The Weekend List: Couch Fest, theater inspired by detainees, and tons of music
* Denotes items that are $15 or less
Paper Angels *
SIS Productions, a Seattle theater group, usually focuses on producing contemporary works that are both Asian American and women themed. Its latest production is its first historical drama and it’s chosen an especially poignant subject: the Chinese immigrants detained by the U.S. government because of this country’s Chinese Exclusion Act in the early 1900s. “Paper Angels,” written by female playwright Genny Lim, is based on the poetry written by detainees at Angel Island in San Francisco. This production is its Northwest premiere.
“Since there isn't a single theatre in the state focused on presenting Asian American theatre classics, we knew that if we didn't do it, it probably wouldn't ever be done,” says Kathy Hsieh, who helped found SIS. The company is producing the play in both Tacoma and in Seattle. In Seattle, its location is especially powerful: INScape Arts, an artist studio/workspace in the International District that was once both an immigration and detention facility.
If you go: Paper Angels, Dukesbay Theater in Tacoma, Aug. 7 – 16 (and at INScape in Seattle from Aug. 20 – 31 ($14)—F.D.
Hot Cakes Capitol Hill Opening Weekend *
The fame of Autumn Martin’s little molten chocolate cakes, made with organic ingredients in old school techniques, has long made a line snake out the door of her little Ballard brick-and-mortar. I can personally say that the molten cake empire is worth the hubbub and a try of their Rye Whiskey Caramel Sauce alone justifies any wait, though I’ve never been able to stop at just that. Now, Hot Cakes comes to Capitol Hill, complete with all of the Ballard favorites, like the Peanut Butter Cup Molten Chocolate Cake and their boozy shakes, plus a few additions. Make your own s’more at the communal fire pit or treat yourself to soft serve with a selection of decadent toppings, like cocoa nib toffee and Hot Cakes’ amazing caramel sauces. For those with restricted diets, don’t despair –Hot Cakes also does an awesome job of offering gluten-free and dairy-free options. The cakery opens at 4 p.m. everyday, with a $5 happy hour that includes Spiked Drinking Caramel (with mescal), two cookies, and a glass of house wine.
If you go: Hot Cakes, Ballard and now on Capitol Hill—N.C.
The Furnace Presents Alan Sincic *
The Furnace Reading series, now in its fourth season, teams up with Seattle-based literary journal Big Fiction to present a performance by Alan Sincic. Sincic, a Florida-based writer whose “fiction roams the borderland between children and adults, poetry and prose, the page and the stage,” will read his story “Sugar.” The performance will be accompanied by a soundscape created by gifted filmmaker, musician, and (full disclosure) my longtime friend Stephen Anunson. Hollow Earth Radio, nominated for a Stranger Genius Award last year, is a local treasure and, if you’re not able to make it down to their cozy space on 20th and Union, tune in online!
KEXP Concerts at the Mural: Natasha Kmeto, Manatee Commune, Shaprece *
KEXP’s excellent free concert series continues on Friday, this time replete with trance-inducing electronic sounds. The local radio station/musical Godsend has partnered with Decibel Festival for this particular event. The lineup features artists who prefer making music with keyboards, computers and drum machines. Natasha Kmeto headlines this free Decibel teaser event (the festival takes place in September); her imperious R&B approach to modern EDM is a pleasure to behold. Her singing is equal parts Florence + The Machine, Beyonce and Katy Perry, but accompanied by subtle, manic club beats instead of rock or pop music. Manatee Commune, the project of Bellingham producer Grant Eadie, is also on the set list. Eadie describes his work as “bedroom electronica,” an apt term for his mellow and easygoing instrumentals. He occasionally picks up the bpm a bit, however.
If you go: KEXP Concerts at the Mural: Natasha Kmeto, Manatee Commune, Shaprece, Mural Amphitheater, (Seattle Center) Aug 14 (Free) All ages.—J.S.H.
Legendary Children: Paris is Burning & beyond *
There’s no better word than fierce to describe what Seattle Public Library and the Seattle Art Museum have planned for this evening, which is part dance party, part art exhibit stroll, part fashion show and part film screening. Said film is the terrific 1990 Paris is Burning, the documentary about drag queens, the glitzy ball scene from the late 1980s, and black and Latino queer culture that pretty much introduced vogueing to the world. SAM’s current show, Disguise: Masks and Global African Art will stay late and open for viewing. Community talk back is scheduled at 7 p.m. A DJ and live performers are scheduled. Organized by and for Seattle’s Trans, Queer People of Color communities.
If you go: Legendary Children: Paris is Burning & beyond, Seattle Art Museum, 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 14 (Free with RSVP)—F.D.
Cairo Presents: Vibrations *
If you’re tapped into the DIY music scene around here, chances are you’ve at least heard about a peculiar, precious little venue called Cairo. It’s a hybrid boutique of sorts, doubling as a (slightly undersized) venue and a high-end vintage shop. It’s a little pricey but their collection of vintage clothes, knick knacks, baubles, records, etc. is splendidly curated. Honestly, the only thing holding Cairo back is the space’s limited carrying capacity. This week, that all goes out the window—and into the park! The venue’s annual all-day summer music bonanza takes place on Sunday at the amphitheater in the middle of Capitol HiIl’s Volunteer Park. As one might guess by the event’s ultra-public location, the concert is free and open to the public.
This year’s lineup includes the likes of surf rock patriarchy-smashers Chastity Belt, post-grunge noise machine So Pitted, local DIY fixture Mega Bog, Appendixes, Iji, Crater, Nail Polish and Versing. There are also a couple of DJs on the bill. Quite a few visual artists will also participate in the event in myriad different ways. Look out for some awesome visual projections around 8:30 p.m. This event is a heyday for one of Seattle’s hardest working independent venues. Joining the party is worth the time.
If you go: Cairo presents: Vibrations Volunteer Park, Aug. 16 (Free)— J.S.H.
Best of Couch Fest *
For the last eight years, Couch Fest film festival has been bringing film lovers together in unconventional spaces around the city to experience short films. Where the average viewing experience is about your relationship to the screen, this film fest also encourages you to form a bond with your fellow audience members while you do something you doubtlessly haven’t done much of before –settle into a stranger’s couch to watch a movie. To celebrate Couch Fest becoming part of the international Schnit.org Film Fest, the programmers will reminisce about and screen their best (and worst) films, capturing all the fun and inventiveness inherit to this little festival. I’m hoping Northwest Film Forum’s armrests are removable so each row can serve as one big couch.
If you go: Best of Couch Fest, Northwest Film Forum, Aug. 17 ($6)— N.C.