5 things to do in Seattle this weekend

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Upstream Music Fest + Summit 2017

One-part music festival, one-part music conference, I’d say this event is worth a “two things.” In addition to the festival, emerging artists, industry experts and creative collaborators will be discussing the changing music economy. Founded by billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Upstream is basically the Seattle version of South by Southwest.

The Music Fest

Unless you're a local music junkie, you'll probably only recognize a handful of bands on the list, but where's all the fun in knowing every artist and every song? With 300+ artists performing at 25 different stages throughout the Pioneer Square neighborhood, this festival is great for discovering new artists and music. It's not all Seattle artists either, there will be musicians from Boise, Idaho, Portland, Oregon and Vancouver B.C. I'm personally most excited for Friday night. You'll find me at the main stage for Beat Connection, Deep Sea Diver and AlunaGeorge. Check out the full line up here.

The Summit

The music industry is a hard business to be in, we all know that. At the summit, attendees will hear from keynote speakers Macklemore (because, of course), Quincy Jones, Portia Sabin and Ron Jones. Find a list of the summit themes here. I'm most interested in hearing from artist and industry experts about how, with a decline in album sales, artists can navigate the current streaming model — and still make money. The music industry is far from immune to the changing technological landscape, and the summit will allow us all to address this locally.

If you go: Upstream Music Fest + Summit 2017, Pioneer Square, May 11-13 ($40-425)—C.R.

Jim Henson Con

Dust off your puppets, retake the “Which Muppet am I?” quiz, and keep your copy of The Dark Crystal right in the DVD player on repeat where it belongs . . . It’s Jim Henson Con! This all-ages event, cosponsored by Geek Girl Con, takes place this Saturday all day. With only one week to go until The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited opens at MOPOP, have some fun at Jim Henson Con (costumes encouraged). There will be crafts, puppetry performances, and a sing-a-long to “The Rainbow Connection,” in case this week finds you needing renewed faith in humanity.

If you go: Jim Henson Con, Central Library, 10 a.m. May 13 (Free)—N.C.

Cory Doctorow, in Conversation with Neal Stephenson

“The difference between utopia and dystopia isn’t how well everything runs. It’s about what happens when everything fails,” writes Cory Doctorow in a recent Wired article discussing his just-released novel Walkaway. I don’t even consider myself a science fiction fan and I hang on Doctorow’s every word, whether it’s at Boing Boing or Wired, featured in the documentary The Internet’s Own Boy, or in his many novels, including Little Brother (which comes with a Neil Gaiman endorsement right on the cover!).  Doctorow’s book tour will bring him to Seattle, where he’ll be in conversation with local writer/ thinker Neal Stephenson.

If you’ve never read Doctorow’s work, you’re in luck –he’s an outspoken advocate on liberalizing copyright law and most of his works are available on his website, some of it on a pay-what-you-can basis. Here’s a wonderful article he recently wrote for Wired.

If you go: Cory Doctorow, Neptune Theater, May 15 ($34)—N.C.

James Forman Jr.

Yale Law School Professor and former D.C. public defender James Forman Jr. comes to Town Hall to discuss his first book Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. Called “superb and shattering” by the NYT, Forman Jr.’s book tries to answer the infinitely challenging and disheartening question: “How did a majority-black jurisdiction end up incarcerating so many of its own?” By examining intention and policy over the last few decades, Forman (the son of civil rights leader James Forman) paints a picture of how America arrived at where it’s at today, disproportionately locking up African-Americans.

If you go: James Forman Jr., Town Hall Seattle, 7:30 p.m. May 16 ($5)—N.C.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Cambria Roth

Cambria Roth

Cambria Roth is formerly a digital editor at Crosscut, where she curated and wrote Crosscut’s daily, weekly and election newsletters.