* Events that are $15 or less
SAM Remix at the Olympic Sculpture Park
For the second Friday in a row, SAM makes a compelling case as
the place to be for an evening of art and music. This time, it’s the always-fabulous SAM Remix thrown under the stars at the Olympic Sculpture Park. On tap: DJs, dance performances, interactive art making, cat videos (Yes, cat videos) and a chance to take in Dan Webb’s latest site-specific installation, Break It Down. Webb, the Seattle artist known for his wildly realistic wood sculptures, has spent the summer whittling down a Douglas fir that needed to come down (for thinning purposes). He’s been carving and carving and will continue to carve until there’s nothing left but sawdust. (The tree’s seeds, by the way, will be replanted into its own dusty mulch.) So this is literally one of the last times to see Webb’s work before it’s all gone. If you go: 8 p.m. – midnight Aug. 21 ($25)—F.D. SAM Remix at the Olympic Sculpture Park, National Radio Day’s Seattle Radio DJ Experience *
August 20 is National Radio Day (Who knew?). And the event, which has been
Radio stations across the country will be celebrating themselves (and their listeners) on National Radio Day.
celebrated since the early 1990s, is featuring the “Seattle Radio DJ Experience,” a live broadcast from a pop-up radio station on the plaza at Seattle’s Central Public Library downtown. Local youth radio hosts will do their thing, in support of the power of the medium. (That medium will soon expand to 7 new low-power neighborhood radio stations that will reach 90% of the city’s neighborhoods). Look for an 8-foot art installation: the “Seattle Neighborhood Radio Tower.” And if your schedule just doesn’t allow you to get away, at the very least, tune into your favorite radio station and give them a virtual high five.
If you go: 4th Avenue plaza at Central Public Library in downtown Seattle, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 20 (Free)—F.D. National Radio Day’s Seattle Radio DJ Experience, Ian Bell’s Brown Derby Series: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Brendan Kiley of
The Stranger says that if Dina Martina is the queen of Seattle’s ramshackle bar theater scene, then “Ian Bell’s Brown Derby Series is the crown prince.” The mere evocation of drag comedian superstar Dina Martina’s name is enough to hook me for this night of comedic theater as actors read aloud the screenplay to Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. The screenplay, which relies heavily on the sex appeal of Harrison Ford, will be performed onstage using “only duct tape, cardboard, and silly string” in homage to the film’s liberal use of special effects. If you go: Re-bar, Aug. 20-22 ($20)—N.C. Ian Bell’s Brown Derby Series: Raiders of the Lost Ark, 14/48 & Nordo: Food Theatre Thunderdome
For years Café Nordo popped up around town, in the warehouse of Theo Chocolate and Washington Hall (among many other places), bringing delighted audiences nights of incredible cuisine and performance, a magical blend of storytelling and theater. Now Nordo has its own brick and mortar “dedicated to the convergence of food and art,” down in Pioneer Square. Each event they’ve done since opening in June has been inspiring but this one looks particularly tantalizing. The culinary geniuses behind Nordo (and other Seattle establishments) team up with 14/48, the long-running theatre event that challenges playwrights to select a theme and then, over just a few days, compose, rehearse and perform a play. In true Nordo fashion, they’ve upped the ante; not only will four separate playwrights be writing and premiering short plays but they will be showcased alongside dinner courses that each feature a randomly selected ingredient. Head to the earlier show for a four-course dinner, or a later iteration with teaser cocktails. Whatever you do, prepare yourself to become addicted to the weird and wonderful world of Nordo. If my pocketbook could sustain it, I’d go every night.
If you go: 1 Café Nordo’s Culinarium, Aug. 20-22 and Aug. 27-29. ($55 or $20)—N.C. 4/48 & Nordo: Food Theatre Thunderdome, An American Dream
Nina Yoshida Nelsen, mezzo-soprano; Adam Lau, bass; and Hae Ji Chang, soprano, singing in the summer 2014 workshop for Seattle Opera's
Seattle Opera world premieres a homegrown production about a painful chapter of local history: the incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II.
An American Dream draws from the personal histories of those who were interned. The opera follows the story of the Kobayashis who are forced to abandon their Puget Sound home, a house that an American vet and his German Jewish wife eventually move into. Jessica Murphy Moo wrote the libretto; Jack Perla composed the music.
The production also pulls from a community-wide
“digital quilt” that asked the public to weigh in on the one object they would take if they had to flee home. An exhibit in the lobby that assembles more personal testimonies from that period in time precedes both performances. And, following each performance, a talk back with Seattle Opera as well as those who were interned, is scheduled. If you go: McCaw Hall, 7 p.m. Aug. 21 and 2 p.m. Aug. 23 (Tickets start at $50)—F.D. An American Dream, KEXP Concerts at the Mural: Sassyblack, Pillar Point, The Coup *
Typically, the shows in KEXP’s annual Concerts at the Mural series have a theme. Last week, they partnered with Decibel Festival to provide an all-electronic lineup. The week before that, the music leaned towards rock and roll. This week’s lineup is a little more eclectic, but still totally excellent. Sassyblack, a.k.a. Cat, who is one half of local neo-soul duo THEESatisfaction, opens the evening. She’ll be playing new solo material that occupies a similar genre. It will likely be a mix of instrumental material and tracks featuring her live vocals. After that the dancy, post-New Wave rock band Pillar Point—also local—will play. The live drums and heavy guitar earn this group the “rock” label, but the keyboard work, harmonies and electronic percussion elements give Pillar Point a bigger, more composed feel that transcends the genre. The Coup, one of the funkiest and most fiercely political contemporary bands, will headline. This high-energy rap/R&B/rock musical collective is overtly Communist, and frontman Boots Riley espouses anti-authoritarian rhetoric with incredible swagger.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2o71NITsfc[/embed] If you go: KEXP Concerts at the Mural: Sassyblack, Pillar Point, The Coup, Mural Amphitheatre at Seattle Center, Aug. 21(Free) All ages—J.S.H. Arts in Nature Festival*
This yearly festival is the work of the Nature Consortium, which aims to connect people, arts and nature. Two days of music, dancing, and activities take over West Seattle’s Camp Long, Seattle’s only campground and so well-kept a secret that I hadn’t heard of it until now. The festival embraces this unique space (which hosts rock climbing environmental education year-round) with each stage directly inspired by its surroundings (Lodge, Meadow, Pond, Glacier). This year, the festival hosts the Museum of Sound, with a separate interactive arts installation in each of Camp Long’s eight rustic cabins.
If you go: West Seattle’s Camp Long, Aug. 22-23 ($10/day or $16 weekend pass) Arts in Nature Festival, Raw Power *
Last year, local grunge pioneers Mudhoney rocked Seattle to its core when they played on top of the Space Needle. Local radio station KEXP set up this unprecedented and undeniably awesome event. There’s no topping a concert like that, but KEXP has come close this year: On Sunday, yet another rock band will play on the roof of yet another city icon.
The special supergroup is comprised of Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, Duff McKagan of Guns n’ Roses, and Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees. Mark Arm, Mudhoney’s lead singer, will also provide lead vocals for this contingent of titans scheduled for the roof of Pike Place Market. And it gets even better: The group is performing an entire set of Iggy Pop songs—for free. If you’re feeling philanthropic, go to the after party in the Corner Market Building. All proceeds benefit KEXP’s new home, currently under construction in Seattle Center.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iQonNrfzzY[/embed] If you go: Pike Place Market, Aug.23 Raw Power, (Free). All ages.—J.S.H. Modest Mouse
For two decades now, Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock has given voice to the convoluted Nihilistic thoughts that lurk deep in the recesses of most people’s minds. For millennials who found his music at a younger age, he was frequently the voice of rebellion, sardonically questioning the existence of God and sincerity of man. To his older fans, Brock’s songwriting offered insights into the looming dread of mortality and the consequences of seeing life from a jaded perspective.
The Modest Mouse song “Bankrupt on Selling,” off the 1997 album “The Lonesome Crowded West,” played in the background of an episode of
This American Life that analyzed the causes of 2008’s Great Recession. Brock’s lyrics—accompanied by rough-hewn modern Americana rock that goes heavy on the banjo and horns—remains astonishingly catchy while grappling with those intimidating philosophical quagmires. This is not music full of easy answers, but of harsh realities that linger on the tip of your tongue. As Brock would put it, “My brain is the cliff and my heart’s the bitter buffalo.” The lyric, also off “The Lonesome Crowded West,” is a reference to the Native American practice of herding buffalo off cliffs en masse to kill and eat them.
If you go: Paramount Theatre, Aug. 24 and 25 Modest Mouse, ($53.50). All ages. — J.S.H.