The 54 Best Things to Do in Seattle This Week: Sept 14-17, 2020

The Academy of Country Music Awards, Seismic: Seattle, City of Literature Release Party, and More Top Picks
September 14, 2020
Taylor Swift fans can look forward to the singer's first Academy of Country Music Awards appearance in seven years at this Wednesday's livestreamed event, where she'll be performing her song "betty" from her new album, folklore. (courtesy of Taylor Swift via YouTube)

Until the rain clears away some of the wildfire smoke lingering in the air like an unwelcome party guest, turn to our picks for the best things to do while staying safe indoors—from Seismic: Seattle, City of Literature Release Party to the NAACP National Convention, and from an El Grito concert with Ballard's Orquesta Northwest to a chat with Great British Bake Off winner Edd Kimber. In addition, check out our guides to supporting black-owned businesses and artists in Seattle, educating yourself through anti-racism resources, and donating to social justice causes. Find even more events on our complete streaming events calendar and our resistance & solidarity calendar, and check back on Friday for a roundup of the best local virtual events this weekend.

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Joe Biden Grassroots Fundraiser
Join Hillary Clinton, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris for a virtual Biden-Harris campaign fundraiser. 


Collide-O-Scope: Entertainment for Your Home
The psychedelic video series Collide-o-Scope and its "mind-melting, often hilarious" mashups of video oddities will bring you a brand-new edition.

HBO’s Coastal Elites Talk
The star-studded cast of HBO's new socially distanced comedy Coastal Elites (Bette Midler! Issa Rae! Dan Levy! Kaitlyn Dever! Sarah Paulson!) will join playwright Paul Rudnick and director Jay Roach to dish about the show—including what it was like filming in quarantine—with CNN's Alisyn Camerota. 


Flowers Black (Darren Loucas and Rebecca Young)
Local duo Flowers Black will serenade you with psychedelic blues in the likeness of Jack White and Taj Mahal at this livestreamed show. 


Claudia Rankine: Just Us
Following her award-winning book-length poem Citizen, Claudia Rankine is out with a new collection of poetry, essays, and images that explore race in America. She'll be joined virtually in conversation with Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility). 

The Pacific GrandSLAM - A Multi-City Showdown
The Moth's first-ever multi-city slam will feature storytellers from eight StorySLAM cities, including Portland and Seattle. See whose candid tales will earn the crown. 

Under the Rainbow Storytelling with Rico Rodriguez
Toronto-based storyteller and teacher Rico Rodriguez, the founder of the LGBTQ+ storytelling event Queers in Your Ears, will host this virtual open-mic. 



Biden Harris Phone Bank with Will Ferrell
To celebrate the Biden-Harris campaign's endorsement of One Fair Wage, a nonprofit led by advocates for restaurant workers to end the sub-minimum wage for tip workers who make less than the minimum wage, join a remote phone-banking event with none other than professional elf/Swedish pop star/NASCAR superstar Will Ferrell. 

The Evolving Electorate: The Gen Z and Millennial Vote
New York Times deputy politics editor Rachel Dry and national politics reporter Nick Corasaniti (along with Broad City's Ilana Glazer, climate activist Vic Barrett, and ACRONYM's Tara McGowan) will talk about issues that get Gen Z and Millennial voters to the polls. After that, they'll join Green New Deal policy-maker Rhiana Gunn-Wright and Times climate reporter Lisa Friedman for a breakdown of the climate issues driving the environmentalist vote. 

Puppy Livestream
Start your day off by watching some sweet, sweet doggos on the internet, courtesy of the Everett Animal Shelter. You're encouraged to donate to the shelter while you tune in. 

Racial Inequities & COVID-19 Community Conversation Session
In addition to the nationwide reckoning with decades of racist police violence against Black Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the health, economic, and education-related inequalities faced by communities of color. This virtual talk with City of Lynnwood officials will address what the city is doing to address these issues. 


'El Grito' Concert
As part of the MEXAM Northwest Festival, join Ballard's Orquesta Northwest, Bailadores de Bronce, Lila Downs, Mariachi Guadalajara, members of Mexico’s National Symphony, and other special guests as they offer their takes on classical pieces from Mexico, accompanied by Mexican dances and music honoring Mexico's Independence Day.

Pandora Live featuring The Killers
If you've been experiencing a resurgence of middle-school angst and/or nostalgia during quarantine, let it thrive during this livestreamed concert, Q&A, and interactive hangout with pop-punk band the Killers.


2am Notes: A Virtual Literary Open Mic
This virtual 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.

Micah Nemerever: These Violent Delights
Press materials describe Micah Nemerever's Hitchcockian debut novel as "The Secret History meets Lie with Me." The story follows two college students in 1970s Pittsburgh, each with his own troubled past, whose escalating obsession with one another leads to an act of horrific violence. The author will be joined in conversation by Peter Kispert (I Know You Know Who I Am).

Richard Yonck: The Rise of Intelligence
What exactly is intelligence, and how has our understanding of it changed? Futurist Richard Yonck will read from Future Minds: The Rise of Intelligence, From the Big Bang to the End of the Universe, which incorporates new research in AI, cognitive neuroscience, and other hard-to-grasp fields.

Seismic: Seattle, City of Literature Release Party
What does it mean for Seattle to be a UNESCO City of Literature? The anthology Seismic: Seattle, City of Literature asks local all-star writers like Anastacia-Reneé, Rena Priest, Ken Workman, Claudia Castro Luna, Jourdan Keith, Wei-Wei Lee, and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore to consider our city's 2017 designation and reflect on how literature can serve as an agent of change. Celebrate the book's release and hear readings from its contributors at this livestreamed event.



12 Arguments for Change | Shaping King County’s Post-COVID Future
In this series of three panels, King County Executive Dow Constantine will be joined by local leaders to explore economic inequality, racism, access to healthcare, climate change, unemployment, small business recovery, food access, and other pressing issues faced in our region.



Hidden Child of the Holocaust Shares His Story
In 1940s Amsterdam, Peter Metzelaar and his mother were the only members of their Jewish family to escape from Nazi persecution with the aide of the Dutch Underground. Tonight, Metzelaar will share his story online with the Museum of Flight. 

Michael Sandel with Anna Deavere Smith: What's Become of the Common Good?
In this virtual Town Hall talk, philosopher Michael Sandel will use points from his book The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good to argue that to overcome the crises facing our world, we must "rethink our attitudes toward success and failure." He'll be joined by actor Anna Deavere Smith (The West Wing). 

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—he deserves it!), and hundreds of people at the party have written us emails, clamoring for more. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Virtual Tour: Shadows and Fort Worden
What lurks in the damp corridors of Port Townsend's Fort Worden, the former United States Army Coast Artillery Corps base constructed to protect Puget Sound from invasion by sea? This virtual tour with Pretty Gritty Tours will take you through it. 


Palestinian Home Cooking with Nadia Tommalieh
Learn to prepare some of cooking instructor Nadia Tommalieh's favorite Palestinian dishes, including Hashweh seasoned rice and ground meat pilaf and Khiar bil Laban, in this livestreamed class.  


55th ACM Awards
Watch chart-topping stars perform live at the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards, including the debut of a new Keith Urban/P!nk collaboration and Taylor Swift's first country music awards performance in seven years. 

Black Fret & NVCS Present Naked Giants
Dance to a virtual set from local rockers Naked Giants as part of the Black Fret concert series. 

Cedric Watson Virtual House Concert
Texas-born musician Cedric Watson will explore the Black roots of Creole, Cajun, and Zydeco music on Wa Na Wari's Facebook Live. 

Piano Starts Here Presents: The Gospel of Thomas A. Dorsey
Alex Guilbert, Nelda Swiggett, Jake Seleand, and Darrius Willrich will take over Royal Room's virtual stage for a concert dedicated to the highly influential gospel composer Thomas A. Dorsey. 


Andrew Imbrie with Jen Psaki - Power on the Precipice: The Six Choices America Faces in a Turbulent World
Foreign policy expert Andrew Imbrie will join former White House communications director Jen Psaki for a talk on his new book, Power on the Precipice: The Six Choices America Faces in a Turbulent World.

Robert Michael Pyle & Scott Russell Sanders
Robert Michael Pyle and Scott Russell Sanders will read from their newly published books of essays, Nature Matrix and The Way of Imagination, respectively. 

Sigrid Nunez: What Are You Going Through
In her newest novel, the National Book Award-winning author of The Friend offers an aging female writer's musings on life and death as she provides support to a friend dying of cancer. Nunez will read and discuss What Are You Going Through alongside Alexander Chee (How to Write an Autobiographical Novel). 


Workshops for Democracy
I’ve been a professional writer for nearly twenty years, and one of the best writing experiences I’ve ever had in that time was a class taught by award-winning author Steve Almond, whose upcoming Workshops for Democracy you would be an absolute lunatic not to attend. Steve has taught at Harvard and Wesleyan, and his work’s appeared in the New York Times and GQ, among many many others. Now, working with Hugo House, Grub Street, and Lighthouse, Steve has arranged for his upcoming writing workshops to be steeply discounted, with the expectation that attendees will donate to a political cause of their choosing. MATT BAUME


Mary Olson Farm Artist in Residence 'Mokedo' Virtual Exhibition
Mary Olson Farm Artist in Residence Mollie Bryan (aka "Mokedo") will livestream a walkthrough of her final residency exhibition, which features sculptures created in the form of "larger-than-life" feathers.

Tacoma Art Museum Virtual Gala 2020!
The Tacoma Art Museum's virtual gala will highlight its newly expanded online programs and its work around diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. There will also be auction items, on which you'll have a full week to bid, as well as raffles, an interactive cocktail hour, and live entertainment.



PopCon 2020: Forever Young: Popular Music and Youth Across the Ages
At this annual pointy-headed music-nerd conference, which was started in 2002, academics, critics, artists, and hardcore fans come together to hear panels on a broad theme relating to the art form that connects them all. This year's three-block virtual event is all about the youth, who have played a major role in driving music, politics, and culture throughout history. This week brings panel discussions like "Stanning Our Girlhoods: Black & Latina Girls, Pop Music & Embodied Knowledges" (Wed) and "No Place Like Homo: Queer Transformations in Youth" (Thurs).



Critical Thinking: John Leguizamo in Conversation with Mark Ruffalo
Tony- and Emmy-winning star John Leguizamo will talk about his new film, Critical Thinking (which tells the true story of the five Miami students who won the 1998 National Chess Championship), with Mark Ruffalo.

Making Black Lives Matter with Michael Harriot & Jamon Jordan
Join YES! Magazine and Colorlines for a virtual discussion on the Black Lives Matter movement with The Root writer Michael Harriot and historian Jamon Jordan. 

Orcas and Salmon: In Dialogue with Lynda Mapes
Get an update on the state of our region's endangered southern resident orca whales and Chinook salmon in this online event with Seattle Times journalist Lynda Mapes. 


Teenagers from Outer Space with Baron von Terror
Watch the campy-as-hell 1959 thriller Teenagers from Outer Space with Central Cinema's resident horror fanatic Baron Von Terror, virtually. 


Grounded - Greg Cypher & Reposado
BIG BLDG's cozy weekly music series will welcome Greg Cypher of Kirkland hip-hop group Kung Foo Grip and Queens-bred blues-funk outfit Reposado.

Live on KEXP at Home: Belafonte Sensacional
Israel Ramírez and his Mexican folk-rock group Belafonte Sensacional will provide uplifting tunes at this KEXP show. 

NVCS Presents: Stay Grounded
Get into some R&B-infused reggae-rock with local group Stay Grounded, courtesy of Nectar. 

Strict Tempo: Damascus Knives, Endif, Verhalten, Magnum Opus, Maldoror
Seattle DJ Vox Sinistra will host another virtual dark and synthy club night with Damascus Knives, Endif, Verhalten, Magnum Opus, and Maldoror.


Kaleidoscope Series: 'World Of Butoh' With Kogut Butoh
Get an introduction to the ancient Japanese art of Butoh with Joan Laage of Kogut Butoh for this installment of the Seattle Japanese Garden's series of educational online events. 


Dr. Jennifer Reich
Institute for Systems Biology, a nonprofit biomedical research organization based in Seattle, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a Town Hall talk with Dr. Jennifer Reich, a Colorado-based sociologist who focuses on how individuals and families weigh information and strategize their interactions with state and service providers. 

Edd Kimber: One Tin Bakes
The Great British Bake Off winner Edd Kimber will join Book Larder and Seattle's own Rachael Coyle of Coyle's Bakeshop for a virtual chat on his new cookbook, One Tin Bakes. As the name suggests, the book's 70 recipes require no more than a single baking dish.

Stanza: Flux Book Release & Show
Enjoy live poetry readings by Ashton Weis, Zoe Sandalwood, Julie Bragg, Nachiket Nai, and many other contributors to the Push/Pull exhibition Stanza: Flux, which also features artwork by the likes of Oscar Baechler and Jon Garaizar.

Yamile Saied Méndez: Furia
If you loved Bend it Like Beckham, check out Yamile Saied Méndez's new YA book about a young Argentinian girl who juggles her rocky home life (a short-tempered father, a mother with high, gendered expectations) and her love of soccer. The author will be joined in conversation by fellow YA author Candice Montgomery. 



Imagine Change: Real Change 26th Anniversary Celebration
Real Change, a local newspaper centering and sold by the Seattle homeless community, will celebrate its 26th anniversary with a week of livestreamed activities, including a panel discussion moderated by Founding Director Tim Harris and featuring All in for Washington's Juan Jose Bocanegra, community organizer Nikkita Oliver, and Low Income Housing Institute's Sharon Lee.

NAACP National Convention
The 111th NAACP National Convention will take place online, promising nearly two weeks of virtual events addressing issues of police brutality, racism, economic empowerment, and health and wellness in the Black community.

Instead of taking place in Dottie Harper Park, Burien's annual lantern-based art gathering Arts-a-Glow will invite community members to decorate their own porches and front yards in glowing lights and to post photos on the Arts-a-Glow Facebook page for all to enjoy.

Virtual Washington State Fair
The Washington State Fair in its usual incarnation is a no-go this year, but you can still get fair food to go via a drive-through and shop from local vendors at a virtual marketplace.


Annual ChuSeok Korean Festival
The Asian Pacific Cultural Center's take on the ChuSeok festival, a traditional Korean celebration of the fall harvest, will include a full day of streamed events, including Samulnori drum dances, paper lotus flower-making, and more such fun.


PAX Online
Promising a 24/7 (or 24/9, since the event runs for nine days straight) stream of content, events, discussions, and gameplay, the virtual edition of this hugely popular gaming festival is doing things a little differently his year. If you've attended PAX in the past, you know that it's infamously quick to sell out, but that won't be the case this year—it's free!


A Thousand Ways
In this three-part interactive virtual performance lasting an entire year, Obie Award-winning theater-makers 600 Highwaymen respond to social distancing rules that "deliver us from isolation to congregation." In the first installment, A Phone Call, you'll glean a telling portrait of the performer on the other end of a mysterious phone call. (You can and should read Jasmyne Keimig and Chase Burns experience of that installment here.)