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Special Holiday Calendars: MLK Day (Jan 20) | Lunar New Year (Jan 25)
See More: Your Complete Guide to January 2020 Events in Seattle
JANUARY 7-FEBRUARY 2PERFORMANCE
The Rivals (Seattle Shakespeare)
George Mount will direct Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 18th-century comedy of manners, full of false identities and well-meaning deceptions, and, as the producers say, "duels, dandies, deceptions, and dudes with daddy issues." It's the play from which the term malapropism is derived, thanks to Mrs. Malaprop, a comic character who uses the wrong words that sound like the right ones. The more you know!
JANUARY 8-FEBRUARY 2PERFORMANCE
Sound Theatre Company kicks off its 2020 season with the world premiere of Darren Canady's Reparations, a speculative drama about healing inherited traumas using a device that transforms your blood into a time machine. The cast features Allyson Lee Brown, whose turn as Serena Williams in Citizen: An American Lyric drew effusive praise from Stranger editor Christopher Frizzelle: "[Brown is] such a captivating presence onstage, it's hard to look away from her." Jay O'Leary, who did such a great job pulling the good acting out of the players in Washington Ensemble Theatre's B, will direct. This production is stacked with so much talent—it is certainly one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season. RICH SMITH
Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything
If there’s one sure bet in stand-up, it’s Patton Oswalt. He’s flexed his comedic skills in movies, TV, video games, books, and recordings—but onstage alone with a mic is where the real gold dwells. Whether tackling subjects mundane or profound, Oswalt constructs riveting, hilarious stories out of them with a keen eye for details, a good ear for vocal inflections, and unparalleled use of metaphors and similes. Rare for a comedian, his bits can withstand multiple hearings without losing their punch. Remember this one? “Food and beverage companies test out their new products in the Midwest… for side effects, let’s be honest. If the new venison-flavored Twizzlers are gonna make you grow a vagina behind your knee, it’s better to find out on an onion farmer than on Liv Tyler, isn’t it?” DAVE SEGAL
Eugene Onegin (Seattle Opera)
This Seattle Opera production brings together the genius of two great Russians: Alexander Pushkin, who wrote the novel in verse, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky (The Nutcracker), who penned the score. It's a simple but moving and melancholy story of a young woman who falls in love with a cold-hearted nobleman, an encounter that tragically changes the course of their lives.
Fiddler on the Roof (Broadway at the Paramount)
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical about… oh, you know what Fiddler on the Roof is. The important detail here is that this version is directed by Bartlett Sher, a former Seattle theater director who has gone on to fanciness and fame and Tony Awards with unbelievably brilliant restagings of musical classics, including South Pacific and The King and I. A Sher production of an old musical is always a good bet. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Grammy- and Emmy-winning violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, who has played a concert at the White House to honor Queen Elizabeth II and who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will perform an evening set.
JANUARY 16-MARCH 22VISUAL ART
Exploring Passages within the Black Diaspora
In this massive link-up of the Frye Museum, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Photographic Center Northwest, and independent curator Berette Macaulay, the cause célèbre is female-identifying photographers of the Black diaspora. This is courtesy of the MFON Collective (a journal and movement founded by artists Delphine Barrayn and Laylah Fawundu, and named after Nigerian American photographer Mmekutmfon “Mfon” Essien), which brings attention to photography rarely seen, celebrated, or critically engaged by the art world at large. At PCNW, work by these artists will be on display for viewers to take in. And cheers to that. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Cold War Kids
One of those indie-rock bands turned big-time alternative players you probably always forget about until you’re reminded of them when one of their tracks pops up on the radio, like “First” (“First you get hurt, then you feel sorry”), or “Hang Me Up to Dry” (“You wrung me out / Too, too, too many times”), or “Love Is Mystical” (that newish jam off sixth LP, 2017’s L.A. Divine). Frontman Nathan Willett has that sexy operatic urgency to his vocals, like he could just scream out at any moment, and with perfect pitch, and it would not only sound good, but you’d have to stop and pay attention. LEILANI POLK
JANUARY 17 & 21MUSIC
Rick Steves' Europe: A Symphonic Journey (Seattle Symphony)
Rick Steves is my favorite travel writer-turned-host. He’s just so damn cheerful and enthusiastic in his public TV show, Rick Steves' Europe, without coming off as cheesy. Ok, maybe he does come off as cheesy, but in the most endearing way possible, as he encourages us to bypass tourist hotspots in favor of lesser-known gems, and to become immersed in local culture. He’s kinda like a less crusty, less wry, less food-oriented Anthony Bourdain—and his show came first by more than a dozen years! He even has an app: Rick Steves’ Audio Europe. This collab with Seattle Symphony finds him playing musical tour guide, dipping into his far-reaching knowledge of European history and culture to set the context for selections in a program of 19th-century patriotic anthems by Romantic-era composers—Grieg, Smetana, Strauss, Elgar, Wagner and Verdi, with a Beethoven "Ode to Joy" finale. All of it is accompanied by a montage of video images from each country. LEILANI POLK
JANUARY 17-FEBRUARY 16PERFORMANCE
True West (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
America’s favorite masc4masc playwright Sam Shepard is dead. He passed away a few years ago, but the swaggering cowboy, called the “greatest American playwright of his generation” by New York Magazine, is continuing to get a retrospective on stages across the country. Now the celebration comes to the Seattle Rep, with the theater putting on True West, a gritty and funny play about two brothers and some identity theft. Expect brawls and belly laughs. CHASE BURNS
Each year over MLK weekend, Washington's Bavarian-style village, Leavenworth, celebrates winter's bounties with twinkling lights and frosty activities like frisbee sweeping, ice cube scrambling, and "smooshing." You can also look forward to live ice carving, ice fishing, a fireworks show, and more.
Up-and-coming pop-electronica hybridist JAUZ keeps climbing the ranks of EDM festival-crowders like Zedd and Skrillex. Join him on the Seattle stop of his Dangerous Waters Tour.
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.
2020 Seattle MLK Day March and Celebration
Garfield High School's annual day of events celebrates the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. with an opportunity fair, workshops, and pre- and post-march rallies.
Rex Orange County
Now that Mac DeMarco is a music-biz underdog success story, expect plenty of others to follow his lead. One such spiritual disciple is Rex Orange County, a 20-year-old from South London whose real name is Alexander O'Connor. His sound is retro-leaning, jazz-inflected soft rock; his lyrics are earnest and frequently lovelorn. How he sings is crucial to his appeal among kids to whom Chicago is just a city in Illinois: with a relaxed, free-flowing cadence that draws from contemporary R&B. One fan is Tyler, the Creator, who featured him prominently on 2017’s Flower Boy, an early highlight of what looks like a promising career. ANDREW GOSPE
JANUARY 22READINGS & TALKS
Adam Davidson (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
Davidson's acute analysis can be heard on the Planet Money podcast, which he co-created, and read in the New Yorker. Among other laurels, he's won a Peabody award for his coverage of the financial crisis, whose devastating effect on the housing market he addressed in the radio documentary The Giant Pool of Money. Seattle Arts & Lectures will bring him to share his economic insights.
South Korean superstar crew Seventeen (who, despite their name, only have 13 members) will arrive in Washington for a stop on the North American leg of their Ode To You World Tour.
JANUARY 24READINGS & TALKS
Carmen Maria Machado (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
She's done it again. Judging by the rave reviews of In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado has written another must-read. But rather than a collection of Borgesian short stories, this one is a harrowing memoir about her abusive relationship with her first girlfriend. Entertainment Weekly called it "the best memoir of the year." NPR says she's invented "a new kind of memoir." Seattle's own Kristen Millares Young said her review of the book in the Washington Post would have been easier to write if Machado wasn't "so good." Brace yourself for this one. RICH SMITH
Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival 2020
Former Stranger contributor Brittnie Fuller has written, "This event in Leavenworth—the infamous German-themed town/tourist attraction nestled in the Cascades—looks like the coziest mid-winter music festival, filled with beardo-magnet amenities like skiing and snowboarding, a hot-toddy garden, wine tastings, and festival-branded flannel shirts. The weekend's musical offerings are generally varied, with numerous local and national acts ranging from indie rock to hip-hop." This year's roster is no exception, boasting sets by Pedro the Lion, Bully, Bearaxe, Lisa Prank, Ivan & Alyosha, CarLarans, Bryan John Appleby, and many more.
10th Annual Belgian Fest
Brewing beers with Belgian yeast yields a range of ales with a distinctive fruity flavor. This festival featuring more than 100 Belgian-style beers crafted by Washington breweries is the perfect opportunity to taste them all, including funky lambics, tangy saisons, dubbels, tripels, abbeys, and wits.
THROUGH JANUARY 26VISUAL ART
Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum
Flesh and Blood consists of 40 works by Spanish, Italian, and French Renaissance and Baroque master artists. These works are from the collection of Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, in the hills of Naples, Italy, and this is the first time many of them have traveled together. Perhaps the most exciting thing is the inclusion of Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith and Holofernes (1612–1613). It depicts the Old Testament story of Judith, a beautiful Jewish heroine, assassinating the Assyrian general Holofernes. Judith used her looks and Holofernes's desire to get into his tent, where he passed out after drinking too much. Judith used this opportunity to behead the general with a giant sword, absconding with his decapitated head and saving her city and the people in it. Gentileschi's Judith is clothed, and she shows absolutely no qualms about the task. The surety and determination on her face is matched by the way she grabs Holofernes's hair, holding him so that she can position the sword accurately. She's a butcher of tyrannical men. JASMYNE KEIMIG
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.
Initially notable for kicking Keith Sweat to the curb, the self-proclaimed "King of R&B" Jacquees is back in town to play tracks off his latest album.
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
#MeToo heroes Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were instrumental in the fall of Harvey Weinstein after their Pulitzer-winning expose of the Hollywood mogul and alleged rapist was published in the New York Times in 2017. In their new book, She Said, the journalists explain how, exactly, they managed to publish a story that had gone unreported, but whispered about, for so long. Washington Post called it “an instant classic of investigative journalism,” and the New York Times named it an instant bestseller. KATIE HERZOG
The New Pornographers, Diane Coffee
It’s really hard not to like the New Pornographers; “Letter from an Occupant” off their 2000 debut Mass Romantic still gives me feel-good goose bumps. The Vancouver faves churn out a pleasant mix of indie rock and power pop that’s gained them a relentlessly loyal fan base. If that weren’t enough, they’re also composed of talented music-makers who’ve gone on to fruitful solo careers and side projects, like Carl Newman (aka AC Newman, a quiet storm of lovely), Neko Case (badass alt-folk-rocker), and Dan Bejar (you know you love Destroyer). LEILANI POLK
JANUARY 30READINGS & TALKS
Isabel Allende: A Long Petal of the Sea
Now is the time to read and listen to the Chilean writer Isabel Allende. In the middle of October, protests exploded in Santiago, Chile. These demonstrations, which involved millions of Chileans, were sparked by a rise in the city’s subway fare. But the crisis is not isolated; it’s occurring against the backdrop of Chile’s early experiment with neoliberalism, which was imposed on the country by the brutal dictator, Augusto Pinochet. In her 1982 novel The House of the Spirits, Allende attempted to exorcize the ghosts of that exceptionally bloody dictatorship, which began with the murder of the novelist’s uncle, the democratically elected Salvador Allende. The ghosts of Pinochet still haunt the slim South American country. Allende will certainly have lots to say about how these ghosts have returned as the young protestors on the streets of Santiago, despite the fact that her latest novel shifts the time period backwards, to the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. CHARLES MUDEDE
JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 9PERFORMANCE
Cinderella (Pacific Northwest Ballet)
The quintessential fairy tale gets the Kent Stowell choreography treatment with music by Sergei Prokofiev performed by the great Pacific Northwest Ballet orchestra, a set by Tony Straiges, and fancy costumes by Martin Pakledinaz.
JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 23PERFORMANCE
Bliss (5th Avenue Theatre)
The third of 5th Avenue's new musicals this season is Bliss, written by Emma Lively and Tyler Beattie and choreographed by Josh Prince (the Broadway choreographer of Shrek and Beautiful). It follows four sister princesses who sneak out of their castle, determined to be belles of the ball in their fairy-tale world.
Special Holiday Calendars: Super Bowl Viewing Parties (Feb 2) | Valentine's Day (Feb 14) | Mardi Gras (Feb 25) | Black History Month
See More: Your Complete Guide to February 2020 Events in Seattle
FEBRUARY 1-MARCH 15VISUAL ART
Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives (National Nordic Museum)
In this era of extreme inequality, the work of groundbreaking Danish American photojournalist Jacob Riis reminds us that the desperation of the urban poor is nothing new. Exploiting newly invented flash powder to explore night scenes, Riis documented life in tenements, sweatshops, and city streets. The exhibition Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives reveals moving photos by Riis and other photographers of the time, as well as excerpts from his journals and letters.
OPENING FEBRUARY 1VISUAL ART
Body of Work: Tattoo Culture (MoPOP)
Immerse yourself in the history and art of the tattoo—from First Nations practices to counterculture trends—with artifacts, films, interactive stations, and photos.
Grammy- and Juno Award-winning Canadian treasure Sarah McLachlan will jump out of her heart-wrenching ASPCA commercial for an evening of angel-voiced songs.
Sinead O'Connor needs no introduction, but in case you have a serious case of name and face evasion, she's a legendary Irish songstress who could slay a dragon with a single tear. She'll stop in Seattle on this much-anticipated tour.
SuperM: We Are the Future Live
Korean pop supergroup SuperM will go on their first We Are the Future Live world tour since their formation earlier in 2019. Their seven members include Taemin from Shinee, Baekhyun and Kai from Exo, Taeyong, Ten, and Lucas and Mark from NCT.
Loudon Wainwright III
There's a whole generation of folks (myself included) for whom Loudon Wainwright III is more familiar as an actor (having appeared in M*A*S*H, three Judd Apatow productions, and G-Force—2009's Jerry Bruckheimer production about guinea pig secret agents). Wainwright the actor, while delightful, is nowhere near as interesting as Wainwright the musician, who's been recording and performing sardonic folk commentaries since his beatific 1970s self-titled debut. His long and storied career is still going strong, even if his new material is no longer about growing old (like his early stuff was) so much as it just plain sounds old (now he sings about things like "Cash for Clunkers"). Still, it would be worth it to hear some of Wainwright's older gems. JASON BAXTER
Back in 2012, Queensryche 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 Queensryche's prog-rock sound. What fans received was a love letter to the vintage Queensryche 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
Trixie Mattel: Grown Up 2020
Trixie Mattel once said that all her jokes are cries for help. If that's true, the poor girl needs an intervention. The drag queen and winner of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars has built an empire on morbid and strange drag humor, racking up impressive accolades inside and outside the cult of RuPaul, like a TV show on Viceland, a top-selling country album, and a sell-out tour with music from said country album. Mattel, a small-town clown from Wisconsin, has become the gay world's popular girl. Get your tickets now if they're still available. CHASE BURNS
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
Journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn don’t just share a home (they’ve been married for over 30 years); they also share a Pulitzer. The couple, who won the most coveted award in journalism for their coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1990, is out with a new book, Tightrope, about economic devastation ravaging American communities. In Yamhill, Oregon, where Kristof grew up, a quarter of the kids who rode his school bus eventually died from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or some kind of accidents. This book is about what happened in Yamhill, and other oft-neglected places in this country. KATIE HERZOG
FEBRUARY 6READINGS & TALKS
Paisley Rekdal (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
In 2017, Rich Smith wrote, "The best essay I read this year was called 'Nightingale: A Gloss,' and it was written by Seattle writer (but current University of Utah prof) Paisley Rekdal and published in the American Poetry Review. In a straightforward, no-bullshit tone, and with her characteristically sharp eye for scholarly associations, Rekdal weaves the story of a sexual assault she experienced while hiking alone in Loch Ness with Ovid’s story of Philomela, other rapes of antiquity, and also with the story of her writing a poem called 'Philomela.' Her reckoning of the assault, and her reckoning of her own reckoning, reveals sexual violence for what it is: a pillar, not an aberration, of Western civilization. She has two new books coming out: a book of poems from Copper Canyon called Imaginary Vessels and a book-length essay called The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam. So if she doesn’t read 'Nightingale' at this event, seek it out."
OPENING FEBRUARY 7FILM
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (Wide release)
Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), no more the Joker's abused handmaiden, teams up with some superheroes to protect a little girl.
FEBRUARY 7-MARCH 1PERFORMANCE
Disney's 'Frozen' (Broadway at the Paramount)
Stranger managing editor Leilani Polk wrote of the Disney film, "I have a warm spot in my heart for Frozen, Disney's second-highest-grossing animated film about a princess who sets out on a quest (with a group of helpful sidekicks, of course) to find her estranged sister after said sister's powers accidentally bring eternal winter to their kingdom." This magical story will be transposed to the stage in this Broadway-on-tour production, with Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and book by Jennifer Lee. Just be warned that "Let It Go" will be stuck in your head for the next several years.
Chinatown-International District Lunar New Year
Ring in the Year of the Rat at this massive Lunar New Year celebration that showcases the diversity, richness, and culture of the Asian community. See traditional dragon and lion dances, Japanese Taiko drumming, martial arts, and other cultural performances on the Main Stage, plus arts and crafts and family activities—and don't miss the $3 food walk.
FEBRUARY 8-9VISUAL ART
Asian Art Museum Reopening
The Asian Art Museum is reopening after more than two long years! Rediscover the collection of ancient and contemporary treasures from China, Japan, India, Korea, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, the Philippines, and Vietnam—admission is free all weekend long. Don't miss your chance to see their two new exhibitions: Boundless: Stories of Asian Art and Be/longing: Contemporary Asian Art.
THROUGH FEBRUARY 9PERFORMANCE
A Night Like This (Teatro ZinZanni)
Witness acrobats and variety artists act out stories from "exotic travels to the Seven Seas" through dance, aerial feats, song, and more. Michael Cunio of Postmodern Jukebox will step into the role of Master of the House, while Christine Deaver will be your raconteuse. As always, your ticket will include a multi-course dinner.
FEBRUARY 9FOOD & DRINK
Dive headfirst into chocoholic bacchanalia with 10, count ’em 10, drink tickets in tow at this annual pre-Valentine’s Day bash. Indulge in libations from dozens of breweries, cidermakers, wineries, and distilleries and sate your sweet tooth with confections from Fran’s Chocolates, Theo Chocolate, Joe Chocolate Company, and more. When you need to cut your sugar rush with something savory, there will also be bites from local restaurants. And know that all your hedonism supports a good cause—proceeds benefit Long Live the Kings, a local nonprofit working to restoring wild salmon and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest.
Violent Femmes tapped something deep, something dark and sweet and a little scary, with “Blister in the Sun,” a song that can be taken up by guitar, sax, or a bunch of deeply drunk folks shuffling en masse up and down dorm stairs to celebrate a rare day of hot weather in the Northwest. Frat boys love them and misfits love them for the same reason: They express frustration like it is, with a liberal splash of wit. Naysayers say nothing past the first album makes any difference, but try (just for an example) 1986’s “I Held Her in My Arms,” where the sax says something every go-round, something Gordon Gano’s afraid to put into words. ANDREW HAMLIN
Wolf Parade, Land of Talk
The Montreal art-rock band that’s not Arcade Fire (but has some early ties to it), Wolf Parade had a well-regarded, Polaris-nominated debut in 2005’s Apologies to the Queen Mary (which introduced Spencer Krug’s wildly dramatic and idiosyncratic vocals in the roiling, synth-driven “I’ll Believe in Anything”), and then followed it with two more solid LPs before taking a hiatus in 2011. Wolf Parade returned in 2016 and dropped a fourth studio album in 2017, Cry Cry Cry, which has definite David Bowie appeal but is starker, darker, and more post-punk groove-oriented than past efforts. LEILANI POLK
Dad-joke-shiller and ex-mulleted country crooner Blake Shelton will bend Tacoma to his Top40 appeal with additional guests on his Friends & Heroes 2020 nationwide tour.
Dani Tirrell: Black Bois
In Black Bois, which sold out its 2018 world premiere run at On the Boards pretty quickly, choreographer/dancer Dani Tirrell assembles a many-gendered supergroup of Seattle performers, each of whom could easily carry their own full-length show. Together they create a show about the irreducibility of black experience. Tirrell and the cast fight back against a world that tends to flatten and fragment blackness into digestible, dismissible bits and instead, gives you all of it—the pain, the rage, the joy, the grief, the eroticism, the spirituality, the madness, the clarity, the multiplicity of the individual, and the deep-rooted particularities of the communities. RICH SMITH
OPENING FEBRUARY 14FILM
Sonic the Hedgehog (Wide release)
The blue guy from the Sega game, altered from his initial CGI form to have less creepy teeth, flees from government agents.
Noir City 2020
If you love cinema, then you must love film noir. And if you love film noir, then you must love the Noir City festival, which will feature a number of known and less known movies in this genre that has lots of spiderlike women, lots of long knives, lots of rooms with dark curtains, lots of faces of the fallen, and lots of existential twists and turns. CHARLES MUDEDE
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure 35th Anniversary Tour with Paul Reubens
Revisit the cult classic Pee-wee’s Big Adventure on its 35th birthday, presented by none other than Pee-wee himself, aka Paul Reubens, who'll have plenty of behind-the-scenes stories to tell.
FEBRUARY 15-APRIL 11SPORTS & RECREATION
Seattle Dragons XFL 2020 Season
Seattle's brand-new XFL team (an alternative football league to the National Football League), the Seattle Dragons, will have their home games at CenturyLink Field from February to April, starting with a game against the Tampa Bay Vipers.
Middleditch & Schwartz
Improv unfolds on the big stage when Emmy-nominated Thomas Middleditch (Richard Hendricks on Silicon Valley) and Emmy-winning Ben Schwartz (most famous for playing Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on Parks and Recreation, but also in House of Lies and co-author of Things You Should Already Know about Dating, You Fucking Idiot) put on a two-person longform show.
Alki Oyster Fest!
At the third annual Oyster Fest on Alki Beach, slurp fresh Hama Hama oysters alongside a glass of wine or craft beer from West Seattle Brewing Company, Alki Beach Pub, or Harry's Beach House while listening to live music. Net proceeds benefit the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, whose mission is to "restore marine habitat, water quality, and native species in Puget Sound through tangible, on-the-ground projects."
Dashboard Confessional, Piebald
Alt-emo artifact Dashboard Confessional will return to town high off the fumes of their 20th anniversary. They'll be joined by Piebald.
FEBRUARY 20READINGS & TALKS
Gish Jen: Politics & Possibility (Hugo House's Word Works)
Rich Smith wrote in 2017: "Over the course of her many award-winning novels, Gish Jen writes about the complexities of assimilation, interracial relationships, and conflict between first-generation immigrants and second/third-generation immigrants." Jen is coming out with a new novel, a dystopian fiction called The Resisters. Here, she'll talk about how Trump's America can influence powerful writing.
FEBRUARY 20-22FOOD & DRINK
Seattle Wine and Food Experience
This annual extravaganza of all things edible and drinkable is an ode to gluttony in three parts. First up is Comfort, a festival of “feel-good foods and crafty brews,” complete with bars for french fries, Bloody Marys, hot toddies, and milk and cookies. Next, POP! Bubbles and Seafood capitalizes on the felicitous pairing of bubbles and bivalves with a celebrity shucking contest and more than 30 sparkling wines from around the world. Finally, the Grand Tasting will showcase local and regional wines, beer, cider, spirits, and tastes from big-name Seattle chefs, with plenty of opportunities to watch demonstrations and meet artisan food producers.
Seattle Asian American Film Festival 2020
Films by and about Asian Americans are showcased at this annual festival, which always includes diverse features and short films about the diverse and rich experiences of these populations, particularly in Seattle and the Northwest.
Perhaps Cleveland, Ohio's chief contribution to the history of hiphop, the melodic rap stylings of Bone Thugs now seem almost prophetic, with more rappers singing these days than actually rapping. The Eazy-E-signed quintet have undergone many changes and bumps along the way since their smash single "Crossroads," releasing the album New Waves in 2017 with just Krayzie and Bizzy Bone. Expect to see the original lineup in full force, combining old-school lyricism and forward-thinking harmonies that will get any crowd going. NICK ZURKO
Brandi Carlile with Seattle Symphony, the Secret Sisters
The experience of listening to Brandi Carlile's 2018 album, By the Way, I Forgive You, is similar to that of listening to Carole King's Tapestry or Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks; it's a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and a lot of hard truths about the human race. Carlile's talents lie in her tone, a dusky alto that swims around confessions of heartbreak and lifelong efforts to love and be loved, with the deftness of a much more senior troubadour. She'll be joined in this performance of her recent works by the Seattle Symphony, with an opening set by Americana singer-songwriter duo the Secret Sisters. KIM SELLING
FEBRUARY 22FOOD & DRINK
Alki Winter Beer & Food Truck Festival
As Special Olympics Washington attempts their annual "polar plunge" into the punishingly icy waters of Puget Sound, the Mobile Food Rodeo will provide warming sustenance for plungers and onlookers alike with plenty of food trucks, plus over 20 beers on tap.
This 26th annual Carnaval event celebrates music and dance traditions across Brazil with Eduardo Mendonça, Show Brazil!, and others.
FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 7MUSIC
Charlie Parker's 'Yardbird' (Seattle Opera)
Jazz icon Charlie Parker gets the operatic treatment in this Seattle Opera production of Yardbird, a journey through limbo by Parker, who struggles to complete his last masterpiece amidst a series of flashbacks that showcase the glorious heyday of iconic NYC jazz club Birdland, as well as the failures and victories of Parker's dynamic life.
Tove Lo, ALMA
Rising Swedish art-pop princess Tove Lo will headline in Seattle on her Sunshine Kitty Tour with support from Finland's ALMA.
Death Cab for Cutie, The Black Tones
Full disclosure: I am writing about Death Cab for Cutie out of Moral Obligation. They are great, sure, but I have very little in the way of personal feelings about the Ben Gibbard-led alt-rock band. There is something inherently gray and rainy about their music, which might be because they are from around these parts (well, Bellingham really), or maybe it's because I know they are from around these parts. They make some poignant ballads. Some barn burners. Some dark Radiohead-flavored odes. This three-night stint to replace their September storm-out is ostensibly a hometown run, still supporting 2018's Thank You for Today but also the super fresh (just-released) The Blue EP. LEILANI POLK
A few years ago, Amy Winehouse's Back to Black (created with invaluable help from Mark Ronson and the Dap-Kings) reminded a whole bunch of (white) people about the vast aural pleasures of old-school soul. Legendary singer-songwriter-producer Raphael Saadiq has devoted most of his life to these pleasures, leading the chart-conquering new jack swingsters Tony! Toni! Toné!, producing the deep funk stew of D'Angelo's classic Voodoo, and, most recently, releasing his freakishly accomplished 2008 solo album The Way I See It. The latter is an impeccable dazzler that comes on like a one-man Motown show, with Saadiq playing all the parts, from mastermind Berry Gordy to songwriting factory Holland-Dozier-Holland to singing-songwriting superstar Smokey Robinson. That the end result manages to spring to its own 21st-century life is a testament to Saadiq's gifts. DAVE SEGAL
FEBRUARY 26READINGS & TALKS
An Evening with Karamo Brown
Queer Eye "culture expert" Karamo Brown will dish on pop culture, queerness, blackness, Christianity, and other aspects of his identity, as well as his career.
John Cameron Mitchell: The Origin of Love Tour
The guy who starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inch—the original stage show and then the movie—is coming to town. Not only did he star in it, he wrote the damn thing (with musical collaborator Stephen Trask). This is not a drill. He is a certified genius. He will tell stories from the show’s 25-year history and sing songs from Hedwig, as well as some new music. He told me years ago he was writing a sequel. Maybe this is our sneak peek. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Tim & Eric: Mandatory Attendance World Tour
Comedy duo Tim & Eric of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (plus about a million other strange things) will return with a live show full of squirm-inducing humor.
Nordic Lights Film Festival 2020
This annual film festival, supported by SIFF, celebrates the richness of Nordic culture, featuring films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and even the Faroe Islands.
FEBRUARY 28-MARCH 29PERFORMANCE
August Wilson’s 'Jitney' (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
It is not at all amazing to claim that August Wilson is one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th century. The more amazing thing to say about Wilson is this: He was the greatest black American economist of the 20th century. Indeed, Wilson's first play, Jitney, is not only a masterpiece of 1970s economics, it also predicted the rideshare economy of our times. The play, which Seattle Rep is staging under the direction of the talented Ruben Santiago-Hudson, is about black cab drivers who informally serve Pittsburgh's black community because white-owned cabs will not. The business is owned by the play's key character, Jim Becker, a man in his 60s who retired after devoting decades of his life to a Pittsburgh steel plant. In Jitney, we see the capital-starved working conditions for black men who have pensions or served in the army. They do whatever they can to make ends meet. But no matter how much time and innovation they invest in their economy, the returns always fall short of settling real needs. CHARLES MUDEDE
FEBRUARY 29FOOD & DRINK
Washington Beer Open House
More than 110 Washington breweries will open their doors for a simultaneous open house, which gives beer lovers a unique opportunity to create their own adventure. Plot an itinerary for a personalized brewery crawl, travel to a few destination breweries you’ve always wanted to try, or simply drop into the nearest participating craft brewer in your neighborhood. Each featured brewer will have their own lineup of surprises in store, including samples, tours, souvenirs, rare barrel tastings, savory food pairings, and more.
Special Holiday Calendars: St. Patrick's Day (March 17) | Women's History Month | Spring
See More: Your Complete Guide to March 2020 Events in Seattle
Call it hyperbole if you must, but the LA-based Thundercat ranks among the most influential bassists of his generation. Having played with bands and acts that range from Suicidal Tendencies to Erykah Badu to, most notably, Kendrick Lamar—Thundercat won a Grammy for his work on To Pimp a Butterfly’s “These Walls”—the bassist born Stephen Bruner has come into his own as a solo artist, releasing three albums of hip-hop-infused jazz fusion via longtime collaborator Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label, including 2017's astounding Drunk. Expect a show full of musical pyrotechnics and Bruner’s inimitable energy, which has made him one of the most in-demand bassists both on stage and in the studio. NICK ZURKO
Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K 2020
Starting and finishing at Seattle Center, this annual race rewards runners with all manner of chocolate delights, including hot chocolate, marshmallows with a hot fudge dipping sauce, and more.
Dominican American songwriter Prince Royce will embark on his biggest tour yet in support of his new album, Alter Ego.
Eric Nam, Frenship
Chart-topping Korean pop sensation Eric Nam will come to Seattle on his Before We Begin World Tour with opening support from LA-based pop duo Frenship.
MARCH 5–OCTOBER 28VISUAL ART
Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstract Variations
The Seattle Art Museum celebrates the acquisition of O'Keeffe's Music, Pink and Blue, No. 1, which it calls "the first complete expression of her personal brand of modernism," with an exhibition that also features loaned paintings, drawings, and Alfred Stieglitz's photographs of the artist.
Whose Live Anyway?
The cast members of the Emmy-winning show Whose Line Is It Anyway?—including Greg Proops, Joel Murray, Jeff B. Davis, and Bellingham-born Ryan Stiles—will play their hilarious improv games onstage.
OPENING MARCH 6FILM
Onward (Wide release)
Two bored suburban elf boys, voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, set out to find magic and bring back their father in this Pixar adventure.
Known for their mid-2000s hit "Somewhere Only We Know," Sussex-formed rock band Keane will bring heavy rom-com vibes to this Seattle tour stop.
The Bachelor Live
In the show's touring edition, one (TBA) eligible Bachelor is selected ahead of time from each city where the tour stops, and during the live show, he's introduced to 10 local ladies from the audience for a "chance at love." These single Seattleites will be recruited by the tour's casting director and participate in the two-hour-and-20-minute event, during which, through a series of "games, challenges, onstage dates, and other fun 'getting to know you' scenarios," the women are whittled down through multiple rose ceremonies until the Seattle Bachelor finds the woman he's (theoretically) most compatible with. Bachelor Nation alums Becca Kufrin and Ben Higgins will serve as the hosts/matchmakers. Who will be Seattle's Bachelor? Will the eligible ladies seem as thirsty in this unedited environment as they do on TV? I don't know, but I'm buying tickets to this shitshow now. LEILANI POLK
Penn Cove Musselfest
Thanks to the nutrient-rich outflow of water from the Skagit River, beautiful Penn Cove’s famous mussels grow full-sized in record time and are harvested young, making them impossibly firm, fat, and sweet. This annual festival, which bills itself as a celebration of all things “bold, briny, and blue,” features boat tours of the Penn Cove Mussel Farm, a mussel eating contest, cooking demonstrations with local chefs, a waterfront beer garden, and the main event: a tasting competition with restaurants from all over Coupeville vying to have their mussel chowder declared the finest in town.
Todd Barry with Guests
This Bronx-born comedian has been slaying audiences with his deadpan stand-up since the mid-’80s. In addition to lending his voice to cult favorite shows like Bob's Burgers and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Barry continues to tour the country making headlines with his improv-heavy shows that tend to involve the crowd, with hilarious results. NICK ZURKO
MARCH 17-APRIL 20PERFORMANCE
Troilus and Cressida (Seattle Shakespeare)
Why should you be excited for Shakespeare's rather under-staged black comedy of love and war? Because it's being directed by ACT Theatre AD John Langs, who's imaginatively done Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and most recently a Deaf/hearing adaptation of Romeo + Juliet.
OPENING MARCH 18FILM
A Quiet Place Part II (Wide release)
The survivors of the family from A Quiet Place leave their family farm and find dangers both human and alien in the post-apocalyptic city.
Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot, who have also dabbled in psych-rock musicals, will showcase their performance-art-meets-politics-meets-pop-and-punk-music talent at this event.
MARCH 20-APRIL 12PERFORMANCE
Sweat (ACT Theatre)
In Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, a group of friends who work together on the factory floor are driven apart when layoffs and picket lines come into the picture.
Brantley Gilbert Fire't Up 2020 Tour
Things will get country-fried when the Fire't Up Tour stops off in Tacoma as part of its massive 30-plus-date tour that brings headliner Gilbert as well as Chase Rice, Dylan Scott, and Brandon Lay to the stage.
MARCH 22SPORTS & RECREATION
UW Cherry Blossom Run
Run from the UW Center For Urban Horticulture to Red Square—you're sure to get an eyeful of the campus's famous cherry blossom trees along the way.
OPENING MARCH 27FILM
Mulan (Wide release)
Disney's live-action remake of the 1998 animated favorite Mulan is, thankfully, really live action and not an uncanny Lion King situation (although no doubt there'll be plenty of greenscreening). A young woman (the Chinese star Liu Yifei, who's been in the news for not-great reasons) disguises herself as a man and takes the place of her father in the Imperial Army. Don't expect the songs from the original.
MARCH 28-APRIL 5PERFORMANCE
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
MARCH 29-APRIL 9FOOD & DRINK
Seattle Restaurant Week Spring 2020
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.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
After the long and hard 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
APRIL 1-SEPTEMBER 20SPORTS & RECREATION
Seattle Mariners 2020 Home Games
Seattle's MLB team will kick off their 2020 season on their home turf (T-Mobile Park) with games against the Texas Rangers, rounding things out in September with matches against the Cleveland Indians. See the complete schedule here.
APRIL 2READINGS & TALKS
Adam Johnson: The Art of Listening (Hugo House's Word Works)
In this Word Works lecture, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer Adam Johnson will talk about crafting research-based narratives, using examples from his own work.
Chicago (Broadway at the Paramount)
Murder, depravity, and Bob Fosse choreography make a potent cocktail in this Tony-winning revival of the famed Kander and Ebb musical about sexy, sociopathic showgirls of the roaring '20s.
An Evening with The Monkees
Big fans of reunions as they are, old-head '60s-formed rock group the Monkees will bring back the hits on this Seattle tour stop.
Get cultured for free at one of the museums participating in Smithsonian's Museum Day. All you need to do is download the ticket from the Smithsonian's website, grab a companion, and show your pass at the Asian Art Museum, the National Nordic Museum, Seattle Art Museum, or other institutions out of town. Choose carefully, though, because you only get one.
Dancing with the Stars: Live!
See all the glitz and glamour of your favorite ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars live on this North America tour stop.
Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki (Seattle Symphony)
Scores by Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi, featured widely in Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli films (Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, and the like), will be performed by a full orchestra and choir, conducted by Hisashi himself and set to montages of Miyazaki's films. You won't want to miss this.
Cirque du Soleil AXEL
In this acrobatic aerial-and-ice-skating spectacular by the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, a young artist and musician creates a "hand-drawn universe" and joins his love to steal back light from a supervillain.
Her sultry, silky, dulcet vocals have an old-soul quality, and her songwriting feels catchier and more mature than her 17 years would suggest. Which is likely why LA pop maker Billie Eilish has jetted to the top of charts worldwide with five singles off her debut full-length, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, that preceded its release (it peaked at No. 1 in 20 countries, and debuted at the top of our own Billboard 200, with the third-largest streaming numbers for an album by a female artist ever). She's like the American version of Lorde, but her music belongs more on the late-night spectrum with dark, moody, grooving and thumping production qualities. LEILANI POLK
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, dance parties, and more. Meet artists and browse their works, watch models strut outlandish looks on the runway at two fashion shows, and hear musical guests.
Giselle (Pacific Northwest Ballet)
The Pacific Northwest Ballet will stage a rather spooky classic, Giselle, in which a young woman dies after being spurned by a heartless nobleman and joins the Wilis, a host of wronged, vengeful, ghostly girls.
Block Party Presents: Jenny Hval with Special Guests
With albums like 2011’s Viscera, 2013’s Innocence Is Kinky, and 2014’s Apocalypse, girl, Norway’s Jenny Hval proved herself a provocative singer/songwriter/producer unafraid to examine gender roles and erotic impulses with idiosyncratic iconoclasm. Their artful songs flit from Young Marble Giants–like fragile beauty to Robert Wyatt–like poignancy to Björk-ian electronic eccentricity. Hval even taps into a sublimely mournful ambient realm that recalls the exalted new-age excursions of Laraaji and Ariel Kalma on Apocalypse’s “Holy Land.” Her last album, Blood Bitch, is a concept album revolving around menstruation, Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, and 1970s horror and exploitation films. Produced by Hval and renowned noise musician Lasse Marhaug, it’s her most streamlined, electronic full-length, featuring production techniques that accentuate her dulcet, icy vocal tones, but it also contains her most harrowing track, “The Plague.” There will be blood. DAVE SEGAL
Jersey Boys (5th Avenue Theatre)
"Jersey Boys is a buffed and shiny thing, an entertainment machine greased with pomade whose engine hums in four-part harmony." So wrote Brendan Kiley when the musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons last migrated to Seattle. You can experience the story of the working-tough crooners once again at this five-performance run.
Even if you only know her for the Titanic soundtrack, everyone knows Celine Dion is a legend. The pop superstar is going strong on her Courage World Tour, which will stop in Tacoma.
Carol Anderson (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
Carol Anderson's White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide contends with the anti-black fury that has hindered the progress of black citizens since emancipation, while her One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy expounds on another threat to social justice.
A new vibe of stoner entertainment is emerging—witness the rise of Broad City, High Maintenance, and basically every TV show created on Viceland. And, most importantly, The Stranger presents SPLIFF, your new favorite film festival created by the stoned for the stoned, just in time for 4/20.
APRIL 17-MAY 17PERFORMANCE
The Importance of Being Earnest (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
Oscar Wilde's long-beloved play is a masterpiece about the silliness of class, propriety, and image. Jack Worthing wants to marry Gwendolen, but his pedigree is lacking—mostly because he doesn't actually know who his parents are, given that he was found in a handbag as a baby. Complicating things is the fact that Jack has assumed a false identity as the more desirable "Ernest," and not even Gwendolen knows the truth. All becomes unraveled before the inevitably unlikely and goofy happy ending.
APRIL 17-MAY 19PERFORMANCE
The Effect (ACT Theatre)
If you liked HBO's Succession, check out creator Lucy Prebble's sexy-cerebral play that grapples with "whether or not science has the ability to affect the human condition."
Record Store Day 2020
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 specific releases, 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.
APRIL 19FOOD & DRINK
Beecher's Cheese For All
Cold winters 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.
Humorist Fran Lebowitz stands at a remove from popular culture, much of which she lambastes with sarcastic wit. She's also something of a grump. In a 1993 interview in the Paris Review, she groused, "I wouldn’t say that I dislike the young. I’m simply not a fan of naïveté. I mean, unless you have an erotic interest in them, what other interest could you have?" But she's also an incisive observer and a concentration of New York bluntness in human skin, and she'll be worth seeing. SEAN NELSON
Alice Cooper, Lita Ford
The king of fake blood and hard rock will grace Seattle with his legendary prowess.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Leah Senior
Melbourne, Australia’s King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are always a chameleon-stunning sight and crowned sound to behold," wrote Stranger music contributor Zach Frimmel. Catch them with folk singer-songwriter Leah Senior.
The Play That Goes Wrong (Broadway at the Paramount)
This goofy quasi-murder mystery won Best New Comedy at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards for its run at the Duchess Theatre in London—which began in 2014 and lasted until April 2019. The plot is a bit meta: A theatrical company puts on a murder mystery play (that's a play-within-a-play, if you're following) and is beset by disaster after disaster, including repeated scenes, understudies fighting with the mains, and scenery falling apart.
APRIL 21-MAY 17PERFORMANCE
Macbeth (Seattle Shakespeare)
This should be a treat: Desdemona Chiang, the inventive director of Intiman's Caught, Seattle Public Theatre's The World of Extreme Happiness, ACT's King of the Yees, and many more around the country, will stage one of Shakespeare's most forcefully fatalistic plays. Witches! Clans! Duels! Imaginary daggers! "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrows"! How can you resist?
APRIL 22READINGS & TALKS
Elizabeth Kolbert (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert has received nationwide recognition for her reporting on global warming, extinction, and other urgent matters. She's also the author of several books: The Prophet of Love: And Other Tales of Power and Deceit, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, and The Sixth Extinction.
Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, I Prevail, Ice Nine Kills
The terrifyingly-named Five Finger Death Punch make Las Vegas-bred heavy metal in the nü-grunge style of bands like Staind and Papa Roach. Coincidentally, they'll be joined by Papa Roach on this tour, along with I Prevail and Ice Nine Kills.
Growing up on the remote island of Guernsey in the English Channel, Alex Crossan (aka Mura Masa) experimented with punk, metal, and even gospel before firmly planting his feet in electronic music. Fusing future bass and R&B, trap, calypso, and hiphop, his viral hit "Love$ick" broke Spotify back in early 2016. Mura Masa’s debut album came out in July 2017; expect big things. AMBER CORTES
PopCon 2020: Forever Young: Popular Music and Youth Across the Ages
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 event is all about the youth, who have played a major role in driving music, politics, and culture throughout history.
Seattle Black Film Festival 2020
I have yet to attend a Langston Hughes African American Film Festival—now called the Seattle Black Film Festival after a unanimous vote by community members, who feel the new name better reflects the vast Black diasporic experience—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
APRIL 24-26VISUAL ART
Seattle Erotic Art Festival 2020
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 readings, learn about trans and queer erotica, discover porny history, attend contests, and party.
APRIL 25FOOD & DRINK
Seattle Bacon and Beer Classic 2020
At this festival, munch on unlimited salty, crunchy pork in over 35 dishes from local chefs and restaurants and sip crisp brews from more than 100 regional breweries. Plus, participate in a blind beer taste test, a bacon-eating contest, and lawn games and activities like a bacon seesaw.
Seattle Cheese and Meat Festival
The world is your cheese plate at this celebration of all things cured meat and fromage. At the door, you’ll be greeted with a tasting glass and charcuterie board, and then left to your own devices to wander around curating the platter of your dreams with samples from vendors. Then pair your picks with wine, cider, beer, spirits, or kombucha.
Lauren Daigle, JOHNNYSWIM
Two-time Grammy winner Lauren Daigle has expanded her debut headlining tour to include our fair city in support of her latest album, Look Up Child. She'll be joined by folk/soul duo JOHNNYSWIM.
Seattle Independent Bookstore Day 2020
Independent Bookstore Day is Seattle's celebration of the city's plentiful and varied independent bookstores. 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
To make things interesting, try visiting as many participating local bookstores as humanly possible in the Indie Bookstore Day Challenge—you may be rewarded with deals and other special surprises.
OPENING APRIL 25MUSEUMS
American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith (MOHAI)
This traveling Smithsonian exhibition all about American democracy brings "America’s national treasures" to life with multimedia experiences and designs, as well as artifacts from the Smithsonian and MOHAI’s own collection.
APRIL 29READINGS & TALKS
Maira Kalman (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
The renowned illustrator will present her new book, an illustrated edition of Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.
Kurt Vile, Cate Le Bon, Stella Mozgawa, Stephen Black
Multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Kurt Vile and his luscious locks will visit Seattle with Stella Mozgawa and Stephen Black in tow.
APRIL 30-MAY 2FESTIVALS
Crosscut Festival 2020
In the style of the New Yorker Festival, local news site Crosscut presents two days of timely conversations with nationally known journalists, authors, and politicians. Past guests have included Valerie Jarrett, Janet Napolitano, Pramila Jayapal, and Jay Inslee.
Billboard-topping rapper Russ, whom you probably know for his hit single "What They Want," will bring the good stuff to Seattle on his Shake The Globe Tour.
OPENING MAY 1FILM
Black Widow (Wide release)
Marvel fleshes out the story of Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).
Crypticon will fill the DoubleTree with hundreds of gorehounds, bloodsluts, zombbros, and creepazoids. Dress up and enter the cosplay contest, compete in competitions, browse haunted Cthulhu/zombie/vampire/etc. goods, and meet horror celebrities like Shudder's Joe Bob Briggs, actor Bill Moseley (Three from Hell), David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London), and Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp).
Fresh off his 2019 animated album Sound & Fury, the Grammy winner is joined by bluegrass-folk-country artist Tyler Childers on A Good Look'n Tour.
Seattle Yacht Club Opening Day 2020
On the first Saturday of May for almost a century, hundreds of recreational boats have paraded from Portage Bay through the Montlake Cut for Seattle Yacht Club's Opening Day to celebrate the official opening of Seattle's boating season. Watch from the shore as adorned vessels boast live bands and giant floats. It's also a tradition for people on board to throw water balloons at shore-dwellers, so practice your reflexes.
La Bohème (Seattle Opera)
Giacomo Puccini's unabashedly emotional tragicomedy, one of the most popular and accessible operas ever (and the progenitor of Rent), tells the story of four destitute but loyal, creative Parisians who survive on friendship and beauty in the Latin Quarter. But can love survive urban poverty?
Dead Can Dance
Australian British musical duo Dead Can Dance, composed of Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, will bring their blend of "African polyrhythms, Gaelic folk, Gregorian chant, Middle Eastern mantras, and art rock" (per Australian music historian Ian McFarlane) to Seattle.
Cher, Nile Rodgers, Chic
Apparently, Cher's Farewell Tour a few years back wasn't really her last. Who can blame her for wanting to remind the world of her endless capacity for zippy costume changes and glitzy vibrato? She'll be joined by the inimitable Nile Rogers and his band Chic, whose greatest hits include "Everybody Dance," "Le Freak," and "I Want Your Love."
Don't act like you didn't know Mandy Moore put out albums—did you not clock the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actress's singing chops in Princess Diaries? She'll come to Seattle in support of her first two singles in a decade and her upcoming album.
MAY 7READINGS & TALKS
Natalie Diaz (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
Natalie Diaz is the author of the award-winning collection of poetry When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press). (She's also a very accomplished basketball player, but that's for another time.) Her other work involves doing cool things like partnering with Hugo House and the Poetry Foundation to create Poetry Across the Nations, "a community outreach program facilitated by Native women" who host readings and workshops to build "intercultural and intertribal" networks. RICH SMITH
MAY 7-17FOOD & DRINK
Seattle Beer Week
Seattle’s craft-beer scene is always alive and bubbling with activity, but during Beer Week, that geeky enthusiasm gets kicked into high gear, with a stacked lineup of beer dinners, festivals, socials, pub crawls, and releases galore.
OPENING MAY 8FILM
Legally Blonde 3 (Wide release)
Seventeen years after her last movie, Elle Woods returns, embodied (of course) by Reese Witherspoon.
The Personal History of David Copperfield (Wide release)
We're hoping for some of that wry magic from director Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin, Veep), screenwriter Simon Blackwell (Veep, The Thick of It), and actors Dev Patel, Gwendoline Christie, Hugh Laurie, and Tilda Swinton in this adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel.
MAY 8-JUNE 14PERFORMANCE
Lydia and the Troll (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
In Justin Huertas's very homegrown, brand-new fantasy musical, a singer-songwriter who's stuck in a rut receives a tempting offer from a stranger.
HUMP! Film Festival Re-screen 2020
Missed Dan Savage's boisterous festival of amateur porn, HUMP!, back in November? No worries! The films will be re-screened in all their raunchy glory. This year's festival was wilder than ever, full of kink, queerdom, and pancakes, so get there!
Reasons to go see Adam Ant: He looks like Gary Oldman—with a pirate’s hat! His last album is really weird. It sounds like he made the whole thing hiding in a basement with a drum machine—like Sly Stone on There’s a Riot Goin’ On, only he’s Adam Ant. He called the album Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter. He does not own a television. You can yell for him to play his new songs, but not that skeevy one about lusting after a teenager. That one’s just too squick. But the other ones are really good. And you get the hits! More hits! And weird stuff cut out from magazines and plastered onto his hat! Ridicule is nothing to be scared of! Live it! ANDREW HAMLIN
MAY 10SPORTS & RECREATION
The Color Run 5K Seattle
Run through a cloud of colored cornstarch, fling your own color packet at other racers, and finish the race looking like a human tie-dye. The price includes a t-shirt, headband, the colored powder, and a Unicorn Finisher's Medal.
Virginia Mason Mother’s Day Half Marathon & 5K 2020
Choose between a half-marathon and a 5K run/walk to celebrate your mom and other people's moms. At the finish line, enjoy all the wine and mimosas you deserve.
Jim James with the Seattle Symphony: The Order of Nature
My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James will team up with Seattle Symphony conductor Teddy Abrams for a special acoustic performance of their orchestral song cycle The Order of Nature, featuring John Wiliams’ Overture to The Cowboys and Aaron Copland’s "Four Dance Episodes" from Rodeo.
Once on This Island (5th Avenue Theatre)
The theater will present the Olivier Award-winning musical Once on This Island (from the Tony Award-winning songwriting team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty), a Caribbean adaptation of The Little Mermaid, in which a peasant girl named Ti Moune rescues and falls in love with a wealthy boy, Daniel, from the other side of the island. Michael Arden, who directed the Spring Awakening revival, will helm this one.
You've loved him, you've hated him, you've forgotten about him a couple of times, and now he's back with a new album and world tour. Reevaluate your feelings for J Biebs on this Seattle stop.
The Moth Mainstage (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
Five storytellers will take the stage at Benaroya for a night of memoir-ish oral history, as part of radio sensation The Moth's Mainstage series.
Fisherman's Village Music Festival 2020
Celebrate the efforts of the Everett Music Initiative with this weekend festival, now in its seventh year, spread over several beloved local venues, with live sets from local and touring talents.
MAY 14-JUNE 7FILM
Seattle International Film Festival 2020
Now in its 46th year, this film festival is the largest in the United States and is the best opportunity all year to connect with global cinematic culture (or just see some kick-ass foreign and indie movies long before less lucky audiences get the chance).
The Avett Brothers
Folk familiars the Avett Brothers will break out their woo-woo approach to Americana this spring, their years of work heavily driven by pleasant harmony-riddled messages of good and evil, banjo and fiddle.
Rick Barot (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
Tacoma-based, Philippines-born poet Rick Barot is the author of the collections The Darker Fall, Lambda Literary finalist and Grub Street Prize winner Want, and Chord, with a fourth, The Galleons, due out this year. He's won all the fellowships, or at least NEA, Guggenheim Foundation, Artist Trust, Civitella Ranieri, and Stanford University grants.
MAY 15–SEPTEMBER 20SPORTS & RECREATION
Seattle Storm 2020 Home Season
Seattle's WNBA team the Seattle Storm (whose star player Sue Bird happens to be the girlfriend of the US women's soccer champion Megan Rapinoe) will kick off their 2020 home-game season against the Dallas Wings, wrapping up with a match against the Los Angeles Sparks.
Journey, The Pretenders
Ever-present torch-holders of the '80s, Journey and the Pretenders will bring their light-rock-less-talk vibes to the Northwest for a night of hair-swinging and piano solos reminiscent of Steve Perry's golden years.
Bill Nye Live 2020
The television host, engineer, and science literacy activist Nye, whom Chase Burns refers to as "basically the Britney Spears of science," will help celebrate Mount St. Helens's 40th "Eruptiversary" with a chat about "science, climate change, and how we can all work together to move mountains." Prepare your science queries, because Nye will also be answering questions from the audience!
University District Streetfair
The University District's iconic street fair will continue its reputation as the longest-running event of its kind in the nation by filling the Ave with food from vendors, crafts, a beer garden, and live music for the 51st year.
Seattle Syttende Mai 2020
To mark the signing of the Norwegian Constitution at Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814, Norway celebrates Syttende Mai with parades and festivities all over the world. While the biggest procession takes place in the city of Bergen, Seattle's most Nordic neighborhood, Ballard, also hosts a consistently large turnout of spectators as marching bands and drill teams galavant down the street waving Norwegian flags. After the parade, head to the Nordic Museum to enjoy a traditional luncheon and extended gallery hours. At night, they'll also have special Nordic cocktails, a fashion show, and live musical performances.
Beat the Bridge 2020
Help fund diabetes research through JDRF by running in Nordstrom's annual Beat the Bridge 5 or 8K. Your goal is to cross the University Bridge before it's raised at the two-mile mark, but if you don't make it in time, you won't have to turn around—there will be live music and more festivities as the bridge makes its way back down.
The Book of Mormon (Broadway at the Paramount)
As human civilization rapidly approaches the end times, some of us need entertainment that skewers religion just to keep from going crazy. One deceptive, brilliant thing about The Book of Mormon is that the show unexpectedly ends up being okay with religion in the end—so long as you’re using your religious beliefs to make the world better. Plus, there are unbelievably funny tap numbers (“Turn It Off”), parodies of pop-culture juggernauts like Star Wars and The Lion King, and lines like “I can’t believe Jesus just called me a dick!” CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
MAY 20READINGS & TALKS
Luis Alberto Urrea (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
Luis Alberto Urrea's The House of Broken Angels, which takes inspiration from his own life, relates the tale of a dying patriarch, his journey as a young man from La Paz to San Diego, the grudges and loves of his extended family, and his 100-year-old mother's funeral. Urrea has been a finalist for the Pulitzer, and his personal yet wide-ranging style seems perfectly suited to this sprawling family epic.
MAY 21READINGS & TALKS
Sigrid Nunez: Giving Full Play to the Imagination (Hugo House's Word Works)
For her Word Works craft talk, National Book Award winner Sigrid Nunez (The Friend) will talk about "playfulness, imagination, and how to give in to the pull toward the unknown that all writers face when embarking upon a project." Afterward, she'll be interviewed on stage and answer additional questions from the audience.
Northwest Folklife 2020
The goal of Folklife is noble as heck: “We envision strong communities, united by arts and culture… When people share aspects of their culture, opportunities are created to dissolve misunderstandings, break down stereotypes, and increase respect for one another.” What does this translate to? A gigantic Memorial Day weekend hippie fest full of lovely people dancing, performing world music from “yodeling to beatboxing” and everything in between, serving tasty street food, and leading workshops in arts and crafts. It’s a great, if potentially overwhelming, people-watching experience, plus a great way to see local music.
He's coming: The King of Queens! Larry of I Now Pronounce Your Chuck & Larry! Mall Cop! Hear some new comedic material.
Brad Paisley, Jordan Davis, Gabby Barrett
Top 40 country hunk Brad Paisley will take over the Gorge for a night of Americana hits and opening support from Jordan Davis and Gabby Barrett.
James Taylor & His All-Star Band, Jackson Browne
Folksy Americana pop anthem leader James Taylor will bring his easy living sensibilities to Tacoma with his All-Star Band and Jackson Browne in tow.
Ballard Jazz Festival 2020
The 18th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival, which highlights both the historic neighborhood and Seattle's vibrant jazz scene, features three days of live sets from local and national acts, a jazz walk down Ballard Avenue, and more.
Northwest Terror Fest
For the third year in a row, Northwest Terror Fest will be dosing Capitol Hill with three days’ worth of loud noises ranging from the gnarliest of grindcore to the spaciest of doom. From Thursday through Saturday, the main shows will be held at Neumos and Barboza, with packed lineups all evening long. Aftershows will be held just down the street at Highline. Artists announced so far include Blood Incantation, Cartilage, Cloak, Escuela Grind, Grayceon, Gost, Obsequiae, Midnight, Miserable (performing an acoustic set), Mizmor, Racetraitor, Repulsion, Ringworm, Squalus, Suffocation, Visigoth, Windhand, Wormrot, and Xibalba. KEVIN DIERS
The 13-year wait for Fear Inoculum, the latest album by slithery quartet Tool, seemed borderline excessive—an impious gestation period that promised either an abomination or a glorious new evolutionary stage for heavy-lidded prog-metal. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. The album’s 10 tracks stay the course with unusual time signatures, shuddersome production techniques, and touches of sly humor. At the same time, the canvas Tool is using feels much bigger, as they let musical ideas stretch out and grow and allow for grooves that are easier to sink into and get comfortable within. At least until the knives come out.ROBERT HAM
OPENING MAY 29FILM
Artemis Fowl (Wide release)
A wee Irish criminal genius commits a kidnapping and searches for his missing father in this adaptation of Eoin Colfer's children's novel, directed by none other than Kenneth Branagh, who's apparently run out of Shakespeare.
MAY 29-JUNE 7PERFORMANCE
Pite — Tharp — Liang (Pacific Northwest Ballet)
An unmissable lineup: The Pacific Northwest Ballet will dance Crystal Pite's (Emergence) Plot Point, which premiered in 2017 to the praise of Rich Smith ("It has all the powerhouse hyper-violence of comic-book noirs such as Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's Sin City, and all the complex, intricate choreography you'd expect from a modern ballet"). Also on tap will be Twyla Tharp's R&B/jazz-scored Waiting at the Station and a new piece by Edward Liang.
MAY 31FOOD & DRINK
Seattle Lamb Jam
At this competition brought to you by Tasty Creative and the American Lamb Board, 16 Seattle chefs concoct their best lamb dishes as they vie for the title of Lamb Jam Seattle Champion. Lamb belly ramen? Lamb ham Cubanos? Anything goes.
Major Annual May Events with Dates TBA: Syttende Mai, Seattle Storm home games
Halsey, CHVRCHES, Omar Apollo
Pop star Halsey went from "up and coming" to completely explosive in a matter of a few years. She'll take over Washington on her Manic world tour, with CHVRCHES and Omar Apollo in tow.
Alanis Morissette, Garbage, Liz Phair
Nineties singer-songwriter legends Liz Phair and Alanis Morissette will travel north to Seattle, starting in Portland, with an arsenal of iconic breakup songs.
DreamWorks Animation in Concert
Relive all your favorite moments from the Dreamworks animated films Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, and more as they are projected on the big screen, accompanied by live scores from the Seattle Symphony.
Steely Dan, Steve Winwood
Maybe no classic rock act so deserves a modern reassessment as Steely Dan. The ostensibly square yacht rock band—composed of Donald Fagen, the late Walter Becker, and an army of intensely talented studio musicians—blended soft rock with advanced jazz theory. Never nerdy enough to be called progressive, never swaggering enough to make cock rock, Steely Dan were the sophisticated wallflowers of the 1970s, a dark mirror to the jocular Eagles. Underneath their über-geeky exterior lurked a dark, sarcastic, and cutting lyrical intellect. The sharp irony of, say, Father John Misty or even David Byrne has no precedent without Fagen singing “Deacon Blues.”JOSEPH SCHAFER
OPENING JUNE 4FILM
Wonder Woman 1984 (Wide release)
The DC Comics superhero Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) returns to face off against Maxwell Lord and Cheetah, a super-fast, super-mean villainess. Patty Jenkins directs.
Jim Gaffigan: Pale Tourist Tour
If you're looking for an evening of relatively family-friendly comedy, watch Jim Gaffigan make jokes about impressive food consumption and the trials and tribulations of daily life. Gaffigan's known for his TV and film appearances (most recently in Troop Zero, Them That Followed, and Light From Light), stand-up specials Mr. Universe, Jim Gaffigan: Obsessed, and Quality Time, and his books Dad is Fat and Food: A Love Story.
Hall & Oates, Squeeze, KT Tunstall
'80s smooth groove legends and eternal purveyors of the light-rock-less-talk genre, Daryl Hall and John Oates (of Hall & Oates, natch) will perform a set together with opening support from Squeeze and KT Tunstall.
HONK! Fest West
This family-oriented festival gets you in on the brass, percussion, and street band "global renaissance." Twenty-five or more bands will jam in streets and parks around Seattle as they celebrate this democratic and ebullient musical genre.
Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow & Yola
Echoes Through the Canyon brings together a trio of award-winning female musicians for an early summer concert series that features some of the biggest names in pop-rock and alternative country music.
Jhené Aiko, Queen Naija, Ann Marie
Generally known for her smooth electro-pop-R&B tracks, Jhené Aiko hit hard in 2017 with her last release, Trip, a concept album that works through the highs of hallucinogenic drugs to explore feelings of loss, grief, and acceptance. She'll be joined by Queen Naija and Ann Marie on this tour stop in support of her latest release, Chilombo.
JUNE 6-7SPORTS & RECREATION
Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon Series
This two-day running series will offer a 5K (Sat June 6), a full marathon, and a half marathon (Sun June 7) benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. There will also be a pre-race health and fitness expo and live entertainment.
Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams
In 1986, Bon Jovi rose from the swamps of New Jersey, climbed to the top of the glam-metal heap, and became one of the most prominent features on the pop charts. Then the '90s happened: Kurt Cobain, grunge, the year punk "broke." Dollar bins be damned, Bon Jovi bounced back, and now they're dragging Bryan Adams along for a chance at redemption.BRIAN COOK
Vashon Sheepdog Classic 2020
The only thing better than taking the ferry to Vashon Island is the promise of seeing athletic Border Collies chase adorable ruminant creatures around a field. In addition to the competition, this annual herding extravaganza—now in its 12th year—brings local fare, a spirit garden, a fiber arts village, bagpipe performances, shearing demos, and more to the charming island.
Ronny Chieng: The Hope You Get Rich Tour
Ronny Chieng, a featured contributor to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and an internationally performing stand-up comic, has appeared in the hit romance Crazy Rich Asians, come out with a new Comedy Central series (Ronny Chieng: International Student), and released a Netflix special, Asian Comedian Destroys America. With his air of cynicism leavened with sweetness, it's no wonder he's gotten popular.
JUNE 12-JULY 3PERFORMANCE
Evita (5th Avenue Theatre)
Songs! Fashion! Fascism! Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón, gets the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical treatment. The score boasts some of musical theatre's most beloved numbers ("Don't Cry for Me Argentina" et al.). This production will close out the theater's 2019-2020 season with a bang.
JUNE 13-14FOOD & DRINK
Seattle Street Food Festival
The ever-popular curbside festival from Mobile Food Rodeo spreads over five city blocks and will gather more than 75 food trucks, restaurants, and pop-ups on the streets of South Lake Union for a night of large-scale gluttony. There's also live music and three beer gardens.
Texas-born country singer Tanya Tucker, who released her first hit, "Delta Dawn," in 1972 when she was just 13, will play her greatest hits from throughout the years.
JUNE 15READINGS & TALKS
Min Jin Lee (Seattle Arts & Lectures)
National Book Award finalist Min Jin Lee is the author of Pachinko, a family saga set in Korea and Japan during the 20th century.
Anastasia (Broadway at the Paramount)
This Broadway musical is an adaptation of the 1997 film, a fictionalized fantasy about a young amnesiac woman who falls in with a pair of con men trying to pass her off as the Russian duchess Anastasia. But who is she really?
Barenaked Ladies, Gin Blossoms, Toad the Wet Sprocket
Canada’s Barenaked Ladies are, in the words of our esteemed music critic Dave Segal, "the aural equivalent of khaki trousers." They are also extremely successful rock musicians who have managed to swing themselves onto the nostalgia circuit for sold-out tour stops for the last few summers. They'll be joined on their Last Summer on Earth Tour by Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket.
Simple Plan, New Found Glory, Knuckle Puck
A Montreal rock band is embarking on a highly-anticipated summer tour that coincides with the anniversary of a cherished album. I’m talking, of course, about Simple Plan, whose 2002 debut No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls turned 17 in March. Neon Bible it’s not, but it is a product of its time: The band’s snotty, radio-ready sound was practically de rigueur for pop-punk in the age of Blink-182, and the group’s formation story involves two members reconnecting at a Sugar Ray concert. The focus on young white suburban male angst has also aged incongruously, a charge leveled against much turn-of-the-millennium mainstream rock. But unlike your average nü-metal jabroni, these guys at least gave us some catchy tunes.ANDREW GOSPE
OPENING JUNE 19FILM
Soul (Wide release)
Prepare for most of the moisture in your body to spurt out your eyeballs in Pixar's latest fest of gorgeously animated heartstring-plucking, as the soul of a passionate music teacher/jazz pianist tries to find his way back to his body with the help of an infant fellow disembodied soul. Directed by Pete Docter (Up, Inside Out) and co-writer Kemp Powers.
JUNE 19-21FOOD & DRINK
Washington Brewers Festival
Maximizers who thrive when presented with a dizzying array of choices should enjoy this festival from the Washington Beer Commission, which will offer 500 beers from 110 Washington brewers. Besides beer, there’s also a specialty root-beer garden for designated drivers and the under-21 crowd to enjoy, plus food vendors, a kids' playground, and live music and entertainment all weekend. JULIANNE BELL
Chris Stapleton, Margo Price, The Dirty Knobs with Mike Campbell
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton's All-American Road Show will return to Washington State for a summer night of country-rockin' with Margo Price and the Dirty Knobs.
Fremont Solstice Fair 2020
Fremont loves its weird celebrations, and this two-day outdoor urban festival following the summer solstice is arguably its biggest event of the year. From its gigantic Solstice Parade composed of elaborately painted (and sometimes just wild and free) nude bicyclists and inventive costumes to its parade for dogs to its craft market and live music events, the tradition has something for hippies, families, foodies, and artists alike.
AWOLNATION, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, The Beaches, Bleeker
Boom-clap electro-rock project Awolnation will bring their all-American ad spot jams to Seattle on their The Lightning Riders Tour with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, the Beaches, and Bleeker.
OPENING JUNE 26FILM
In the Heights (Wide release)
This is the screen version of Lin-Manuel Miranda's popular Broadway musical about a bodega owner who dreams of returning from Washington Heights to his native Dominican Republic.
Top Gun: Maverick (Wide release)
That's right: Pete Mitchell returns, 30 years older and as addicted to thrills as ever.
Dragon Fest 2020
When you live in Chinatown, you start to take the dragon and lion dances—a traditional form of Chinese dance that is said to bring good luck and fortune—for granted. But the performances are longer and more elaborate during Dragon Fest, taking on extra festive overtones as the team of performers maneuvers and manipulates the long, undulating bodies down the streets of the I.D. using poles positioned along their length, coordinating with the throbbing beat and crashing cymbals issued by the accompanying percussion players. It is quite the sight. Dragon Fest also boasts 14 hours of cultural performances outside of these dances—traditional Korean drumming, bhangra/Bollywood presentations, martial arts demos, and Pacific Islander dances, among others. Plus, there’s the $3 Food Walk (encompassing more than 40 restaurants), and a range of temporary vendors hawking food, goods, and bevvies galore. LEILANI POLK
The longtime Saturday Night Live writer and "Weekend Update" co-anchor, who had the honor of co-emceeing the Emmys in 2018, will deliver some wit.
Seattle Pride Parade
After a month's worth of Pride events, queers and allies of all stripes join the epic procession that is the Seattle Pride Parade, which goes from Fourth Avenue & Union all the way to Seattle Center.
Choir Boy (ACT Theatre)
From Tarell Alvin McCraney (who won an Oscar for his screenplay for 2016's Moonlight) comes the heartwarming story of the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys gospel choir and its members. This production is presented in association with Denver Center Theatre Company.
Major Annual June Events with Dates TBA: Paradiso Festival, Seattle Outdoor Cinema, Search Party
OPENING JULY 1VISUAL ART
Warhol and the West
See pop-art icon Andy Warhol's obsession with the American West manifested through well-known paintings like Elvis and Cowboys and Indians.
JULY 4FOURTH OF JULY
Seafair Summer Fourth 2020
See fireworks choreographed to Seafair's custom musical score at this Fourth of July favorite. While you wait for the sparks to go off, you can sip brews in a beer garden (you can also reserve spots to watch the fireworks from said beer garden), graze from food trucks, enter a pie-eating contest, and enjoy live entertainment.
The Black Keys, Gary Clark Jr., Jessy Wilson
Back in 2002, when I lived in Cleveland, I'd catch the Black Keys in small venues like the Beachland Tavern. Nothing about the scrappy Akron, Ohio, blues-rock duo screamed out "potential rock megastars"—not even their decent cover of the Beatles' "She Said, She Said." To be honest, nothing still screams out "rock megastars," but there's no denying these rust-belt muthas worked hard to reach their rarefied heights. They may seem ultra-meat-and-potatoes-y to me, but Dan Auerbach can sing with barrel-chested, Paul Rodgers-esque soul and grind out catchy guitar riffs all damn night, and drummer Patrick Carney's perfectly functional and unflashy.DAVE SEGAL
Joe Russo's Almost Dead
My friends can’t stop talking about Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, aka JRAD, which was supposed to be a one-off show featuring interpretations of Grateful Dead songs but turned into a full-time touring powerhouse selling out shows nationwide. Joe Russo was originally the drums-and-percussion half of Benevento Russo Duo with Marco Benevento—also a member of JRAD—and his post-Duo efforts include work with Gene Ween, Cass McCombs, and Furthur, a Dead spin-off featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. JRAD was conceived in 2013 after Russo’s stint with Furthur ended, and in addition to Benevento on keys, its current incarnation features Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz, and Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton on vocals and guitars. By all accounts, they put on an epic, must-see show—recognizable as Grateful Dead music, but with its own heavier bend and heady persuasions. LEILANI POLK
OPENING JULY 10FILM
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Wide release)
While not a remake of the original Ghostbusters or a sequel to the 2016 all-women remake, this outing in the franchise follows a mother and her two children who discover connections to the original Ghostbuster crew when they move to a new town.
West Seattle Summer Fest
For the 38th year, spend some time shopping, dancing to live music from great local bands, doing yoga in the park, dining, drinking in beer gardens, and enjoying other summery activities at this annual family-friendly festival.
Originally started as a celebration of the neighborhood’s fishing industry in 1974, this festival has expanded over the years to include an alder-smoked salmon dinner, a crab shack, a beer garden replete with Ballard craft brews, a lengthy list of food and artisan craft vendors, and music.
This summer wine festival, which benefits no-kill shelter Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center, encompasses a 21+ wine tasting garden, a "burger brawl," and music, as well as a street fair with a boat show, a food truck feast, and other activities.
Seattle International Beerfest
This three-day specialty beer fest boasts everything from classic beers like pilsners and pales to anything "delicious yet shunned by the masses," including double IPAs, barleywines, farmhouse ales, and sours, with breweries hailing from all over the world. There's also a grass area on which to unfurl picnic blankets, in addition to ample indoor and outdoor seating.
Lucerne Seafair Milk Carton Derby 2020
You'd be forgiven for thinking that a milk carton derby entails individual milk cartons fashioned into miniature boats, but you would be mistaken. This Seafair tradition—which started in 1972 and bills itself as a "quirky celebration of creativity, science, and boatmanship"—invites crafty community members to use a bunch of milk cartons (300 per team) to assemble vessels sturdy enough to hold human bodies. The participants then paddle their creations on Green Lake to win prizes before a group of adoring fans (aka friends and family). The whole affair wraps up in the early afternoon, making for a very productive and sun-soaked Saturday.
Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth
Amidst health scares and rumors of retirement, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne will bless the Pacific Northwest with his passionate heavy metal and will show thousands of people why he has always been the Prince of Darkness. He'll be backed by faithful collaborators Zakk Wylde, Blasko, Tommy Clufetos, and Adam Wakeman, with iconic Los Angeles metal group Megadeth supporting for the entire North American run of this finale tour.
Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival 2020
Theater is alive in Seattle, but, as in most places, it generally isn't cheap. GreenStage, Theater Schmeater, and Wooden O Productions set out to change that in 2001 with the first Outdoor Theater Festival. Watch Shakespeare plays and more contemporary pieces from the festival's founders and other theater companies—a total of 10, over what will hopefully be a sunny weekend.
Lindsey Stirling, Kiesza, Mako
Classical violinist Lindsey Stirling is trying to cross over to the pop and EDM worlds. It’s a bit of an awkward fit, fusing virtuosic strings redolent of 19th-century Europe with the distorted bass drops and massive, splashy beats of this decade’s brostep. But one must give credit to Stirling for attempting such an unlikely commingling of musical elements. Against the odds, her bold stab at making stuffy classical music shake its ass has garnered Stirling a large following.DAVE SEGAL
Incubus, 311, Badflower
Incubus, a key rock group of the early '00s, will return to the PNW for a night of what will surely be some very intense high school recollections for everybody. They'll be joined by 311 and Badflower on their joint Summer 2020 tour.
Timber! Outdoor Music Festival 2020
Timber!, Artist Home's popular outdoor music festival thrown out in Carnation, is back for its eighth year with a very full weekend of crowd-friendly folk, rock, and pop performances, and all-ages activities like camping, kayaking, and stargazing. All artists will be split between the Main Stage, the smaller and more intimate Campfire Stage, and Camp Timber for kids and group activities.
Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Weezer
Pop-punk fans, rejoice! The upswing of power chords from the late '90s and early '00s are back in the form of a Green Day, Weezer, and Fall Out Boy joint affair, for some reason presented by Harley-Davidson. All three groups will travel here on their Hella Mega Tour.
OPENING JULY 17FILM
Tenet (Wide release)
We don't have too many details about this new Christopher Nolan film starring BlacKkKlansman's John David Washington except that it involves espionage, enlists the talents of cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema (Dunkirk) and Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther) as well as actors Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, and Clémence Poésy—and is reportedly Nolan's biggest, most expensive film to date.
Sequim Lavender Festival
After a long winter hibernation, the lavender fields of Sequim come abloom to soothe the souls and nasal passages of passersby. Take in the sights, shop for lavender goods, and more.
Bite of Seattle
Seattle boasts plenty of food and drink festivals year-round, but Bite of Seattle—billed as “Seattle's original and largest food and beverage showcase” and claiming to draw more than 375,000 guests each year—is the most well-known gluttonous gathering by far, having been in business since 1982. Each year, the event assembles upwards of 200 food and specialty vendors, as well as offering craft beer and cider tastings, beer gardens, live cooking demos and mystery ingredient cook-offs with local chefs on the “Bite Cooks” stage, and more.
Lewis Capaldi, Rhys Lewis
Young Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi has rocketed to the top of the charts internationally since his breakout hit "Someone You Loved" dropped last spring. He'll be joined by Rhys Lewis at his first-ever Seattle tour stop.
Kenny Chesney, Florida-Georgia Line, Old Dominion, Michael Franti & Spearhead
Country music golden boy Kenny Chesney will return to Seattle with a full lineup of star-studded supporters like Florida-Georgia Line, Old Dominion, and Michael Franti & Spearhead on his 2020 Chillaxification Tour.
Welcome to Night Vale
Something is just not quite right in the town of Night Vale. For one, there’s the mysterious lights circling above every night, and of course there are the hooded figures at the dog park. If you’re part of the "cult" that religiously follows the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, you’ll know that’s just the tip of the iceberg in this seemingly “friendly desert community.” But even if you aren’t, go to the show, set up like an old-timey live radio play, and experience host Cecil Palmer’s voice, which will simultaneously soothe your nerves and give you the shivers. AMBER CORTES
One Direction's Louis William Tomlinson will branch out on his own World Tour.
JULY 23-26VISUAL ART
Seattle Art Fair 2020
A huge number of gallerists from all over the world will bring first-rate artwork to Seattle for one hectic weekend in the sixth annual edition of this fair founded by Paul G. Allen of Microsoft fame.
Primus, Wolfmother, Battles
Legendary oddballers Primus have been at it for roughly a quarter of a century, hacking away at their mud-on-your-tires carnival punk all the way. The band’s recent album, The Desaturating Seven, a conceptual take on the Italian children’s book The Rainbow Goblins by Ul de Rico, sounds a little like a slap-bass-reimagined Green Jellÿ with Mike Patton at the helm, which, to be fair, is what Primus seem to have been shooting for the whole time. Still, Les Claypool and gang take their vision all the way, so prepare for a scene weird enough to fit the concept.TODD HAMM
Capitol Hill Block Party 2020
Capitol Hill Block Party is a large-scale weekend music festival that originally started as a charming neighborhood get-together and has since morphed into a massive spectacle of Top 40 headliners and Seattle heavy hitters converging during the dog days of summer in the Pike/Pine corridor.
BAM ARTSfair 2020
Shop arts from more than 300 creators and take advantage of free admission to the Bellevue Arts Museum at this annual festival, now in its 74th year, which they claim is the largest arts and crafts fair in the Northwest. The event includes the KIDSFair, the BAMboozle children's stage, a Sound & Movement stage with international acts, and a chalkfest.
Alaska Airlines Torchlight Parade 2020
Over 100 floats, marching bands, and performers will celebrate Seattle in this massive annual parade. Runners should also check out the Capital One Torchlight Run 2020 happening earlier in the evening.
Burgeoning pop star Camila Cabello fully divorced herself from Fifth Harmony when she struck out on her own with a widely acclaimed solo album, Camila. Join her on her Romance Tour.
JULY 31-AUGUST 2FESTIVALS
Seafair Weekend Festival 2020
The summer-long Seafair Festival culminates in a three-day extravaganza of signature outdoor activities like the Blue Angels' air shows, hydroplane racing, the Graham Trucking Seafair Cup, and a wakeboarding championship.
Watershed Country Music Festival will return to the Gorge for a wild weekend of twangin' goodness. Put on your "Shedder gear" (trucker hats?) and get ready for three whole days of down-home studs.
The Weeknd, Sabrina Claudio, Don Toliver
Prepare yourself for a deluge of LED lights on wildly popular Canadian hip-hop/R&B artist the Weeknd on this tour stop in support of his new album, After Hours.
Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival 2020
SIFF and MoPOP bring you the somewhat less pronounceable acronym SFFSFF. The mini-fest is composed of nearly two dozen new sci-fi and fantasy short films judged by a nationally assembled jury. Snap up tickets quickly; the event tends to sell out.
Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire
This annual festival will return to Bonney Lake's Kelley Farm (aka the village of Merriwick) for three weekends of jousting, chicken legs, and other medieval fun.
Guns N' Roses
Going in to the Guns N’ Roses “Once in a Lifetime” show a few summers ago at CenturyLink, I had low expectations. Based off their reputation, part of me was anticipating an all-out shitshow. Boy, was I wrong. The three original members—Axl , Slash, and Duff McKagan—were completely in sync, soaring through their massive collection of hits as bombs and fireworks exploded around them. They played for damn near four hours with a handful of costume changes thrown in for maximum Axl effect. It was exactly what you would want from a Guns N’ Roses show in all its ridiculous, fun, rock-and-roll glory.KEVIN DIERS
Mean Girls (Broadway at the Paramount)
A fish-out-of-water teenage nerd is tempted by a cruel high school clique in this musical based on the Tina Fey movie, with music by Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), lyrics by Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) and direction by Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).
Doe Bay Fest 13
Doe Bay Fest's grassroots festival weekend of camping, local music, food, and dancing in a little Orcas Island cove will return for its 13th year.
Summer Meltdown 2020
Nestled in the mountains of central Washington, Summer Meltdown aims to provide a weekend of high-energy live music performances in a lush woodland setting. Headliners will be announced soon, and there will also be "adventures" like rafting, helicopter rides, and kayaking.
Somehow the will of music-industry titans and the whims of music-consumer taste have converged, launching Australia’s Tame Impala as one of the big-festival psych-rock bands of the mid 2010s. Their debut album Innerspeaker introduced mastermind guitarist/vocalist Kevin Parker as an ambitious auteur prone to firmament-filling, heavily FX’d guitars and vocals that take John Lennon’s in “#9 Dream” to the heavens. Parker’s managed the rare feat of making rock songs that sprawl and possess memorable hooks while not ignoring the crowd-pleasing power of prominent, funky beats. Ironic that the guy who wrote the lovely “Solitude Is Bliss” now performs before several thousand people per show. DAVE SEGAL
Now that their Vegas residency is long over, the well-coiffed, nostalgia-pop-belting blood brothers of the Backstreet Boys will stop in Seattle on the second round of their DNA World Tour.
Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci (Seattle Opera)
Our impressive local opera company will open its latest season with two of the darkest yet most accessible operas around, the frequently paired short works Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Both belong to the verismo movement, an artistic endeavor to depict the common people rather than figures of royalty and mythology. In Cavalleria Rusticana, a love triangle in Sicily brings about despair and violent death. Pagliacci arguably started the scary clown trope with its story of a vaudeville troupe riven by lust, jealousy, and madness.
Korn, Faith No More
Pioneering nü-metal crew Korn will return to the Pacific Northwest alongside Faith No More for a nostalgia-driven summer tour.
AUGUST 14FOOD & DRINK
At this annual event commemorating Pike Place Market’s anniversary, more than 100 local restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and other vendors commune on the cobblestones during a balmy August evening, as the sun sinks low in the sky and casts a soft glow, and guests soak up food, drink, and live music.
Seattle Tattoo Expo 2020
The Pacific Northwest is a legendary province for permanently decorated flesh, but it's not the only one. This three-day expo hosted by Hidden Hand Tattoo features professional ink-givers from all over the world and promises chances to see displays, attend seminars, and even get yourself inked up by the right artist for you.
The Lumineers, Gregory Alan Isakov, Daniel Rodriguez
Indie folk-rock crown-holders and Washington sons the Lumineers will return to the region this summer for an evening with Gregory Alan Isakov and Daniel Rodriguez on their III: The World Tour.
The "premier flagship event of the global cannabis culture" may sound like a big claim, but as far as anyone can tell, Seattle's massive Hempfest isn't stretching the truth when it bills itself as such. Returning for the 29th year and touting itself as a major influence on weed legalization in Washington State, the cannabis convocation will bring three days of talks, pot-loving celebrity guests and congresspeople, and hundreds of vendors to Myrtle Edwards Park, where throngs of Seattle stoners will be greeted by four stages buzzing with live music, panel discussions, lectures, and other entertainment.
Seattle Design Festival 2020
Now in its 10th year, Design in Public's Seattle Design Festival explores how urbanism, architecture, and design can further justice, ecology, and community by featuring art installations and events in public spaces. This year's theme will be "About Time," and the festival will include all the staples, like the Block Party in South Lake Union (August 15–16).
Maroon 5, Meghan Trainor
Perennial billboard-charters Maroon 5, currently riding the waves of their latest big hit "Memories," will crest in Auburn on their worldwide tour with support from Meghan Trainor.
The Lumineers, Gregory Alan Isakov, Daniel Rodriguez
Indie folk-rock crown-holders and Washington sons the Lumineers will return to the region this summer for an evening with Gregory Alan Isakov and Daniel Rodriguez on their III: The World Tour.
Harry Styles, Jenny Lewis
Harry Styles, the pop scene darling, folk-pop-rock star, and young Mick Jagger-Elton John hybrid, will visit our fair region with a tour stop in Tacoma. Indie rock queen Jenny Lewis will open for his North America dates.
Washington State International Kite Festival
Sometimes the best part of living in the city is leaving it, and there’s no better time to explore the Pacific Northwest than the summer. One excellent excuse to get out of town is the annual International Kite Festival in Long Beach. Called the "the greatest, grandest kite festival on the North American continent" by KiteLife.com, you’ll see kites here you’ve never imagined. There are competitions for speed, for beauty, and for the best photos. Over 10,000 kite lovers come from all over the world to commune together, kite, and look toward the skies. KATIE HERZOG
AUGUST 22SPORTS & RECREATION
Seattle's biggest annual marathon/half marathon brings upwards of 15,000 runners every year.
AJR, Quinn XCII, Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers, Ashe
AJR started as a DIY trio of brothers, making music informed by their familial bond. Their energetic electro-pop has amassed millions of views on YouTube and netted them live sets on the Today show, The X-Factor, and Kelly and Michael, among others. They'll be joined by Quinn XCII, Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers, and Ashe on their Everything Everywhere Tour.
Blondie is, of course, the punk/rock/new wave '70s/'80s-era band led by sublime cooer Debbie Harry and known for incorporating elements of pop, reggae, disco, and even a little rap (if you can call what Harry did "rap"). They originally broke up in 1982 after releasing six albums, reunited in the late '90s, and have been enjoying repeat comebacks into the collective consciousness with each release since; the last outing to get Harry onto stages was 2017's collaborative Pollinator. Venerable rock/power-pop songwriter Elvis Costello had a similar come-up, as least as far as the era goes, and while he never charted like Blondie—barely at all in the U.S.—he's as well-known as an underground artist can be, is many times more prolific than his Harry-led peers (2018's Look Now was his 30th studio LP), and more forward-thinking ("Pump It Up" and "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea" were way ahead of 1978), and he's just plain cool. This seems like a sure sell-out. LEILANI POLK Sun Aug 23, 6 pm.
I heard Janet Jackson’s Control playing in Rudy’s on the Ave one day, and thought, shit, we need to put this near the top for 1980s albums. Sure, Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam plotted the reductionist signature sound, but hey, Janet Jackson’s big brother had brilliant collaborators he didn’t even bother to thank most of the time. A bit more humble that the mighty Mike, she told their evil father Joe to step off (he wanted the whole thing done under his thumb in Los Angeles) and bounded over to Minneapolis (the unlikeliest cool town apart from ours?). The rest, of course, history, and a lot of sweat. ANDREW HAMLIN
Back for its second year after a successful 2019 premiere, arts festival THING will expand on its original premise of providing live music, comedy, film, visual arts, dance, podcasts, and food amidst a verdant Pacific Northwest setting with an additional day of programming this year. Last year's docket included talents like Japanese Breakfast, Tank and the Bangas, Jeff Tweedy, and De La Soul, so expect some big names again on the 2020 lineup.
Crowd-pleasing soul singer and classically trained pianist Alicia Keys is hitting the road for the first time in seven years. Expect to hear classics from her massive album Songs in A Minor, as well as plenty of new material.
Def Leppard, Motley Crüe, Poison, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Relive your best hair days with this quadruple-threat bill of '80s stalwarts Def Leppard, Motley Crüe, Poison, and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts on this cleverly-named "Stadium" tour.
Bumbershoot, Seattle's biggest music, comedy, and arts festival, will take over Seattle Center for Labor Day Weekend 2020 for the 50th year.
Dave Matthews Band
Birkenstock-rock legend and #1 dad bod Dave Matthews will perform all three days of Labor Day Weekend for the 29th anniversary of his band and in promotion of his latest studio album.
SEPTEMBER 4-7GEEK & GAMING
PAX West 2020
Seattle's annual Labor Day weekend convention devoted exclusively to gaming is always hugely popular, often selling out soon after tickets go on sale. The convention features dozens of panels with special guests, an exhibit hall, new game demonstrations, and video game-inspired musical performances.
Washington State Fair
The first days of autumn coincide with the latter portion of the annual Washington State Fair in Puyallup, which brings family-friendly activities like rides and games, carnival food, free music and performances, baby animals, cultural events, produce contests, a rodeo, live concerts, and much more.
The Doobie Brothers
You may have caught them on Washington tour stops with ZZ Top and Santana in the past, but now the San Jose-bred roots-rock group the Doobie Brothers will take the stage as headliners on their 50th Anniversary Tour.
This one's for the lovers. R&B crooner John Legend eschews the production trickery found in most Top 40 slow jams these days—the Auto-Tune, the deep-sea minimalism—in favor of a more nostalgic, reverent take on soul. He's got the pipes to back up the retro fetishism and the Rolodex to remain radio-relevant, getting guest verses from the likes of Pusha T and Rick Ross.
Nickelback, Stone Temple Pilots, SWITCHFOOT
Simultaneously deeply hated and best-selling, Nickelback will return to our fair region for a night out in Auburn with other alt rock acts Stone Temple Pilots and SWITCHFOOT.
Dana Gould is one of the most inventive, brilliant, and respected comics in the business. He was a writer on The Simpsons for seven years, and has been closely associated with excellent TV, including The Ben Stiller Show and Parks and Recreation. More recently, he wrote an episode of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Netflix reboot and created the IFC horror-comedy show Stan Against Evil. He's appeared in Southbound, Creepshow, and more. He's acerbic, self-flagellating, and capable of spinning off into elaborate physical set pieces (you'll never hear the phrase "day-old chocolate cocks" the same way again) that shock you with their dark majesty. Go see Dana Gould do live stand-up so you can know what it's like to be in the presence of actual, uncomfortable greatness.SEAN NELSON
SEPTEMBER 11-OCTOBER 4PERFORMANCE
The Laugh Track (ACT Theatre)
This play by Wendy MacLeod, developed at the Hedgebrook Women’s Playwright Festival, argues the obvious (but sadly not-so-obvious to some people): Women can be funny.
Matchbox Twenty, The Wallflowers
Relive the most earnest moments and deeply alt sounds of the '90s and '00s with slick frontman Rob Thomas and his crew of Matchbox Twenty, with guest opener the Wallflowers.
Despite Gene Simmons' political fanaticism and the band's many schisms over the years, iconic makeup metal group KISS is still gigging hard and will hit the Pacific Northwest this winter on their End of the Road World Tour, marking the chosen finale of their tenure as a band.
SEPTEMBER 19-20SPORTS & RECREATION
Seattle Tough Mudder 2020
If you've participated in past Tough Mudder races, prepare yourself for a revamped obstacle course complete with eight to 10 miles packed with 25 hurdles, including steep-sided gravel pits, deep-wood runs, a century-old coal heap, and lots of sludgy black coal mud.
SEPTEMBER 21-22FOOD & DRINK
Raise a (gigantic, oversized) stein to Seattle's biggest fall beer festival, which features over 100 craft beers and ciders.
SEPTEMBER 25-27FOOD & DRINK
Grab a bier and celebrate Oktoberfest with live German music, traditional foods, DJs, games, contests, and more at this three-day festival.
EDM mega-producer Marshmello will come to Seattle on his Joytime: Into the Melloverse Tour.
Major Annual September Events with Dates TBA: Seattle Cider Summit
An Evening with They Might Be Giants
The creative and sometimes absurd humor of a couple of Johns (Flansburgh and Linnell) has fueled the alt-rock and weirdo pop of They Might Be Giants for going on 36 years and 20 albums now (their last, I Like Fun, dropped in January 2018). Seriously, that’s a lot of time to be making original music together, and even more impressive, making it “funny,” or cheekily educational, or simply quirky as fuck. If you’ve not been charmed and uplifted by TMBG, start with their “hits”—“Birdhouse in Your Soul” and “Istanbul” (not Constantinople—“Why’d they change it, I can’t say? People just liked it better that way!”)—then move on to 1992’s Apollo 18. “I Palindrome I,” “Mammal,” and “Dinner Bell” are all wonderful, but if you’re pressed for time, skim the “Fingertips” shorts, each of which last between five and 28 seconds.LEILANI POLK
OCTOBER 2-4FOOD & DRINK
16th Annual Oktoberfest Northwest
Oktoberfest NW is Western Washington's largest Munich-style "festhalle biergarten," complete with German food, bier, dancing and entertainment. They also offer Hammerschlagen, a German drinking game involving a hammer, nails, and a tree stump.
OCTOBER 2-17FOOD & 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.
Dan + Shay
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 this arena tour.
My Chemical Romance
Genre holdouts My Chemical Romance will bring their particular brand of EMP charm back to our fair region on their nationwide 2020 tour.
Orcas Island Film Festival 2020
Head to Orcas for this top-quality film festival—with more than 30 feature-length and short films—featuring progressive plots and directors. As Jasmyne Keimig wrote of the 2019 edition, "Attendees will have the chance to see some films twice or catch a film they might’ve missed the first time." This festival gets better every year.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Weyes Blood
You, and I, and most regular people know Nick Cave from the Bad Seeds. (For a frame of reference, the slinky, spooky "Red Right Hand" is the opening theme to the BBC period crime drama Peaky Blinders). Some of us also know him for his early tenure as frontman of influential 1970s-era band the Birthday Party (see: "Release the Bats," "Mr. Clarinet"). Cave's style has always been deep, dark, and gothic, like his baritone vocals and looks (ink-black hair, pale skin, well-cut black suits, fathomless eyes).LEILANI POLK
Seattle Queer Film Festival 2020
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.
We know reality is scarier than fiction right now, so go on—put your darkest fears on film. From classic ghost stories and slasher films, to dystopian cults and political nightmares, we want to see you SLAY!, the new amateur horror film fest from the people who brought you HUMP! And yes... just like with our other film festivals, there are CASH PRIZES! Audiences attending SLAY will judge the films and vote by secret ballot. These votes will be counted up, and a scary amount of money will be awarded to the winning filmmakers in four categories: "Goriest" film will win... $2,000! "Funniest" film will win... $2,000! "Scariest" film will win... $2,000! "Best in Show" film will win... a whopping $5,000! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Zac Brown Band
Singer and bandleader Zac Brown is pretty much on perma-tour, sharing his roughly hewn sound around the country with his backing band. He'll take over the area for an evening, playing tracks from his collection of platinum-certified studio albums.
Elixir of Love (Seattle Opera)
Seattle Opera will take on the enchanting L'Elisir d'amore or the Elixir of Love, a full-hearted comic opera that follows the story of a country boy who falls in love with a farmer's daughter and the successes and failures that befall him.
OCTOBER 23-NOVEMBER 15PERFORMANCE
Witch (ACT Theatre)
In Jen Silverman's Witch, a riff on the 15th-century fable The Witch of Edmonton, the Devil comes to a sleepy town and tries to capture a woman named Elizabeth, whom everyone believes to be a witch.
Major Annual October Events with Dates TBA: Earshot Jazz Festival, Freaknight, Lit Crawl, Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, Borealis
OCTOBER 31–NOVEMBER 1GEEK & GAMING
For the 10th year, geek girls (and all gender identities) can revel in another great lineup of panel discussions, games, science experiments, and vendors.
NOVEMBER 7VISUAL ART
Short Run Comix & Arts Festival 2020
Now in its 10th year, Short Run has firmly established itself as an indie comix festival of the first order, featuring well over a hundred local, national, and international publishers. RICH SMITH
Freakout Fest 8 2020
If the acts at Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot skew a bit too young and EDM-ish for you, you may want to check out Freakout Festival, which has been gradually improving in quality over the last seven years. What began as a psych-rock-heavy event has morphed into something more diverse, while still retaining elements of its original mission statement (see the festival name). DAVE SEGAL
NOVEMBER 14-15FOOD & DRINK
Northwest Chocolate Festival
Now in its 11th year, this gathering of artisan chocolate makers actually extends beyond the Northwest to more than 20 countries around the globe.
OPENING NOVEMBER 25FILM
No Time to Die (Wide release)
Cary Joji Fukunaga of True Detective and Beasts of No Nation (also the writer of It) directs the newest Daniel Craig-starring James Bond outing, in which Bond is pulled back into active service when his CIA friend puts him on the path of a sinister, high-tech villain. Recommended for spy film fans, of course, but also for lovers of stellar ensemble casts: This baby also features Lashana Lynch (of Captain Marvel), Ana de Armas (Craig's co-star from Knives Out), Rami Malek, Christoph Waltz, and Léa Seydoux.
Major Annual November Events with Dates TBA: Seattle Turkey Trot, WildLights
John Waters Christmas: It's A Yuletide Massacre
The trash-auteur King of Filth, who can probably be considered a patron saint of Seattle at this point, will bring his particular brand of cheer, featuring "reindeer virgin births, the illegally squatting Christ-child and chubby-chasing Mrs. Claus."
Christmas Lighting Festival
Holiday cheer abounds in Washington's own Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth, which celebrates the season with live Christmas music, visits from both St. Nickolaus and Santa Claus, sledding, and more—all culminating in glorious lighting ceremonies every Saturday and Sunday.
OPENING DECEMBER 18FILM
West Side Story (Wide release)
What a collaboration! Steven Spielberg and playwright/screenwriter Tony Kushner adapt the 1957 musical about two love-struck young people from rival gangs, one Polish and one Puerto Rican. It'll be awesome to see Rita Moreno, Anita from the 1961 version, onscreen again! Also starring Ansel Elgort as Tony and, in her debut, Colombian American singer-songwriter Rachel Zegler.
Dune (Wide release)
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) adapts Frank Herbert's desert-planet-set sci-fi megalith with Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, and other big stars.
Major Annual December Events with Dates TBA: Christmas Ship Festival, Resolution, Sheraton Grand Gingerbread Village, SantaCon