Arts

The 84 Best Things To Do in Seattle This Week: April 23-29, 2018

Black Bois, Dining Out for Life, Independent Bookstore Day, and More Arts & Culture Critics' Picks
April 23, 2018
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Don't miss the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's shows this weekend. (Andrew Eccles)
Our music critics have already chosen the 34 best music shows this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn to pick the best events in their areas of expertise. Here are their picks in every genre—from Independent Bookstore Day to The Stranger's Night School: What To Do With White Nationalists In Your Neighborhood, from the Bacon and Beer Classic to the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, and from the Seattle Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary to the opening of the Seattle Rep's Familiar, written by Tony-nominated playwright Danai Gurira (who was also in Black Panther). See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.

Stay in the know! Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app (available for iOS and Android), or delivered to your inbox.


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

MONDAY

ART

Bird Week: How to Draw Birds
It's Bird Week! Lovely comics artist, painter, and poet Mita Mahato will help you draw a variety of bird species from specimens provided by Seward Park Audubon Center.

Book Arts With Sandra Kroupa
The Atlas Obscura Society's Shin Yu Pai will join UW Special Collections curator Sandra Kroupa for a discussion of book arts, with examples from the collection spanning Pacific Northwest book artists, non-adhesive bindings, innovative structures, and more from the archives.

FOOD & DRINK

Author Talk: Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
For his latest book, Southern chef Edward Lee, who's appeared on David Chang's Mind of a Chef, took a road trip through America uncovering fascinating stories behind the country's "new melting-pot cuisine," from the noodle soup of an Uyghur cafe to a matcha-dusted beignet. He'll join Warren Etheredge for a conversation about his travels and sign copies purchased at the Book Larder.

One Night Only: L'Oursin + Holy Mountain + KEXP DJ Tim Betterley
The culty, esoteric brewery Holy Mountain Brewing and the sparkling, irreverent French bistro L'Oursin will join forces for a dream team dinner with four courses and beer pairings. KEXP DJ Tim Betterley will provide the soundtrack.

READINGS & TALKS

Alexander Chee: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
After two gorgeous, groundbreaking, award-winning novels—Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night—Alexander Chee has just published his first book of nonfiction, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, a collection of his gorgeous, groundbreaking essays. It is not, in fact, a how-to manual on writing autobiographical novels. “In these essays,” according to the publisher, “he grows from student to teacher, reader to writer, and reckons with his identities as a son, a gay man, a Korean American, an artist, an activist, a lover, and a friend." CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Annelise Orleck with Heidi Groover: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages
The fast-food workers who led the Fight for $15 movement in Seattle (and who continue to struggle to make sure the city enforces those laws) were not acting in isolation. Around the world, farmers and garment workers and hotel staff and employees and laborers in all kinds of industries have also been trying (and sometimes failing) to build coalitions in an effort to secure basic rights for their fellow workers. In We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now, Dartmouth professor of history Annelise Orleck tells the stories of these victories and defeats using the words of the people who fought the battles. The Stranger's own housing and labor reporter, Heidi Groover, will join Professor Orleck onstage for a conversation about the state of the global labor movement and its many visions for the future. RICH SMITH

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY

ART

Etsuko Ichikawa: Vitrified
Seven years ago this spring, an earthquake off the coast of Japan led to the release of radioactive material from a nuclear power in Fukushima. Ever since, world-renowned glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa has been thinking about the artifacts left by her Japanese ancestors in terms of the impact of contemporary human civilization on our environment. For her new video Vitrified, she has created a series of glass orbs that contain traces of uranium and give off a haunting green glow and placed them in lush and pristine natural environments. This exhibition also contains glass objects and some of Ichikawa's signature pyrographs—drawings made by tracing hot glass along a piece of paper like scorched calligraphy. EMILY POTHAST
Closing Wednesday

MONDAY-THURSDAY

ART

Amanda Kirkhuff: Everything Is Hard
According to a recent interview, self-proclaimed “militant homosexual” Amanda Kirkhuff’s work in this show explores “the role the gay community plays in the revolution.” Many of her lush oil portraits show women and queers in more or less ordinary scenes. Shotgun captures the stoner rite of passage, one tattooed twentysomething woman purses her lips to pass (presumably) pot smoke to the waiting mouth of another woman. Their eyes nearly closed, this erotic moment of not-quite-but-nearly-French-kissing has played out among stoner duos everywhere. Passing the Joint features a gesture resembling Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, where Adam reaches out to touch the hand of God. One hand with squared-off, red-painted fingernails reaches for a joint from another hand with long, embellished, manicured fingernails. Like Shotgun, the eroticism is understated but very much present in this simple act. KATIE KURTZ
Closing Thursday

MONDAY-FRIDAY

ART

Masters of Vancouver Island and Beyond
This gallery will display masks and sculptures by Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, Musqueam, Cree, Tlingit, Haida, and non-indigenous artists primarily from Vancouver Island. Contributors to the exhibit include Jay Brabant, Art Thompson, Beau Dick, Mervyn Child, Junior Henderson, and many others.
Closing Friday

MONDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Anne Siems: To Shed
Anne Siems's work reflects the influence of medieval, early modern, and romantic art, setting delicate portraits with Byzantine eyes against abstract backgrounds that suggest mists, storms, and gardens of now-extinct flora. Pale, thickly painted faces contrast with sketched-in or detail-less clothing—and how alien these traditional styles are to our sensibilities today, despite their iconic place in Western cultural history. To see the acrylics of this German artist (who's now based in Seattle) is to glimpse a compression of European art through the centuries, given its own idiosyncratic, feminist spin. This exhibition responds to #MeToo and #TimesUp, exhorting the viewer to "let go of toxic beliefs, shame, and harmful patterns of behavior." JOULE ZELMAN
Closing Sunday

FESTIVALS

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
For the 35th consecutive year, flower enthusiasts will flock to Skagit Valley to see sprawling fields covered with hundreds of colorful tulips in bloom. The festival is designed as a driving tour, as there's no one spot to enter.

PERFORMANCE

The Horse in Motion Presents: Hamlet
Local theater company The Horse in Motion will transform the Stimson-Green Mansion, a well-preserved 10,000-square-foot Tudor-style manse that stands out among the surrounding soulless condos on First Hill, into Hamlet's Elsinore. I didn’t think you could make one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies even more of an existential mind-spiral about the perils and paradoxes of action and inaction than it already is, but director Julia Sears and her crew have found a way to do it. This immersive version will feature two different productions of the play running in the house at the same time, sword fights in the library, and ghostly theatrical surprises. RICH SMITH
No performance on Tuesday or Wednesday

TUESDAY

FOOD & DRINK

An Evening with Nigella Lawson
British food writer and TV personality Nigella Lawson is world-renowned for making cooking seem delightfully glamorous, sensual, and effortless all at once in an aspirational sort of way, and the way she revels deeply in food will inspire you to do the same. Her new cookbook, At My Table, is a paean to the pleasures of home cooking, with an emphasis on warm, comforting dishes like chicken fricassee and sticky toffee pudding. At this event, she'll join Tom Douglas and his Seattle Kitchen radio show cohost Katie Okumura for a conversation about her new book. Plus, you’ll get to try wine and appetizers from the book and have your copy signed by the domestic goddess herself. JULIANNE BELL

READINGS & TALKS

Dr. Lucy Jones: The Big Ones
Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones' book The Big Ones chronicles the history of natural disasters, their impact on our culture, and "new ways of thinking about the ones to come." In light of the looming mega-quake bound to hit our region, the author will surely provide you with some much-needed facts.

Madeleine Albright
Former Secretary of State and UN ambassador Madeleine Albright, who fled the Nazi occupation of Prague as a child, will reveal insights from her timely book entitled Fascism: A Warning.

Natalie Singer, Jennifer Haupt, Anca L. Szilagyi, and Priscilla Long: California Calling
Natalie Singer will discuss her new book California Calling with local authors Jennifer Haupt, Anca L. Szilagyi, Priscilla Long, and Terry Tazioli. Singer's "lyrical self-interrogation of obsession, emigration, and identity" opens in a courtroom on a witness stand, where Singer is forced to testify in a family breakup that changes the course of her life.

RESISTANCE & SOLIDARITY

Night School: What To Do With White Nationalists In Your Neighborhood
Emboldened by President Donald Trump's unabashed nativism, white nationalists and neo-Nazis are bringing their hate to the public sphere in a way that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. Meanwhile, a debate is brewing over how to best respond to their message. Should we protest Neo-Nazis? What about punching them? Or should we ignore them? Join The Stranger for a lively discussion with people who explore these questions every day: David Neiwert, a contributor to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump; Dr. Laurie Marhoefer, a professor of history at the University of Washington who studies the rise of the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany; David Lewis, a freelance journalist who snuck into Seattle's white nationalist convention and wrote about his experience for The Stranger; and Duke Aaron, a member of the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club, an affiliate of the Redneck Revolt network, the anti-racist, anti-fascist community defense formation.

TUESDAY-SATURDAY

ART

Alfredo Arreguin
This Seattle artist, according to the gallery "recognized as one of the originators of the Pattern and Decoration movement in painting," imitates mosaic, tile, and floral decorations in his paintings of Mexican cultural icons like Frida Kahlo and El Joven Zapata.
Closing Saturday

Michael Spafford: Epic Prints
Three Seattle galleries—Davidson, Woodside/Braseth, and Greg Kucera—are displaying works by the legendary Michael Spafford, whose flat yet dynamic figurative works clash together with all the brutality of classical myth. The print Europa and the Bull #2 reduces the bodies of the bull and his victim into curved lines and blocks of black and white. Chimera and Bellerophon uses a diptych structure with a cut-out attachment to render the goat-lion-snake beast of legend, ingeniously mimicking its hybrid nature with disparate colors and materials. Perhaps the most impressive paintings are Coatlicue #1 and #2, the Aztec mother of the gods, depicted as four or six severed hands ensnared in a whorl of intestine-like snakes. JOULE ZELMAN
Closing Saturday

Preston Singletary: The Air World
Over the course of a career spanning more than 40 years, contemporary Tlingit artist Preston Singletary has become one of the biggest names in the Northwest's thriving, collaborative glass-art community. Challenging the notion that indigenous art must be defined by a relationship to traditional materials, Singletary's work has expanded the notion of what constitutes a "traditional material," creating objects rooted in both history and innovation. Singletary's work is in the collections of many museums around the world. For this show, he plans to unveil new handblown, sand-carved glassworks. EMILY POTHAST
Closing Saturday

TUESDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Year of Remembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner
Former Stranger visual art critic Jen Graves wrote that Roger Shimomura’s 2009 exhibition Yellow Terror contained “art that he hopes will lose its power.” Unfortunately, his work (paintings crowded with snarling Japanese stereotypes, prints about American concentration camps, and collections of racist objects) has become intensely relevant. Shimomura’s pop-art social critiques are highlighted alongside Lawrence Matsuda’s poetry in Year of Remembrance, a show that fits an impossible amount of history, writing, video, and visual art (centered on Shimomura's and Matsuda’s own experiences of internment) in what is essentially two short hallways. There are maps, photographs, pamphlets, shooting targets of “Jap” caricatures, a piece of fence from a Seattle detainment center, and a collage of 1942 articles with titles like “Jap Evacuation Blow to B.C. Lawns, Flowers” and “Use of Grounds to House Japs Won’t Halt Fair at Puyallup.” There’s also a binder stuffed with current news clippings. In this moment, at the Wing Luke, stare straight at an ugly American truth. Remember that Roosevelt is not a perfect liberal hero and that a busy schedule is not an excuse for apathy. Feel the fear it takes to know that we can do better—we must do better—than the World War II–era citizens concerned with flowers and the Puyallup Fair. JULIA RABAN
Closing Sunday

PERFORMANCE

Angels in America Part II: Perestroika
The second part of Tony Kushner's "Gay Fantasia on National Themes" is like the 1980s' fever dream of illness, awe, terror, sex, and religion, and it is a great American work that you should see.
No performance on Wednesday

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Book-It brings Junot Díaz’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, to life onstage. Elise Thoron directs the Literature to Life adaptation, during which audiences will follow Oscar de León’s journey as he grapples with adolescent love, a looming family curse, and the meaning of life—or at least his own life. In light of Díaz’s most recent essay for the New Yorker about his own childhood trauma, the heartbreak from this story may reveal even deeper depths. Those with faint hearts, beware—according to the overview, “the show contains mature content including strong language, slurs, and references to suicide.” SOPHIA STEPHENS

Kiss Me, Kate
The 5th is producing the Cole Porter classic as part of the city-wide Seattle Celebrates Shakespeare festival, with opulent sets and costumes from the critically acclaimed production by the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

The Wolves
Ben Brantley at the New York Times says Sarah DeLappe's debut play, The Wolves, is like a Robert Altman movie about a suburban girls' indoor soccer team except in play form, and that's all I really need to hear to buy a ticket. In case you need more: Freehold Theater Lab's Christine Marie Brown will play the role of a soccer mom charged with wrangling up the likes of nine up-and-coming actors. Those include Meme García, an excellent character actor and theater artist who's recently returned to the Pacific Northwest after polishing up her classical chops at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and Rachel Guyer-Mafune, whose pluck and charm brightened Book-It's production of Howl's Moving Castle and WET's Teh Internet Is Serious Business. Sheila Daniels directs. RICH SMITH

WEDNESDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Japan: The Cookbook Dinner with Nancy Singleton Hachisu
James Beard-nominated food writer Nancy Singleton Hachisu, who's lived in Japan for thirty years and currently resides on a farm there with her family, will discuss her new book Japan: The Cookbook and sign copies, and chef Matthew Dillon and the Bar Ferd'nand crew will present dishes from the book.

READINGS & TALKS

Rebecca Albiani: Käthe Kollwitz
The German artist Käthe Kollwitz expressed the agony of WWI, Weimar, and WWII-era Berlin through her bleak, compassionate drawings and prints. Learn about her hopes for social progress and her response to overwhelming despair from lecturer Rebecca Albiani.

Robert Gates
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates served under Presidents Bush and Obama and also directed the CIA. Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He belongs to another era. Hear him converse with associate UPS professor Benjamin Tromly.

Sense of Place: Through the Lens of Al Smith
Though the MOHAI exhibition Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith is an essential retrospective of the local African American photographer, who documented Seattle's vibrant black community and jazz scene, there are thousands of his photos that aren't on display. Go to this talk to hear more about the artist and see some photos not exhibited, and also discover what "Black Heritage Society of Washington State does to preserve and inform the public about this important local history."

Shankar Narayan: Postcards from the New World Chapbook Launch
Shankar Narayan's poetry has been praised by former Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall as a meditation "on connection and dissolution, construction and deconstruction, selves and societies worthy of rereading in the coming years." Celebrate the release of his new chapbook, Postcards from the New World, which was awarded the Paper Nautilus Debut Series Chapbook Contest. Dujie Tahat, Troy Osaki, and Gabrielle Bates will read beforehand.

Sonya Renee Taylor with Anastacia-Reneé
Sonya Renee Taylor's The Body Is Not An Apology is an online community promoting "body empowerment" and helping folks destroy feelings of shame. According to them, "discrimination, social inequality, and injustice are manifestations of our inability to make peace with the body, our own and others." The website strives to address social ills that a diverse range of people encounter, with articles such as "7 Microaggressions Trans People Face in Health and Mental Healthcare Settings" and "White Orientated: Privilege in a Queer, Fat, Black Body." Taylor will be joined by the unbelievably prolific Seattle Civic Poet Anastasia Reneé.

WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY

READINGS & TALKS

Jonathan Evison: Lawn Boy
Jonathan Evison's previous novels include All About Lulu, West of Here, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, and This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, all of which have earned plaudits from the Stranger's book critics (and from the New York Times and other such papers that creep about in our shadow). His latest book is about a Chicano landscape worker in Washington State who's desperately striving for a break in life.

WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY

ART

Dave Calver: Limbo Lounge
The title of Dave Calver's graphic novel, Limbo Lounge, is quite literal: The dead wait in a bar to find out their final destination, passing the time with wandering denizens of hell. Calver's work is informed by his time in New York City, where he won an award for a poster commissioned by the public transport agency. Limbo Lounge looks like it portrays the same atmosphere of transience as in the public waiting spaces of a city. You'll want to see this sinister bedlam of doomed souls, homicidal princesses, vigilante nuns, and a couple of "flower-headed freaks," rendered in Calver's muffled textures and circus colors. JOULE ZELMAN
Closing Saturday

WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY

PERFORMANCE

Love, Chaos, and Dinner
Beloved circus/cabaret/comedy institution Teatro ZinZanni lost their home in Seattle Center, but they've found a new space for a dinner theater production of Love, Chaos, and Dinner. They promise "the same stunning, velvet-laden, and iconic Belgian spiegeltent Seattleites will remember from Teatro ZinZanni’s former location on lower Queen Anne." The cast is led by first-time "Madame ZinZanni" Ariana Savalas and features a duo on aerial trapeze, a magician, a "contortionist-puppet," a yodeling dominatrix, a hoop aerialist, and a Parisian acrobat.
Closing Sunday

Romeo & Juliet
This cozy speakeasy, tucked under Pike Place Market, specializes in charismatic, cheese-cakey, nearly-nude entertainment (plus more covered-up brunch shows for the young and the prudish). Expect something a little sexier than your typical Shakespeare adaptation at this modernized cabaret show version of the tragic tale, paired with an original soundtrack. Make it a dinner date and order food and cocktails.
Closing Sunday

THURSDAY

ART

Iconic Encounter: Gordon Parks and Ella Watson in 1942
In the 1940s, photojournalist Gordon Parks—who went on to become the first black staff photographer for Life magazine before directing the action-crime classic Shaft (1971)—created dozens of black-and-white portraits of a woman named Ella Watson, who worked as a custodian in the government building that housed the Farm Security Administration. In the most famous photo from this series, Watson is staged in front of an American flag, holding a broom in a pose reminiscent of Grant Wood's American Gothic. In this free lecture, art historian Michael Lobel will tell the story of both the photographer and the woman behind these stunning, historically charged portraits. EMILY POTHAST

FILM

Alfred Hitchcock's Britain
Sure, with the exception of the modestly budgeted, black-and-white Psycho, Hitchcock is known for his lavishly Freudian Technicolor thrillers from the ‘50s and ‘60s. But the films he made in his native Britain are just as worthy of note—taut, intricate, their perversity more elaborately disguised. This series includes the masterpiece The 39 Steps and the excellent Young and Innocent, plus the better-known but more Hollywoodized Dial M for Murder. This week, watch Rebecca.

Cadence: A Video Poetry Festival
The Film Forum celebrates National Poetry Month with a “cinepoem” series. It features text-based work by video artists Tom Konyves, John Lucas, Adam Shecter, Nissmah Roshdy, and John Bresland; visual and conceptual artists Addoley Dzegede, Nico Vassilakis, and William Kaminski; and poets Arturs Punte, Claudia Rankine, Mahmoud Darwish, Eula Biss, and Matthea Harvey. Tonight is the final screening night.

FOOD & DRINK

Dining Out For Life 2018
For the 25th year, restaurants in Seattle will donate between 30 and 50 percent of their proceeds to Lifelong's programs that support people facing serious illness and poverty. Eat at Poppy, Mamnoon, Serafina, or any of the other participating restaurants today and help them feed even more than the 1,900 people they were able to provide groceries and meals to in 2017.

Fierce Ladies Beer Fest
Though today the landscape of craft beer as we know it is by and large a bro-fest, women have been active in brewing since ancient times. In fact, evidence shows that brewing was an overwhelmingly female-dominated craft all over the world, right up until the advent of industrialization in the 1800s, when women were banned from participating in alcohol production and sidelined to subsidiary roles like barmaids. Now women in craft beer are reclaiming the trade. At this event highlighting female brewers, you can taste beers that were brewed by women on International Women’s Day and order pints from 10 different breweries. All proceeds will benefit Pink Boots Society, an organization created to "assist, inspire, and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education.” JULIANNE BELL

Sexy Syrah
At this annual event in its 17th year, sommelier David LeClaire and Salty’s sommelier Tim O’Brien team up for an evening of sensual red wine from over 30 Washington wineries and appetizers from Salty's executive chef Jeremy McLachlan.

PERFORMANCE

BirdNote Podcast Live!
For 90 seconds every morning, KNKX (the smaller, scrappier public-radio station that won its independence from Pacific Lutheran University in 2016) features the most public-radio moment of the day: BirdNote, a daily audio feed of—you guessed it—bird songs and bird facts. The show, which originated with the Seattle Audubon Society, is now broadcast on more than 150 radio stations across the United States, and it will be live at the First Baptist Church this month, with hosts Michael Stein and Mary McCann, as well as 2016 Stranger Genius Award–winning artist Barbara Earl Thomas, wildlife ecologist J. Drew Lanham, and Taima, the local celebrity hawk that leads the Seahawks through the tunnel before each home game. Cacaw! KATIE HERZOG

READINGS & TALKS

Asia Talks: The Social Life of Inkstones
Dorothy Ko will lecture on the artisans and stonecutters who created inkstones, valued objects used for grinding ink.

Avery R. Young
The Chicago spoken word artist and musician Avery R. Young will come to Seattle as part of UW Bothell's ALIVE 2.0 program, a residency for performers. Young's work taps influences ranging from hiphop to hymns to literature to delve into African American history and today's challenges of racism, misogyny, and homophobia. After he performs, he'll stay on for a conversation with queer artist Storme Webber.

Bad Date Storytelling
Spill the beans on your very very worst dates and laugh at your fellow victims' romantic misfortunes.

THURSDAY-SATURDAY

ART

Jess Joy: The Singing Mime
Jess Joy is the lead singer of Moon Honey, an acid rock band that produces what Stranger music calendar editor Kim Selling describes as "rabid pastoral sounds." Her bright and vibrato-heavy voice juicily wraps itself around rich, lyrical, wild, spiritual imagery. Joy's installation and performances as the Singing Mime reveal another side of rural sensibilities: those she developed "growing up with depression in rural Louisiana." Surrounded by relics of her childhood and adolescence—journals, drawings, photos, and a "first little pink Precious Moments bible," mulched into papier-mâché—Joy will perform as an unsilent mime, accompanying non-semantic body motion with theremin, guitar, and voice. It's the latest ambitious show inviting visitors to explore the visualization of an artist's inner self. Judging from Joy's work, this one seems like it may have absorbed equal influences from Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, and a highly esoteric alternate-universe version of Lisa Frank. JOULE ZELMAN
Closing Saturday

Year of the Rooster
Olivia Dufault's play satirically examines cockfighting and toxic masculinity in America.

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

COMMUNITY

Seattle Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary
The Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party will mark its 50th anniversary with special speakers, forums, movies, and performances. Special guests will include Danny Glover; José (Cha-Cha) Jimenez, founder of the Puerto Rican Revolutionaries United with the Black Panther Party; former political prisoners Alfred Woodfox, Robert King, Sekou Dinga, and Mark Cook; Ericka Huggins, a former Black Panther Party leader and political prisoner alongside Bobby Seale; Kent Ford, organizer of the Portland Chapter; and many others.

PERFORMANCE

Black Bois
Choreographer and dancer Dani Tirrell leads this supergroup of local artists and performers in a collaborative show about "how black men/bois grieve, show rage, express joy, and cry." Markeith Wiley and Randy Ford make their respective returns to the stage at On the Boards. If you haven't seen Wiley blend humor and heartbreak as powerfully as he blends the personal and political in his performances, now's the time. If you haven't seen Ford vogue, now's the time. Poet J Mase III will likely offer up some peans to blackness and some sharp condemnations of whiteness. Celebrated violinist Ben Hunter will take up his fiddle to tie the whole thing together. RICH SMITH

An Octoroon
ArtsWest will continue its sharp reflections on race relations and history this season with An Octoroon, Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins's play set in the latter days of American slavery, in which a young man inherits a plantation and falls in love with the titular "octoroon"—a woman with one-eighth black heritage. Will their relationship survive the machinations of a cruel overseer?

Ride the Cyclone
In this macabre musical comedy, a teenage chamber choir is trapped in fairground purgatory after a roller coaster accident kills them all. Rachel Rockwell directs this 5th Ave/ACT co-production, which the New York Times called "a delightfully weird and just plain delightful show."

Smoked!
Ray Tagavilla will star in an Eastwood-esque tribute to the Western, in which an ace shooter arrives in the town of Sauget to defend a farmer accused of "eco-terrorism." Paul Budraitis will direct a production that's paired with Chef Erin Brindley's four-course meal.

MUSIC

MoPOP Pop Conference 2018
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 theme is "What Difference Does It Make? Music and Gender," with panels about everything from "Rethinking Lesbian Sound" to "Mansplaining" (featuring The Stranger's Sean Nelson), and from "Women at the Foundations of Rock Writing" to "Black Male Interiority." Thursday's keynote will be "Music, Activism, and the #MeToo #TimesUp Moment."

FRIDAY

COMEDY

Comedy O'Clock May Release Show: Asstrology
Welcome the second edition of the improv-centric zine Comedy O'Clock and enjoy performances by funny people who stay up late, plus other surprises. The theme this time is "Ass-trology," so we imagine mystical butts will be celebrated.

PERFORMANCE

WEIRD presents: Nickelodeon
Get ready to get nostalgic as beautiful weirdos in creative costumes pay tribute to vintage Nick shows like The Wild Thornberrys, SpongeBob SquarePants, or CatDog.

READINGS & TALKS

Four Way Books Showcase with Nathan McClain, Bruce Willard, Carol Moldaw, and Margaree Little
Nathan McClain will launch his debut poetry collection Scale, an incisive, emotional, unpretentious examination of a father-son relationship. He'll be supported by fellow Four Way Books authors Bruce Willard, Carol Moldaw, and Margaree Little.

Of an Impossible Country: Rachel McKibbens, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and Javier Zamora
Seattle Arts & Lectures teams up with Copper Canyon Press to present three poets "whose work challenges and illuminates the notion of border-crossing," press materials say. Rachel McKibbens has a new book out called Blud, Benjamin Alire Sáenz's novels and poetry are all about life on the southwestern border of the United States, and Javier Zamora is a young American poet born in El Salvador. His first book, Unaccompanied, "draws from his own story of migrating from El Salvador at the age of nine." RICH SMITH

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

COMEDY

Call Me by Your Mom's Name
This night of improv and comedy invites you to explore your "attachment styles" with notable queer performers about town Graham Downing, Mel Beadle and Lee Nacozy, Grace Penzell, Andy Iwancio, Amethyst de Wolfe, Ruth Blinderman, and others.

PERFORMANCE

Fresh: A Drag Show for New Talent
Seattle is a drag capital. We've nominated many girls and ghouls to participate in the Hunger Games of Drag (RuPaul's Drag Race) and the Hunger Games of Spooky Drag (Dragula). But Seattle's booming scene is more often defined by drag created in opposition to glitzy TV drag—even our queens who do get on these shows tend to flip off convention (hello, BenDeLaCreme)—and Arson Nicki's new(ish) drag show Fresh is the best place in Seattle to find the latest drag talent riotously flipping off convention. Highlights from this lineup include Michete, RainBowGore Cake, and Castor Pollux. CHASE BURNS

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

FESTIVALS

Seattle Erotic Art Festival
For the past 16 years, the Foundation for Sex-Positive Culture has gathered enthusiasts of erotic art in all its forms. See the galleries of visual and interactive art, draw sensually posed models, hear readings, learn about trans and queer erotica, discover porny history, attend contests (for "vamp shoes," e.g.), join the Twirling Tassel Flash Mob with homemade pasties, and party.

PERFORMANCE

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
See contemporary works from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater that touch on timely topics and "beloved classic Revelations." On the program are Untitled America by MacArthur winner Kyle Abraham, which uses dance to express the anguish of the prison system's devastation of African American life, and r-Evolution, Dream, inspired by the work of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dina Martina: Cream of the Drawer
Here's how Stranger critics have described Dina Martina in the past: "Seattle's most gifted malapropist"; a "psycho-drag superstar"; a "walrus prostitute"; "a cut-rate Elizabeth Taylor impersonator who went skydiving but her parachute failed and she crash-landed into a Shoney's buffet"; and "a singer who cannot sing, a dancer who cannot dance, and a storyteller who seems to have situational brain damage." We've also given her creator, Grady West, a Genius Award. It's no insult to our colleagues to say that none of these descriptions quite encapsulate the Platonic essence of Dina. You'll have to see her for yourself—buy tickets quickly.

Familiar
Wedding drama abounds in Tony-nominated playwright Danai Gurira's Familiar (you also saw her in Black Panther): surprise guests, revealed secrets, and the tension that arises when a young woman wants to observe traditional Zimbabwean customs for her Minnesota wedding. Charles Isherwood of the New York Times writes, "Ms. Gurira weaves issues of cultural identity and displacement, generational frictions, and other meaty matters into dialogue that flows utterly naturally." This production will be led by acclaimed Egyptian American director Taibi Magar, and produced in association with the Guthrie Theater. JOULE ZELMAN

The Nether
What if there were a virtual world where men could live out their most fucked up, rapacious fantasies? Would such a world pacify violent behavior? Or would it only serve as a refinery for that violence? Those are some of the questions playwright Jennifer Haley asks in The Nether. Haley's known for incorporating into her writing the tricks of Hollywood genre flicks, and this one's billed as a thriller. We'll see if the characters and dialogue suffer as a result of that choice, as former Stranger writer Brendan Kiley said they did when WET produced Haley's Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom back in 2009. RICH SMITH

SATURDAY

ART

Last Hurrah for 103 Murals
Mollie Bryan, the owner of Mokedo and a Lusio Lights organizer, will help see out Beacon Arts Dozer's Warehouse, a 6,000–square–foot DIY arts venue with lots of wonderful murals. Come party within the decorated walls and enjoy light art, tours, sales, music, and a cash bar.

Rick Silva and Nicolas Sassoon: SIGNALS
It's seductively easy to lose track of space and time in Rick Silva and Nicholas Sassoon's SIGNALS. Described by the artists as "immersive audio-visual renderings of seascape environments," these collaborative works use computer imaging to create mesmerizing, room-sized moving images in which scintillating digital feedback patterns pool and flow like water through murky teal and brown depths dually inspired by oceanic surveys and the ability of VR technology to create alternate worlds. The effect is the transformation of the gallery into a contemplative, gently shifting space. I left feeling like my brain had just gone for a relaxing swim. EMILY POTHAST
Closing Saturday

The Seattle Pancakes & Booze Art Show
That's right, hungry thirsty art-starved pancake aficionados, this show's got everything you need: 50 or more artist vendors, a free pancake bar, DJs, and body painting.

COMEDY

Randy Rainbow
YouTube phenom Randy Rainbow is the master of the catty sick burn—which comes off especially blistering when his wit's aimed at the flaming hypocrites in the Trump administration. Rainbow's MO is to simulate interviews with major political figures, cleverly twisting their sincere responses into fodder for his own nasty retorts, while weaving in pertinent footage from news outlets and breaking into hilarious, parodistic song. Rainbow is punching up—way up—and his deserving targets are left looking even lousier than they already are, which is a major feat. Watch him convert “Danke Schoen” into “DACA Shame” for quality rueful chuckles. DAVE SEGAL

Ten Percent Luck
Two improv groups (hosts Yeah Okay plus Captain) will do their comedic thang with instruction and suggestions by a featured stand-up comic (the funny-as-hell queer comic and community favorite El Sanchez).

FOOD & DRINK

3rd Annual Green Lake Food Walk
Billing itself as the food-world analogue to an art walk, this event will allow guests to peruse the eateries of Green Lake and try different dishes from a variety of establishments. You can sample vegan doughnuts from Mighty-O Donuts, wacky shakes and behemoth burgers from the recently opened location of Lunchbox Laboratory, food from PCC Community Markets, frozen yogurt from Zoe Yogurt, Hawaiian-style burgers from Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, and espresso, smoothies, and acai from Brazilian coffeehouse Kitanda. The event will also host a beer garden with live music. JULIANNE BELL

Bacon and Beer Classic
At this festival, munch on unlimited salty, crunchy pork from more than 30 local chefs and sip crisp brews and ciders from more than 100 regional breweries. Highlights include apple bourbon bacon fritters from Rodeo Donuts, sassy South Carolina–style “low country” eats mixed with Filipino street food from Kiss My Grits, landjaegers and sausages from Bavarian Meats, and flaky biscuits and Conduit java from Biscuit & Bean. Plus, participate in a blind beer taste test, a bacon-eating contest, and activities like giant Jenga and pretzel necklace making. JULIANNE BELL

Cheese and Meat Festival
The world is your cheese plate at this celebration of all things cured meat and fromage. At the door, you’ll be greeted with a tasting glass and charcuterie board, and then left to your own devices to wander around curating the platter of your dreams with samples from more than 50 vendors, including salami from Salumi, fresh cheese curds and Flagship cheeses from Beecher’s, labneh with bourbon bacon jam from Pintxo, assorted pickles from Seattle Pickle Co., and more. Then pair your picks with wine, cider, beer, spirits, and kombucha from multiple vendors. There will also be seminars on using salt and smoke to cure meats or pairing funky, redolent cheeses with port. JULIANNE BELL

Hama Hama Farm Days
Join Hama Hama at their farm and seize a rare chance to spend a day harvesting oysters and clams yourself.

Lazy Boy Brewmaster Dinner
At this five-course brewmaster dinner, savor dishes like Philly-style pretzel bites and braised pork osso bucco alongside Lazy Boy Brewing brews like Oatmeal Milk Stout and Figgy Stardust. Dessert is brown butter and dark chocolate banana bread.

Per Se Alumni Dinner Series: Chef Philip Tessier
As part of Copine chef Shaun McCrain's ongoing Alumni Dinner series, in which he reunites with various colleagues from his days cooking at Thomas Keller's prestigious Per Se, award-winning chef and author Philip Tessier (the silver medalist at the 2015 Bocuse d'Or competition and the coach for the gold-medal winning USA team in 2017) will come to the Ballard restaurant for a five-course dinner with dishes like brioche-crusted rainbow trout and boeuf Rossini à la Paul Bocuse. His recently published book, Chasing Bocuse, will also be available for sale.

READINGS & TALKS

Independent Bookstore Day
The only way Seattle can possibly keep enjoying a wide variety of excellent, engaged, helpful independent bookstores is to support them, love them, and buy as many books as we possibly can from them—and not Jeff Bezos, even if his company offers convenient delivery. Independent Bookstore Day gives you a perfect excuse to visit your favorite shops, stock up on new releases and old classics, and maybe even meet some local authors and/or complete challenges. Anyone who visits three participating bookstores on this day (including Third Place Books, Elliott Bay Book Company, and Fantagraphics Bookstore) will get a single-use 30 percent off coupon. The champs who visit all 19 participating bookstores get 25 percent off books at all of the stores for a year. Sounds daunting, but more than 300 people earned the privilege last year.

Kit Bakke: Protest on Trial
In Protest on Trial, author and activist Kit Bakke dives into the case of the Seattle 7, the group responsible for building the Seattle Liberation Front. This group and the case against them should be at least as widely known as the WTO protests, but because it's just a little more complicated, it hasn't gotten the recognition it deserves. Tl;dr: After organizing Seattle's version of The Day After demonstration in protest of the treatment of the Chicago 8, the FBI slapped the Seattle 7 with federal rioting charges. Were the charges justified or was the FBI trying to break up a group bent on creating a "region-wide, antiwar, anti-racist community service organization?" I'll give you a few moments to think. In the meantime, here's a fun fact from the book: Jeff Dowd, who "later became the inspiration for The Dude in The Big Lebowski," counted himself among the accused. The Dowd abides. RICH SMITH

Timothy Snyder: The Road to Unfreedom
Yale professor Timothy Snyder (author of On Tyranny) has already chronicled the rise of authoritarianism last century and sounded the alarm on rising oligarchy in our times. His newest book, The Road to Unfreedom, follows these frightening trends in Russia, Europe, and the US, covering cyberattacks on American democracy, the Ukraine-Russian war in Crimea, and more.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

ART

Bemis Arts Spring Art Show
Come to the Bemis Art Show to see a juried exhibition, explore resident and visiting artist open studios in historic Pioneer Square, discover new fashion, and listen to live music.

FOOD & DRINK

First Annual Leavenworth Food & Wine Oyster Fest
At the debut edition of this two-day food and wine festival at everyone’s favorite kitschy Bavarian village, guests can shuck and gulp all the two-buck oysters their heart desires while participating in a lively, down-home hoedown with live bluegrass from Ericka Corban, Spare Rib & the Bluegrass Sauce, and Open Country Joy, all within close proximity of the mountain view at Yodelin. Bellingham’s Aslan Brewing will take over the taps. On the following day, guests can partake in hors d'oeuvres and Argyle bubbly followed by a five-course dinner of locally foraged fare from chef Bryan Baker.

SUNDAY

ART

Black Owl Market: Vernal Moon
Masters of the dark arts who also love to support local vendors can flock to Capitol Hill to collect their sinister goods. Presented by Strix Publishing, Nikol King, SIGIL, and the Art of Jason Soles.

Human Flow Screening and Q&A with Ai Weiwei
The activist artist Ai Weiwei, who is most notorious not for his art but for having been persecuted, beaten, and jailed by the Chinese government for adamantly refusing to bow to state censorship, has turned to cinema to advance the aesthetic and political concerns that have always fueled (and one might argue defined) his work. The screening of his 2017 refugee crisis documentary will be followed by a Q&A (Q&Ai?) with the artist, broadcast via live stream. In his review of the film, Stranger contributing writer Andrew Wright wrote that Ai “takes a subject that could consume a documentarian’s entire career and seemingly attempts to get it all in one go. While the constant stream of jaw-dropping imagery can sometimes feel like a case of Too Much Information, the sheer macro power of the visuals packs a wallop. Shot in more than 20 countries… Ai’s mammoth passion project travels between overpopulated crisis points around the world, pausing briefly for interviews with refugees and aid workers. The Google Earth-style views of huge masses of people on the move never stop being absolutely dumbfounding.” SEAN NELSON

COMEDY

Musical: Stephen Sondheim Improvised
Using audience suggestions, the cast will improvise a brand-new musical based on the work of Stephen Sondheim, the genius responsible for Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, Company, Sunday in the Park with George, and more. It's an almost insanely ambitious concept to try to match Sondheim off-the-cuff, so check out UP performers using every ounce of their wits and skills.

READINGS & TALKS

Pete Souza: Obama
Pete Souza is the guy who took the picture of Barack Obama leaning over to let the little kid touch his hair, to see if it really was just like his. This is the guy who took the picture of Barack and Michelle Obama hugging on reelection night 2012 that became one of the most retweeted photos ever. This is the guy who took the photo of Obama’s cabinet watching Osama bin Laden’s lead-filled demise—the one with Hillary Clinton’s hand clamped over her mouth. How can you miss this? CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

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