The 33 Best Things To Do In Seattle This Week: August 14-20, 2017

The Ballard Burrito Festival, Hempfest, Madame Butterfly, And More Critics' Picks
August 14, 2017
At the Ballard Burrito Fest on Saturday, the offerings won't be limited to the classics—you can also try sushi burritos. (Shutterstock)

Our music critics have already chosen the 29 best concerts in Seattle this week, but now it's our arts and culture critics' turn to pick the best events in their areas of expertise. Here are their picks in every genre—from Madame Butterfly to Hempfest. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.

Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play.


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

MONDAY

FILM

:| Depths |: August Edition with Videodrome
It was only a matter of time before Depths mastermind Andrew Crawshaw (aka Meridian Arc) would get down to the important task of creating a new soundtrack to David Cronenberg’s very fucked-up 1983 sci-fi-horror film Videodrome. Howard Shore’s original score conveys the queasy atmospheres of the director’s twisted vision with maleficent proficiency. Shore certainly manifested a subtly disturbing backdrop for Videodrome’s characters’ hallucinatory experiences, so Crawshaw and his stalwart accomplices have their work cut out for them. Expect them to rise to the occasion. Go for Debbie Harry’s and James Wood’s acting and Cronenberg’s visceral surrealism, stay for the sinister synth emissions. DAVE SEGAL

READINGS & TALKS

Danzy Senna
Danzy Senna’s new novel, New People, follows a young mixed-race grad student, Maria, who's studying the Jonestown Massacre, and whose relationship with her newly black-identified fiancé, Khalil, is complicated by her sudden obsession with a black poet.

MONDAY-TUESDAY

ART

SAM Gallery: Ryan Molenkamp
Ryan Molenkamp's large-scale landscapes lend abstract textures and saturated colors to the geography of the Northwest. His paintings will be on display through Tuesday only.

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY

PERFORMANCE

Over & Under
These two one-act plays by Bret Fetzer and Juliet Waller Pruzan (Spin the Bottle) explore alternate lives on mass transit: In the sky (Cumulus) and underground (Turnstile).

MONDAY-SATURDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Latona Pub 30th Anniversary
Green Lake favorite Latona Pub is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and to commemorate the occasion, they're going all out. A week of guest brewery releases, special dinners, and more will culminate in an anniversary bash on Saturday.

TUESDAY

QUEER

WA State Trans Survey: Press Conference and Community Meeting
The Gender Justice League, Pride Foundation, and Ingersoll Gender Center will go through the results of the Washington State US Trans Survey, which gathered information on trans experiences from 27,715 respondents (1,667 of whom were Washingtonians) in 2015. Discuss what we can learn from the survey and use that knowledge to boost housing, employment, and social justice.

READINGS & TALKS

David B. Williams, Tom Heuser, Rob Ketcherside
I just spent way too long watching a YouTube video of Seattle writer and naturalist David B. Williams telling a crowd of people about that time a civic engineer named Reginald H. Thomson convinced Seattle to use water cannons to blast away one of its seven sacred hills so that businesses could "flow unhampered in its natural channels." His description of this large-scale terraforming project—the Denny regrade—and all the other massive, manmade, or glacial changes to the land is fascinating, as is their bearing on contemporary conversations about the way the city is changing to this day. He'll be discussing his book about walking around in Seattle (Seattle Walks: Discovering History and Nature in the City) along with Rob Ketcherside and Tom Heuser of the Capitol Hill Historical Society. Those two local historians will enrich Williams's natural focus by adding some of the history of the Pike/Pine corridor, which includes Auto Row and Seattle’s gay history. RICH SMITH

TUESDAY-FRIDAY

ART

Untold Passage
Explore the unwritten histories of immigrant communities at this exhibit that merges poetry, visual art, and history to draw attention to previously repressed stories. Featured artists will include Mary Anne Peters, Zhi Lin, and Rodrigo Valenzuela.
This exhibit closes friday.

WEDNESDAY

READINGS & TALKS

Matthew Zapruder: Why Poetry
If you're like anyone I've ever met in my life, you probably hate poetry because you feel like you don't "get it" or because you've dated a poet. If it's the latter, then you're lost forever to the genre and I can't blame you. But if it's the former, Matthew Zapruder is here to help with his new book, Why Poetry. The editor at large of Seattle's own Wave Books and the former poetry editor at the New York Times returns to the home country to knock back swill at the Sorrento and talk about how all your teachers taught you poetry wrong, and it's going to be a fun time. His readings on classics such as William Carlos Williams's red wheelbarrow enigma are inspiring and generative, as are his recommendations for new poets to check out. RICH SMITH

WEDNESDAY & FRIDAY-SATURDAY

PERFORMANCE

Madame Butterfly
I'm recommending this politically perilous, imperialist opera based purely on the strength of Rebecca Brown's knockout review of it in last week's issue of The Stranger, and also to honor the dream Puccini weaves into his soaring and complex music. "You want to be politically aware," Brown writes of the play's gross but extremely relevant premise, which has a white naval officer buying a 15-year-old Japanese girl for sex and companionship, "but also maybe you want to shut your eyes and forget the words and have the music of the East and West wash over you in the weird strange hybrid harmony where everything is distinct and itself but also together and blended in a way that Puccini, somehow like God on a good day, makes happen. You want to imagine a world where we're like that." RICH SMITH

THURSDAY

FILM

Josie and the Pussycats: Pause and Draw
At this screening of Josie and the Pussycats (a satire of pop music and subliminal messaging) they'll periodically pause the movie so you can draw a picture of the scene. You'll leave with flashbacks to your awesome 2001 self and some rad fan art.

FOOD & DRINK

Redhook Brewlab Grand Opening Party
Redhook, long considered the "grandaddy of craft beer," is set to open a brand-new brewery-pub in the almost-as-new Pike Motorworks space. The grand opening event for the "brewlab" will feature a DJ set from KEXP, live music, and a tap list featuring collaboration brews by head brewer Nick Crandall and others. The new space also boasts patios, fire pits, a custom mural by Sub Pop Director Sasha Barr, and a 1930s vintage bar salvaged from a Greyhound station in Soap Lake.

THURSDAY-SATURDAY

PERFORMANCE

Nite Skool
Nite Skool, created by The Libertinis and produced by Annex Theatre, promises a hot music/dance/comedy take on "sex, war, and hot lunch."

Outdoor Shakespeare
This summer, GreenStage has been putting on four different Shakespeare plays at parks across the city: The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Richard II.

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

PERFORMANCE

WE ARE PUSSY RIOT: Or Everything Is PR
Playwright Barbara Hammond uses actual language from Anna Politkovskaya, Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Kirill, and even Madonna to create this punk musical (with symphonic inflections!) about the show trial and imprisonment of the neon-balaklava-clad feminist art collective Pussy Riot and the uprising their actions sparked in the streets of Moscow in 2012. But why should you trek out to Kent to see it, if you're not already there? Because it's a vision from Russia of the America to come. And because the play will extend outside the four walls of the theater, with special post-show forums conducted by mayoral and city council candidates. Local, national, and international politics all in one spot! Plus Russians! Woo! RICH SMITH

FRIDAY

FILM

Three Dollar Bill Cinema: Parental Advisory
Three Dollar Bill will screen films about those folks your parents warn you about: Rebels, tricksters, and weirdos. Bring your own chairs and blankets and buy yourself (or a cute friend) a popcorn. This week's film is the beloved queer comedy But I'm a Cheerleader, in which a popular teen girl with "suspicious" proclivities is sent to a "sexual redirection" camp for straightening out.

FOOD & DRINK

Sea Creatures + Chef Jeremy Sewall
Join Renee Erickson and Boston's Jeremy Sewall (Island Creek Oyster Bar, Row 34, and Les Sablons) for an East Coast-style evening full of oysters, mini lobster rolls, oyster sliders, and more.

Sunset Supper
Chefs, vintners, brewers, etc. from dozens of local restaurants, wineries, breweries, etc. will assemble on the cobblestones at the Market, and food, drink, live music, etc. abound. This year, they'll have a great view of the Sound, thanks to their expansion onto the MarketFront Plaza and Canopy. Funds raised go to the very worthy Market Foundation, which includes the Pike Market Medical Clinic, Senior Center, Child Care & Preschool, and the Downtown Food Bank.

READINGS & TALKS

Leanne Dunic
Discover Leanne Dunic's debut novel from local Chin Music Press, To Love the Coming End, which follows a woman traveling in Singapore after the Tohoku earthquake and dealing with her own heartbreak.

NOddIN Japanese Films
See new short films created by Japanese film collective NOddIN—this event, curated by NWFF Executive Director Courtney Sheehan and artist Etsuko Ichikawa, will be the U.S. premiere of NOddIN’s work. After the screening, meet some of the filmmakers in person.

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Out of Sight
Established in 2015 as an unofficial addendum to the Seattle Art Fair, Out of Sight is an annual survey of Northwest art that thrives, as the name implies, in the margins outside the commercial gallery system inscribed by the official fair. As a result, it's a place for artists to take risks and show edgier, more exploratory work. But it's also a great chance to catch emerging artists destined to be scooped up by galleries—(before Seth David Friedman was represented by Season Gallery, his intimate, biomorphic sculptures were featured at Out of Sight). Curated by Greg Lundgren, Ben Heywood, S. Surface, and Justen Siyuan Waterhouse, this year's Out of Sight promises to be a destination in its own right, full of promising young artists, seasoned veterans, and just about everyone in between. EMILY POTHAST

FESTIVALS

26th Annual Hempfest
Hempfest! It’s a word that floods love into the hearts of countless marijuana activists and pot aficionados (tie-dyed Phish-shirt division). Since its 1991 kick-off as the “Washington Hemp Expo” in Volunteer Park, Hempfest’s grown into a nationally recognized destination event on the Seattle waterfront, where hundreds of thousands of weed-curious citizens gather for a three-day festival of weed-themed music, speeches, and tchotchke commerce, and law enforcement looks the other way as dense puffs of smoke sporadically fill the air. Hempfest is a HUGE EVENT that’s helped make the tremendous progress we’re now seeing in Washington’s weed laws, and every year it seems to get bigger, with more and more people trekking to Seattle to cement Hempfest’s reputation as “the premier flagship event of the global cannabis culture,” as the Hempfest website puts it. This year 1000 volunteers will help run the event, which has five stages of speakers, music, and more than 400 arts, crafts, food, and informational vendors. Admission is free, but if you set foot in Hempfest without dropping at least ten bucks in a donation jar, you suck. DAVID SCHMADER

Gigantic Bicycle Festival
First you ride your bike (for 50 miles) and then you're done and you get to hang out and listen to music. You also can just drive. Cyclists take off from Centennial Fields Park on Saturday morning and follow an established route throughout Snoqualmie and then back to the park, where artists like La Luz, Lemolo, Star Anna, and Carrie Akre (among many others) will be waiting to play live sets over the weekend, all in celebration of the Northwest's favorite populist transit option: the bicycle.

SATURDAY

ART

In the Spirit Northwest Native Festival
For thousands of years, the Pacific Northwest has been home to dozens of indigenous tribes and nations whose distinctive cultural traditions have persisted despite centuries of suppression. This year, the Washington State History Museum and Tacoma Art Museum join forces to produce this free, family-friendly community festival featuring singing, dancing, storytelling, food, a Native arts market, carving and drum-making demonstrations, and a Native designer fashion show. It's a great opportunity to directly support indigenous artists and come face-to-face with people carrying forward the ancient creative and spiritual traditions of the land we live on. EMILY POTHAST

FILM

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Everyone's favorite disturbingly sexy despotic queer scientist returns with devilry and horrifically catchy songs. Buy prop bags full of things to throw at the screen for $2 at the door.

FOOD & DRINK

Ballard Burrito Fest 2017
We all know burritos pack so much into one food missile that they cause gravitational distortion. Well, this Burrito Fest might actually prove dangerous to the fabric of space-time, because with thousands of enthusiasts planning on gorging themselves, the ratio of beans, rice, and tortilla to empty space in Ballard is going to tilt radically. Celebrate the food-induced end of the universe with food trucks and vendors, who will be competing for the title of "best burrito," a beer and cocktail garden, live music, games for kids and adults, and a BMX event called the "burrito bowl."

CHOMP!
Celebrate local food with cooking demonstrations by local celebrity chefs, garden farming workshops, live music, and a giant selection of local foods available for your consumption. CHOMP! is a supporter and representative of Dow Constantine's Local Food Initiative through its spotlight on local farmers, chefs, and restaurants.

Pioneer Square Ice Cream Social
Gobble down icy treats from Molly Moon's and shop on-sale goodies from E. Smith Mercantile, Velouria, Clementine’s, Swan Dive, Ebbet’s Field & Essential Apothecary Alchemist. There will be cocktails specials starting at 3 pm. Best of all, proceeds from your ice cream purchases will benefit the Anna Banana Milkfund, which provides organic milk to families.

READINGS & TALKS

Erin Jorgensen: Undertones
Erin Jorgensen's Undertones podcast combines trance and electronica with sparing words. Stranger contributor Andrew Hamlin writes, "This is supposed to be a transmission from outer space broadcast directly to your subconscious mind. The aliens may or may not tell us to send more Chuck Berry. They may or may not want to demolish Earth to build a bypass. Hope. Pray if you’re into that. Lock in the dial."

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Korean Fried Chicken Dinner
Eastlake staple Babirusa is hosting another decadent Korean fried chicken dinner, and it will take place over the course of two full days, meaning double the chances of you getting to take part in said decadence. Your ticket gets you two "sizable" pieces of chicken and unlimited reordering of sides, such as white kimchee with Asian pear and turnip, scallion pancake, braised burdock root, steamed eggplant and cucumber salad, and mung bean salad with Shiso and sesame.

SUNDAY

READINGS & TALKS

Cephalopod Appreciation Society 2017
Celebrate sea creatures (octopus, squid, chambered nautilus, and cuttlefish) at this art and science event founded by Sierra Nelson.

PERFORMANCE

Bring It! Live
Attend this hiphop majorette event for a high-energy performance that spans genres of dance.

War on the Catwalk
In the recap of the Season 9 finale of RuPaul's Drag Race, Chase Burns wrote about Sasha Velour, the winner: "Truly, each of her lip syncs was among the best in all nine seasons of the show. I want to watch them over and over and over again. They are master classes in acting, drag, storytelling, gender... Ugh. But the show couldn't demonstrate Sasha's skills because the show is small and Sasha is big. Or rather, the world is small and Sasha is big. The world wants Sasha to wear a wig, and she comes bald. The world wants beauty, and she gives a unibrow. Sasha continuously showed us that in drag the highest beauty is not the illusion, but what inspires the illusion. It's not about the wig, but the imagination underneath." See Sasha alongside other contestants from Season 9—including Trinity, Shea, Aja, Farrah, and Alexis—as they perform live, in a big way, and strut down the catwalk at the Neptune.

Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play.