The 57 Best Things To Do in Seattle This Week: Oct 21-27, 2019

Seattle News

Our music critics have already chosen the 42 best music shows this week, but now it’s our arts and culture critics’ turn to recommend the best events in their areas of expertise. Here are their picks in every genre—from John Leguizamo’s comedy show Latin History for Morons to the annual Alice B. Toklas Dinner and Ghost Tour, and from Lit Crawl to Nick Kroll. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete EverOut Things To Do and Halloween calendars.

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Silent Movie Mondays: Within Our Gates (1920)
Oscar Micheaux’s 1920 silent film Within Our Gates—the earliest surviving feature film by an African American director—follows a plucky young woman who tries to raise money for an elementary school serving her town’s black community.


Ghosts of October: A Vegan Dinner with Josh Ploeg
The roving vegan chef and “prolific recipe wizard” Josh Ploeg will make a stop in Seattle for a spooky plant-based supper that includes evocatively named dishes such as the “Broomstick, Moonstick, Wrapped in Moon Thick” (yellow squash and savory almond paste wrapped in pastry with mushroom gravy and mashed garlic-ginger pumpkin) and “Little Devils in the Fire, Objects of Your Desire” (dark berry-filled red doughnuts with blackberry “kreem,” sweet chile glaze, spiced mango, and toasted coconut chips).


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Nightmare on Wall Street
Continuing a spooky-season tradition started last year, Belltown’s award-winning tiki bar Navy Strength will temporarily transform into a “fully immersive haunting experience,” with libations inspired by horror films like Friday the 13th, The Babadook, Midsommar, The Ring, Pet Sematary, and more. They’ll switch out their usual kitschy drinkware for vessels like pumpkins and Jason Voorhees–masked tiki mugs, and employ ingredients like “candy corn orgeat.” Frightening horror-film soundtracks will contribute to the spine-chilling milieu. JULIANNE BELL



1959: The Greatest Year in Film History Semester 2
Robert Horton is continuing his class series asserting that 1959 was the best year in film history ever. It saw “a high point of Hollywood studio filmmaking, the rise of new independent cinema, the great flowering of international movies, and the beginning of the French New Wave.” Delve into the highlights of this landmark year with this week’s selection, Anatomy of a Murder.


Behind the Veil: A Night of Femme Horror
Kate Berwanger, the organizer of the semi-recurring Surreal Storytelling with Strange Women series, will join forces with local writer Ellen Meny for an evening of haunted tales. Masks, veils, and other enigmatic disguises are strongly encouraged.

Booktoberfest: ‘Ales From The Crypt’
David Wright, who hosts the Thrilling Tales: Story Time for Grown-Ups series, will narrate some of the most spine-tingling stories by perhaps the most famous 20th-century horror writer, Stephen King. Fortify your nerves with a drink and listen to this Booktoberfest reading.



Any play that involves an obscenity trial has a high probability of piquing my interest, if only because the most fascinating obscenity is always the trial itself. However, in Indecent, Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Paula Vogel focuses less on trial scenes and more on the reason a state would use the courts to stomp out a play in the first place: power. Indecent tells the history of The God of Vengeance, an early-20th-century play by Sholem Asch about an Orthodox Jew who runs a brothel. The controversial drama reveals the hypocrisies of Judaism—of all religions, really—and includes a romantic lesbian kiss with heavy petting in the rain. But the queer content wasn’t the only issue with The God of Vengeance. Plays containing lesbian relationships were seen as just one of the many forms of filth that Jews were sneaking into the country. With the influx of Eastern European immigration, anti-Semitism and extreme xenophobia were on the rise in the United States, and so the obscenity trial was just one more way the country could harass immigrants. RICH SMITH



This festival, in association with the Portland German Film Festival, screens new and classic German-language cinema from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.


Li’l Woody’s Fast Food Month
For the month of October, local burger joint Li’l Woody’s is cleverly recreating fast food favorites for its weekly specials. This week will wrap up (ha ha) with the Taco Bell tribute Li’l Crunch Wrap.


This new take on the darkly sexy Gothic tale is by Seattle’s Steven Dietz, the playwright behind Lonely Planet and God’s Country. Dietz promises a new spin on the endlessly filmed, adapted, and re-adapted 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, with the character of Mina assuming a more active and heroic role. ACT’s artistic director, John Langs, will stage this chillfest with some excellent local actors, like Khanh Doan and Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako.

Austen’s Pride: A New Musical of ‘Pride and Prejudice’
The 5th Avenue Theatre’s season begins with Austen’s Pride, a quasi-adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that is also about Jane Austen’s writing of the novel. Written by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs, Austen’s Pride has been in development for years. It started without Austen in it—but over time, it’s become about the author herself. One of the reasons producing artistic director Bill Berry picked it is because “it’s about a female character at the center, a woman who is powerful, has agency, is literally forming her own narrative.” CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

The Great Moment
Playwright Anna Ziegler earned a lot of attention in 2015 for Photograph 51, a well-received bio-drama about Rosalind Franklin, the woman who discovered DNA. Nicole Kidman played the starring role, everybody loved it, and Ziegler was praised for her “fair-minded and philosophical” approach to character building. Ziegler will likely bring that same talent for creating multidimensional characters to The Great Moment, which will have its world premiere at the Seattle Rep. According to press materials, the story follows a woman named Sarah, who is watching her grandfather slowly die while she raises her son. Alexandra Tavares plays the lead in this, and I’ve loved everything I’ve ever seen her in. RICH SMITH

This Is Halloween
It’s Tim Burton’s classic The Nightmare Before Christmas; repackaged as a semi-scandalous spectacle for the masses. The audience eats chicken skewers and knocks back cocktails while they watch Jack “the Pumpkin King” Skellington sing and dance, cabaret-style, while a ghoulish orchestra pumps out the show’s signature tunes. Despite the glitzy and consumerist exterior, the crew manages to smuggle a complicated cabaret about the horror of fixed identities into the unpretentious space of the Triple Door. RICH SMITH

Zombie Cheerleaders from Hell
The Heavenly Spies are back with their annual Halloween show featuring scary hot dancers—plus “terrifying masks and pretty pasties, black cats and twerking booties, sweet transvestites and dancing cuties.”



John Leguizamo: Latin History for Morons
Colombian-born, Tony- and Emmy-winning American actor Leguizamo is recognizable for his effortless contributions to supporting roles in crime dramas, superhero movies, family dramas, and more—he often plays a heavy, but he’s also beloved for his Chi-Chi Rodriguez in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. But onstage, he’ll be using his comedic and dramatic talents to a different end: exposing the shameful neglect of Latin history in schools. Based on his experience trying to “find a Latin hero for his son’s school history project,” he bounces from the Aztec empire to the Revolutionary War. This show has been a hit on Broadway and at other prestigious theaters; don’t miss it when it comes here.


6th Annual Farm To Table Dinner
The farm in question here is UW Farm, whose seasonal produce will be front and center at this annual buffet-style dinner. Ther organizers also promise family-friendly activities, live music, a cash bar, and farm products available by donation. 

Savor Seattle Restaurant Week 2019
Seattle chefs and farmers will create bite-sized dishes that feature local cheese, butter, or other local dairy items in addition to beer from Redhook Brewery, ice cream from Molly Moon’s and charcuterie from FareStart. Plus, get a sneak peek of what’s in store for Seattle Restaurant Week.


Hanif Abdurraqib
Hanif Abdurraqib writes good poetry about music, and he writes good music criticism using the tools of poetry. Combining personal narrative with an electric, analytical mind, Abdurraqib has made me consider the work of artists like Celine Dion, Macklemore, and Carly Rae Jepsen more deeply than I ever imagined I would. And, as much as it pains me to say, it’s true: He has written powerfully about the band Fall Out Boy. His essay about going to see a Bruce Springsteen show after visiting Michael Brown’s plaque is a must-read, too. So when news came out that Abdurraqib was working on a biography/book-length personal essay about his love for A Tribe Called Quest, called Go Ahead in the Rain, I jumped for joy. RICH SMITH

Jessica Mooney’s ‘Parting Gifts for Losing Contestants’
Seattle-based writer Jessica Mooney will read from her new chapbook (the first in local lit magazine COAST|noCOAST’s Chapbook Series) Parting Gifts for Losing Contestants, a collection of essays that explores the stages of grief, “from personal to political.” Mooney will be joined by local poet and Stranger favorite Sarah Galvin and former City Arts editor Leah Baltus, who will lead a Q&A after the reading.

Literary Luncheon: David Guterson
It’s been five years since we’ve seen a new book from David Guterson, famed local author of New York Times best-selling novel Snow Falling on Cedars. But now he’s breaking that silence with a new book-length narrative poem called Turn Around Time, which he says offers “a poetic take on the qualities of foot travel and of, among other things, birds, bats, fungi, flora, and fellow travelers.” With poem titles like “Barthes and Barth,” Guterson’s poetry more readily appeals to academic types who are absolutely sure how to pronounce both of those writers’ names. But this hiker-poet is at his best when he’s writing about Washington’s environs, so I have high hopes that these poems will be more grounded (ha-ha, kill me). Plus, press materials indicate that the long poem is sort of about a midlife crisis, which is always a fun time to check in on an author. And come on, people: He’s the guy who wrote Snow Falling on Cedars. Hear him read over a catered lunch. RICH SMITH



Alice B. Toklas Dinner and Ghost Tour
Alice B. Toklas, who lived in Seattle during the 1890s and studied at the University of Washington, is believed to still haunt Seattle’s historic Hotel Sorrento, though it seems unlikely that any ghost would pick Seattle over Paris (where she spent most of her life). Also, she never stepped foot in the hotel (but she did live on First Hill). But her ghost is the fuel behind the hotel’s annual ghost tour, which is followed by a prix fixe French dinner and wine pairing inspired by The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book. No word* on whether its most famous recipe, Hashish Fudge (a very early edible, possibly the original source of pot brownies), will be served for dessert. DAVID LEWIS
*Ed. note: Dessert will be dark chocolate mousse.



Irreducible Forms
Second-year MFA students will reclaim complex ideas—which are so often “flattened into clichés and clickbait” on social media—by showing nuanced multimedia work “resistant to simplistic capture.”
Opening Wednesday

Mary Ann Peters: traveler
Mary Ann Peters’s black-and-white paintings suck you right up. Crafted using white ink on black clayboard, to me, they most resemble an etching. It’s as if you’re gazing at a dark landscape from behind a sheet of heavy white rain. But those black and white drawings are only one portion of her work. In her seventh show at James Harris Gallery, the Seattle artist will be exhibiting installation, sculptures, paintings, and drawings that “questions and interrogates” the space between truth and fiction when it comes to the West’s conception of the Middle East. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Closing Saturday



Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor
The world-famous Seattle-based drag queen BenDeLaCreme has written and performed three acclaimed solo shows, but Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor, which premiered in 2017, was the artist’s first foray into writing, directing, and starring in an original play of her own. It’s a spooky, campy twist on the horror-flick genre, featuring ghosts, dancers, music, and special effects. The chemistry between BenDeLaCreme and Scott Shoemaker alone is worth the price of admission. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE



Laughs Comedy Club Night Presents Drew Barth
A local comedian who’s become popular nationwide, Drew Barth was hit by a vehicle in 2018 and suffered a broken knee and shoulder in addition to undergoing emergency surgery to treat a blood clot in his brain. He’s made a recovery from that trauma and surely has siphoned some humor from its pain. But Barth’s bread and butter are relatable, G-rated jokes delivered in a perfectly modulated radio/TV announcer voice. Like a Northwestern Jerry Seinfeld, Barth offers precision-tooled, self-deprecating stories that hit way more than they miss. His is not the spiciest act, but to extract laughs from such utterly well-worn premises (relationships, shopping, grooming, watching TV, etc.) is a challenge that Barth meets with good-natured wit. DAVE SEGAL


Be Kind, Rewind: ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’
In this special Halloween episode of Be Kind, Rewind, hosts Uh Oh and SHE continue their new tradition of performing pop-up drag during screenings of queer classics with A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Freddy Krueger is the ultimate nightmare daddy, a killer on a mission to turn us all into his children. Will SHE and Uh Oh submit to his freaky demands? Chances are probably 90 percent yes, and happily. Who knows?! I do know that there will be spooky drink specials, lots of popcorn, hilarious commentary, and a whole lotta butt. Full disclosure: Uh Oh daylights as Chase Burns, my Slog editor, but he doesn’t know I’m writing this preview because I enjoyed myself so much at the last Be Kind, Rewind, so really the joke’s on him. RICH SMITH


Bodies of Science
Angela Garbes, one of the best writers to ever work at the Stranger according to former editor Sean Nelson, will share from her great science-laden memoir on pregnancy, Like a Mother, while Deidre Timmons, author of Brain Candy, will talk about her struggle with brain cancer. Abigail Carter will host.

Coast|No Coast Issue 2 Preview with Writers and Editors
Literary arts journal COAST | NoCOAST features writers, poets, and artists from southwest Ohio and the Puget Sound. Tonight’s your chance to meet comix artist and poet Mita Mahato, writer and comedian Alayna Becker, and other contributors.

Lit Crawl Seattle
Seattle is a haven for literary arts—we’ve been an official UNESCO City of Literature since 2017—and during the annual one-night-only Seattle Lit Crawl, locals are invited to soak it all in during an extended night of booze and book loving. For the 2019 edition, more than 80 PNW readers and artists are scheduled to appear at Capitol Hill and First Hill bars, cafes, and businesses (including Hugo House, Capitol Cider, Vermillion, Capitol Hill Library, and Elliott Bay Book Company), in events that encompass straightforward readings and storytelling (with tales ranging from “oyster foraging to the Jesus movement, photography of Seattle outcasts and innocents, to odes to football and salt”), talks, cookbook-fueled demos (“Playing with Dough” sounds delicious), performances, and more. A new facet to the affair: five separate phases of programming to choose from in five different time slots. Plus, there’s the traditional night-ending after-party. All of this adds up to a whole lot of words read, spoken, and appreciated. LEILANI POLK

Nick Turse
Type Media Center Fellow and investigative reporter Turse will clue his audience in to the US’s significant military presence in Africa, which is barely a blip in American news. Turse is the author of Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan and Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.

Robert Shiller: How Viral Stories Can Drive Our Economy
Do viral stories have the power to influence foreign elections? Nobel Prize-winning economist and author Robert Shiller thinks so. He’ll share insight from his book Narrative Economics, in which he uses historical examples to argue that popular stories have long affected individual and collective economic behavior. 



Stabbin’ Cabin
Do you enjoy horror, but find it too…predictable? If you find yourself accurately predicting every jump scare, try this energetic, highly physical send-up of the genre, which will be totally improvised by talented Jet City and community performers. Best of all, you (the audience) get to choose the killer! Watch as teen screamers straight out of ’80s summer-camp slasher movies face a fearsome threat.


Lemonhaze Cannabis Convention & Uncanny Festival
Comics and cannabis professionals—a prime example of a symbiotic relationship—from Washington State and beyond will gather for the second annual Lemonhaze Convention & Comedy Festival, which will feature special talks, exhibitors, and performances. This year’s notable guests include comic Ronny Chieng and radio personality Jubal Fresh. 



Seduction 2019
People sometimes object to the sexualization of Halloween, so why not get the pervy stuff out of the way before All Hallows’? The Pan Eros Foundation will produce this fundraiser for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, promising a sleeker but equally sexy event compared to previous years. Suspension bondage shows, DJs spinning sensual beats, tarot readings, and visual art await you.


The Christians
Pony World Productions will present Lucas Hnath’s Obie-winning play about the leader of a highly successful, growing church who suddenly announces that he no longer believes in hell, disconcerting his congregation and straining his marriage. Leah Adcock-Starr (of Wooden O) will direct.

Ten Tiny Dances
Arson Nicki, Scott/Powell, Mike O’Neal, and other local performers will dance on a minuscule (four-by-four) stage. 



The “young filmmaker’s Cannes”—Charles Mudede called it “world-class”—the National Film Festival for Talented Youth assembles the best films made by directors under 25. See works by promising cineastes who will make you feel very old.


The Thanksgiving Play
Lakota playwright Larissa FastHorse’s comedy addresses the cognitive dissonance that results when “terminally ‘woke'” Americans try to square the colonial ideology behind Thanksgiving with the reality of genocide against Native people. When teaching artists try to stage a Thanksgiving pageant, they end up wrestling with their white guilt. Of the play’s opening run at Playwrights Horizons, New York Times critic Jesse Green wrote: “Ms. FastHorse […] is aiming for a takedown of American mythology — white American mythology, that is. The national narcissism, bordering on sociopathy, that could turn theft and genocide into a feel-good feast is her play’s point of entry.”



Nick Kroll: Middle-Aged Boy Tour
Actor/writer/producer/comedian Nick Kroll is a master of dozens of voices and characters, which enhances his already hilarious routines by at least 33 percent. In a set that he did years ago, Kroll laid down a bit about how dumb people have the best sex and it caused me to laugh so hard, I had to leave the office and take a half personal day. The auteur of the caustically loony Kroll Show, the New York native is a font of mercurial, irreverent humor that generates incredibly uncomfortable feelings and that will build massive cringe muscles. DAVE SEGAL


Soirée Bavaroise with Alsatian “Choucroute Garnie”
If you can’t afford a jaunt to the Alsace region, this Bavarian-inspired fête featuring a choucroute garnie (an Alsatian dish with cabbage, sausage, salted meats and charcuterie, and sometimes potatoes) and plenty of beer from Pike Brewing Company and Old Stove Brewing Company is the next best thing. Bonnie Birch will set the mood with traditional accordion music.


Mx. Halloween with Abhora and Yovska
As part of Queer Bar’s two-year birthday celebration, yuk it up with “drag monster-queens Abhorra and Yovska” and their brand of disturbing camp, along with the regular cast of the Mx. show.


Adam Rippon: Beautiful on the Outside
Former Olympic figure skater and self-professed America’s Sweetheart Adam Rippon will talk about landing triple axles while dealing with turmoil in his personal life, as recorded in his memoir Beautiful on the Outside

Madeline Miller: Circe
The Greek mythological sorceress and minor daughter of the sun god who turns Odysseus’s men into pigs in Homer’s The Odyssey gets a modern take in Madeline Miller’s bestselling Circe and Song of Achilles. Hear the author read and stick around for a Q&A and signing.



Friday Harbor Film Festival
Tip: take advantage of any excuse you have to travel up to the San Juans. The Friday Harbor Film Festival, founded by Lynn Danaher and Karen Palmer, is a good one, with about 35 documentaries focusing on Pacific Rim topics from culture to environmentalism, as well as discussions with filmmakers and special events.



Blood Squad Halloweekend 2019
Blood Squad is an improv group that’s been around for more than a decade. You give them a title, and they improvise an entire horror/sci-fi/noir flick on the fly: “No blood, no props, no costumes, no mercy.” RICH SMITH

Cruisin’ With Clara: A Queer Talk Show
Stand-up comic Clara Pluton will take a break from their podcast Hot Takes with Hot Dykes (co-hosted with her partner Val Nigro) to co-host a queer-tastic monthly late-night talk show with Max Delsohn. Local drag legend Cucci Binaca and comic Dewa Dorje will be the special guests this time.

Fat Cats
Fat Cats describe themselves as “two fat feminist women who own fat feminist cats, but are not wealthy political donors.” They’ve performed at Femprovisor Fest ’19 in San Francisco and Detroit Women of Comedy Festival and at many venues throughout Seattle—in fact, they’re one of the hardest-working duos in the city. They mix vulnerability and sweetness with a foundation of blunt, pessimistic honesty, a combination that gets right at your heart.


Sámi Film Festival
Spend a day acquainting yourself with Sámi (indigenous Northern Scandinavian) culture with documentaries and short fiction films from Norway, Sweden, and Finland Sápmi (the name given to traditional Sámi territory). See  the feature-length Gallók, in which activist Tor Tuorda (who will attend the festival!) tries to rally resistance against a mining company, plus short films collected under the name The Last Walk. Stay after the screenings for panel discussions, filmmaker talks, and a happy hour.


2019 Battle of the Burger Festival
Restaurants from across the region will bring their A-game to this burger competition with categories ranging from traditional beef to vegan and vegetarian options to seafood creations. Try a flight of five and vote on your favorite. 


Lovers Fetish Fantasy Halloween Party
Submit to Halloween’s not-so-secret kinky side at this latex- and leather-clad variety show featuring burlesque artists (like the luxe babes of Valtesse and the inimitable Ms. Briq House), aerial dancers, and shibari performance artists—not to mention signature cocktails, a pop-up boutique, and more. Wear a costume if you have one and party into the night knowing that proceeds will benefit anti-domestic violence organization Dawn.



Black Beauty
As a kid, my two favorite pastimes were reading and horseback riding. Which means that I was a voracious consumer of all things related to horses, including the poignant classic, Black Beauty. It’s told from the eponymous horse’s point of view and is about his life—from his early years as a colt on an English farm, to his life of servitude pulling cabs in London, to his retirement in the country—and recounts all the highs and lows he endures, cruelty and loving care included. Themes of animal welfare, and treating people and animals with kindness, sympathy, and respect are threaded throughout, so it seems appropriate that the stage adaptation by James Still is being staged by Seattle Children’s Theater, which is renowned for its high-production-value presentations. My guess is this one—which will feature large-scale puppetry, live music, and a multi-generational cast—will be no different. LEILANI POLK


Halloween Tour 2019
Step inside a world of temptresses and enchanting occultists in Unsettling Femininity: Selections from the Frye Art Museum Collection in the Frye’s special Halloween tour, which also includes Pierre Leguillon’s exhibition Arbus Bonus



Stephen King Unexpected
Expect to see (we’re guessin’) gruff Northeasterners battling clowns, vampires, sentient cars, and/or the undead in this improv tribute to the horror maestro Stephen King, a perfect show for Halloween.


Seattle Restaurant Week
Frugal gourmands everywhere rejoice over this twice-yearly event, which lets diners tuck into prix-fixe menus at more than 165 different restaurants hoping to lure new customers with singularly slashed prices. Three courses cost a mere $35, and many restaurants also offer two-course lunches for $20. It’s an excellent opportunity to feast like a high roller at an accessible price point and cross some otherwise spendy establishments off your food bucket list, including critically acclaimed restaurants like Tilth and Adana.


Belltown Exposed! – A Free Party Celebrating the History of Belltown!
From being a Hollywood hub in the ’20s to a haven for artists in the ’60s and ’70s, Belltown has a rich history. Learn about its evolution over the past century by checking out a series of “living pictures” by photographer Staci Bernstein, drinking special drinks, dancing to live music, and winning prizes.

La Fin: Halloween Kink Cabaret
Expect a melding of dance, contortion, and aerial arts as the performers of burlesque revue Valtesse bring out their demons for a night of scary-sexy times.

Todrick: Haus Party Tour
The dreamy young choreographer, singer, dancer, actor, and RuPaul’s Drag Race guest judge Todrick Hall is swinging back through town with an all-new production of singing and dancing. As you know if you’ve seen the documentary about his life, Behind the Curtain, Hall grew up in Texas and had the good fortune to have a mother who drove him an hour and a half each way to dance classes. As an adult, he got to star in Kinky Boots on Broadway. And did I mention he’s pals with RuPaul? CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

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