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5 things to do in Seattle this weekend

Local band Telekinesis will perform a KEXP Concert at the Mural at Seattle Center on Friday, Aug. 11. Credit: David Lee

KEXP & Seattle Center Concerts at the Mural: Telekinesis, SISTERS, Hayley Heynderickx

The Concerts at the Mural series is perhaps the culmination of everything great about being a Seattleite in the summer: getting to enjoy our array of local music, outside, for free, brought to us by our independent radio station 90.3 KEXP. Grab a loved one, a blanket and some snacks, and head to Seattle Center any-or-every Friday this August. This Friday will be a high-energy, synth-heavy, utterly danceable show starring the beloved band Telekinesis, the smiley, and oh-so-talented duo SISTERS and angel-voiced singer-songwriter Hayley Heynderickx. Of all the concerts, I’d say this is the one not to miss.

If you go: KEXP & Seattle Center Concerts at the Mural, Mural Amphitheater at Seattle Center, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 11 (Free)—N.C.

Madame Butterfly

Alexey Dolgov (Pinkerton) and Lianna Haroutounian (Cio-Cio-San). Jacob Lucas photo
Alexey Dolgov (Pinkerton) and Lianna Haroutounian (Cio-Cio-San). Jacob Lucas photo

Let’s say, to use current vernacular, that you are woke. And, as it turns out, oh, a person of color as well. Should you bother with seeing Madame Butterfly at Seattle Opera? Here’s my take: the storyline is problematic. An American man (white) secures a 15-year-old — 15-year-old! — Japanese maiden for $100 yen for marriage. Until that is, he finds “a real American wife” (we learn all of this in oh, the first 30-minutes of the opera). Fast-forward to the ending and, without giving the finale away, things do not end well for the teenaged girl.

Well-aware of the sensitive ground it would walk by producing an opera that could get blasted with cries of stereotypes and yellowface, Seattle Opera has avoided using makeup to make the lead female character look more Asian (when she is played by a Caucasian soprano; a Japanese soprano shares the role). And given the above storyline I, frankly, was totally fine that Lianna Haroutounian was playing the maiden Cio-Cio-San. In fact, it made it easier because she did not look like she was a Japanese girl. Madame Butterly is set in Japan, sung in Italian and centers on a lead female character. On Opening Night Haroutounian was explosive and emotional and in total control. She gave an athletic, commanding performance and I rushed home to watch Youtube videos of her so the memory of the moment could last. If artistry is your priority in what you look for in a show, then, go!

If you go: Madame Butterfly, Seattle Opera, McCaw Hall. Through Aug. 19 (Tickets start at $65)—F.D.

Urban Food Foraging Walking Tour

Even the least naturey of Seattleites can’t help but notice the bounty of blackberries this time of year, not to mention the rosemary that grows in bushes year-round. While these are wonderful gifts, plant expert and author Arthur Lee Jacobsen is here to illuminate the expansive world of urban foraging (beyond the blackberries). Jacobsen is a lifelong Seattle and plant enthusiast, whose walk will intoxicate you with his passion for urban foraging, and give you the knowledge you need to become an expert urban forager yourself. If you can’t make this date, there will be a repeat walk on Aug. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This event is presented by MOHAI.

If you go: Urban Food Foraging Walking Tour, UW School of Law, 3 p.m. Aug. 12 ($20)—N.C.

Rainier Valley Heritage Parade and Pride Festival

Celebrate SE Seattle neighborhoods and one of the nation’s most diverse zip codes with the 25th annual Rainier Valley Heritage Parade and Pride Festival. Festivities kick off on Rainier (from Columbia City to Hillman City) with the parade at 10 a.m. and continue until 3:30 p.m. with a car show, food and other festivities for lovers of Rainier Valley of any age. Last year the streets were filled with everything from giant chess tables to musical acts to pie-eating contests, turning the whole neighborhood into a feel-good local party. I can only imagine what special activities are in store for the 25th anniversary celebration!

If you go: Rainier Valley Heritage Parade and Pride Festival, Columbia City, 10 a.m. Aug. 12 (Free)—N.C.

Dan Webb

Maybe you’re already a fan of Dan Webb’s masterful woodworking (wait, what?! that carved wood pillow looks so real!!). Or maybe you’re a newbie fan who was introduced to his work at last weekend’s Seattle Art Fair. (Oh, I saw people oohing and ahhing and taking iPhone photos of his work). Webb is currently creating at Georgetown’s Oxbow Gallery, where he is an artist-in-residence who has created a site-specific installation called “The Visitor.” His lecture-talks, scheduled for three consecutive Thursdays, will be participatory.

If you go: Dan Webb artist talk, Oxbow, Aug. 10, 17, 24 (Free)—F.D.

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