* Denotes events that are $15 or less
Seattle International Dance Festival
The always wonderfully curated Seattle International Festival returns bigger than ever this year with 16 days of shows and 200 performers from the U.S. and abroad. This festival spotlights and celebrates contemporary dance and it’s introduced me to some dance makers — Kate Wallich, for one — whom I now love. What I’m most looking forward to this time are the contemporary ballet performances on June 16; the ballet and hip hop commission by Jerome Aparis (Massive Monkees) and Ezra Thomson (Pacific Northwest Ballet) on June 21; and the double bill of Spectrum Dance Theater and Mexico’s Ciudad Interior on June 26. The festival kicks off on Friday with its “Art on the Fly” evening in South Lake Union: free dance events, a food truck and crafts for the making. There’s also a late-night “Sanity Café” on June 25 at which dance and theater artists unveil work they created in just 7 days.
If you go: Seattle International Dance Festival, Raisbeck Hall, June 12 through 27 (Tickets start at $17) — F.D.
Surfer Blood *
Ever the irony aficionados, this band has never struck me as particularly surfy. Sure, reverb-soaked guitar riffs are present and accounted for, but the pacing is too laid back to truly qualify as surf. This is music surfers would listen to on the days they decide to skip the beach and instead get stoned on a grassy knoll somewhere. Surfer Blood understands how to temper frenzied distortion with gentler guitar tones. Band members know when to yell and when to sing. They are much like Weezer in this way, right down to the almost-too-sentimental lyrics. Fans of popular ‘90s guitar music will feel right at home at this performance. The band is touring in support of its third album “1000 Palms,” which dropped last month.
If you go: Surfer Blood, The Crocodile, June 11 ($15). All ages. — J.S.H.
NW New Works Festival
Here’s a best bet if you want to be “in the know” about what people will be buzzing about in the future. The NW New Works Festival always offers up a whole host of dance and theatrical creativity and for its second and final weekend performers include Dani Tirrell in a piece about a non-conforming Butch Queen and Adriana Hernandez, in a dance work about what it means to be a Latina.
If you go: NW New Works Festival, On the Boards, June 12 and 13 ($14 for one showcase; $20 for both) — F.D.
Best of SIFF *
In case you missed this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, you can see a reprise of this year's best films this weekend. Check out the inspiring and complex story of speed chess champion and coach Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse, winner of the Golden Space Needle Award for Best Film and Best Actor (and previously recommended by me!). Also, see the Golden Space Needle winner for Best Documentary, Romeo is Bleeding, the tale of a Bay Area poet looking to retell Romeo and Juliet as a too real chronicling of his city’s gang wars. If you can’t make up your mind, head to the Best of SIFF Shorts and whittle an entire weekend of shorts down to just an amazingly evocative handful.
If you go: Best of SIFF, SIFF Cinema Uptown, June 12 through 15 ($13) — N.C.
Pike/Pine Walking Tour *
Long a culturally vital area of Seattle, Capitol Hill has been a-changin’ rapidly and drastically over the last few years. This is most obvious than in the architecture, especially with so much construction remaking the visage of this historic neighborhood. If you want to understand the importance and beauty of some of Capitol Hill's historic everyday buildings before they’re gone, join a Seattle Architecture Foundation guide for a two-hour walking tour that explores the neighborhood's past, present and future. It may well be a microcosm of the city. What price will come with so much growth?
If you go: Pike/Pine Walking Tour. Begins at Broadway Performance Hall. Starts at 10 a.m. on June 13 ($15) — N.C.
Purity Ring (DJ Set)
Alas, dreamwave electronica duo Purity Ring’s concert at The Showbox is sold out. Small wonder, though; the group’s debut LP “ “Fine Shrines” catapulted them to fame, and their sophomore album, “Another Eternity” does an excellent job of solidifying (though not really expanding) their signature sound. They are a crossover group, creating a heterogeneous fan base by mixing dream pop and EDM, much in the way Taylor Swift blended country music and radio pop. Luckily, the very hip Q nightclub has booked Purity Ring for a DJ set after the band finishes up at the Showbox. This performance will not feature much music from the duo’s albums, but it will be a polished and uplifting blend of music and original beats reminiscent of their style. Plus, it’s a cheaper ticket.
If you go: Purity Ring (DJ Set),Q Nightclub, June 16($17.50). 21+ — J.S.H.
Kimya Dawson *
Kimya Dawson’s playful and simple songwriting is most commonly associated with the hit film “Juno,” which featured a number of songs from the singer’s former band, The Moldy Peaches. Her music is best characterized as kid music for adults. Dawson’s songs explore grownup themes with a childlike sense of wonder and candor that most adults spend their entire grownup lives seeking out, to no avail. Exhibit A, from her song “My Mom”: “My mom’s sick, she’s in a hospital bed / I’ve got a word for all you ghosts in her head / and all you skeletons in her closet: leave her alone.” The track is written from the perspective of a daughter, presumably Kimya, confronting her mother’s struggle with cancer. She is the musical embodiment of the old mantra about simplicity being the highest sophistication.
If you go: Kimya Dawson, The Vera Project June 17 ($8). All ages. — J.S.H.