10 things to do in Seattle

Illustration of a plane flying

Without Fear (Amelia Earhart) by Jeffrey Veregge (Courtesy of Stonington Gallery)

First Thursday art walk in Pioneer Square

The Greatest Show on Earth by Holly Ballard Martz
The Greatest Show on Earth by Holly Ballard Martz. (Photo courtesy of Method Gallery)

It’s time again for First Thursday art walk in Pioneer Square — so don comfortable shoes and an open mind. (Need a gallery map? Here’s one!) As with every month, there are oodles of options, but here are a few of our must-sees. At Method Gallery, Seattle artist Holly Ballard Martz uses a shock-and-awe approach in The Greatest Show on Earth (through May 25), for which she has tented the entire space in red and white stripes that evoke both the American flag and a circus tent — which sounds about right these days. At Foster White Gallery, the always engaging Dutch-Canadian artist Andre Petterson presents a new show of big, bright mixed media work that seems to reveal an obsession with smashed pianos and splayed keys (through May 25). At Stonington Gallery, Jeffrey Veregge (Port Gamble S’Klallam) shows irresistible pop-concoctions that use Coast Salish formline drawing to illustrate American heroes of flight, including Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, the Wright Brothers and the Tuskegee airmen (through May 31). –B.D.

If you go: Pioneer Square art walk, May 2, hours vary by venue. (Free)

Lifting the Sky: An Indigenous Fashion Show

Models for MEKA Clothing
Models Alyssa London, Carol and Samantha Biasca. (Photo courtesy of Meka Clothing/Rabbit Hearted Girls Photography)

Seattle is having a major fashion moment right now — with the new show at MOHAI and a forthcoming show at MOPOP (more on that next week) and, in addition, a fashion show devoted entirely to garments made by Native American designers. Lifting the Sky: An Indigenous Fashion Show, will showcase styles that blend contemporary looks with traditional iconography and regalia, augmented by DJ music and powwow drumming. (Bonus: an all-Native fashion market.) Presented in partnership with yəhaw̓, the massive show of indigenous artwork currently on view at the new ARTS at King Street Station space, the event similarly celebrates the creative lives of Native Americans, and reminds participants that indigenous culture is not merely an historical artifact — it is living, breathing and looking toward the future. –B.D.

If you go: Seattle Art Museum, May 2 at 5 p.m. (Free)

Crypticon Seattle

SeaTac is going to get decidedly spooky this weekend. For the 12th year in a row, Crypticon Seattle will haunt the halls of the DoubleTree Hotel, where conference attendees will celebrate their love of pop horror, including supernatural, goth and other ghoulish delights. The weekend is full of activities exploring the movies, books and television programs that define “creepy stuff in all its forms.” Visited by some 5,000 people (and an untold number of vampires), Crypticon boasts more than 60 panels, with topics including the forensic science of blunt force trauma, the greater meaning of zombies, the Pacific Northwest’s history with and affinity for the weird and macabre, POC representation in horror and nightmare-inducing storytelling after the sun goes down. Major horror fans will just die to learn that this year’s special guests include actress Sheryl Lee, best known for her role as Laura Palmer, the enchanting and mysterious dead girl from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Accompanying her is Ray Wise, who played her deranged father, Leland Palmer. After-parties are open to anyone with a ticket and the guts to show up to the Puget Sound’s scariest event of the year. –Agueda Pacheco Flores

If you go: Crypticon Seattle at SeaTac DoubleTree Hotel, May 3-5. Times and prices vary.

Artists address climate change at Crosscut Fest

Artist RYAN Fedderson
RYAN! Feddersen displays one of her “Coyote Now” panels (which viewers are asked to color in) outside her backyard studio in Tacoma, June 29, 2018. (Photo by Matt M. McKnight/Crosscut)

The Pacific Northwest is bursting with artists whose creative work reflects a deep concern about the environment — no surprise, given the immense role nature plays in the region’s collective hearts and minds. At the Crosscut Festival on Saturday (May 4), I’ll be speaking with a panel of ecologically focused local artists about the increasing urgency of their work, given the escalating signs of climate change. Joining me in discussion are RYAN! Fedderson, a multimedia artist whose interactive installations incorporate Native storytelling traditions; Chris Jordan, the internationally renowned photographer who uses mass objects (e.g. 240,000 plastic bags arranged to look like a dinosaur) to illustrate consumerism; Judy Twedt, an atmospheric scientist at UW who “translates” climate change data into musical compositions; and Barbara Matilsky, former curator at the Whatcom Museum whose focus is on environmental art. We’ll also get a tour of Markel Uriu’s An Object Lesson exhibit, about invasive species, featuring more than 12,000 simulated starlings. Crosscut Festival ticket sales end May 2 at 5 p.m., so grab 'em quick! –B.D.

If you go: Crosscut Festival, “What it means to be an artist in a world of climate change” panel, May 4 at 1:30 p.m. Admission included with festival ticket.


Singlet actresses
Singlet is now playing at 12th Ave Arts (Photo courtesy of Sasha Arutyunova via Washington Ensemble Theatre)


Two white women, wearing wrestling singlets, enter a white cube. What ensues is a series of unexpected entanglements, as the two engage in a series of interactions that may seem especially familiar to women: convincing a friend she looks amazing (to absurd extremes), having each other's back at work (even if resorting to garbled motivational cliches, such as "I was waiting inside me this whole time!"), dealing with a mean girl, doing the delicate mother-daughter dance. There are a couple of actual dance numbers, too, interspersed among these blurry-edged skits, and an oddly charming moment with an animatronic bear. Singlet is the brainchild of Brooklyn-based performance artist Erin Markey, who has earned adoring fans for off-kilter humor and outta-nowhere insights. It's also the promising first selection in Washington Ensemble Theater's new "Gush" series, devoted to bringing contemporary theater work from outside Seattle to local audiences. Nonlinear, Singlet nonetheless goes the distance, taking viewers on a journey that ranges from funny-strange to furious. –B.D.

If you go: Washington Ensemble Theatre at 12th Ave. Arts, through May 5. ($25)

Nick Estes: Our History is the Future

Author Nick Estes

Three years ago, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota stood at the ready. It meant to block a section of the thousand-plus mile Dakota Access pipeline. Before long, the protest encampment bloomed into one of the most significant social movements of the 21st century, pouring light on a gross violation of Indigenous sovereignty. A new book by Nick Estes, an American studies professor at the University of New Mexico and citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux tribe, looks to situate the historic protests at Standing Rock in a broader American story. It stretches back to 1804, when the Lakota people attempted to thwart Lewis and Clark’s journey along the Missouri River, and weaves forward in history through the 20th century Red Power movement. The story ends — and continues — with today’s Indigenous-led struggles against oil pipelines and other fossil fuel projects. The accumulation of resistance, writes Estes, “is not always spectacular, nor instantaneous, but . . . nevertheless makes the endgame of elimination an impossibility.” Estes will be in town and participating in Red May, a monthlong speaker series organizers are calling a “vacation from capitalism.” –Mason Bryan

If you go: Elliott Bay Books, May 7 at 7 p.m. (Free)

The Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank
The Diary of Anne Frank is playing at Seattle Children's Theatre (Photo courtesy of SCT)

Acts of intolerance are on the rise, including anti-Semitic violence. That makes it a good time to revive this play based on the journal a young Dutch Jewish girl kept while in hiding with her family from the Nazis. Anne is intellectually precocious, emotionally volatile (in the midst of puberty) and a faithful and cogent chronicler of life under the threat of Hitler’s “final solution” — the extermination of all Jews. In the end, that was the fate of Anne and much of her family. But her diary survived, and Wendy Kesselman’s play (based on an earlier work by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett) remains a vital document for Holocaust education — as well as a candid, relatable coming-of-age story. –Misha Berson

If you go: Seattle Children’s Theatre at Seattle Center, through May 19. Recommended for ages 9 and older. ($25-$45)


Is she a sly, bad-girl temptress, or a victim of misogyny? A throwback to the cliché of the flamboyantly sexualized gypsy (in modern parlance, Romany)? Or is Carmen an enduring archetype of a gutsy gal with agency, whose allure and arias still seduce us? Such questions hover over any production of this Georges Bizet opera, which Seattle Opera is presenting in a new staging by British director Paul Curran with sopranos Ginger Costa-Jackson and Zanda Svede trading off on the fiery lead role. One thing is certain: Bizet’s score is an operatic jewel with many glittering facets. –Misha Berson

If you go: Seattle Opera at McCaw Hall, May 4-19. ($75-$174)

Seattle Style: Fashion/Function

A gold gown and red gore-tex jacket
A gown by Seattle designer Howard Blair and a red Gore-Tex jacket from Mountain Safety Research. (Photos courtesy of MOHAI)

The phrase “Seattle style” never fails to spark unkind sartorial stereotypes — our slickers elicit snickers, our grunge evokes grimaces. But Seattle Style: Fashion/Function, the new exhibit at MOHAI, reveals the innovation inherent in locally born style, as well as how the weather has played a significant role in our region’s evolving couture culture. From the early outdoor outfitters such as Eddie Bauer and Mountain Safety Research, through the 1980s geniuses behind clothing that changes color with body heat (hello, Generra!), to the current crop of designers such as Prairie Underground, Luly Yang, Tomboy X and Eighth Generation, the thoroughly entertaining show emphasizes how time and again local fashion leaders have been willing to push fashion to fit the Pacific Northwest. –B.D.

If you go: MOHAI, May 4-October 14. ($17.95-$21.95)

ZAPP at Seattle Public Library

Zines at SPL
 A sampling of zines from the ZAPP library. (Photo courtesy of Seattle Public Library)

What’s scrappy, artful, low-budget, no-holds-barred, illustrated, sometimes hand-sewn, sometimes stapled, and always provides an intimate look at its creator? Zines! Because of their often delicate construction, many zines disappear into the ether (or the recycling bin). But starting in 1996, the Zine Archive and Publishing Project (ZAPP) created a permanent collection of these DIY wonders. Originally housed at Hugo House, ZAPP went into storage during the literary center’s redevelopment. Now those 30,000 zines, minicomics and tiny-press titles are open to the public once again in a new home at Seattle Public Library downtown. Seeing this incredible wealth of creativity on display is remarkably inspiring — so don’t be alarmed if you find yourself scribbling and stapling your own zine together late some night. –B.D 

If you go: ZAPP at Seattle Central Library, Level 7, Wednesdays 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Free)

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