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$15 or Less: Summer at SAM, Al Green, bike history, Sub Pop turns 25

Seattle used to be a place where young artists could afford to experiment with work, life and one another. Credit: Flickr user takomabibelot

With this week, I feel like summer in Seattle has finally started. And it's packed with events that exploit so many of my weaknesses: my undying love of Al Green, craft shows, Stephin Merritt offshoot bands, indie label Sub Pop’s Jubilee! I’m uber excited about every event and am already wishing I could be in several places at once (even on a Thursday night).

Summer at SAM Opening Night
SAM Olympic Sculpture Park, Thurs. 7/11 at 6 p.m., FREE
I’ve already mentioned this in my list of recurring summer events and now it has arrived! SAM's Olympic Sculpture Park will host a panoply of activities on Thursday, including rotating food trucks, local music and art tours led by local talents. Also, yoga beneath an outdoor sculpture at dusk?! I can think of nothing more idyllic.

The Rescued Photos of Cyclists Allen and Sachtleben
Central Library, Thurs. 7/11 at 7 p.m., FREE
In 1890, two new college grads set off to bike around the world, armed with the new Kodak compact film camera. More than a century later, hundreds of their Asia Minor photos, now part of the University of Southern California’s Special Collection, surfaced, and will be presented by David V. Herlihy, author and bicycle historian (and let’s just take a minute to wonder at that job title).

Music Craft: Al Green
Northwest Film Forum, Thurs. 7/11 at 7 p.m., $10
Music Craft is part of a NW Film Forum series that features rare concert footage. This week it's Al Green on Soul!, WNET NYC’s brief, 1968 televised music program. Apparently Green was only 26 at the time of this performance in which he belts out hits like “Love and Happiness” and “Let’s Stay Together.” NWFF calls the show “monstrous.”

Future Bible Heroes
Tractor Tavern, Fri. 7/12, $15
Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt (known for his wry lyrics, melancholy baritone and all-around musical genius and versatility) has a lot of irons in the fire: soundtracks, Off-Broadway scores (such as Coraline) and several bands. His Future Bible Heroes band is where Merritt has typically lived out his synth-pop dreams. While Merritt won’t be there, his Magnetics Fields' bandmates Claudia Gonson and Shirley Simms will (along with others), playing songs from their first album in over a decade, Partygoing.

West Seattle Summer Fest
Alaska Junction, 7/12 -7/14, FREE
West Seattleites just love their monster peninsular neighborhood SO much. And who can blame them? They’ve got the best beaches, excellent ethnic food places and bars, Bakery Nouveau, a year-round farmers market, etc. Summer Fest event is yet another celebration, with a live music stage, shopping (with sales from the many great stores in the area) and beer gardens and food galore.

Bastille Bash
Madison Valley, Sat. 7/13 from 3-8 p.m., FREE ($2.50-10 for food)
Bastille Day is here, and all pretension is forgiven for this free one-day event. As long as you don’t emphasize those double l’s too strongly. Local restaurants, including beloved Café Flora and Inais Patisserie, will be there to help celebrate French cuisine alongside local performers (yes, there will be mimes) and an entire line-up of Chef and Garden demonstrations.

Sub Pop Records Silver Jubliee
Georgetown, Sat. 7/13, noon onward, FREE
AHHH, this is going to be awesome. Sub Pop is turning 25 and to celebrate, the local label is throwing a huge, free shindig (which they’re lovingly calling a 25th Anniversary Public Display of Affection) in Georgetown. Big names such as Father John Misty and Built to Spill are slated to be there, along with a few TBA bands. There will be a beer garden, food trucks, art aplenty (it's also Georgetown Art Attack!) and a Sub Pop, pop-up store selling rare vinyl and Sub Pop memorabilia. While the party is free, anyone giving the suggested $5 donation gets a limited edition tote bag. (All money benefits KEXP, Northwest Harvest and Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation.)

Fremont Outdoor Movies: Dumb and Dumber
Fremont at 35th and Phinney, Sat. 7/13 at sundown, $5
If after all that gushing you don’t find yourself in Georgetown, remember that Fremont Outdoor Movies (every Saturday!) will be kicking off its season on Saturday with Dumb and Dumber. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels projected onto the big wall across from Theo, and all you have to bring is a blanket or chairs and some delectable snacks.

Urban Craft Uprising
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, Sat. and Sun., 7/13 and 7/14, from 11 a.m. -5 p.m., FREE
Whether you’re buying gifts or getting inspired to do your own crafting, this twice yearly event never disappoints. A conglomeration of artists and craftsmen from all walks — many of them are not afraid to subscribe to the Put-a-Bird-On-It philosophy — come together to show and sell their work. Search out the $5 “It’s a deal!” signs for particularly good finds.

Searching for Sugar Man
The Triple Door, Mon. 7/15 at 8 p.m., $3 beverage purchase
Winner of the Best Documentary Oscar this year, Searching for Sugar Man is the story of Sixto Rodriguez, a blue collar Detroit musician who recorded two (seemingly) unsuccessful albums in the '70s. Unbeknownst to Sixto, his music resonated madly in South Africa, to the point where two fans sought him out in the '90s. The film’s been showing around town for a couple months now but if you’ve missed it seeing it at The Triple Door's Music Movie Mondays series is a great opportunity. The $3 beverage purchase is the only requirement.

Chuck Klosterman
Elliott Bay Book Company, Tues., 7/16, FREE
Music journalist, AV Club writer, recent ethicist for The New York Times and all-around hilarious writer Chuck Klosterman will be reading from his new book Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined). He can piss some people off, but I’ve been thoroughly entertained and stimulated by his previous pop culture critiques, particularly Eating the Dinosaur and Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, which features one of my favorite ending lines of all time: “I’m hoping all those nuns were right: I’m angling for purgatory and I’m angling hard.”

What are you doing this weekend? Let us know in the comments area below. And if you hear of any interesting – under $15 – events in or around our grand city, please email editor@crosscut.com.

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