Our music critics have already chosen the 27 best concerts this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn. Here are their picks for the best events in every genre—from Local Sightings to GeekGirlCon, and from the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival to Jinkx Monsoon & Bob the Drag Queen in Peaches Christ's Hocum Pokem. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.
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Holcombe Waller: Notes from the Riverkeepers
Holcombe Waller’s Notes from the Riverkeepers , which explores the 2016 Mosier, Oregon, train derailment, is a folk, blues and soul-inspired "musical response" to Waller’s three-month artist residency with the Columbia Riverkeeper in 2016. Featuring Dana J. on drums, Justin Miller on bass, and Joshua Thomas on keyboards and guitars.
Nathan Englander: Dinner at the Center of the Earth
Nathan Englander is the author of several acclaimed short story collections (For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank) that deal with morality, politics, Israel, Orthodox Judaism, and lapsed orthodoxy with humor and precision, as well as the novel The Ministry of Special Cases, set during Argentina's devastating "Dirty War." Englander is here to share his latest book, Dinner at the Center of the Earth, a political thriller that explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The novel is highly anticipated, though the critics at Kirkus Review were not too impressed, referencing Englander's uneven and unfocused tone.
John Criscitello: In Code
John Criscitello is well known around Capitol Hill for his public art about anti-gentrification featuring "Woo Girls" and homophobic Amazon bros. This new show features "rock stars, reimagined album covers, and printed garments," communicating "gay identity and the fragile architecture of masculinity" through traditional media, video, and installation.
This show is closing on Thursday.
Raven Skyriver: Surge
See new works by realist glass artist and San Juan Islands native Raven Skyriver (Tlingit), depicting sea creatures and the pressing threats to their existence. In addition to delicate and eerily convincing sea lions, fish, orcas, otters, shellfish, and whales, the gallery is displaying collaborations between Skyriver and his wife, fellow glass artist, Kelly O'Dell, and photographs by his sister, Summer Moon Scriver.
This show is closing on Saturday.
For the past 20 years, Local Sightings has boosted filmmakers "from Alaska to Oregon" and has worked dedicatedly to curate what Charles Mudede called "best films that our region has to offer." In addition to screenings, the Northwest Film Forum will host parties, conversations, and an award ceremony.
See stoic and pastoral paintings by Z.Z. Wei that will transport you "to a place where time stands still."
This show is closing on Sunday.
Bard In A Bar: Macbeth
Shakespeare would no doubt approve of Bard in a Bar: This edition will present Macbeth, that witchy, doomy, fatalistic tale of a couple's murderous ambition and catastrophic downfall. They promise a lot of audience participation, and they'll supply the props and scripts.
Ben Hatke in Conversation with Kazu Kibuishi
Two best-selling graphic novelists, Ben Hatke (Zita the Spacegirl and Flight Explorer) and Kazu Kibuishi (Flight, Amulet, and Copper), will share their latest works at this art-infused literary event. Hatke will also discuss the last of his Might Jack novels, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, with Kibuishi.
Eli Finkel with Dan Savage: The All-or-Nothing Marriage
Eli J. Finkel, professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, will share his new book The All-or-Nothing Marriage, a research-based treatise on the institution of marriage and how to improve it. He'll be joined by our own Dan Savage, who for years has been advocating against the all-eggs-in-one-basket approach to relationships. Look forward to a funny, honest, academically-informed discussion of commitment, fidelity, and communication.
Major Margaret Witt: The Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights
Major Margaret Witt attracted international attention after she was discharged from the military on a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" violation (The Stranger's Eli Sanders covered the story several times). Eventually a federal judge in Tacoma ruled that she should be reinstated, and just months after that decision was made, Obama repealed DADT. Now Witt will visit Seattle to tell her own story and share her new memoir, Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights.
Six Pack Series
Six Pack is my favorite reading series in town. First and foremost, I love the crowd: They're typically pretty sauced and rowdy, but also fully prepared to have a good public sad. Second but also very important: Every time I go, I discover at least one incredible local writer/performer who I've never seen before, or at least one writer/performer who I love but who is trying out something new and exciting due to the demands of the series. The theme for this iteration is "Doppelgangers, Avatars, and Code Names: What I Learned When I Wasn't Myself." Readers who will be revealing their alter egos include Stranger alum Cienna Madrid, genderqueer artistic director for DangerSwitch Eddie Dehais, and performance artist Kaitlin McCarthy. RICH SMITH
Is Free Speech Hate Speech?
Join a conversation on free speech and hate speech with Dr. Caitlin Ring-Carlson, Dr. Erik Olsen, and Dr. Jason Wirth. Topics will include the legal limits of hate speech, the ethics and responsibilities of free speech, how social media affects the First Amendment, how speech is entwined with gender, race, ethnicity, and religion, and others.
Once again, The Stranger's Resist/Recharge invites you to meet local activists who are fighting marginalization, bigotry, and other bullshit. Our speakers on this night are Russell Brooks of the Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre and Daniel Pak of Totem Star, both of whom are involved in organizations that boost young artists of color. Steven Hsieh, news editor of The Stranger, will moderate. Eat, drink, and get inspired!
Old Masters: Dürer, Rembrandt, & Burgkmair
See early prints and manuscript leaves from Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Johannes Grüninger, and others.
This show is closing Saturday.
King of the Yees
Nationally celebrated playwright Lauren Yee is just 21 years old, and already she's written more than a half-dozen plays that explore culture and history through humor and charming dialogue. She only seems to be picking up steam: another of her works, The Great Leap, will be staged at the Seattle Rep in the spring. King of the Yees promises a self-aware analysis of her own family history. F. Kathleen Foley at the Los Angeles Times wrote: "Although the play can be maddeningly random, it is a delightfully disorderly entertainment, as sprawling and silly as it is unexpectedly moving."
In addition to Adam Pascal (who played Roger in the original production of Rent), Something Rotten! also stars Rob McClure and Josh Grisetti as two brothers who are trying to write a hit play in the 1590s but are stuck in Shakespeare's shadow. When a soothsayer tells them that the future of theater involves singing, dancing, and acting at the same time, they set out to write the world’s very first musical. This show was supposed to be in the 5th Avenue's 2014–2015 season, but it was canceled because it went straight to Broadway. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Far Out Films
Starting this week, SIFF will present six films that were chosen specifically for a stoney audience, and that are meant to pair well with Headlight's high-potency cannabis. This week, get lost in space with Gravity in 3D.
Basque Country: Eric Swikard
Eric Swikard of Vin2U Wine Group will be pouring a variety of vino to wrap up Bar Ferd'nand's September Basque Country series.
A Drink for Vera: Fall Edition
Support your favorite all-ages music and arts space by drinking a ton and throwing your money around. The Vera Project asks for your best liver with their annual booze-infused fundraiser that contributes to their venue upkeep and programming. DJs will shepherd the night along with their best cuts.
Work Release: Austin Smith
Chef Austin Smith of The Carlile Room will prepare a multi-course meal of "Low Country Haute Cuisine" for Work Release, a dinner series offering cooks and chefs the chance to experiment with cuisines outside of their normal menu confines.
Franklin Foer: World Without Mind
Wide-eyed ideologues run giant tech companies that threaten to reduce adult citizens to toddlers and to undermine the country's democratic institutions. The galling part of these companies' pursuits, according to Franklin Foer's unapologetically tweedy and yet completely accessible World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, is their blatant but unacknowledged hypocrisy. Foer surprisingly but convincingly argues that these companies find their ideological roots not in the strain of techno-libertarianism that animates the minds of Silicon Valley's successful "thought leaders," but rather in the utopian communalism of the late 1960s, which was preached by early tech evangelists like Stewart Brand, and which is carried on today by futurists such as Ray Kurzweil. Foer was the editor of the venerable but volatile New Republic when Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes bought the magazine and set out to transform it into a profit making "vertically integrated digital media company." It's no surprise that Foer's sentences find most of their fire when he's describing the ways big tech has devalued the profession of writing. These sections, as well as the sections on big tech's monopolistic aims, should be required reading. RICH SMITH
The first half of this group show about materiality and time will feature work by UW MFA students in Art + Art History + Design, and the second half will highlight pieces by UW alumni, UW faculty, and regional artists. Both phases of the exhibition will "enact changes over time, taking up the dynamic forces of that continually shape and reshape matter, extending the legacies of kinetic art and process-based artworks."
This show is opening Wednesday.
Doris Totten Chase: Changing Forms
Henry Art Gallery is showing the first retrospective of Seattle/New York artist Doris Totten Chase (1923–2008). Chase started out as a painter and sculptor—one of the few women associated with the Northwest School. In 1968, she shot a video of dancers interacting with her sculptures, and soon she was using Boeing's computer imaging technology to produce early and influential computer-generated video art. Chase lived and worked in New York during the 1970s and ’80s, and today her video and film works are in the collection of MoMA. Now is your chance to see them in the other city Chase called home. EMILY POTHAST
This show is closing Sunday.
If You Don’t They Will: no. NOT EVER.
Beginning in the late 1970s, an idea known as the Northwest Territorial Imperative encouraged members of white-supremacist groups nationwide to move to a five-state area (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Western Montana) in the hopes of one day declaring this region an Aryan homeland. In response to this call, a network of some 120 rural and suburban grassroots groups sprung up to counter racist attacks in their communities. While rarely recognized in activist histories, these groups developed creative and resourceful strategies for confronting racism, sharing resources, and setting boundaries to prevent white nationalism from gaining ground. The history of these groups is the subject of no. NOT EVER., an exhibition by Seattle activist group If You Don't They Will. no. NOT EVER. is an information archive and experiential lab that presents more than two and a half hours of video and audio interviews with individuals who were actively involved in these grassroots groups in the 1980s and 1990s, during the height of the Northwest Territorial Imperative. It's both a living history archive and a place to learn from suburban and rural organizers who have been facing down white nationalists in their communities for decades—a crash course we could all benefit from in this historical moment. EMILY POTHAST
This show is closing Sunday.
Jacob Lawrence: Eight Studies for the Book of Genesis
It's been 100 years since American artist Jacob Lawrence was born, and Seattle is celebrating appropriately. Seattle Art Museum's gigantic, unprecedented exhibit of all 60 panels from his Migration Series drew large crowds in April, and now there's an exhibit of silkscreen prints at the Henry. These works explore the Genesis creation narrative ("In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," etc.) and are based on Lawrence's experience listening to sermons at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.
This show is closing Sunday.
Sara Porkalob has been completely overhauling this show about her badass Filipino gangster grandma for a couple of years. It began as a solo show at the Fringe Festival, morphed into a more refined solo show at Theater Off Jackson, transformed into a dinner theater musical at Cafe Nordo, and is now a full-fledged musical with a live band and a tighter book. If you have yet to check out any of Dragon Lady's many iterations, this is the one to see. Intiman artistic director Andrew Russell, who is leaving us soon, will direct. RICH SMITH
Seattle Shakespeare Company will stage one of Shakespeare's most intricate (and currently relevant) plays, a fresco of ambition, patriotism, irrationality, friendship, doom, and a bit of skulduggery.
Mundane Magic + Prize Inside the Box Closing Party/Book Release
Before it closes, check out Mundane Magic, a collection of drawings and comics by Andrew Lamb Schultz that "concentrates on the little lives of ordinary people, in and out of love, young and old, alone and together, as they face the audience." This party will also be your last chance to see Tara Thomas's Prize Inside the Box show, and you'll get to hear a reading of Thomas's diaries (which include stories of "having sex with people and drinking a lot of Franzia during her self-imposed, two-year break from art production"). The event description also alludes to "a dramatic presentation of a weird late night facebook conversation" and "Franzia slushies."
Re:Definition 3rd Exhibit Launch Party
See works by Joe Seymour, Jr, hear music provided by DJ Topspin (aka Blendiana Jones), and enjoy bites from Tarik Abdullah to celebrate the launch of Re:Definition's third exhibit. In partnership with Potlatch Fund and curated by Tracy Rector.
Celebrate World Sake Day with a five-course menu from Chef Taichi Kitamura, paired with sake from Kappo Tamura's sake founder and sake sommelier Richie Hawtin.
Jinkx Monsoon & Bob the Drag Queen in Peaches Christ's "Hocum Pokem"
Don't let the internet fool you. Peaches Christ is more than an "underground drag" performer. Christ is a drag legend—the only thing underground about her is that she isn't RuPaul. Her irreverent stage productions frequently roll through Seattle, capitalizing on local talent while featuring RuPaul's Drag Race contestants. Hocum Pokem will include a star-studded coven of Jinkx Monsoon, Bob the Drag Queen, and Peaches Christ herself. I can't think of a better way for drag fans and queerdos to kick off the spookiest of seasons. CHASE BURNS
Everyday Africa with Peter DiCampo and Charles Mudede
Everyday Africa is a popular Instagram feed created by Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill that uses a deluge of gorgeous photos to overpower negative media-driven stereotypes. At this event, DiCampo will share some of the most famous and noteworthy images from the feed and discuss the new book Everyday Africa: 30 Photographers Re-Picturing a Continent. After DiCampo speaks, our own film editor and native Zimbabwean Charles Mudede will moderate a panel of smart people from Seattle's African community, who will discuss "the power of media to empower or to disenfranchise."
Frances McCue: Timber Curtain Book Launch
Hugo House founder, educator, poet, and author Frances McCue probably deserves a few more titles—she's a versatile, ambitious, multidisciplinary figure in the Seattle literary scene, and someone you should know if you care about good writing and good community. At this event, she'll share her new book Timber Curtain (related to the upcoming feature-length film Where the House Was, about Hugo House) that deals with loss, change, and nostalgia.
Nicole Krauss: Forest Dark
Novelist Nicole Krauss (Man Walks Into a Room, The History of Love, and Great House) will discuss her new book, Forest Dark, which boasts an incredible quote from Philip Roth on the cover: "A brilliant novel. I am full of admiration." In the novel, a 60-something New Yorker named Jules Epstein impulsively journeys to Israel, where he becomes tangled with an American rabbi's quest to reunite the descendants of King David—including, apparently, Epstein. Meanwhile, a young novelist also arrives in Tel Aviv to get involved in another mystery.
Demian DinéYazhi, an indigenous Diné (Navajo) transdisciplinary artist from Portland Oregon, is the winner of the 2017 Brink Award. As a guest curator for September at Bridge Productions, DinéYazi has brought together the work of photographer Kali Spitzer, ceramicist and sculptor Lia Greisser, and photo, video, and performance artist Nika Kaiser. The work of these three young artists seems married by an interest in effusive form that revels in its own embodiment. The title implies vulnerability, the most difficult thing to cultivate in times of violence and uncertainty. I can't wait to see how these artists fill the space. EMILY POTHAST
This show is closing Saturday.
Nola Avienne: Sleep Study
By day, Nola Avienne works as a phlebotomist—the technician who draws your blood at the doctor's office. She's also a scientifically minded artist whose work has incorporated, among other things, expertly handled blood. For her new show at SOIL, Avienne translates MRI images of her own brain into large-scale watercolors and magnetic sculptures inspired by the science of sleep. In choosing the mapping of the unconscious mind as her subject matter, Avienne reveals a paradox: What is the true nature of the hidden places we visit in dream states? Rather than attempt an answer, Avienne uses these maps to aestheticize the experience of interior worlds. EMILY POTHAST
This show is closing Sunday.
Belarus Free Theatre: Burning Doors
This theater company is banned in its home country. They perform in apartments and at secret outdoor locations in Belarus—but even then, they’re often harassed and apprehended by authorities. Outside of their country, however, their frenetic, gorgeous, and frankly punk-as-fuck performances have critics handing out every star they’re allowed to give. In Burning Doors, the company takes as its subject the violent lives of artists trying to produce work under the boot of dictatorial regimes. The creators of this show, including featured artist Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot, understand the contours of that life intimately. RICH SMITH
George Balanchine's Jewels
Considered one of choreographer George Balanchine’s greatest ballets, Jewels is a masterpiece of escapism designed to showcase a company’s best dancers. Gabriel Fauré’s rich, romantic music drives the opener, “Emeralds.” The dance’s tone matches Stranger Genius Award nominee Noelani Pantastico’s style perfectly, so you’ll want to try to catch her in the lead role. The middle piece, “Rubies,” is a stunner. Igor Stravinsky’s wild music has the principals moving nonstop and performing feats of athleticism every 15 seconds. “Diamonds” kind of combines the two. It’s lovely and elegant but requires lots of fancy footwork. In general, the show is a great starting point for ballet virgins and a treat for veterans. A tip: On September 29, PNB is doing a casual “Beer and Ballet” performance. You can find some main floor tickets on that day for $39. RICH SMITH
The Who & the What
Ayad Akhtar is best known for his celebrated, Pulitzer Prize–winning play Disgraced (2012), which explored Muslim identity and Islamophobia through an animated conversation at a four-person dinner party. ArtsWest will open its season with Akhtar's 2014 play The Who & the What, which again investigates elements of Muslim identity while also examining gender roles and familial expectations. Akhtar's writing is full of drama and humor, and this play features dating woes, family strife, and a controversial book about the prophet Muhammad.
FRIDAYFOOD & DRINK
Hive to Table Reception
Celebrate National Honey month by treating yourself to a honey-centric evening at the annual Hive to Table reception. This year's menu features oysters, baron of beef with Salish Honey BBQ sauce, salmon, canapés, and honey desserts. Wash it all down with honey cocktails and Salish's Pike Hive Five Hopped Honey Ale, then get a honey hand massage treatment, see how the spa makes its honey scrub, chat with Salish's Beekeeper, Daniel Sullivan, and more.
The Construction Zone
This edition of the Construction Zone is a month-long workshop curated by eSe Teatro, where you have the chance to see new work by contemporary Latino playwrights. Plus, you'll get a preview of what's coming up next at ACT, because one play from the series will be featured in ACTLab and eSe Teatro's 2018 season. The final show in the series will be Querencia, about a 13-year-old boy in L.A. who's "grappling with his sexual identity" and dreaming "about what it would be like to escape" his neighborhood.
If you like your Oktoberfest with fountains of kitsch, it's worth the trip to Leavenworth's rigorously quaint faux-Bavarian village. This Oktoberfest, complete with a mayoral keg-tapping, oompah bands headed by Musikkappelle Leavenworth, and piles and piles of food, is always a destination for out-of-towners. It doesn't hurt that you'll be surrounded by mountains so glorious that, after a few beers, you can pretend you're King Ludwig himself.
13th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival
There will be more than 80 pumpkin beers (including about 20 from "Elysian’s pumpkin-crazed brewers and their collaborators"), food trucks, pumpkin carving, the Chaotic Noise Marching Corps, DJs, and other seasonal festivities at this annual celebration of the fall-flavored beverage. Plus, like every year, there will be a several-hundred-pound pumpkin that's filled with Elysian pumpkin beer and tapped.
FRIDAY-SUNDAYFOOD & DRINK
Everett Sausage Fest
Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Sausage. Fest. No. Wrong. Not funny. This is a Bavarian-style food fest for the whole family. So please behave yourself and enjoy live music, a wine garden, a carnival, food (besides sausages), a raffle, and more.
SATURDAYFOOD & DRINK
Celebrate Sake Day with Dewazakura Brewery
Join Mr. Kamota of Dewazakura Brewery, founded in Japan in 1892, for World Sake Day at Kokkaku—Seattle restaurant veterans Julie Shizukuishi and Rudy Velasquez's new Japanese-inspired meat house. The five-course menu features Hudson Valley foie gras pate and cara cara orange, table-side soft tofu with Kakitama Jiru, Totten Inlet geoduck and tagliatelle of daikon, Miyazaki Wagyu New York strip loin with Oregon wasabi, and matcha panna cotta. Each dish is paired with a Dewazakura sake selected by Shizukuishi and Mr. Kamoto.
Mid-Autumn Festival: Beer Release + Mooncakes!
In Chinese culture, this harvest celebration is held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Drink a special Lotus Seed Paste beer, eat Mooncakes, and win prizes.
Live Wire Radio with Luke Burbank
Live Wire Radio, a nonprofits arts show hosted by Luke Burbank, will host a conversation with Emmy-winning writer Kevin Avery (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver), Northwest filmmaker Lynn Shelton, and slack key guitarist Makana.
Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot
Don't miss Maria Alyokhina, the punk rocker and activist who was sentenced to two years in jail for "organized hooliganism" for her performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. She's touring with her book Riot Days, which relates her story as a Pussy Riot member and political prisoner.
Calling all geek girls! A two-day convention born of a panel at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con called “Geek Girls Exist,” GeekGirlCon calls attention to the underrepresentation of women in the tech and gaming world. Some of the speakers at this year's event include Lil Chen ("a former competitive Super Smash Brothers Melee player and full-time UX designer"), comic book writer G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel), hypnotist Maritess Zurbano, and other diverse ladies who've made their careers in nerdy male-dominated fields. The Con provides a safe space for women and queer people of all backgrounds to geek out, whether their passion is science, sci-fi pop culture, software, gaming, or some other field we're not savvy enough to have heard of yet. All are invited: "Anyone supporting women in geeky pursuits is welcome." Hopefully that includes you, dudes. Go for panels and workshops, a market, a DIY science zone, networking, a fashion show, photo booths, cosplay, and a closing party.
Northwest Tea Festival
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Northwest Tea Festival, and you'll get to learn about everything from tea etiquette to cooking with tea (like tea eggs, aka the most delicious things on earth) to how tea and meditation go hand in hand. Plus, you'll get to feel extra fancy with a porcelain tasting cup in your hand (provided with admission), which you'll use for sampling at the tea bar plus special vendor booths. There will be a full lineup of workshops, activities, and vendors.
SUNDAYFOOD & DRINK
An Incredible Feast
The extremely popular Incredible Feast dinner (put on by Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets and benefiting the Good Farmer Fund) is back again, and it will feature more than 15 of the city's best and most innovative chefs, paired with local farmers to create a 20+ course meal. There will also be local breweries, wineries, live music, carnival-style games, and a silent auction. Last year, guest chefs like Tamara Murphy of Terra Plata and Heong Soon Park of Chan Seattle (along with lots of other big names) came together to put on an unforgettable spread, and this year's lineup is sure to be just as impressive.
The Bare Witch Project 2: Book of Strippers
Enjoy hot-blooded Halloween chills at this sexy spooky show. (We admit that we at first imagined a burlesque version of The Blair Witch Project, but this probably was a better idea.)