The Weekend List: Biblical opera, music outdoors and a garage sale

Crosscut archive image.

Bass-baritone Gordon Hawkins returns as the mad king Nebuchadnezzar, or "Nabucco" at Seattle Opera.

* Events that are $15 or less


Verdi’s Biblical opera about war, power and revenge (why yes, they do make operas about such things) kicks off Seattle Opera’s new season. I’m particularly interested because 1) It features the incomparable Gordon Hawkins in the lead role 2) It’s a Seattle premiere and 3) It officially signals the Aidan Lang era (even though the general director arrived a year ago, this marks his programming debut). Lang has said he wants to shake things up, artistically-speaking; this production is being billed as a cross between a Shakespeare play and a rock concert. And in an effort to better connect the audience to the production, Seattle Opera has built a stage over the orchestra pit, moving the production 30 feet closer to patrons in the front row. Prepare to hear Oohs and Aahs or, if you’re a hater, Huhs?! on opening night. More from Lang on the production below.


If you go: Nabucco, McCaw Hall, August 8-22 (Tickets start at $25 )—F.D.

Work No. 360: Half the air in a given space *

Crosscut archive image.
Martin Creed's Work No. 360

If you’re having art withdrawals following the awesomeness of last weekend’s Seattle Art Fair (and Out of Sight), you might want to wander over to the Henry and lose yourself for a few hours. And, if you’re the sort who’s really jonesing for another art experience that consists of interacting with an inflatable ball (the Art Fair featured a giant beach ball by Negar Farajiani), I especially draw your attention to the Henry’s lower level, where Work No. 360: Half the air in a given space is on display. Dozens and dozens of silver balloons takeover the gallery, eliciting joy or perhaps terror if you tend to be claustrophobic. The piece is the brainchild of English artist Martin Creed. Is the work simplistic or totally brilliant? Discuss.

If you go: Work No. 360: Half the air in a given space, The Henry Art Gallery at the UW, Through Sept. 27 ($10)—F.D.

KEXP Concerts at the Mural: Other Lives, The Shivas, Tangerine *

Those who have the flexibility to get off work by 5:30 p.m. on Friday should thank their lucky stars. Each Friday in August, KEXP hosts a free outdoor show at the Mural Amphitheater in Seattle Center, just beneath the Space Needle. As the city’s retro-futurist mascot stands majestically in the background, some of Seattle’s finest bands entertain a diverse crowd populating an expansive lawn, many of them kicking back with blankets and pillows. The gentle slope of the grassy area makes it possible to see perfectly a band performing several hundred feet back. This is nice for those not interested in packing themselves up like sardines next to the stage. The lineup this week is slanted towards rock and roll; local bands Tangerine and The Shivas play the first and second opening sets. Tangerine creates an unforgettable blend of R&B, surf rock and pop rock propelled by lead singer Marika Justad’s crystalline voice. The Shivas are a bit heavier and channel a very catchy garage vibe. The headliners, Los Angeles’s Other Lives, play melodic psychedelic rock that’s soothing and mysterious enough to charm snakes. The only downside of these free shows is the steep prices for parking for attendees who forgo public transit or biking.


If you go: KEXP Concerts at the Mural: Other Lives, The Shivas, Tangerine, Mural Amphitheatre at Seattle Center, Aug 7 (Free)—J.S.H.

Bedtime Stories Summer Movies: The Princess Bride *

Outdoor Summer Movies continue to thrive with Three Dollar Bill's "Bedtime Stories" series, presented on Fridays in August at Cal Anderson Park. The series kicks off with The Princess Bride, a lovable staple of outdoor film screenings that’s sure to draw a fair number of Utilikilted viewers (as well as those who can quote the entire movie). Grab some nachos at Rancho Bravo or brave the lines at Molly Moon’s and then lie back as the fairytales unfold. Look for Adventures in Babysitting, Edward Scissorhands, and The Neverending Story on subsequent Fridays.

If you go: Bedtime Stories Summer Movies Series, Cal Anderson Park, Fridays nights in August (Free)—N.C.


The Look of Silence *

Three years ago, Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Act of Killing (produced by masters Werner Herzog and Errol Morris) broke new ground in documentaries when it detailed the horrors of the 1965-66 Indonesian genocide through uniquely filmed interviews with some of the perpetrators themselves. Like many documentary watchers, I go into most thinking I already know how I feel about some topic (and sometimes even watching to confirm how I feel). You know Oppenheimer's documentaries are among the best because he doesn't let you sit high atop a moral perch; no character is left uncomplicated, no story is simple, and you’re left with more questions than answers. According to Oppenheimer: "The Act of Killing exposed the consequences for all of us when we build our everyday reality on terror and lies. The Look of Silence explores what it is like to be a survivor in such a reality."

If you go: The Look of Silence, Northwest Film Forum, August 7-13 ($11)—N.C.

Pizza Fest*

Three days, three venues, 22 bands, six DJs and one “sloppy, saucy” pizza-eating contest: It’s Pizza Fest 2015!  Pizza Fest is a punk rock, garage rock, etc. festival that began in Chicago in 2009. Each day features a medley of local and touring acts, and the dimly lit venues picked for the festivities couldn’t be more appropriate. It all kicks off at the freshly resurrected Funhouse on Thursday. Seattle alt-rock supergroup ChildBirth (members of Chastity Belt, Pony Time and Tacocat) headlines, alongside a trippy garage surf group called Heaters based in Grand Rapids, MI. This three-piece outfit has awesome rock harmonies and a rare understanding of how to use reverb without going way overboard as so many modern rock groups do. Local DIY rockers Bod also play that night.

Pizza Fest Day Two goes down at Chop Suey, with Ramones-channeling party punk Portland natives Mean Jeans headlining. Seattle-based aggressively soulful rock group Gazebos will also play. Day Three will be held at the hard rock bastion of Seattle music venues, El Corazon. Two more Seattle DIY mainstays, Wimps and SSDD (stands for Steal S*** Do Drugs) are among the many bands on this final set list.


If you go: Pizza Fest,  The Funhouse, Chop Suey, El Corazon, August 6-8 ($10-$15 per day)—J.S.H.

Jarv Dee *

I saw a great many bands during my three days at this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party, and Jarv Dee’s rap show is a serious contender for Best Set. His style—aggressive yet eloquent, brash yet mature—made the crowd go absolutely nuts. He’s the founder of the Seattle-based Moorgang collective, and undoubtedly, one of the group’s foremost lyricists. Only Gifted Gab, the “First Lady of Moorgang,” gives him a run for his money where rapping is concerned. Jarv and Moorgang’s approach to rap is best described as the antithesis of the (sometimes pseudo) intellectual rapping Seattle is well known for, opting instead for a clever but down-to-earth approach to songwriting. His beats are also face-meltingly good, for what it’s worth.


If you go: Jarv Dee, The Crocodile, August 8 ($10)—J.S.H.

Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day *

Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day returns, later in the year than ever before. Make your lists of needed odds-and-ends and craft supplies now because, while I hate to even think it, this may be the last of the neighborhood garage sale days for 2015. This day of treasure hunting coincides with the Broadway Farmers Market so you can support local farmers and the growing number of tempting food stands (tamales!). For a concentrated sales zone, head to the community sale at Cal Anderson Park, or just wander the neighborhood looking for the most alluring of handmade signs.

If you go: Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day, Throughout Capitol Hill, August 9 (Free)—N.C.


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors