Arts

Your Complete Guide to Spring 2023 Arts Events in Seattle

All of Our Performance, Visual Art, Literary, Film, and Music Picks for the Season
March 7, 2023
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Contemporary art lovers, don't sleep on this one. Strange Weather: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation will feature art mega-stars like Wendy Red Star (image), Kehinde Wiley, Kiki Smith, and Alison Saar. (Strode Photographic)
As the weather shifts toward brighter and warmer days, it's time to press pause on those Netflix binges and emerge from our homes in search of IRL entertainment. Along with spring showers, we're forecasting the best arts events coming to Seattle in the upcoming season, from Seven Things I’ve Learned: An Evening with Ira Glass to the Seattle International Film Festival 2023  to Les Misérables. Find all of our top picks below, check out our complete arts guide for even more options, or pick up a print copy of A+P to read more spring arts stories from our sister site, The Stranger.

 


Jump to: Performance | Visual Art | Readings & Talks | Live Music | Film


PERFORMANCE

110 In the Shade
Past Event List Since 2014, Reboot Theatre Company has experimented with funky interpretations of established works through innovative casting and design modifications, and the results can be pretty transformative—last year's Jesus Christ Superstar offered a unique twist on the relationship dynamics of Jesus, Mary, and Judas, history’s most dramatic throuple. This time around, director Scot Charles Anderson reimagines the '60s-era production 110 in the Shade with a closer examination of the gender dynamics at play. The story follows Lizzie, an independent woman in a small, drought-stricken western town. While being pressured to marry the recently widowed sheriff, Lizzie encounters a stranger with a curious promise to make it rain.
Seattle Public Theater, Green Lake (March 16–April 9)

Moisture Festival 2023
Past Event List A true testament to the popularity of underground cabaret entertainment in Seattle, the longstanding Moisture Festival has fostered circus performers, comics, burlesque dancers, and musicians for years, and now claims to be "the world’s largest comedy/variety show festival." The month-long fest offers eye-popping events from the (relatively) mild-mannered to the racy and scantily clad end of the spectrum, including the risqué, adults-only Libertease Cabaret. 
Broadway Performance Hall (March 23–April 16)

Hairspray
Past Event List It always seems to be up to the teens to challenge outdated, discriminatory bullshit. Enter Tracy Turnblad, a '60s-era teenybopper who lands her dream role on an American Bandstand-inspired variety show and becomes an overnight sensation, but is disgusted by the show's racist practices. Based on the cult '88 musical comedy by cherished slimeball John Waters, this rendition of the Tony Award-winning musical Hairspray proves that "you can't stop the beat." It was directed and choreographed for new audiences by unflappable Broadway duo Jack O'Brien and Jerry Mitchell, and features RuPaul's Drag Race season 11 contestant Nina West (aka Andrew Levitt) as a shimmery Edna Turnblad.
Paramount Theatre, Downtown (April 4–9)

Latrice Royale Past Event List   
"Jesus is a biscuit! Let him sop you up!" Two-time RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars competitor and congenial diva extraordinaire Latrice Royale will request that you "excuse the beauty" for this glam musical comedy performance celebrating her 30th year in show biz. (We hope to hear some piping hot industry tea.)  
Neptune Theatre, University District (Fri April 7)

A Midsummer Night's Dream Past Event List  
George Balanchine's cheeky adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream promises chaotic sprites, misplaced affections, love potions, a 12-foot spider, and a hybrid donkey-man with a fairy girlfriend. The Pacific Northwest Ballet production has brought Shakespeare's impish romantic comedy to the stage for 25 years; they'll return again with costumes in pastel rainbow hues and an enchanted forest setting that evokes the charm of our neck of the woods. 
McCaw Hall, Uptown (April 14–23)

Lydia and the Troll
Past Event List Playwright Justin Huertas blends fantasy and folklore elements with real Seattle landmarks to create pure Pacific Northwest magic in Lydia and the Troll. ("Never turn your back on a Justin Huertas song," says the Seattle Times.) The production follows a singer-songwriter whose writer's block—and life circumstances—have her feeling stuck, but a chance encounter with a strange figure may lead to untold sacrifices. 
Seattle Repertory Theatre, Uptown (May 5–June 4)

La traviata
Past Event List Giuseppe Verdi's elegant tale of high-class grandeur and tragedy follows a courtesan who seeks love among the fashionable elites of Paris while facing a deadly illness. This interpretation of La traviata by Francesca Zambello includes costuming by Tony-winning designer Jess Goldstein and Seattle Opera debut performances by Armenian soprano Mané Galoyan, South African soprano Vuvu Mpofu, and tenors Rame Lahaj and Duke Kim. 
McCaw Hall, Uptown (May 6–21)

Takahiro Yamamoto: NOTHINGBEING Past Event List
Portland-based choreographer Takahiro Yamamoto's investigative new dance performance, created in collaboration with composer Samita Sinha and artists Anna Martine Whitehead and David Thomson, ponders possibilities for embodied "presence of nothingness" through improvisational movements and meditations on surrender. The phenomenological inquiry relates to Yamamoto's experience as an immigrant in the United States, where he has found a "tendency for the collective consciousness not to pay attention to events or situations unless a bigger and dire incident has taken place." (If you need examples of what Takahiro's talking about, just check your Twitter feed.) NOTHINGBEING holds contemplative space for questions of unity, connection, and the social self, so head to a performance if you're feeling unmoored.
On the Boards, Uptown (May 18–21)

Les Misérables Past Event List   
This fresh staging of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony-winning testament to love and survival was described as “a reborn dream of a production” by The Daily Telegraph. Former theater kids shouldn't miss the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's 1862 novel Les Misérables, which is set against the tumultuous backdrop of 19th-century France. 
The 5th Avenue Theatre, Downtown (May 24–June 17) 

Margaret Cho: Live and LIVID! Past Event List  
Margaret Cho is a household name, so listing all of the accolades that the trailblazing comedian, actress, and LBGT activist has acquired over her three-decade career feels unnecessary. If Cho's brand of dry, unapologetic, and often crude comedy appeals to you, you probably already know it and have followed her work for years. She'll return to the stage with more candid, sure-footed thoughts on everything from world politics to womanhood for this performance. 
Neptune Theatre, University District (Sun June 4)

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VISUAL ART

Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth
Past Event List The ikat resist dye process is no easy feat—it's an intensive ritual of pattern calculation and thread-tying that takes time, patience, and dedication. Yet the resulting cloth pattern can be delightfully off-kilter and inexact; Wikipedia calls ikat “blurry." This impressive exhibition features over 100 ikat textiles from Africa, Asia, Indonesia, and elsewhere, and offers visitors the opportunity to "walk into an ikat" devised by indigo dye experts Rowland and Chinami Ricketts. 
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown (March 9–May 29)

Hidden Worlds: The Films of LAIKA
Remind List Calling all puppet lovers! Hidden Worlds: The Films of LAIKA will invite visitors to peek behind the scenes of screen faves like Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and the forthcoming Wildwood created by Oregon stop-motion animation studio LAIKA. The exhibition will grant “unprecedented access” to the film studio’s advanced production techniques, complete with puppets, set displays, and sneak peeks. 
Museum of Pop Culture, Uptown (Fri March 17–summer 2024)

Jónsi: FLÓÐ (Flood) Past Event List  
Complete with seaweed, mist, and fog, the immersive new artwork by Jónsi (Jón Þór Birgisson, lead singer of the dreamy Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós) will highlight the ecological similarities between sister cities Seattle and Reykjavik. The installation will include field recordings and other sonic elements that "simulate the experience of a wave traveling the length of the gallery," and a melodious soundtrack created by Jónsi will echo throughout the space. 
National Nordic Museum, Ballard (March 17–July 30)

Strange Weather: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation Past Event List     
Contemporary art lovers, don't sleep on this one. Exploring the boundaries between the body and its environment, Strange Weather: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation features works spanning the last five decades by art mega-stars like Kehinde Wiley, Kiki Smith, Wendy Red Star, and Alison Saar. With an eye toward the climate crisis, the exhibition is a rare opportunity to see how some of the country's most influential artists are thinking critically about ecological issues and humanity's place on the planet. 
Bellevue Arts Museum (March 25–Aug 20)

Sarah Cain: Day after day on this beautiful stage Past Event List   
Sarah Cain will present a site-specific project commissioned by the Henry for their East Gallery, which engages with the double-height space through a series of paintings, furniture pieces, and other "architectural interventions." The Los Angeles-based painter and installation artist draws from diverse aesthetic inspirations, blending abstract expressionist, graffiti, and pop music references to create a color-drenched, kaleidoscopic point of view that's incredibly fun to observe.   
Henry Art Gallery, University District (April 1–Aug 27)

Joey Veltkamp Past Event List  
Queer folk artist Joey Veltkamp gravitates to fiber arts—in recent Bellevue Arts Museum solo exhibition SPIRIT!, he combined images and text from his Bremerton home in cheeky works that referenced everything from roadside signs to retired ferries. This new selection of "soft paintings" maintains his narrative-based, humorous style with imagery of ice cream cones, flowers, and clowns. 
Greg Kucera Gallery, Pioneer Square (May 18–July 1)

Celebrating Pacific Northwest Artists: 25 Years of the Neddy Awards Past Event List    
This exhibition celebrates a quarter century of Cornish College's prestigious Neddy Awards, which were created in honor of Ned Behnke (1948-1989), a deaf Seattle artist and teacher of hearing-impaired students. The show will spotlight Washington State contemporary art talent with a curated selection of pieces created by past grand prize award recipients. Curated by acclaimed writer, public speaker, and contemporary art interlocutrice Negarra A. Kudumu, the show offers a comprehensive look at some of the most significant Northwest artists of the last 25 years, including Wa Na Wari co-founder Inye Wokoma and interdisciplinary storyteller Priscilla Dobler Dzul.
Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), South Lake Union (June 4–Sept 5)

Kelly Akashi: Formations Past Event List     
Los Angeles-based artist Kelly Akashi is well known for her fluid forms and focus on craft—she vacillates between analog photography and old-school techniques of candle making, bronze casting, and rope making. Organized by the San José Museum of Art, this exhibition includes nearly a decade of the artist's boundary-pushing work, which tends to meditate on time, materiality, and lineage. Make sure to see "Conjoined Tumbleweeds," a newly commissioned bronze cast of plants collected from Poston, Arizona, where members of Akashi's family were incarcerated in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II. 
Frye Art Museum, First Hill (June 17–Aug 31)

SOFT TOUCH Past Event List  
The latest group show at Museum of Museums makes a promise that most exhibitions cannot: Visitors are welcome to sit, stand, or recline in the gallery "cushioned by a patchwork of futon mattresses, shag carpets, and curtaining." Sounds cozy! SOFT TOUCH offers a comprehensive look at explosive contemporary trends in textile art and soft sculpture, with works by over 35 artists using fibers to think about interwoven themes of identity, humanity, and nature. 
Museum of Museums, First Hill (through Aug 31)

She Bends: Redefining Neon Legacy Past Event List   
If you're keeping an eye on contemporary art trends, you may have noticed that women artists are making waves in neon, a traditionally male-dominated art form. She Bends: Redefining Neon Legacy traces the history of the medium from its initial use in commercial advertising to its emergence as a boundary-pushing presence in fine art. Visitors will learn more about the women and gender-expansive artists at the forefront of the "master/apprentice" art form (Sarah Blood, Carissa Grace, Kacie Lees, and others) and explore how neon skills are being passed on to younger, more diverse artists. 
Museum of Glass, Tacoma (through Oct 7)

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READINGS & TALKS

Michelle Zauner Past Event List     
Japanese Breakfast frontwoman Michelle Zauner will visit Seattle in celebration of her acclaimed memoir Crying in H Mart, which reflects on her upbringing in Eugene, Oregon, and her mother's terminal cancer diagnosis. The New York Times bestseller, which is currently being adapted into a film, was described as "warm and wholehearted" by the Seattle Times.   
Seattle Arts & Lectures at Town Hall Seattle, First Hill (Thurs March 30)

Ari Shapiro with Dan Savage: Best Strangers in the World Tour Past Event List   
Ari Shapiro, award-winning, Portland-raised NPR journalist and host of All Things Considered, will head to Seattle for this conversation with our very own Dan Savage in celebration of Shapiro's new tome, The Best Strangers in the World. The "witty, poignant book" (Ronan Farrow), which follows Shapiro as he globe-trots in cool leather jackets, chats with Obama on Air Force One, and hits the pavement with social justice activists, serves as a testament to the journalist's passion for connection. Alan Cumming described Shapiro as "a beacon of idiosyncratic frankness," which is as strange and wonderful an endorsement as they come. 
Town Hall Seattle, First Hill (Mon April 3)

Lindy West: Every Castle, Ranked Past Event List
Lindy West, The Stranger's former film editor and the brilliant wordsmith behind the essay collection Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, is nothing if not discerning. In this live show, she'll revisit the magical castles of her childhood daydreams, which now appear to be nothing more than creaky old military forts for rich dudes. The 40-something-year-old will lead the audience on a "hilarious, bittersweet journey through her own disillusionment," which promises a pit stop to discuss the history of toilets. Sign us up!
Neptune Theatre, University District (Thurs April 6)

Word Works—Jonathan Escoffery: Earning Your Readers’ Attention Past Event List    
Hugo House's Word Works craft talks continue with this engaging discussion on capturing readers' attention, led by 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction winner Jonathan Escoffery alongside wordsmith and Seattle University assistant professor Juan Carlos Reyes. In Escoffery's 2022 novel If I Survive You, which follows the experiences of a Jamaican immigrant family in Miami, "the 'you' his characters are trying to survive is America itself" (NPR). Makes sense! We're stoked to hear more about Escoffery's approach to holding readers' interest, which is grounded in sly humor and relatability.
Hugo House, Capitol Hill (Fri April 14)

Anastacia-Renee: Side Notes from the Archivist
Formidable poet, genre-crossing artist, TEDx speaker, podcaster, and former Seattelite Anastacia-Renee will drop by her old stomping grounds in celebration of Side Notes from the Archivist: Poems, a funky, feminist new collection that illuminates Black femme culture through coming-of-age poems set in '80s Philly. 
Elliott Bay Book Company, Capitol Hill (Fri April 14)
Third Place Books Seward Park (Thurs April 27)

Masha Gessen Past Event List  
Russian American journalist Masha Gessen, author of the National Book Award-winning The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia and Surviving Autocracy, will head to Seattle for a discussion of their journalistic coverage of the current political unfoldings in Russia. Gessen, a trans nonbinary person, is also an activist covering LGBTQ+ issues throughout the world.
Seattle Arts & Lectures at Town Hall Seattle, First Hill (Mon April 17)

Bill Nye: Change the World! Ideas on Fighting Climate Change
Past Event List "Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!" Television host, engineer, and science literacy activist Bill Nye, whom former Stranger editor Chase Burns once referred to as "basically the Britney Spears of science," will drop by Seattle for a rare appearance to chat climate change and empower the audience with eco-friendly tips for fighting the crisis. 
McCaw Hall, Uptown (Tues May 16)

Seven Things I’ve Learned: An Evening with Ira Glass Past Event List    
Ira Glass, beloved, bespectacled host and producer of This American Life, will return to Seattle with a fresh rendition of his "Seven Things" show, where he'll share what he's learned from his illustrious public radio career, what inspires him, and how his many failures and successes guide his decisions. Podcasters, writers, and anyone who's ever wanted to tell a story should take notes. 
Benaroya Hall, Downtown (Sat May 20)

Matt Baume: Honey, I'm Homo! Sitcoms, Specials, and the Queering of American Culture Past Event List
Cultural critic, pop culture YouTuber, and former Stranger staff writer Matt Baume will head to Elliott Bay in celebration of the release of his new book, Honey, I'm Homo! Sitcoms, Specials, and the Queering of American Culture, a deep dive into the "subversive" queer comedy storylines that transformed the American sitcom and continue to shape cultural attitudes toward LGBTQ+ folks today. 
Elliott Bay Book Company, Capitol Hill (Thurs May 25)

Ocean Vuong Past Event List
Ocean Vuong made major waves in the literary world in 2019 with On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, an epistolary novel reflecting on loss, memory, and family; he's also an award-winning poet whose collection Night Sky With Exit Wounds won the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2017. Vuong will discuss his second poetry book, the New York Times-bestselling collection Time Is A Mother, during this visit to Seattle. Pro tip: Before the event, listen to Vuong's tear-inducing, pre-pandemic March 2020 interview with journalist and podcaster Krista Tippett, in which he casually says things like "I want to take off the shoes of my voice, so that I can enter a place with care, so that I can do the work I need to," and “When the apocalypse comes, what will you put into the vessel for the future?”
Third Place Books Lake Forest Park (Tues June 6)

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LIVE MUSIC

CLASSICAL, JAZZ & FESTIVALS

Carmina Burana Past Event List  
Acclaimed conductor and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra director Xian Zhang will conduct the Seattle Symphony, the Northwest Boychior, and several operatic powerhouses in a performance of Carl Orff's masterwork, Carmina Burana. Based on a 13th-century medieval poem about love, lust, and indulgence, the piece has become a pop culture staple with its epic opening piece "O Fortuna," which has appeared in everything from the 1981 film Excalibur to commercials for Applebee's and York Peppermint Patties. Plus, look forward to performances of Rossini's classic William Tell Overture and contemporary composer Qigang Chen's L'éloignement
Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall, Downtown (March 30–April 2)

Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra presents
The Music of Couture: Stravinsky and Chanel’s Paris Past Event List   
If you've ever needed a reason to wear a tweed suit, here it is. The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra will transport you to Paris in the 1920s with a spirited concert exploring the world of iconic (and controversial) fashion designer Coco Chanel. The show will kick off with a performance of the dramatic piece The Soldier's Tale by Stravinsky (who was a rumored lover of Chanel), followed by Germaine Tailleferre's whimsical Image, Darius Milhaud's lively The Creation of the World, and Bohuslav Martinů's jazz-infused La revue de cuisine. Town Hall's Otto Bar will be open throughout the night so you can pretend you're at a real speakeasy. 
Town Hall Seattle, First Hill (Fri April 7)

Fatoumata Diawara Past Event List  
Jas Keimig once compared Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara's captivating vocal range to Sade, noting her unique voice that "skips like a rock over water across different registers." She will get the crowd on their feet with her futuristic blend of traditional Malian folk, Wassoulou music, R&B grooves, and fuzzed-out electric guitars that led her on tour with fellow genre-blending heavies Gorillaz last fall.  
Meany Center for the Performing Arts, University District (Sat April 15)

SRJO Presents: Thad Jones 100th Birthday Celebration Past Event List   
Celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of prolific writer, composer, arranger, trumpeter, and band leader Thad Jones as the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra performs music from throughout his life and explores his legendary contributions to the genre. Anticipate tunes from his early years as a soloist in the Count Basie Orchestra as well as his time in the Village Vanguard Orchestra and beyond, including longstanding jazz standards like "A Child is Born," "Three and One," and "The Elder."
Benaroya Hall, Downtown (Sat April 22)

Nils Frahm Past Event List   
On his latest album, Music for Animals, German composer and musician Nils Frahm follows in the footsteps of the patron saint of ambient music, Brian Eno.  Along the lines of Eno's 1978 albums Music for Airports and Music for Films, Frahm trades his usual piano for an electronic palette in order to create atmospheric works titled things like "The Dog with 1000 Faces" and "Seagull Scene." Frahm's shows are regularly sold out, so don't miss the chance to experience his moving compositions that land at the intersection of ambient, electronic, and modern classical music. 
Paramount Theatre, Downtown (Thurs April 27)

Belltown Bloom 2023 Past Event List    
This all-ages music festival will showcase an abundant bouquet of indie bands with headliners including grunge trailblazers L7, Russian feminist protest and performance art group Pussy Riot, Philly-based punk band Mannequin Pussy, and local rock stars Thunderpussy (we are starting to see a theme here). Plus, look forward to plenty of local highlights like dreamy indie rockers La Fonda, cinematic rock soloist Byland, and psychedelic dream pop ensemble Coral Grief.
The Crocodile, Belltown (May 5–6)

Andrea Bocelli Past Event List  
Are you looking to wow your mom this Mother's Day? Leave it to the world-renowned, dulcet-toned, Italian opera crooner Andrea Bocelli with a larger-than-life arena concert featuring songs from his wide-ranging repertoire. Look forward to a soothing blend of early fan favorites, traditional arias, weepy love songs, and tracks off of his latest album, Believe
Climate Pledge Arena, Uptown (Sun May 14) 

Matthew Whitaker Past Event List    
The New Jersey-hailing organ and piano prodigy Matthew Whitaker has been playing for the majority of his life, earning endorsements from Hammond and Yamaha as a teen before heading off to Julliard's Jazz Studies program, where he is currently in his third year. Now, at just 22 years old, this guy has already released three full-length albums and two film scores, in addition to performing on world-renowned stages like at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Newport Jazz Festival. Are you feeling bad about your achievements yet?  
Jazz Alley, Belltown (May 23–24)

HONK! Fest West Past Event List   
This free, family-oriented festival gets you in on the brass, percussion, and street band "global renaissance." Dozens of bands across various musical styles (including punk rock marching bands, European Klezmer groups, Maracatu sounds, and more!) will take to streets and parks around Seattle as they jam out in celebration of this democratic and ebullient musical genre. 
Various locations (June 2–4)

Seattle Men's Chorus: Disney Pride In Concert Past Event List    
The Seattle Men's Chorus will kick off Pride Month with a family-friendly, Disney-themed concert featuring more than 200 choral singers, a 25-piece orchestra, and projections of memorable scenes from your favorite Disney and Pixar movies. Expect to hear songs from classics like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Mary Poppins, plus contemporary favorites like Coco, Zootopia, and Wreck-It Ralph, along with solo performances and personal anecdotes that explore themes of love and acceptance.  
Paramount Theatre, Downtown (June 9–10)

POP, ROCK & HIP-HOP

Weyes Blood: In Holy Flux Tour Past Event List  
Indie-folk troubadour Weyes Blood (aka LA-based singer-songwriter Natalie Mering) is known for her revival of '70s soft rock, lush orchestral arrangements, and Joni Mitchell-esque vocal range for a result she once described as “Bob Seger meets Enya.” Don't miss her on tour supporting her acclaimed album And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, which lyrically explores universal topics of loneliness, connection, and love. 
The Showbox, Downtown (Wed March 22)

Yaeji Past Event List  
"Occupying the lush soundscape between relaxation and revving up for a night out, Yaeji’s richly textured lo-fi beats are perfect for a cool walk home after partying the night away. Brooklyn-based Kathy Yaeji Lee’s addictive, ASMR-like blend of house, hip-hop, and English-Korean lyrics has all the fun of a DIY affair, and the cool confidence of a music sensation who knows that she’s killing it every step of the way," wrote former Stranger writer Sophia Stephens. Expect to hear songs from her glossy, pop-fueled debut mixtape, What We Drew, along with new tracks from her forthcoming follow-up, With A Hammer (out April 7).
The Showbox, Downtown (Sat April 8)

Vanessa Carlton Past Event List  
We'd wager that pop pianist Vanessa Carlton has enough star draw to fill a hall larger than the intimate Triple Door, but as part of her Future Pain Tour, she’ll treat a small audience to An Evening with Vanessa Carlton. Could she deny us a live rendition of the ear worm hit single "A Thousand Miles" (which still holds up)? Who cares, this show sounds magical! As long as we get something from her 2002 studio debut—like the similarly effervescent "Ordinary Day," "White Houses" from 2004’s Harmonium, and / or certainly "Future Pain," the lead single from her most recent album, Love is an Art, we'll walk a thousand miles—and buy those tickets right now! Speaking of right now, eager fans can revisit the ultra calm vibes on her 2011 Christmas EP, Hear the Bells. JENNI MOORE
Triple Door, Downtown (Mon April 24)

Shania Twain: Queen Of Me Tour Past Event List  
Let's go girls! The queen of country pop Shania Twain will embark on her first tour in five years in support of her new dance floor-ready album Queen of Me, which Pitchfork described as "a dozen tracks of optimistic affirmations and pumping electro-pop rhythms."
Climate Pledge Arena, Uptown (Sat April 29)

Caroline Polachek Past Event List  
Vocalist and electronic artist Caroline Polachek, formerly of the synth-pop duo Chairlift, will play a solo show in support of her recently released album Desire, I Want To Turn Into You. Don't miss this opportunity to see this opera-trained vocalist at the peak of her career, performing ethereal pop tunes that pull inspiration from trip-hop, classical music, flamenco, and new wave.
Showbox SoDo, SoDo (May 4–5)

Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Past Event List Maybe you know him as singer-songwriter Bonnie "Prince" Billy. Maybe you know him as indie movie actor Will Oldham (if not, watch Kelly Reichardt's Old Joy!), or possibly under band names/aliases like Palace, Palace Music, Palace Songs, or Palace Brothers. Whatever you know him as, we hope you know that he's one of the most captivating songwriters of our time, crafting intimate, innovative, and individual folk songs that have made an undeniable mark on indie rock over the last three decades. Catch him just ahead of releasing his first-ever children's book Shory's Ark, as well as an upcoming album of new BPB songs. Neptune Theatre, University District, $35
Neptune Theatre, University District (Sat May 13)

Ella Mai Past Event List  
R&B singer-songwriter Ella Mai initially blew up with her first single "Boo'd Up," which is now 7x platinum and has broken several Billboard chart records. Now, she's touring on her second album, Heart on My Sleeve, which meditates on her own vulnerability and resilience through stripped-down ballads and hip-hop-tinged beats.
Showbox SoDo (Sat May 13)

First Aid Kit: Palomino Tour Past Event List    
On their latest album, Palomino, sister-led folk band First Aid Kit pays an homage to classic rock with stories of heartbreak, happiness, life, and love, woven into "a patchwork of natural instrumentation." Arrive in time to catch an opening set from beloved Americana artist Hurray for the Riff Raff. Paramount Theatre, Downtown (Wed May 24)

Kali Uchis: Red Moon In Venus Tour Past Event List    
You know she’s just a flight away, so Latin pop gem Kali Uchis will take a private plane to Seattle this spring in support of her highly anticipated third album, Red Moon in Venus. Out March 3, the album features guest appearances from Omar Apollo, Don Toliver, and Summer Walker with botanical song titles like "I Wish You Roses," and "In My Garden..."
WaMu Theater, SoDo (Wed May 24)

The National Past Event List     
Brooklyn-born indie rock stalwarts The National (or as Swifties know them, producers of folklore and evermore) have announced their first album in four years, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, with a tracklist featuring A-list pals like Phoebe Bridgers, Sufjan Stevens, and, yes, Taylor Swift. They will support the new album after an opening set from Nashville-bred indie rock project Soccer Mommy.
Marymoor Park, Redmond (Sun June 4)

Echoes Through The Canyon: Brandi Carlile, Joni Mitchell, and The Highwomen Past Event List  
After suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015, folk/jazz legend Joni Mitchell began hosting private jam sessions at her LA residence to assist her recovery, with noted musicians including Elton John, Paul McCartney, and Harry Styles. One guest, beloved singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, made it her mission to get these "Joni Jams" to the stage; first with a surprise appearance at Newport Folk Festival, and now with a two-day concert at the scenic Gorge. Carlile will headline the first night, Mitchell the second night (her first headlining show in over 20 years!), and country supergroup The Highwomen (consisting of Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires) taking the stage on night three alongside Tanya Tucker. Gorge Amphitheatre (June 9–11)

Seal Past Event List     
Angel-voiced R&B icon Seal will celebrate 30 years of his eponymous albums Seal I and Seal II with a career retrospective, showcasing his distinctive fusion of soul, folk, pop, dance, and rock music. Just imagine hearing "Kiss From a Rose" performed live...shivers!
Paramount Theatre, Downtown (Mon June 12)

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Past Event List  
Aussie rock phenoms King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, whom Mercury contributor Chris Sutton described as combining "Thee Oh Sees' aggressively raw work ethic with the Flaming Lips' visionary shape-shifting," will take the scenic outdoor stage at Carnation Farms in support of their 23rd (!) studio album, Changes. Don't miss opening sets from Filipino rock band Kamikaze Palm Tree and the mysterious DJ Crenshaw.
Remlinger Farms, Carnation $45 (June 16–18)

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FILM

Seattle Jewish Film Festival Past Event List   
This Seattle Jewish Film Festival is one of the longest-running in the Pacific Northwest and one of the largest Jewish film festivals in the country. This year's "cinemanna" includes screenings of Where Life Begins, a romantic drama following an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family in the bucolic Calabrian countryside, and the short film program Saying Kaddish, which was curated by Seattle-based author, playwright, and programmer Warren Etheredge. Viewers have the option to attend events in person or watch virtually from home.
Various locations (March 11–26)

ByDesign Festival 2023 Past Event List   
As Stranger senior staff writer Charles Mudede has written, "One of the richest institutional collaborations in this city is that between the ByDesign Festival and Northwest Film Forum. Here, two arts that are very similar, film and architecture (both are capital intensive), meet in the theater." This year's hybrid edition of the cross-cultural festival promises a "broad, inclusive" selection of thought-provoking films, performances, and interactive activities. As of press time, this year's lineup has yet to be announced, but expect to explore the cross-sections of design, capitalism, built environments, and collective identity with flicks similar to last year's offerings. (We loved eerie documentary Americaville, which visited the Chinese replica city of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Robolove, a brain teaser on humanoid robotics.)
Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill (March 17–26)

Make Believe Seattle Film Festival
Past Event List The first inaugural Make Believe Seattle Film Festival aims to "shine a dark light on the energy that courses through the PNW’s veins"—in other words, they'll bring horror, sci-fi, and animated movie magic to our fantastical region. The genre film festival, which was juried by Chris Devlin (screenwriter of 2022's Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Sara Fetters (lead film critic at Seattle Gay News), and others, will offer up a diverse range of programming for newbies and film buffs alike. We're stoked for buzzy Sundance comedy Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out and Poundcake, a horror satire about a serial killer stalking straight white men. Spoopy!
Various locations (March 23–26)

Linoleum Past Event List     
"Radically average" (The Atlantic) comedian Jim Gaffigan stars in this surreal, sci-fi-tinged comedy-drama, which follows the host of Above and Beyond, an Ohio public access science show, as he navigates the aftermath of a satellite crash near his home. Sounds like a midlife crisis in the making, so naturally, he decides to use the satellite's parts to build a rocket ship and zoom into outer space. Relatable! According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film's "final minutes...are startling in their heart-wrenching effectiveness," so expect an astronomical reveal.
SIFF Film Center, Uptown (Opens Fri March 24)

Neptune Frost Past Event List  
Multi-talented artist Saul Williams's punky sci-fi vision comes to life in Neptune Frost, a turbulent, Afrofuturist thrill ride. The musical film blends thoughts that William explored in his 2016 album MartyrLoserKing with input from co-director Anisia Uzeyman, a Rwandan-born artist. The flick follows a gaggle of miners-turned-computer hackers in the Burundi hilltops and sends a powerful message of technology's capacity for progression and radical change. We're enamored by the cool character names, like "Tekno" and "Psychology," but the film's quirks and artistic displays of bravura aren't just for show—Neptune Frost is grounded in anticolonialism, anticapitalism, and liberation. It's important that films like this exist. Presented by Black Cinema Collective, Wa Na Wari, and Northwest Film Forum, this screening celebrates Saul Williams' The Motherboard Suite performance at Meany Center; the artist will be in attendance for a film discussion at the April 2 screening.
Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill (March 29–April 2)

Cadence Video Poetry Festival 2023
Past Event List Programmed in collaboration with artist Rana San and Seattle writer Chelsea Werner-Jatzke, this experimental festival explores the boundaries of video poetry through screenings, workshops, and discussions. In celebration of National Poetry Month, the hybrid festival honors video poetry as both a literary genre and a complex visual landscape, facilitating opportunities for critical and creative growth within the medium.
Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill (April 27–May 7)

National Film Festival for Talented Youth 2023 Past Event List     
This forward-thinking fest spotlights fresh work by emerging filmmakers, with a focus on work by young women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and others from traditionally marginalized communities. If this year's hybrid offerings are anything like the 2022 lineup, the youth will continue to hone in on society's most critical issues—look out for films that grapple with climate change, gender, Indigeneity, and more.
Various locations (April 27–May 7)

Silent Movie Mondays Past Event List  
Honoring the fascinating history of the Paramount Theatre, which opened its doors in 1928 with a screening of the silent comedy Feel My Pulse, this silent film series continues on May 8 with a screening of the 1926 Beatrice Lillie-led film Exit Smiling. The zippy comedy was the debut of droll character actor Franklin Pangborn, and it was also Lillie's first, and only, silent film role. (One Letterboxd reviewer describes Lillie as having "some real Greta Gerwig vibes.") Christian Elliott will perform a supplementary score on the theater's Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ; don't miss the pre- and post-screening film discussions with Anne Francis of Broadway Across America.
Paramount Theatre, Downtown (Mon May 8)

Translations: Seattle Trans Film Festival Past Event List     
One of only nine trans film festivals in the world, TRANSlations: Seattle Trans Film Festival offers a hybrid showcase of trans-centered features, short films, and special events. In an effort to increase accessibility, all films are subtitled for this year's fest. We're stoked for the selections curated by lead programmer Anto Astudillo, a Chile-born experimental filmmaker "rooted in theater and martial arts."
Various locations (May 4–7)

Seattle International Film Festival 2023 Past Event List     
Known as the largest film festival in the United States, SIFF features the best in buzzy international and independent cinema from across the globe. Though it's been scaled back somewhat from its pre-pandemic glory (262 films played at last year's festival, compared to upwards of 400 in 2019), it's still impressively grand and one of the most exciting and widely attended arts events Seattle has to offer. This year's festival, the 49th annual, will present in-person screenings at eight venues citywide from May 11–21, followed by a week of virtual programming on the SIFF Channel.
Various locations (May 11–28)

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