The 150 Biggest Arts, Music, Food & Culture Events to Know About
The final month of summer is bittersweet, which is all the more reason to make the most of it (which, in part, means spending as much time in the sun as possible). Seattle is here for you this August—you’ll find things to do every day of the month whether you’re a music lover, a gamer, a wine-drinker, a film buff, or all of the above (and then some—you get the idea). As we do every month, we’ve compiled the biggest events you need to know about in every genre, from the South Lake Union Block Party to Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto, from the new festival THING to the 49th annual Bumbershoot, from Hempfest to PAX West, and from Weird Al to the Rolling Stones. 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, visit our outside calendar, 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.
- Toots and the Maytals, The Gladiators with Droop Lion
Toots and the Maytals have been around for a long time. Formed in the early 1960s, the Maytals were one of the most renown ska and rocksteady vocal groups to come out of Jamaica, dropping such biggie reggae hits as the storm-is-coming-for-you “Pressure Drop” (you might’ve heard the Clash version), tender wedding ode “Sweet and Dandy,” and “54-46 (That’s My Number),” about the stint frontman Toots Hibbert spent in prison (the Clash’s “Jail Guitar Doors” has a shout out about it—they were big Maytals fans). Hibbert continues to produce new recordings minus his two old Maytals vocal-mates (Henry “Raleigh” Gordon and Nathaniel “Jerry” Matthias), although much of what comes lately is new renditions of old material or covers amid the few new tracks. Still, he’s pure musical joy materialized in short beaming Jamaican man form, his vocals are soulful and lightly raspy and warm like your favorite snuggly sweater, and his legacy speaks for itself. Plus, he turns 77 this year, so who knows how much longer he’ll be touring? In sum, get the hell out to this show. LEILANI POLK
- Seattle Art Fair
The five-year-old international art fair has quickly become one of the most indispensable cultural events in the Northwest, gathering gallerists from Seattle, across the US and Canada, and cities in Asia and Europe. Among the most-anticipated events is Infinite Color & Sound (with a performance on Aug 2), a collaboration between Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and abstract artist Kate Neckel, who met during last year’s Art Fair. Other attractions include an interactive exhibit featuring the Instagram ASMR star Bread Face, a talk by artist and videographer of mega-fires Jeff Frost (Aug 3) and a display of banners by autistic Seattle artist Gregory Blackstock. Plus, in addition to the regular free First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square (Aug 1), venues around town will conduct their own celebrations—Morgan Thorson’s durational performance Still Life at Base (Aug 1–4) and the group show Forever Again at Specialist (Aug 1).
- Summer Meltdown 2019
Nestled in the mountains of central Washington, Summer Meltdown aims to provide a weekend of high-energy live music performances in a lush woodland setting. Headliners will include Tipper, Umphrey’s McGee, Gramatik, and Nahko and Medicine for the People, and there will also be “adventures” like rafting, helicopter rides, and kayaking.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Follow Charlie Bucket through the delicious but treacherous Chocolate Factory in this musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel, featuring songs from the 1971 movie with Gene Wilder.
- Contemporary Northwest Print Invitational 2019
There are bound to be many treasures at this showcase of contemporary fine art prints and works on paper at Davidson and Seattle Print Arts’ invitational fair, featuring pieces by 67 artists.
AUGUST 1–SEPTEMBER 22
- Xenobia Bailey, Henry Jackson-Spieker, Marita Dingus, Nastassja Swift: Installations
The new Central District gallery Wa Na Wari is accomplishing something beautiful: nurturing the legacy of black creativity in the neighborhood, formerly a bastion of Seattle’s African American culture, by, among other things, exhibiting the work of excellent artists. This group of installations should be an impressive demonstration of the possibilities of this approach, with four prominent black artists contributing new work. Crochet master Xenobia Bailey, who’s had pieces exhibited in many museums, crafts marvelous trippy hats, mandalas, sculptures, and more out of textiles. Guggenheim Fellowship winner Marita Dingus produces mixed-media sculptures using salvaged materials. Accomplished sculptor Henry Jackson-Spieker, known for small- and large-scale sculptures, “explores tension, balance and symmetry” and innovatively interrogates gallery space. Rising Virginian artist Nastassja Swift creates felted fiber dolls as well as paint, print, and performance works. Any one of these artists would be worth seeing; taken together, they make up something unmissable.
- Dave Chappelle and Joe Rogan: In the Round
Two comedians who hardly need an introduction will play to the crowds: Dave Chappelle, best known for the hilariously edgy Dave Chappelle’s Show from the 2000s, and noted podcaster and opinion-haver Joe Rogan. Here’s Stranger contributor and cultural writer Daudi Abe on Chappelle in 2017: “The direction and language of his current humor bring the in-group/out-group question into play. Although he goes out of his way to identify himself as an ally of gays, as a straight man, Chappelle represents an out-group member making LGBT jokes and using the word ‘fag,’ in the same way he is the in-group member when using the term ‘nigga.’ To make things more troublesome, this type of comedy, which completely disregards the premise of in-group/out-group dynamics, seems to fit right in with the tone and demeanor that won the most recent presidential election.”
- Tiffany Jenkins
Tiffany Jenkins is known for her funny, viral Facebook videos, but now she’s taking her show on the road. In this live stage show, Jenkins discusses her life as a wife, a mom, and a recovering addict. After spending nearly a decade secretly addicted to opioids, Jenkins hit bottom after getting busted stealing from her ex-boyfriend and going to jail, where she actually attempted to take her own life. Things are very different now, and Jenkins is healthy, happy, and has managed to turn darkest points in her life into something both inspiring and hilarious. KATIE HERZOG FILM
- ‘Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’ Opening
Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw (Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham) face a genetically enhanced supervillain, played by Idris Elba. MUSIC
- Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Lucius
I was surprised as anyone else to hear Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats’ “S.O.B.” on mainstream radio. Well, anyone else who listens to mainstream radio and is also familiar with the generally boring, hackneyed, predictable, and/or vanilla shit you find on there. Rateliff hums, sings, and bellows in a beardy, booming tenor, like he could be taking it to church, minus all the religion but plus all the powerful gospel feels. It’s not gospel, though there are shades of it amid the full-bodied mix of vintage and neo soul, rock, Americana, and blues. Rateliff and co. are in town behind their sophomore studio LP, Tearing at the Seams. LEILANI POLK PERFORMANCE
- This Might Get Weird
Listen to best friends “Grace, an introvert from Jersey, and Mamrie, a firecracker from North Carolina” gab about pop culture, their lives, and “other stupid things.” READINGS & TALKS
- Oyinkan Braithwaite: My Sister, the Serial Killer
Nigerian debut novelist Oyinkan Braithwaite will read from My Sister, The Serial Killer, a surprisingly funny, pulpy noir-style thriller.
- Pain in the Grass 2019
KISW’s Pain in the Grass will take over Auburn for three days of rock and punk warfare thanks to massive headliners like Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and Disturbed. VISUAL ART
This multidisciplinary festival offers the chance for photographers, multimedia artists, dancers, and others to create artwork on intersectional identities. Among the participants are some of Seattle’s most active and appreciated: singer-songwriter JusMoni, filmmaker/artist/musician Clyde Petersen, slam poet J Mase III, visual artist Ryna Frankel, queer indigenous hip-hop artist Dakota Camacho, choreographer Alice Gosti, and many others.
- Seafair Weekend Festival
The summer-long Seafair Festival culminates in a three-day extravaganza of signature outdoor activities like the Blue Angels’ air shows, hydroplane racing, the Graham Trucking Seafair Cup, and a wakeboarding championship.
- Watershed Festival 2019
Watershed Country Music Festival will return to the Gorge for a wild weekend of twangin’ goodness. Put on your “Shedder gear” (trucker hats?) and get ready for three whole days of down-home studs. This year’s headliners include Jason Aldean, Maren Morris, Zac Brown Band, Miranda Lambert, the Pistol Annies, Kane Brown, Midland, Brothers Osborne, and many more.
- KEXP & Seattle Center Present: Concerts at the Mural
In true KEXP summertime fashion, the station will be partnering with Seattle Center to provide another enjoyable round of free family-friendly concerts this year at the Mural Amphitheater, located within the heart of Seattle Center. Local and touring artists are included in each year’s lineup, with Wolf Parade, Dumb, and Jock Tears kicking off the showcase, followed by Cherry Glazerr, Weyes Blood, and Helado Negro (among other exciting bill-sharers).
- Brandon Wardell
Brandon Wardell is the kind of young comic whose rapid rise makes older comics hella jelly (gonna speak Millennial in this blurb, chill?). At age 22, he cut an album with Mr. Show’s Bob Odenkirk titled Amateur Hour. He’s also appeared on Comedy Central, MTV, and Viceland programs, and has hung out with Al Franken (who didn’t much like him, btw…). And of course, he co-hosts a podcast, Yeah but Still. In his stand-up, Wardell cracks cleverly about important issues such as period sex, dating women, coke, weed, and rap. He’s a Drake stan, but he makes up for it with this: “Do you think Christianity would be as big as it is if Jesus wasn’t hot?” DAVE SEGAL
- Impractical Jokers: The Cranjis McBasketball World Comedy Tour
In truTV’s hidden camera show Impractical Jokers, four longtime BFFs from Staten Island (members of comedy improv troupe the Tenderloins) compete to embarrass each other in public via ridiculous dares that range from silly to downright mortifying. The joker who earns the most “thumbs down” during an episode is declared the loser and punished with the ultimate humiliating challenge. The show works because you just can’t help but like these guys—they are genuinely funny and play off each other with ease: Brian “Q” Quinn (your standard aging fratty John Belushi-if-he-made-it-to-his-40s type dude), James “Murr” Murray (short, scrappy, afraid of heights, most likely to turn down a challenge that involves looking bad in front of the ladies, gets the worst punishments when he loses), Joe Gatto (hilariously unhinged, will do almost anything on a dare and mostly succeeds because he’s just that good, and you can tell it all this from his wild eyes), and Sal Vulcano (germaphobe, awkward, adorable, statistically most likely to lose, my fave). The quartet promises plenty of live high jinks and new material during their current live tour. LEILANI POLK
- Mo Amer
Not too long ago, Palestinian Kuwaiti American comic Mo Amer appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to talk about his childhood as a refugee, about spending 20 years trying to obtain US citizenship, about being taught to avoid politics in order to keep from getting deported… and while the topics weren’t the most cheerful, he was quite funny. (He also recently endured a plane flight next to Eric Trump.) As one-third of the trio Allah Made Me Funny, Amer sought to defuse harmful stereotypes about Muslim Americans, and his solo work has a similar humane, cheeky charm. MUSIC
- Apple Jam: Off The White Album
Apple Jam are possibly the most arcane Beatles tribute band in the world. While most of these Moptop manqués are content to replicate the best-known songs from the Fab Four’s rich catalog (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Apple Jam dig way deeper. For example, their latest album, Off the White Album, finds Apple Jam tackling 11 songs that the Beatles cut when in sessions for 1968’s The Beatles, a fertile time of exploration. Some of the tracks were recorded by other artists (“Goodbye” by Mary Hopkin, “Step Inside Love” by Cilla Black, “Sour Milk Sea” by Jackie Lomax), while some outtakes simply eluded all but the most ardent Beatles fans. Thankfully for them, Apple Jam have the skills to recreate the Beatles’ melodic magic and vocal sonority in order to spotlight the obscure corners of their evergreen output. DAVE SEGAL
- Double Vision Revisited, Billy Kilson & Larry Braggs
Jazz musicians Billy Kilson and Larry Braggs will revisit the genre classic Double Vision, which was originally composed by Bob James and David Sanborn in 1986.
- Streetlight Manifesto
There’s nothing wrong with liking ska. Or is that just what I tell myself to make my enjoyment of third-wave ska less shameful, as I throw on a pair of checkered pants? Skanking out of New Jersey for the past 15 years, Streetlight Manifesto are one of the genre’s heavy hitters, giving life to a scene that’s often considered a passé novelty of the 1990s. Streetlight Manifesto’s last album, 2013’s The Hands That Thieve, broke into the Billboard Top 100, but they have yet to release anything in the last few years, partially due to public conflicts with their record label, Victory Records. KEVIN DIERS SPORTS & RECREATION
- Dead Baby Downhill XXIII
The details of the 23rd annual Dead Baby Downhill include a race start time of 6 p.m. sharp from Captain Black’s and the assertion that you should definitely wear underwear and use a ride-share bike if you can’t find your own. This wildly popular Mad Max-style bike race and party will end in Georgetown with a raucous evening throwdown with booze, live music, bike jousting, a circle of fire, carnival rides, and much more. VISUAL ART
- Lusio: A Night to Awaken
This is a free, family-friendly, inviting evening of light, art, and sound, featuring more than 30 light installations spread throughout the park. Expect to see LED sculptures, infinity mirrors, glowing textiles, crystal caves, and more, plus the weird music showcase Monster Planet and the immersive audiovisual show Modular Seattle.
- Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire
Is your alter ego a hero or a villain? More importantly, which persona makes for a better costume? For the first portion of this annual three-weekend renaissance festival at Kelley Farm (aka the village of Merriwick), the real fun will be getting to dress up in your best 17th-century cosplay. When you’re not showing off your armor, your ominous cape, or your spindly fingernails (be creative), you can watch knights “vie for the favor of crown and court” in jousting duals, shop from an artisan marketplace, and feast like royalty on turkey legs and meat pies. The following weekend, take a journey through mystical realms alongside fairies, goblins, dragons, and other fantastical creatures. For the final weekend of the faire, plan to hunt for treasure with a crew of swashbuckling pirates.
- The Empire Strikes Back in the Park
You’re used to seeing Star Wars characters battle with the dark side and run frantically through sand dunes, but how do they deal with issues like commitment, domestic drama, and business? Hello Earth’s Wars Outdoors series will explore these relatable themes in this performance in the park.
- Michelle Wolf
After writing for Seth Meyers and the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Michelle Wolf slayed at the 2018 White House Correspondents dinner. The money shots flew fast and furious, filleting politicians, journalists, White House staffers, and the traitor-in-chief with an astronomical hit-to-miss ratio, including this withering diss directed at the Trump Propaganda Network: “Fox News is here, so you know what that means, ladies—cover your drinks.” Wolf has ovaries of steel and caustic wit. Beyond politics, though, she offers hilarious observations about feminism, bathrooms, “nice ladies,” and some of the funniest barbs about testicles I’ve ever had the pleasure of wincing to. DAVE SEGAL FOOD & DRINK
- Summer Soif 2019
“Soif” means “thirst” in French, and yours will surely be quenched by the array of wines available at Vif’s outdoor summer tasting extravaganza, which the charming cafe/coffee shop/wine shop claims is the “largest local natural wine tasting in Seattle.” Vif has been at the forefront of Seattle’s growing natural wine scene, which focuses on wines made with minimal intervention (as opposed to more conventional winemaking methods), and you can bet this event will summon a range of exciting indie producers from Washington, Oregon, California, and beyond, many of whom will be present to chat about their process. Bring a sun hat, as Vif recommends, and spend a day basking and imbibing. JULIANNE BELL MUSIC
- Dillon Francis Loves Seattle Especially ‘Cause His Brother Lives Here Presents: Hello Seattle, I Love You!
Billboard Dance Club-topping DJ and moombahton (house music and reggae) artist Dillon Francis will put on a dance party on his Hello Seattle, I Love You! Tour. What So Nots, Party Favor, Wax Motif, Nitti Gritti, and Kendoll will provide additional sets.
- Young the Giant, Fitz & the Tantrums, Alice Merton
Los Angeles-based posi vibe alt-rockers Young the Giant will be joined by Fitz & the Tantrums and pop newcomer Alive Merton on this summer tour.
- The B-52s, OMD, Berlin
As ’80s nostalgia package tours go, this one’s pretty all right. The B-52s’ party-centric new wave has influenced thousands of bands, enshrining them in rock’s canon. Who knew B-movie kitsch could endure so long in a musical context? OMD are masters of immaculately produced and arranged synth-pop, with emotion-laden melodies to swoon for. These poised Brits have influenced nearly as many artists as the B-52s—although not as many as their major inspiration, Kraftwerk. Berlin’s music typifies the romantic and alienated electro-pop that burgeoned on the West Coast during the Reagan era, and a lot of people like it. “Metro” still slaps. DAVE SEGAL
- Counting Crows
In celebration of their 25-plus years gigging around the country, early ’00s alt-rock stalwarts the Counting Crows will take over wine country for a summer evening of music.
- Doe Bay Fest 12
Doe Bay Fest’s grassroots festival weekend of camping, local music, food, and dancing in a little Orcas Island cove will return for its 12th year. Annie Ford, Beverly Crusher, Great Grandpa, NAVVI, Versing, and Tune Yards are just a few acts to look forward to on the 2019 lineup.
- The Bar Plays
The Williams Project, which is devoted to the plays of Tennessee Williams, will stage their favorite writer’s Small Craft Warnings along with William Saroyan’s comedy The Time of Your Life. As you might guess, both of these plays are set in bars, with folks finding comradeship and conflict among strangers. As artistic director Ryan Guzzo Purcell observes, “Bars function a lot like theaters. We go to both spaces to hear great stories, to laugh and sometimes cry, and to share an experience, whether with friends or complete strangers. Often, we accidentally expose our vulnerability and desperation.”
- National Cat Day Celebration Featuring ‘Kedi’
Celebrate National Cat Day with a screening of Ceyda Torun’s Kedi, a documentary about the multitude of cats that roam the streets of Istanbul. Stranger contributor Kathy Fennessy writes: “Enchanting! Kedi works triple time as a nature documentary, a travelogue, and a meditation on the human-animal bond.” FOOD & DRINK
- Author Talk: Little Book of Jewish Sweets by Leah Koenig
Brooklyn-based author Leah Koenig has penned six cookbooks about Jewish cooking, and her writing and recipes have appeared in the New York Times, Bon Appétit, and Food52, among others. Her latest, Little Book of Jewish Sweets, applies her refreshingly modern approach to confections like cookies, cakes, puddings, pastries, and other treats, resulting in delights like fig baklava, orange-chocolate rugelach, cinnamon-almond babka, and mocha black-and-white cookies. She’ll appear at Book Larder for a chat about baking, and guests will get to sample a recipe from the book. JULIANNE BELL
- Food Truck Taste Off
Taste signature dishes from a myriad of food trucks and vote for your favorite, and enjoy music, raffle prizes, and a beer and cider garden. Proceeds will support Solid Ground’s mission to fight poverty.
- Washington Mead Fest
Mead, the ancient fermented honey drink, was traditionally the beverage of choice for Vikings. Today, however, a rising number of craft producers are making the age-old brew their own. At this event, Ballard’s Scandinavian beer hall Skål (named for the Norwegian word for “cheers”) will showcase mead from a variety of local makers, including Dragon’s Lair Meadery (Lakewood), Garden Patch Fermentation (Burlington), and Sky River Mead (Redmond). Don’t forget your horned helmet. JULIANNE BELL MUSIC
- The Drums, Tanukichan
Now just the solo project of frontman Jonny Pierce, the Drums will be bringing their particular brand of indie-pop to Seattle. Fresh-ish off the release of their fifth record, Brutalism, the latest tracks from the New York-based band are a mixed bag. At their best, the songs are bright, loud, energetic, and minimal, with Pierce’s near-British-sounding vocals singing breathily over it all like a “Pretty Cloud.” At its worst, the tracks are just boring and tedious—“626 Bedford Avenue” and “I Wanna Go Back” make me itchy. But it’s still good fun. If anything, definitely go see the opener, Oakland-based Tanukichan, whose fuzzy, shoegaze-inflected rock is dreamy and body-transporting. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Dumpstaphunk, Fishbone, Miss Velvet & The Blue Wolf
For real, this might be the last time you have a chance to see George Clinton, the Frank Lloyd Wright of funk, on a stage. Too freaky for Motown, Clinton spearheaded the Parliament-Funkadelic hydra of greasy grooves and libido-liberating psychedelia, illuminating the late ’60s through the early ’80s with world-historical party music for mind and body. Warning: The last P-Funk show at Neptune Theatre was a cosmically sloppy mélange of immortal favorites and newer material that didn’t measure up to the classics. Clinton’s never run a tight ship in concert, but the debauched mess more often than not yields aural pleasures that’ll get you on the good foot. DAVE SEGAL READINGS & TALKS
- Chuck Klosterman: Raised in Captivity
Traditionally, Chuck Klosterman keeps his wry writings in the nonfiction realm, like his collections of essays on pop culture matters ranging from internet porn to reality in films to progressivism in American football (ala 2003’s Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto), or his music-driven work, like his exploration of the relationship between death and rock stars (2005’s Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story), or even his more recent examination of modern perceptions in a thought experiment sort of book, 2016’s But What If We’re Wrong? His latest outing, Raised in Captivity, is “fictional nonfiction,” which the press materials describe as “a collection of stories so true they had to be wrapped in fiction for our own protection.” Among the synopses: An obscure power-pop band wrestles with its newfound fame when its song becomes an anthem for white supremacists; a couple considers getting a medical procedure that will transfer the pain of childbirth from the woman to her husband; and a lawyer grapples with the unintended side effects of a veterinarian’s rabies vaccination. LEILANI POLK VISUAL ART
- Imminent Mode: FAST FORWARD
Celebrating its fifth anniversary, Imminent Mode is a yearly exhibition that brings together artists working in different mediums to create something that’s both wearable art and a gallery installation. This year, organizers have asked five teams of two artists to “imagine how society, politics, science, religion, and the environment will impact fashion in the next century—and beyond.” What will we see? Bejeweled air-ventilation helmets because air on Earth became so polluted that they’re necessary? Super tall boots because much of Earth’s surface is now swampland due to flooding? The possibilities are endless! At the opening reception, there will be, as always, an on-street fashion show. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- South Lake Union Block Party
Every year, South Lake Union throws itself a party featuring diverse musical pleasures from local bands (this year’s lineup includes the Dandy Warhols, Naked Giants, Whitney Mongé, Polyrythmics, and Sisters). There will also be food trucks, a beer garden, a free print-your-own-poster station, a “letterpress steamroller smackdown,” and a “Community Village” featuring booths from local businesses. The event is co-sponsored by Amazon and will benefit FareStart, a James Beard Award-winning nonprofit that aims to empower people experiencing homelessness through job training and employment in the foodservice industry. FILM
- ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ Opening
In this adaptation of Garth Stein’s novel, a dog named Enzo learns life lessons from his racecar-driving owner, Denny (played by Milo Ventimiglia).
- ‘The Kitchen’ Opening
When three New York gangsters wind up in jail, their wives (Elizabeth Moss, Melissa McCarthy, and Tiffany Haddisch) step in to run their businesses. This 1970s-set crime drama is the first film by Andrea Berloff, who co-wrote the screenplay for Straight Outta Compton. MUSIC
- Digable Planets
There’s a Libra in my life that listens to “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” to calm down, requesting it at kickbacks and hangouts. I guess it makes sense—there’s a sense of balance within Digable Planets’ mellow, jazz-rap catalog that could appeal to Libras and non-Libras alike. The hip-hop trio, along with groups like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, laid the foundation for alternative hip-hop, combing steady flows over funky, jazzy tracks. Even though the trio—Craig “Doodlebug” Irving, Mariana “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira, and Seattle’s Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler—initially split in 1995, they’ve been intermittently reuniting ever since, and will be playing to an expectedly sold-out Neptune with a live band. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- The Gipsy Kings with Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo
Fusion legends Gipsy Kings will showcase their decades of experience blending traditional flamenco styles with Western pop and Latin rhythms.
- Mumford & Sons, Portugal. The Man
Massive British folk-pop band Mumford & Sons have toured the world with their four albums’ worth of easy listening tracks since 2007. They’ll be joined tonight by Portugal. The Man.
- The 19th Annual Festival of New Musicals
Be the first to hear staged, sung readings of five new musicals currently being workshopped, directed and acted by local and guest theater artists at Village Theatre. This year, the productions will be XY, a romance centered on an intersex man; Cold Turkey, in which a town tries to wean itself from cigarettes and win a huge sum of money; Eastbound, about twin Chinese brothers separated at birth; Modern, set among Amish teens during their rumspringa; and Cowboy Bob, about a woman with a decade-long bank-robbing streak.
- Summer Trip Film Series
It’s summer! Time to take a trip down to the shore (Us, Jaws), to a sunny woodland paradise (Midsommar, Mandy), or to a scrummy chocolate factory run by a psychopath (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)! Actually, not all of the films in this series about vacations and jaunts, which will be presented on Cinerama’s gigantic screen, have to do with mayhem and death. Or rather, they do, but it’s funny (This Is Spinal Tap) or fantastical (The Wizard of Oz). Grab a bag of chocolate popcorn and be whisked away to the dream or nightmare of your choosing!
FOOD & DRINK
- Jack’s Low & Slow Festival
Jack Timmons will commemorate a half-decade since his smoked-meat temple Jack’s BBQ opened the way any self-respecting barbecue nerd would: by smoking an entire steer. Besides heaps of succulent Texas barbecue, frozen margaritas, and Shiner Bock beer, the day will include such festivities as horseshoes and “chicken shit bingo” (which is exactly what it sounds like—chickens depositing their droppings on a bingo board). KEXP DJ Greg Vandy of The Roadhouse will provide bluesy tunes throughout the day, and the impressive lineup of live music features retro “doom-wop” crooner Prom Queen, alt-country rocker Brent Amaker’s new DeathSquad, cosmic country quartet HYWAYS, Led Zeppelin tribute band Custard Pie, rootsy delta blues artist Brett Benton, and Texas singer-songwriter and “piano man” Robert Ellis. JULIANNE BELL GEEK
- Seattle Marauder’s Scavenger Hunt
Gather your wizardly friends and explore Seattle on a scavenger hunt. At the finish line, hang out in Magnuson Park for games, food, and live music.MUSIC
- 107.7 The End Summer Camp 2019
Summer Camp is 107.7 The End’s version of Warped Tour: all the bands you hear on your favorite Seattle rock station, but actually in the flesh on stage at Marymoor Park, playing all the hits. This year’s lineup features Walk the Moon, the Revivalists, Oliver Tree, Joywave, IDK How But They Found Me, SHAED, and Skating Polly.
- The Avett Brothers, Lake Street Dive, Trampled By Turtles
Folk familiars the Avett Brothers will break out their woo-woo approach to Americana this summer, their years of work heavily driven by pleasant harmony-riddled messages of good and evil, banjo and fiddle. They’ll be joined by Lake Street Dive and Trampled By Turtles.
- Blondie, Elvis Costello & the Imposters
Blondie is, of course, the punk/rock/new wave ’70s/’80s-era band led by sublime cooer Debbie Harry and known for incorporating elements of pop, reggae, disco, and even a little rap (if you can call what Harry did “rap”). They originally broke up in 1982 after releasing six albums, reunited in the late ’90s, and have been enjoying repeat comebacks into the collective consciousness with each release since; the last outing to get Harry onto stages was 2017’s collaborative Pollinator. Venerable rock/power-pop songwriter Elvis Costello had a similar come-up, as least as far as the era goes, and while he never charted like Blondie—barely at all in the U.S.—he’s as well-known as an underground artist can be, is many times more prolific than his Harry-led peers (2018’s Look Now was his 30th studio LP), and more forward-thinking (“Pump It Up” and “(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea” were way ahead of 1978), and he’s just plain cool. This seems like a sure sell-out. LEILANI POLK
- Mon Laferte, Ambar Lucid
Mon Laferte is a superstar—though most Americans wouldn’t know it. The singer (born Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte) is enormously popular in her native Chile. Her latest record, Norma, which was produced by Omar Rodríguez-López of the Mars Volta fame, finds the singer dabbling in Latin fusion, blending folk-pop with a rock sensibility. And after a stellar performance at Coachella this year, Mon Laferte is kicking off her U.S. tour here in the Emerald City. Bilingual bedroom pop singer-songwriter Ambar Lucid will be opening. JASMYNE KEIMIG READINGS & TALKS
- Literaoke Book Launch: Michelle Peñaloza’s ‘Former Possessions of the Spanish Empire’
Michelle Peñaloza, a former local literary mainstay, has returned home with a debut full-length collection of poetry in tow. The book’s called Former Possessions of the Spanish Empire, and in a series of powerful, straightforward, narrative lyrics, Peñaloza reflects on the loss of a father, a relationship, and the legacy of colonialism. Rather than merely read at us for 45 minutes, Peñaloza is throwing a big-ass karaoke launch party. Seattle greats such as Anastacia-Reneé, Troy Osaki, Quenton Baker, Jane Wong, and a few others will accompany her onstage, and if there is a god in heaven, they will sing as well. There is perhaps a surprising overlap between people who love karaoke and people who love poetry, though not so surprising when you consider that they’re the two funnest things in the entire world so long as you don’t think too hard about them. RICH SMITH SPORTS & RECREATION
Walk, run, or bike to raise money to help fund Fred Hutch’s cancer research. VISUAL ART
- ‘Simon Hanselmann: Bad Gateway’ Signing
Seen the Bellevue Arts Museum exhibition on comic artist Simon Hanselmann and need more? Visit Hanselmann’s publisher to hear from the artist, buy his books (starring the stoner witch Megg and her kitty boyfriend Mogg), and get his signature. Here’s Jasmyne Keimig on Hanselmann’s latest, Bad Gateway: “You know that moment when you’re in the middle of a hangout with your friends—slamming beers, intermittently hitting a bong, shoving chips into your mouth, binging old episodes of Project Runway—and suddenly a drunk-stoned realization overtakes you. Maybe all this eagerness to get and stay intoxicated comes from a place of deep unhappiness and frustration with a perceived lack of control over your life. The characters in Simon Hanselmann’s comics constantly wrestle with this moment. Instead of letting the smoke clear, going to bed, and shaking off this momentary recognition of existential anguish—they lean into it. With drugs, with drink, with darkness, with weird sex, with selfishness, with addiction, with a lack of empathy.”
OPENING AUGUST 10
- Natalie Ball: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Snake
Natalie Ball (Klamath) was last year’s winner of the prestigious Betty Bowen Award, which means she gets $15,000 and a solo show at SAM. Cool! Ball makes sculptures out of found objects, cloth, and other unusual materials, Ball refashions perceptions of Native American history. When she showed work at METHOD in August 2018, Stranger contributor Emily Pothast called her pieces “enigmatic, potent, and visually stunning.”
THROUGH AUGUST 10
- The Events
A handful of arts patrons and US Bank are funding free tickets for all who want to see Intiman’s production of David Greig’s The Events, directed by Paul Budraitis. Greig’s play is a look at the aftermath of a deadly mass shooting. The show features two actors and a chorus, which, as in all the Greek tragedies, represents the figure of the general populace. (In this case, a rotating cast of local community choirs will play the chorus.) In this production, Claire is a lesbian choir director who witnessed the mass shooting, and “the Boy” plays the shooter and Claire’s partner/psychiatrist (plus seven other characters). The shooting in the play, according to a favorable review in the New York Times, was inspired by the racist terrorism of Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011. RICH SMITH
- Arc at 20: A Twentieth Anniversary Retrospective Performance
Revisit 20 years of the innovative Seattle dance company’s programming during this retrospective festival, with different lineups every evening. Marie Chong, Wen Wei Wang, Edwaard Liang, Jason Ohlberg, Bruce McCormick, and Elizabeth Cooper are just a few of the choreographers featured, and there will be a special In Memoriam performance for Kabby Mitchell III, the first black dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Lovers of the art of movement should make this event a priority.
You may have heard one of the most famous tunes of any opera, “La donna é mobile” (roughly, “woman is fickle”), long used in pizza and Doritos ads—but let’s banish those bad memories, shall we? The origin of that song is Giuseppe Verdi’s terrific Rigoletto, a tale of political machination, ruined innocence, and revenge, where its jaunty misogyny is undermined with devastating irony. Court jester Rigoletto jealously guards his daughter Gilda’s virtue. But when his employer, the depraved Duke of Mantua, seduces the girl, Rigoletto fatefully vows revenge. No doubt Seattle Opera will hint at parallels to #MeToo and to certain powerful lechers we could name. JOULE ZELMAN
- Everything Is Terrible!
The video and performance collective Everything is Terrible make truly bizarre videos on the Internet, including ones about the creepy yoga farmer Yogi Ogi Dogi, pubic hair dying, and the demi-child-god Duane. Witness their weird and wonderful mashups. MUSIC
- Feist, Rhye
Listen, the folky and introspective Leslie Feist could have taken her iTunes money (do you remember hearing “1234” every time you turned on the TV?) and run off to the Canadian wilderness somewhere, never to be found again. But she didn’t. Pleasure, which came out in 2017 and marked her first album in six years, is strongest when consumed as a whole, listened to on a long bus ride somewhere. The record ranges from the lush, fully-fleshed-out “Get Not High, Get Not Low” to the stark, hungry “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You.” Rhye will be supporting—prepare to plunge into the depths of your feelings. JASMYNE KEIMIG
- Flying Lotus
Of all the international stars birthed from Los Angeles’ flourishing ’00s beats hub Low End Theory, Flying Lotus reigns supreme. From the mutated post-hiphop he explored on his landmark Los Angeles LP or the manic and groovy prog heard on 2014’s You’re Dead!, his music has always been both banging and brainy. His past high-tech, immersive live shows have made for some of the most exciting electronic music events, but he’s gone in on his last tour, a 3-D spectacle premiered at 2016’s FYF festival and was raved about by fans and critics alike. Well, depending on whether you’ve forgiven him for his knee-jerk defense of the Gaslamp Killer… NICK ZURKO
- Lord Huron, Shakey Graves, Julia Jacklin
LA’s Lord Huron have issued two albums of luminous folk pop that feels breezily effortless and expansive, their sweeping anthemic drive imbued with a Springsteenian/War on Drugs-like indie-rock appeal. Instrumentals are marked by cascading, Afrobeat-influenced guitar melodies and lush percussive textures, with an infusion of languid, salt-stained Cali sound qualities on 2015’s Strange Trails, while frontman Ben Schneider’s ethereal lead vocals soar over or intertwine with those of his bandmates to ascend in exquisite multi-voice chorales or stirring calls and cooing harmonies. LEILANI POLK
THROUGH AUGUST 11
- 7th and Jackson
Three friends from different communities in the International District dream of having their own nightclub. Even when Pearl Harbor is bombed and the country gears up for war, they swear loyalty to their visions. Sara Porkalob’s musical, scored to jazz classics from the likes of the Andrews Sisters, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald, takes place over three decades in one of the most fascinating parts of Seattle.
- The Year of Magical Thinking
Many people know Joan Didion’s nonfiction book The Year of Magical Thinking, about the sudden death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne—it was a surprise best seller and won a National Book Award. And many people also know that Didion’s daughter died right after the book was completed. The daughter’s death is not mentioned in the book, but it’s discussed in the play adapted from the book, which Didion completed a few years later. For my money, the play is the better work of art. It tells the full story. It is a one-woman show, and for this production, Didion will be played by Suzanne Bouchard. The very talented Victor Pappas directs. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
FOOD & DRINK
- Tyler Malek: Author Talk: Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook
When they first founded their Portland-based artisan ice creamery Salt & Straw, cousins Tyler and Kim Malek had no recipes to speak of. That changed when they developed a revolutionary base to serve as a canvas for their flavors, which range from traditional (Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons or Chocolate Gooey Brownie), to playful (Pots of Gold and Rainbows, made with Lucky Charms), to the downright outlandish (Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey and Dracula’s Blood Pudding, the latter a Halloween special made with pig’s blood), and which frequently incorporate ingredients from local businesses. Now you can re-create the experience at home (sans lengthy queues!) with the Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook, which features recipes as well as ways to harness inspiration so that you can concoct oddball flavors of your own. Tyler will visit Book Larder to divulge his ice cream secrets and sign copies of the book. JULIANNE BELL READINGS & TALKS
- Beth Macy: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America
The opioid crisis is bad, and it’s getting worse. Since 2014, opioid-related overdoses have steadily risen, along with ODs involving multiple drugs and meth. Last year, fentanyl-involved deaths doubled their 2017 total in King County, according to the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. In her new book, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America, Beth Macy, who’s been reporting on this stuff for the Roanoke Times for a while, chronicles the complex of circumstances that led to this crisis with pathos and precision. She begins in the mid-1990s, describing Purdue Pharma’s concerted effort to market OxyContin as a supposedly risk-free pain killer. She then shines a light on all the cracks in the local, national, and global health care systems that allowed the crisis to proliferate. If you’ve checked out of this story, check back in with Dopesick and get caught up. RICH SMITH
- Charles Smith’s 20th Anniversary: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
The Charles Smith winery will celebrate its anniversary with a live performance from country-rock group Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. Dance while you sip a $5 glass of wine (or a beer from Georgetown Brewing) and tuck into food truck offerings.
- Wiz Khalifa, French Montana, Moneybagg Yo, Chevy Woods, DJ Drama
I recently texted my brother—a huge Wiz Khalifa fan—asking why the Pittsburgh rapper is worth listening to. He hit me back with this: “Why is any music worth listening to?” Good point, bro, good point. He went on to explain that Wiz is “unique in this rap game” and that “all he raps about is weed and pursuing your goals.” Wiz raps for the people who just wanna light up and have a good time. Which is most of Seattle. JASMYNE KEIMIG
AUGUST 13 & 22
READINGS & TALKS
- Seattle Walk Report Book Launch
Seattle Walk Report is exactly what it sounds like: reports of walks in Seattle. Popularized on Instagram (@seattlewalkreport), the project was started in 2017 by an anonymous illustrator who prefers to simply go by Seattle Walk Report. Is she secretly MacKenzie Bezos? Nikkita Oliver? Her identity is so secret that I don’t know her name, even though a few of the comics have appeared in The Stranger. Seattle Walk Report’s 150-plus pages of twee, guidebook-style comics create an endearing collection of the small details that make Seattle a home. An abbreviated list of its findings: Churros. A scary teapot shaped like a sad dog. The Wedgwood Rock. A parking meter wearing a tie. The oldest building in Seattle (it’s by the Capitol Hill Goodwill). A ground-level mailbox in Georgetown (maybe a mailbox for dogs?!). A starfish AND a crab chilling on Alki Beach. The terra-cotta on a West Roy Street apartment building. One confident duck. RICH SMITH
- Dean Lewis
If you’re looking for a musical outlet with which to nurse the open wound of your breakup, or if you just love Australian accents, singer-songwriter Dean Lewis is your guy. He’ll return to Seattle for the second time this year on his A Place We Knew Tour.
- O.A.R., American Authors
Jam-rock lifers O.A.R. will bring their summer festival-ready tunes to a downtown crowd with opening support from American Authors. Expect a lot of weed smoke and soft air guitar.
- The Piano Guys
Four dads armed with pianos and camera phones have brought their eight hands of talent to the Internet, and now to Marymoor Park, with an evening of melded classical and pop hits.
- The Rolling Stones
Over the last 57 years, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Charlie Watts have made the journey from rock & roll bad boys to affable elder statesmen with as much panache as musicians can muster. From about 1965 to 1974, the Rolling Stones were among the 10 best rock groups on the planet—some scholars say the best. To be sure, they’ve written enough classics in many styles—blues, soul, funk, country, disco, electro, etc.—to coast on their vast catalog till they can’t walk anymore. And even then, Keef will probably find a way to coax out more of his indelibly raunchy and tender riffs. Come for “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” stay for “Heaven”—which they’ve never performed live, but maybe if you shout for it loudly enough, they’ll comply. It’s the least they can do for the hundreds of dollars you spent for this concert. DAVE SEGAL READINGS & TALKS
- Jennifer Dumpert: Dreaming on the Edges of Mind
I dream all the time. Sometimes I remember fragments, sometimes entire sequences, and sometimes I can’t tell if I am awake or asleep, and things can get pretty strange and hallucinatory. It might be liminal dreaming—also called hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, those hazy dream states of transitional consciousness we pass through as we fall into sleep at night and rise towards wakefulness in the morning. Apparently, you can access and linger in these states, according to Jennifer Dumpert. Town Hall Seattle and Cascade Psychedelic Community welcome the San Francisco-based lecturer, author of Liminal Dreaming: Exploring Consciousness at the Edges of Sleep, and founder of the Oneironauticum—an international organization that explores “the phenomenological experience of dreams as a means of experimenting with mind”—for a talk on just how to do so with practical exercises and techniques, and how to “engage our dreaming minds to help us answer personal or intellectual questions or even encourage the healing process.”
- Lights, tiLLie
Canadian alt-pop project Lights is on tour promoting the acoustic version of her fourth record, Skin&Earth, and will be joined by support act tiLLie at this Seattle stop.
- Taj Mahal, Marc Cohn, Blind Boys of Alabama
Listen to Taj Mahal sing “Celebrated Walkin’ Blues,” which he lifted from Robert Johnson. He starts out with nothing but shoes and proceeds to survey the landscape in those lyrics and a great deal about the universe with that mandolin. Macrocosm in microcosm. Joy from deep in a rut. We need those. ANDREW HAMLIN READINGS & TALKS
- Chavisa Woods: 100 Times
The author of the Lambda Literary Award finalist Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country, which contains the Shirley Jackson Award-winning novelette “Take the Way Home That Leads Back to Sullivan Street,” turns to the essay format. She meticulously documents 100 instances of sexist violence, harassment, and discrimination which she’s experienced as a queer woman. 100 Times is an attempt to give an individualized face and voice to victims of perpetual, systemic sexism. Woods will appear with fellow author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore.
- The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady’s boozy, swaggering, late-’70s radio rock has always been a bit of a tough sell for the general public. But their charm stems from Craig Finn’s boisterous storytelling, which manages to address sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll in a capacity that is neither glamorous nor cautionary. Over the course of their last three albums, the Hold Steady have gussied up their sound with bigger choruses and stronger production, tapering Finn’s revelatory rambling into more traditional songwriting. This bodes well for the band’s accessibility, but it also diminishes the impact of their strongest asset. Still, for listeners reading along with the lyric sheet at home, songs like “We Can Get Together” are as poignant as anything Finn did in their early years, provided you can see past the glare of the high-gloss production. BRIAN COOK
- North Bend Film Festival
The hometown of many Twin Peaks shoots celebrates its second year with a new raft of strange, Northwest-themed movies.
- ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette?’ Opening
Irreverent local author Maria Semple’s hilarious and highly readable novel has been made into a movie directed by Richard Linklater and starring Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer, Laurence Fishburne, and newcomer Emma Nelson as Bee Branch, Bernadette’s 15-year-old daughter and the most sensible, and sane, person in the book. A true Seattle story, this one has it all: tech transplants, agoraphobic artists, private school, middling moms, and a hearty dose of both love and hate for the city in which it is set. KATIE HERZOG FOOD & DRINK
- Sunset Supper
One hundred of the region’s favorite restaurants, wineries, breweries, and distilleries come together for this signature Pike Place Market Foundation summer evening event. MUSIC
- Herbie Hancock & Kamasi Washington
You have to be rich or well-connected to see Herbie Hancock perform live nowadays, but do make the effort. One of the most eclectic and innovative jazz musicians of the last 55 years, the keyboardist has traversed hard bop, modal jazz, fusion (with Miles Davis and his own Mwandishi band), funk, hiphop, electro, Joni Mitchell covers, myriad world-music tangents with artists such as Anoushka Shankar and Tinariwen, and has even concocted a radically rearranged cover of the greatest Beatles song, “Tomorrow Never Knows”—albeit with Dave Matthews. DAVE SEGAL READINGS & TALKS
- Erik Davis: Drugs, Weirdness, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies
Erik Davis’s book High Weirdness delves into the writings of the tragic sci-fi maven Philip K. Dick, the ethnobotanist Terence McKenna, and the mystic author Robert Anton Wilson, who in the 1970s developed a “psychedelic spirituality” that profoundly influenced radical culture, particularly on the American West Coast. Publicity materials describe “Davis’ new theory of the weird” as a possible new “viable mode for a renewed engagement with reality.”
- “Weird Al” Yankovic
Since the day I first heard “Another One Rides the Bus,” I have had a deep love and respect for “Weird Al” Yankovic. And as time and pop music moves, um, forward, his parodies and the aural puns-ishment he produces have become a nice throwback to when AM radio and Top 40 charts welcomed novelty songs. I’d guess even into the 1980s, novelty, parody, and answer songs were still radio-friendly genres, but that was wiped away in the ’90s by contemporary pop radio’s homogenization and evident need to be taken seriously. Except maybe for Tenacious D, “Weird Al” is the last, and only, parody/novelty performer allowed on the radio. Anyway, I bet Al’s blistering accordion solos tonight will be most choice and the gargled solo in “Smells Like Nirvana” will be divine. MIKE NIPPER
- Michael Che’s Liberal But Gangsta Tour
Stand-up comedian, actor, and writer Michael Che is best known for his gig as co-anchor on Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update.” Come for political commentary, social/interpersonal observations, and some dark humor.FESTIVALS
- Seattle Hempfest 2019
The “premier flagship event of the global cannabis culture,” Seattle’s massive Hempfest, will return once again for three days of talks, pot-loving celebrity guests and congresspeople, and hundreds of vendors.
- Seattle Tattoo Expo
Hidden Hand Tattoo hosts this three-day expo of permanently decorated flesh, where you can see displays, attend seminars, and even get yourself inked up from by the right artist for you. This year’s featured artists include locals like Rich White and Mikey Sarratt (Action Tattoo) and Jose Camarillo, Sang S, and Mimi Hongvilay (Art Never Dies Tattoo), plus visiting artists from San Francisco’s Castro Tattoo, Poland’s Lukas Smyku, and Austin’s Black Dagger Tattoo.
- Seattle Design Festival 2019
Now in its ninth year, Design in Public’s Seattle Design Festival explores how urbanism, architecture, and design can further justice, ecology, and community.
- Hai! Japantown 2019
Celebrate Japantown at this neighborhood party that will span multiple venues.
- Lagunitas Beer Circus
As if a regular circus isn’t already a feast for the senses, this festival will combine the thrill of live acrobatics, burlesque, and aerial arts with the joy of beer-drinking—not to mention food trucks, games, face-painters, and more. Don’t forget to wear your own circus-ready attire.MUSIC
- Nas: Celebrating 25 Years of Illmatic
Beloved at the time of its release, Nas’s lithe 1994 debut, Illmatic, has since earned a permanent place near the top of any list of best hip-hop albums of all time. Tonight, Nas takes the stage for a special live performance of Illmatic in its entirety, as well as all of his hits from his 25 year career.
- SYML, EXES
Seattle-area musician/producer Brian Fennell, aka SYML, aka a former member of gentle indie-rock band Barcelona, will headline out in the U-District.
Slick Ann Arbor, Michigan, R&B vocalist Mayer Hawthorne and Seattle hiphop beat maestro Jake One team up for some up-tempo party music ideal for people who find Chromeo to be too oleaginous. Tuxedo simply exude more class than their obvious antecedent, and they’re elevated by Hawthorne’s superior voice, one of our country’s most reliable conduits of suave soulfulness. Jake One’s production skews toward G-funk and Dâm-Funk, a style that allows no darkness whatsoever into its bottle-popping euphoria. If you even have a few drops of hedonistic blood in you, you’re gonna wanna, as their Snoop Dogg–enhanced jam of the same title puts it, “Fux with the Tux.” DAVE SEGAL
THROUGH AUGUST 17
FOOD & DRINK
- Hawaiian Nights
Canlis knows how to throw a party. Seattle’s illustrious fine-dining institution is notorious for its extravagant New Year’s Eve blowouts—this year’s Hawaiian-inspired luau featured real waterfalls, a koi pond, and live animals; the previous year’s glamorous 1950s-inspired affair boasted a period-accurate, Spady-family-approved re-creation of a mid-century Dick’s Drive-In; and a prior ski-chalet-themed soiree had hot tubs, real snow, and Saint Bernard dogs. A ticket doesn’t come cheap, though, so it’s all the more exciting that they’ve decided to throw an “unfancy, laidback, lowbrow” weekend bash in their parking lot this summer for the rest of us non-one-percenters. They’ll transform the lot into an island paradise with an actual pool, and have teased thatched tiki huts, a pig roast, a bar, pizza, kalbi ribs, shishito peppers, and mac salad. Bring your bathing suit. JULIANNE BELL
- Daniel Caesar, Koffee
I’m inclined to root for any Toronto talent who isn’t Drake, but Daniel Caesar sets himself apart anyway, with rich soul rippling through his vocals and a predilection for instrumental accompaniment that pulls from blues and Americana traditions. KIM SELLING
- 311, Dirty Heads, The Interrupters, Dreamers, Bikini Trill
Get that sun-drenched alt-reggae-rock sound from 311 and Dirty Heads as they tour through the Northwest this summer with support sets from the Interrupters, Dreamers, and Bikini Trill.
- JoJo Siwa
JoJo Siwa, a Nickelodeon star and teenage YouTube sensation, will show an otherworldly level of human excitement at her D.R.E.A.M. tour stop, which will feature her latest sparkle-pop efforts.
- King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
The Australian psych savants always deliver when you need a night of tingly acid rock crawling on your skin and throughout your nervous system. In the same garage-y genus as Ty Segall and Oh Sees, prolific rippers King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have dropped 14 studio albums in seven years. With a seven-piece polyphonic presence, their orgiastic shows are lush with 1970s levitation and act as an elevator to the 13th floor of your endorphins. ZACH FRIMMEL
- Valerie June
Memphis multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Valerie June has a voice that’s tenderly sweet and bright like liquid gold yet somehow imbued with a wise, old-soul quality. She had her national “coming out” with 2013’s Pushin’ Against a Stone, partially produced by Black Keys heavyweight Dan Auerbach; it landed on several year-end best-of lists, including that of Rolling Stone and American Songwriter. Its follow-up, The Order of Time is just as warm, effortless, and ethereal as you’d expect, and the mountain-hewn soul and rural-blues elements are still intact, though it’s definitely heavier on the classic country, bluegrass, and gospel-soaked folk influences. Additional cred: The hard-to-please Bob Dylan has given Valerie June his seal of approval. LEILANI POLK
READINGS & TALKS
- Téa Obreht: Inland
The author of the celebrated The Tiger’s Wife will return with her new novel, Inland, set in the Arizona Territory in 1893. A literally haunted outlaw and a frontierswoman whose husband and sons have vanished in the midst of a drought head towards a surprising encounter with one another. It’s a magic-tinged take on the Wild West, rooted in real history.
- Washington State International Kite Festival
Sometimes the best part of living in the city is leaving it, and there’s no better time to explore the Pacific Northwest than the summer. One excellent excuse to get out of town is the annual International Kite Festival in Long Beach. Called the “the greatest, grandest kite festival on the North American continent” by KiteLife.com, you’ll see kites here you’ve never imagined. There are competitions for speed, for beauty, and for the best photos. Over 10,000 kite lovers come from all over the world to commune together, kite, and look toward the skies. KATIE HERZOG
- Lionel Richie
Veteran chart-topper Lionel Richie will grace Marymoor Park with his soft-rock royalty presence.
- Candidate Survivor 2019
The 14 Seattle City Council candidates who pass the primary election on August 6 will fight their district opponent for a spot on the City Council in this year’s Candidate Survivor, a political pageant presented by The Stranger and Washington Bus and hosted by Seattle drag legend Cookie Couture. After talking serious policy, the candidates will attempt to prove their worth even further by displaying their special talents, be it juggling, rapping, or vape-fluting (to cite some past examples). “Think a CNN Town Hall mixed with a vogue battle on Pose,” says The Stranger‘s Chase Burns. FILM
- ‘Ready or Not’ Opening
A blushing bride is forced to turn into a rifle-wielding badass when her bizarre new in-laws coerce her into a deadly game of hide-and-seek. Warning: The trailer (embedded here) seems to spoil everything. MUSIC
- Chris Brown, Tory Lanez, Ty Dolla $ign, Joyner Lucas, Yella Beezy
Often in the news for not great reasons, Chris Brown will buck the serious stuff and return to the region with additional guests Tory Lanez, Ty Dolla $ign, Joyner Lucas, and Yella Beezy on his Indigoat Tour.
- Iration, Pepper, Fortunate Youth, Katastro
Alt-reggae enthusiasts Iration rise out of the college town muck of Isla Vista to share their low-key sunny day grooves with the rest of the West Coast on their tour with support from Pepper, Fortunate Youth, and Katastro.
- ZZ Top, Cheap Trick
Classic rock relics and legendary beard connoisseurs ZZ Top will play an evening of hard-edged throwbacks and power chords on their summer tour with ’70s radio rockers Cheap Trick. READINGS & TALKS
- Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeffery Robinson will discuss racism, the impacts of America’s slaveholding history, and the consequences of US imperialism. According to the Rotary Club’s description, Robinson “was one of the original members of the John Adams Project and worked on behalf of one of five men held at Guantanamo Bay charged with carrying out the 9/11 attacks.”
- Nordic Sól
Seattle loves a good opportunity to bliss out over Nordic culture, and this summer extravaganza (billed as a re-imagining of Viking Days) is no exception. For four days, stay cool with festivities geared toward Nordic regions with arctic climates, including short talks, dinners, a fashion show, and more.
- Pressure Cooker: O Succulent!
An entry in Nordo’s nontraditional theater series, Butch Alice and Anya Knee’s O Succulent treks along with Professor Archie McDinklethorn and Sister Sandwich in a tribute to LARP storytelling. McDinklethorn and Sandwich search for succulents and encounter adventure in the AridSun Desert as they search for succulent plants. As always, enjoy food that complements the themes of the show.
AUGUST 22–SEPTEMBER 14
Stranger Genius Award and Artist Innovator Award winner Valerie Curtis-Newton will direct Eisa Davis’s 2007 Pulitzer finalist 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.
- JB Smoove
Did you know JB Smoove was in Pootie Tang? That movie is terrible, but Smoove is pretty funny in it. The actor, writer, and comic has been active since his break on Def Comedy Jam in 1995. He’s since appeared in and written for a range of films and TV shows (you likely know him best as Leon Black in Curb Your Enthusiasm), in addition to writing a book (The Book of Leon: Philosophy of a Fool came out last year), and continuing to deliver sets of his well-honed stand-up, a mix of physical comedy and his humorous perspective on how the world works. LEILANI POLK FILM
- ‘The Nightingale’ Opening
In 19th-century Tasmania, a young Irish woman and an Aboriginal tracker, united in hatred and a need for vengeance, pursue the British soldiers who committed vile deeds against them. The onslaught of sexual violence and brutality in Jennifer Kent’s second feature (after The Babadook) reportedly drove distressed festivalgoers out of the theater at Sundance. The Nightingale seems to be this Australian director’s unstinting reckoning with the abuse, exploitation, and genocide of the past. Those with a strong constitution and no expectations of a crowd-pleasing revenge arc may consider this a must-see. JOULE ZELMAN MUSIC
- Amos Lee
Perennial Starbucks-soundtracker Amos Lee will take his night of soulful singer-songwriter vibes to the next level by performing among the seductive groves of Woodinville.
- Sammy Hagar’s Full Circle Jam Tour
Rock legend Sammy Hagar has decades worth of classic material, and he won’t hesitate to break it all out on his 2019 Full Circle Jam Tour. VISUAL ART
- SAM Remix
SAM Remix is a recurring and ever-changing art party that includes performances, tours, and dancing, all inspired by their current special exhibitions, in this case Victorian Radicals and Regina Silveira: Octopus Wrap.
- Scott Shoemaker’s :Probed!
“A powerhouse and an incredible performer” is how drag star BendelaCreme describes Scott Shoemaker. The local mischief-maker behind Ms. Pak-Man and The War on Christmas will stage “an all-new supernatural comedy cabaret—emphasis on the super!”, with as much UFO camp hilarity as you can take. We want to believe!
- What the Funk?! Fest
Spend a whole weekend with POC burlesque talent like Egypt Blaque Knyle, Nox Falls, Tre` da Marc, the Luminous Pariah, and about 50 others at this festival of performances and classes.
- Bass Canyon
Join up with your fellow celestial headbangers for three days of bass-heavy beats echoing through the Columbia River Gorge, featuring artists like Excision, 12th Planet, Boogie T, Blunts & Blondes, and many more.
- 14/48: The World’s Quickest Theater Festival
True to its name, the 14/48 Festival turns around 14 brand-new, theme-based, 10-minute plays in two days. The high-pressure nature of the event produces an evening of surprising theater for audience members, who arrive in their seats charged with expectation and anxiety for the performers. Though there are always a few experiments that don’t quite come together, it’s endlessly fascinating to see the way one theme filters through the minds of several very different theater artists. Expect shit to get weird. RICH SMITH
AUGUST 23–JANUARY 12
- Emerge/Evolve 2018: Rising Talents in Kiln-Glass
The winners and some finalists of Bullseye Glass Company’s competition, which has been going on for the past 18 years, will have kiln-glass (highly moldable, fusible glass) on display. Some take geometric vase-like forms, like Andy Plummer’s ovoid I Moved on Her Like a Bitch; others are weirder, like Evelyn Gottschall Baker’s eerily realistic Bones-Group.
- Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross and Dave Attell
Two crusty vet comedians, who both have their own fuck-all attitudes and are worthy of respect in their own right, have teamed up to cohead the Bumping Mics tour. Dave Attell achieved his name recognition with a Comedy Central show, Insomniac with Dave Attell, that started with a clip of a set featuring his wry, observational humor followed by some late-night shenanigans and misadventures around whatever town he was performing in. Jeff Ross earned his standing by becoming the roastmaster general of all those Comedy Central Roasts, the ultimate lampooner whose sharp tongue cut hard and deep. (Remember when Trump was in the hot seat? Those were the days.) Seeing these gents in a single evening will be a rare treat. LEILANI POLK FESTIVALS
- HangarFest 2019
Aviation nerds can delight in aircrafts like the Concorde or the Boeing 787 Jumbo Jet, dance to classic rock, explore a futuristic transportation exhibit, and enjoy food and games.
With Sasquatch! cancelled after a 17-year run, fest founder and STG chief programming officer Adam Zacks is attempting to fill that void with a new arts festival called THING, which will include music, comedy, film, visual arts, dance, podcasts, food, and a “mentalist.” The full lineup includes pop, rock, and folk artists Jeff Tweedy, Calexico/Iron & Wine, Kurt Vile, Khruangbin, Phosphorescent, and Japanese Breakfast, plus celebrities like Todd Barry and Lindy West. According to the press release, inspiration for the festival’s name derives from the medieval term “Ting,” which was “an assembly of free people to reduce feuds and avoid social disorder.” THING will host three main stages, including a decommissioned zeppelin hangar (McCurdy Pavilion), the art-deco Wheeler Theatre, and the Parade Grounds near Puget Sound. DAVE SEGALMUSIC
- An Evening With Josh Groban
Operatic heartthrob Josh Groban takes his inexplicably successful “Bridges” tour on the road to the Chateau, providing two evenings rife with intimate lounge pop and showtune classics.
AUGUST 24–OCTOBER 5
- Amanda Manitach: Mirrors
From afar, Stranger Genius Award nominee Amanda Manitach’s block prints look like inner thoughts (or perturbing greeting cards) punched into colorful stains. Get closer, and you’ll realize that these stains are elaborate patterns that may evoke Victorian wallpaper. Her latest project comments on the selfie by incorporating mirrors.
- The Wood Brothers, Colter Wall
Chris Wood is the bassist of exceptional avant-jazz and space-funk makers Medeski Martin & Wood. But he also plays in a band with his elder brother, Oliver. Their sound differs greatly from MMW’s; it’s a mix of folk-blues and gospel-tinged Americana—warm, upbeat, and made for driving on dusty rural roads or nursing whiskey on a back porch at twilight, as crickets serenade you from the shadows. Chris’s fat, buoyant double-bass grooves complement his brother’s easy-going guitar strums, choppy slide work, and velvety country-soulful vocals, while drummer/percussionist Jano Rix holds down the rhythms, but also provides occasional accompaniment on shuitar (a guitar modified into a percussion instrument), keys, and vocal harmonies. The trio hit town last year behind their sixth full-length, One Drop of Truth, which Oliver calls “the most purely Wood Brothers’ album we’ve ever made.” LEILANI POLK
READINGS & TALKS
- Nisi Shawl and Jack Skillingstead: Wastelands
If you’re beset by fears of planetary doom, you’re not alone, as this volume of post-apocalyptic fiction edited by the famed genre anthologist John Joseph Adams will demonstrate. Two esteemed contributors, Nisi Shawl (Everfair) and Jack Skillingstead (The Chaos Function) will appear to discuss the aftermath of whatever finally gives human civilization the boot. The book also includes new stories by such writers as Tananarive Due, Elizabeth Bear, Wendy N. Wagner, and others, as well as reprints by sci-fi/fantasy lights like Carmen Maria Machado, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Charlie Jane Anders.
- Lost ’80s Live
Experience the many hits of a colorful decade with performances by members of Flock of Seagulls, Wang Chung, Farrington & Mann, the Vapors, the Motels, Boys Don’t Cry, and even more special guests.
FOOD & DRINK
- The Great Victorian Radicals Bake-Off
Seattle Art Museum has summoned bakeries from around Seattle to create show-stopping desserts inspired by the exhibition Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement. Participating pastry pros have one week to develop, create, and deliver their entries, which will be judged on taste as well as adherence to the theme. On your mark, get set, bake! JULIANNE BELL MUSIC
- The National, Alvvays
Beast gives us what the National have always given us: the musical equivalent of reveling in anxiety-depression, a mental condition common among urbanites. On the record, Bryan Devendorf’s busy drums provide a foundation of nervous energy, Berninger’s melancholy mumbles croon over the top, and then the twins (Aaron and Bryce Dessner) command the guitars to flourish in fits or else swell to bursting to release all the pent-up angst. In keeping up with the times, the Dessners incorporated into this record subtle, intricately arranged electronic sounds, but they didn’t mess too much with the general formula. RICH SMITH
- Stephen Marley
The winding road of musical history is paved with the sons and daughters of icons, who (often through nepotism, sometimes with talent) gave a shot at their own careers, never to step out from the shadow of their legendary parents (see: Sean Lennon, that poor so-and-so). What sets reggae icon Bob Marley’s brood apart is their undeniable hit-making abilities: Damian’s blistering ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ was pretty much inescapable the summer it was released, and Stephen’s a Grammy-winning, critically lauded artist in his own right. His is a dressed-up, omnivorous take on reggae, incorporating hiphop drum breaks, record scratches, and pop-leaning female backup singers, along with the requisite mentions of Jah. It’s sort of a globalized, millennial take on reggae, and while it lacks the rootsy charm of his father’s classic records, it’s nice to see the Marley clan doing their own thing and doing it well. KYLE FLECK
AUGUST 29–SEPTEMBER 1
- Maceo Parker
Soulful saxophonist Maceo Parker has spent decades exploring and rewriting the history of funk in collaborations with icons like James Brown, George Clinton, and Prince, while simultaneously honing his own brand of creative showmanship.
- No Man’s Land Film Festival
No Man’s Land Film Festival is a series of films about women exploring the outdoors. See bike riders, climbers, sailors, and other intrepid women explore stupendous natural environments. Come early for a social hour with $2 beer and cider. MUSIC
- Billy Idol
William Michael Albert Broad, aka Billy Idol, is 63 years old, but you better believe that sneer hasn’t aged a bit. Coming up in the original English punk scene, Idol was a founding member of Generation X—the first band to play the iconic venue the Roxy (it was also their first show) and one of the first punk bands to play on the BBC’s Top of the Pops. I always admired that Idol and co.’s interpretation of the P-word was less militant and political than was fashionable at the time, and that they were unapologetically more into big-time rock ’n’ roll than their Beatles-and-Stones-dissing peers. This also factors into Idol’s solo career and penchant for showmanship, which lean toward something I think of as “Punk: The Musical.” Yes, it’s leather pants and cross earrings, but it’s also elaborate lights, costume changes, and well-done makeup. EMILY NOKES
- Northwest Psych Fest 2019
Now in its sixth year, Peter Koslik and Nick Arthur’s Northwest Psych Fest does an excellent job showcasing local and international talent on a small budget. Their connections with the Mexican psych-rock underground again pay dividends with Dorotheo and Los Dug Dugs bringing their transportive, melodious songs to the Sunset. In the 1970s, this Mexican group (LDD) forged a canon ablaze with artfully brutal rock and gritty earworms. Their songs wield a galvanizing power combined with a melodic brilliance that’s rarely heard these days. Other highlights include polyglot avant-rock dynamos Diminished Men and epic outer-limits jammers WEEED. It’s a loaded bill to get loaded to, for sure. DAVE SEGALMUSIC
- Steve Miller Band, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
Steve Miller, the king of classic rock FM radio, brings his whole band to the rolling banks of the winery for a whole evening of flying like an eagle with Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives.
AUGUST 30–SEPTEMBER 1
- Bumbershoot 2019
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 (Lizzo, Carly Rae Jepsen, the Lumineers, Taking Back Sunday, Bea Miller) will take the same sages as local talents (Y La Bamba, the Dip) across the music, art, and comedy spectrums, with a special food selection known as B-Eats.MUSIC
- Dave Matthews Band, Lettuce, Gov’t Mule
Birkenstock-rock legend and #1 dad bod Dave Matthews performs all three days of Labor Day Weekend for the 28th anniversary of his band and in promotion of his latest studio album.
AUGUST 30–SEPTEMBER 2
- PAX West
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.
AUGUST 30–SEPTEMBER 22
- Washington State Fair
The hottest days of the summer coincide with 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.
- blink-182, Lil Wayne, Neck Deep
Pop-punk Peter Pans Blink-182 will join forces with booked and busy rap king Lil Wayne for maybe not the summer mash-up tour we wanted, but the summer mash-up tour we deserve. Welsh pop-punk group Neck Deep will support all tour dates.
- David Crosby and Friends
I’d be okay if Croz just busted out the golden troubadour psychedelia of If I Could Only Remember My Name in its entirety, and then encored with some Byrds songs he wrote or cowrote (e.g., “Eight Miles High,” “Everybody’s Been Burned,” “I See You,” “Draft Morning,” “Why?”). But of course he’ll dip into the hit-heavy catalog of Crosby, Stills & Nash, because enough sweet, mellow jams reside there to keep a theater full of Boomers and their offspring content for hours. While he may not hit those high, silky notes as gracefully anymore, Crosby’s voice has weathered the decades well. Come for the timeless, glowing melodies, stay for the tales of ye olde rock aristocracy from the ’60s and ’70s. DAVE SEGAL
- Keith Urban, Russell Dickerson
Terrible pop country is the gas station coffee of music. Yeah, it doesn’t taste great and that corn syrup creamer is going to make my stomach churn at some point, but on a long drive those cheesy sentiments beat you over the head with straight-forward lyrics about pickup trucks and pouring rain, and choruses I can sing along to before the song is over will keep me awake and entertained. Keith Urban deals in this much-maligned realm; the Australian celeb hubby of Nicole Kidman sings about falling in love in the back of a cop car (“The blue lights were shinin’/Bringing out the freedom in your eyes”) and stands in a photo on his album cover in the middle of a cornfield. It’s all a problematic fantasy world, a flawed fairy-tale version of the country sung by someone who didn’t grow up here, but sometimes it feels good to sing along. ROBIN EDWARDS