Crosscut Ideas Festival: What to expect from Saturday's sessions

The final day of the festival is an all-day in-person event, featuring former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, author Ibram X. Kendi and more.

2019 Crosscut Festival

Attendees gather for a panel at the 2019 Crosscut Festival, hosted by Seattle University. (Steph McGuire for Crosscut) 

It’s the last day of the 2023 Crosscut Ideas Festival, and it’s jam-packed with events ranging from Jeopardy! debates to former presidential candidates. The all-day Saturday in-person event, including art installations, workshops and keynote speakers, will be held at the Amazon Meeting Center, 2031 Seventh Ave. 

If you haven’t bought tickets but are interested in attending, you still have one last chance. Find a full list of speakers, sessions and ticket prices at

Here are today’s in-person sessions: 

  • Vox's "Decoder" live podcast taping: Intelligence in Jeopardy: Washington native Ken Jennings, the highest-earning American game-show contestant ever, now co-hosts the beloved game show Jeopardy!. Jennings believes that learning is a lifelong process that always includes something new. The session starts at 10:30 a.m.
  • Psychedelics and Our Mental Health: Ketamine was approved by the FDA, and it’s likely that more psychedelics will be legalized in the coming years. While they may offer alternatives to traditional treatments, there are many concerns about safety. The session starts at 11:30 a.m.
  • Slate live podcast taping: "Amicus": After potentially the most consequential Supreme Court term in decades, Brennan Center president Michael Waldman argues that the Court’s overreach will likely provoke controversy and backlash. Our recent Crosscut | Elway poll showed similar sentiments in Washington. The session starts at 11:30 a.m. 
  • Artificial Intelligence Is About to Change Everything: Artificial intelligence turned from science fiction to reality, with major tech companies rushing to launch their versions and industries exploring its use. Many believe AI has the potential to revolutionize our lives, while some believe it could ruin them. Our panelists discuss the positives and pitfalls of the technology. The session starts at 1:30 p.m.
  • A Third Party: Andrew Yang joined the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries on a platform that included proposals for a universal basic income, ranked-choice voting and automatic voter registration. After dropping out of the race, Yang founded the Forward Party, which aims to bring together people from across the political spectrum. Yang will be joined by Crosscut executive editor David M. Lee. The session starts at 1:30 p.m.
  • Vox presents "The Weeds" live podcast taping: Anti-trans legislation explained: Jonquilyn Hill, host of Vox’s podcast The Weeds, talks with Danni Askini, co-executive director of the Gender Justice League, about the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ bills at a time when trans people are four times more likely than cisgender people to be victims of violent crime. The session starts at 2:45 p.m.
  • Our Plastic Planet: The expansive Washington Recycling and Packaging Act sought to address the problem of plastic pollution, holding companies responsible for recycling and packaging. The smaller-scale Plastic Reduction Bill did pass, which requires water-bottle filling stations in new buildings, eliminates single-use plastics in hotels and reduces pollution from floats and docks. Are these small steps enough, or should we be doing more? The session starts at 2:45 p.m.
  • Trump, the Truth and Consequences: Michael Cohen, former President Trump’s personal lawyer, has found himself back in the spotlight. After serving three years in prison for payments he made on Trump’s behalf to silence two women about their alleged affairs with the former president, Trump became the first president to be indicted on charges of campaign finance fraud. In a rare occurrence, Cohen sits down to talk about his past and his 2022 book Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the U.S. Department of Justice Against His Critics. The session starts at 3:45 p.m.
  • Fentanyl’s Fatal Fallout: Seattle, and the rest of the nation, is in the midst of a fentanyl crisis and drug epidemic. Fifty times more powerful than heroin, fentanyl can be deadly even in small doses. In 2022 there were 310 overdose deaths in Seattle, more than half of those from fentanyl. Experts on the front lines weigh in on how to address this issue. The session starts at 3:45 p.m.
  • Defending the Rule of Law: Former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. oversaw the Justice Department's civil rights enforcement efforts to combat racial profiling and protect LGBTQ+ rights under the Obama administration. His recent book, Our Unfinished March, is a history of the fight for voting rights in the U.S. Holder joins Crosscut managing editor Mark Baumgarten to discuss how the right to vote is essential to a functioning democracy. The session starts at 5 p.m.
  • You Can (Help) Solve the Climate Crisis: Talking about the climate crisis doesn’t have to be dreadful. Each of us can learn how we can change our habits in the private and public spheres to save our planet. In this encouraging session, we'll explore actionable solutions to the climate crisis. The session starts at 5 p.m.
  • "Woke" and the Debate About Race: Our keynote event features a conversation between author Ibram X. Kendi and CNN anchor Audie Cornish. Kendi rose to fame when his bestselling book How to Be an Antiracist became a source for Americans trying to make sense of the murder of George Floyd. Then came backlash: His books, such as Antiracist Baby, were banned by school libraries and he was accused of corrupting children. The duo will discuss the modern race debate and what it means to be “woke.” The session starts at 8 p.m.

Get more Crosscut in your inbox

Sign up for our Daily newsletter for the most important headlines of the day or sign up for our Weekly newsletter for the best stories of the week. Or, select both for more Crosscut.

By subscribing, you agree to receive occasional membership emails from Crosscut/Cascade Public Media. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the ‘update your preferences’ link at the bottom of every email.

Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors