Best Things To Do

The Top 35 Events in Seattle This Week: May 6–12, 2024

Seattle International Film Festival, Thunderpussy with the Seattle Symphony, and More
May 6, 2024
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The Seattle International Film Festival is celebrating 50 years and opening with Thelma, the story of a 93-year-old woman who goes on a quest to recover her money after getting scammed. (Seattle International Film Festival)
Happy Monday! Start your week off right with our roundup of all the best things to do, from the kick-off of the 2024 Seattle International Film Festival to Thunderpussy with the Seattle Symphony and from Michelle Wolf to Melanie Martinez: The Trilogy Tour. Still sorting out your Mother's Day plans? Check out our calendar for ideas.

Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Multi-Day


MONDAY

FILM

Uncropped with Tricia Romano Past Event List
Former Stranger editor-in-chief Tricia Romano, who recently penned The Freaks Came Out to Write: The Definitive History of the Village Voice, the Radical Paper That Changed American Culture, will offer an in-person Q&A session at this screening of the Wes Anderson-produced documentary Uncropped. The flick follows "legendary" Village Voice photojournalist James Hamilton, whose subjects included everyone from Hitchcock and Meryl Streep to LL Cool J. Hamilton reflects on the coolest collaborators and most notable images of his 40-year career, which spanned New York City's "heyday" of alternative print media. LC
(Grand Illusion, University District)

LIVE MUSIC

Julia Holter Past Event List
If you're ISO an exploratory and uplifting time, California-hailing symphonic singer Julia Holter should help you shake something loose—she's a low-key baroque pop queen whose surreal music is widely hailed by critics. If you're into pop girlies, you'll like Julia. If you're more avant-garde, you'll like, Julia, too. Her dewy, harpsichord-filled 2015 track "Sea Calls Me Home" and its lilting chorus ("I can't swim! Its lucidity! So clear!") helped me glide through the last nine years—as I navigated the end of college, my first "real" writing jobs, and the pandemic, every listen was a swan dive, a rest on a chilly rock as I gazed at the sparkle of sunlight against ocean waves. Since the birth of her daughter and the death of a loved one, though, Holter's brand of dream pop has expanded to become more sensual and nocturnal. Her new album, Something in the Room She Moves, was just released on March 22. LC
(The Crocodile, Belltown)

READINGS & TALKS

Taha Ebrahimi — 'Street Trees of Seattle' Past Event List
It was kind of by accident that Taha Ebrahimi wrote a book. Especially an illustrated one about trees. "This is a kismet, happenstance COVID project," she told me. "Basically, during COVID, I had all this extra time, and I was always interested in trees, but I don’t have any background in illustration or horticulture. I always thought people who knew stuff about plants and trees, those were the people who had authority. I don’t know why! Those Latin names, they just give you this impostorism." Street Trees of Seattle: An Illustrated Walking Guide is a charming book full of hand-drawn maps, detailed sketches of leaf and petal shapes and bark patterns, and tons of very nerdy, very fascinating history about how certain species of trees got to Seattle in the first place. STRANGER CULTURE EDITOR MEGAN SELING
(Third Place Books, Seward Park)

THURSDAY

READINGS & TALKS

A Conversation with Pailin Chongchitnant: In‑Person & Online Past Event List
Over 1.7 million subscribers tune in to watch the ebullient Cordon Bleu-trained chef Pailin "Pai" Chongchitnant on her cooking channel Pailin's Kitchen, where she breaks down Thai cuisine for home cooks of all levels, demonstrating how to whip up dishes like pad kra pao and coconut pancakes. Chongchitnant grew up in southern Thailand and osmosed the fundamentals of cooking from hanging out in the kitchen as a kid. Today, she's the author of two cookbooks, Hot Thai Kitchen and Sabai: 100 Simple Thai Recipes for Any Day of the Week. She'll join local author J. Kenji López-Alt for a conversation about her passion for Thai food. JB
(Town Hall Seattle, First Hill)

FRIDAY

COMEDY

Becky Robinson: She Gone Tour Past Event List
Portland-raised LGBTQ+ comedian Becky Robinson has made a name for herself in LA, creating a loveable loudmouth character that went viral during the darkest days of the pandemic and developing a one-woman show, The Heavy Pour Tour, that sold out venues nationwide. Find out what the fuss is about at this performance—maybe Robinson will have more Tinder tales to tell. LC
(Neptune Theatre, University District)

FILM

Luther: Never Too Much Past Event List
Whether you know Luther Vandross for his prolific career as a background singer (appearing on countless classics like David Bowie's Young Americans andChic's C'est Chic), his sensual R&B ballads, or his iconic bop "Never Too Much," (which was lipsynced on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14), the point is that you know him. Dawn Porter's new documentary on the angel-voiced luminary chronicles his career through archival footage and talking head-style interviews with legends like Mariah Carey, Dionne Warwick, and Jamie Foxx. In terms of filmmaking, this film does not reinvent the wheel—it's your standard PBS-style doc. However, the captivating live performances of Vandross make for a highly entertaining watch. Plus, the film digs deep into his experiences with fatphobia, racism, and homophobia in the music industry. AV
(SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Capitol Hill)

LIVE MUSIC

Jesse McCartney Past Event List
Those born in the mid- to late-'90s will remember child actor-turned-singer Jesse McCartney as the dreamy Tiger Beat centerfold with blonde highlights who hit the Radio Disney airwaves with his 2004 debut single "Beautiful Soul." Since then, he’s gone on to voice characters in a handful of family-friendly blockbusters and compete on season three of The Masked Singer. He’ll hit the stage to support his introspective new EP, All's Well, but my fingers are crossed that he’ll dust off some of his old stuff, too. AV
(The Showbox, Downtown)

Kyle: Smyle Live Again Past Event List
Whether you find rapper Kyle unbearably corny or refreshingly genuine, one cannot deny the impact his role has had on modern day hip-hop. Far from the stereotypical rapper, Kyle’s not slinging hyper masculinity or machismo, but instead puts forth a friendly, nerdy, nice guy image and music that’s often bright, poppy, and sweet. In early March, Kyle released his seventh studio album, Smyle Again, the sequel to 2015’s Smyle—although the new project doesn’t share a ton of sonic similarities with the first. One of the most notable and impactful tracks on Smyle Again is “Sweetest Thing,” which was written through the pains of grief that helped Kyle process a breakup that happened shortly before the death of his father. Kyle has shared the story about showing up to a studio session scheduled with Shawn Mendes, who created a safe space for him to create something beautiful out of that pain. Kyle’s emotion is raw and palpable on the track, and he can even be heard audibly crying as he shakily delivers the sweet lines he wrote to his father: “Hey, Father, I hope that you're alright/ I got to hold your hand in my dream last night.” Folks should hope to hear a live rendition of the song on the artist's Smyle Live Again tour, along with other album standouts like “Who’s Taking You Home,” and “Somethin Bout You.” We're also hoping for classics and deeper cuts on the setlist. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR JENNI MOORE
(The Crocodile, Belltown)

Melanie Martinez: The Trilogy Tour Past Event List
During the release of her third album, Portals, pop phenom Melanie Martinez ditched her hair bows and baby doll dresses for other-worldly facial prosthetics and Björk-esque avant-garde fashions. The change in style also came with a shift in her sound—blending natural and acoustic sounds with electronics for ethereal pop songs (check out "FAERIE SOIRÉE" to see what I mean). Her Trilogy tour will celebrate the three eras of her career with nods to her days on The Voice, the creepy doll charm of her albums Crybaby and K-12, and her newest fairy aesthetic. She will be joined by Canadian indie rockers Men I Trust and Chicago quartet Beach Bunny. AV
(Climate Pledge Arena, Uptown)

Thunderpussy with the Seattle Symphony Past Event List
Thunderpussy almost didn’t make it. The future looked bright for the band when they released their debut full-length Thunderpussy in 2018. They earned critical acclaim for their riff-filled brand of ’70s-inspired rock, got featured in Rolling Stone as Mike McCready’s “favorite new band,” and ended the year signing to a major label, Republic Records’s subsidiary Stardog. In the years that followed, though, things took a turn. It wasn’t clear whether the band would ever release a second record, let alone exist. But, after years full of heartbreak, loss, and uncomfortable but necessary metamorphosis, Thunderpussy are back, they’re stronger than ever, and they’re ready to blow the lid off Benaroya Hall in May. In the ultimate celebration of the band’s survival, Thunderpussy will (finally!) release their second full-length, West, alongside the full 54-piece Seattle Symphony in a boundary-pushing immersive show. STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR NATHALIE GRAHAM
(Benaroya Hall, Downtown)

SATURDAY

LIVE MUSIC

Lizzy McAlpine: The Older Tour Past Event List
Philadelphia-hailing singer-songwriter Lizzy McAlpine will stop by on tour supporting her latest album, Older. Her delicate acoustic songs about heartbreak and quartet-life crises are full of relatable lyrics like "I spilled mac and cheese on my pants," ("all my ghosts") and will please fans of indie-folk stars like Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers.
(WaMu Theater, SoDo)

Teenage Fanclub Past Event List
Thirty-five years into their career, Glasgow-based luminaries Teenage Fanclub are still churning out gloriously catchy, charming, and slightly sad indie rock songs. Last year, the band released their twelfth album Nothing LastsForever, which takes cues from '60s rock bands like the Byrds for rich harmonies, warm guitars, and a slight country twang. Welsh folk singer Sweet Baboo will open. AV
(The Crocodile, Belltown)

PERFORMANCE

Halo-Halo Cabaret: An All Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Cabaret Variety Show Past Event List
This edition of the va-va-voom cabaret variety show produced by Filipinx burlesque performer Pinay Grigio features an exclusively Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander cast, and will be emceed by the magical Sin de la Rosa this time around. Performers haven't been announced yet, but "halo-halo" is Tagalog for "mix-mix," so expect a tantalizing concoction of burlesque, dance, and sickening drag performances. LC
(Rendezvous, Belltown)

SHOPPING

Lake City Record Show Past Event List
Refresh (or finally get started on) your record collection at Lake City's 34th annual vinyl market. Browse from a wide range of formats, genres, eras, and price points while elbow-to-elbow with fellow music nerds. Last year, I got great deals on an eclectic mix of Taylor Swift and John Fahey LPs. Plus, admission is free…you have nothing to lose (except for the money you'll spend on all of your amazing finds). AV
(Shoreline Elks Hall, Ridgecrest)

SUNDAY

COMEDY

Michelle Wolf: It's Great to Be Here Past Event List
Michelle Wolf's wisecracks about Sarah Huckabee Sanders were so effective that the White House Correspondents’ Association ended the decades-long tradition of having a comic at their annual dinner. Impressive. She'll hit Seattle on the heels of her latest Netflix comedy special, sharing more of the no-holds-barred comedy that The Daily Beast described as "the future of stand-up." LC
(Neptune Theatre, University District)

LIVE MUSIC

Mother’s Day Matinee with Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra Past Event List
Who said Mother's Day ends after brunch? Keep the love flowing by treating your mom to a matinée concert from the masterful Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra. Vocalist Dee Daniels will accompany them for a dynamic blues- and gospel-infused program emphasizing women's contribution to jazz. AV
(Benaroya Hall, Downtown)

MULTI-DAY

FESTIVALS

BonsaiFEST! Past Event List
Have you ever looked at a tree and been like, "This is great and all, but what if it were smaller?" If so, bonsai are your best bet. Pacific Bonsai Museum’s annual BonsaiFEST! will bring together bonsai fans and the bonsai-curious for a day of celebration of the artsy trees again this year. The event boasts live bonsai care demonstrations, docent-led tours of the bonsai collection, a nature-lover's merch shop, and an audio tour option. Bring your mom, who almost certainly enjoys cool, small things and avant-garde botanicals. LC
(Pacific Bonsai Museum, Federal Way, Saturday-Sunday)

FILM

The Beast Past Event List
For a film that begins in 1910 during the Great Flood of Paris, The Beast feels achingly alive with the anxiety of existing in 2024. Based in part on Henry James’s 1903 novella, The Beast in the Jungle, about a man who believes his whole life is steered toward an impending catastrophe, the latest and tenth film by Bertrand Bonello finds that same “deep-seated feeling that something terrible will occur” in the heart of a woman named Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux), and bends eternity around it. Across three lifetimes, Seydoux plays a lovelorn woman who waits for doom. Whatever that doom is, it doesn’t matter; it might as well be the apocalypse. If that seems like the stuff of a great, sappy cinematic romance, it is, but the work of Bonello tends to refuse simple categories. The French multi-hyphenate (director-writer-composer) makes destabilizing films, ever-shifting emulsions of form and genre. Read the Mercury's whole review. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR DOM SINACOLA
(Grand Illusion, University District, Wednesday & Saturday)

The Old Oak Remind List
This screening of The Old Oak will be presented in partnership with Red May, a "month-long spree of red arts, red theory, and red politics based in Seattle...to share in discussion and plot ways toward a world beyond capitalism." Likely the final film of Ken Loach's oeuvre, The Old Oak stays true to his observational social realist style with forthright anger and a hint of idealism. The film follows the happenings at a pub in a declining mining town, where owner TJ Ballantyne must reckon with the impact of newly arriving Syrian refugees. When TJ becomes friends with a Syrian photographer, the pair search for ways to relate to both communities. Proceeds from the May 15 screening will be donated to Long Haul Mutual Aid, which offers 120 meals to "unsheltered folks in Georgetown and SoDo, along with other essential supplies such as water, harm reduction, clothes, hygiene products, batteries, etc." LC
(The Beacon, Columbia City, Friday-Sunday)

Seattle International Film Festival 2024 Remind List
SIFF will return for its 50th year with the best in international and independent cinema à la mode from across the globe, and you know the drill—the city's most well-recognized hybrid festival, which boasts hundreds of films from 84 countries and regions this year, will present screenings virtually and at SIFF venues citywide. Stranger staffers watched and reviewed 35 of the festival's films last year, so peep their opinions to get the gist of the type of cinema you'll see. Some standouts from this year's lineup include the June Squibb-fronted Thelma, the buzzy A24 drama Sing Sing, Ilana Glazer’s Babes, Jane Schoenbrun’s I Saw the TV Glow, and Harmony Korine’s infrared vaporwave nightmare Aggro Dr1ft. Hit the film finder to discover your picks, or read what the festival’s programmers are excited about. LC
(Various locations, Thursday-Sunday)

PERFORMANCE

A Tale of Peter Rabbit Past Event List
I recently attended a children's opera production of The Snowy Day, and since then, I've been a kid's theater convert. There are several solid reasons for this: Kids shows are shorter, for starters; they're also colorful and designed to keep your attention. (ADHD, anyone?) Also, there are plenty of adults in the audience. You won't look like a weirdo. If I've convinced you, head to this modern twist on a classic Potter tale (tail?), which attempts to answer an important question. What does it mean to be a good bunny? LC
(Seattle Children's Theatre, Uptown, Monday-Sunday)

Dina Martina Past Event List
Seattle's own "Second Lady of Entertainment," master humorist, and demented drag diva will return to the stage for some uncouth razzle-dazzle. I'm expecting more of the surreal comedy and "overburdened costumes" for which she's been known and loved for over 25 years. (The freaky queen's art form goes beyond your standard drag show—John Waters once described Martina's act as "some new kind of twisted art"—so buckle in for something beautifully gnarly.) LC
(Triple Door, Downtown, Monday-Thursday)

Fat Ham Past Event List
This 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which the Seattle Times deemed a "must-see," follows Juicy, a queer Black man whose mother marries his uncle after his father's death. Problem is, Juicy's dead dad shows up as a spooky apparition during what was supposed to be a chill family barbecue. If this all sounds suspiciously familiar, it's because—you guessed it—Fat Ham is inspired by the Bard's Hamlet. While promotional materials describe the show as "sparkling and uproarious," the show also addresses complex themes. LC
(Bagley Wright Theater, Uptown, Wednesday-Sunday)

Full Tilt 2024 Past Event List
The 16th annual production of Full Tilt brings another round of independent dances to the stage, including fresh works by local choreos Lucie Baker and Margaux Gex and farther-flung creatives Mike Esperanza and Crimson Moeller. Selected via an open casting audition, the dancers who participate in Full Tilt are on the rise, but perhaps fall under the radar. Here's your chance to witness the next big thing. LC
(NOD Theater, Capitol Hill, Friday-Saturday)

The Lehman Trilogy Remind List
When I asked my play-obsessed friend in New York about The Lehman Trilogy, he responded "I've heard it's quite good. It's veryyy long." He's not wrong, considering the show won five (!) Tonys in 2022 (Best Play, Best Actor, Best Direction, Best Scenic and Lighting Design) and it has a runtime of almost three-and-a-half hours with two intermissions. The show tells the story of three young Jewish brothers immigrating to the Big Apple in the 1840s, and how they found tremendous success. But those of us living in the modern era associate these brothers (the Lehman brothers) with the 2008 financial crisis. So how did we get from those humble-yet-successful beginnings to triggering one of the largest modern financial crises? I'll be putting my butt in a seat (for longer than I might like) to find out. SL
(ACT - A Contemporary Theatre, Downtown, Wednesday-Sunday)

2024 New Works Festival: New Voices New Narratives Remind List
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 10 performance-packed days, you'll see previews and dry runs and snippets of the shows everyone will be talking about two years from now. STRANGER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RICH SMITH
(18th & Union: An Arts Space, Central District, Thursday-Sunday)

Unrivaled Remind List
Playwright Rosie Narasaki's historical comedy follows two enemy poets vying for political favor. Instead of taking the beef to Twitter, they've gotta find other ways to stay in the Empress's favor, because it's the 11th century. Ladies-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu and Sei Shonagon are the central subjects in Unrivaled, which is set against the backdrop of Japan's Heian period. The only thing I dig more than 800-year-old poetry is spicy love triangles, so sign me up. LC
(Seattle Public Theater, Green Lake, Wednesday/Friday-Sunday)

SHOPPING

Seattle Art Book Fair Past Event List
Prepare your tote bags, people: The Seattle Art Book Fair, an annual roundup of experimental publishers, DIY designers, and independent creatives who consider books to be Art with a capital A, will return this month. The festival celebrates all things art book-related, with a variety of talks, activities, and (natch) artists slinging chapbooks and zines. Far-flung creatives and local presses will be present. Don't forget, you live in a UNESCO City of Literature. Act like it!! LC
(Washington Hall, Squire Park, Saturday-Sunday)

VISUAL ART

DREAM TEMPLE (for Octavia) Remind List
Artists Mia Imani and Mayola Tikaka call upon the extraordinary visions of Octavia Butler for this installation, which features a low-lit resting space, an altar, and imagery of Black rest. Head to King Street Station to contemplate Butler's visionary worlds, which counteract intergenerational trauma and stress often experienced by Black people with a "portal of healing and imagining." By the way, Butler prophesized an eerily accurate, destabilized world in 2024, so Imani and Tikaka's rest space has arrived just in time. Throughout the exhibition, visitors can engage with rest rituals, hear interviews, and watch performances by the artists. LC
(King Street Station, SoDo, Wednesday–Saturday)

Guma’ Gela’: Part Land, Part Sea, All Ancestry Past Event List
Queer CHamoru art collective Guma' Gela', which is comprised of members from the Mariana Islands and its diaspora, explores their own motto—"part land, part sea, all ancestry"—in this varied exhibition of sculptures, soundscape, writing, printmaking, textiles, and more. It's a unique opportunity to learn more about CHamoru culture while checking out bright, textural works by 13 creators in the Pacific Northwest and Guam. LC
(Wing Luke Museum, Chinatown-International District, Monday/Wednesday-Sunday; closing)

Jaune Quick-To-See Smith: Memory Map Past Event List
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, a citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, is one of the 20th century's most innovative artists—she blends references to pop art and abstraction with Native perspectives on Americana and mass media in brilliant, layered compositions. This solo exhibition curates from across five decades of the artist's paintings, drawings, and sculptures; I'm especially drawn to the Bush administration critique of War is Heck and Indian Map, Smith's "first recognizable map of the country in which brushstrokes and drips blur states’ borders and collaged texts and photographs tell stories of the land’s vast Indigenous presence." LC
(Seattle Art Museum, Downtown, Wednesday–Sunday; closing)

Manifestations by June Sekiguchi Remind List
June Sekiguchi's scroll-cut woodworking method makes her pattern-based sculptures and large-scale installations a very loopy experience. Addressing "cultural identity, cross-cultural exchange, and personal narratives through an interplay of surface pattern and structural form," Sekiguchi's latest show emphasizes her metaphorical approach and honors her source materials. (I'm stoked for her big, glowy hanging bug, Silkpunk Grasshopper Leg Transport.) LC
(King Street Station, SoDo, Wednesday–Saturday)

Maria Phillips: at what point... Remind List
Artist-educator Maria Phillips investigates collective responsibility, environmental consciousness, and depollution in her multimedia works, which stress the importance of "deceleration and the rejection of frenetic consumerism and production." Agreed, Maria! In at what point..., Phillips salvages reclaimed material and found objects to document time, change, and the cyclical nature underlying all things. She calls these transformed objects "pick-up portraits," prompting questions about climate disruption, reliance on plastics, and the insidious norms underlying production and consumption. LC
(Gallery 4Culture, Pioneer Square, Monday-Sunday)

Sky Hopinka: Subterranean Ceremonies Remind List
Sky Hopinka, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, descendant of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño people, and 2022 MacArthur Foundation grant awardee, blends English and "Indigenous dialects such as Chinuk Wawa, a revived Chinookan creole of the Pacific Northwest" in his ground-quaking works, which often layer elements of poetry, prose, and image to think carefully about language as a strong cultural force. I was honored to write about Hopinka's work back in 2019, so this solo exhibition—the artist's first in the Pacific Northwest—feels especially exciting. Subterranean Ceremonies includes four recent films and new photographs that "focus on personal and political notions of Indigenous homeland," inspired by transitory landscapes and Hopinka's own wanderings. LC
(Frye Art Museum, First Hill, Wednesday–Sunday)

旅する猫たちの原画展: The Travel Cats By Mari Ichimasu Remind List
The Seattle Japanese Garden is already a tranquil sanctuary and a solid place to refill your creative cup, but do you know what would make it even better? Original watercolor paintings of cats wearing backpacks. Japan-born, Seattle-based artist Mari Ichimasu will present her signature series, Fur Coats and Backpacks; The Travel Cats, during the garden's lushest season. Visitors can participate in a "commemorative original stamp rally" and are welcome to bring their sketchbooks to draw inspiration from the on-the-go kitties. LC
(Seattle Japanese Garden, Capitol Hill, Tuesday–Sunday)

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