The 37 Best Things To Do in Seattle This Week: September 3-8, 2019

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As part of Town Hall’s Homecoming Festival, Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks will satisfy Seattle’s robust contingent of art hippies with a lecture, a short play, and a live performance from her band. Christian Konopka

Our music critics have already chosen the 37 best music shows this week, but now it’s our arts and culture critics’ turn to recommend the best events in their areas of expertise. Here are their picks in every genre—from a live podcast taping of Yo, Is This Racist? to Cider Summit Seattle, and from a night of stand-up with Marc Maron to the closing of SAM’s Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement. See them all below, and find even more events (including recurring events we recommend) on our complete Things To Do calendar.

Heading to Portland or Tacoma? Check out EverOut to find things to do there and in Seattle, all in one place.

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



Brew A Fair! Dinner + Discussion
If you exist within the Venn diagram intersection of beer geeks and history buffs, you’ll love this dinner and discussion, in which the deep-dish-pizza purveyors at Windy City Pie will join forces with the Olympia Tumwater Foundation and the Chicago Brewseum to explain the role beer played in the world fairs of Chicago, Seattle, and Portland, and how beer shaped the cities as we know them today. Not only will you get to ogle artifacts from world fairs past, you’ll also be among “the first people west of the Mississippi” to try a “historically minded” collaboration brew from the Brewseum—and, of course, gobble lots of Windy City’s thick, Chicago-style slices with molten cheese and chewy-crisp burnished edges. JULIANNE BELL


Colleen Echohawk and Ben Franz-Knight: Intersections and Opportunities for Designing With Indigenous Knowledge
Chief Seattle Club’s executive director Colleen Echohawk and former Pike Place Market executive director Ben Franz-Knight will come together for a discussion about “the relationship between white privilege and urban design.” They’ll focus specifically on the ways in which Native populations are victimized by patterns of development.

Silent Reading Party
The Silent Reading Party is one of the weirdest, most wonderful parties you’ll ever go to, because no one talks to you and you can get some reading done. You curl up on a couch or in a wingback chair with a book or magazine or whatever you feel like reading, while Paul Moore plays piano and waiters bring you things. Whenever Paul starts playing Erik Satie, I find myself staring into the fireplace or closing my eyes and melting into the couch. The reading party, which turns 10 years old in 2019, is so popular that there is often a line out the door just to get a seat. The people who know what they’re doing get there an hour before it starts. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Thursdays with KUOW
American news consumers do not trust the media. And can you really blame them? On the one side, you have Fox News railing about HER E-MAILS, on the other side, you have Rachel Maddow shouting that THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, and in the middle, you have sources like NPR, which most people think of as a good soporific if you can’t sleep. So, how do news stories actually get made? KUOW is going to bare all (or at least some) during a series of weekly talks and presentations by KUOW reporters. And like the press should be, it’s free. Coming up this week: “Our Foods, Our Stories” with Ruby de Luna (on September 4, a Wednesday). KATIE HERZOG



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.

Decadent Delights
Enjoy Teatro ZinZanni’s winning combination of tasty dinner and circus antics—this time combined quite literally! A Maestro chef struggles to create the perfect meal with the aid of Madame ZinZanni, despite the shenanigans of a host of acrobats. Co-starring comedian Kevin Kent and singer Maiya Sykes (Postmodern Jukebox, The Voice), along with “comedian and yodeling dominatrix” Manuela Horn, illusionist Voronin, “contortionist-puppet Svetlana,” aerial acrobat Ling Rui, performing artist Maxim Voronin, and the two trapeze artists of Die Maiers.

The Legend of El Dorado
The actual legend of El Dorado is many things: a man, a myth, a kingdom pursued by the Spanish Empire. It isn’t something that easily translates into an hour-and-a-half dinner cabaret. Thankfully, it turns out that Can Can’s El Dorado is more concerned with booty shorts, high kicks, and stripteases than staying faithful to a narrative. Can Can describes The Legend of El Dorado as a “badass women-on-the-run story” that’s “all-new, all-original, all-fishnets.” Set in a “cinematic desert-scape” where a “women-led gang is kicking ass and taking names,” El Dorado lets its cast and crew do what Can Can does best: wine and dine you, put on a little razzle-dazzle, and get (mostly) naked. I love it every time I go. CHASE BURNS


Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement
To understand exactly what makes the artists of 19th-century Britain radical, one must not first point at the art of that period but its economy. Industrial production was completely new to the world. That’s important for two reasons. One, it transformed the structure of time. Under the industrial order, it was tied to the working (or factory) hours, which remained the same in spring, summer, fall, and winter. The other impact was the mass production of luxuries. The artist under these unprecedented conditions had to conform their work, and the materials they worked with, to this new temporality and class organization. This is what radical means in Seattle Art Museum’s Victorian Radicals exhibit, which has 150 paintings, stained glass, sculptures, and what have you, from some of the leading art movements of the period. The artists represented in the show (Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, Kate Elizabeth Bunce, and so on) were responding to an economic reality that was historically unique and specific. CHARLES MUDEDE
Closing Sunday



George Takei
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.)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, wanted to know why Black Lives Matter was becoming popular now, “when we’re living through the biggest concentration of black political power in American history,” she said in a 2016 interview with The Stranger. She wrote her book From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation to explore that question, and also to write about the possibility of the movement widening its scope. Can a nonhierarchical organization focused on police brutality and mass incarceration create social change on a larger scale? This talk, following the five-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, is your chance to listen, reflect, and act to make that goal a reality. RICH SMITH


Pioneer Square Art Walk
Once a month, Seattleites flock to the streets in Pioneer Square for a chance to stroll, sip on booze, and attend as many art openings as possible at First Thursday. It’s the city’s central and oldest art walk, and takes place in a historic neighborhood known for its abundance of galleries. Wine and hobnobbing steal the scene for some, but at its core, it’s an impressive communal unveiling of new artwork. Check out our list of suggested art openings here.



Washington Cider Week 2019
Freak out about cider at approximately a billion tastings, parties, etc. during a week so special, it lasts 11 days!


Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Temple of the Doomed Ark
Sketch writers from the Habit plus collaborators Jeff Schell and Ryan Dobosh take aim at all three Indiana Jones movies in this musical parody, smashing the second and third into a silly, song-filled version of the first. The producers say, “Indy Jones dutifully denies that the Crystal Skull ever even happened.” The show is directed by Mark Siano, who had a big hit with local theater production Bohemia last year.



The Amaro + Cheese Tasting Experience
For an eminently Italian pairing, the fromage pop-up Gilbert’s Cheese Experience (led by Beecher’s cheesemonger Brian Gilbert) will team up with Cedar & Spokes mixologist Justin Thimmesch for an evening of amari and artisan cheese. Each ticket will include four samples of amari (savory, earthy, spicy, and “cherry cola-sweet”), one amaro cocktail, four samples of artisan cheese, and assorted snacks. 

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


Live Wire! with Luke Burbank
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. 

Yo, Is This Racist?
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


Christopher Leonard: The Rise of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America
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

Ganesh Sitaraman: Public Options for Creating Freedom, Opportunity, and Equality
Ganesh Sitaraman considers the many benefits that could come from the expansion of public options (libraries, post offices, national parks, and so on) in his co-authored book The Public Option: How to Expand Freedom, Increase Opportunity, and Promote Equality. Join the law professor—who served as Policy Director and Senior Counsel in the Senate for Elizabeth Warren during her Senate campaign—at this Town Hall event.



Cider Summit Seattle
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


Photo Finish: A Group Exhibit of Photography
This exhibition promises a range of photos by artists from the 20th and 21st centuries, including Paul Berger, Marion Post Wolcott, Michael Kenna, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Walker Evans, and many others. This will be G. Gibson’s final show as a traditional gallery.
Opening Friday



San Gennaro Festival
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.


Is God Is
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

People of the Book
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



Marc Maron: Hey, There’s More Tour
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


Aslan Farm-Infused Beer Tasting
Get your daily serving of vegetables in the form of beer infused with seasonal locally sourced produce from Whatcom County farms. A food truck offering those bounties in the form of noshes will also be onsite. 

Cheese, Tequila and a Mexican Feast
This “cheesemonger’s dinner” will feature a Mexican-inspired tasting menu with cheese and homemade sauces paired with tequila from Casa Noble. While you nosh, you’ll learn about how cheese is made, the importance of buying local produce, and sustainable tequila production. 

Reuben’s Brews 7th Anniversary Party
Family-owned Reuben’s Brews has made a name for itself both locally and nationally, accruing an impressive 200 medals just in its first six years. Now, to mark its seventh anniversary, the brewery will unveil its Now and Then IPA and rerelease the same five beers it had on tap when it opened its doors in 2012. The festivities kick off in the brewery’s taproom at 11 a.m., where the first 100 beer lovers to show up will get commemorative glassware. After noon, you can head to the original pilot brewery where it all began (which will offer a special pint glass to take home), and finish the day at the Brewtap, which will award a special prize to guests who hit up all three locations. JULIANNE BELL


Suzan-Lori Parks Town Hall Takeover
Most award-winning authors who take the stage at Town Hall come for the evening, do their thing, try to make a Q&A sound interesting, and then leave. But MacArthur “Genius” and Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks plans to hang out all day. In the afternoon, she invites audiences to watch her work on a piece while they also work on their own pieces. After an hour or so, she’ll open up the room for questions about the artistic process. Just before dinner, she’ll perform “A Million Suggestions from Suzan-Lori Parks,” which is, as advertised, a lecture full of advice on how to be a writer based on her personal experiences. She’ll follow that up with a new short play commissioned by Town Hall. Finally, Parks caps off the evening with a live performance from her band, which sounds like an upbeat folk outfit. Bonus: All of this premium content is free. I could not imagine a more perfect event for Seattle’s robust contingent of art hippies. RICH SMITH


Derek Erdman: “Grab and Go Style” Three-Hour Art Show
There are very few things I love more than an art show that tells you exactly what it’s going to be. Three hours. Derek Erdman—who has previously contributed his art to The Stranger—is coming back from Chicago to show his bright, often comic paintings and drawings at Vermilion. It’s a homecoming (and then homegoing) of sorts. In addition to the art, local poet, essayist, and performer Sarah Galvin will be at the show making balloon animals. JASMYNE KEIMIG

Pratt Fine Arts Center Open House
The Pratt Fine Art Center’s open house will feature live art demonstrations, the Jackson Street Jazz Walk, performances by the Seattle Steel Pan Project and Todo Es, a “hot bronze pour,” and food trucks.



Vonnegut Unexpected: Kurt Vonnegut Improvised
The improvisers of Unexpected Productions will take some instinctual liberties (paired with audience suggestions) with Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, and other works by the late writer Kurt Vonnegut.


Rose Wrap-Up Garden Party
Give rosé season (and summer) a proper sendoff by tasting a variety of pink wines in the Bottlehouse garden. 


Rick Steves: Guatemala, Ethiopia, Hunger, and Hope
Famed local travel guru Rick Steves, who champions “Travel as a Political Act,” will talk about his new TV special about the impact of smart development aid in the Global South. 

Short Stories Live: Claudia Castro Luna’s “Emerald City Blues”
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.



Amandine Leforestier: New and Recent Work
Leforestier, formerly of Parisian fashion companies, creates collages and simple color-block depictions of peaceful domestic and natural scenes which possess a good deal of gentle charm. 
Closing Sunday

Jane Windsor: New and Recent Collage Work
Remember the mortally wounded fox who growls “Chaos reigns” in Lars von Trier’s Antichrist? That scene was evidently an inspiration for collagist Jane Windsor. A work of hers titled after the Antichrist quote shows two identical foxes baring their teeth at one another over a snarl of snakes and intestines. This image, like others in the exhibition, is laid over a celestial chart in a merging of the astronomical and abject. Similarly, Wouldst Thou Like to Live Deliciously? borrows satanic iconography from Robert Eggers’ film The VVitch. This show promises to be a delight for lovers of esoterica, as well as of filmmakers who delve into the dark side.
Closing Sunday