The tension, then—charged with the grab-bag spirituality that characterizes so much boomer bullshit—is this: Will Smith find some sense of personal narrative closure in her life or will she eventually die feeling uncomfortable with the unknown? RICH SMITH
Sofi Tukker’s debut single “Drinkee” was nominated for a Grammy in 2017 back when they didn’t even have an EP out yet. Since the Grammy nom, the New York duo of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern (hence Sofi Tukker) released the Soft Animals EP, which aptly redefined the dance scene with their deconstructed beats and Brazilian influence. Their live show is full of English and Portuguese, and a giant electronic tree that they use as an instrument. ANNA KAPLAN
Tarriona 'Tank' Ball is the founder and frontwoman of the funky, gospel-inspired hip-hop band Tank and the Bangas, who you may know from their popular NPR Tiny Desk Concert. See them in Seattle on their Green Balloon Tour with Adia Victoria. JASMYNE KEIMIG
READINGS & TALKS
Tinariwen have been instrumental in bringing the soulful, trance-inducing sound of the Tuaregs—who hail from the Sahara Desert in northern Mali—to the West. On albums like Aman Iman: Water Is Life, Imidiwan: Companions, Tassili, and Elwan, Tinariwen infuse the blues with rigorous, uplifting rhythms and mesmerizing, cyclical guitar motifs over which Ibrahim Ag Alhabib’s spirited vocals (often shadowed by massed chants) flow like medicine for the heart. The music’s essential timeless poignancy remains the engine behind Tinariwen’s caravan of moving, dusty jams. It’s a tribute to Seattle that a group this sublime can play a venue as large as Benaroya Hall. DAVE SEGAL
The United States has long been considered the world's chief exporter of popular culture. But India, China, and other East Asian countries, as well as Middle Eastern countries, are increasingly competing for massive audiences around the world. We see this every week in Seattle, most recently when K-pop sensation Pentagon packed the Moore with 1,500 people. Fatima Bhutto, author and scion of the Pakistani political family, will read from her new book, New Kings of the World, which tracks the impact of the globalization of Bollywood, dizi, and K-pop. Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib (who is a Rhodes Scholar with a lit degree from Columbia) will lead a discussion with Bhutto. RICH SMITH
Hundreds of leaders in tech fields around the world will gather for live Q&As, talks, product demos, and a smattering of fun parties. The two-day summit (three if you count the opening-night reception) will host former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce, Seattle Chief of Police Carmen Best, Microsoft President Brad Smith, and others.
OCTOBER 7–NOVEMBER 7READINGS & TALKS
Celebrate books and drinking at Booktoberfest, where readers are invited to enjoy bookish happy hours, librarian-hosted trivia nights, spooky stories, karaoke, literary fortune-telling, and a whole lot more with the Seattle Public Library.
Every year, the Seattle Theatre Group pairs screenings of underappreciated silent films with live musical scores, often performed on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ. This fall, the series will turn its attention to early black cinema—surely one of the most fascinating and unjustly neglected strains of studio filmmaking of the 20th century. Watch the interracial drama The Scar of Shame (Oct 7), produced by the Colored Players Film Corporation in Philadelphia in 1927; Body and Soul (Oct 14), which marked famed black thespian Paul Robeson's film debut in 1925; and Within Our Gates from 1920, the "the earliest surviving feature film by an African American director" (namely Oscar Micheaux) (Oct 21).
Nashville folk-rock songwriter Aaron Lee Tasjan, whose songs have been described as "equal parts dreamy and droll" by NPR, will bring his full band back to Seattle.
Gen Z lo-fi bedroom-pop star Clairo first earned attention for her self-produced song “Pretty Girl,” which went viral on YouTube in 2017. It’s a good song, but it’s also the perfect blend of pared-down ’80s pop and R&B ideal for YouTube’s algorithm to promote it to oblivion. She was swiftly accused of being an “industry plant” because of the connections her father—a marketing executive—had to the music world. Who knows if that’s really true, but Clairo has moved forward into collabs with the likes of pop-music titans Mura Masa and Charli XCX. Former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij produced her debut studio album, Immunity, which is sufficiently sweet easy listening. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Young Maryland MC Logic fits easily into the "sensitive guy" rapper lineage, with his hardscrabble origin story buffeted by beats ripped straight from the turn-of-the-century Kanye gospel-soul playbook and rhymes that can achieve the internal fluidity of B-side Kendrick, with sadly little of the unflinching honesty that marked Mr. Lamar as a major new player. Indeed, this (good) kid can flow, and the production glistens expensively, but one finds little substance beyond the artfully flipped syllables and platitudes dressed up as choruses. KYLE FLECK
MARINA climbed her way to the UK Top 10 with albums like The Family Jewels, Electra Heart, and Froot. The pop artist will stop in town on her Love + Fear Tour with Canadian singer-songwriter Allie X.
Much-loved 1970s-era punks Stiff Little Fingers are turning up to play, in its entirety and for its 40th anniversary, their debut LP, Inflammable Material. Supporting SLF are one of San Francisco’s original (and frankly best) punk groups, the Avengers. This is a no-brainer, right? Welp, a decade or so ago, the Avengers played the Funhouse opposite a Black Flag COVER BAND at the Comet, and everyone went to see the Black Flag cover band. I still haven’t forgiven you, Crapital Hill coolio punks. That said, don’t fuck this up again. Go see the goddamn Avengers (and SLF), you poseurs. MIKE NIPPER
British indie arena rockers Bastille will return to SoDo this fall on their first leg of their Doom Days tour.
Composer Bryce Dessner (one of the twins in indie-rock group the National) brings together vocal geniuses Roomful of Teeth, librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle, and a chamber orchestra to interrogate three of Robert Mapplethorpe's portfolios. Those portfolios—X, Y, Z, which take as their subjects gay S&M figures, flowers, and nude black men, respectively—sparked an obscenity trial in Ohio in the early 1990s, because self-delusion in Ohio runs deep. While you could hardly ask for a more fascinating array of talent here, the New York Times could barely hide its disdain for Dessner's "meager" tribute, calling it "a blandly brooding, affectlessly luminous score." The shade is so thick in that review that this thing might be worth a fact-check, if not a hate-watch. RICH SMITH
Frank Lopes Jr. is an alternative hip-hop artist out of Sacramento who develops funky song layers with the help of his backing band, the Lovemakers.
Classical music pianist Lang Lang, heralded by the New York Times as "the hottest artist on the classical music planet," will perform an evening recital of classical masterworks.
Country-pop legend Bobbie Gentry deserves all the shine she can get, as she still isn't as well-known as she should be. A soulful singer who excelled in tender-ballad and libidinous funk modes, Gentry wrote empowering and evocative songs at a time when few women in country were doing so. Her 1968 LP The Delta Sweete—which dramatizes her troubled upbringing in the Mississippi Delta—is ripe for rediscovery. Toward that end, Americana-leaning space-rockers Mercury Rev sagely decided to cover this classic in its entirety, aided by A-list women singers such as Hope Sandoval, Stereolab's Lætitia Sadier, Portishead diva Beth Orton, and goth-rock chanteuse Marissa Nadler. The latter two vocalists join the Rev on this tour. Expect them to flesh out and tastefully update the originals' swampy splendor. Nadler will also perform an opening set. DAVE SEGAL
Proud East Texan Paul Cauthen mines from the emotional foundation of his land-locked heritage to form his own kind of Americana country gospel fit for the pines. He'll be joined by Portland-based singer-songwriter Kyle Craft.
One of the early users of the talk box in rock is also the man behind one of the US’s best-selling live albums. I’m talking about Peter Frampton, of course, and 1976’s Frampton Comes Alive!, of which a surprising three singles hit high on the charts (“Show Me the Way,” “Baby, I Love Your Way,” and 14-minute scorcher “Do You Feel Like We Do”) and still get frequent classic-rock radio play. Frampton is hanging up his ax for good after more than 20 albums, including this year’s All Blues (which debuted at the top of the Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart), because he has a progressive muscle disorder, inclusion body myositis (IBM); $1 of every ticket from his Farewell Tour benefits the Peter Frampton Myositis Research Fund at Johns Hopkins. He’ll be joined by son Julian on this night, with warm-up from Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening. LEILANI POLK
London electronic artist Four Tet will beep and boop all the way to Seattle.
Injury Reserve are a hip-hop trio from Arizona, one of the most brutal and self-contradictory states in the union. Unsurprisingly, they’re a little insane. They’re really, really into going to the dentist and obsessing on going to the dentist. They have a song called “Oh Shit!!!” and it talks a lot about Snapchat and not graduating from school and just generally having a lot of fun not doing anything your parents tell you to do. They point out that Jesus Christ had dreads. If they had no other selling point, they’d have that. ANDREW HAMLIN
Dave Segal has written, "Eddie Van Halen credits Hackett as the inspiration for his tapping technique, which was part of the arsenal of moves that helped the versatile axeman to imbue Genesis’s landmark ’70s LPs with a florid beauty and grandeur rarely matched in the genre. With such a bounty of complex and beautiful cuts at his disposal, Hackett should be able to keep prog heads entertained all night." Join him for his Genesis Revisited Anniversary Celebration.
Depending on which letters you place in the blank spaces, M_ _ _ ER could spell mother, matter, or murder. All of those things are possible in this new work from Knight, an interdisciplinary artist who likes to play around with improv, visual art, and fucking with the audience. If the show is anything like Sanity TV, and it sounds a little Sanity TV, Knight will play a variously cheeky and antagonistic talk show host who makes certain audience members feel uncomfortable a lot, which can be fun, especially if you're not the one in the hot seat. RICH SMITH
Started five years ago by Jared Lovejoy, with curation help from SIFF's former artistic director Carl Spence, the Orcas Island Film Festival screens star-stuffed, A-list art-house films. CHARLES MUDEDE
The Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association will mark its 27th year of co-producing a festival of Polish films, which will no doubt continue to show the strength of this cinematically important country.
Local shorts, indie features, and national or international releases will stoke and satisfy your appetite for gay, lesbian, bi, trans, enby, and otherwise queer-focused films, from historical romances to incisive documentaries to perverse suspense flicks. This year, catch the opening film, the Judy Garland doc Sid & Judy (Oct 10); the centerpiece documentary For They Know Not What They Do (Oct 13), Daniel Karslake's look at conservative Christian churches' fight against LGBTQ+ rights; the centerpiece drama Lucio Castro's emotional and erotic End of the Century (Oct 16), set in Barcelona; and the closing film, acclaimed French director Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Oct 20).
As the lead singer of Sigur Rós, Jon Thor Birgisson mewls epics in a made-up elfin language (called, with impossible preciousness, Hopelandic) over glacially moving orchestral passages and rock rendered as ambient whale song. For his solo project Jónsi, Birgisson often ups the tempos and even tasks his tongue with singing in English, and the results are surprising and immensely satisfying, whatever your attachment to his main gig. "Animal Arithmetic" is a thrilling charge, percussion thundering like a stampeding herd, Birgisson running down a litany of vivid sensations, concluding, "We should all be (oh!) alive!" Elsewhere, his debut album, Go, approaches the grander sweep and slower pace of Sigur Rós, but it's fair to say this is his "pop" record, and it's an absolutely outstanding one. ERIC GRANDY
LA electronic duo Phantoms look like nice, attractive young men, playing their sets in suits, using glow-in-the-dark drumsticks, releasing their music on the Universal Music subsidiary, Casablanca/Republic. As evidenced by their buoyant EP, Broken Halo, Phantoms are going to be festival fixtures, because festivalgoers love their sort of hooky, smooth, vocal-centric dance fare. DAVE SEGAL
READINGS & TALKS
Local doomy doo-wop group Prom Queen will throw a party for the fifth birthday of their album Midnight Veil, which will also be available on vinyl for the first time at the event.
You may know Day from the web series The Guild, her YouTube channel Geek & Sundry, and all corners of the internet. She'll share her new book about the power of self-expression, Embrace Your Weird.
In the '80s, Weschler began to profile the influential neurologist and science writer Oliver Sacks, a project that stretched out over four years. Though Sacks eventually asked Weschler not to publish the profile, the two men remained friends. Sacks died in 2015; during his decline, he told Weschler to take up the project again. Now, you can read this long-abandoned portrait of one of the great scientists and science writers of our era.
Nick Cave albums tend to vary in quality—the mid-career stuff can get syrupy—but the man always delivers onstage, especially when he has wild-man violinist Warren Ellis by his side. I still remember a Bad Seeds gig at the Moore, circa The Mercy Seat, when a heckler attempted to knock Cave off-kilter. I don’t recall what he said, but his comeback was so fast and so funny, it put everyone at ease. And really: Would you want to expose yourself to that famously withering wit? KATHY FENNESSY
You could stay home and watch Rachel Maddow pontificate on cable news every weeknight, or you could do it person. Maddow is out with a new book about some very bad shit international oil and gas companies have gotten away with, and their role in global politics. It’s also a continuation of Maddow’s theme since November 2016: How, and why, Russia hacked the 2016 election. Maddow has, at times, drifted into Red Scare territory since Trump was elected—nearly screaming THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING! on air—but who can blame her? Donald Trump is actually the President. There’s got to be some kind of nefarious explanation, right? Right?? Perhaps Maddow will explain it in person. KATIE HERZOG
Port Angeles's nationally recognized crab extravaganza, whose claim to fame is apparently having been featured in a question on Jeopardy!, offers copious crustaceans, as well as a chowder cook-off, a "grab-a-crab" derby, local beer and wine, craft vendors, live music, art, chances to learn about Native American heritage in the Pacific Northwest, and more.
At this third annual festival, take some time to appreciate the Olympic Peninsula's apple orchards for a "tree-to-glass" weekend of cider tasting autumnal feasting.
Seattle and Reykjavik aren't just close pals, they're sister cities. In fact, Seattle is home to more Icelandic people than anywhere else in the United States. To celebrate the culture of the magical Nordic land, Seattle invites Icelandic chefs, musicians, writers, artists, and filmmakers to town every year for the 10-day Taste of Iceland festival.
OCTOBER 11-NOVEMBER 17PERFORMANCE
Playwright Anna Ziegler earned a lot of attention in 2015 for Photograph 51, a well-received bio-drama about Rosalind Franklin, the woman who discovered DNA. Nicole Kidman played the starring role, everybody loved it, and Ziegler was praised for her "fair-minded and philosophical" approach to character building. Ziegler will likely bring that same talent for creating multidimensional characters to The Great Moment, which will have its world premiere at the Seattle Rep. According to press materials, the story follows a woman named Sarah, who is watching her grandfather slowly die while she raises her son. Alexandra Tavares plays the lead in this, and I've loved everything I've ever seen her in. RICH SMITH
If you remember, Dane Cook was hugely popular (and divisive) in the first decade or so of the 2000s. If you dig dudebro humor, you might want to shell out for the tickets.
FOOD & DRINK
Write a message or make a drawing on an LED lantern, then watch it drift across Green Lake with others'. Before the launch, enjoy food trucks, live music, and family activities.
The Stranger’s Lester Black has written that during fresh hop harvest season, which runs mid-August to late September, Seattle is “the world’s greatest place to drink hoppy beer.” That’s because Seattle’s proximity to Yakima Valley, which supplies 75% of our nation’s hop crop, means our region has an unparalleled selection of fresh hop beers (beers made with hops that have been picked no more than 24 hours before brewing). This tasting event exclusively dedicated to fresh hop offerings from over 20 different local breweries, including Fremont (which produces more fresh hop beer than any brewery in the nation), Hellbent, Pfriem, Jellyfish, Fort George, and more, is a great chance to try as many as you can during their all-too-fleeting season.
Rapper/producer Big K.R.I.T. (King Remembered In Time—rap loves acronyms) puts on proudly for his native Mississippi. Melding thoughtful consciousness with the comin’-down, candy-paint belligerence of Pimp C (around the time of his 2011 debut, sounding like a straight homage to the late, great Chad Butler), K.R.I.T. presents a complex narration of being a black man in America’s Deep South. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Cathedrals is a performance series put on by KEXP, KUOW, and the Abbey Arts crew that pairs the heaven-reaching acoustics of Saint Mark's Cathedral with the smooth sounds of local musicians. This iteration of the series will feature the Swansea album release performance by local dream-pop group Lemolo with a backing string ensemble, a solo set by Galen Disston of Pickwick, and opening strings by Brenda Xu.
Sassy bespectacled singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson will show her piano chops and decades of charting experience on her The Dramatic Tour.
Purity ring powerhouse crew the Jonas Brothers reunited over the last year to release a new album (Happiness Begins) and launch a huge cross-country tour, sailing by on the hype of a boy band glow-up made visible over the last decade. They'll be joined by Bebe Rexha and Jordan McGraw.
READINGS & TALKS
All the way from the Congo, KOKOKO will visit Seattle to play electronic music influenced by their Central African roots. They'll be joined by Seattle artist Archie (formerly known as PSA).
It’s a good time to be a witch. Modern witches (less the crook-nosed cartoon and more the millennial with a crystal collection) often profess to have exceedingly heightened powers of intuition, and this includes Augusten Burroughs, the memoirist made famous for his portrayal of his very unconventional family in Running With Scissors. He might not be a millennial, but he is a self-professed witch, and his new book details how, from an early age, he had certain… abilities others seemed not to possess. He confessed this to his mother, who wasn’t surprised. And why would she be? She, too, was a witch, if not exactly the world’s best mother, as anyone familiar with his previous work will recall. Toil & Trouble is about coming to terms with what he could—and, perhaps more importantly, could not—control in his life and others'. KATIE HERZOG
Settle in for a night of storytelling and music at this edition of the acclaimed inspirational showcase, which will feature celebrated author Cheryl Strayed, actress Sophia Bush, LA-based singer-songwriter MILCK, Canadian comic Sabrina Jalees, and activist Liliane Kamikazi (among other as-yet-unannounced guests).
OCTOBER 12-14VISUAL ART
Fête the opening of the University of Washington's improved and greatly expanded Burke Museum of culture, anthropology, and natural history.
OCTOBER 12-SEPTEMBER 1VISUAL ART
Philadelphia's National Liberty Museum organized the US's first LGBTQ+-only studio class exhibition in 2017. Now, the Liberty Museum will team up with the Museum of Glass to bring the works to the Northwest. See pieces by Sabrina Knowles, Jenny Pohlman, Joseph Cavalieri, Pearl Dick, Kim Harty, Jeff Zimmer, and others.
OCTOBER 12-JANUARY 26VISUAL ART
Local Tony-nominated, Bessie-winning choreographer Donald Byrd's dance pieces confront the horrors of contemporary society: gay-bashing, war, racial terrorism, misogyny. This installation, Byrd's first solo museum show, uses archival footage and artifacts to advance the artist's idea of a future America, "multi-racial in every aspect."
OCTOBER 13FOOD & DRINK
The jovial, tattoo-inked, foul-mouthed Canadian chef and self-proclaimed “Flavour Lord” Matty Matheson has earned legions of fans for his boisterous persona and his Viceland shows Dead Set on Life and It’s Suppertime. (If you’re a devotee of Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel, you may have caught the recent video where he went “noodling” for catfish in an Oklahoma river with Brad Leone of “It’s Alive,” with hilarious results.) In 2018, he released a New York Times-bestselling cookbook Matty Matheson: A Cookbook, interspersing recipes for gumbo and pigtail tacos with a memoir of his life. Witness his larger-than-life presence at Washington Hall, where he’ll appear for an evening of “stand-up comedy/speaking/story-telling/slideshow.”
Get sweaty with electronic dance music DJ Bear Grillz (who revealed his erstwhile bear costume-concealed identity on the Jerry Springer Show in 2016) on his Demons Deluxe Fall Tour. Somnium Sound and OG Nixin will provide additional sets.
Kenyan-born artist J. S. Ondara grew up listening to American alt-rock (and, according to a feature in Rolling Stone, once ardently believed that it was Guns N' Roses and not Bob Dylan who wrote "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"). He'll come to Seattle to sing lovelorn ballads and songs about the American dream.
In a reimagining of contemporary pop hits in the styles of jazz, ragtime, and swing classics of the '20s through the '50s, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox busts genres with a rotating collective of musicians and vocalists who attempt to cross all musical boundaries and generations.
Multi-instrumentalist Bryce Avary will bring his long-running solo project the Rocket Summer to Seattle.
The music of "cinematic rock" band Starset abounds with scientific and political themes. They'll play a futuristic set in Seattle, joined by special guests Palisades, Hyde, and A Brilliant Lie.
Pop-punk hold-outs Sum 41 will resurrect themselves and hit the ground running on their Order In Decline Tour, with support from the Amity Affliction and the Plot In You.
READINGS & TALKS
Altin Gün combines the musical backgrounds of its Turkish, Indonesian, and Dutch members for a "dirty blend of funk rhythms, wah-wah guitars, and analogue organs." Catch the sextet when they return to Seattle with Gig Harbor dream-pop outfit Moon Age.
Former UN Ambassador Susan Rice has new book out, Tough Love, about her decades of experience in diplomacy, through such crises and upheavals as the Rwandan genocide, the Libyan and Syrian revolutions, and the opening of relations between Cuba and the United States. She also details what it was like achieving her career goals as a woman of color in a domain long mainly white and male.
Ukrainian quartet DAKHABRAKHA, a name that means “give/take” in the old Ukrainian language, play what they describe as “ethno chaos," accompanied by traditional instrumentation of Indian, Arabic, African, Russian, and Australian origin.
Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys will jig-shred through Seattle on their fall tour, joined by '90s-formed Maryland rockers Clutch, and Russ Rankin of Good Riddance.
LA-based, Jersey-bred, critically lauded singer-songwriter Pete Yorn will come to town on his You & Me Solo Acoustic Tour.
READINGS & TALKS
Every modern rock and pop aficionado's droning, Marxist wet dream is back, with an unwavering penchant for '60s pop, art rock, bossa nova, movie soundtracks, slurpy, hypnotic rhythms, Kraut rock, and disaffected female vocals. Stereolab is regarded as one of the most important bands of the '90s because Tim Gane (its prolific leader) is a master of innovation and experimentation, and simultaneously a mad perfectionist. Every Stereolab song is neat, off-kilter, and recorded in some noteworthy manner and, consequently, every critic in the world wants to hump this band. So whether or not you think Stereolab is just a little bit boring live is irrelevant. Get your ass to the show, buy a T-shirt, and suck it all up like the frothy capitalist you are. JEFF DEROCHE
The beloved author of The Immortal Irishman, The Big Burn, and other works of history, travel writing, and true crime tackles nothing less than Christendom itself. As he travels the Via Francigena, a route to Rome via France and Switzerland, Egan reflects on the history of the Catholic Church and its current upheaval in secular Europe and beyond.
Former Mercury music editor Ciara Dolan called New Zealand singer-songwriter Aldous Harding "a freak genius." She'll come to Seattle to play tracks off her latest album, Designer, with support from Hand Habits.
OCTOBER 15-NOVEMBER 10PERFORMANCE
Accomplished director Annie Lareau (Cornish College of the Arts's Much Ado About Nothing, many Seattle Public Theater productions), will tackle Shakespeare's fantastical final work about an island wizard, his hot daughter, his nonhuman slaves, and his princely prisoner. This staging will take place in an Edwardian castle, "one of the last periods before media started to infiltrate people's lives."
Pop music and extreme heavy metal share a terse and often secretive relationship—Lady Gaga is an out-of-the-closet metalhead, and every so often you’ll hear someone like Yngwie Malmsteen cover ABBA. But the two genres have never collided with so much saccharine sweetness as with Japan’s Babymetal. Emphasis on saccharine: They even play a song called “Gimme Chocolate.” The three female idols who front the outfit sing and dance like typical Japanese pop icons while their masked backing band play ripping technical-death-metal licks. It’s absurd, over the top, and tons of fun. You don’t need a patch jacket to bang your head during songs like “Megitsune.” JOSEPH SCHAFER
The Black Lips are tough to write about, since their gnarly, raucous flower-freak sound was so original and dedicated for a very small subset of music when they started grinding on their own, but now that so many shitty garage-filth-slacker-punk bands have aped their sound, it’s difficult to separate the founding fathers from the apostles. Because, of course, the Black Lips didn’t invent punk or rock or punk rock, but they did manage to shake some nasty Atlanta salt on their trade in a way that made their subgenre more surreally juvenile (and thus accessible) while also showcasing a talent for hiding real skill amid woozy shithole humor. I don’t think the most fucked-up band at the end of the night deserves a trophy, but it remains true that these guys have sacrificed some serious liver tissue for almost two decades now in a supposedly slacker genre, so some credit is still due. KIM SELLING
Melodic Brit-rockers Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH) will spread their teenaged stadium LiveJournal vibes with opening support from Sleeping With Sirens and Poppy.
Shabazz Palaces and Erik Blood will bring you lush shoegaze-y hip-hop with DJ OC Notes and Marquetta Miller after a jazzy opening set from hometown hero Stass Thee Boss.
My intro to German-born UK-based avant composer Max Richter came via The Leftovers, that fantastic yet short-lived post-apocalyptic HBO series from Damon Lindelof. Richter scored the show’s main theme, and numerous moments throughout the series, to dramatic, exquisite, evocative effect. His Leftovers work made you feel things, deeply. He’s also been tapped for loads of other film and TV soundtracks—Arrival, Black Mirror, Mary Queen of Scots—in addition to releasing eight albums that vary between ambient, classical, and post-minimalist sounds. In 2015, he released Sleep, an 8.5-hour-long “listening experience” meant to score a full night's rest. He performed it in its entirety outdoors in Los Angeles’s Grand Park. Audience members were spread out on 560 beds and it was timed so that the final movement occurred at dawn. The group he played with included members of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), and singer Grace Davidson, both of whom will be joining Richter for his Seattle date. No idea what’s on the program but I guarantee it will be stunning. LEILANI POLK
READINGS & TALKS
Trapped in that between-rock-and-a-country place that hobbled Lucinda Williams for so long, Todd Snider is the best American songwriter you've maybe never heard of. The Williams comparison is an imperfect one: Snider doesn't seem driven to strive for a career culmination/breakthrough à la Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (he makes great records, not masterworks), plus he's 10,000 times funnier than Williams could ever be, even if she were wearing a rainbow wig and chasing a dog with a ham in its mouth. Along with his killer wit, Snider's signature is a miraculous lack of sentimentality. As a weathered, perceptive, fortysomething working artist, Snider's subjects often come from the hard-luck American underbelly. But Snider's heroes aren't beautiful losers—they're day-labor construction workers who pay by the week at roadside motels.
Lesbian literary icon Winterson has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for this queer modern-day take on Frankenstein. A trans doctor named Ry Shelley encounters a couple of powerful men, Ron Lord and Victor Stein, who want to use them for sketchy trans- or posthumanist purposes. Stein is an idealistic but arrogant scientist; Lord, crudely misogynist, sounds Jeffrey-Epstein-cuckoo. Hear Winterson read and stay on for a Q&A.
The acclaimed travel writer Theroux will read from On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey, his firsthand account of driving along the US-Mexico border and his explorations of Chiapas and Oaxaca, where he encountered such people as Zapotec mill workers, Zapatistas, and families of migrants. If you're sick of US media stereotyping of Central and South Americans as either victims or villains, Theroux's talk should be a good corrective.
Even if you think you don't know Fink, you've probably heard the British band on soundtracks for The Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica, House, Lie To Me, CSI: NY, and Friday Night Lights. See them perform in the flesh.
READINGS & TALKS
Dance to festival-ready jams from Grammy-nominated Brooklyn alt-renegades Highly Suspect after some opening songs from jazz- and blues-charged rock trio Slothrust.
Richard Kenney is the best local poet you've probably never heard of. But this guy is the real deal. He won a MacArthur "genius" grant for inventing new ways to create and pattern rhymes. That's right. Before Kenney started writing (and writing about writing, a speciality of his), we had fewer ways to find rhymes, which is one of the major food groups in poetry. If that's all he did, he'd deserve your full attention for at least one evening. But he's also given the world several books of poetry that are worth keeping close by. Using syntax to probe science, and diving deep into the evolutionary origins of language, Kenney refreshes the language that daily dies in our mouths, and he brushes the dust off old feelings like joy and love so that we can feel them again as if for the first time. RICH SMITH
Entrepreneurs and online business professionals in areas ranging from storytelling and branding to PR and social media will assemble for a two-day conference to share their work and build connections. This year's speakers include Formidable designer Savannah Adams and creative director Joe Alterio, Lululemon executive director Julie Averill, Battle Tactics for Your Sexist Workplace podcast host Eula Scott Bynoe, and many others.
According to critics around the world, Sankai Juku represents the pinnacle of butoh, a modern form of Japanese dance emphasizing the grotesque. Choreographer Ushio Amagatsu has worked with the prestigious Théâtre de la Ville in Paris since 1982 to develop new dance pieces about once every two years. The latest of these, Meguri: Teeming Sea, Tranquil Land, will come to Seattle, bringing its "poetic meditation on the passage of time as symbolized by the circulation of water and the seasonal transformation of the earth."
Queer dancer/choreographer Sean Dorsey has dedicated most of his work to excavating and preserving queer history through dance. But in this show, he's taking a look at contemporary expressions of masculinity, including its intersections with race and class. For the last two years, Dorsey has been holding community forums on masculinity, and he's using the stories he heard from students to shape the movements and dialogue used in the show. Like everything Dorsey's done to date, expect this piece to be poignant without being too self-serious, funny without being too clever, and legible without being overdetermined. RICH SMITH
Seattle and its neighboring cities, like Tacoma and Bellevue, are known for producing some of the best and most innovative glass art in the nation. This fall festival will highlight the intense creative production of the region, with parties, exhibitions, talks, tours (like one of Dale Chihuly's boathouse!), and films. Venues include Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Seattle Glassblowing Studio, and many more.
OCTOBER 17-NOVEMBER 16PERFORMANCE
Lakota playwright Larissa FastHorse's comedy addresses the cognitive dissonance that results when "terminally 'woke'" Americans try to square the colonial ideology behind Thanksgiving with the reality of genocide against Native people. When teaching artists try to stage a Thanksgiving pageant, they end up wrestling with their white guilt. Of the play's opening run at Playwrights Horizons, New York Times critic Jesse Green wrote: "Ms. FastHorse [...] is aiming for a takedown of American mythology — white American mythology, that is. The national narcissism, bordering on sociopathy, that could turn theft and genocide into a feel-good feast is her play’s point of entry."
OCTOBER 17-JANUARY 26VISUAL ART
The Capodimonte Museum in Naples is a treasure trove of delights, ranging from the Renaissance to the Neapolitan School. And they are going to be bringing some of those delights to our little corner of the Northwest. Focusing on how the human body can express “love and devotion, physical labor, and tragic suffering,” viewers will get the chance to revel in the unwieldy greens of El Greco, the soft, cloudlike skin of a Titian figure, and all around badassery of Artemisia Gentileschi. JASMYNE KEIMIG
India-born, Texas-based indie hip-hop artist Abhi the Nomad "finds a spot on the spectrum between hip-hop and bluesy pop while plumbing serious emotional depths," according to NPR. He'll stop in Seattle on his Modern Trash Tour.
Young rising London star Jade Bird brings together folk and pop in her work, buoyed by her charismatic voice and unique, genre-blending writing talent. She'll be joined by London alt-pop group Flyte.
Mexican American pop star Marisela, alternately known as the "Latin Madonna," will return to the States for a racy night of decades' worth of chart-topping hits in partnership with notable Argentinian singer Amanda Miguel.
READINGS & TALKS
"Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen remain useful touchstones for describing Son Volt's approach, from the alternating potency and delicacy of the guitars to the singers' shared willingness to turn a jaundiced eye to cruel power structures," wrote NPR's Stephen Thompson in 2017. Join the Jay Farrar-fronted group for some new material and old favorites.
The former Secretary of State HRC will appear with her daughter and co-author to introduce their new book The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience, highlighting women of history who didn't shy from danger and conflict.
It’s Tim Burton’s classic The Nightmare Before Christmas; repackaged as a semi-scandalous spectacle for the masses. The audience eats chicken skewers and knocks back cocktails while they watch Jack “the Pumpkin King” Skellington sing and dance, cabaret-style, while a ghoulish orchestra pumps out the show’s signature tunes. Despite the glitzy and consumerist exterior, the crew manages to smuggle a complicated cabaret about the horror of fixed identities into the unpretentious space of the Triple Door. RICH SMITH
OCTOBER 18-NOVEMBER 9PERFORMANCE
Theater 22 will stage Lauren Gunderson's comedy about four strong women in perilous revolutionary France: the feminist playwright Olympe de Gouges, the assassin Charlotte Corday, the prisoner Marie Antoinette, and the Haitian freedom fighter Marianne Angelle. See this play in rotation with White, about a frustrated white male artist who hires an actress of color to present his work under her own name to take advantage of diversity initiatives, a scheme that backfires when the actress begins to truly embrace her role.
OCTOBER 18-NOVEMBER 17PERFORMANCE
It's a new take on the bloody and darkly sexy tale by Seattle's own Steven Dietz! He promises a new spin on the endlessly filmed, adapted, and re-adapted 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, and it sounds like a perfect Halloween treat.
You probably already know all about Andrew Bird: Been gigging for years; been blowing up for years; writes songs with a loopy, fractured wit (like Shel Silverstein); plays a truckload of instruments. The first time I saw him, he was playing solo at the Tractor Tavern, using some contraption (maybe a Line 6?) to lay down and loop tracks—violin, guitar, whistles (dude can whistle), and xylophone. Mournful in a folky way, playful in a sly way. BRENDAN KILEY
Antwan Patton, aka Sir Lucious Left Foot, best known as Big Boi (BWAH) of the greatest muthafuckin’ rap group of all time, Outkast, straight outta East Point, the one and only ATLiens (as in the “ATL,” and if I catch you saying “at-liens” instead of “ey-tee-elly-ens,” I’ma laugh), has stayed consistent, snug in his lane while still willing to take risks, ever since he was forced to go for dolo (since his patna “went to do a little acting” over 15 years ago now). Big Boi was part of something that relocated the creative heart of rap itself, and he remains, to a starched white tee, a professional rapper—this is his gat-damn job, and he takes it seriously. And while his raps only very occasionally veer into what could be called “workmanlike,” his totally unpretentious Dickies-suit-and-diamonds, your-pimp-uncle-wit-the-woodtips style makes him forever a People's Champ. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Devendra Banhart has been unfairly maligned by everyone from my old college roommate to a current friend as “bad,” and “throwback hippie shit,” and “genre-fucking nonsense.” But even at his most misty-crystal of phases, I still appreciate Banhart’s surprising songwriting and the humor he brings to a genre that’s so often humorless. RICH SMITH
Mexican pop artist Gloria Trevi will breeze through on her Diosa de la Noche Tour with Columbian pop phenom Karol G.
Even if you think you're unfamiliar with Irish singer-songwriter Hozier, you've no doubt heard his wildly popular 2013 single "Take Me to Church." He'll come to Seattle on this autumn tour stop with Freya Ridings in tow.
Touted as the "new face of electronic dance music" by the New York Times and named America's No. 1 DJ by DJ Times and Pioneer DJ, Ryan Raddon is not to be missed.
Everybody's favorite British rock granddads are back! The Who's original founding members—vocalist Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend—will be joined by guitarist and backup singer Simon Townshend, keyboardist Loren Gold, bassist Jon Button, and drummer Zak Starkey, as well as several local symphonies and former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher at this stop on their 2019 Movin On! Tour.
OCTOBER 19-SEPTEMBER 2VISUAL ART
This immersive exhibition, created in collaboration with Minecraft makers Mojang, celebrates the addictive virtual building game's 10th birthday. Publicity materials tease "life-size Minecraft monsters" and a soundscape and score combined with backdrops and a day-night lighting cycle. Find out about Minecraft's creativity, community, and influence.
OCTOBER 19-NOVEMBER 1PERFORMANCE
If you think opera is all bombast and tragic onstage death, the music of Gioachino Rossini will reveal the genre's capacity for outright bubbliness. Seattle Opera's Lindy Hume will take inspiration from English music hall comedy and Victorian decor for this extravagant-sounding production.
Craig Robinson (best known for his runs on The Office and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as well as his numerous movie roles including appearances in This is The End, Pineapple Express, and Hot Tub Time Machine) will treat us to some of that endearing, deadpan wit.
The rare youngish American rapper to get featured in highbrow British magazine the Wire, JPEGMAFIA (aka Jamaican American MC Barrington Hendricks) has used his experience of racism in Alabama and travels in the air force to shape his lyrical outlook and sonic approach—both of which are among the most galvanizing in modern hip-hop. Hendricks's military service has likely conferred a rugged discipline to his MCing and production skills—as well as a biting cynicism and darkness that are exhilarating. His latest album, 2018's Veteran, is a wild ride through rhythmic and verbal extremism. DAVE SEGAL
READINGS & TALKS
Radiohead's experimental frontman Thom Yorke will be bringing the live reenactment of his second solo album, Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, to our corner of North America, performing alongside producer Nigel Godrich and composer Tarik Barri.
All journalists secretly want to be novelists. Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me and We Were Eight Years In Power and "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration," is no different. His highly anticipated novel The Water Dancer is due out in late September. It's an adventure novel about an enslaved man named Hiram Walker. If it's half as good as his journalism, it will be one of the best novels of 2019. RICH SMITH
Damn it, I love GWAR! I mean, they lose their frontman and original founding member, Dave Brockie, aka “Oderus Urungus” (he died in 2015 of a heroin overdose), and what do they do after 13 albums and 30-some years as a band? They fucking carry on! They go on tour in honor of their fallen comrade! Brockie would undoubtedly be proud that his blood-and-guts-spewing thrash metal freak show from Richmond, Virginia, refused to lie down and die with Oderus. Instead, they replaced their irreplaceable leader from “Planet Scumdogs” with a singer/bassist dude named “Berserker Blóthar” and lead singer lady named “Vulvatron.” The latter is an inspiration—more warrior than princess. She’ll probably become the number-one motivator for young girls who dream of starting heavy-metal bands. Oh, yeah, and her gigantic boobs spray blood—totally and perfectly GWAR. KELLY O
Steve Lacy, the colossally talented guitarist and stand-out member of the cosmic soul group the Internet, will return to Seattle on his solo headlining Apollo XXI tour.
Katherine Paul finds the power and inspiration for her solo project, Black Belt Eagle Scout, within her identity as a radical indigenous queer feminist. She strikes a middle ground between confessional folk and brash post-rock, with tangible emotions in every lyric.
We've no shortage of literate singer-songwriters in these Divided States, and Richmond, Virginia's Lucy Dacus is yet another. She’s been accruing her share of deserved buzz courtesy of her two albums, 2016's No Burden and the new Historian on Matador Records, jostling artists like Angel Olson, Waxahatchee, Sharon Van Etten, and Cate Le Bon for that coveted KEXP/NPR mindshare. Those who get off on parsing lyrics for nuanced takes on relationships and loss will be sated by Dacus's acute observations. She writes solid, contemplative indie-rock songs that sporadically burst into anthemic righteousness. DAVE SEGAL
READINGS & TALKS
High-powered mezzo-soprano songbird and pop titan Sara Bareilles will bring her award-winning discography to Seattle on the Amidst The Chaos Tour.
FBI special agent Josh Campbell's book shares his own perspective on the firing of James Comey, the appointment of Robert Mueller to the Russian collusion investigation (code-named Crossfire Hurricane), and the Trump administration's undermining of the FBI.
OCTOBER 22-NOVEMBER 5FILM
This festival, in association with the Portland German Film Festival, screens new and classic German-language cinema from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Colombian-born, Tony- and Emmy-winning American actor Leguizamo is recognizable for his effortless contributions to supporting roles in crime dramas, superhero movies, family dramas, and more—he often plays a heavy, but he's also beloved for his Chi-Chi Rodriguez in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. But onstage, he'll be using his comedic and dramatic talents to a different end: exposing the shameful neglect of Latin history in schools. Based on his experience trying to "find a Latin hero for his son's school history project," he bounces from the Aztec empire to the Revolutionary War. This show has been a hit on Broadway and at other prestigious theaters; don't miss it when it comes here.
There's a special place in my heart for the original J Mascis/Lou Barlow/Murph combo before the major-label years took over, but for some reason, I never fully got aboard the reunion train when they got back together in 2007. They released an expanded and remastered edition of Hand It Over this year, but I'm still betting on (hoping for?) a 30/70 mix of new album/nostalgia trip at their live show. AMBER CORTES
READINGS & TALKS
Exuberant Americana group Judah & the Lion will showcase their style of Southern grit for this stop of their Pep Talks Tour.
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, Go Ahead in the Rain, I jumped for joy. RICH SMITH
It's been five years since we've seen a new book from David Guterson, famed local author of New York Times best-selling novel Snow Falling on Cedars. But now he's breaking that silence with a new book-length narrative poem called Turn Around Time, which he says offers "a poetic take on the qualities of foot travel and of, among other things, birds, bats, fungi, flora, and fellow travelers." With poem titles like "Barthes and Barth," Guterson's poetry more readily appeals to academic types who are absolutely sure how to pronounce both of those writers' names. But this hiker-poet is at his best when he's writing about Washington's environs, so I have high hopes that these poems will be more grounded (ha-ha, kill me). Plus, press materials indicate that the long poem is sort of about a midlife crisis, which is always a fun time to check in on an author. And come on, people: He's the guy who wrote Snow Falling on Cedars. Hear him read over a catered lunch.RICH SMITH
Big-time country singer Jonathan Ryan Pardi will pay us a visit on his Heartache Medication Tour 2019 with support from fellow country singer Riley Green (who is also noted as a former contestant on the reality show Redneck Island).
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
READINGS & TALKS
Very popular comedy podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! comes to Seattle for a live taping, with host Scott Aukerman and an expert improviser guest.
Seattle is a haven for literary arts, and during this free, one-night-only event, locals are invited to soak it up during a night of booze and book loving, when a huge number of bars, cafes, and businesses on Capitol Hill present writers and artists in events ranging from straightforward readings to cooking demos to performances. LEILANI POLK
Comics and cannabis professionals—a prime example of a symbiotic relationship—from Washington State and beyond will gather for the second annual Lemonhaze Convention & Comedy Festival, which will feature special talks, exhibitors, and performances.
The "young filmmaker's Cannes"—Charles Mudede called it "world-class"—the National Film Festival for Talented Youth assembles the best films made by directors under 25. See works by promising cineastes who will make you feel very old.
People sometimes object to the sexualization of Halloween, so why not get the pervy stuff out of the way before All Hallows'? The Pan Eros Foundation will produce this fundraiser for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, promising a sleeker but equally sexy event compared to previous years. Suspension bondage shows, DJs spinning sensual beats, tarot readings, and visual art await you.
Actor/writer/producer/comedian Nick Kroll is a master of dozens of voices and characters, which enhances his already hilarious routines by at least 33 percent. In a set that he did years ago, Kroll laid down a bit about how dumb people have the best sex and it caused me to laugh so hard, I had to leave the office and take a half personal day. The auteur of the caustically loony Kroll Show, the New York native is a font of mercurial, irreverent humor that generates incredibly uncomfortable feelings and that will build massive cringe muscles. DAVE SEGAL
Fans of the delicious-as-butter historical horror The VVitch are downright salivating for director Robert Eggers's follow-up, in which Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe play lighthouse keepers losing their minds in isolation. Film festival critics have been ecstatic, so don't miss this one.
Fans of international thrillers and art-house movies are eagerly awaiting this Palme d'Or-winning film by Joon-ho Bong (Snowpiercer, Mother, Okja, The Host), a dark comedy about a down-and-out family that slowly insinuates itself into an upper-class household.
Annual high-key wild throwdown FreakNight, basically a Halloweentown Coachella, features a whole night of live music, dancing, a themed marketplace, and a darkly neon environment of scary circus attractions, bizarre sideshow marvels, and carnival rides. If all you want for Halloween is an opportunity to completely blow out all five of your senses, this is the spooky dance party for you.
Kentucky singer-songwriter and storyteller Tyler Childers manages to make dusty backroad tracks about the old country sound new again, with a world-weary narrative helmed by his charcoal-accented vocals.
READINGS & TALKS
Pitchfork contributor Sophie Kemp wrote, "Whitney’s music lives in the harmonious space where contemporary indie rock melts into ’70s soft rock." Don't miss the up-and-coming Chicago group on this Seattle tour stop.
This is the megaslam edition of the Moth, in which winners of previous storySLAMs will battle for the title of GrandSLAM Story Champion. Hear inspiring, embarrassing, enlightening stories.
Built to Spill was the band that all my dude friends in junior high said they listened to before they started a band of their own. In that way, maybe Built to Spill are the West Coast’s answer to the Velvet Underground. Okay, I’m mostly kidding about that one, but now that I’m thinking about it, 1999’s Keep It Like a Secret seems to be the progenitor of so much of modern indie rock’s sound, that it’s almost like I’ve seen the band live before. But I haven’t. Go and luxuriate in the sounds of flannel, beanies, and earnest angst. JASMYNE KEIMIG
THROUGH OCTOBER 26PERFORMANCE
When Sholem Asch's searing critique of Orthodox Judaism, God of Vengeance, debuted on Broadway in 1923, the entire cast was arrested and tried for obscenity. They were tried not only because of the play's lesbian kiss—which for some reason didn't disturb the delicate sensibilities of Europeans, who praised the piece for years before it was translated into English—but also because of the rising anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant sentiment in America. Though it was the "roaring twenties," it was also a time when conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the world through theater and banking were peaking. Paula Vogel's Tony Award–winning play dramatizes the history of this show. In a recent interview, the playwright called it "a love letter to theater, a love letter to Yiddish culture, and a plea to every audience member who sees it: Please, please partake in the arts. The arts will see us through to our last days on earth." RICH SMITH
Acclaimed by notable sources like Pitchfork and NPR, indie rock band Big Thief favor twisted guitars, fuzzy reverb, and grounded yet lyrical storytelling in their current output.
Witnessing the rise of this swampy, seedy, sweaty, sublime duo from side stages and small clubs to bigger and better stages over the past five years has been a thrilling confirmation that despite all the horrible cognitive dissonance going on in the world today, sometimes we really can agree on something that matters. Regardless of your disposition to the lousy term “Americana,” Shovels & Rope have more heart, skill, and power than any 10 pious, harmony-drenched septets desperately trying to locate the indie-folk revival they thought they had concealed in their beards. Drummer/guitarist/singer Cary Ann Hearst is a major star, and so is her husband/bandmate/drummer/guitarist/singer Michael Trent—the only reason you may not notice this is because he’s standing right next to her. But together they’re one of the only bands I feel confident recommending to everyone who isn’t dead inside. SEAN NELSON
Halloween party people will be glad to know that Fremont's annual Halloweekend bash will return with even more DJs, live performances, tricks, treats, goblins, ghouls, and inventive booze creations than ever before. Expect Valtesse go-go dancers, fog machines in every corner, bondage and suspension performances, live DJ sets, a costume contest, and a whole lot more.
Submit to Halloween's not-so-secret kinky side at this latex- and leather-clad variety show featuring burlesque artists, aerial dancers, and shibari performance artists—not to mention signature cocktails, a pop-up boutique, and more. Wear a costume if you have one and party into the night knowing that proceeds will benefit anti-domestic violence organization Dawn.
Seattle has come to its senses and will host its first-ever cat convention, bringing Pacific Northwest cat people of all stripes (and spots) under one roof for a weekend of feline-related activities and adoption opportunities.
Assembled from an online-forum casting call, Brockhampton are an explicit callback to Odd Future’s push at the beginning of this decade, with all their punk ethos and internet savvy, but with an aim to improve on the model. Instead of the OF dynamic of having both homophobic shock lyrics and queer members, Brockhampton ringleader Kevin Abstract, who is gay, is lyrically upfront about his sexuality. The crew’s mix of melancholy, motivation raps, and misanthropy has a pretty, melodic pop sheen that feels as post-Neptunes as their Odd forebears’ does, just a whole lot friendlier. Their Saturation series of albums is a map of their quick growth and deepening chemistry. While their individual members aren’t household names, and only a couple stand out, their collective vision is surprisingly compelling. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Russian indie-rock quintet Mumiy Troll describe themselves as "Far Eastern evergreen romantics." They'll be in town to play tracks off their last release, East x North West.
The dreamy young choreographer, singer, dancer, actor, and RuPaul’s Drag Race guest judge Todrick Hall is swinging back through town with an all-new production of singing and dancing. As you know if you’ve seen the documentary about his life, Behind the Curtain, Hall grew up in Texas and had the good fortune to have a mother who drove him an hour and a half each way to dance classes. As an adult, he got to star in Kinky Boots on Broadway. And did I mention he’s pals with RuPaul? CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
OCTOBER 27-29READINGS & TALKS
At this National Geographic Live presentation, learn about the exploits of a troupe of all-women rangers in Zimbabwe known as Akashinga ("the Brave Ones") from the man who trained them: former Australian special forces member and subsequent conservationist Damien Mander.
OCTOBER 27-NOVEMBER 7FOOD & DRINK
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 and Adana.
READINGS & TALKS
The tinkling keys, shimmying beats, and creamy falsetto of ear-wormy “This Head I Hold” put Electric Guest on the map. Danger Mouse at the production helm of said track and the rest of 2012 debut Mondo gave them instant indie street cred, and the album itself proved a fine fusion of funky Motown and R&B with boppin’ synth-pop and easy-strutting Cali psychedelia. The LA band—composed of Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton, who are joined by auxiliary players when touring—is on the road again after a break, and they have a new single out, "Dollar." LEILANI POLK
If you binged the HBO miniseries and/or gobbled up the book, you'll be glad to know that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout has resurrected the iconic Olive Kittredge in Olive, Again. She'll come to Seattle for a live reading.
Pop artist Tiffany Young, a member of the hugely popular K-pop group Girls' Generation, has made big strides in launching her solo career over the last few years. Join her in Seattle on her Magnetic Moon North American Tour.
OCTOBER 29-NOVEMBER 3PERFORMANCE
A very young Vietnamese woman and an American GI have a romantic (and ultimately tragic) encounter in this musical theater take on Madama Butterfly, written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, the team behind Les Misérables.
After a flurry of activity in her younger years, Chan Marshall decelerated her pace, taking six years between albums, including 2012’s Sun and 2018’s Wanderer (which was inexplicably rejected by Matador). Marshall, who became a mother in 2015, has always been a singular vocalist, an old soul who's finally grown into that aged-whiskey voice. If her music hews closer to today than yesterday, her unflappably phrased approach recalls subtle sirens from Julie London to Astrud Gilberto. On the latest record, she pares instrumentation down to the core, the better to accentuate her open-hearted tales of hope and resilience. KATHY FENNESSY
Stick your noggin through a metaphorical sunroof and scream the lyrics to "Pocketful of Sunshine" and "Unwritten" (plus new songs from her 2019 album Roll With Me) at the top of your lungs when Natasha Bedingfield comes to town.
OCTOBER 31FOOD & DRINK
Filmmaker and YouTube food personality Andrew Rea of the popular online cooking show Binging with Babish, which is dedicated to recreating delicious fictional dishes in all of their glory, will visit Seattle to promote his new cookbook.
A proud disciple of Prince’s “Dirty Mind,” Detroit rapper Danny Brown combines hilarious, raunchy verses with frazzle-dazzle flows and productions that don’t give many fucks about hiphop conventions. (Who else boasts harder about his cunnilingus skills? Who else laces tracks with This Heat, Hawkwind, and Guru Guru samples?) Brown’s last album on Warp, Atrocity Exhibition, finds him honing his wit and articulate yawp over some of the most interesting music in overground hip-hop. DAVE SEGAL
The members of Tacocat already dress like every day is Halloween, so you should join them on this most glittery of holidays with an opening set by local dream-pop sweethearts Sundae Crush.
The boisterous Atomic Bombshells troupe has been instrumental in Seattle's burlesque revival, so if you're craving a joyous, carnal, and glitzy spectacle for Halloween, look no further. They're promising "the campiest vamps in the land" along with surprise guest stars.
THROUGH NOVEMBER 2HALLOWEEN
Wild Waves will offer six weekends of thrills this fall for kids and adults alike, including a nightly "parade of ghouls."
This annual haunted village of doom—which takes place in an actual former morgue—hosts scares all throughout autumn. Bloodworks Northwest will be onsite on select Saturdays and promise VIP access to those who volunteer to donate blood.