Our music critics have already chosen the 37 best music shows this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn to recommend the best events in their areas of expertise. Here are their picks in every genre—from the Pacific Northwest Ballet's NEXT STEP: Outside/In to a reading with Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, and from the Washington Brewers Festival to a Pride-themed Capitol Hill Art Walk. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.
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The Other Season: Joe Turner Vino y Se Fue
The executor of famed African American playwright August Wilson's estate, Constanza Romero, has translated into Spanish his masterpiece about the northward migration of black Americans. You have the chance to watch a staged reading of the translation, directed by Romero and her collaborator Fernando Luna. English supertitles will be projected for Anglophones.
Find out what William "Not-Really-James-T.-Kirk" Shatner has to say about his life and career in film, television, music, and publishing as well as, possibly, his alleged bronyism. (Okay, he might not actually touch on that last one.)
'Book of Weirdo' Exhibition Featuring Peter Bagge
This exhibit at alternative comics bookstore and gallery Fantagraphics is held in honor of the release of The Book of Weirdo: A Retrospective of R. Crumb's Legendary Humor Comics Anthology. The book’s focus is Weirdo, the Robert Crumb-helmed comics anthology series that was published from the early ’80s to 1993, acted as a “low art” counterpoint to the modern higher-brow Raw, and tapped the talents of a wide swath of untraditional cartoonists. Among those was Peter Bagge, who was featured in Weirdo, then served as its editor for three years. (You know Bagge from memorable satires in exaggerated cartoon form, like his Pacific Northwestern-set Apocalypse Nerd, about two average dudes trying to survive in a world destroyed by nuclear fallout, or maybe Hate, one of the best-selling alternative comics of the 1990s, which featured antihero Buddy Bradley as the slacker hipster mouthpiece of Generation X.) Bagge is also among Book of Weirdo’s three editors, and works related to the anthology and book will presumably be on display alongside other Weirdo artists. LEILANI POLK
MONDAY & THURSDAY-SATURDAYPERFORMANCE
They/Them: The Festival
Drag king and former Intiman Emerging Artist Sam I'Am presents They/Them: The Musical, a solo show. Sam I'Am plays an expecting mother imagining the ways the life of their child would change depending on gender. Though their character explores the slipperiness of gender, the music will be "kinda more traditional," according to Annex. Each night of the festival will kick off with a little cabaret featuring stand-up comedy, burlesque, and musical performances from trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming performance artists. RICH SMITH
TUESDAY & SATURDAYVISUAL ART
Matthew Offenbacher: Feelings
From mid-May to mid-June, Seattle artist Matthew Offenbacher will be Oxbow Gallery’s artist-in-residence. Offenbacher made waves a few years ago after he received the $25,000 Neddy Award and used the money to buy work made by women and queer artists, which he donated to the Seattle Art Museum’s permanent collection. During his residency at Oxbow, the Seattle artist will be presenting painted pictures based on the ancient Greek romance novel Daphnis and Chloe. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Antoinette Nwandu's Pass Over combines Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot with the biblical story of Exodus, and sets the whole thing in a world where two black guys, Moses and Kitch, cannot hang out on a sidewalk without getting harassed by a white cop. Spike Lee liked the play so much that he filmed a performance and screened it at Sundance to great acclaim. Chicago Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss had a different take, which led to an uproar in the theater world. She generally praised the acting but slammed Nwandu for her "simplistic, wholly generic characterization of a racist white cop (clearly meant to indict all white cops)." She then criticized Nwandu for ignoring "black-on-black" crime. The theater world rightly flipped, and Nwandu responded in American Theatre, saying Weiss's review "perpetuates a toxic discourse in which black lives do not matter and white lives remain unburdened by the necessary work of reckoning with white privilege and the centuries-long legacy of violence by which it is secured." You'll get the chance to see Pass Over in Seattle under Tim Bond's direction. RICH SMITH
The Price Is Right Live
I'm recommending this show only for the opportunity to remind you that Bob Barker, at 95 years old, is still alive. The former host of The Price Is Right, a show where contestants spin a giant wheel and guess how much products cost so that television audiences essentially get hit with double the commercials, still walks this earth. In any event, comedian Drew Carey now hosts the show, and he's kind of funny for a libertarian—although the host for the touring iteration of The Price Is Right is a TBA "celebrity guest" that apparently changes depending on the city. Go on there, guess $1 for everything, and try to win a Jet Ski. RICH SMITH
Seattle International Dance Festival 2019
The Seattle International Dance Festival, organized by Khambatta Dance Company and Cornish College of the Arts, presents approximately 10 million performances (okay, more like 25) from international, national, and local acts over the course of 16 days. It's too much. It's not enough. The best I can do here is tell you to make sure to catch the following international acts: Sumeet Nagdev Dance Arts, Tara Brandel, Equilibrio Dinamico, and Tchekpo Dance Company with Elisabeth Masé. I'm also excited to see works from HYPERNOVA and the ka●nei●see | collective, both national acts. RICH SMITH
Tiny Beautiful Things
Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) has adapted Cheryl Strayed's story of writing an advice column under the pseudonym Sugar, yielding a play about empathy, healing, tough love, and kindness.
West Side Story
One of the most famous musicals of all time—the first major work Stephen Sondheim ever wrote lyrics to—West Side Story is getting the Bill Barry treatment at 5th Avenue Theatre. The director is known for exuberant takes on classic American musicals and for brilliant casting choices. Excitingly, this production will also feature Jerome Robbins’s original choreography, which ought to be a delight for the eyeballs. West Side Story didn’t win best musical at the Tonys the year it came out (The Music Man did), but it did win best choreography. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
So You Think You Can Drag, Season 2
The ongoing competition on Wednesday nights at R Place, So You Think You Can Drag, is about to award $5,000 to the winner of its second "season." It's one of the biggest cash prizes a queen in Seattle can hope to get. "It's been a no-brainer success from the beginning," said Seattle drag queen Cookie Couture, who hosts the competition. The shows have been packed and rowdy: "We've been at club capacity every week this season [...] The show format appeals to people who are maybe really into Drag Race but haven't really dived into the local scene, and it appeals to the folks who support the locals on the regular. Plus, you wave $5K around, and people really try to make their performances stand out as something special." It can get emotional, which is part of the fun. So You Think You Can Drag will have its finale on June 26, during Pride week. When I asked if the competition has gotten wild this year, Cookie Couture laughed. "Does it get wild? Have you ever dangled $5K in front of 10 drag queens before?!" CHASE BURNS
Ariana Reines: A Sand Book
After the success of her last book, Mercury, Ariana Reines is finally out with a new collection of poetry. And it's a big one. She links her whip-smart lines using imagistic associations—"From Hurricane Sandy to the murder of Sandra Bland to the massacre at Sandy Hook," according to press materials—in an attempt to contain the whole of this rented world in a single book. She certainly accomplishes that goal tonally, swinging from academic registers to common vulgarities to high symbolism to sex. RICH SMITH
Rick Atkinson: The British Are Coming
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author (who wrote the Liberation Trilogy about World War II) is embarking on a trilogy about the American Revolution with The British Are Coming, covering the first 21 months of the war. Revisit a period of history that may have been taught to you in mangled form.
Legend of El Dorado
Three women on a summer trip turn into sexy, fishnetted robbers on motorcycles in the cozy cabaret's latest production, featuring all-new choreography and a soundtrack with singing by Brent Amaker.
NW New Works Festival 2019
Every June, On the Boards transforms into an open studio for the most gifted theater-makers, dancers, and performance artists in the region. Over the course of five performance-packed days, you'll see previews and dry runs and snippets of the shows everyone will be talking about two years from now. For their 36th edition, there are brand-new works from Sasha Petrenko (who promises an “eco-feminist sci-fi performance about sticky entanglements across ecologies”), Arson Nicki (one of Seattle’s most concerned avant-garde drag queens), HATLO (the Stranger Genius Award–winning director of Thatswhatshesaid, the solo show that challenged draconian copyright laws and raised awareness of the need for better women's roles in theater), and Body Home Fat Dance ("a fat-celebrating dance collaboration"). RICH SMITH
Now is your chance to see the musical that, 16 years ago, made everyone remember musicals existed. You’ve heard the spiel—it’s the Wizard of Oz, except not boring, and sympathetic to the antagonist (the Wicked Witch of the West). Wicked is spectacular, especially if the cast you see has a Galinda (originally played by Kristin Chenoweth) with a lot of spunk. But, unfortunately for all of us, all of Wicked can’t be the bombastic, show-stopping “Defying Gravity.” And once “Defying Gravity” plays out and you’re absolutely sated, there’s a whole other act to sit through. Wicked is still good, and at some moments great. Especially if, unlike me, you haven’t seen it four times—or played a medley of the music in your middle-school wind ensemble. NATHALIE GRAHAM
Kook Teflon: Church of the Poison Mind
Seattle is about to lose a team of kooky artistic leaders: Kook Teflon, a High Priestess who has produced over 100 live shows during her time in Seattle; and Jackie Hell, a drag queen so strange and wonderful she's hard to describe, like if Dina Martina were haunted by a fun demon. The duo is moving to New Orleans at the end of June, but Kook will be creating a final installation at Virago Gallery. Kook's last hurrah should be a spectacle. Expect a ceremony. CHASE BURNS
Opening reception Friday
THURSDAYFOOD & DRINK
All You Can Eat Crawfish and Shrimp
Feeling gluttonous? Stuff your face with as much crawfish and shrimp as you can handle in two hours, along with lemons, limes, bread, potatoes, corn, and sausage.
Garden Party Thursdays
Every Thursday of the summer, take advantage of batch cocktails and a seasonal chef's choice menu in the garden of Hotel Sorrento. DJ LGSP will spin.
Expensive! Jackie Hell's 500th Birthday Extravaganza
Seattle drag legend Jackie Hell is leaving us for the Big Easy. Send her off at this "extremely Clexy" event featuring Honey Bucket, Ade, Mark Finley, the Loungettes, L80, and more. "Expensive attire" is recommended.
Jorge Pech Casanova, Claudia Castro Luna, Fulgencio Lazo
Washington State Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna will join documentary filmmaker Jorge Pech Casanova and Oaxacan artist Fulgencio Lazo for an evening of border-busting, bilingual art and culture about refugees and migration. Learn about the march of the Central American asylum seekers and share some humanity in these cruel times.
Capitol Hill Art Walk
Every second Thursday, rain or shine, the streets of Capitol Hill are filled with tipsy art lovers checking out galleries and special events. Check out our critics' picks for this month here. This is the Pride edition.
This drama by aptly named playwright David Harrower premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2005. A 27-year-old woman, Una, arrives unexpectedly at the office of Ray, the man with whom she had a sexual relationship 15 years earlier. Ray has embarked upon a new life, but Una is beset by rage, confusion, trauma, and her past feelings. Paul Budraitis will take up the director's mantle for this Seattle premiere, produced by White Rabbits Inc and Libby Barnard.
(Our Love Is) Unbroken by Bars
Childbirth is one of the most miraculous and dangerous things a human can do. A body brings new life into this world while sometimes risking its own well-being to do so—especially here in the United States, where we have the highest rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world. Now imagine having to do it in chains. (Our Love Is) Unbroken by Bars tells the stories of the many women who gave birth while shackled in prison, through the medium of photography, videography, and painting, seeking to heal formerly incarcerated mothers and raise awareness of the injustice facing those who are still behind bars. The exhibition will also feature work by renowned street artists Jess X Snow and Shyama R. Kuver. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Wandering What Is
How do artists relate to creative existence beyond themselves? That what's explored in Wandering What Is, a group show curated by Dori Hana Scherer, with makers who have developed structures that capture their methods and personal processes.
'The War in Heaven' and 'The Waste Land'
ACTLab and New City Theatre have teamed up to stage two short masterpieces, Sam Shepard's War in Heaven (about an innocent angel who crashes to Earth and witnesses societal turmoil) and T.S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land. New City's Mary Ewald plays both the angel and Eliot's myriad characters. Directed by John Kazanjian.
Concerns about the intersectionality of civil rights movements is not a new phenomenon, as Mat Smart's dramatization of the longtime friendship between Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass will attest. Anthony and Douglass hung out on weekends at a farm in Rochester, New York, for several decades. While both civil rights leaders supported voting rights for women and black men, they butted heads on timing. Anthony thought women should get the right to vote before black men. Douglass thought men would grant women suffrage, but only after black men got the vote. Considering the fact that America has clearly achieved universal suffrage, I'm sure the conversation between these two great thinkers won't at all resonate with current conversations about the best strategies for securing inalienable rights for all. But it's worth a go on the off-chance that it does. And, if not, watching Douglass (played by Reginald André Jackson, who's fresh off his incredible performance of Capulet in ACT's Romeo and Juliet) intellectually duke it out with Anthony (played by Carol Roscoe) under Valerie Curtis-Newton's direction will be worth the price of admission. RICH SMITH
Don't Call It a Riot!
Local playwright Amontaine Aurore's new work, Don't Call It A Riot!, takes audiences on a tour of black activism in Seattle—from the beginnings of the Black Panther Party up to the WTO protests—as seen through the eyes of a character named Reed. Reed has to figure out how to raise a kid, maintain a relationship with her new husband, and build a burgeoning movement, all while the culture at large conspires against her at every turn. RICH SMITH
Love, Chaos, & Dinner
Beloved circus/cabaret/comedy institution Teatro ZinZanni will reboot their successful variety show, which they describe as the "Kit Kat Klub on acid." They promise to fill their spiegeltent with "world-class acrobats, musicians, divas, illusionists, madmen, and aerialists," plus ping-pong-playing comedian Tim Tyler, trapezists Duo Rose, opera singer Kelly Britt, and the Anastasini Brothers, Lady Rizo, and Frank Ferrante.
Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement
Encompassing the late 19th century, the Victorian era was a time of great change in all sections of British society—an expanded colonial reach of the crown and an explosion in industrialization. Victorian Radicals explores how three generations of rebellious artists working in this period responded to these changes. Featuring 150 works from the collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art, the show will include paintings, drawings, books, sculptures, textiles, stained glass, and decorative art that consider nature, the importance of the handmade, and the search for beauty. JASMYNE KEIMIG
FRIDAYFOOD & DRINK
Get yourself to various Sodo bars (starting at Westland Distillery and moving along to Ghostfish Brewing and Seapine Brewing) for food, games, and drink specials. Be sure to collect a stamp from each location to win a prize.
PNB NEXT STEP: Outside/In
The Pacific Northwest Ballet's annual showcase of new dance works will spread outside onto Seattle Center's yards. Outdoor performances are free to view, while indoor dances afterward—choreographed by Nancy Casciano, Christopher D’Ariano, Steven Loch, Amanda Morgan, Sarah Pasch, and Calista Ruat—are ticketed. Purple Lemonade Collective and REACH! (featuring Spectrum) will join the PNB's company for these site-specific and onstage performances.
Eve Ensler: The Apology
Eve Ensler, author of classic feminist play The Vagina Monologues, was molested and viciously beaten by her father. She waited her whole life for an apology from him, but he died before it ever came. In this book, she takes on his perspective, tries to imagine the many forces that collided within him and turned him into an abuser, and then writes a 112-page letter apologizing to her for what he did. "It occurred to me that there’s a very big difference between punishment and transformation," Ensler told People magazine in a recent interview. "I think what I wanted to try to do was create a blueprint of what an apology might look like, what would it be like." RICH SMITH
Stephen Markley: Ohio
Markley sets his first novel in an American wasteland, devastated by the Iraq War and the Great Recession. It follows four people who've grown up in the fictional town of New Canaan and whose return to their hometown ends in an act of horrific violence. Michael Schaub of NPR writes: "The novel is intricately constructed, with gorgeous, fiery writing that pulls the reader in and never lets go. It's obvious that Markley cares deeply about his characters, even the unsympathetic ones."
Comedian Mike Baldwin might act like he was routinely dropped on his head as a child (and again as an adult)—in fact, he cultivates that impression with his Southern drawl, dopey grin, wide eyes, and relatively mild, profanity-free material. But it only takes a few minutes of watching Baldwin explain in his gentle, hopeful voice that winter is the best season because cops can't pull you over for driving drunk in the snow—"It's just one big giant lane!" he enthuses—and his genius is apparent. His delivery is soft and relentless, and his jokes are both unexpected and so very obvious, which is why he appeals equally to young, rowdy drunks and older, more conservative crowds. It also helped earn him the crown of Funniest Dude at [November 2011]'s Seattle International Comedy Competition (among his passel of other nationwide comedy competition accolades). If you missed seeing Baldwin on his last tour through town, seriously: Don't miss him this time. CIENNA MADRID
Missed Seattle International Film Festival audience favorites? They’ll be screened again, along with the award winners. FOOD & DRINK
14th Annual 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
Mae West's The Drag: A Homosexual Comedy in Three Acts
When The Drag first opened in 1927, a reviewer for Variety apparently called it "an inexpressibly brutal and vulgar attempt to capitalize on a dirty matter for profit." After only 10 performances, the play was shut down for "indecency." So, in honor of indecency, in honor of the vulgar, and in honor of capitalizing on dirty matters, we must all go see this historical revival about a gay man named Rolly Kingsbury coming out in much more homo-hostile times (in America, at least), and then marvel at how far we've come, and how far we've yet to go. RICH SMITH
QTPOC is Not a Rapper: PRIDE '19 Edition
At this QTPOC-focused comedy lineup, hear jokes from queer local favorites Alyssa Yeoman, Val Nigro, Monisa Brown, and El Sanchez, plus drag queen Dion Dion Dior Black!
Two Be Continued
Ten improvisers will pair up to embody the same two characters.
Pr0n 4 Freakz
ScumTrust Productions and NWFF are partnering to bring you queer and trans smut every two months. Arrive early to hang out with freaky new friends and shop the “sexy witch market.” Stay on after the dirty movie for a Q&A on sex, pleasure, queerness, and gender. The final edition, on June 15, will feature a special appearance by Jiz Lee and Shine Louise Houston of Crashpad/Pink Label TV for the social hour and talkback.
Seattle Global Water Dances 2019
Karin Stevens Dance will participate in a national event for an essential cause: safe drinking water everywhere. To fit the theme, they'll perform excerpts from their recent premiere Sea Change Within Us, a site-specific piece that will move through Lake Union Park.
For those with a yen for high-end kink, the performers of Valtesse will revel in opulent "couture burlesque, aerial, whips, chains, dance, and doms." Wear black, red, and/or fetish gear to fit in, and stay on after the show for a party by the fireplace.
Elizabeth Gilbert: City of Girls
Elizabeth Gilbert's career has been defined by one book: Eat, Pray, Love, a runaway best seller about self-discovery and meeting her now ex-husband—the man she would, years later, end up leaving for a woman. She was wildly open about this development in her life, announcing on Facebook in September 2016 that she'd fallen in love with her best friend, who'd been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Gilbert was a successful magazine writer before Eat, Pray, Love and has now written 10 books, including City of Girls, which comes out June 4. The book, which is largely set in the 1940s, follows a 19-year-old Vassar dropout who gets involved in a major scandal in the New York theater world. It's light and—in typical Gilbert fashion—funny, but Gilbert wrote it from the depths of her grief over her partner's illness and death. KATIE HERZOG
A Party 40 Years in the Making: Fishes of the Salish Sea
Celebrate this long-awaited, beautiful UW Press volume devoted to the threatened fish of the Salish Sea, with research and writing by Ted Pietsch and James Orr and "America's leading fish artist" Joe Tomelleri. Admire and buy art prints, meet the creators and publishers, and enjoy some refreshments as you're reminded of the tenuousness of local biodiversity and the imperative of saving it.
SUNDAYFOOD & DRINK
Atlas Obscura Society Seattle: An Insect Feast with The Bug Chef
Atlas Obscura will host a decidedly entomological dinner at beloved dive Darrell's Tavern, where local "insect evangelist" David George Gordon (who is also known as the "Bug Chef" and authored The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook) will prepare a feast using insects such as farm-raised mealworms, grasshoppers, and seasoned crickets. Belly up to the bar for some insect-based cocktails before witnessing a cooking demonstration from Gordon and clips from Ian Toews’s documentary Bugs on the Menu, and snacking on finger foods like insect-topped pizza. JULIANNE BELL
The Greatest ShowQueen
More than two decades ago, former Seattle Times critic Tom Orr staged a one-man musical revue called Dirty Little Showtunes!, a gay coming-of-age story that then-Stranger critic Adrian Ryan called "one heck of a fun show." Now, Orr returns with a three-time Bay Area Theatre Critic Circle Award-winning "multitude of new perverted twists on classic showtunes." Songs include "I Feel A Thong Coming On!," "A Crass Act!," "The Devil Wears Nada!," "Aging Bull!" and "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To His Forearm!"
The Wild Geese Players Present Readings from James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’
Calling Irish literature nerds: What are you doing for Bloomsday? If you haven't made plans yet to mark the date on which James Joyce's mammoth novel Ulysses takes place, during which the protagonist Leopold Bloom travels picaresquely through Dublin, don't sweat it. This year’s reading picks up from last year's with Chapter 10, "Wandering Rocks." Whether you've read the great 20th-century classic or not, this is a great way to commune in love for the possibilities of the English language. (We're not sure we should add this, but apparently Joyce set the book on June 16 to commemorate a particularly significant real-life handjob. Just so you know what you're celebrating.)
Christine Deavel and J.W. Marshall: Vicinity/Memoryall
The two former owners of Open Books, Christine Deavel and J.W. Marshall, will read from and discuss their new play, Vicinity/Memoryall. "The play follows two characters as they struggle to find the memorial that marks the site of a violent act that had a traumatic effect on their city," according to press materials. "Lost in their rapidly changing and now unfamiliar downtown, they are led to unexpected places and responses." Deavel and Marshall are linguistic wizards who have been publishing poetry forever. I have no doubt their talents will translate to the stage, but I bet this staged reading will highlight the lyricism of the text. RICH SMITH