School is starting, apples are ripening, and the days are getting ever-so-slightly shorter, but it's technically still summer until September 22. That means you have almost the whole month to soak up those precious last golden hours of the season at outdoor events, ease into fall with exciting movie and book releases, and, if the seasonal transition doesn't affect you, just enjoy Seattle's ceaseless array of happenings. As we do every month, we've compiled the biggest events you need to know about in every genre, from Elton John to release parties for Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale sequel, from the Local Sightings Film Festival to Town Hall's Homecoming Festival, and from Fremont Oktoberfest to the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Carmina Burana/Agon. If all of that isn't enough, you can also look ahead to the rest of this year's big events, see our list of cheap & easy year-round events, or check out our complete Things To Do calendar.
Found something you like and don't want to forget about it later? Click "Save Event" on any of the linked events below to add it to your own private list.
- Bumbershoot 2019
- Dave Matthews Band, Lettuce, Gov't Mule
- PAX West
- The Beach Boys
- Happier Hour An Evening with Gretchen Rubin & Elizabeth Craft
- Homecoming Festival
- Black Flag, The Linecutters
- Bryan Ferry
- Heart, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Elle King
- The Mountain Goats, Lydia Loveless
- Iron Maiden, The Raven Age
- George Takei
- SPACEFILLER: Fantasy Parameter Spaces
- Whiting Tennis: New Work
- 'It Chapter Two' Opening
- 2019 Sung Si Kyung Live In The USA
- Bon Iver, Sharon Van Etten
- CAKE, Ben Folds, Tall Heights
- Pink Martini with China Forbes
- Live Wire! with Luke Burbank
- Yo, Is This Racist?
- Christopher Leonard: The Rise of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America
- Cider Summit Seattle
- Chinook Fest 2019
- San Gennaro Festival
- Public Works Seattle: As You Like It
- Is God Is
- People of the Book
- Marc Maron: Hey, There’s More Tour
- Balloon Glow
- Burien Arts-A-Glow
- SECS Fest
- Chris Isaak
- Tony Bennett, Antonia Bennett
- Willow Smith
- Death Cab for Cutie, Car Seat Headrest
- Patti Labelle & the Pointer Sisters
- Tycho, Poolside
- Short Stories Live: Claudia Castro Luna's "Emerald City Blues"
- Squeeze, X
- An Evening with Sister Helen Prejean
- Randall Munroe: How to
- Release of Margaret Atwood's 'The Testaments'
- Margaret Atwood: Live in Cinemas
- David Guterson: Turn Around Time
- Gretchen McCulloch: Because internet
- Vox: The Weeds Podcast Live
- Audi Culinary Series: PROOF Seattle
- Seattle Mariners 2019 Home Games
- Gary Clark Jr., Los Coast
- SiriusXM Presents: Deep Purple
- Everything Is Illuminated
- 'Downton Abbey' Opening
- Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees
- Diana Krall
- Kathy Acker in Seattle Symposium
- Imagine Music & Arts Festival 2019
- A Night Like This
- 'The Goldfinch' Opening
- Joseph, Deep Sea Diver
- The Rose
- Zedd, Jax Jones, NOTD
- Huichica Walla Walla
- Choreographic Shindig V
- Bellwether 2019: Taking Root
- Chinatown-ID Night Market
- Grilled Cheese Grand Prix 2019
- 2019 Georgetown Beer Festival
- 2019 Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival
- Andy Grammer
- Avril Lavigne, Jagwar Twin
- An Evening with Daryl Hall & John Oates
- Maggie Rogers
- Opening Night Concert & Gala
- The Original Misfits
- Post Malone, Swae Lee, Tyla Yaweh
- SEAchanger: Best Coast & The Courtneys
- An Evening with Debra Messing
- An Evening with Mark Knopfler
- Abbas Kiarostami Retrospective
- L. A. Ring: On the Edge of the World
- 'How Did This Get Made' Live
- Brian Wilson & The Zombies
- General Jim Mattis
- Samantha Power: The Education of an Idealist
- Bastille Rooftop Dinner Series
- Elton John
- Incubus, Dub Trio
- Sheer Mag, Tweens, Lysol
"At this point in Sheer Mag’s five-year career, the Philadelphia four-piece has delivered more power-pop and heavy metal riffs than a Thin Lizzy cover band expo," writes Dayna Evans for Pitchfork. The band get rowdy in town with Tweens and Lysol.
- Joe Mande: King of Content Tour
- Bryan Adams
- Foreigner, Night Ranger
- Hot Chip, Holy Fuck
- GHOST, Nothing More
- Old Dominion, Brandon Lay
- Amitav Ghosh: Gun Island—A Novel
- Naomi Shihab Nye
- Tracy Chevalier: A Single Thread
- Kremfest 2019
- Ligia Lewis: Water Will (in Melody)
- &Now: Points of Convergence
- Violet's Attic: A Grand Ball for Wicked Dolls
- Michael Cunningham: The Problem Is Never the Plot
- Brian Posehn
- Claudia Oshry: The Dirty Jeans Tour
- 'Ad Astra' Opening
- 'Rambo: Last Blood' Opening
Sylvester Stallone is 73 years old. Please think about that when you watch this film, which promises to be the last Rambo ever made (the first and best one, Rambo: First Blood, was released back in 1982, when Stallone was in his early 30s). The story of Rambo: He fought in the Vietnam War, he returned home and went savage on a bunch of rural cops, then he returned to Vietnam and blew up shit there. He also went to Afghanistan and basically helped Al-Qaeda beat the Soviets. This man knows death. This has been his whole life. And in Last Blood, he kills some more. Damn! CHARLES MUDEDE
- Alice in Chains
- Jordan Rock
- Earth, Wind, and Fire
- Randy Ford: Queen Street
- Fremont Oktoberfest
- Kirkland Oktoberfest
- Saint Demetrios Greek Festival
- Local Sightings Film Festival 2019
- Eric Andre: Legalize Everything Tour
- The Eleventh Smoke Farm Symposium
- Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
- Charlie Wilson
- Degenerate Art Ensemble's Skeleton Flower Band CD Release Show
- Social Distortion, Flogging Molly, The Devil Makes Three, Le Butcherettes
- Tough Mudder Classic
- Museum Day
- Seattle Nourished Festival
- Pierre Leguillon: Arbus Bonus
- Washington State Fair
- An Incredible Feast - Farmers Market Fundraiser Party
- Brad Paisley, Riley Green
- John Prine, Kelsey Waldon
- Lucky Daye
- Malcolm Gladwell
- Friends 25th: The One With The Anniversary
- Glen Hansard
- Jacqueline Woodson: Red at the Bone
- Naomi Klein: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal
- Banks, Kevin Garrett
- RuPaul's Drag Race: Werq The World Tour 2019
- BIG MOOD: A Night of Fat Fashion
- Bellevue Fashion Week
- Randy Rainbow Live!
- Winterland: A Ski & Snowboard Film
- Amon Amarth, Archy Enemy, At The Gates, Grand Magus
- Of Monsters And Men
- Cherdonna's BIRTH-O-RAMA
- French Cinema Now
- Tasveer South Asian Film Festival
- The 42nd Film Noir Series
- Demetri Martin: Wandering Mind Tour
- Angels & Airwaves
- Cigarettes After Sex
- Marco Antonio Solis
- Pepe Aguilar Y Familia Presentan Jaripeo Sin Fronteras 2019
- Vampire Weekend
- NoSleep Live
- Hugo Literary Series: The Great Divide
- Seattle Cowabunga
- Carmina Burana/Agon
- Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Their Circle: French Impressionism and the Northwest
- Night Nation Run Seattle
- An Evening with the Residency
- Richard Marquis: Keepers
- Kate Tempest
- Pod Tours America
THROUGH SEPTEMBER 1FESTIVALS
Bumbershoot, Seattle's biggest music, comedy, and arts festival, will take over Seattle Center for Labor Day Weekend 2019 for the 49th year. Major touring artists (Carly Rae Jepsen, the Lumineers, Taking Back Sunday, Bea Miller) will take the same stages as local talents (Y La Bamba, the Dip) across the music, art, and comedy spectrums, with a special food selection known as B-Eats.
Birkenstock-rock legend and #1 dad bod Dave Matthews will perform all three days of Labor Day Weekend for the 28th anniversary of his band and in promotion of his latest studio album.
Twenty-five years after you destroyed their sweater, Weezer’s path as a band has unraveled (with a string of awkward, lackluster albums in the early-mid ’00s) and re-raveled (with a 2014 redemption for their album Everything Will Be Alright in the End). But you’ll probably just go to sing along to “My Name Is Jonas” and “Island in the Sun”—and that’s okay! We won’t judge you. AMBER CORTES
SEPTEMBER 1-18SPORTS & RECREATION
THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2FESTIVALS
The first thing to know about PAX West—Seattle's annual Labor Day weekend convention devoted exclusively to gaming—is that it always sells out in minutes. The convention features dozens of panels with special guests, an exhibit hall, new game demonstrations, and video game-inspired musical performances. If you can't make it to the main event, there are always lots of fun affiliated parties going on around town.
Are the Beach Boys past their prime? That's up for debate (we're leaning towards yes), but how could you pass up an opportunity to sway along to "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Good Vibrations" in the sleepiest, haziest part of the summer? The legendary pop band will grab some set time at the Washington State Fair.
These two sisters, runners of the Happier podcast, will discuss "happiness hacks" and share personal experiences.
Town Hall, a wonderful organization that hosts inexpensive, accessible talks by eminent scholars, writers, politicians, musicians, scientists, and others, is thrilled to be back in its home after a couple of years of renovation. To celebrate, they'll host a bonanza of lectures by everyone from Robert Reich and Pramila Jayapal (Sept 2) to brilliant anti-racism scholar Ibram X. Kendi (Sept 14) to "good death" culture advocate Caitlin Doughty (Sept 16) to former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power (Sept 16) to fiction and nonfiction writer Jonathan Safran Foer (Sept 25). Also coming up: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Sept 5), Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Sept 11), and Marilynne Robinson (Sept 13). Expand your mind without expending (much) money!
You can't look back on California's '70s punk rock scene without crediting Black Flag, led by singer and guitarist Greg Ginn, as a major player. They'll come to Seattle to play new material along with the hits (hopefully). They'll be joined by Southwestern ska punks the Linecutters.
Bryan Ferry and his beautiful teeth will grace Seattle for a night of Roxy Music classics and tracks from his illustrious solo career.
Witness icons in action with three women who made modern rock what it is today: Ann and Nancy Wilson, and Joan Jett. They'll be joined by up-and-coming country-rock singer-songwriter Elle King.
Staying true to Goths, the 2017 Mountain Goats album starts like a thumping Nick Cave B-side, twisting through the dark uncertainties of every human’s timeline. So, much of the same for frontman and lead lyricist John Darnielle—a new overarching concept with each album, yet the same dedication to plumbing the depths of his own character, as well as the character of each phase of his life, which is what makes it so easy to connect to. There’s an honest power in writing your life as it is, in pulling from favored themes or specific memorial vignettes, and moving in tandem with these thoughts, creating an album per moment. Darnielle is best at this; each new album bids us to follow and experience these songs-as-chapters with him. From “The Portuguese Goth Metal Bands”: “Keep what’s precious, drop what’s not without a second thought”—and move on. KIM SELLING
READINGS & TALKS
Rather than try to convince you to go see Iron Maiden at the Tacoma Dome, I’m just going to list some facts and let you decide for yourself. They recorded their last album, The Book of Souls, while lead singer Bruce Dickinson had throat cancer. That album is now their fifth number-one album in the United Kingdom. Dickinson has since beat said cancer in time to tour. He also piloted Maiden’s private Boeing jet, Ed Force One (named after their zombified mascot), on their 2016 world tour, on which they played for nearly two hours per night. Look, Iron Maiden are the kings of hard rock, and it’s time to kiss the ring. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Get a copy of George Takei's They Called Us Enemy—a graphic memoir about surviving Japanese American internment camps during World War II—signed by the author. (There won't be a reading.)
SEPTEMBER 5-OCTOBER 12
For Seattle-based duo Alexander Nagy and Alexander Miller, their collective name, SPACEFILLER, is a reference to both their role as artists (one who fills space) and Conway’s Game of Life, a mathematical model. (A “spacefiller” is a pattern that wants to spread out indefinitely.) In Fantasy Parameter Spaces, the duo will be taking over the white cube and installing interactive “mini universes” that invite the viewer to “play with the parameters of algorithmic simulations in order to reveal the complicated relationship between order and chaos.” Expect light projection, sounds, sculptures, and tactile electronics. JASMYNE KEIMIG
SEPTEMBER 5-NOVEMBER 2VISUAL ART
Tennis's colors cohabit uneasily, and even the symmetrical designs look unstable. He favors compositions that don't allow the gaze to rest, but jostle it from shape to shape: intestinal tangles, chaotic patchworks, smudgy mazes, indefinable objects in confrontation. But this graphic agitation also appeals to the viewer's sense of play and freedom. Far from severe, the forms he invents are variously insectoid, childlike, flailing, drooping, and prowling. JOULE ZELMAN
FOOD & DRINK
Originally produced as a moderately scary though still PG-rated TV miniseries in 1990, Stephen King’s doorstop of a book It—about a group of outcast kids who unite to destroy a shape-shifting monster preying on the children of their town—got revived for the big screen in 2017 and scared the living shit out of people. It was well-cast and well-shot, and it hit all the right notes of terror and creepiness. The story concludes with It Chapter Two, in which the kids are now adults (played by Bill Hader, James McAvoy, and Jessica Chastain, among others) who must return to their old hometown and conquer that motherfucking clown monster thing once and for all. LEILANI POLK
At this fundraiser for Woodland Park Zoo, traipse through the zoo exhibits after-hours, peer at critters, and indulge in wildlife-inspired cocktails and cuisine from big-name Seattle chefs, including Ethan Stowell (Ethan Stowell Restaurants), Edouardo Jordan (Junebaby, Lucinda Grain Bar), Melissa Martz (TanakaSan), Quinton Stewart (Ben Paris), Jack Timmons (Jack’s BBQ), Derek Simcik (Conversation), and Tori Mann (Lola). Some of the zoo’s “ambassador animals” will also be present, meaning you might get to hobnob with raccoons, owls, armadillos, porcupines, and pot-bellied pigs. JULIANNE BELL
South Korean K-Pop Hot 100 chart-topper singer Sung Si Kyung will swing through Washington on his Live in the USA Tour.
Bon Iver makes weirdly beautiful music. It started as the experimental folk project of singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Justin Vernon. But after his self-produced debut (For Emma, Forever Ago, which feels like it came out forever ago), it’s more a vehicle for his vision elegantly amplified by a full band, in which everyone minus the drummer works shit out on keys and the sound is closer to avant-electro chamber pop than folk. There are moments of lushness peppered with moments of minimalist electronic ambience, all of it marked by Vernon’s far-ranging vocals, which hit low earthy notes, exquisite falsetto highs, and an earnest, urgent tenor in between. Sharon Van Etten adds real value to this bill—the alt folk rock singer-songwriter’s 2019 album Remind Me Tomorrow is a stunner. LEILANI POLK
Hopefully Cake will find new equipment before this Seattle tour stop (they recently had their keyboards and three guitars stolen from their van in Portland). The alt-rock band responsible for such hits as "Short Skirt Long Jacket" and "Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle" will play at Marymoor Park with support from beloved singer-songwriter Ben Folds and electro-folk duo Tall Heights.
Enjoy the smooth charm of cocktail jazz superstars Pink Martini with power-house singer China Forbes on Chateau Ste. Michelle's bucolic meadow, as a part of their summer-long concert series.
Luke Burbank's Live Wire is an NPR-type variety program based in Portland, Oregon, featuring artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians in conversation. This edition will present comedian Josh Gondelman, endurance athletes Alex Borusk and Kaytlyn Gerbin, and musician the Lowest Pair.
READINGS & TALKS
My partner would leave me and move out of our apartment if I didn't recommend this live recording of his favorite podcast. He's obsessed. Hosted weekly by Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome, Yo, Is This Racist? has concerned listeners calling in and asking touchy questions about everyday racism, like if FaceApp's "ethnicity filter" is racist or if saying "black don't crack" is racist and ageist. Most importantly, it's really funny. HuffPost aptly described it as the "Dear Abby for racists." Although it's not for racists, per se, but just your average person who wants to know if yo, is this racist? CHASE BURNS
In 2016, New Yorker writer Jane Mayer published Dark Money, which revealed the way that Charles and David Koch used their billions to create a network of arch conservative institutions that continue to wreak havoc on US democracy today. Rather than focus on the many-tentacled political monster they created, investigative journalist Christopher Leonard focuses on the creation of Koch Industries, the insanely large and insanely influential fossil-fuel company that has stymied progress on environmental regulations, sped up the degradation of union workforces, and generally perpetuated blight and pain upon the living world. Early reviews suggest that Leonard's corporate history "keeps you turning pages" despite its heft (the book is 687 pages). Sounds like a good old-fashioned seethe read. RICH SMITH
SEPTEMBER 6-7FOOD & DRINK
Cider Week is coming: For 10 whole days, fermented fruit drink aficionados can let their enthusiasm run rampant with cider pairings, tap takeovers, brunches, special bottle releases, and other events stretching from Seattle to Spokane. The biggest of these is the Cider Summit, where guests can try nearly 200 beverage options, plus food from Capitol Cider and other vendors. Cideries in attendance will include well-known names like Locust Cider, Seattle Cider, Schilling, Finnriver, Portland-based Reverend Nat’s, and many others. In the “heritage cider” pavilion, you’ll also find more obscure sips like Mirabelle Plum cider from Eugene’s WildCraft Cider Works and Witch’s Broom Gin & Brandy Spiced Fall Cider from British Columbia’s Sea Cider. JULIANNE BELL
Chinook Fest spends three days every summer boasting plenty of camping, artisanal food, craft booze, and some of the finest roots rock, blues, Americana, country, and folk artists out there, including the Cadillac Three, Stoney LaRue, and Hannah Dasher. Friday and Saturday are for the grown-ups, but Sunday's festivities are all ages.
This Georgetown Italian street fair features vendors selling authentic wares (including lots of food), a beer and wine garden, children's activities, and a stage with live Italian music.
Seattle Rep's Public Works program invites members of the community to join professionals in a big staged production. This time, they'll adapt Shakespeare's As You Like It, a forest idyll with a strong heroine, Rosalind.
WET kicks off their season with the West Coast premiere of this sci-fi Afro-punk revenge play about two sisters en route to kill their father, presented with support from the Hansberry Project and directed by Portland's Lava Alapai. In 2016, playwright and spoken word artist Aleshea Harris won the biggest prize in American theater for the show, which debuted at the Soho Rep and extended its run twice. I can't think of anything more WET than opening the 2019/2020 season with a gory, gutsy work about two women taking down a literal patriarch with the power of pure scorn. Sounds pretty cathartic in the context of this hell world. RICH SMITH
When a soldier returns home from war and writes a memoir about his experiences, another friend of his—a poet—feels pangs of resentment. And also suspicion. Is the memoir about the soldier’s heroics factually accurate? And there are other jealousies swirling around. The poet’s wife is someone the soldier used to have a big crush on, and may still have a crush on. Does she have feelings for him, too? Truth, infidelity, artistic jealousy, and sexual tension come together in this powerful and concise new play by Yussef El Guindi, a phenomenal writer and the winner of a Stranger Genius Award. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
He’s the host of a well-regarded podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, has a starring role in fantastic Netflix series Glow as well as significant roles in a few films (Sword of Trust by Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton and Todd Phillips’ Joker). But, he’s a stand-up comedian first and foremost, his style curmudgeonly self-deprecating humor that reaches self-hate heights while remaining funny and relatable. From his 2017 Netflix special, Too Real: “I came home one night and there’s this little 2-month-old black kitten sitting there. Awww. That’s the proper response. That is not the response I had. My response was ‘Awww fuck, now I gotta fucking love you now?’ And oddly that’s how all my relationships start.” He’s belly-laugh funny, but doesn’t feel like he’s trying to be at all, which is part of his charm. LEILANI POLK
Hot air balloons will come aglow at dusk (weather permitting) to form a sea of giant rainbow-hued lightbulbs in the sky. Show up early for live music from the Cylas Rock Band and food truck offerings.
A lantern-based art gathering in Burien, Arts-a-Glow features lantern making, juggling, "circus" arts, and face painting. You'll feel like a forest nymph by the end of it.
The not-so-coyly named SECS FEST presents short and feature-length cinematic tales to titillate, favoring "films that defy audience expectations for sexually explicit films"—in other words, movies that deviate from the hetero/cissexual, ableist, male-gaze norm.
Chris Isaak is not quite Roy Orbison, but he is now ten years older than Orbison ever was, which shocks me, anyway. Isaak’s rockabilly growl resembles Orbison’s more playful teddy-bear style—but again like Orbison, he sails high notes across shimmering backings, creating a virtual beachscape so smooth and so eerie, you have to get in your car and drive, just to give it some rubber-tire roughage. Easy to say Isaak’s style never escapes stylization, but I disagree. Maybe it’s because I spent so much time on those lamentations in my MTV days. And I never learned to drive. ANDREW HAMLIN
Tony Bennett may be in his 90s, but that's not stopping the man behind "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" from embarking on another tour. He'll perform jazz and pop standards in Seattle with his daughter, Antonia.
Will Smith's daughter Willow Smith released her first hit ("Whip My Hair") almost 10 years ago, becoming a Guinness World Record holder for being the youngest transatlantic Top 20 artist in 2012—and she's still only 18. Dance to her newest songs at this Seattle tour stop.
Full disclosure: I am writing about Death Cab for Cutie out of Moral Obligation. They are great, sure, but I have very little in the way of personal feelings about the Ben Gibbard–led alt-rock band. There is something inherently gray and rainy about their music, which might be because they are from around these parts (well, Bellingham really), or maybe it’s because I know they are from around these parts. They make some poignant ballads. Some barn burners. Some dark Radiohead-flavored odes. This weekend’s two-night stand in Redmond is ostensibly a hometown run, still supporting 2018’s Thank You for Today but also the super fresh (just-released) The Blue EP. LEILANI POLK
Incomparable soul sensation and lifetime humanitarian Patti LaBelle will make a rare appearance live in concert with support from the Pointer Sisters.
READINGS & TALKS
I was always pretty indifferent to Tycho, the electro-music project of Scott Hansen—his particular sort of chillwave, ambient, downtempo sound just didn’t do it for me. But with this year’s Weather, I had a rather exciting change of heart. There’s something warm and organic and effortless about it, something that reminds me of Air, or Boards of Canada at their most lush. Plus, breathy dulcet guest vocals from Hannah Cottrell, aka Saint Sinner, on five of the eight tracks adds an element of sweet mystery. She’ll be joining him on the road, too, along with his full band. Support from Poolside, like a fresh breath of post-disco air, breezy and easy hit-the-spot sounds that are easy to sway and groove to, with falsetto vocals adding the perfect layer of creaminess. Expect an exquisitely laid-back evening. LEILANI POLK
Washington State Poet Laureate and former Seattle Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna has curated this edition of Town Hall's popular series. She'll be reading work herself, along with actors performing works by lauded locals like Elissa Washuta, Tyrone Beason, and Ramon Isao.
READINGS & TALKS
Squeeze’s first five albums represent some kind of zenith for smart, melodious new wave/pub rock. Dip anywhere into records such as Cool for Cats, Argybargy, and East Side Story, and you’ll go away with a headful of the catchiest tunes never written by Lennon-McCartney or McLennan-Forster. Yes, I’m tempted to say that at their best, Squeeze songwriters Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford equal the brilliance of the Beatles and Go-Betweens’ tunesmiths. X have been synthesizing punk and roots rock with exceptional nuance for more than four decades, with a grip of classics to show for it. Some of the city’s coolest forty- and fiftysomethings will be out in force for this nostalgia fest. DAVE SEGAL
The famous activist Sister Helen, a rich Baton Rouge scion who embraced the monastic life and became a force for the anti-death-penalty movement following Vatican II, will read from her new memoir, River of Fire, about her childhood and spiritual awakening.
Randall Munroe's XKCD comic has been entertaining nerdy readers since 2005 with social commentary, weirdo romance, scientific hypotheticals, and math jokes. His previous bestsellers, What If? and Thing Explainer, present scientific and mathematical concepts in simple and fun language. Attend this reading to hear from his newest witty collection, which promises "highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole."
Find out what happened to Offred by snatching up a copy of Margaret Atwood's long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid's Tale.
Watch as living science-fiction legend Margaret Atwood talks to fellow author Samira Ahmed about the diverse range of works she's produced over the course of her career. This film event is happening in conjunction with the release of Atwood's much-anticipated Handmaid's Tale sequel, The Testaments.
READINGS & TALKS
Party with South Korean boy band Pentagon—composed of a whopping nine members—on their 2019 World Tour.
It's been five years since we've seen a new book from David Guterson, famed local author of New York Times best-selling novel Snow Falling on Cedars. But now he's breaking that silence with a new book-length narrative poem called Turn Around Time, which he says offers "a poetic take on the qualities of foot travel and of, among other things, birds, bats, fungi, flora, and fellow travelers." With poem titles like "Barthes and Barth," Guterson's poetry more readily appeals to academic types who are absolutely sure how to pronounce both of those writers' names. But this hiker-poet is at his best when he's writing about Washington's environs, so I have high hopes that these poems will be more grounded (ha-ha, kill me). Plus, press materials indicate that the long poem is sort of about a midlife crisis, which is always a fun time to check in on an author. And come on, people: He's the guy who wrote Snow Falling on Cedars. Show up and chant for the poem about bats. Be sure to come a little early so you can see Justin Gibbens's illustrations of Pacific Northwest landscapes. RICH SMITH
Gretchen McCulloch, the author of the New York Times bestselling linguistics book Because Internet, will be joined in conversation by Paul Constant and Textio CEO Kieran Snyder. Drinks and snacks will be provided.
Wonks of Seattle, rejoice! Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Dara Lind, and Jane Coaston are swinging through town to tape a live episode of The Weeds, a Vox podcast where the hosts dig into the nitty-gritty policy questions that would, in a better world, drive our politics. They cover stuff that sounds boring but that actually makes a direct impact on our lives, including tax credits, tariffs, environmental regulations, and health-care issues. Here's hoping they cover housing. RICH SMITH
SEPTEMBER 10-13FOOD & DRINK
Last spring, chef Daniela Soto-Innes, who helms the acclaimed modern Mexican restaurants Cosme and Atla in New York, was named the World's Best Female Chef by the group behind the annual World's 50 Best Restaurants ranking. You can try her cooking for yourself at this pop-up from Audi's new PROOF culinary series.
SEPTEMBER 10-29SPORTS & RECREATION
This month, Seattle's MLB team's 2019 home season includes games against the Cincinnati Reds (Sept 10-12), the Chicago White Sox (Sept 13-15), the Houston Astros (Sept 24-25), and the Oakland Athletics (Sept 29). See the full home game schedule here.
Gary Clark Jr. is a badass motherfucker. Seriously. The Austin-brewed blues, R&B, and soul artist can wail on guitar like nobody’s business—his chops are serious, while his style of showmanship is a steady, laid-back burn. His 2019 album, This Land, is a righteous battle cry against the America we are now living in, where white nationalists are out and proud, like it ain’t no thang, and claiming entitled ownership of our country. What the fuck era are we living in again? I think Gary Clark Jr. has been wondering this, too, because the ripping title track, which kicks off the album, is just what you need to be reminded that this land belongs to us all. Its chorus was written before Trump came after “the squad,” but it feels completely relevant to that whole sitch: “Go back where you come from. / We don't want your kind. / We think you's a dog born. / Fuck you, I'm America's son. / This is where I come from. / This land is mine.” Fuck. Yeah. LEILANI POLK
How strong is your Deep Purple lust? Do you want to venture out and gaze upon gray, wrinkly Brits (and relatively youngish American guitarist Steve Morse) burning through a grip of songs they’ve been playing for 40 years or longer? Well, when they’re some of the most exhilarating, ’ard, and ’eavy rock tunes ever to blow back your muttonchops, you probably can overlook the potential motions-going-through display and revel in the familiar heroics. Bassist Roger Glover, drummer Ian Paice, and vocalist Ian Gillan are still jamming from the classic ’70s days, when Deep Purple were flamboyant rock gods among mortals and tracks like “Fireball,” “Burn,” “Space Truckin’,” “Speed King,” and that one song every beginning guitarist by law has to play inspired wild-eyed devotion. It’s also cool as hell that they still do “Hush.” DAVE SEGAL
SEPTEMBER 11-OCTOBER 6PERFORMANCE
Jonathan Safran Foer’s semi-autobiographical first novel, Everything Is Illuminated, about a man (also named Jonathan Safran Foer) who travels to Ukraine to try to track down the details of his Jewish ancestry, is one of the most brilliant and celebrated novels of the last 20 years. Much of it is narrated by a translator who shows Jonathan around and gets many English words wrong, hilariously. The language of the book is key, and Book-It adaptations always emphasize the language of the original text in a way that other dramatic treatments (and the movie) don’t. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Older but unbowed, the Crawley family and their servants welcome the Queen and King to their country estate in the film sequel to the popular show, starring the original cast.
There’s a scene in Gus Van Sant’s 2005 film Last Days in which the main character, a Kurt Cobain stand-in played by Michael Pitt, is strung out beyond repair, watching MTV. The iconic video for Boyz II Men’s "On Bended Knee" begins to play, and the pasty hero prostrates himself in front of the screen, the church-like harmonizing and gentle piano offering the dope-riddled man child redemption in the unlikely cathedral of pop music. Of course, modern indie artists, chief among them How to Dress Well, have also decided ’90s R&B is a fertile ground for inspiration, lifting keyboard sounds and drum tracks and repurposing them for lo-fidelity paeans of their own. Perhaps this is the so-called New Sincerity movement at work. After the irony-as-self-defense underground of the ’90s and ’00s, artists have decided laying claim to the melodrama of their emotions is acceptable. All of which would be moot if Boyz II Men’s music were a laughing matter, but these power balladeers’ best stuff holds up, in our collective unconscious’ Platonic prom. KYLE FLECK
Singer-songwriter and pianist Diana Krall will show off her penchant for blues, pop, and jazz standards.
Columbian reggaeton singer Maluma, whose songs like "Felices los 4," "El Perdedor," and "Corazón" have landed him on the Billboard Hot Latin charts, will come to town on his 11:11 World Tour.
SEPTEMBER 12-14READINGS & TALKS
This symposium will be dedicated to the important experimental and feminist author and proto-Riot Grrrl Kathy Acker, who came to Seattle's Center on Contemporary Art for residencies in 1980 and 1989. She worked on two important novels while in Seattle, Blood and Guts in High School and Great Expectations. The gathering is co-organized by University of Cologne's Daniel Schulz and Fantagraphics's Larry Reid, who'll be revealing a previously unpublished manuscript by Acker from 1980.
The mission of this music and arts festival is "to bring a sense of beauty, joy and awe to the world, offered up with a bit of love and kindness." So expect a whole lot of aerialists, trance DJs, and fire dancers set against the natural beauty of Doe Bay.
SEPTEMBER 12-FEBRUARY 9PERFORMANCE
Witness acrobats and variety artists act out stories from "exotic travels to the Seven Seas" through dance, aerial feats, song, and more. Michael Cunio of Postmodern Jukebox will step into the role of Master of the House, while Christine Deaver will be your raconteuse. As always, your ticket will include a multi-course dinner.
A teenage boy's mother is killed in a bombing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the confusion, the boy, Theo, steals a small, valuable Dutch painting by a student of Rembrandt's. Despite moving in with his friend's wealthy family, Theo's life begins to go off the rails. John Crowley (Brooklyn, True Detective) directs this adaptation of Donna Tartt's much-lauded novel. With Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Finn Wolfhard, and Sarah Paulson.
Has there been a rap scene since New York in the early ’90s that has contributed so much to hiphop in such an explosive fashion as current-day Atlanta? The sheer number of charismatic, forward-thinking, and/or just plain weird stars the shining Georgia city on the hill has pumped out over the past few years is mind-boggling. Superstar/noted Russell Wilson muse Ciara doesn’t quite fit into any of the main narratives about the “Atlanta scene,” per se, but her sleek and sensual R&B thrums with the requisite heat and bass, those EQ-freaking synth sweeps and massive 808s. And sure, there are mega anthems like “Ride,” “Body Party,” and “1, 2 Step,” but she’s just as comfortable getting balladic on her album, Jackie, an ode to motherhood and a nicely subtle middle finger to her ex, depressed lothario Future. It’s not as strong as her best work, but smart money says she still brings the crazy-ass choreography to her live show. Go, ATL, go. KYLE FLECK
Once upon a time, a band of three sisters blessed the land with voices as sweet as ambrosia. It sounds like a fairy tale, complete with dense, melodic ballads calling forth the spirit of the Pacific Northwest with lush, honeyed harmonies. Joseph are at their natural, earthy best when inclined to the folky side of the pop-folk spectrum, so let’s hope that facet will shine through in their set. AMBER CORTES
Still roaming the indie circuit of K-pop but riding high on the popularity of their debut single "Sorry," the Rose will play a special show in Seattle.
Grammy-winning DJ and producer Zedd will kick off his world tour in Seattle before making his way across the Atlantic.
This inaugural all-ages music festival in Walla Walla wine country boasts a stacked lineup of indie-rock and folk artists like Yo La Tengo, Fruit Bats, Destroyer, Waxahatchee, Titus Andronicus, and many others.
Whim W’Him kicks off their fall season the way they have for the last four years—with a sort of opposite day where dancers choose the choreographer with whom they want to work. This year, we've got Montreal-based Kyra Jean Green, who directs Trip the Light Fantastic, a group that seeks to "uncover the truth beneath the surface of human perception" through dance. Sam Houston State University assistant professor of dance Joshua Manculich and Yoshito Sakuraba, who runs Abarukas dance company, will also work with Whim W’Him's dancers to create brand-new works of contemporary dance and structured improv. RICH SMITH
This year's festival of arts and performance spreads from the Bellevue Arts Museum to various downtown Bellevue venues, including the Meydenbauer Center and City Hall. There'll be an opening bash, pop-up art markets, and other special events, as well as the work of more than 40 artists on display. A big team of darlings of the arts and music scenes (SassyBlack, Anthony White, Michelle de la Vega, Ellen Ito, Janet Galore, Elisheba Johnson, Angelina Villalobos, and Jonathan Zwickel) have acted as curators, with the trio SuttonBeresCuller handling the general direction of the festival.
THROUGH SEPTEMBER 14PERFORMANCE
Stranger Genius Award and Artist Innovator Award winner Valerie Curtis-Newton will direct Eisa Davis's 2007 Pulitzer-nominated play about a multiracial, clairvoyant orphan girl (Ayo Tushinde) growing up in 1950s California. Young Bulrusher feels out of place in her very white town, where the whimsical dialect of Boontling is spoken, but things change when she meets a newcomer—a black girl from Alabama.
Traditionally, night markets are a place to stroll, shop, and nosh on tasty street-food snacks. This annual festival, which draws upwards of 25,000 people each year, takes place beneath the historic Chinatown gate in the International District, and features a slew of Asian street food alongside handmade local goods, fresh cut flowers, and more, plus entertainment that includes live bands and breakdancing groups.
FOOD & DRINK
I don’t care if you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or lactose-intolerant: Put down your diet, grab your Lactaid, and get thyself to the Grilled Cheese Grand Prix, which may be the only event this year worth the trip to South Lake Union. There you can try the Bourbon Street Bob Melt, an andouille sausage and Granny Smith combo melted between slabs of sourdough and smothered with Beecher’s and Darigold queso. Or perhaps you’re looking for something a little more Canadian. In that case, go for the Poutine Grilled Cheese, which is layered with garlic butter, slow-cooked roast beef, melted cheddar, manchego, and cheese curds, and—the coup de grace—stuffed with french fries and served with a cup of house gravy. Don’t think about tomorrow; just eat. KATIE HERZOG
Hosted in "our region's original brewing district," the first-ever edition of this festival showcasing the many brewers in the south end of Seattle will feature Counterbalance Brewing, Elysian Brewing, Flying Lion Brewing, Future Primitive Brewing, Georgetown Brewing, Ghostfish Brewing, Jellyfish Brewing, Lowercase Brewing, Machine House Brewing, Perihelion Brewery, Seapine Brewing, and Tin Dog Brewing.
Fromage fanciers, rejoice: At this festival celebrating “the terroir of Washington,” 20 over artisan and farmstead cheesemakers from all over the state will gather to share their creamy wares, including washed-rind, mixed-milk, caved-aged, and raw varieties. The lineup features a coterie of choice cheesemongers and covetable creameries, like Beecher’s, Twin Sisters, Mt. Townsend, and more, as well as accompaniments from artisans like preserves producer Girl Meets Dirt, plus local beer and wine. Admission includes three beverage tastes and all the cheese your dairy-loving heart desires. Proceeds benefit the Washington State Cheesemakers Association.
Andy Grammer became the first male pop star in a decade to reach the Top 10 at Adult Pop Radio with his songs "Keep Your Head Up" and "Fine By Me," from his 2011 debut album.
Fun fact: The music video for Avril Lavigne's 2007 hit "Girlfriend" was the first to reach 100 million views on YouTube. Dig up your old favorite Hot Topic tee and catch the Candian plaid-loving pop princess in Seattle in support of her most recent album, Head Above Water.
Eighties smooth groove legends and eternal purveyors of the light-rock-less-talk genre, Daryl Hall and John Oates (of Hall & Oates, natch) will perform a set together.
Ex-Maryland banjo player and current New York singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers will play a set of indie-pop and Americana tracks.
Go big at this Seattle Symphony season kick-off with Thomas Dausgaard taking the stage in his first event as Music Director, and a featured solo by pianist Daniil Trifonov performing Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 4.
Original Misfits singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only are not done rockin'. The '70s-bred horror-punk progenitors will churn out the hits on this tour stop after opening sets from the Distillers, the Damned, and Cro-Mags.
Post Malone makes hip-hop for people who love pop music and hate hip-hop. He'll be joined by Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd and Tyla Yaweh on this stop for his Runaway Tour.
READINGS & TALKS
To raise awareness and funds for the hundreds of unsheltered families in King County, join Mary's Place, KEXP, and others for a concert on the waterfront with sunny pop-rock groups Best Coast and the Courtneys.
You probably know Debra Messing as Grace Adler from Will & Grace. She's also a Global Health Ambassador, a face of the Women's March, and an advocate in other areas. Hear her chat about her career.
Known as the lead singer of British rock band Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler will perform with an expanded 10-piece band on this tour stop.
SEPTEMBER 14-OCTOBER 6FILM
Four treasured Seattle arthouse cinemas—SIFF, Northwest Film Forum, Grand Illusion, and the newly inaugurated Beacon—will revisit the masterpieces of one of the most important filmmakers of the 20th and 21st centuries: the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who died in France in 2016. During his long career, he explored the fine line between documentary and fiction, the relationship between spectator and image, and the mysteries of life and death. The theaters will show eight of his extraordinary movies: Where Is the Friend's House? and The Traveler at the Forum; Taste of Cherry and And Life Goes On at SIFF Film Center, Through The Olive Trees and Close-up (on 35 mm!) at Grand Illusion; and The Wind Will Carry Us and a short film program at the Beacon.
SEPTEMBER 14-JANUARY 19VISUAL ART
On the Edge of the World is the first exhibition of Danish artist L.A. Ring’s work in the United States. Ring worked within the Symbolist and Realist tradition in the early 20th century, documenting the change in lifestyle occurring during that period in Denmark. Though extremely important to both Danish and Nordic culture, his work is relatively unknown outside his native land. The exhibit will feature 25 key paintings that best represents the work Ring did as a whole. The Nordic Museum will also be offering a special aquavit cocktail in their café, Freya, in honor of this exhibition—you can’t miss it. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Have you ever seen a movie so bad that its very existence seems impossible, if not unspeakable? Comedians Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael have a whole podcast devoted to this dubious genre. In the past, they've covered such crapsterpieces as "Surf Ninja’s, XXX: Return of Xander Cage, Shanghai Surprise, The Room, and the entire Fast and Furious franchise."
READINGS & TALKS
Beach Boy Brian Wilson and trippy '60s pop-rock icons the Zombies will pair up for their Something Great from 68 Tour. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
General Jim Mattis, who served as the 26th U.S. Secretary of Defense until resigning in 2018, shares his account of three wars in which he was a top commander in his book Call Sign Chaos.
Past Pulitzer winner, current Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School professor, and member of Obama's State Department Samantha Power will read from her memoir The Education of an Idealist, which spans her career from war correspondent to diplomat.
THROUGH SEPTEMBER 17FOOD & DRINK
Dine al fresco on Bastille's rooftop, with cocktails and dinner made with ingredients sourced directly from the rooftop garden.
Did you know that Elton John’s real name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight? Did you know that he has sold more than 300 million records in his career? Did you know that Sean Lennon is one of his 10 godchildren? Did you know that he hates Madonna? Sorry, I fell into a Wikipedia hole. Anyway, I’m so-so on John’s discography—for every legit hit and moment of Disney genius, you’ve also got your “Bennie and the Jets” (aka the worst song ever) (BENNIIIEEE) and your “Crocodile Rock” (second-worst song ever). True, he’s a seriously talented piano player, but I’m more in it for the personality—the gay rights and AIDS activism, the glasses, the gap tooth, the glitter, the crotchety celebrity bitch-slapping. Oh, and he once described Jesus as a “compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems.” EMILY NOKES
Incubus, a key rock group of the early '00s, will return to Seattle for a night of what will surely be some very intense high school recollections for everybody. They'll be joined by Dub Trio on their "20 Years of Make Yourself & Beyond" tour.
Parody cult leader, actor, and comedian Joe Mande, who's come a long way since his Look at This Fucking Hipster blog, will presumably pick up some more followers at this Seattle appearance.
Canadian singer Bryan Adams will bring his lovelorn lyrics and passionate facial expressions on his Shine A Light World Tour.
Upon forming in 1976, Foreigner were a low-key supergroup featuring ex–Spooky Tooth guitarist Mick Jones and Ian McDonald—the guy who did much of the weird stuff on In the Court of the Crimson King. Like their peers Kansas and Styx, Foreigner was a well-oiled pop machine masquerading as a “serious” rock band. Their self-titled debut remains one of the more listenable relics of the AOR era precisely because of how poppy it is. The one-two opening punch of “Feels Like the First Time” and the McCartney-worshipping “Cold as Ice” is masterful sequencing, but even non-hits like the woozy “Starrider” and “The Damage Is Done” are significantly meatier than your average 1970s diet-rock filler. The real star, however, is Foreigner’s erstwhile lead vocalist Lou Gramm, who, along with Steve Marriott, could be classic rock’s most underrated singer. (Circus magazine famously remarked that Gramm possessed a voice “Robert Plant might envy,” and he probably did.) MORGAN TROPER
Hot off the release of their latest album A Bath Full of Ecstasy, Hot Chip will play new songs off the album after an opening set from their tour buds Holy Fuck. Fans of the British rockers will be glad to know that they're still pounding out vibrant electro-pop rhythms.
Take one glance at the skeleton face paint and pope regalia adorning lead vocalist Papa Emeritus and the spooky mouthless demon masks of the five nameless ghouls beside him onstage, and one might assume Ghost play brutal, deafening death metal. In reality, they have more in common musically with a band like Blue Öyster Cult than, say, Morbid Angel. Their melodic yet Satanic anthems have earned the mysterious Swedish band quite the following, as they’ve transcended their underground cult status, transitioning into their spot as the coolest damn thing on commercial rock radio. KEVIN DIERS
READINGS & TALKS
Catch Nashville pop-country band Old Dominion after a warm-up set from Brandon Lay.
In acclaimed author Ghosh's new novel, a rare book dealer with a crisis of faith embarks on a global journey to research a mysterious legend. Reportedly, the novel is, in part, an investigation of the post-climate-change world, with all its vast migrations, economic upheavals, and extreme weather events. Ghosh is a Prix Médicis étranger winner for The Circle of Reason and has received two Lifetime Achievement awards and four honorary doctorates, plus the Padma Shri award from the president of India.
Prolific Palestinian American poet Nye recently won the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement, and that's just one prize in a long line of laurels (including a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship). Don't miss her appearance with SAL, where she'll be promoting The Tiny Journalist. It's a collection inspired by a seven-year-old videographer of Palestinian protests, Janna Tamimi.
From the author of Girl With a Pearl Earring, a bereaved woman after the Great War must fight for independence in her community of broderers (embroiderers) in Winchester, England.
It’s not quite on the level of Decibel Festival for world-class electronic-music bookings, but Kremfest is making strides to fill the void that that Seattle institution left. The event unites various local crews to create a strong demonstration of the city’s robust underground club culture. DAVE SEGAL
READINGS & TALKS
Witness the final act of a triptych from Ligia Lewis, a Dominican American choreographer based in Germany who earlier this year impressed the hell out of Seattle with the first two parts of that triptych, Sorrow Swag and minor matter. A reviewer for Bachtrack called Water Will (in Melody) "a gory fairy tale on human behaviours gone wild," and that's what all the press videos look like. Dancers, covered in black or clear vinyl, strewn across the floor like broken puppets and talking like records played backwards, all while lighting tricks make them disappear and reappear. This is about as goth as contemporary dance gets. RICH SMITH
This biennial, which welcomes academics and independent scholars and writers, will present "fiction, poetry, and staged play readings; literary rituals, performance pieces (digital, sound, and otherwise), electronic and multimedia projects; and inter-genre literary work of all kinds." Keynote speakers will include LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Barbara Browning, and Nathaniel Mackey.
SEPTEMBER 19-NOVEMBER 24PERFORMANCE
For an immersive show that really looks like it'll scare your button-eyes out of their sockets, try this dinner-theater production in which you, the audience, are cast as dolls belonging to a mean little girl. Cower from the "giant Jack in the Box" and eat doll-party treats for dinner.
SEPTEMBER 19-APRIL 2READINGS & TALKS
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours will contend that profoundly human characters, not plot, should be a writer's focus in this Word Works: Writers on Writing lecture.
This prolific screenwriter, actor, and comedian has a long resume: He's written for Mr. Show, The Sarah Silverman Program, and Metalocalypse, appeared in The Big Bang Theory, You're the Worst, Guys With Kids, and Anger Management, and released Netflix specials like 25x2 and Criminally Posehn.
Instagram star Claudia Oshry (aka @girlwithnojob) has apparently made a career on social media. Lucky her. See her tell jokes in the flesh.
Twenty years ago, an astronaut disappeared on a mission to Neptune to find extraterrestrial life. Now, his son (Brad Pitt) sets out after him, into the hostile void of space. Director James Gray (The Lost City of Z) intends this film to realistically portray space travel in all its discomforts.
Seattle grunge/heavy metal legends Alice in Chains will tear up their home turf like it's 1987.
Calling himself “the Solange of my family,” Jordan Rock knows he’ll never be as wealthy or as renowned as brother Chris (or maybe even Tony). But he’s working hard to overcome the innate disadvantage of always having his older siblings’ accomplishments overshadow his. Some of the subjects Jordan tackles include female versus male Siri, awful Tinder dates, the twisted ways social media influences our minds (“Every time I meet somebody not on Facebook, it’s creepy as shit.”), the n-word (“I’m addicted to it, like a cigarette; I need to say it when I wake up.”). He has Judd Apatow’s imprimatur, acting in the famed director’s Netflix series Love. If that doesn’t inspire you to investigate the youngest Rock, I don’t know what to tell you. DAVE SEGAL
Earth, Wind, and Fire, the true soul of the funk revolution, will lasso all of the elements out in Woodinville this summer.
In a review of the best performances of 2018, Rich Smith singled out Randy Ford of the dance group Au Collective for high praise: "I have said it before and I will say it again: to those who make decisions about grant funding, please give Randy Ford the money so she can just do her thing for a while." With Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas, Ford is organizing a showcase for queer, trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming dancers and movement artists of color. Come for the celebration of intersectional creativity and physical prowess.
Hoist your heftiest steins in celebration of "Seattle's largest beer festival," where you can taste over 100 German and domestic craft beers (excuse us, "biers") and feast on Bavarian-style food like Bratwurst and soft pretzels.
Grab a bier and celebrate Oktoberfest with live oompah music, DJ dance parties, keg rolling, stein hoisting, and even weiner dog racing. Proceeds from the event benefit multiple Eastside charities, such as Imagine Housing, the American Cancer Society, Sibling House, and more.
This hallmark early-fall tradition is your chance to get a taste of Greek food, music, and tradition. Stop by the tent to feast on classic fare like gyros, loukoumathes (sticky-sweet deep-fried pastries), and baklava, enjoy live music with Taki and the Mad Greeks, and see dancing from St. Demetrios dance groups. Plus, you can take a guided church tour, taste wine, and more.
This year, the regional film festival will get even more local, partnering with homegrown nonprofits and media production companies like Indigenous Showcase, Sustainable Seattle, Langston, Pr0n 4 Freakz, NFFTY, and more. Once again, the city will become a hub for indie filmmakers who eschew New York or LA for the earnest and eccentric Northwest. Local Sightings acts as a showcase and watering hole for regional filmmakers, VR artists, and others who range from emotional storytellers to nature documentarists to political essayists. Many of them will attend, which makes for an opportunity for local professional and aspiring moviemakers to meet at the screenings, workshops, and parties. JOULE ZELMAN
SEPTEMBER 20-OCTOBER 26PERFORMANCE
Paula Vogel's Tony-winning play is based on the true story of Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance, a 1906 Yiddish-language play about a pious Orthodox Jewish family man who also owns a brothel, and whose daughter falls in love with one of the sex workers. Vogel dramatizes the scandal surrounding the 26-year-old playwright, his cast, and his queer masterpiece.
Prankster, host, and general surrealist weirdo Eric Andre has a great eponymous show on Adult Swim, a parody of public access low-budget strangeness that he hosts with Hannibal Buress. Here's hoping he's just as bizarre in person.
This annual symposium brings together scholars, scientists, artists, and environmentalists alike (including The Stranger's own Charles Mudede) for a day of lectures culminating in a communal dinner by local chef Monica Dimas of Milkwood & Co.
The Fremont Arts Council will hop over to Green Lake for their annual autumnal equinox celebration filled with bright paper lanterns to help ease you into the less-sunny season. You're invited to bring any other luminary you have on hand (they suggest light-up umbrellas and costumes) to help make the post-ceremony parade even brighter.
Like Kraftwerk, Bob Seger largely ignores and underrates his early work. However, last year saw the rerelease of those brutal, soulful garage-rock singles he cut with the Last Heard circa 1966–67 on the Heavy Music comp. So maybe the Motor City icon is realizing the serious hunger for music from his wild, youthful phase? Does this mean Seger and the Silver Bullet Band will rekindle that flame, or will they play it safe with the heartland stadium-rock and sentimental balladry that scored some of your least-favorite TV ads? With a fan base consisting mainly of folks who’ve probably written their wills, the latter seems more likely—although recent sets have included early barn burner “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” and the haunting troubadour move “Turn the Page.” DAVE SEGAL
Catch R&B superstar Charlie Wilson, the lead singer of the Gap Band, at the Washington State Fair.
If you saw Degenerate Art Ensemble's production of Skeleton Flower—composed of reimagined fairy tales that explore Haruko Crow Nishimura's past traumas—you remember the beautiful experimental punk music that accompanied it. This event will mark both the group's debut and the release of their brand new self-titled album with special guests Fruit Juice, Tomo Nakayama, and the Tiger Tails.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Thrash to '80s-formed California punk-rock band Social Distortion on their Summer Tour with Flogging Molly, the Devil Makes Three, and Le Butcherettes.
If you've participated in past Tough Mudder races, prepare yourself for a revamped obstacle course complete with eight to 10 miles packed with 25 hurdles, including steep-sided gravel pits, deep-wood runs, a century-old coal heap, and lots of sludgy black coal mud.
Get cultured for free at one of the museums participating in Smithsonian's Museum Day. All you need to do is download the ticket from the Smithsonian's website, grab a companion, and show your pass at the Museum of Pop Culture, the MOHAI, the Wing Luke, the Bellevue Arts Museum, the National Nordic Museum, the Museum of Flight, or other institutions out of town. Choose carefully, though, because you only get one.
For all you gluten-free, allergy-prone food lovers, this festival brings tons of tasty samples to suit your dietary needs.
SEPTEMBER 21-JANUARY 5
French artist Leguillon's medium is the exhibition itself. In this show, he uses 256 photographs by or inspired by the 20th-century photographer Diane Arbus, as well as appropriations of her eerie postwar Americana. In the words of the museum, "Arbus Bonus reveals the ways larger cultural histories are assembled and disseminated, and encourages us to form our own, more inclusive counter-narratives."
THROUGH SEPTEMBER 22FESTIVALS
The first days of autumn coincide with the latter portion of the annual Washington State Fair in Puyallup, which brings family-friendly activities like rides and games, carnival food, free music and performances, baby animals, cultural events, produce contests, a rodeo, live concerts, and much more.
SEPTEMBER 22FOOD & DRINK
At this fundraiser feast put on by Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets and benefiting the Good Farmer Fund (a grant and loan program that has granted over $255,000 of emergency relief funds to farmers since 2008), more than 15 acclaimed Seattle chefs will be matched up with local farms to create a locally sourced spread. This year’s batch of culinary luminaries includes Shota Nakajima of Adana, Tamara Murphy of Terra Plata, Thomas Litrenta of Agrodolce, and more, and they’ll be whipping up dishes using fresh ingredients from Alvarez Organic Farm, Collins Family Orchards, and Hayton Farms, among others. Plus, there’s local beer and wine, live music, carnival games, and a silent auction. JULIANNE BELL
Top 40 country hunk Brad Paisley will take over the state fair for a night of Americana hits and opening support from Riley Green.
Herman Melville once wrote “there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast.” You cannot savor warmth without knowing the cold. And you can’t really fathom happiness unless you’ve known the full depth of sadness. Folk legend John Prine appears to understand this principle. His charmingly sweet songs like “In Spite of Ourselves” set you up for heart-rending ballads like “Sam Stone” and “Hello in There.” It can be such a roller coaster that even the lyrically light “Long Monday” seems like a heavy-duty painkiller. You can keep your young sad-sucker minstrels with their endless string of minor chords. I’ll take the old guy whose upbeat demeanor belies a lifetime of genuine heartache. BRIAN COOK
SPORTS & RECREATION
Catch New Orleans-based singer-songwriter Lucky Daye (aka David Debrandon Brown) in Seattle on his The Painted Tour.
SEPTEMBER 23READINGS & TALKS
Malcolm Gladwell kicks off SAL's Literary Arts Series with a reading from his new book Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know, which is good news for people who are into that kind of thing. To me, Gladwell represents the revival of the worst impulses in American storytelling and journalism. He is king of the metaphorically resonant but ultimately meaningless comparison, and he's obsessed with overblowing the claims of cherry-picked studies. Richard Posner called Blink "a series of loosely connected anecdotes, rich in 'human interest' particulars but poor in analysis," and the claim basically holds for all of Gladwell's other books. There should be a new John Waters-type law: "If you go home with someone, and they've got a bunch of Malcolm Gladwell books on the shelf, don't fuck 'em!" Unless you want to doom yourself to a life with someone who is content to describe the world using surface-level comparisons. That said, Kirkus gave his new book a starred review, so it'll probably read well. RICH SMITH
Criminal isn't your typical true crime podcast. It doesn't litigate crimes or anoint heroes or villains. There's no blood or gore or salacious detail. Instead, the show embraces nuance, with some stories about mayhem and murder, but just as many about regular people doing criminal things and what happens before and after. The makers, Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer (who, full disclosure, I'm friends with), spent years working in public radio before branching out on their own, and it shows. Criminal is air-tight, well-mixed, and a delight to both listen to and think about later. KATIE HERZOG
SEPTEMBER 23-OCTOBER 2FILM
Your favorite sitcom is turning a quarter-century old. Why not celebrate by revisiting some classic episodes (like "The One Where Ross Finds Out" and "The One With Chandler In A Box") on the big screen?
READINGS & TALKS
If you remember the movie Once, (or if you're just a fan of Irish folk-rock) you know that Dublin busker Glen Hansard became the lead singer of Irish the Frames and has gone one to collaborate with everyone from bassist Joe Doyle to electronic musicians Dunk Murphy and Deasy. Of his newest project, NPR said, "Where Hansard's first three solo albums felt suited to seated shows in elegant theaters, This Wild Willing often seems tailored to rawer spaces, from intimate bars to the open air of a packed amphitheater."
The laureled author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming will read from a new, time-hopping novel about two very different families brought together by an unplanned pregnancy and the birth of a girl.
Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything, isn’t exactly the most uplifting of public thinkers, but it makes sense: her primary subjects are capitalism and climate change. Her new work, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, takes a slightly more optimistic view, arguing that the U.S. can and should enact the Green New Deal, a nationwide project that could, if done right, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure while also ending our reliance on fossil fuels. Klein, like many proponents of the GND, has tied this movement to a divorce with capitalism, and while this might not play in Congress, I have a feeling she’ll find a sympathetic audience in Seattle. KATIE HERZOG
The brooding pop/R&B singer Banks will come to Seattle on her The III Tour with up-and-comer Kevin Garrett in tow.
Michelle Visage and a crew of queens, including Aquaria, Kameron Michaels, Asia O’Hara, Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls, Violet Chachki, and contestants from Season 11, try to save the universe in this all-new RuPaul's Drag Race show.
Clothing shop owner Adria Garcia and The Stranger's own Kim Selling of Indian Summer and More Fats More Femmes will honor the fat body and fat fashion with a style show, performances, a pop-up market, and talks.
See what fall fashion trends are in store at the Bellevue Collection's annual week of runway shows, beauty demos, fancy parties, and lots of shopping.
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. DAVE SEGAL
Experience winter sports while staying warm and lazy. Teton Gravity Research will present snowboard and ski films for you to marvel at. Plus, there'll be prizes like gear from Sierra Nevada, Atomic, Volkl, and the North Face, and even grand prizes like "trips to Sierra Nevada’s beer camp in California, TGR's hometown Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and more."
Amon Amarth, formed in Sweden in the '90s (who former Stranger contributor Jason Bracelin described as "the AC/DC of melodic Swedish Viking death metal sans the paunchy, cake-fed replacement singer with Loki-like ’tude") will come to Seattle to wreak havoc on their Berserker Tour. Archy Enemy, At the Gates, and Grand Magus will share the bill.
Popular anthem-happy alt-rockers Of Monsters and Men will bring their Icelandic pizzaz to the Seattle stage.
In the words of The Stranger's digital editor, Chase Burns: "Cherdonna Shinatra is a drag performer, dancer, choreographer, and generally fun lunatic. Her drag shtick is that she’s a woman playing a man playing a woman, which used to be a radical idea but has now become pretty run-of-the-mill. Which is great! That said, Cherdonna is more than a woman playing a man playing a woman, she’s a performance artist dedicated to interrogating how the female body is consumed by the male gaze/gays." In this show, Cherdonna and her three "Donna" dancers will use their wild and weird performance art to subvert ideas about aging and time.
SEPTEMBER 26-OCTOBER 3FILM
For one week, Seattle turns into a center for French and Francophone cinema culture, offering some of the best movies you'll see all year.
SEPTEMBER 26-OCTOBER 6FILM
Always relevant and on the artistic vanguard, Tasveer's biggest annual event—the largest South Asian film fest in the country, according to their website—does its best to dispel myths about South Asian countries. This year, the film festival will focus on India, with an emphasis on #MeToo stories and diaspora. The festival's special guests will be actor/activist Shabana Azmi, Counselor General of India Sanjay Panda, and trans Bollywood writer Gazal Dhaliwal.
SEPTEMBER 26-DECEMBER 5FILM
Don't miss the Seattle Art Museum's annual revisitation—billed as "the world's longest-running film noir series"—of some of America's darkest cinematic delights, full of crime, smoke, and sex appeal. This year's series will include treasures like Edward Dmytryk's tricksy Murder, My Sweet and Samuel Fuller's loony The Naked Kiss, as well as more unusual choices like the Marilyn Monroe-starring Niagara, Hitchcock's The Wrong Man, and Stanley Kubrick's Lolita. It'll finish off with David Lynch's mesmerizing, eternally rewatchable Mulholland Drive.
A handsomer-than-average nerd, Demetri Martin emits brainy, humorous observations with effortless poise. In one set, he said, “I feel like there’s a parallel world right in front of us that’s revealed with a small shift in perspective.” Those words could stand as Martin’s mission statement. He scrutinizes the mundane activities and thought processes humans engage in every damn day and forces us to reassess them in ways that make you think, “Wow, I’ve never looked at it that way—but he’s totally right! Now I need to adopt this worldview in order to live a much more entertaining life.” Martin excels at slyly making the ordinary seem surreal. DAVE SEGAL
After Blink-182 went on hiatus in 2005 (you remember, don't you?), lead singer Tom DeLonge formed a new band with some members from his previous pop-punk group to form a supergroup of rock. They'll come through Seattle on their latest North America Tour.
It’s tempting to be cynical toward any band that blows up before their first album drops. Sure, Cigarettes After Sex had an EP from 2012 and a few scattered songs floating around online in the interim between their debut and this summer’s self-titled full-length, but that kind of early internet hype typically doesn’t pan out so well when the artist finally makes a proper album. Fortunately, that’s not the case here. And considering our withering attention spans in the age of media saturation, the ability of a sparse, hushed, narcoleptic pop group to actually grab people’s attention without a bunch of pandering promotional gimmicks is a testament to Cigarettes After Sex’s songwriting strength, tasteful restraint, and simple aesthetic grace. So come on aboard, there’s lots of room for you on the bandwagon. BRIAN COOK
Latin Billboard chart-topper Marco Antonio Solis will serenade the masses.
Mexican American singer-songwriter Pepe Aguilar, the son of singer-actors Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre, will grace our fair state.
"Cultural exchange" advocates Vampire Weekend will return to Seattle on their Father of the Bride Tour with more rhythmic indie rock to share with us.
READINGS & TALKS
If you love scary stories but (understandably) want to stay off Reddit forums, check out this live version of the NoSleep podcast, which originated online as a treasure trove of spooky stories.
Novelist Jayne Anne Phillips, graphic memoirist Mira Jacob, and magical realist Ruth Joffre will present work on the theme of divisions, boundaries, and other rifts. This evening, which will also feature music by Ghosting the Hostess, will kick off Hugo House's Literary Series.
Seattle Met's Cowabunga festival presents four days of beefy bacchanalia, including cook-offs and cow meat tastings (plus some attention paid to seafood, cake, and booze, too).
SEPTEMBER 27-OCTOBER 6PERFORMANCE
PNB kicks off its 47th season by hanging a 26-foot-long, 2,500-pound golden wheel from the ceiling for founding artistic director Kent Stowell's Carmina Burana, a ballet based on a 13th century medieval poem written by a bunch of saucy Catholic clerics. As a choir belts out one of the most dramatic—if not most played—pieces of classical music, "O Fortuna," more than 100 dancers do their thing beneath the wheel of fortune, embodying fate's random mood swings. PNB pairs this epic dance with George Balanchine's Agon, which Balanchine himself called "the quintessential contemporary ballet," according to press materials. RICH SMITH
OPENS SEPTEMBER 28VISUAL ART
The Impressionists, far from ethereal or wishy-washy, were artistic badasses, turning traditional academic painting on its head. Don't miss this chance to see paintings by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Gustave Caillebotte, Paul Gauguin, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, and Edgar Degas, plus American artists inspired by these innovators.
At the "world's first running music festival," runners will wait for nightfall to make their way along a 5k course punctuated by party zones full of live EDM music and interactive light shows. Prepare to get glowy and sweaty.
Shove away the impending winter blues with a neon night of bass-heavy EDM at breakneck-beat speed thanks to live sets by Zeds Dead and the rest of their Deadbeat friends.
The Residency will celebrate five years of providing a platform for young hip-hop artists with an evening of student performances, guest speakers, and a community awards dinner by local food celeb Tom Douglas.
SEPTEMBER 28-NOVEMBER 2020VISUAL ART
American studio-glass master Marquis has works in permanent collections across the globe, from the Carnegie Mellon Museum of Art in Pittsburgh to the Koganezaki Glass Museum in Shizuoka, Japan to the Finnish National Glass Museum. This retrospective of clever, inventive, asymmetrical "keepers" (Marquis's favorites from his archive) spans his 50-year career.
London-born rapper and spoken-word artist Kate Tempest (who won the Ted Hughes Prize for her epic poem Brand New Ancients) will perform in Seattle.
Pod Save America (made up of former Obama White House staffers Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor) will go live to address today's most pressing political and media issues, including "the nightmare that is the Trump presidency."