9 things to do in Seattle

Edward II will screen at the Seattle International Film Festival. (Courtesy of SIFF)

SIFF Highlights

The Other Side of Everything: This fascinating documentary sees the whole history of Yugoslavia (or what used to be Yugoslavia) through the story of a downtown Belgrade apartment building where director Mila Turajlic grew up and her mother — pro-democracy activist Srbijanka Turajlic — still lives. Other Side (the title alludes to the Communist-enforced division of the apartment which put strangers on the other side of a living-room door) incorporates archival footage of protests, lootings and police confrontations, much of it shot from the Turajlics’ apartment windows. Its study of friendships strained by political divides is powerful, while its look at what one generation owes the next in fighting, often futilely, for freedom is poignant. —M.U.

If you go: 7 p.m. May 18, SIFF Film Center, and 3:30 p.m. May 22, SIFF Uptown.

First Reformed: Written and directed by Paul Schrader (script-writer on Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver), this quiet movie becomes Dostoevsky-intense as a small-town chaplain (Ethan Hawke, going into darker territory than he’s ever done before) wrestles with questions of conscience that prove literally explosive. With steely focus, Schrader exposes some raw national nerves as he takes on the malaise of our times: ecological nightmares, domestic terrorism, commercialization of spiritual matters. —M.U.

If you go: 4 p.m. May 18, SIFF Egyptian; 7 p.m. May 22, SIFF Uptown.

Edward II: If you’ve never seen a film by Derek Jarman — the gay-trickster wild man of 1970s-1990s British cinema — this archival presentation is a good place to start. Based on Christopher Marlowe’s 1592 play, it’s a brutal study of royal power struggles and frustrated desires in 14th-century England. A young Tilda Swinton appears as Edward’s queen who seethes with resentment at her male rival for the king’s affections. Humor is provided by Jarman’s deliberately zany anachronisms: flashlights, wireless radios, plastic toys, a Cole Porter tune as sung by Annie Lennox, and plenty more. —M.U.

If you go: 8:30 p.m. May 22 and 12:30 May 25, SIFF Uptown


Coyote Central’s Annual Art Sale

For over 30 years, Central District nonprofit Coyote Central has been providing creative workshops  and classes to middle school aged youth. Join Coyote for their Annual Spring Arts Sale, featuring ceramics, furnishings, jewelry and more, created by the professionals who give their time to Coyote’s many inspiring programs. Check out and take home Noble Golden’s layered and gorgeous spirit bowls, Pat Espey’s nature-inspired pottery, or Mike Zitka’s irresistible, hand-carved bird sculptures, among so many others. Money raised goes to supporting future Coyote programs — from dance class to woodworking workshops to public art installation projects. —N.C.

If you go: Coyote Central's Annual Art Sale, Coyote Central, May 18 (Free)

Maïmouna Guerresi: Aisha in Wonderland

In this exhibit at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, flying carpets seem to float casually just above the floor — on pause for the moment, but looking as if they could start zipping around at the flip of a switch. The carpets are part of Italian-Senegalese artist Maïmouna Guerresi’s new Lewis Carroll-inspired show, in which Carroll’s Alice becomes “Aisha” who, in a series of stunning, surreal photographs, embarks on eye-catching feminist/Islamic journeys. Sometimes Guerresi’s female models perch

Gosha Levochkin, “Any Quest Comes with Unfamiliarity” (2018), watercolor and acrylic on paper  PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Treason Gallery
Gosha Levochkin, “Any Quest Comes with Unfamiliarity” (2018), watercolor and acrylic on paper. (Courtesy of Treason Gallery)

nonchalantly at the end of planks looming above deep voids (“Red Trampoline”). Sometimes they stroll against painted backdrops of a baobob tree (Senegal’s national symbol) or a minaret-dominated village skyline. All of them have a strange, towering presence, as though their colorful robes, rather than their feet and limbs, were holding them up. This is powerful, enchanting work. —M.U.

If you go: Aisha in Wonderland, Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, through June 2 (Free)

Gosha Levochkin: Overworshipped

“Colorful,” “whimsical” and “morbid” isn’t a standard string of adjectives, but it’s the only combo that will do in describing Overworshipped, a show by New York-based Russian-American artist Gosha Levochkin at Treason Gallery. Levochkin, who grew up in Moscow and Los Angeles, has an idiosyncratic cartoon/pop-art visual sensibility. His paintings range from laugh-out-loud funny (“A Trip to the Liquor Store,” with its whirlwind-disintegrated booze-seeker) to airily spiritual (“Any Quest Comes with Unfamiliarity,” with its childlike face devoid of any facial detail). The show is crowded with “Russian Cowboys,” Gumby-like figures in clunky boots and towering pilgrim hats, all dangling from hangman’s nooses even as they nonchalantly check their cellphones for messages. Simultaneously buoyant and macabre, “Overworshipped” makes an unsettling impression. —M.U.

If you go: Overworshipped, Treason Gallery, through June 2 (Free)


Complexions Contemporary Ballet

J.S. Bach and David Bowie inspire the two pieces on this program by the New York-based company. “Star Dust,” billed as “a tribute to the genre-bending innovation of David Bowie,” is set to actual Bowie recordings and, from the looks of the trailer, employs plenty of Bowie-esque costumes, make-up, glitter and theatricality. Put on your red shoes and dance the blues. —M.U.

If you go: Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Meany Hall, May 17-19 ($41-$60)

What’s Missing?

Spectrum Dance Theater director Donald Byrd collaborates with Beth Corning of Pittsburgh’s Glue Factory Projects (specializing in work by dancers over 40) in this two-person show that, with a blend of anxiety and humor, focuses on “the multi-layered complications of perception” in the fake news era. It premiered in Pittsburgh last year, and makes its West Coast premiere this week. —M.U.

If you go: What's Missing?, Spectrum Dance Studios, May 17-19 ($20)

Food and wine

Fermentation by Northwest Wine Dinner

Chef Rachel Yang (Joule, Revel, Trove) creates Korean-inspired dishes with stop-you-in-your-tracks flavor and a story. And it’s no accident that many of these dishes are fermented, whether it be her fennel kimchi or mung bean pancakes. Fermented foods, which make up about a third of our diets, are strong, funky and one-of-a kind, as well as a window to our heritage and culture. For this special dinner, Chef Yang will create seven dishes celebrating fermentation to be paired with one of the most beloved fermented creations of all: wine. The night will guest star winemakers Chad Stock of Minumus/Omero and John House of Ovum Cellars, both in town to tout Oregon Wine Month and serve five wines.

If you go: Fermentation by Northwest Wine Dinner, Joule, 6 p.m. May 20 ($125, includes wine pairings)

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About the Authors & Contributors

Michael Upchurch

Novelist Michael Upchurch (“Passive Intruder”) has written about books and the Seattle arts scene for the past 30 years.