The 50 Best Social Distancing-Friendly Things To Do in Seattle This Week: May 18-21, 2020

A Reading with Luis Alberto Urrea, a Sea Otter Presentation, and More Top Picks
May 18, 2020
On Wednesday, natural history author Todd McLeish will give a picture-filled presentation contending that sea otters are 1) extremely cute and 2) valuable parts of our ecosystem. (Ken Conger)

By now, you might have a queue of recurring virtual events whose hosts earn your attention (and donations) every week, which is awesome. But if you're looking for something new, we've rounded up the latest, most exciting stuff popping up on the internet this week on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms‚ÄĒfrom a reading with Luis Alberto Urrea Add to a List to a conversation with Samantha Irby and Angela Garbes Add to a List , and from a concert with Actionesse Add to a List to On the Boards' Virtually Spectacular Live Add to a List . Find even more events on our complete streaming events calendar, and check back on Friday for a roundup of the best local virtual events this weekend.

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'Community' Table Read Add to a List
The mantra for writer/creator Dan Harmon's sitcom masterpiece Community was always "Six seasons and a movie" but that mantra now has to make room for "oh and a live-streamed cast-reunion table-read of a season four episode with the actual Mandalorian as a guest star to support World Central Kitchen and Frontline Foods." It's kind of a mouthful, yeah, but it's accurate, because that's exactly what's happening on the Community YouTube channel Monday at 2 pm. Extra bonus awesomeness: Chevy Chase is not going to be there at all! And, some are speculating the cherry on top of this show's special cast reunion will be an announcement that Netflix has greenlit a Community movie. Wouldn't you want to be there live if that happens? BOBBY ROBERTS

Collide-O-Scope: Having a Blast! Add to a List
In honor of the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, Collide-O-Scope will bring you "an explosion of hits" starring greats like Bette Davis, Art Carney, Connie Thomson, and even Jesus Christ. 

Good Planets are Hard to Find: 'Dune' Add to a List
MoPOP will kick off its new intergalactic film series with a screening and virtual discussion of Dune, David Lynch's notoriously troubled adaptation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic. 


Mi Casa es su Casa/ Voces Latinas Concert Add to a List
Ballard Civic Orchestra members will play a virtual Orquesta Northwest concert with additional accompaniment from mariachi player Izchel Chacon. 

Pickathon's Concert a Day: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down Add to a List
I first saw folk rockers Thao & the Get Down Stay Down at laidback hippie-fest Pickathon, and I was not prepared. There's verve and soul in Thao's music, but there's a twisting, vibrant energy, too‚ÄĒand that's why seeing her live is so goddamn fun. If you want to see, hear, and feel exactly what I saw, then tune into this episode of the ongoing Concert a Day series, where that Pickathon performance is being re-streamed to help raise money for MusiCares. And when you're done with that, maybe give their brand new LP a listen or three. BOBBY ROBERTS


Department of Mind-Blowing Theories Add to a List
In this livestreamed edition of Steve Scher's podcast, the host will interview cartoonist Tom Gauld, who "skewers hapless scientists, nanobots, and puzzling theorems" in his work. 

Neil Shubin: Some Assembly Required Add to a List
The paleontologist, University of Chicago professor, and beloved author of Your Inner Fish will read from his new book Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA, which should clear up some misconceptions about evolution and the biggest shifts and accidents that determined the course of life on Earth.

A Night of Covenant House Stars Add to a List
The week begins with this gala livestream event helping raise funds for Covenant House, whose mission to serve homeless and trafficked youth literally cannot be closed down by COVID-19. Special guests include Dolly Parton, Stephen Colbert, Meryl Streep, Dionne Warwick, Martin Short, Jon Bon Jovi, and Charlie Day, who I'm assuming will not be showing up in his Green Man costume but you never know. Hosted by Broadway legend Audra McDonald and 60 Minutes correspondent John Dickerson. BOBBY ROBERTS


Mikel Jollett Add to a List
In his debut memoir, the frontman of indie-rock band Airborne Toxic Event (an eerily apropos moniker) recounts his unusual upbringing in a California cult, where he and other members experienced poverty, addiction, and emotional abuse. Hear him read online and look forward to a copy of the book in your mailbox in late May.

Mount St. Helens 40th Eruption Anniversary Virtual Story Circle Add to a List
Washington State Parks and the Washington State Historical Society present a collection of shared memories from The Mount St. Helens Visitors Center Oral History Project, comprising true stories of people who had a deep connection to the area both before and after its historic 1980 eruption. Visit their Facebook page to hear firsthand just how world-shaking that eruption really was. BOBBY ROBERTS

Mount St. Helens and the Cascade Range Volcanoes Add to a List
Four local scientists will fill you in on how the science and monitoring of seismic activity has evolved over the last 40 years (aka since the eruption of Mount St. Helens). Plus, for those who weren't around in the '80s, UW seismologist Steve Malone will give a play-by-play of his account of the eruption.

Songbook Series: This Searing Light the Sun and Everything Else Add to a List
In This Searing Light The Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division: An Oral History, Jon Savage tackles both how the English rock band was able to garner such a humongous (and persistent) fan base and how the death of frontman Ian Curtis affected the group. The author will be joined in conversation by Kevin Cole, host of The Afternoon Show on KEXP. You can order a copy with signed bookplates and all from Elliott Bay Book Company.



'Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything' Netflix Premiere Add to a List
For those who like good things in their lives, this thoughtful lefty nerd is the best, and you will miss out on a ton of laughs if you aren’t settling into your couch to watch the latest stand-up special from America’s most lovable comic, and perhaps the only worthwhile person to follow on twitter (@pattonoswalt). I Love Everything follows up his hilarious and touching Annihilation with an hour of jokes that find Patton finding new love, searching for the cosmic significance in mundane happenings, and suffering existential dread at a Denny's. Who among us doesn't relate, huh? BOBBY ROBERTS


What The Femme: Female Cyberbodies in Science Fiction - Virtual Class Add to a List
SIFF programmer Colleen O'Holleran will conduct this online class on female androids in film, from The Fifth Element to The Stepford Wifes to Ex Machina (all of which are recommended viewing before class).


Beabadoobee Add to a List
Filipino British bedroom dream-popper Beabadoobee will go live on KEXP's YouTube channel.

Special Subject: Distant Together Add to a List
Bristol's Specialist Subject Records will showcase 15 of its indie, punk, and hardcore artists (including Erica Freas, Soot Sprite, Slingshot Dakota, Dogeyed, Don’t Worry, and AJJ) on Instagram Live.


The Road to Women’s Suffrage Add to a List
The New York Times' new series Unfinished Work investigates the women's rights movement and the ongoing battle for equality in America, starting with those who paved the way to the 19th Amendment‚ÄĒespecially women of color and those who don't get proper credit in mainstream history. Times culture reporter¬†Jennifer Schuessler will bring on special guests¬†Valerie Jarrett,¬†Martha S. Jones,¬†Kate Clarke Lemay, and¬†Susan Ware.

You Live, You Learn: A Night with Alanis Morissette and Jagged Little Pill Add to a List
Join Alanis Morissette and the cast and team of Diablo Cody's rock musical Jagged Little Pill for an evening of exclusive performances and surprises benefiting the Actors Fund.


2am Notes: A (Virtual) Literary Open Mic Add to a List
This new open mic welcomes poetry, prose, and other literary works in progress that have ideally been written on scraps of paper, typed into your phone notes, or otherwise hastily jotted down at odd hours of the night. 

Samantha Irby and Angela Garbes Add to a List
Samantha Irby (the progenitor of the hilarious blog bitches gotta eat) will chat about her new book of essays, Wow, No Thank You., with former Stranger writer Angela Garbes.



The Animation Show of Shows
For the first time ever, the Animation Show of Shows, a well-curated collection of the finest shorts being created by animators and filmmakers worldwide, is being made available for online screening. And it's not just one edition being made available, but four of them.  BOBBY ROBERTS

The Story of Soaps
ABC returns with another star-studded retrospective of TV glories gone by, but instead of live-recreations of classic sitcoms, or gushing tributes to lovable showrunners, they're paying tribute to Soap Operas. And not just because they were the first mainstreamed examples of "shared universes" and "binge watching," and "time shifting" (I can't be the only kid whose mom taught herself how to program a VCR to maintain a library of All My Children stories.) A ton of the home entertainment innovations we all take for granted here in 2020 were invented by the soaps, and a panel of experts including Carol Burnett, John Stamos, Susan Lucci, Bryan Cranston, Agnes Nixon, Erika Slezak, and Alec Baldwin will walk viewers through the soaps' foamy, fantastic history. BOBBY ROBERTS



Cuddle Up With the Sea Otters of the Pacific Coast Add to a List
Natural history author Todd McLeish will lead a very important discussion on the adorable sea otter (interspersed with extremely cute photos, of course), which he accurately describes as "one of nature’s cutest and most fascinating little fireballs." 

A Moment of Calm with Jameela Jamil Add to a List
Veronica Chambers, the senior editor for Special Projects at the New York Times, will chat with mental health activist and podcast host (and The Good Place star) Jameela Jamil on tactics for getting through this pandemic. 

Virtual Silent Reading Party
The¬†first worldwide silent-reading party¬†was such a huge success that we're making it weekly. Every Wednesday at 6 pm we're going to throw these parties, at least until stay-at-home is over.¬†Attendees at the first Zoom silent-reading party included famous actors, writers, composers, artists, families, teenagers doing their homework, people staring into space listening to the music because it was just so beautiful, cats, and even one household on Orcas Island that was eating dinner and decided to broadcast the reading party as their background music. (What a brilliant idea!)¬†It wasn't just a great party to be at. Behind the scenes, this was a roaring success as well.¬†The Stranger¬†brought in revenue from the reading party for the first time ever, our musician¬†Paul Matthew Moore¬†made¬†ten times¬†more on Venmo tips than he's ever made in the tip jar at the Sorrento (thank you for your generosity‚ÄĒhe¬†deserves¬†it!), and hundreds of people at the party have written us emails, clamoring for more. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE


SIFF Movie Club: ShortsFest Edition - Virtual Discussion Add to a List
Prepare for this virtual edition of the SIFF Movie Club by watch seven short films from recent Seattle International Film Festivals, then join a roundtable discussion SIFF ShortsFest programmers Dan Doody and Megan Leonard in conversation with short filmmakers Sontenish Myers ("Cross My Heart"), Celine Held ("Caroline"), and Logan George ("Caroline").


Virtual Planetarium Show: Stars Up Close Add to a List
Learn about the planets in our solar system and recent astronomy discoveries from Pacific Science Center educators, then go for a social distancing walk after dark to see if you can apply your newfangled knowledge. 


John Grisham Add to a List
Legal thriller extraordinaire John Grisham will share excerpts from his new novel Camino Winds with Third Place Books.

Luis Alberto Urrea Add to a List
Luis Alberto Urrea's The House of Broken Angels, which takes inspiration from his own life, relates the tale of a dying patriarch, his journey as a young man from La Paz to San Diego, the grudges and loves of his extended family, and his 100-year-old mother's funeral. Urrea has been a finalist for the Pulitzer, and his personal yet wide-ranging style seems perfectly suited to this sprawling family epic.

Storytelling 101 with Joshua Marie Wilkinson Add to a List
Local writer Joshua Marie Wilkinson will lead a free, all-levels online class outlining the fundamentals of great storytelling. He'll start with heavy-hitters like character, stakes, and desire, as well as "the five basic sentences a storyteller has in their toolbox to develop and escalate a gripping narrative."

Sylvia Ann Hewlett: #MeToo in the Corporate World Add to a List
The importance of #MeToo can hardly be overstated. Yet according to economist and author Hewlett, the movement has too often neglected abuse and harassment suffered by black men, gay people, Latinx people, and other marginalized folks in America. She'll read from her new book #MeToo in the Corporate World: Power, Privilege, and the Path Forward, which confronts #MeToo's shortcomings with concrete examples and opportunities for progress. Hewlett, the founder of the New York think tank Center for Talent Innovation, will be joined by her organization's vice president, Kennedy Ihezie.



‚ÄėBen Platt: Live from Radio City Music Hall‚Äô Premiere
Ben Platt achieved bonafide Broadway stardom in Dear Evan Hansen, and followed that up by joining Ryan Murphy's gleefully dysfunctional TV family, anchoring Netflix's satire The Politician. Now he's leveraging that Netflix power to get his own hourlong special on the platform, called Ben Platt: Live from Radio City Music Hall. He's got a band, he's got some personal songs to sing, some personal stories to share, and one amazing floral-pattern shirt to sweat through all night long. BOBBY ROBERTS



Coast to Coast Roast Add to a List
Helium's new livestream stand-up series is also an outlet for any tension, frustration, and acid that might have built up over the course of your self-quarantine, as comics from all over the country get in front of their webcams, get the green-light from the showrunners, and proceed to mercilessly roast everyone in front of them alive. Nobody got to have a March Madness this year, so instead, why not enjoy the Coast to Coast Roast's Elite Eight, and see which comic is on their way to being crowned the ultimate conqueror. Hosted by Joe List and Mark Normand. BOBBY ROBERTS

Model Minority: An Asian Womxn Comedy Show
Stephanie Nam will host a lineup of fellow funny womxn of the Asian diaspora (Robin Tran, Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, Ellen Acuario, and Bernice Ye) in this virtual comedy showcase. 


Coexisting with COVID-19: Love in the Time of COVID Add to a List
How has your relationship or lack thereof been going during quarantine? The hosts of this virtual check-in want to know. 


Lunafest Add to a List
Lunafest (named after the women-aimed nutrition bar company LUNA Bar) is a traveling short film festival composed of films by and about women. All proceeds from this virtual event will benefit SheJumps (a local organization whose mission is to motivate women and girls to participate in outdoor activities), and each ticket enters you in a raffle to win a SheJumps prize pack that includes an Arc'teryx Alpha AR 35 backpack, a trucker hat, a first-aid kit, and some cute stickers. This year's program includes Kristen Lester and Gillian Libbert-Duncan's "Purl," about an earnest ball of yarn who gets a job at a "bro-tastic" start-up; B. Monét's "Ballet After Dark," in which a young woman starts a dance therapy studio for women recovering from sexual abuse and domestic violence; and more.


Reuben's Brews Virtual Brewer's Night Add to a List
Order a flight of Reuben's Brews beers (which includes their Nordic Haze) and sip it with likeminded folks at this virtual Brewer's Night.


How We Learn, Parasites In The Sound, Tracking Thunderstorms Add to a List
A.J. Balatico, Natalie Mastick, and Nick Weber will be the latest UW grad students to share their research with Town Hall in this virtual edition of UW Science Engage. They'll talk about how each individual's learning process is unique, and what factors go into shaping those processes; how parasites affect marine mammals in the Puget Sound; and how we might be able to improve forecasts, respectively. 


High Dive Live Stream Concert Series Presents: Racoma Add to a List
Enjoy sunny alt-rock from Seattle's Racoma, courtesy of High Dive.

Mayer Hawthorne: The Wine & Vinyl Hour
There's something endearingly cheesy about sonic seducer Andrew Cohen, who performs under the moniker Mayer Hawthorne. With song titles like "Lingerie & Candlewax" and a voice like Curtis Mayfield, you might not expect to find a nerdy white guy from Michigan behind Hawthorne's throwback sound. But the guy can actually sing, and he confidently pulls off the whole schmaltzy, red wine-stained, sex-on-a-faux-fur-area-rug vibe. That vibe is exactly the whole point of his weekly livestream, "The Wine & Vinyl Hour," so why not treat yourself? BOBBY ROBERTS

Nectar Virtual Concert Series Presents: Actionesse Add to a List
It'll be hard to find a band louder and rowdier than Seattle-based post-hardcore punk makers Actionesse. Self-described as "post-horncore"‚ÄĒwhich should be a strange enough sell to draw you in‚ÄĒActionesse boast horns that are often in a delightful screaming match with their howling vocalist. The loudness can get otherworldly. And fun. They once invited¬†The Stranger¬†to one of their house shows, and we saw the lead screamer dive off a piano, splat on the floor, and shout into a blasting trombone. It was transformational. I would not be surprised if they inspired their (virtual) audience to riot. CHASE BURNS

Satur8r Presents: Kame Backstage Vol.1 - Stres Add to a List
Kame Hou$e's series of "backstage exclusive" live recorded concerts are filmed outside from a safe distance. For this edition, check out indie-electronic artist Stres (aka Sasha Bolof) on Twitch. 


Virtually Spectacular LIVE Add to a List
Glamorous local drag queen Betty Wetter will host this virtual red carpet event with live performances from Justin Vivian Bond, CHRISTEENE, SassyBlack, and Jordan MacIntosh-Hougham with Bad Bad Dance. Slip on your finest evening wear and go dutch with your household on fine-dining meal kits from Brothers & Co. ($350), Harry’s Fine Foods ($250), Little Neon Taco ($100), or the Sitting Room ($55), a portion of proceeds from each of which will benefit On the Boards.


Virtual Bad Jimmy's Bingo Add to a List
Pick up a $5 pack of bingo cards from Bad Jimmy's or make your own and tune into a burlesque-filled game night.


Kirk Bloodsworth: The Fight To End The Death Penalty Add to a List
Kirk Bloodsworth, the first American to be exonerated from death row based on DNA testing back in the '90s, has spent his life thereafter trying to abolish the death penalty and addressing wrongful convictions. Hear him read from his memoir at this virtual Town Hall event.

Let Dolly Parton Read You a Bedtime Story
You tired? You're probably tired. Everyone's kinda tired. Pandemic living is like that. But while our future remains fitfully uncertain, we can still get ourselves to dreamland as wonderfully as possible thanks to indispensable treasure Dolly Parton, whose "Dolly Parton's Imagination Library" channel has been hosting a weekly webseries where Dolly herself reads a bedtime story in full to your children. Or you. Everyone, really; if there's an age at which Dolly Parton reading you to sleep is inappropriate, I hope humanity never reaches it, or recognizes it. We sure as hell aren't starting now, that's for sure. BOBBY ROBERTS

Summer Reads for a Not-Quite-Normal Summer Add to a List
In this virtual edition of Book Review Live, New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul will muse over summer reading suggestions with best-selling author Ann Patchett (author of The Dutch House, most recently). After that, daily Books editor John Williams will take a virtual peek through the shelves of the National Book Foundation's Lisa Lucas and book critic Parul Sehgal.


Re/frame: The Art of the Triptych Add to a List
Join Ann Poulson, Associate Curator of Collections at the Henry, for an interactive look at the gallery's collections, paying special attention to triptychs, and how groupings affect our perception of the individual pieces.



Pat Graney's Faith Triptych
These three performances from renowned choreographer Pat Graney (titled "Faith," "Sleep," and "Tattoo," respectively) span the course of a decade, from 1991-2001. Stream all three parts featuring 12 of the original cast members (including KT Niehoff, Peggy Piacenza, and Amii Legendre).


Abstractions of Black Citizenship: African American Art from Saint Louis Add to a List
Seattle University's Hedreen Gallery spring exhibition, which will have its opening online, pushes back against the long history of redlining, racially restrictive covenants, and anti-black regimes in St. Louis, Missouri, through the mixed-media work of St. Louis-based black artists Dominic Chambers, Damon Davis, Jen Everett, De Nichols, and Katherine Simóne Reynolds. 
Opening Monday

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