The 48 Best Things to Do in Seattle This Week: September 21-24, 2020

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After days of wildlife smoke-choked skies, the air is finally clear again for your socially distant strolls. When it’s time to go back inside, cue up our picks for the best things to do this week, from a PopCon 2020 send-off with pop star Dua Lipa to the reopening of the Burke Museum, and from the Atlantic Festival with guests like Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams to a Hugo House reading with Eileen Myles. In addition, check out our guides to supporting black-owned businesses and artists in Seattle, educating yourself through anti-racism resources, and donating to social justice causes. Find even more events on our complete streaming events calendar and our resistance & solidarity calendar, and check back on Friday for a roundup of the best local virtual events this weekend.

Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | All Week



STG presents: ‘John Lewis: Good Trouble’
Honor the legacy of civil rights icon John Lewis by catching a nationwide online screening of the documentary Good Trouble, followed by a livestreamed panel with the director and social justice advocates like Ras J. Baraka (the mayor of Newark, New Jersey) and Khalil Gibran Muhammad (a professor at Harvard Kennedy School).


Ian Ayers
Enjoy some “NW reggae music straight from the heart” from local musician Ian Ayers at this livestreamed show. 


Ayad Akhtar with Maria Semple
With a Pulitzer Prize for his 2013 play Disgraced under his belt, Pakistani American playwright and author Ayad Akhtar is out with a new novel that lays bare the “promises and deceptions” of the American dream. He’ll be joined in conversation with local author Maria Semple (Where’d You Go, Bernadette).



Acting Stranger: Seattle
Local performers Minna Lee, Andrew Schneider, and Fox Whitney lead this interactive project dealing with the process of rebuilding of connection amid the COVID-19 lockdown, whose scenes feature everything from video conference calls to a “full embrace” with a complete stranger. As an audience member, you won’t just be observing the show—you’ll be an activist participant tasked with learning lines from any one of a series of short scenes and acting them out in socially distant locations throughout the city or, in some cases, over video. Each scene will be recorded and incorporated into an outdoor screening of the project on October 3.



Colin Quinn with David Spade: A Coast-to-Coast Roast of the 50 States
Which US states suck the most? Colin Quinn and David Spade will roast all 50 of them as part of the digital Chicago Humanities Festival. 


The Secrets of Seattle’s Disappearing Hills with Author David B.
Seattle’s most famous land alteration project was the removal of an entire downtown hill, the Denny Regrade, where you’ll now find Jeff Bezos’s balls. On this virtual tour with Atlas Obscura, learn why the project, completed between 1897 and 1930, took place.


Cecilia Aragon with Theo Pauline Nestor: Flying Free
UW engineering professor Cecilia Aragon tells her story of becoming the first Latina pilot to secure a place on the United States Unlimited Aerobatic Team and represent the US in the World Aerobatic Championships in her new memoir, Flying Free. She’ll discuss her story with local essayist Theo Pauline Nestor at this virtual Third Place books event.

Mychal Denzel Smith with R.O. Kwon: Life After the American Dream
How has the so-called American Dream warped our idea of how to succeed in the US? Mychal Denzel Smith confronts that issue in his new book Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream, which he’ll discuss live with author R.O. Kwon. 

Nerd Culture Club: Adult Comic Book Discussion
Join an online discussion of Kindred, a graphic novel adaption of Octavia Butler’s classic sci-fi story. It follows Dana, a Black woman transported to the antebellum South, where she must make sure that Rufus, the plantation owner’s son, survives to father Dana’s ancestor.


Burke Museum Reopening
While hands-on interactives and playspaces will remain on hold, all other galleries in this beloved, recently renovated natural history museum will reopen to the masked public for timed, limited-capacity visits. There will be guided pathways throughout the museum, and rooms will be monitored for occupancy. The café will also be open with to-go options, as well as limited outdoor seating.
Burke Museum (University District)


Hailey Tayathy: Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Art Presentation
Town Hall’s Artist in Residence Hailey Tayathy’s new visual installation, which will serve as a representation of Town Hall’s land acknowledgment, was written by the elders and youth of UNEA Clear Sky Native Youth Council. In this online presentation, Tayathy will reflect on the art they have created during their residency, on the process of working with Coast Salish youth, and the effect their work might have on future in-person audience members. 



Intersections: Black, Woman, Art!
Multidisciplinary artists Kimisha Turner and Takiyah Ward will talk about their recent work (including their contributions to the Vivid Matters Collective Black Lives Matter mural on Capitol Hill) and their roles as Black artists in the current climate. Tune in on Facebook Live. 

Virtual Silent Reading Party
The first worldwide silent-reading party was such a huge success that we’re making it weekly. Every Wednesday at 6 pm we’re going to throw these parties, at least until stay-at-home is over. Attendees at the first Zoom silent-reading party included famous actors, writers, composers, artists, families, teenagers doing their homework, people staring into space listening to the music because it was just so beautiful, cats, and even one household on Orcas Island that was eating dinner and decided to broadcast the reading party as their background music. (What a brilliant idea!) It wasn’t just a great party to be at. Behind the scenes, this was a roaring success as well. The Stranger brought in revenue from the reading party for the first time ever, our musician Paul Matthew Moore made ten times more on Venmo tips than he’s ever made in the tip jar at the Sorrento (thank you for your generosity—he deserves it!), and hundreds of people at the party have written us emails, clamoring for more. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE


General Mojo’s and Smokey Brights Live on Band In Seattle
If you like your psych-pop equipped with fuzzy guitar, drippy (and trippy) synths, and vocal harmonies, local five-piece General Mojo’s won’t disappoint. Catch them live online as part of the live televised concert program Band in Seattle, where they’ll be joined by crackly and warm guitar-driven rock band Smokey Brights.

Stephanie Anne Johnson and the Hidogs
See a live set from Tacoma-bred R&B/soul artist Stephanie Anne Johnson and her band the Hidogs as part of the Black Fret concert series.


Book Launch | Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories by Donna Miscolta
Donna Miscolta, whose collection Hola and Goodbye won an International Latino Book Award for Best Latino Focused Fiction, will read from her new story collection alongside former Hugo House writer-in-residence Kathleen Alcalá (Spirits of the Ordinary).

Nancy Pearl And Jeff Schwager: The Writer’s Library
Literary legends like Donna Tartt, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Andrew Sean Greer, Laila Lalami, and Michael Chabon have shared books and authors they love in The Writer’s Library, a collection by lauded Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl and playwright Jeff Schwager. Join the pair for a virtual presentation with author Laurie Frankel.


Mary Olson Farm Artist in Residence Mollie Bryan (aka “Mokedo”) will livestream a walkthrough of her final residency exhibition, which features sculptures created in the form of “larger-than-life” feathers.



The Affordable City Lunch & Learn with Shane Phillips
Shane Phillips will delve into the tenets of his new book, The Affordable City, at this online talk with Share the Cities and the Urbanist.

Conrad Anker | Mountaineering and the Climate Crisis
Professional climber Conrad Anker, whose numerous first ascents include Shark’s Fin on Meru, will share the environmental changes he’s noticed throughout his career and will offer suggestions for how outdoorsy folks and orgs can protect wild places. 

Deepak Chopra – Total Meditation Webinar
New Age author and meditation guru Deepak Chopra will give a virtual presentation of his new book, Total Meditation. Attendees will get a copy of the book.

More Interesting Mushrooms of the PNW
Those mushrooms you’ve been foraging? They’re boring. In this online class, Salish Mushrooms will enlighten you on our region’s more unique fungi.


Bonnaroo Presents: Roo-Ality
The Tennessee music and arts festival Bonnaroo presents a three-night broadcast, which you can stream live on YouTube, with both archived shows from past festivals with acts like the Beastie Boys and the White Stripes and live performances and appearances by Action Bronson, David Lynch, Charli XCX, and many others.


House of Angels: Living with AIDS at Bailey-Boushay House, 92-95
In the 1990s, photographers Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover started documenting the Bailey-Boushay House (the first HIV/AIDS care hospice facility in the country, based in Seattle) through photographs. The artists will present a selection of those images live and answer questions in this livestreamed event with Rosette Royale.

Meaningful Movies: ‘Vow From Hiroshima’
In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, watch this documentary profiling survivor Setsuko Thurlow, who has devoted her life to ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Stay on for an online discussion after the screening. 

‘Spawning Grounds’ Panel Discussion
Nils Cowan, the director of the Local Sightings feature Spawning Grounds, will talk about the Lake Sammamish-native kokanee salmon and how to save them in this online panel discussion. 


16th Annual DC JazzFest
The 16th annual DC Jazz Fest will be streamed live, bringing five days of performances from big names like Marc Cary, Chuck Brown Band, Frederic Yonnet, and Dado Moroni.

Chong the Nomad and Mirrorgloss Live on Band In Seattle
The live televised concert program Band in Seattle will welcome the supremely talented producer and R&B/hip-hop artist Chong the Nomad and dance-pop duo Mirrorgloss for a special set filmed live at Victory Studios. 

Kevin Morby
“Sometimes you hear a song and you’re immediately sold on an artist. And then the rest of their music proves fantastic and you fall in love. Such is the case for me and Brooklyn-based alt-folk and indie-rock troubadour Kevin Morby,” wrote former Stranger staffer Leilani Polk. Morby will spend his Thursday nights playing his catalog of albums in their entirety in anticipation of his upcoming album, Sundowner. 

Live on KEXP at Home: Sylvan Esso
Every new generation of college kids needs at least one party album to rally behind. For my freshman year, it was M.I.A.’s Kala and Kanye West’s Graduation—for this year’s crop, it will be Sylvan Esso’s What Now. Their electrified, multilayered pop is clever, bright, and fully hitched to dance as a primary activity in a way that feels much like two-dimensional worship. Preaching a lifestyle adjacent to “the power of dance heals all” is a little #LoveWins for my taste, but Sylvan Esso manage to carry their music through these lyrical tropes with a strength of conviction that is truly impressive (and occasionally beguiling). And hey—who am I to shit on such an active joy? KIM SELLING

Mozart & Beethoven
Pianist Jon Kimura Parker will join the Seattle Symphony for a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, followed by Beethoven’s recognizable Fifth Symphony

NVCS Presents: Lindstrom & the Limit
Get daydreamy with some folksy Americana, courtesy of Lindstrom & the Limit, at this virtual Nectar concert. 

Pop Con 2020 Presents: Closing Keynote With Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa, the British pop star known for her brassy break-up anthems and dance-floor-ready production, will close out this year’s online PopCon with a keynote speech.

Strict Tempo: Techniques Berlin, Lovataraxx, EST, Dr. Troy
Seattle DJ Vox Sinistra will host another virtual dark and synthy club night, this time with Techniques Berlin, Lovataraxx, EST, and Dr. Troy


Between the Sheets: A Snaklesque Experience
Mx. Pucks A’Plenty and Roula Roulette will treat you to “a delectable digital delight of plus size decadence” featuring burlesque performers B.B. Sanchez, Edith Meowt, Patsy Climax, Peachy Queen, and Tootsie Spangles.

Choreographic Shindig VI
A pandemic won’t stop Whim W’him from continuing the tradition of kicking off their fall season with “a sort of opposite day where dancers choose the choreographer with whom they want to work,” as Rich Smith has put it. This year’s virtual event features two new dance films by Amsterdam-based choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and duo Madison Olandt and Mike Tyus, who dance to music by Emmit Fenn.

A Phone Call
In A Phone Call, the first installment of Obie Award-winning theater-makers 600 Highwaymen’s three-part interactive virtual performance A Thousand Ways, you’ll glean a telling portrait of the performer on the other end of a mysterious phone call. Jasmyne Keimig and Chase Burns share their take on it here.

The Pink Unicorn
This solo theater piece tells the story of a God-fearing widow living in a conservative Texas town, whose way of life is upended when her teenage child comes out as genderqueer.

This pinnacle of rowdy, uncategorizable drag nights (previously held at Beacon Hill’s Clock-Out Lounge) celebrated its second anniversary with a virtual dance party in July that was so successful, they’re now making it monthly! This edition features DJ Arson Nicki, Betty Wetter, Angel Baby Kill Kill Kill, Miss Texas 1988, Beau Degas, Cookie Couture, and Luminous Pariah.


Amanda Sewell with Samantha Allen: A Biography of Wendy Carlos
Even if you don’t recognize Wendy Carlos’s name, you’ve heard her music in movies like The Shining and Clockwork Orange. Learn about the influential trans composer (like her role in popularizing the Moog synthesizer) by hearing experts of her biography by Amanda Sewell. She’ll be joined by Samantha Allen (author of Real Queer America).

Doug Kelbaugh: The Urban Fix
How does urban design play a role in combatting environmentally destructive climate change? Doug Kelbaugh will share some ideas as outlined in his book The Urban Fix: Resilient Cities in the War Against Climate Change, Heat Islands, and Overpopulation. 

For Now: An Evening with Eileen Myles
Eileen Myles, a living poetry legend, will give a virtual reading celebrating their latest book, For Now

Pongo Poetry Project’s 25th Anniversary
The Pongo Poetry Project, which was once awarded the Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award, will celebrate its 25th anniversary online with acclaimed poet and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye as the guest of honor. 


Beat the Blerch 2020 Virtual Race
This run is inspired by Matthew Inman, the creator of the Oatmeal comic, who wrote about his running experiences with “the blerch.” This virtual edition invites you to complete the course on your own time, and so you won’t be chased by costumed, Sasquatch-like blerches this year. (Unless you ask your roommates to take on that role.)


In The Spirit Artist Spotlight: Meet Peter Boome
Meet local Native artist Peter Boome and get a virtual tour of his studio. He’ll be talking about his pieces featured in this year’s contemporary Native art exhibition In the Spirit



The Atlantic Festival
Join The Atlantic in parsing through the events of 2020 and what our current moment says about our nation as a whole (and what the future might hold). The four-day online festival is packed with panel discussions (like “Power of Purpose: Bridging the Racial Divide” on Monday at noon), Q&A sessions, and special guests from Hillary Clinton to Anthony Fauci to Alicia Garza to Stacey Abrams.


Taste of West Seattle
Wander through West Seattle and enjoy food and drinks from local businesses, available for both dine-in and takeout. Participating businesses will donate 10% of their sales on special items to the West Seattle Food Bank, so you can feel good about supporting both local establishments and efforts to fight hunger and homelessness. Plus, with every business you visit, you’ll collect a stamp for your “Taste passport” and a chance to win a pair of round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines.
Various locations (West Seattle)


Fan Favorites: Supernatural Cats of Japan
Kaibyo, supernatural cats/ghosts of Japanese folklore, have been depicted by generations of artists. Zach Davisson, author of Kaibyo: The Supernatural Cats of Japan, will present his illustration-filled book online to offer a deeper understanding of these spooky feline creatures.

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