The 39 Best Things To Do in Seattle This Week: September 26-October 2, 2016

The Northwest Tea Festival, Macefield Music Festival, Debate Watching Parties, And More Critics' Picks For September 26-October 2
September 26, 2016
Don't miss San Francisco drag star Peaches Christ in the one-day live tribute to the documentary Grey Gardens, featuring local treasure Jinkx Monsoon, on Thursday.
Our music critics have already chosen the 32 best concerts in Seattle this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn to pick their favorite events. Here are their picks in every genre—from the Northwest Tea Festival to the Macefield Music Festival, and from BenDeLaCreme's Inferno-A-Go-Go to A Raisin in the Sun. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.
Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

MONDAY

POLITICS

Debate Watching Parties
Well, America, we can't put it off much longer: it's time for Trump and Clinton to exchange extremely reasoned and thoughtful arguments in an atmosphere of calm respect. For screenings accompanied by comedy, karaoke, discussion, trivia, games, and (of course) plenty of alcohol, see our complete list of debate watching parties in Seattle.

READINGS & TALKS

Jonathan Safran Foer: Here I Am
I've been hearing mixed reviews about Here I Am, the first novel in over a decade from award-winning author and Natalie Portman confidante Jonathan Safran Foer. Christian Lorentzen from Vulture calls it "a Philip Roth novel in the style of a Hallmark card." But Publisher's Weekly gave it a star and calls it an intensely "imagined and richly rewarding novel." Where you fall along that spectrum will likely depend on whether you thought Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close were masterful, genre-bending works of postmodern beauty or twee as fuck. There's only one way to find out. FYI: ticket price includes two copies of the book. RICH SMITH

Tim Murphy in Conversation With David Schmader
Writer Tim Murphy will read from Christodora, a book that "recounts the heartbreak wrought by AIDS, illustrates the allure and destructive power of hard drugs, and brings to life the ever-changing city itself." He will be joined in conversation with former Stranger staffer and esteemed author David Schmader.

MONDAY-SATURDAY

THEATER & DANCE

Rhinoceros
You're probably going to spend a lot of time while watching Strawberry Theatre Workshop's production of Eugène Ionesco's classic absurdist play thinking, "Okay, but do the rhinoceroses stampeding all over this French town represent Trump supporters, or do they represent Bernie Bros, or do they represent Hillbots perfectly enacting the Democratic nominee's vagenda of manocide?" And then once you figure that out, you're going to be thinking, "All right, well, is this funny and pointed parable about the rise of the 20th century's worst -isms a critique of the idea of the state of political discourse, or a critique of incrementalism, or…?" By the end of the show, you'll think Rhinoceros is either EXACTLY the play we need to be seeing right now or EXACTLY the play we don't need to be seeing right now. RICH SMITH
There are no shows on Tuesday or Wednesday.

FILM

Local Sightings
Khalik Allah, the photographer and filmmaker who directed the gorgeously hypnotic Field Niggas and was one of the cinematographers for Beyonce's equally gorgeous but far more commercial Lemonade, will be one of three jurors at this year's Local Sightings. This event, which features the best films that our region has to offer, will have an astounding 21 features and 77 short films. Allah, along with Paula Bernstein and Sudeep Sharma, will select the winners and hand out prizes to the best of our best. The festival will also include an Indigenous Showcase by Tracy Rector, one of the nominees for this year's Stranger Genius Awards. All of this is very exciting, and I think we have NWFF's new executive director, Courtney Sheehan, to thank for much of this excitement. CHARLES MUDEDE

MONDAY-SUNDAY

THEATER & DANCE

Revolt. She said. Revolt again.
This Washington Ensemble Theatre production will be the West Coast premiere of Revolt. She said. Revolt again., which is supposed to be a powerful, absurd-funny, polyvocal, multimedia, fiercely feminist call for revolt. Revolt draws its title from a Julia Kristeva book about "revolt" as a mode of being (hi, grad school) and also highlights the way language shapes our perceptions and expectations of women. RICH SMITH
There are no shows on Tuesday or Wednesday.

TUESDAY

READINGS & TALKS

2016 Election: How Did We Get Here?
The roller coaster of this election cycle has baffled statisticians, pundits, and the American public. Learn about party shifts, polarization, and more at this panel featuring Christopher Sebastian Parker, Ph.D. (UW professor of political science), Mark A. Smith, Ph.D. (UW professor of political science), Margaret O’Mara, Ph.D. (UW associate professor of history) and author Rick Shenkman.

Alexander Maksik: Shelter in Place
Alexander Maksik (You Deserve Nothing and A Marker to Measure Drift) will read from his latest work, Shelter in Place, set in the Pacific Northwest.

Brett Finlay: Let Them Eat Dirt
People are starting to cotton on to the idea that our collective fear of germs and obsession with anti-bacterial products might not be super effective in making our society healthy. Microbiologist Brett Finlay will speak at Town Hall and back up those inklings with solid science, and discuss his book—co-written with Marie-Claire Arrieta—Let Them Eat Dirt. (What a great title.)

Corinne Manning, Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum, and Ruby Hansen Murray
This reading presented by the Jack Straw Writers Program will feature Corinne Manning, Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum, and Ruby Hansen Murray.

Roundtable Discussion on Loss of Language
This participatory roundtable discussion with linguist Gregory Sutterlict, author Sharon H. Chang, teacher and organizer Rose Hulls, and author Litsa Dremousis will ask: "What happens when we lose access to language? What does it mean when we lack the words to fully frame who we are?"

Stacy Schiff: The Witches – Salem, 1692
Stacy Schiff will read from and discuss her nonfiction book, The Witches: Salem, 1692.

TUESDAY-SUNDAY

THEATER & DANCE

The Royale
From Marco Ramirez (Sons of Anarchy and Orange is the New Black) comes this show that's loosely based on the life of Jack Johnson, a boxer during the Jim Crow era who became "the most famous and most notorious black man on earth," and set in a boxing ring.

WEDNESDAY

THEATER & DANCE

Bianca Del Rio
The most vicious RuPaul's Drag Race winner of all time, Bianca Del Rio, will come to Seattle on her global comedy tour.

WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY

ART

Dave Kennedy: Anamorphosis
Sometimes what an artist wants is so simple. It might be put this way, as a request to anyone viewing their work: If you don't know what it is, don't stop looking. We can talk about the fact that Seattle-based, Tacoma-born artist Dave Kennedy takes his mixed-race identity—and the question he regularly gets, "What are you?"—as the driving force behind his new show at Bridge Productions, Anamorphosis, but the work doesn't need to be reduced to any single topic. The pictures are about looking into something, not just at it. We should all, this election season, go into Bridge and look, look, and look at Anamorphosis, follow its lead, do what the artist is asking. Anamorphosis, or the distortion of an image so it's only clear when looked at from a certain angle, has been a tool used by artists for centuries. What it does is disrupts the completely universal human desire to foreclose on a single meaning or interpretation in order to make sense of the world. Are you ever worried you'll say or do the wrong thing based on a first impression? Me too. The way Kennedy uses photography and reproduction, we can practice safely, again, remembering the crucial gap between looking and knowing that is so, so easy to forget. JEN GRAVES

WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY

FESTIVALS

Chance of Rain Festival
Chance of Rain is stepping into the chasm left by Decibel Festival’s absence. Because Decibel had provided world-class multimedia/electronic-music bills from 2004 to 2015, Chance of Rain—which is run by former Decibel volunteers—has its work cut out for it. To their credit, they’ve booked Detroit techno pioneer Derrick May as well as several other great producers and DJs, but they do lack May’s stature and name recognition. Still, there will be plenty of highlights: Big Phone and Convextion’s powerful and cerebral minimal techno, Randy Jones’s uniquely exotic and inventive synth explorations, Butane’s dark and sensual house excursions, Bloom Offering’s forbidding industrial anti-songs, and Circa Tapes’ engagingly chilling coldwave tunes. With opening night fast approaching, Chance of Rain’s organizers are frantically adding acts to the bill, and we trust the slots will fill up with quality players. DAVE SEGAL

THEATER & DANCE

A Raisin in the Sun
A Raisin in the Sun is one of the earliest examples of black realism on the American stage. Housing discrimination, race, class, family, the complexities of right action in America, all of it wrapped up in one of the greatest plays ever written. RICH SMITH

Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White
Stranger Genius Valerie Curtis-Newton told me over the phone that she would "crawl across glass" to produce Alice Childress's Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, a play about an interracial relationship in the Jim Crow South. Back in 2013, she directed Childress's Trouble in Mind, which former Stranger theater editor Brendan Kiley raved about in his review for the show, and directing this one will mean that, over the course of her career, Curtis-Newton will have directed all of Childress's plays. How are you not going to be there to witness that? Wedding Band serves as the bookend drama for the Intiman Theatre Festival, which has focused on plays written by black women. RICH SMITH

The Winter's Tale
Seattle Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare's absorbing "problem play" The Winter's Tale, so called because of its mishmash of comedy and brutal drama.

THURSDAY

COMEDY

Jinkx Monsoon in Return to Grey Gardens
Let us please conspire to permanently transplant Peaches Christ from San Francisco to Seattle. For all our homegrown drag talent, it is to our city's shame that she visits only a few times a year, and that you have only one day to catch her in a live-show tribute to the documentary Grey Gardens. Peaches plays Big Peachy, with Seattle treasure Jinkx Monsoon as Lil' Jinkxy, plus special guest Mink Stole and a cavalcade of top-shelf local queens. Jinkx was priceless as Little Edie during Snatch Game on RuPaul's Drag Race, and Peaches is basically a John Waters character if he'd come from the West Coast instead of Baltimore. Shell out for the "Return to Grey Gardens" VIP package for champagne, a gift bag, and a meet-and-greet at which you can plead with Peaches to move out of the city that is Twitter's corporate housing and into the city that is Amazon's. MATT BAUME

READINGS & TALKS

Writing for a Cause: Muatasim Qazi, Frederica Jansz, and Mike Lewis
There are lots of reasons to be fed up right now. Everything from Mayor Ed Murray's regressive plan for bike infrastructure to police brutality to LGBTQ discrimination to the inhumane treatment of Syrian refugees. One response to all the pain and injustice in the world is to curl up in a ball and fall down brain-numbing rabbit holes on YouTube. Another much more powerful response is to pick one of those injustices and write really, really well about it. But that's hard to do, especially if you feel like you're alone and writing in a vacuum. At Writing for a Cause, you won't feel that way. You'll get to hear how great local writers write about causes that are important to them, and also have time to start working on your own stuff. This time, journalists Muatasim Qazi, Frederica Jansz, and Mike Lewis will read work about "the more pervasive and subversive forms of censorship that occur." RICH SMITH

THURSDAY-SATURDAY

THEATER & DANCE

BenDeLaCreme's Inferno-A-Go-Go
Every week I put a check mark in the "Don't Miss" box for some queer event, but this week "Don't Miss" doesn't even begin to communicate the urgency of attending this show. No, I haven't seen it yet, and no, I don't have to see it in order to recommend it. BenDeLaCreme is one of the best things about Seattle, a truly magical artist whose work in shows like Cosmos and Freedom Fantasia will leave you giddy and thoughtful for months. All we need to know is that she is now performing a solo show based on Dante's Inferno featuring puppets and songs, and we can be assured of an evening of divinely comedic delights. MATT BAUME

Woyzeck
Seattle Theatre Works presents Georg Büchner’s last (and unfinished) play Woyzeck, adapted and directed by Daniel Tarker. The plot is based on a real murder case, and follows the story of a soldier trying to survive—physically and mentally—while also being subjected to strange experiments.

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

FILM

French Cinema Now
See a showcase of new films in French—including Lost in Paris, Irreplaceable, and Made in France—at SIFF's annual mini-festival French Cinema Now.

THEATER & DANCE

Ghosts
Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts was considered scandalous when it was first performed in 1892, and still shocks some with themes including sexually transmitted disease, euthanasia, and incest. Follow the story of widow Helene Alving in this new adaptation by director Richard Eyre.

Tricolore
Choreographer Benjamin Millepied (known for his work with the Paris Opera Ballet) will return to PNB with two works, Appassionata and Three Movements, followed by Balanchine's Symphony in C.

ART

John Sisko: 1958 - 2016
"Sisko was raised in Montana, and, by the 1970s, he was in Washington, where eventually, he'd earn his bachelor's degree in philosophy at the University of Washington, and settle in Seattle. Sisko's art was figurative. He made humans and animals. Every male figure he made, he once said, had an element of the crucifix to it. Three different university art departments couldn't satisfy him—he was, he once wrote, "disappointed by the post-sixties, 'get-loose-do-a-vibe' mindset that prevailed in each one at the time"—and he wanted a "depth of intellectual, spiritual and philosophical analysis" he'd eventually have to pursue on his own, which he continued doing until he died." Read more by Jen Graves, and celebrate Sisko's life and work at this short gallery show.

FRIDAY

READINGS & TALKS

David Quammen: America’s Wild Heart
Learn about the first (and arguably most impressive) national park, Yellowstone, from bestselling science writer David Quammen, who will speak about the park in the context of his new book, Yellowstone: A Journey Through America’s Wild Heart.

Wave Books Celebration
Nearly every year, Stranger Genius Nominee Wave Books introduces Seattle to a group of poets and writers they've recently published, some of whom live just down the street. This event features Tyehimba Jess, whose latest book, Olio is a sweeping, multi-genre engagement with blues poetics. Read it. And, before you go, also read Don Mee Choi's challenging and excellent book of poems, Hardly War, which is about fathers and the Korean War and flower children and colonialism and photography. Anselm Berrigan and editor of the press, Joshua Beckman, will contribute their latest work as well. Last I heard, Beckman has been working on a sprawling essay about clouds. You love get this variety of subjects and aesthetics at poetry readings like these, and the writers who inhabit these modes are doing so in very weird, fresh ways. You'll want to pay attention. RICH SMITH

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

FESTIVALS

Macefield Music Festival
Organizers of the fourth annual Macefield Music Festival have taken the opportunity to further stretch its parameters from humble all-local music festival—which was rebranded from the ashes of Seattle Weekly’s old Reverb music festival—to… all local music festival with a couple non-local headliners. Countrified strummers Reigning Sound are coming to town from Memphis, and experimental multimedia band Psychic TV all the way from London. But as always, beneath the line of outside talent lies a plush layer of high-grade local acts. Shouldn’t-miss sets from the pile of hometown goodness include transplanted shadow-pop diva Zola Jesus, cinematic electro-rock genius Erik Blood, scorched desert rockers Dush Moth, loudest band you’ll ever see Sandrider, shroom gods Lesbian, art-rap spark-plug DoNormaal, garage-studs Boyfriends, Tacoma dance trio Mirrorgloss, delightful queercore punks Sashay, thumping jangle-rockers Charms, doom trio Bali Girls, and toothy prog outfit Merso (formerly Leather Daddy), just to name a few. Spanning five stages this year, including a new one at Hotel Albatross, Macefield is still a great way to dive headfirst into the local scene. TODD HAMM

THEATER & DANCE

Working
Studs Terkel's book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, is a brilliant, best-selling depiction of the American workforce and how they as individuals relate to both their daily lives and the nebulous concept of "work." The 1977 musical, based on the book, combines Terkel's social commentary with music from geniuses including Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor—and this production, from the 2012 version of the show, will feature new songs by the hottest composer of the moment, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

SATURDAY

READINGS & TALKS

Improvisational Gestures Performance and Curator Talk
They write: "As part of the exhibition Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures, dancers perform one of Nengudi's nylon mesh sculptures from the R.S.V.P. series. Following the performance, Nina Bozicnik, Assistant Curator, will share thoughts on the role of the body and ritual across Nengudi's work, from sculpture to performance." What's most important not to miss is the performance in the gallery itself. That will start on time and only last 15 minutes, so get there early to get a seat. JEN GRAVES

Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Ngugi wa Thiong'o's name gets thrown into the ring every time the Nobel Prize committee convenes to select the year's winner. And for good reason. Known early on for his great plays, The Black Hermit and This Time Tomorrow, the Kenyan genius went on to lead postcolonial thinking with books such as Decolonising the Mind and Moving the Centre. His 2006 novel, Wizard of the Crow, was released to critical acclaim. The man hasn't stopped since the mid 1960s, and it doesn't look like he plans to. Now he's traveling up from Irvine to read selections from Birth of a Dream Weaver, a new memoir about becoming a writer during the Mau Mau Rebellion. I know Bruce Springsteen is in town this day, too, but c'mon. RICH SMITH

QUEER

Arthaus 3.0: Haunted Haus
Version 3.0 of Kremwerk's drag-queen battle royale/dance party is upon us. Teams of hilarious and artsy queens will compete for bragging rights, shade throwing rights, and the right to play puppet master at the following year's Arthaus series. As I predicted, Betty Wetter, Cookie Couture, Miss Americano, and Khloe5X of Halfway Haus won the series last year, and they'll be hosting and picking the themes this year. Hellen Tragedy will perform along with returning champions Halfway Haus. Pizzarina Sbarro will DJ. Drinks will be had. RICH SMITH

ART

24 Hour Comic Day!
Create a 24-page comic in 24 hours at Push/Pull—they'll provide coffee, tea, pastries, lunch, dinner, and limited supplies. Afterwards, participants will get a prize package and a certificate to commemorate their hard work. Artists pay $30 for food and supplies; watching the art-making is free.

To: Seattle | Subject: Personal Opening
There are two kinds of objects at a museum, the ones that are borrowed and the ones the museum has decided to commit to by owning them. That commitment is just about as “personal” a decision as a museum makes, and Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, on the occasion of her departure as the Frye’s director, has organized a show called To: Seattle | Subject: Personal, devoted entirely to works of art that have come into the collection of the museum, by purchase and by gift, since Birnie Danzker began in 2009. It’s her last hurrah of support for locally based, and locally born, artists, often working collaboratively, who address the social conditions of contemporary life. In this vision, she was supported strongly by Scott Lawrimore and Robin Held, who also got some of these artists into the collection and into the galleries in concentrated form. Under Birnie Danzker, The Frye has mounted several big group shows, this one including Kahlil Joseph, C. Davida Ingram, The Black Constellation, DK Pan, Implied Violence, Isaac Layman, Susie J. Lee, and Buster Simpson, among many others. Plenty of those artists were in previous exhibitions; how is this one different? Do we need another group show at the Frye? We will see. The individual works are certainly worth your time and the museum’s space. And one basic difference between this show and any other? These are the works that will remain at the Frye regardless of who sits at the head. JEN GRAVES

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

ART

BrickCon 2016
The Adult LEGO Hobbyists are spreading their love of all things LEGO at this two day event. All Builders (people who build things with LEGOS) are invited to bring their masterpieces to enter into a competition for the People's Choice. There will be a Building Zone for people wanting to either test out the LEGO-building waters or display their mad LEGO skills. Vendors will be set up throughout the hall with LEGO-themed paraphernalia.

FESTIVALS

Northwest Tea Festival
Now is a time for tea. Perhaps this is more of a persistent stereotype than anything else, but I find tea calming in a way that other beverages aren’t. Alcohol can be supremely relaxing, of course, but it doesn’t quite assuage anxiety the way that tea can. And heaven knows we live in anxiety-ridden times. Anyway, for a reasonable $10-$15, escape to the Northwest Tea Festival and spend a weekend in relative tranquility. Learn about everything from tea etiquette to “Tasting Teas in a Chinese Professional Way” to cooking with tea (tea eggs!) to the “Wonderful World of Oolong.” On Sunday, there’s even a tea and meditation class. It’s going to be, in every sense of the word, very chill. TOBIAS COUGHLIN-BOGUE