8 things to do in Seattle
Joseph Rossano: School
Monday is the 49th annual Earth Day, and the yearly plea to save the planet is more urgent than ever. At Bellevue Arts Museum, a new exhibit calls attention to one piece of the environmental puzzle: the dwindling numbers of salmon and steelhead returning to the Skagit River. For School, Arlington-based glass artist Joseph Rossano has hung some 500 blown-glass fish — created under his guidance by artists, scientists and community members concerned about these disappearing species. Silvered on the inside, the fish glimmer like mirrors, making it impossible not to reflect on our own actions — both taken and ignored. Future fish-making events around Puget Sound and in other places where salmon are dwindling (Inuit, Japanese, and Nordic communities) will augment the existing School to convey how humans can have a positive impact on the earth. –B.D.
If you go: Bellevue Arts Museum through Aug. 11. ($12-$15)
Shayla Lawson: I Think I'm Ready to See Frank Ocean
National Poetry Month festivities continue this week with a powerful poetic pairing at Hugo House. Lauded poet Shayla Lawson visits Hugo House to read from her latest collection, I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean, which teems with her trademark pathos and pop sensibility. You would have been / my first kiss if you hadn’t always / beat me in Street Fighter begins “Street Fighter.” (P.S. She has a dog named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.). Lawson shares the evening with Western Washington University professor Jane Wong, whose latest book, Overpour, explores the Asian American immigrant experience through poems that scald like spilled coffee. –B.D.
If you go: Hugo House, April 18 at 7 p.m. (Free)
The fifth annual edition of this racy and outrageous event features 30 gender-bending performers from across the country — all of whom are here to tantalize, tease and eventually take their clothes off. An early adopter of the boylesque genre, Seattle always represents well at this fest, with performers skilled at both dancing and naming their characters. Witness: Karmen Sutra, Beau Briefs, Waxie Moon, Ernie Von Schmaltz, Faggety Randy, Luminous Pariah and Chandler Svelte. Prepare to clutch pearls and snort-laugh — it’s going to be a wild night. –B.D.
If you go: Triple Door, April 19-20 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. ($25)
Preston Singletary and Ginny Ruffner
Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary is one of Seattle’s art superstars. Skillfully combining two art forms the region is known for — Northwest Coast Native art and glass — he creates sculptures that feel both ancient and fully contemporary. For this new body of work, The Illuminated Forest, Singletary finds inspiration in Tlingit tales of the shaman’s realm. The thick, glass objects, carved in traditional formline style, reflect the animals (both real and supernatural) of the forest and the vital natural resources found within. These hawks, bears and birds moving among trees and bodies of water seem to glow from within — so brightly you wonder if there’s a light bulb hidden within (there isn’t). It’s the perfect complement to the other Seattle art superstar on view at Traver: Ginny Ruffner, whose show, Flora and Fauna, reveals her endless well of creativity when it comes to forming glass into twisty-turny new shapes that seem sourced from outer space. –B.D.
If you go: Traver Gallery through April 27. Artist talk April 20, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Free.)
Bushwick Book Club: Parable of Talents
Each month, the literature-loving music nerds of the Bushwick Book Club create and perform original songs inspired by a book. (The group started in New York — hence the name — and now has chapters in several cities.) This month’s performances spring from Parable of Talents, by sci-fi writer Octavia Butler, who lived in Lake Forest Park until her death in 2006. The story (published in 1998) is set in a dystopian future where a fundamentalist Christian sect, “Christian America,” has come into power and is set on wiping out all other religions, at all costs. So, you know, a totally improbable plot. The evening’s host is the one and only DJ Riz Rollins of KEXP, who brings together guest musicians and performers, including Reggie Garrett, Om Johari, Okanomode, Tiffany Wilson and Nikkita Oliver. –B.D.
If you go: Bushwick Book Club at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. ($10)
Queer, Mama. Crossroads
“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare said. “And all the men and women merely players.” So how come such a comparatively piddling number of women (and women’s stories) appear on stage? Recent studies show that, despite decades of fighting for equity, women are still underrepresented in theatrical storylines, stage roles and stage crews. If you’re female and a person of color, those numbers shrink further. And if you’re female, POC and queer? Oof. All of which is to say three cheers to Seattle writer Anastacia-Renee, whose new play, Queer, Mama. Crossroads, stages the stories of six queer Black women, three of whom have died violently (and whose names reflect their status in society: Invisible 1, No Hashtag and Forgotten). More poetic than narrative, the portraits painted are nonetheless affecting — and offer a glimpse of how truly diverse theater might play out. –B.D.
If you go: Annex Theatre, through May 4, 7:30 p.m. ($15-$40)
Thank you, Earshot Jazz, for continuing to bring the world's most progressive musicians to Seattle year after year. And thank you, Royal Room, for providing those musicians with a uniquely cool and comfortable place to make their magic. Tonight it's Makaya McCraven, the 35-year-old, London-born drummer who's equal parts traditional bandleader and cutting-edge producer. McCraven approaches traditional jazz with a hip-hop mindset, "sampling" influences ranging from African percussion, prog rock and underground electronica on the way to a wholly contemporary, boundary-pushing form of improvised music. Ambitious recordings like Universal Beings and In the Moment collect snippets from globe-spanning sessions into mesmerizing collections that only hint at McCraven's prowess — which, naturally, is best understood live. –J.Z.
If you go: Royal Room, April 19. ($20)
Teleclere EP release party
In the early 1980s, Tony Benton was barely into his 20s when he and a few South Seattle friends recorded a handful of soul and R&B recordings under the name Teleclere. Benton was fascinated by the cutting-edge musical technology of the era, chiefly synthesizers and drum machines, and Teleclere put them to use alongside the standard bass, drums and guitar for a smoothed-out, experimental sound that fused organic with electronic. Teleclere songs like "Special" and "Fantasy Love" were relegated to posterity as Benton went on to a decadeslong career in radio and community organizing until the rabid collectors at London-based Fantasy Love Records discovered them and issued the Fantasy Love EP worldwide last month. Tonight Benton brings the original band together for a one-time performance to celebrate the vinyl release. DJ Mr. Supreme, owner of one of the most impressive vinyl collections in the world, opens. You don't know Seattle music history until you've dug this deep. –J.Z.
If you go: Rumba Notes, 6 p.m., April 20. (Free)