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Your Complete Guide to Seattle Events in 2020

73 min read
The 275 Biggest Arts, Music, Food, Sports, and Cultural Events You Need to Know about to Have an Awesome Year by Julianne Bell, Chase Burns, Elaina Friedman, Christopher Frizzelle, Katie Herzog, Jasmyne Keimig, Charles Mudede, Leilani Polk, Dave Segal, Kim Selling, Rich Smith and Joule Zelman Rest assured that Seattle's biggest music, comedy, and arts…
Your Complete Guide to Seattle Events in 2020

The 275 Biggest Arts, Music, Food, Sports, and Cultural Events You Need to Know about to Have an Awesome Year

Rest assured that Seattle’s biggest music, comedy, and arts festival will return after all for its 50th anniversary over Labor Day weekend—mark your calendars for Bumbershoot 2020.

Bumbershoot

Ready to make the first year of the new decade the best one yet? Start by mapping our your 2020 plans in advance with our comprehensive guide to the biggest events of the year, in every genre—the best resource to turn to when you need to refresh yourself on the major highlights of each month. We’ve rounded up the 275 biggest events that are already scheduled for the new year, the majority of which already have tickets on sale, so whether you’re looking for a gift that doesn’t require a trip to the store, you’re planning a trip to Seattle and don’t want to miss the city’s biggest offerings, or you’re overwhelmed by all of the events on our EverOut Things To Do calendar and just want the highlights, you’ll find something of interest. Read on for options ranging from the grand reopening of the Asian Art Museum to the Seattle Food & Wine Experience, from Cher to the Broadway tour of Mean Girls, and from the Fremont Solstice Fair to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.


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    JANUARY

    Special Holiday Calendars: MLK Day (Jan 20) | Lunar New Year (Jan 25)

    See More: Your Complete Guide to January 2020 Events in Seattle

    JANUARY 7-FEBRUARY 2

    PERFORMANCE

  1. The Rivals (Seattle Shakespeare)

    George Mount will direct Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 18th-century comedy of manners, full of false identities and well-meaning deceptions, and, as the producers say, “duels, dandies, deceptions, and dudes with daddy issues.” It’s the play from which the term malapropism is derived, thanks to Mrs. Malaprop, a comic character who uses the wrong words that sound like the right ones. The more you know!

    JANUARY 8-FEBRUARY 2

    PERFORMANCE

  2. Reparations

    Sound Theatre Company kicks off its 2020 season with the world premiere of Darren Canady’s Reparations, a speculative drama about healing inherited traumas using a device that transforms your blood into a time machine. The cast features Allyson Lee Brown, whose turn as Serena Williams in Citizen: An American Lyric drew effusive praise from Stranger editor Christopher Frizzelle: “[Brown is] such a captivating presence onstage, it’s hard to look away from her.” Jay O’Leary, who did such a great job pulling the good acting out of the players in Washington Ensemble Theatre’s B, will direct. This production is stacked with so much talent—it is certainly one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season. RICH SMITH

    JANUARY 11

    COMEDY

  3. Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything

    If there’s one sure bet in stand-up, it’s Patton Oswalt. He’s flexed his comedic skills in movies, TV, video games, books, and recordings—but onstage alone with a mic is where the real gold dwells. Whether tackling subjects mundane or profound, Oswalt constructs riveting, hilarious stories out of them with a keen eye for details, a good ear for vocal inflections, and unparalleled use of metaphors and similes. Rare for a comedian, his bits can withstand multiple hearings without losing their punch. Remember this one? “Food and beverage companies test out their new products in the Midwest… for side effects, let’s be honest. If the new venison-flavored Twizzlers are gonna make you grow a vagina behind your knee, it’s better to find out on an onion farmer than on Liv Tyler, isn’t it?” DAVE SEGAL

    JANUARY 11-25

    PERFORMANCE

  4. Eugene Onegin (Seattle Opera)

    This Seattle Opera production brings together the genius of two great Russians: Alexander Pushkin, who wrote the novel in verse, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky (The Nutcracker), who penned the score. It’s a simple but moving and melancholy story of a young woman who falls in love with a cold-hearted nobleman, an encounter that tragically changes the course of their lives.

    JANUARY 14-19

    PERFORMANCE

  5. Fiddler on the Roof (Broadway at the Paramount)

    Fiddler on the Roof is a musical about… oh, you know what Fiddler on the Roof is. The important detail here is that this version is directed by Bartlett Sher, a former Seattle theater director who has gone on to fanciness and fame and Tony Awards with unbelievably brilliant restagings of musical classics, including South Pacific and The King and I. A Sher production of an old musical is always a good bet. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

    JANUARY 15

    MUSIC

  6. Itzhak Perlman

    Grammy- and Emmy-winning violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, who has played a concert at the White House to honor Queen Elizabeth II and who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will perform an evening set.

    JANUARY 16-MARCH 22

    VISUAL ART

  7. Exploring Passages within the Black Diaspora

    In this massive link-up of the Frye Museum, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Photographic Center Northwest, and independent curator Berette Macaulay, the cause célèbre is female-identifying photographers of the Black diaspora. This is courtesy of the MFON Collective (a journal and movement founded by artists Delphine Barrayn and Laylah Fawundu, and named after Nigerian American photographer Mmekutmfon “Mfon” Essien), which brings attention to photography rarely seen, celebrated, or critically engaged by the art world at large. At PCNW, work by these artists will be on display for viewers to take in. And cheers to that. JASMYNE KEIMIG

    JANUARY 17-18

    MUSIC

  8. Cold War Kids

    One of those indie-rock bands turned big-time alternative players you probably always forget about until you’re reminded of them when one of their tracks pops up on the radio, like “First” (“First you get hurt, then you feel sorry”), or “Hang Me Up to Dry” (“You wrung me out / Too, too, too many times”), or “Love Is Mystical” (that newish jam off sixth LP, 2017’s L.A. Divine). Frontman Nathan Willett has that sexy operatic urgency to his vocals, like he could just scream out at any moment, and with perfect pitch, and it would not only sound good, but you’d have to stop and pay attention. LEILANI POLK

    JANUARY 17 & 21

    MUSIC

  9. Rick Steves’ Europe: A Symphonic Journey (Seattle Symphony)

    Rick Steves is my favorite travel writer-turned-host. He’s just so damn cheerful and enthusiastic in his public TV show, Rick Steves’ Europe, without coming off as cheesy. Ok, maybe he does come off as cheesy, but in the most endearing way possible, as he encourages us to bypass tourist hotspots in favor of lesser-known gems, and to become immersed in local culture. He’s kinda like a less crusty, less wry, less food-oriented Anthony Bourdain—and his show came first by more than a dozen years! He even has an app: Rick Steves’ Audio Europe. This collab with Seattle Symphony finds him playing musical tour guide, dipping into his far-reaching knowledge of European history and culture to set the context for selections in a program of 19th-century patriotic anthems by Romantic-era composers—Grieg, Smetana, Strauss, Elgar, Wagner and Verdi, with a Beethoven “Ode to Joy” finale. All of it is accompanied by a montage of video images from each country. LEILANI POLK

    JANUARY 17-FEBRUARY 16

    PERFORMANCE

  10. True West (Seattle Repertory Theatre)

    America’s favorite masc4masc playwright Sam Shepard is dead. He passed away a few years ago, but the swaggering cowboy, called the “greatest American playwright of his generation” by New York Magazine, is continuing to get a retrospective on stages across the country. Now the celebration comes to the Seattle Rep, with the theater putting on True West, a gritty and funny play about two brothers and some identity theft. Expect brawls and belly laughs. CHASE BURNS

    JANUARY 18

    FESTIVALS

  11. Bavarian IceFest

    Each year over MLK weekend, Washington’s Bavarian-style village, Leavenworth, celebrates winter’s bounties with twinkling lights and frosty activities like frisbee sweeping, ice cube scrambling, and “smooshing.” You can also look forward to live ice carving, ice fishing, a fireworks show, and more.

    MUSIC

  12. JAUZ

    Up-and-coming pop-electronica hybridist JAUZ keeps climbing the ranks of EDM festival-crowders like Zedd and Skrillex. Join him on the Seattle stop of his Dangerous Waters Tour.
  13. King Princess

    Take in Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist King Princess’ smooth vocals and pop beats as she performs tracks that explore queer independence and the complexities of youth.

    RESISTANCE & SOLIDARITY

  14. Womxn’s March on Seattle 2020

    Even with Donald Trump’s impeachment underway, the rights and safety of womxn, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, and anyone else who is not a wealthy white man are still at risk. For the fourth year in a row, join Seattle Indivisible, the Washington Immigrants Solidarity Network, and other local organizations in one of many marches happening around the country.

    JANUARY 20

    HOLIDAYS

  15. 2020 Seattle MLK Day March and Celebration

    Garfield High School’s annual day of events celebrates the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. with an opportunity fair, workshops, and pre- and post-march rallies.

    JANUARY 21

    MUSIC

  16. Rex Orange County

    Now that Mac DeMarco is a music-biz underdog success story, expect plenty of others to follow his lead. One such spiritual disciple is Rex Orange County, a 20-year-old from South London whose real name is Alexander O’Connor. His sound is retro-leaning, jazz-inflected soft rock; his lyrics are earnest and frequently lovelorn. How he sings is crucial to his appeal among kids to whom Chicago is just a city in Illinois: with a relaxed, free-flowing cadence that draws from contemporary R&B. One fan is Tyler, the Creator, who featured him prominently on 2017’s Flower Boy, an early highlight of what looks like a promising career. ANDREW GOSPE

    JANUARY 22

    READINGS & TALKS

  17. Adam Davidson (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    Davidson’s acute analysis can be heard on the Planet Money podcast, which he co-created, and read in the New Yorker. Among other laurels, he’s won a Peabody award for his coverage of the financial crisis, whose devastating effect on the housing market he addressed in the radio documentary The Giant Pool of Money. Seattle Arts & Lectures will bring him to share his economic insights.

    JANUARY 23

    MUSIC

  18. Seventeen

    South Korean superstar crew Seventeen (who, despite their name, only have 13 members) will arrive in Washington for a stop on the North American leg of their Ode To You World Tour.

    JANUARY 24

    READINGS & TALKS

  19. Carmen Maria Machado (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    She’s done it again. Judging by the rave reviews of In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado has written another must-read. But rather than a collection of Borgesian short stories, this one is a harrowing memoir about her abusive relationship with her first girlfriend. Entertainment Weekly called it “the best memoir of the year.” NPR says she’s invented “a new kind of memoir.” Seattle’s own Kristen Millares Young said her review of the book in the Washington Post would have been easier to write if Machado wasn’t “so good.” Brace yourself for this one. RICH SMITH

    JANUARY 24-25

    FESTIVALS

  20. Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival 2020

    Former Stranger contributor Brittnie Fuller has written, “This event in Leavenworth—the infamous German-themed town/tourist attraction nestled in the Cascades—looks like the coziest mid-winter music festival, filled with beardo-magnet amenities like skiing and snowboarding, a hot-toddy garden, wine tastings, and festival-branded flannel shirts. The weekend’s musical offerings are generally varied, with numerous local and national acts ranging from indie rock to hip-hop.” This year’s roster is no exception, boasting sets by Pedro the Lion, Bully, Bearaxe, Lisa Prank, Ivan & Alyosha, CarLarans, Bryan John Appleby, and many more.

    JANUARY 25

    FESTIVALS

  21. 10th Annual Belgian Fest

    Brewing beers with Belgian yeast yields a range of ales with a distinctive fruity flavor. This festival featuring more than 100 Belgian-style beers crafted by Washington breweries is the perfect opportunity to taste them all, including funky lambics, tangy saisons, dubbels, tripels, abbeys, and wits.

    THROUGH JANUARY 26

    VISUAL ART

  22. Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum

    Flesh and Blood consists of 40 works by Spanish, Italian, and French Renaissance and Baroque master artists. These works are from the collection of Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, in the hills of Naples, Italy, and this is the first time many of them have traveled together. Perhaps the most exciting thing is the inclusion of Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith and Holofernes (1612–1613). It depicts the Old Testament story of Judith, a beautiful Jewish heroine, assassinating the Assyrian general Holofernes. Judith used her looks and Holofernes’s desire to get into his tent, where he passed out after drinking too much. Judith used this opportunity to behead the general with a giant sword, absconding with his decapitated head and saving her city and the people in it. Gentileschi’s Judith is clothed, and she shows absolutely no qualms about the task. The surety and determination on her face is matched by the way she grabs Holofernes’s hair, holding him so that she can position the sword accurately. She’s a butcher of tyrannical men. JASMYNE KEIMIG

    JANUARY 26

    MUSIC

  23. Dermot Kennedy

    Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy flew in a day early for his NPR Tiny Desk concert to rehearse with Washington, D.C.’s Howard Gospel Choir, whom he brought along to the performance. Hopefully, this tour stop will also bring some fun surprises.

    JANUARY 29

    MUSIC

  24. Jacquees

    Initially notable for kicking Keith Sweat to the curb, the self-proclaimed “King of R&B” Jacquees is back in town to play tracks off his latest album.

    READINGS & TALKS

  25. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    #MeToo heroes Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were instrumental in the fall of Harvey Weinstein after their Pulitzer-winning expose of the Hollywood mogul and alleged rapist was published in the New York Times in 2017. In their new book, She Said, the journalists explain how, exactly, they managed to publish a story that had gone unreported, but whispered about, for so long. Washington Post called it “an instant classic of investigative journalism,” and the New York Times named it an instant bestseller. KATIE HERZOG

    JANUARY 29–30

  26. The New Pornographers, Diane Coffee

    It’s really hard not to like the New Pornographers; “Letter from an Occupant” off their 2000 debut Mass Romantic still gives me feel-good goose bumps. The Vancouver faves churn out a pleasant mix of indie rock and power pop that’s gained them a relentlessly loyal fan base. If that weren’t enough, they’re also composed of talented music-makers who’ve gone on to fruitful solo careers and side projects, like Carl Newman (aka AC Newman, a quiet storm of lovely), Neko Case (badass alt-folk-rocker), and Dan Bejar (you know you love Destroyer). LEILANI POLK

    JANUARY 30

    READINGS & TALKS

  27. Isabel Allende: A Long Petal of the Sea

    Now is the time to read and listen to the Chilean writer Isabel Allende. In the middle of October, protests exploded in Santiago, Chile. These demonstrations, which involved millions of Chileans, were sparked by a rise in the city’s subway fare. But the crisis is not isolated; it’s occurring against the backdrop of Chile’s early experiment with neoliberalism, which was imposed on the country by the brutal dictator, Augusto Pinochet. In her 1982 novel The House of the Spirits, Allende attempted to exorcize the ghosts of that exceptionally bloody dictatorship, which began with the murder of the novelist’s uncle, the democratically elected Salvador Allende. The ghosts of Pinochet still haunt the slim South American country. Allende will certainly have lots to say about how these ghosts have returned as the young protestors on the streets of Santiago, despite the fact that her latest novel shifts the time period backwards, to the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. CHARLES MUDEDE

    JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 9

    PERFORMANCE

  28. Cinderella (Pacific Northwest Ballet)

    The quintessential fairy tale gets the Kent Stowell choreography treatment with music by Sergei Prokofiev performed by the great Pacific Northwest Ballet orchestra, a set by Tony Straiges, and fancy costumes by Martin Pakledinaz.

    JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 23

    PERFORMANCE

  29. Bliss (5th Avenue Theatre)

    The third of 5th Avenue’s new musicals this season is Bliss, written by Emma Lively and Tyler Beattie and choreographed by Josh Prince (the Broadway choreographer of Shrek and Beautiful). It follows four sister princesses who sneak out of their castle, determined to be belles of the ball in their fairy-tale world.

    FEBRUARY

    Special Holiday Calendars: Super Bowl Viewing Parties (Feb 2) | Valentine’s Day (Feb 14) | Mardi Gras (Feb 25) | Black History Month

    FEBRUARY 1-MARCH 15

    VISUAL ART

  30. Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives (National Nordic Museum)

    In this era of extreme inequality, the work of groundbreaking Danish American photojournalist Jacob Riis reminds us that the desperation of the urban poor is nothing new. Exploiting newly invented flash powder to explore night scenes, Riis documented life in tenements, sweatshops, and city streets. The exhibition Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives reveals moving photos by Riis and other photographers of the time, as well as excerpts from his journals and letters.

    OPENING FEBRUARY 1

    VISUAL ART

  31. Body of Work: Tattoo Culture (MoPOP)

    Immerse yourself in the history and art of the tattoo—from First Nations practices to counterculture trends—with artifacts, films, interactive stations, and photos.

    FEBRUARY 2

    MUSIC

  32. Sarah McLachlan

    Grammy- and Juno Award-winning Canadian treasure Sarah McLachlan will jump out of her heart-wrenching ASPCA commercial for an evening of angel-voiced songs.

    FEBRUARY 4

    MUSIC

  33. Sinead O’Connor

    Sinead O’Connor needs no introduction, but in case you have a serious case of name and face evasion, she’s a legendary Irish songstress who could slay a dragon with a single tear. She’ll stop in Seattle on this much-anticipated tour.
  34. SuperM: We Are the Future Live

    Korean pop supergroup SuperM will go on their first We Are the Future Live world tour since their formation earlier in 2019. Their seven members include Taemin from Shinee, Baekhyun and Kai from Exo, Taeyong, Ten, and Lucas and Mark from NCT.

    FEBRUARY 5

    MUSIC

  35. Loudon Wainwright III

    There’s a whole generation of folks (myself included) for whom Loudon Wainwright III is more familiar as an actor (having appeared in M*A*S*H, three Judd Apatow productions, and G-Force—2009’s Jerry Bruckheimer production about guinea pig secret agents). Wainwright the actor, while delightful, is nowhere near as interesting as Wainwright the musician, who’s been recording and performing sardonic folk commentaries since his beatific 1970s self-titled debut. His long and storied career is still going strong, even if his new material is no longer about growing old (like his early stuff was) so much as it just plain sounds old (now he sings about things like “Cash for Clunkers”). Still, it would be worth it to hear some of Wainwright’s older gems. JASON BAXTER
  36. Queensryche

    Back in 2012, Queensryche publicly feuded over the use of their name with former vocalist Geoff Tate. After securing the copyright to the well-established name, the remaining members made a risky move, hiring former Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre. Many feared this change, as Tate’s voice was synonymous with Queensryche’s prog-rock sound. What fans received was a love letter to the vintage Queensryche years, shying away from their softer, more ballad-driven material and embracing their original soaring, power-metal-esque anthems with 2013’s self-titled album and 2015’s Condition Hüman. There’s no end in sight for this old-school Northwest rock institution. KEVIN DIERS

    PERFORMANCE

  37. Trixie Mattel: Grown Up 2020

    Trixie Mattel once said that all her jokes are cries for help. If that’s true, the poor girl needs an intervention. The drag queen and winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars has built an empire on morbid and strange drag humor, racking up impressive accolades inside and outside the cult of RuPaul, like a TV show on Viceland, a top-selling country album, and a sell-out tour with music from said country album. Mattel, a small-town clown from Wisconsin, has become the gay world’s popular girl. Get your tickets now if they’re still available. CHASE BURNS

    READINGS & TALKS

  38. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    Journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn don’t just share a home (they’ve been married for over 30 years); they also share a Pulitzer. The couple, who won the most coveted award in journalism for their coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1990, is out with a new book, Tightrope, about economic devastation ravaging American communities. In Yamhill, Oregon, where Kristof grew up, a quarter of the kids who rode his school bus eventually died from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or some kind of accidents. This book is about what happened in Yamhill, and other oft-neglected places in this country. KATIE HERZOG

    FEBRUARY 6

    READINGS & TALKS

  39. Paisley Rekdal (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    In 2017, Rich Smith wrote, “The best essay I read this year was called ‘Nightingale: A Gloss,’ and it was written by Seattle writer (but current University of Utah prof) Paisley Rekdal and published in the American Poetry Review. In a straightforward, no-bullshit tone, and with her characteristically sharp eye for scholarly associations, Rekdal weaves the story of a sexual assault she experienced while hiking alone in Loch Ness with Ovid’s story of Philomela, other rapes of antiquity, and also with the story of her writing a poem called ‘Philomela.’ Her reckoning of the assault, and her reckoning of her own reckoning, reveals sexual violence for what it is: a pillar, not an aberration, of Western civilization. She has two new books coming out: a book of poems from Copper Canyon called Imaginary Vessels and a book-length essay called The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam. So if she doesn’t read ‘Nightingale’ at this event, seek it out.”

    OPENING FEBRUARY 7

    FILM

  40. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (Wide release)

    Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), no more the Joker’s abused handmaiden, teams up with some superheroes to protect a little girl.

    FEBRUARY 7-MARCH 1

    PERFORMANCE

  41. Disney’s ‘Frozen’ (Broadway at the Paramount)

    Stranger managing editor Leilani Polk wrote of the Disney film, “I have a warm spot in my heart for Frozen, Disney’s second-highest-grossing animated film about a princess who sets out on a quest (with a group of helpful sidekicks, of course) to find her estranged sister after said sister’s powers accidentally bring eternal winter to their kingdom.” This magical story will be transposed to the stage in this Broadway-on-tour production, with Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and book by Jennifer Lee. Just be warned that “Let It Go” will be stuck in your head for the next several years.

    FEBRUARY 8

    FESTIVALS

  42. Chinatown-International District Lunar New Year

    Ring in the Year of the Rat at this massive Lunar New Year celebration that showcases the diversity, richness, and culture of the Asian community. See traditional dragon and lion dances, Japanese Taiko drumming, martial arts, and other cultural performances on the Main Stage, plus arts and crafts and family activities—and don’t miss the $3 food walk.

    FEBRUARY 8-9

    VISUAL ART

  43. Asian Art Museum Reopening

    The Asian Art Museum is reopening after more than two long years! Rediscover the collection of ancient and contemporary treasures from China, Japan, India, Korea, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, the Philippines, and Vietnam—admission is free all weekend long. Don’t miss your chance to see their two new exhibitions: Boundless: Stories of Asian Art and Be/longing: Contemporary Asian Art.

    THROUGH FEBRUARY 9

    PERFORMANCE

  44. A Night Like This (Teatro ZinZanni)

    Witness acrobats and variety artists act out stories from “exotic travels to the Seven Seas” through dance, aerial feats, song, and more. Michael Cunio of Postmodern Jukebox will step into the role of Master of the House, while Christine Deaver will be your raconteuse. As always, your ticket will include a multi-course dinner.

    FEBRUARY 9

    FOOD & DRINK

  45. Chocofest 2020

    Dive headfirst into chocoholic bacchanalia with 10, count ’em 10, drink tickets in tow at this annual pre-Valentine’s Day bash. Indulge in libations from dozens of breweries, cidermakers, wineries, and distilleries and sate your sweet tooth with confections from Fran’s Chocolates, Theo Chocolate, Joe Chocolate Company, and more. When you need to cut your sugar rush with something savory, there will also be bites from local restaurants. And know that all your hedonism supports a good cause—proceeds benefit Long Live the Kings, a local nonprofit working to restoring wild salmon and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest.

    MUSIC

  46. Violent Femmes

    Violent Femmes tapped something deep, something dark and sweet and a little scary, with “Blister in the Sun,” a song that can be taken up by guitar, sax, or a bunch of deeply drunk folks shuffling en masse up and down dorm stairs to celebrate a rare day of hot weather in the Northwest. Frat boys love them and misfits love them for the same reason: They express frustration like it is, with a liberal splash of wit. Naysayers say nothing past the first album makes any difference, but try (just for an example) 1986’s “I Held Her in My Arms,” where the sax says something every go-round, something Gordon Gano’s afraid to put into words. ANDREW HAMLIN

    FEBRUARY 11

    MUSIC

  47. Wolf Parade, Land of Talk

    The Montreal art-rock band that’s not Arcade Fire (but has some early ties to it), Wolf Parade had a well-regarded, Polaris-nominated debut in 2005’s Apologies to the Queen Mary (which introduced Spencer Krug’s wildly dramatic and idiosyncratic vocals in the roiling, synth-driven “I’ll Believe in Anything”), and then followed it with two more solid LPs before taking a hiatus in 2011. Wolf Parade returned in 2016 and dropped a fourth studio album in 2017, Cry Cry Cry, which has definite David Bowie appeal but is starker, darker, and more post-punk groove-oriented than past efforts. LEILANI POLK

    FEBRUARY 14

    MUSIC

  48. Blake Shelton

    Dad-joke-shiller and ex-mulleted country crooner Blake Shelton will bend Tacoma to his Top40 appeal with additional guests on his Friends & Heroes 2020 nationwide tour.

    PERFORMANCE

  49. Dani Tirrell: Black Bois

    In Black Bois, which sold out its 2018 world premiere run at On the Boards pretty quickly, choreographer/dancer Dani Tirrell assembles a many-gendered supergroup of Seattle performers, each of whom could easily carry their own full-length show. Together they create a show about the irreducibility of black experience. Tirrell and the cast fight back against a world that tends to flatten and fragment blackness into digestible, dismissible bits and instead, gives you all of it—the pain, the rage, the joy, the grief, the eroticism, the spirituality, the madness, the clarity, the multiplicity of the individual, and the deep-rooted particularities of the communities. RICH SMITH

    OPENING FEBRUARY 14

    FILM

  50. Sonic the Hedgehog (Wide release)

    The blue guy from the Sega game, altered from his initial CGI form to have less creepy teeth, flees from government agents.

    FEBRUARY 14-20

    FILM

  51. Noir City 2020

    If you love cinema, then you must love film noir. And if you love film noir, then you must love the Noir City festival, which will feature a number of known and less known movies in this genre that has lots of spiderlike women, lots of long knives, lots of rooms with dark curtains, lots of faces of the fallen, and lots of existential twists and turns. CHARLES MUDEDE

    FEBRUARY 15

    FILM

  52. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure 35th Anniversary Tour with Paul Reubens

    Revisit the cult classic Pee-wee’s Big Adventure on its 35th birthday, presented by none other than Pee-wee himself, aka Paul Reubens, who’ll have plenty of behind-the-scenes stories to tell.

    FEBRUARY 15-APRIL 11

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  53. Seattle Dragons XFL 2020 Season

    Seattle’s brand-new XFL team (an alternative football league to the National Football League), the Seattle Dragons, will have their home games at CenturyLink Field from February to April, starting with a game against the Tampa Bay Vipers.

    FEBRUARY 16

    COMEDY

  54. Middleditch & Schwartz

    Improv unfolds on the big stage when Emmy-nominated Thomas Middleditch (Richard Hendricks on Silicon Valley) and Emmy-winning Ben Schwartz (most famous for playing Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on Parks and Recreation, but also in House of Lies and co-author of Things You Should Already Know about Dating, You Fucking Idiot) put on a two-person longform show.

    FOOD & DRINK

  55. Alki Oyster Fest!

    At the third annual Oyster Fest on Alki Beach, slurp fresh Hama Hama oysters alongside a glass of wine or craft beer from West Seattle Brewing Company, Alki Beach Pub, or Harry’s Beach House while listening to live music. Net proceeds benefit the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, whose mission is to “restore marine habitat, water quality, and native species in Puget Sound through tangible, on-the-ground projects.”

    FEBRUARY 18

    MUSIC

  56. Dashboard Confessional, Piebald

    Alt-emo artifact Dashboard Confessional will return to town high off the fumes of their 20th anniversary. They’ll be joined by Piebald.

    FEBRUARY 20

    READINGS & TALKS

  57. Gish Jen: Politics & Possibility (Hugo House’s Word Works)

    Rich Smith wrote in 2017: “Over the course of her many award-winning novels, Gish Jen writes about the complexities of assimilation, interracial relationships, and conflict between first-generation immigrants and second/third-generation immigrants.” Jen is coming out with a new novel, a dystopian fiction called The Resisters. Here, she’ll talk about how Trump’s America can influence powerful writing.

    FEBRUARY 20-22

    FOOD & DRINK

  58. Seattle Wine and Food Experience

    This annual extravaganza of all things edible and drinkable is an ode to gluttony in three parts. First up is Comfort, a festival of “feel-good foods and crafty brews,” complete with bars for french fries, Bloody Marys, hot toddies, and milk and cookies. Next, POP! Bubbles and Seafood capitalizes on the felicitous pairing of bubbles and bivalves with a celebrity shucking contest and more than 30 sparkling wines from around the world. Finally, the Grand Tasting will showcase local and regional wines, beer, cider, spirits, and tastes from big-name Seattle chefs, with plenty of opportunities to watch demonstrations and meet artisan food producers.

    FEBRUARY 20-23

    FILM

  59. Seattle Asian American Film Festival 2020

    Films by and about Asian Americans are showcased at this annual festival, which always includes diverse features and short films about the diverse and rich experiences of these populations, particularly in Seattle and the Northwest.

    FEBRUARY 21

    MUSIC

  60. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

    Perhaps Cleveland, Ohio’s chief contribution to the history of hiphop, the melodic rap stylings of Bone Thugs now seem almost prophetic, with more rappers singing these days than actually rapping. The Eazy-E-signed quintet have undergone many changes and bumps along the way since their smash single “Crossroads,” releasing the album New Waves in 2017 with just Krayzie and Bizzy Bone. Expect to see the original lineup in full force, combining old-school lyricism and forward-thinking harmonies that will get any crowd going. NICK ZURKO

    FEBRUARY 21-23

    MUSIC

  61. Brandi Carlile with Seattle Symphony, the Secret Sisters

    The experience of listening to Brandi Carlile’s 2018 album, By the Way, I Forgive You, is similar to that of listening to Carole King’s Tapestry or Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks; it’s a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and a lot of hard truths about the human race. Carlile’s talents lie in her tone, a dusky alto that swims around confessions of heartbreak and lifelong efforts to love and be loved, with the deftness of a much more senior troubadour. She’ll be joined in this performance of her recent works by the Seattle Symphony, with an opening set by Americana singer-songwriter duo the Secret Sisters. KIM SELLING

    FEBRUARY 22

    FOOD & DRINK

  62. Alki Winter Beer & Food Truck Festival

    As Special Olympics Washington attempts their annual “polar plunge” into the punishingly icy waters of Puget Sound, the Mobile Food Rodeo will provide warming sustenance for plungers and onlookers alike with plenty of food trucks, plus over 20 beers on tap.

    MUSIC

  63. Brazilian Carnival

    This 26th annual Carnaval event celebrates music and dance traditions across Brazil with Eduardo Mendonça, Show Brazil!, and others.

    FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 7

    MUSIC

  64. Charlie Parker’s ‘Yardbird’ (Seattle Opera)

    Jazz icon Charlie Parker gets the operatic treatment in this Seattle Opera production of Yardbird, a journey through limbo by Parker, who struggles to complete his last masterpiece amidst a series of flashbacks that showcase the glorious heyday of iconic NYC jazz club Birdland, as well as the failures and victories of Parker’s dynamic life.

    FEBRUARY 24

    MUSIC

  65. Tove Lo, ALMA

    Rising Swedish art-pop princess Tove Lo will headline in Seattle on her Sunshine Kitty Tour with support from Finland’s ALMA.

    FEBRUARY 24-26

    MUSIC

  66. Death Cab for Cutie, The Black Tones

    Full disclosure: I am writing about Death Cab for Cutie out of Moral Obligation. They are great, sure, but I have very little in the way of personal feelings about the Ben Gibbard-led alt-rock band. There is something inherently gray and rainy about their music, which might be because they are from around these parts (well, Bellingham really), or maybe it’s because I know they are from around these parts. They make some poignant ballads. Some barn burners. Some dark Radiohead-flavored odes. This three-night stint to replace their September storm-out is ostensibly a hometown run, still supporting 2018’s Thank You for Today but also the super fresh (just-released) The Blue EP. LEILANI POLK

    FEBRUARY 25

    MUSIC

  67. Raphael Saadiq

    A few years ago, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black (created with invaluable help from Mark Ronson and the Dap-Kings) reminded a whole bunch of (white) people about the vast aural pleasures of old-school soul. Legendary singer-songwriter-producer Raphael Saadiq has devoted most of his life to these pleasures, leading the chart-conquering new jack swingsters Tony! Toni! Toné!, producing the deep funk stew of D’Angelo’s classic Voodoo, and, most recently, releasing his freakishly accomplished 2008 solo album The Way I See It. The latter is an impeccable dazzler that comes on like a one-man Motown show, with Saadiq playing all the parts, from mastermind Berry Gordy to songwriting factory Holland-Dozier-Holland to singing-songwriting superstar Smokey Robinson. That the end result manages to spring to its own 21st-century life is a testament to Saadiq’s gifts. DAVE SEGAL

    FEBRUARY 26

    READINGS & TALKS

  68. An Evening with Karamo Brown

    Queer Eye “culture expert” Karamo Brown will dish on pop culture, queerness, blackness, Christianity, and other aspects of his identity, as well as his career.

    FEBRUARY 27

    PERFORMANCE

  69. John Cameron Mitchell: The Origin of Love Tour

    The guy who starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inch—the original stage show and then the movie—is coming to town. Not only did he star in it, he wrote the damn thing (with musical collaborator Stephen Trask). This is not a drill. He is a certified genius. He will tell stories from the show’s 25-year history and sing songs from Hedwig, as well as some new music. He told me years ago he was writing a sequel. Maybe this is our sneak peek. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

    FEBRUARY 28

    COMEDY

  70. Tim & Eric: Mandatory Attendance World Tour

    Comedy duo Tim & Eric of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (plus about a million other strange things) will return with a live show full of squirm-inducing humor.

    FILM

  71. Nordic Lights Film Festival 2020

    This annual film festival, supported by SIFF, celebrates the richness of Nordic culture, featuring films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and even the Faroe Islands.

    FEBRUARY 28-MARCH 29

    PERFORMANCE

  72. August Wilson’s ‘Jitney’ (Seattle Repertory Theatre)

    It is not at all amazing to claim that August Wilson is one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th century. The more amazing thing to say about Wilson is this: He was the greatest black American economist of the 20th century. Indeed, Wilson’s first play, Jitney, is not only a masterpiece of 1970s economics, it also predicted the rideshare economy of our times. The play, which Seattle Rep is staging under the direction of the talented Ruben Santiago-Hudson, is about black cab drivers who informally serve Pittsburgh’s black community because white-owned cabs will not. The business is owned by the play’s key character, Jim Becker, a man in his 60s who retired after devoting decades of his life to a Pittsburgh steel plant. In Jitney, we see the capital-starved working conditions for black men who have pensions or served in the army. They do whatever they can to make ends meet. But no matter how much time and innovation they invest in their economy, the returns always fall short of settling real needs. CHARLES MUDEDE

    FEBRUARY 29

    FOOD & DRINK

  73. Washington Beer Open House

    More than 110 Washington breweries will open their doors for a simultaneous open house, which gives beer lovers a unique opportunity to create their own adventure. Plot an itinerary for a personalized brewery crawl, travel to a few destination breweries you’ve always wanted to try, or simply drop into the nearest participating craft brewer in your neighborhood. Each featured brewer will have their own lineup of surprises in store, including samples, tours, souvenirs, rare barrel tastings, savory food pairings, and more.

    MARCH

    Special Holiday Calendars: St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) | Women’s History Month | Spring

    MARCH 1

    MUSIC

  74. Thundercat

    Call it hyperbole if you must, but the LA-based Thundercat ranks among the most influential bassists of his generation. Having played with bands and acts that range from Suicidal Tendencies to Erykah Badu to, most notably, Kendrick Lamar—Thundercat won a Grammy for his work on To Pimp a Butterfly’s “These Walls”—the bassist born Stephen Bruner has come into his own as a solo artist, releasing three albums of hip-hop-infused jazz fusion via longtime collaborator Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label, including 2017’s astounding Drunk. Expect a show full of musical pyrotechnics and Bruner’s inimitable energy, which has made him one of the most in-demand bassists both on stage and in the studio. NICK ZURKO

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  75. Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K 2020

    Starting and finishing at Seattle Center, this annual race rewards runners with all manner of chocolate delights, including hot chocolate, marshmallows with a hot fudge dipping sauce, and more.
  76. Sounders FC vs Chicago Fire FC

    The Seattle Sounders will open their 2020 season with a home game against Chicago Fire.

    MARCH 2-15

    GEEK

  77. Emerald City Comic Con

    Geeks across fandoms save their most inventive cosplay for the biggest local comic event of the year, Emerald City Comic Con. The four-day event is filled to the brim with panels, meetups, special events, fun parties, and tons and tons of guests hanging out in the artist alley. In addition to the main events at the Convention Center, this year’s newest addition is Pop Asia, a buzzy anime, manga, and K-pop event at the Sheraton Hotel.

    MARCH 4

    MUSIC

  78. Prince Royce

    Dominican American songwriter Prince Royce will embark on his biggest tour yet in support of his new album, Alter Ego.

    MARCH 5

    MUSIC

  79. Eric Nam, Frenship

    Chart-topping Korean pop sensation Eric Nam will come to Seattle on his Before We Begin World Tour with opening support from LA-based pop duo Frenship.

    MARCH 5–OCTOBER 28

    VISUAL ART

  80. Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstract Variations

    The Seattle Art Museum celebrates the acquisition of O’Keeffe’s Music, Pink and Blue, No. 1, which it calls “the first complete expression of her personal brand of modernism,” with an exhibition that also features loaned paintings, drawings, and Alfred Stieglitz’s photographs of the artist.

    MARCH 6

    COMEDY

  81. Whose Live Anyway?

    The cast members of the Emmy-winning show Whose Line Is It Anyway?—including Greg Proops, Joel Murray, Jeff B. Davis, and Bellingham-born Ryan Stiles—will play their hilarious improv games onstage.

    OPENING MARCH 6

    FILM

  82. Onward (Wide release)

    Two bored suburban elf boys, voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, set out to find magic and bring back their father in this Pixar adventure.

    MARCH 7

    FOOD & DRINK

  83. Cocktail District

    You’ll find pop-up cocktail bars, tastings, bar takeovers, food trucks, music, classes, demos, and more at this weekend-long “carnival of cocktails” during Seattle Cocktail Week. Wander through sections like the “Whiskey Woods,” “Vodka Village,” and “Gin Garden” to discover new spirits from over 100 brands and shop for bottles to take home.

    MUSIC

  84. Keane

    Known for their mid-2000s hit “Somewhere Only We Know,” Sussex-formed rock band Keane will bring heavy rom-com vibes to this Seattle tour stop.

    PERFORMANCE

  85. The Bachelor Live

    In the show’s touring edition, one (TBA) eligible Bachelor is selected ahead of time from each city where the tour stops, and during the live show, he’s introduced to 10 local ladies from the audience for a “chance at love.” These single Seattleites will be recruited by the tour’s casting director and participate in the two-hour-and-20-minute event, during which, through a series of “games, challenges, onstage dates, and other fun ‘getting to know you’ scenarios,” the women are whittled down through multiple rose ceremonies until the Seattle Bachelor finds the woman he’s (theoretically) most compatible with. Bachelor Nation alums Becca Kufrin and Ben Higgins will serve as the hosts/matchmakers. Who will be Seattle’s Bachelor? Will the eligible ladies seem as thirsty in this unedited environment as they do on TV? I don’t know, but I’m buying tickets to this shitshow now. LEILANI POLK

    MARCH 7-8

    FESTIVALS

  86. Penn Cove Musselfest

    Thanks to the nutrient-rich outflow of water from the Skagit River, beautiful Penn Cove’s famous mussels grow full-sized in record time and are harvested young, making them impossibly firm, fat, and sweet. This annual festival, which bills itself as a celebration of all things “bold, briny, and blue,” features boat tours of the Penn Cove Mussel Farm, a mussel eating contest, cooking demonstrations with local chefs, a waterfront beer garden, and the main event: a tasting competition with restaurants from all over Coupeville vying to have their mussel chowder declared the finest in town.

    MARCH 8

    MUSIC

  87. Hayley Kiyoko

    These days, we don’t get the pop star we want, we get the pop star we deserve. Mainstream pop music is currently past its peak of genre fusion, rapidly becoming just a milquetoast shelf from which EDM shillers can sell festival tickets. Because of this, social issues in pop music, possibly better tackled by other genres, take form as trending lyric topics. Hayley Kiyoko, a young singer riding just that trend, has reached her current popularity thanks to her hit “Girls Like Girls,” an effigy to burn of summertime boyfriends that simmers with the (obvious, yet still handy in example) declaration that that boyfriend wasn’t necessary in the first place. Because girls will always like girls, and it turns out we always have. From a Disney Channel seedling, it’s a positive start. If anything, Kiyoko puts a simple face—monosyllabic terms against a warm suburban backdrop—to a complex name: dissecting and declaring one’s sexual identity, which is sometimes all pop music is capable of. KIM SELLING

    MARCH 11

    COMEDY

  88. Todd Barry with Guests

    This Bronx-born comedian has been slaying audiences with his deadpan stand-up since the mid-’80s. In addition to lending his voice to cult favorite shows like Bob’s Burgers and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Barry continues to tour the country making headlines with his improv-heavy shows that tend to involve the crowd, with hilarious results. NICK ZURKO

    MUSIC

  89. Patti Smith and her band

    Tireless rock-and-roller, memoirist, and artist Patti Smith will bring her powers to Seattle with her band in tow.
  90. Third Eye Blind, Saves the Day

    Led by Stephan Jenkins, ’90s pop-alt rockers Third Eye Blind (or 3EB if you’re a real fan) achieved wide success during a bizarre time in the post-grunge music scene. They performed at the 2016 Bumbershoot, and will return to Seattle again for a night of classic singles with Jersey rock band Saves the Day.

    MARCH 12

    MUSIC

  91. A Bowie Celebration: The David Bowie Alumni Tour

    Who better to play Bowie hits than former members of the Thin White Duke’s touring bands from across the decades? This special alumni show promises just that, with appearances from Gerry Leonard, Carmine Rojas, Charlie Sexton, Kevin Armstrong, and Alan Childs.

    MARCH 12-APRIL 5

    PERFORMANCE

  92. Moisture Festival 2020

    Moisture Festival is devoted to the variety of performers Seattle has fostered over the years, from circus acts to comedians, burlesque dancers to musicians, and jugglers to tap dancers. Variété is the main, recurring event, with a rotating lineup, and there are also matinée and rather racier late-night versions. The bawdy Libertease Cabaret is for adults only and features burlesque dancers and scantily clothed aerial performers. There are also workshops, talks, and special opening and closing nights.

    MARCH 13-22

    PERFORMANCE

  93. One Thousand Pieces (Pacific Northwest Ballet)

    This feels like private programming. I’ve loved everything PNB has ever produced by Alejandro Cerrudo, the genius Spanish choreographer behind Silent Ghost (which was the balletic equivalent of rolling around in bed on Sunday morning) and Little mortal jump (which was the balletic equivalent of a really good indie rock show in college). So, yeah, I’m excited to see One Thousand Pieces, which sets his flat-out gorgeous choreography to “Knee 5,” the best piece of music Phillip Glass has ever written. The double bill includes David Dawson’s sharp, athletic, and aggressive Empire Noir—if you missed it in 2017, make sure you catch it this time. RICH SMITH

    MARCH 13-APRIL 5

    PERFORMANCE

  94. Sister Act (5th Avenue Theatre)

    Sister Act is based on the super-popular 1992 comedy/musical film starring Whoopi Goldberg. You know the premise: a raunchy lounge singer must go undercover in a convent to save her own life, hilarity ensues. This new staging will be directed by Lisa Shriver.

    MARCH 14

    MUSIC

  95. Grace Potter

    Grace Potter, formerly of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, has shared the stage with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, the Allman Brothers, and Mavis Staples. Catch her in Seattle on this solo tour stop.

    MARCH 14-15

    MUSIC

  96. Lucky 2020

    USC Events’ annual spring festival, and the biggest shamrock-themed EDM party in Washington, will come to Tacoma for the ninth year of green and gold everything. Break out your glow sticks and prepare for “a Celtic-inspired land where whimsical creatures, boundless providence, and good fortune abound”—or, at least, heavy-hitter headliners that will keep you dancing for two straight nights.

    MARCH 15

    MUSIC

  97. Leslie Odom, Jr.

    Grammy winner Leslie Odom Jr. is an acclaimed singer and dancer who has found mainstream recognition through his star turn as Aaron Burr in the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. He’ll come to Seattle for a live performance.
  98. Lupe Fiasco Presents Food & Liquor

    Back in 2006, things were only looking up for rapper Lupe Fiasco. Signed to Atlantic Records by Jay Z and hyped by Kanye West as the next Kanye West, Chicago’s Fiasco rose from regional threat to national concern off the strength of that year’s Food & Liquor and a slew of singles that included the still-banging “Kick, Push.” His actual career has been considerably bumpier than his initial rollout. Over the past decade, he’s quit music multiple times—including as recently as last December—and publicly wrestled with his inner demons and major-label contract, but he keeps coming back with fire, and his fans have stuck with him through the highs and lows. Speaking of highs, this February saw him release the career highlight Drogas Light, which has been met with praise by critics and longtime fans alike. Expect a reenergized Lupe Fiasco to step up to the Seattle stage and put on his high-energy show. NICK ZURKO

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  99. St. Patrick’s Day Dash 2020

    For the 36th year, support community-run nonprofits by wearing green on green on green and running in the St. Patrick’s Day Dash.

    MARCH 16-17

    MUSIC

  100. Bikini Kill, Table Sugar

    Riot Grrrl progenitors Bikini Kill will hark back to their Pacific Northwest roots with support from Olympia’s Table Sugar, who could be their musical offspring.

    MARCH 17

    READINGS & TALKS

  101. Min Jin Lee (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    National Book Award finalist Min Jin Lee is the author of Pachinko, a family saga set in Korea and Japan during the 20th century.
  102. Rebecca Solnit: Recollections of My Nonexistence

    Rebecca Solnit recounts her formation as a writer and as a feminist in 1980s San Francisco in her new memoir, Recollections of My Nonexistence. Hear her read.

    MARCH 17-APRIL 20

    PERFORMANCE

  103. Troilus and Cressida (Seattle Shakespeare)

    Why should you be excited for Shakespeare’s rather under-staged black comedy of love and war? Because it’s being directed by ACT Theatre AD John Langs, who’s imaginatively done Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and most recently a Deaf/hearing adaptation of Romeo + Juliet.

    OPENING MARCH 18

    FILM

  104. A Quiet Place Part II (Wide release)

    The survivors of the family from A Quiet Place leave their family farm and find dangers both human and alien in the post-apocalyptic city.

    MARCH 18-19

    MUSIC

  105. Wilco

    Wilco’s critical acclaim peaked with Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot—albums that elevated the Chicago group from the alt-country poster children of their early years into a zeitgeist of futurist folk music. Yes, the songwriting traditions of Hank and Woody still haunted Jeff Tweedy’s forlorn ballads, but the layered recordings, deconstructed instrumentation, and visionary production techniques stimulated your brain while Tweedy broke your heart. These days, Wilco seem less fixated on using the studio as its own instrument and more focused on being a self-contained band. So while more recent albums like The Whole Love and Star Wars might not have the headphone candy of Y2K Wilco, the no-frills recordings capture a band at the height of their abilities. Not surprisingly, the band has never been better on stage. BRIAN COOK

    MARCH 19

    READINGS & TALKS

  106. Rick Barot (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    Tacoma-based, Philippines-born poet Rick Barot is the author of the collections The Darker Fall, Lambda Literary finalist and Grub Street Prize winner Want, and Chord, with a fourth, The Galleons, due out this year. He’s won all the fellowships, or at least NEA, Guggenheim Foundation, Artist Trust, Civitella Ranieri, and Stanford University grants.

    MARCH 19-22

    FOOD & DRINK

  107. Taste Washington 2020

    Immerse yourself in four days of pure oenophilia with this behemoth event billing itself as “the nation’s largest single-region wine and food event,” which unites more than 235 Washington wineries, 65 local restaurants, and a number of acclaimed local and national chefs.

    MARCH 20

    MUSIC

  108. Pussy Riot

    Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot, who have also dabbled in psych-rock musicals, will showcase their performance-art-meets-politics-meets-pop-and-punk-music talent at this event.

    MARCH 20-APRIL 12

    PERFORMANCE

  109. Sweat (ACT Theatre)

    In Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, a group of friends who work together on the factory floor are driven apart when layoffs and picket lines come into the picture.

    MARCH 21

    COMEDY

  110. Lewis Black

    The old, white, alpha-male ranter is a familiar figure in comedy, stated Captain Obvious. But Lewis Black might be the paragon of this tradition, perhaps the last such über-curmudgeon we’ll ever need (although probably not, seeing as how the world’s going). Looking like a more brutish Al Franken, Black bellows in a baritone a litany of insults and outrages to his sensibilities. From the most minuscule mundanities to the horror show of politics to the most cosmic injustices, Black pinpoints their infuriating truths—laced with a powerful arsenal of profanity. Incredible catharsis ensues. DAVE SEGAL

    MUSIC

  111. Brantley Gilbert Fire’t Up 2020 Tour

    Things will get country-fried when the Fire’t Up Tour stops off in Tacoma as part of its massive 30-plus-date tour that brings headliner Gilbert as well as Chase Rice, Dylan Scott, and Brandon Lay to the stage.

    MARCH 21-APRIL 5

    FILM

  112. Seattle Jewish Film Festival 2020

    This annual film festival explores and celebrates global Jewish and Israeli life, history, complexity, culture, and filmmaking. It showcases international, independent, and award-winning Jewish-themed and Israeli cinema, and the audience votes on their favorites. Most of the films are shown in March; in April, the fest migrates to the Eastside. Highlights include the Tom Douglas Opening Night Dessert Party, VIP Gala, and Sunday Brunch.

    MARCH 22

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  113. Big Climb Seattle 2020

    Do some squats in preparation for this annual climb, where thousands of participants hike up the Columbia Tower’s 69 flights of stairs (1,311 steps). Proceeds benefit blood cancer research.
  114. UW Cherry Blossom Run

    Run from the UW Center For Urban Horticulture to Red Square—you’re sure to get an eyeful of the campus’s famous cherry blossom trees along the way.

    MARCH 28-APRIL 5

    PERFORMANCE

  115. Shen Yun

    By all accounts Shen Yun is a stunningly gorgeous dance explosion driven by classical Chinese movement and set before a giant screen that transports you to Imperial Chinese palaces, heavenly heights, and glorious color fields. But it is also the product of the Falun Gong movement, a religious group persecuted by the Chinese government. Members of the religion seek to reignite passion for traditional Chinese culture as a way to draw a comparison to current authoritarian leadership. Audiences are in for songs promoting Falun Gong’s conservative values, which include—according to SF Gate and people who have seen the show—creationism, homophobia, sobriety, and no spreadin til the weddin. I recommend this performance to you only so you can watch the look on peoples’ faces as they slowly discover they’re being indoctrinated. But if it’s too expensive, or if their ideology threatens your very existence, then obviously you should do literally anything else. RICH SMITH

    MARCH 26-SEPTEMBER 20

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  116. Seattle Mariners 2020 Home Games

    Seattle’s MLB team will kick off their 2020 season on their home turf (T-Mobile Park) with four back-to-back games against the Texas Rangers, rounding things out in September with matches against the Cleveland Indians. See the complete schedule here.

    OPENING MARCH 27

    FILM

  117. Mulan (Wide release)

    Disney’s live-action remake of the 1998 animated favorite Mulan is, thankfully, really live action and not an uncanny Lion King situation (although no doubt there’ll be plenty of greenscreening). A young woman (the Chinese star Liu Yifei, who’s been in the news for not-great reasons) disguises herself as a man and takes the place of her father in the Imperial Army. Don’t expect the songs from the original.

    MARCH 29

    PERFORMANCE

  118. Baby Shark Live

    Characters named Baby Shark and Pinkfong will perform dances and songs that will definitely get lodged in your and your children’s brains, like “Five Little Monkeys,” “Wheels On The Bus,” “Jungle Boogie,” and, naturally, “Baby Shark.”

    MARCH 29-APRIL 9

    FOOD & DRINK

  119. Seattle Restaurant Week Spring 2020

    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.

    APRIL

    Special Holiday Calendars: 4/20 | Easter (April 12) | Passover (April 8-16) | Earth Day (April 22) | National Poetry Month | Spring

    APRIL 1-30

    FESTIVALS

  120. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

    After the long and hard winter, the best way to shock you out of seasonal depression is to stick your face in a ton of fresh flowers. You’re in luck, because Skagit Valley’s annual Tulip Festival is really something to behold as, quite literally, millions of pink, yellow, purple, orange, and red tulips shoot up from the ground and announce that winter is finally over. (Or at least, it’s over in the rest of the world. It’ll be chilly here through June.) While you could fly to Holland to get your fill of tulips, the trip up I-5 is quicker, cheaper, and, with one mountain range to the east and another to your west, even more Instagrammable than Amsterdam. KATIE HERZOG

    APRIL 2

    READINGS & TALKS

  121. Adam Johnson: The Art of Listening (Hugo House’s Word Works)

    In this Word Works lecture, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer Adam Johnson will talk about crafting research-based narratives, using examples from his own work.

    APRIL 2-5

    PERFORMANCE

  122. Chicago (Broadway at the Paramount)

    Murder, depravity, and Bob Fosse choreography make a potent cocktail in this Tony-winning revival of the famed Kander and Ebb musical about sexy, sociopathic showgirls of the roaring ’20s.

    APRIL 4

    MUSIC

  123. An Evening with The Monkees

    Big fans of reunions as they are, old-head ’60s-formed rock group the Monkees will bring back the hits on this Seattle tour stop.

    VISUAL ART

  124. Museum Day

    Get cultured for free at one of the museums participating in Smithsonian’s Museum Day. All you need to do is download the ticket from the Smithsonian’s website, grab a companion, and show your pass at the Asian Art Museum, the National Nordic Museum, Seattle Art Museum, or other institutions out of town. Choose carefully, though, because you only get one.

    APRIL 5

    PERFORMANCE

  125. Dancing with the Stars: Live!

    See all the glitz and glamour of your favorite ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars live on this North America tour stop. 

    APRIL 9-11

    MUSIC

  126. Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki (Seattle Symphony)

    Scores by Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi, featured widely in Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli films (Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and the like), will be performed by a full orchestra and choir, conducted by Hisashi himself and set to montages of Miyazaki’s films. You won’t want to miss this.


    APRIL 9-12

    PERFORMANCE

  127. Cirque du Soleil AXEL

    In this acrobatic aerial-and-ice-skating spectacular by the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, a young artist and musician creates a “hand-drawn universe” and joins his love to steal back light from a supervillain.

    APRIL 10

    MUSIC

  128. Billie Eilish

    Her sultry, silky, dulcet vocals have an old-soul quality, and her songwriting feels catchier and more mature than her 17 years would suggest. Which is likely why LA pop maker Billie Eilish has jetted to the top of charts worldwide with five singles off her debut full-length, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, that preceded its release (it peaked at No. 1 in 20 countries, and debuted at the top of our own Billboard 200, with the third-largest streaming numbers for an album by a female artist ever). She’s like the American version of Lorde, but her music belongs more on the late-night spectrum with dark, moody, grooving and thumping production qualities. LEILANI POLK

    OPENING APRIL 10

    FILM

  129. No Time to Die (Wide release)

    Cary Joji Fukunaga of True Detective and Beasts of No Nation (also the writer of It) directs the newest Daniel Craig-starring James Bond outing, in which Bond is pulled back into active service when his CIA friend puts him on the path of a sinister, high-tech villain. Recommended for spy film fans, of course, but also for lovers of stellar ensemble casts: This baby also features Lashana Lynch (of Captain Marvel), Ana de Armas (Craig’s co-star from Knives Out), Rami Malek, Christoph Waltz, and Léa Seydoux.

    APRIL 10-12

    GEEK

  130. Sakura-Con

    For one weekend, see life through an anime lens as cosplayers gather again for the Northwest’s “oldest and most well-attended” convention devoted to the art, presented by the Asia Northwest Cultural Education Association. It’s a members-only festival, but once you’re a member, everything else is free—contests, panels, dance parties, and more. Meet artists and browse their works, watch models strut outlandish looks on the runway at two fashion shows, and hear musical guests.

    APRIL 10-19

    PERFORMANCE

  131. Giselle (Pacific Northwest Ballet)

    The Pacific Northwest Ballet will stage a rather spooky classic, Giselle, in which a young woman dies after being spurned by a heartless nobleman and joins the Wilis, a host of wronged, vengeful, ghostly girls.

    APRIL 13

    MUSIC

  132. Block Party Presents: Jenny Hval with Special Guests

    With albums like 2011’s Viscera, 2013’s Innocence Is Kinky, and 2014’s Apocalypse, girl, Norway’s Jenny Hval proved herself a provocative singer/songwriter/producer unafraid to examine gender roles and erotic impulses with idiosyncratic iconoclasm. Their artful songs flit from Young Marble Giants–like fragile beauty to Robert Wyatt–like poignancy to Björk-ian electronic eccentricity. Hval even taps into a sublimely mournful ambient realm that recalls the exalted new-age excursions of Laraaji and Ariel Kalma on Apocalypse’s “Holy Land.” Her last album, Blood Bitch, is a concept album revolving around menstruation, Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, and 1970s horror and exploitation films. Produced by Hval and renowned noise musician Lasse Marhaug, it’s her most streamlined, electronic full-length, featuring production techniques that accentuate her dulcet, icy vocal tones, but it also contains her most harrowing track, “The Plague.” There will be blood. DAVE SEGAL

    APRIL 14-19

    PERFORMANCE

  133. Jersey Boys (5th Avenue Theatre)

    Jersey Boys is a buffed and shiny thing, an entertainment machine greased with pomade whose engine hums in four-part harmony.” So wrote Brendan Kiley when the musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons last migrated to Seattle. You can experience the story of the working-tough crooners once again at this five-performance run. 

    APRIL 15

    MUSIC

  134. Celine Dion

    Even if you only know her for the Titanic soundtrack, everyone knows Celine Dion is a legend. The pop superstar is going strong on her Courage World Tour, which will stop in Tacoma.

    READINGS & TALKS

  135. Carol Anderson (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    Carol Anderson’s White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide contends with the anti-black fury that has hindered the progress of black citizens since emancipation, while her One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy expounds on another threat to social justice.

    APRIL 17-18

    FILM

  136. Spliff 2020

    A new vibe of stoner entertainment is emerging—witness the rise of Broad City, High Maintenance, and basically every TV show created on Viceland. And, most importantly, The Stranger presents SPLIFF, your new favorite film festival created by the stoned for the stoned, just in time for 4/20.

    APRIL 17-MAY 17

    PERFORMANCE

  137. The Importance of Being Earnest (Seattle Repertory Theatre)

    Oscar Wilde’s long-beloved play is a masterpiece about the silliness of class, propriety, and image. Jack Worthing wants to marry Gwendolen, but his pedigree is lacking—mostly because he doesn’t actually know who his parents are, given that he was found in a handbag as a baby. Complicating things is the fact that Jack has assumed a false identity as the more desirable “Ernest,” and not even Gwendolen knows the truth. All becomes unraveled before the inevitably unlikely and goofy happy ending.

    APRIL 17-MAY 19

    PERFORMANCE

  138. The Effect (ACT Theatre)

    If you liked HBO’s Succession, check out creator Lucy Prebble’s sexy-cerebral play that grapples with “whether or not science has the ability to affect the human condition.”

    APRIL 18

    MUSIC

  139. Record Store Day 2020

    Excellently divisive music-nerd holiday Record Store Day acts as an annual reminder of how Seattle is still very much a music-obsessed town. For those of you who aren’t saving your pennies for specific releases, Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 as a day of celebration and discounts for vinyl enthusiasts. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either a booster shot to music retailers or a headache for smaller labels that have to compete with major labels to get their releases pressed on time. Many Seattle shops participate by offering special releases and sales, and some even have in-store performances.

    APRIL 20

    MUSIC

  140. Alice Cooper, Lita Ford

    The king of fake blood and hard rock will grace Seattle with his legendary prowess.
  141. King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Leah Senior

    Melbourne, Australia’s King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are always a chameleon-stunning sight and crowned sound to behold,” wrote Stranger music contributor Zach Frimmel. Catch them with folk singer-songwriter Leah Senior.

    APRIL 21-26

    PERFORMANCE

  142. The Play That Goes Wrong (Broadway at the Paramount)

    This goofy quasi-murder mystery won Best New Comedy at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards for its run at the Duchess Theatre in London—which began in 2014 and lasted until April 2019. The plot is a bit meta: A theatrical company puts on a murder mystery play (that’s a play-within-a-play, if you’re following) and is beset by disaster after disaster, including repeated scenes, understudies fighting with the mains, and scenery falling apart.

    APRIL 21-MAY 17

    PERFORMANCE

  143. Macbeth (Seattle Shakespeare)

    This should be a treat: Desdemona Chiang, the inventive director of Intiman’s Caught, Seattle Public Theatre’s The World of Extreme Happiness, ACT’s King of the Yees, and many more around the country, will stage one of Shakespeare’s most forcefully fatalistic plays. Witches! Clans! Duels! Imaginary daggers! “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrows”! How can you resist?

    APRIL 22

    READINGS & TALKS

  144. Elizabeth Kolbert (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert has received nationwide recognition for her reporting on global warming, extinction, and other urgent matters. She’s also the author of several books: The Prophet of Love: And Other Tales of Power and Deceit, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, and The Sixth Extinction.

    APRIL 23

    MUSIC

  145. Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, I Prevail, Ice Nine Kills

    The terrifyingly-named Five Finger Death Punch make Las Vegas-bred heavy metal in the nü-grunge style of bands like Staind and Papa Roach. Coincidentally, they’ll be joined by Papa Roach on this tour, along with I Prevail and Ice Nine Kills.
  146. Mura Masa

    Growing up on the remote island of Guernsey in the English Channel, Alex Crossan (aka Mura Masa) experimented with punk, metal, and even gospel before firmly planting his feet in electronic music. Fusing future bass and R&B, trap, calypso, and hiphop, his viral hit “Love$ick” broke Spotify back in early 2016. Mura Masa’s debut album came out in July 2017; expect big things. AMBER CORTES

    APRIL 23-26

    FESTIVALS

  147. PopCon 2020: Forever Young: Popular Music and Youth Across the Ages

    At this annual pointy-headed music-nerd conference, which was started in 2002, academics, critics, artists, and hardcore fans come together to hear panels on a broad theme relating to the art form that connects them all. This year’s event is all about the youth, who have played a major role in driving music, politics, and culture throughout history. 

    FILM

  148. Seattle Black Film Festival 2020

    I have yet to attend a Langston Hughes African American Film Festival—now called the Seattle Black Film Festival after a unanimous vote by community members, who feel the new name better reflects the vast Black diasporic experience—that doesn’t have an important black-directed or black-themed film that’s somehow been missed by the wider film community or is unavailable in any format—web, disk, cable, theater. CHARLES MUDEDE

    APRIL 24-26

    VISUAL ART

  149. Seattle Erotic Art Festival 2020

    For the past 17 years, the Foundation for Sex-Positive Culture has gathered enthusiasts of erotic art in all its forms. See the galleries of visual and interactive art, draw sensually posed models, hear readings, learn about trans and queer erotica, discover porny history, attend contests, and party.

    APRIL 25

    FOOD & DRINK

  150. Seattle Bacon and Beer Classic 2020

    At this festival, munch on unlimited salty, crunchy pork in over 35 dishes from local chefs and restaurants and sip crisp brews from more than 100 regional breweries. Plus, participate in a blind beer taste test, a bacon-eating contest, and lawn games and activities like a bacon seesaw.
  151. Seattle Cheese and Meat Festival

    The world is your cheese plate at this celebration of all things cured meat and fromage. At the door, you’ll be greeted with a tasting glass and charcuterie board, and then left to your own devices to wander around curating the platter of your dreams with samples from vendors. Then pair your picks with wine, cider, beer, spirits, or kombucha.

    MUSIC

  152. Lauren Daigle, JOHNNYSWIM

    Two-time Grammy winner Lauren Daigle has expanded her debut headlining tour to include our fair city in support of her latest album, Look Up Child. She’ll be joined by folk/soul duo JOHNNYSWIM.

    READINGS & TALKS

  153. Seattle Independent Bookstore Day 2020

    Independent Bookstore Day is Seattle’s celebration of the city’s plentiful and varied independent bookstores. Enjoy a good spring day of buying books in person from booksellers who love you and want you to be happy. Also: FUCK JEFF BEZOS. LONG LIVE INDIES. RICH SMITH

    To make things interesting, try visiting as many participating local bookstores as humanly possible in the Indie Bookstore Day Challenge—you may be rewarded with deals and other special surprises. 

    OPENING APRIL 25

    MUSEUMS

  154. American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith (MOHAI)

    This traveling Smithsonian exhibition all about American democracy brings “America’s national treasures” to life with multimedia experiences and designs, as well as artifacts from the Smithsonian and MOHAI’s own collection.

    APRIL 29

    READINGS & TALKS

  155. Maira Kalman (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    The renowned illustrator will present her new book, an illustrated edition of Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.

    APRIL 30

    MUSIC

  156. Kurt Vile, Cate Le Bon, Stella Mozgawa, Stephen Black

    Multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Kurt Vile and his luscious locks will visit Seattle with Stella Mozgawa and Stephen Black in tow.

    APRIL 30-MAY 2

    FESTIVALS

  157. Crosscut Festival 2020

    In the style of the New Yorker Festival, local news site Crosscut presents two days of timely conversations with nationally known journalists, authors, and politicians. Past guests have included Valerie Jarrett, Janet Napolitano, Pramila Jayapal, and Jay Inslee.

    MAY

    Special Holiday Calendars: Cinco de Mayo (May 5) | Mother’s Day (May 10)

    MAY 1

    MUSIC

  158. Russ

    Billboard-topping rapper Russ, whom you probably know for his hit single “What They Want,” will bring the good stuff to Seattle on his Shake The Globe Tour.

    OPENING MAY 1

    FILM

  159. Black Widow (Wide release)

    Marvel fleshes out the story of Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).

    MAY 1-3

    GEEK

  160. Crypticon 2020

    Crypticon will fill the DoubleTree with hundreds of gorehounds, bloodsluts, zombbros, and creepazoids. Dress up and enter the cosplay contest, compete in competitions, browse haunted Cthulhu/zombie/vampire/etc. goods, and meet horror celebrities like Shudder’s Joe Bob Briggs, actor Bill Moseley (Three from Hell), David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London), and Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp).

    MAY 2

    MUSIC

  161. Sturgill Simpson

    Fresh off his 2019 animated album Sound & Fury, the Grammy winner is joined by bluegrass-folk-country artist Tyler Childers on A Good Look’n Tour.

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  162. Seattle Yacht Club Opening Day 2020

    On the first Saturday of May for almost a century, hundreds of recreational boats have paraded from Portage Bay through the Montlake Cut for Seattle Yacht Club’s Opening Day to celebrate the official opening of Seattle’s boating season. Watch from the shore as adorned vessels boast live bands and giant floats. It’s also a tradition for people on board to throw water balloons at shore-dwellers, so practice your reflexes.

    MAY 2-19

    PERFORMANCE

  163. La Bohème (Seattle Opera)

    Giacomo Puccini’s unabashedly emotional tragicomedy, one of the most popular and accessible operas ever (and the progenitor of Rent), tells the story of four destitute but loyal, creative Parisians who survive on friendship and beauty in the Latin Quarter. But can love survive urban poverty?

    MAY 3

    MUSIC

  164. Dead Can Dance

    Australian British musical duo Dead Can Dance, composed of Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, will bring their blend of “African polyrhythms, Gaelic folk, Gregorian chant, Middle Eastern mantras, and art rock” (per Australian music historian Ian McFarlane) to Seattle.

    MAY 4

    MUSIC

  165. Cher, Nile Rodgers, Chic

    Apparently, Cher’s Farewell Tour a few years back wasn’t really her last. Who can blame her for wanting to remind the world of her endless capacity for zippy costume changes and glitzy vibrato? She’ll be joined by the inimitable Nile Rogers and his band Chic, whose greatest hits include “Everybody Dance,” “Le Freak,” and “I Want Your Love.”

    MAY 6

    MUSIC

  166. Mandy Moore

    Don’t act like you didn’t know Mandy Moore put out albums—did you not clock the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actress’s singing chops in Princess Diaries? She’ll come to Seattle in support of her first two singles in a decade and her upcoming album.

    MAY 7

    READINGS & TALKS

  167. Natalie Diaz (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    Natalie Diaz is the author of the award-winning collection of poetry When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press). (She’s also a very accomplished basketball player, but that’s for another time.) Her other work involves doing cool things like partnering with Hugo House and the Poetry Foundation to create Poetry Across the Nations, “a community outreach program facilitated by Native women” who host readings and workshops to build “intercultural and intertribal” networks. RICH SMITH

    MAY 7-17

    FOOD & DRINK

  168. Seattle Beer Week

    Seattle’s craft-beer scene is always alive and bubbling with activity, but during Beer Week, that geeky enthusiasm gets kicked into high gear, with a stacked lineup of beer dinners, festivals, socials, pub crawls, and releases galore.

    OPENING MAY 8

    FILM

  169. Legally Blonde 3 (Wide release)

    Seventeen years after her last movie, Elle Woods returns, embodied (of course) by Reese Witherspoon.
  170. The Personal History of David Copperfield (Wide release)

    We’re hoping for some of that wry magic from director Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin, Veep), screenwriter Simon Blackwell (Veep, The Thick of It), and actors Dev Patel, Gwendoline Christie, Hugh Laurie, and Tilda Swinton in this adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel.

    MAY 8-JUNE 14

    PERFORMANCE

  171. Lydia and the Troll (Seattle Repertory Theatre)

    In Justin Huertas’s very homegrown, brand-new fantasy musical, a singer-songwriter who’s stuck in a rut receives a tempting offer from a stranger.

    MAY 9

    FILM

  172. HUMP! Film Festival Re-screen 2020

    Missed Dan Savage’s boisterous festival of amateur porn, HUMP!, back in November? No worries! The films will be re-screened in all their raunchy glory. This year’s festival was wilder than ever, full of kink, queerdom, and pancakes, so get there!

    MUSIC

  173. Adam Ant

    Reasons to go see Adam Ant: He looks like Gary Oldman—with a pirate’s hat! His last album is really weird. It sounds like he made the whole thing hiding in a basement with a drum machine—like Sly Stone on There’s a Riot Goin’ On, only he’s Adam Ant. He called the album Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter. He does not own a television. You can yell for him to play his new songs, but not that skeevy one about lusting after a teenager. That one’s just too squick. But the other ones are really good. And you get the hits! More hits! And weird stuff cut out from magazines and plastered onto his hat! Ridicule is nothing to be scared of! Live it! ANDREW HAMLIN

    MAY 10

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  174. The Color Run 5K Seattle

    Run through a cloud of colored cornstarch, fling your own color packet at other racers, and finish the race looking like a human tie-dye. The price includes a t-shirt, headband, the colored powder, and a Unicorn Finisher’s Medal.
  175. Virginia Mason Mother’s Day Half Marathon & 5K 2020

    Choose between a half-marathon and a 5K run/walk to celebrate your mom and other people’s moms. At the finish line, enjoy all the wine and mimosas you deserve.

    MAY 12

    MUSIC

  176. Jim James with the Seattle Symphony: The Order of Nature

    My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James will team up with Seattle Symphony conductor Teddy Abrams for a special acoustic performance of their orchestral song cycle The Order of Nature, featuring John Wiliams’ Overture to The Cowboys and Aaron Copland’s “Four Dance Episodes” from Rodeo.

    MAY 12-24

    PERFORMANCE

  177. Once on This Island (5th Avenue Theatre)

    The theater will present the Olivier Award-winning musical Once on This Island (from the Tony Award-winning songwriting team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty), a Caribbean adaptation of The Little Mermaid, in which a peasant girl named Ti Moune rescues and falls in love with a wealthy boy, Daniel, from the other side of the island. Michael Arden, who directed the Spring Awakening revival, will helm this one.

    MAY 14

    MUSIC

  178. Justin Bieber

    You’ve loved him, you’ve hated him, you’ve forgotten about him a couple of times, and now he’s back with a new album and world tour. Reevaluate your feelings for J Biebs on this Seattle stop.

    READINGS & TALKS

  179. The Moth Mainstage (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    Five storytellers will take the stage at Benaroya for a night of memoir-ish oral history, as part of radio sensation The Moth‘s Mainstage series.

    MAY 14-15

    FESTIVALS

  180. Fisherman’s Village Music Festival 2020

    Celebrate the efforts of the Everett Music Initiative with this weekend festival, now in its seventh year, spread over several beloved local venues, with live sets from local and touring talents.

    MAY 14-JUNE 7

    FILM

  181. Seattle International Film Festival 2020

    Now in its 46th year, this film festival is the largest in the United States and is the best opportunity all year to connect with global cinematic culture (or just see some kick-ass foreign and indie movies long before less lucky audiences get the chance).

    MAY 15

    MUSIC

  182. The Avett Brothers

    Folk familiars the Avett Brothers will break out their woo-woo approach to Americana this spring, their years of work heavily driven by pleasant harmony-riddled messages of good and evil, banjo and fiddle.

    MAY 16

    MUSIC

  183. Journey, The Pretenders

    Ever-present torch-holders of the ’80s, Journey and the Pretenders will bring their light-rock-less-talk vibes to the Northwest for a night of hair-swinging and piano solos reminiscent of Steve Perry’s golden years.

    MAY 16-17

    FESTIVALS

  184. University District Streetfair

    The University District’s iconic street fair will continue its reputation as the longest-running event of its kind in the nation by filling the Ave with food from vendors, crafts, a beer garden, and live music for the 51st year.

    MAY 17

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  185. Beat the Bridge 2020

    Help fund diabetes research through JDRF by running in Nordstrom’s annual Beat the Bridge 5 or 8K. Your goal is to cross the University Bridge before it’s raised at the two-mile mark, but if you don’t make it in time, you won’t have to turn around—there will be live music and more festivities as the bridge makes its way back down.

    MAY 19-31

    PERFORMANCE

  186. The Book of Mormon (Broadway at the Paramount)

    As human civilization rapidly approaches the end times, some of us need entertainment that skewers religion just to keep from going crazy. One deceptive, brilliant thing about The Book of Mormon is that the show unexpectedly ends up being okay with religion in the end—so long as you’re using your religious beliefs to make the world better. Plus, there are unbelievably funny tap numbers (“Turn It Off”), parodies of pop-culture juggernauts like Star Wars and The Lion King, and lines like “I can’t believe Jesus just called me a dick!” CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

    MAY 20

    READINGS & TALKS

  187. Luis Alberto Urrea (Seattle Arts & Lectures)

    Luis Alberto Urrea’s The House of Broken Angels, which takes inspiration from his own life, relates the tale of a dying patriarch, his journey as a young man from La Paz to San Diego, the grudges and loves of his extended family, and his 100-year-old mother’s funeral. Urrea has been a finalist for the Pulitzer, and his personal yet wide-ranging style seems perfectly suited to this sprawling family epic.

    MAY 21

    READINGS & TALKS

  188. Sigrid Nunez: Giving Full Play to the Imagination (Hugo House’s Word Works)

    For her Word Works craft talk, National Book Award winner Sigrid Nunez (The Friend) will talk about “playfulness, imagination, and how to give in to the pull toward the unknown that all writers face when embarking upon a project.” Afterward, she’ll be interviewed on stage and answer additional questions from the audience.

    MAY 22-25

    FESTIVALS

  189. Northwest Folklife 2020

    The goal of Folklife is noble as heck: “We envision strong communities, united by arts and culture… When people share aspects of their culture, opportunities are created to dissolve misunderstandings, break down stereotypes, and increase respect for one another.” What does this translate to? A gigantic Memorial Day weekend hippie fest full of lovely people dancing, performing world music from “yodeling to beatboxing” and everything in between, serving tasty street food, and leading workshops in arts and crafts. It’s a great, if potentially overwhelming, people-watching experience, plus a great way to see local music.

    MAY 27-30

    FESTIVALS

  190. Ballard Jazz Festival 2020

    The 18th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival, which highlights both the historic neighborhood and Seattle’s vibrant jazz scene, features three days of live sets from local and national acts, a jazz walk down Ballard Avenue, and more.

    MAY 28-30

    MUSIC

  191. Northwest Terror Fest

    For the third year in a row, Northwest Terror Fest will be dosing Capitol Hill with three days’ worth of loud noises ranging from the gnarliest of grindcore to the spaciest of doom. From Thursday through Saturday, the main shows will be held at Neumos and Barboza, with packed lineups all evening long. Aftershows will be held just down the street at Highline. Artists announced so far include Blood Incantation, Cartilage, Cloak, Escuela Grind, Grayceon, Gost, Obsequiae, Midnight, Miserable (performing an acoustic set), Mizmor, Racetraitor, Repulsion, Ringworm, Squalus, Suffocation, Visigoth, Windhand, Wormrot, and Xibalba. KEVIN DIERS

    OPENING MAY 29

    FILM

  192. Artemis Fowl (Wide release)

    A wee Irish criminal genius commits a kidnapping and searches for his missing father in this adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s children’s novel, directed by none other than Kenneth Branagh, who’s apparently run out of Shakespeare.

    MAY 29-JUNE 7

    PERFORMANCE

  193. Pite — Tharp — Liang (Pacific Northwest Ballet)

    An unmissable lineup: The Pacific Northwest Ballet will dance Crystal Pite’s (Emergence) Plot Point, which premiered in 2017 to the praise of Rich Smith (“It has all the powerhouse hyper-violence of comic-book noirs such as Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s Sin City, and all the complex, intricate choreography you’d expect from a modern ballet”). Also on tap will be Twyla Tharp’s R&B/jazz-scored Waiting at the Station and a new piece by Edward Liang.

    MAY 31

    FOOD & DRINK

  194. Seattle Lamb Jam

    At this competition brought to you by Tasty Creative and the American Lamb Board, 16 Seattle chefs concoct their best lamb dishes as they vie for the title of Lamb Jam Seattle Champion. Lamb belly ramen? Lamb ham Cubanos? Anything goes.

    Major Annual May Events with Dates TBA: Syttende Mai, Seattle Storm home games


    JUNE

    Special Holiday Calendars: Father’s Day (June 21) | Juneteenth (June 19) | Pride Month

    JUNE 3

    MUSIC

  195. Alanis Morissette, Garbage, Liz Phair

    Nineties singer-songwriter legends Liz Phair and Alanis Morissette will travel north to Seattle, starting in Portland, with an arsenal of iconic breakup songs.

    JUNE 3-4

    MUSIC

  196. DreamWorks Animation in Concert

    Relive all your favorite moments from the Dreamworks animated films Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, and more as they are projected on the big screen, accompanied by live scores from the Seattle Symphony.

    OPENING JUNE 4

    FILM

  197. Wonder Woman 1984 (Wide release)


  198. The DC Comics superhero Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) returns to face off against Maxwell Lord and Cheetah, a super-fast, super-mean villainess. Patty Jenkins directs.

    JUNE 4-6

    COMEDY

  199. Jim Gaffigan: Pale Tourist Tour

    If you’re looking for an evening of relatively family-friendly comedy, watch Jim Gaffigan make jokes about impressive food consumption and the trials and tribulations of daily life. Gaffigan’s known for his TV and film appearances (most recently in Troop Zero, Them That Followed, and Light From Light), stand-up specials Mr. Universe, Jim Gaffigan: Obsessed, and Quality Time, and his books Dad is Fat and Food: A Love Story.

    JUNE 5-7

    FESTIVALS

  200. HONK! Fest West

    This family-oriented festival gets you in on the brass, percussion, and street band “global renaissance.” Twenty-five or more bands will jam in streets and parks around Seattle as they celebrate this democratic and ebullient musical genre.

    JUNE 6

    MUSIC

  201. Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow & Yola

    Echoes Through the Canyon brings together a trio of award-winning female musicians for an early summer concert series that features some of the biggest names in pop-rock and alternative country music. 

    JUNE 6-7

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  202. Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon Series

    This two-day running series will offer a 5K (Sat June 6), a full marathon, and a half marathon (Sun June 7) benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. There will also be a pre-race health and fitness expo and live entertainment.

    JUNE 11-14

    FESTIVALS

  203. Vashon Sheepdog Classic 2020

    The only thing better than taking the ferry to Vashon Island is the promise of seeing athletic Border Collies chase adorable ruminant creatures around a field. In addition to the competition, this annual herding extravaganza—now in its 12th year—brings local fare, a spirit garden, a fiber arts village, bagpipe performances, shearing demos, and more to the charming island.

    JUNE 12-JULY 3

    PERFORMANCE

  204. Evita (5th Avenue Theatre)

    Songs! Fashion! Fascism! Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón, gets the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical treatment. The score boasts some of musical theatre’s most beloved numbers (“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” et al.). This production will close out the theater’s 2019-2020 season with a bang.

    JUNE 13-14

    FOOD & DRINK

  205. Seattle Street Food Festival

    The ever-popular curbside festival from Mobile Food Rodeo spreads over five city blocks and will gather more than 75 food trucks, restaurants, and pop-ups on the streets of South Lake Union for a night of large-scale gluttony. There’s also live music and three beer gardens.

    JUNE 14

    MUSIC

  206. Tanya Tucker

    Texas-born country singer Tanya Tucker, who released her first hit, “Delta Dawn,” in 1972 when she was just 13, will play her greatest hits from throughout the years.

    JUNE 16-21

    PERFORMANCE

  207. Anastasia (Broadway at the Paramount)

    This Broadway musical is an adaptation of the 1997 film, a fictionalized fantasy about a young amnesiac woman who falls in with a pair of con men trying to pass her off as the Russian duchess Anastasia. But who is she really?

    OPENING JUNE 19

    FILM

  208. Soul (Wide release)

    Prepare for most of the moisture in your body to spurt out your eyeballs in Pixar’s latest fest of gorgeously animated heartstring-plucking, as the soul of a passionate music teacher/jazz pianist tries to find his way back to his body with the help of an infant fellow disembodied soul. Directed by Pete Docter (Up, Inside Out) and co-writer Kemp Powers.

    JUNE 19-21

    FOOD & DRINK

  209. Washington Brewers Festival

    Maximizers who thrive when presented with a dizzying array of choices should enjoy this festival from the Washington Beer Commission, which will offer 500 beers from 110 Washington brewers. Besides beer, there’s also a specialty root-beer garden for designated drivers and the under-21 crowd to enjoy, plus food vendors, a kids’ playground, and live music and entertainment all weekend. JULIANNE BELL

    JUNE 20-21

    FESTIVALS

  210. Fremont Solstice Fair 2020

    Fremont loves its weird celebrations, and this two-day outdoor urban festival following the summer solstice is arguably its biggest event of the year. From its gigantic Solstice Parade composed of elaborately painted (and sometimes just wild and free) nude bicyclists and inventive costumes to its parade for dogs to its craft market and live music events, the tradition has something for hippies, families, foodies, and artists alike.

    JUNE 23

    MUSIC

  211. AWOLNATION, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, The Beaches, Bleeker

    Boom-clap electro-rock project Awolnation will bring their all-American ad spot jams to Seattle on their The Lightning Riders Tour with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, the Beaches, and Bleeker.

    OPENING JUNE 26

    FILM

  212. In the Heights (Wide release)

    This is the screen version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s popular Broadway musical about a bodega owner who dreams of returning from Washington Heights to his native Dominican Republic.
  213. Top Gun: Maverick (Wide release)

    That’s right: Pete Mitchell returns, 30 years older and as addicted to thrills as ever.

    JUNE 28

    FESTIVALS

  214. Seattle Pride Parade

    After a month’s worth of Pride events, queers and allies of all stripes join the epic procession that is the Seattle Pride Parade, which goes from Fourth Avenue & Union all the way to Seattle Center.

    PERFORMANCE

  215. Choir Boy (ACT Theatre)

    From Tarell Alvin McCraney (who won an Oscar for his screenplay for 2016’s Moonlight) comes the heartwarming story of the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys gospel choir and its members. This production is presented in association with Denver Center Theatre Company.

    Major Annual June Events with Dates TBA: Paradiso Festival, Seattle Outdoor Cinema, Search Party, Dragon Fest, Bacon Eggs & Kegs, Marymoor Park Concerts, Zootunes


    JULY

    Special Holiday Calendars: Fourth of July | Bastille Day (July 14)

    OPENING JULY 1

    VISUAL ART

  216. Warhol and the West

    See pop-art icon Andy Warhol’s obsession with the American West manifested through well-known paintings like Elvis and Cowboys and Indians.

    JULY 4

    FOURTH OF JULY

  217. Seafair Summer Fourth 2020

    See fireworks choreographed to Seafair’s custom musical score at this Fourth of July favorite. While you wait for the sparks to go off, you can sip brews in a beer garden (you can also reserve spots to watch the fireworks from said beer garden), graze from food trucks, enter a pie-eating contest, and enjoy live entertainment.

    JULY 10

    MUSIC

  218. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead

    My friends can’t stop talking about Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, aka JRAD, which was supposed to be a one-off show featuring interpretations of Grateful Dead songs but turned into a full-time touring powerhouse selling out shows nationwide. Joe Russo was originally the drums-and-percussion half of Benevento Russo Duo with Marco Benevento—also a member of JRAD—and his post-Duo efforts include work with Gene Ween, Cass McCombs, and Furthur, a Dead spin-off featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. JRAD was conceived in 2013 after Russo’s stint with Furthur ended, and in addition to Benevento on keys, its current incarnation features Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz, and Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton on vocals and guitars. By all accounts, they put on an epic, must-see show—recognizable as Grateful Dead music, but with its own heavier bend and heady persuasions. LEILANI POLK

    OPENING JULY 10

    FILM

  219. Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Wide release)

    While not a remake of the original Ghostbusters or a sequel to the 2016 all-women remake, this outing in the franchise follows a mother and her two children who discover connections to the original Ghostbuster crew when they move to a new town.

    JULY 10-12

    FESTIVALS

  220. West Seattle Summer Fest

    For the 38th year, spend some time shopping, dancing to live music from great local bands, doing yoga in the park, dining, drinking in beer gardens, and enjoying other summery activities at this annual family-friendly festival.

    FOOD & DRINK

  221. Ballard SeafoodFest

    Originally started as a celebration of the neighborhood’s fishing industry in 1974, this festival has expanded over the years to include an alder-smoked salmon dinner, a crab shack, a beer garden replete with Ballard craft brews, a lengthy list of food and artisan craft vendors, and music.
  222. Kirkland Uncorked

    This summer wine festival, which benefits no-kill shelter Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center, encompasses a 21+ wine tasting garden, a “burger brawl,” and music, as well as a street fair with a boat show, a food truck feast, and other activities.
  223. Seattle International Beerfest

    This three-day specialty beer fest boasts everything from classic beers like pilsners and pales to anything “delicious yet shunned by the masses,” including double IPAs, barleywines, farmhouse ales, and sours, with breweries hailing from all over the world. There’s also a grass area on which to unfurl picnic blankets, in addition to ample indoor and outdoor seating.

    JULY 11

    FESTIVALS

  224. Lucerne Seafair Milk Carton Derby 2020

    You’d be forgiven for thinking that a milk carton derby entails individual milk cartons fashioned into miniature boats, but you would be mistaken. This Seafair tradition—which started in 1972 and bills itself as a “quirky celebration of creativity, science, and boatmanship”—invites crafty community members to use a bunch of milk cartons (300 per team) to assemble vessels sturdy enough to hold human bodies. The participants then paddle their creations on Green Lake to win prizes before a group of adoring fans (aka friends and family). The whole affair wraps up in the early afternoon, making for a very productive and sun-soaked Saturday.

    MUSIC

  225. Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth

    Amidst health scares and rumors of retirement, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne will bless the Pacific Northwest with his passionate heavy metal and will show thousands of people why he has always been the Prince of Darkness. He’ll be backed by faithful collaborators Zakk Wylde, Blasko, Tommy Clufetos, and Adam Wakeman, with iconic Los Angeles metal group Megadeth supporting for the entire North American run of this finale tour.

    JULY 16-18

    FESTIVALS

  226. Timber! Outdoor Music Festival 2020

    Timber!, Artist Home’s popular outdoor music festival thrown out in Carnation, is back for its eighth year with a very full weekend of crowd-friendly folk, rock, and pop performances, and all-ages activities like camping, kayaking, and stargazing. All artists will be split between the Main Stage, the smaller and more intimate Campfire Stage, and Camp Timber for kids and group activities.

    JULY 17

    MUSIC

  227. Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Weezer

    Pop-punk fans, rejoice! The upswing of power chords from the late ’90s and early ’00s are back in the form of a Green Day, Weezer, and Fall Out Boy joint affair, for some reason presented by Harley-Davidson. All three groups will travel here on their Hella Mega Tour.

    OPENING JULY 17

    FILM

  228. Tenet (Wide release)

    We don’t have too many details about this new Christopher Nolan film starring BlacKkKlansman‘s John David Washington except that it involves espionage, enlists the talents of cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema (Dunkirk) and Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther) as well as actors Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, and Clémence Poésy—and is reportedly Nolan’s biggest, most expensive film to date.

    JULY 17-19

    FESTIVALS

  229. Sequim Lavender Festival

    After a long winter hibernation, the lavender fields of Sequim come abloom to soothe the souls and nasal passages of passersby. Take in the sights, shop for lavender goods, and more.

    FOOD & DRINK

  230. Bite of Seattle

    Seattle boasts plenty of food and drink festivals year-round, but Bite of Seattle—billed as “Seattle’s original and largest food and beverage showcase” and claiming to draw more than 375,000 guests each year—is the most well-known gluttonous gathering by far, having been in business since 1982. Each year, the event assembles upwards of 200 food and specialty vendors, as well as offering craft beer and cider tastings, beer gardens, live cooking demos and mystery ingredient cook-offs with local chefs on the “Bite Cooks” stage, and more.

    JULY 18

    MUSIC

  231. Kenny Chesney, Florida-Georgia Line, Old Dominion, Michael Franti & Spearhead

    Country music golden boy Kenny Chesney will return to Seattle with a full lineup of star-studded supporters like Florida-Georgia Line, Old Dominion, and Michael Franti & Spearhead on his 2020 Chillaxification Tour.

    JULY 18-19

    PERFORMANCE

  232. Welcome to Night Vale

    Something is just not quite right in the town of Night Vale. For one, there’s the mysterious lights circling above every night, and of course there are the hooded figures at the dog park. If you’re part of the “cult” that religiously follows the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, you’ll know that’s just the tip of the iceberg in this seemingly “friendly desert community.” But even if you aren’t, go to the show, set up like an old-timey live radio play, and experience host Cecil Palmer’s voice, which will simultaneously soothe your nerves and give you the shivers. AMBER CORTES

    JULY 22

    MUSIC

  233. Louis Tomlinson

    One Direction’s Louis William Tomlinson will branch out on his own World Tour.

    JULY 23-26

    VISUAL ART

  234. Seattle Art Fair 2020

    A huge number of gallerists from all over the world will bring first-rate artwork to Seattle for one hectic weekend in the sixth annual edition of this fair founded by Paul G. Allen of Microsoft fame.

    JULY 24-26

    MUSIC

  235. Capitol Hill Block Party 2020

    Capitol Hill Block Party is a large-scale weekend music festival that originally started as a charming neighborhood get-together and has since morphed into a massive spectacle of Top 40 headliners and Seattle heavy hitters converging during the dog days of summer in the Pike/Pine corridor.

    VISUAL ART

  236. BAM ARTSfair 2020

    Shop arts from more than 300 creators and take advantage of free admission to the Bellevue Arts Museum at this annual festival, now in its 74th year, which they claim is the largest arts and crafts fair in the Northwest. The event includes the KIDSFair, the BAMboozle children’s stage, a Sound & Movement stage with international acts, and a chalkfest.

    JULY 25

    COMMUNITY

  237. Alaska Airlines Torchlight Parade 2020

    Over 100 floats, marching bands, and performers will celebrate Seattle in this massive annual parade. Runners should also check out the Capital One Torchlight Run 2020 happening earlier in the evening.

    JULY 31

    MUSIC

  238. Camila Cabello

    Burgeoning pop star Camila Cabello fully divorced herself from Fifth Harmony when she struck out on her own with a widely acclaimed solo album, Camila. Join her on her Romance Tour.

    JULY 31-AUGUST 2

    FESTIVALS

  239. Seafair Weekend Festival 2020

    The summer-long Seafair Festival culminates in a three-day extravaganza of signature outdoor activities like the Blue Angels’ air shows, hydroplane racing, the Graham Trucking Seafair Cup, and a wakeboarding championship.

    MUSIC

  240. Watershed Festival

    Watershed Country Music Festival will return to the Gorge for a wild weekend of twangin’ goodness. Put on your “Shedder gear” (trucker hats?) and get ready for three whole days of down-home studs.

    Major Annual July Events with Dates TBA: Outdoor Theater Festival


    AUGUST

    AUGUST 1-16

    FESTIVALS

  241. Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire

    This annual festival will return to Bonney Lake’s Kelley Farm (aka the village of Merriwick) for three weekends of jousting, chicken legs, and other medieval fun.

    AUGUST 4-9

    PERFORMANCE

  242. Mean Girls (Broadway at the Paramount)

    A fish-out-of-water teenage nerd is tempted by a cruel high school clique in this musical based on the Tina Fey movie, with music by Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), lyrics by Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) and direction by Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).

    AUGUST 5-10

    FESTIVALS

  243. Doe Bay Fest 13

    Doe Bay Fest’s grassroots festival weekend of camping, local music, food, and dancing in a little Orcas Island cove will return for its 13th year.

    AUGUST 6-9

    FESTIVALS

  244. Summer Meltdown 2020

    Nestled in the mountains of central Washington, Summer Meltdown aims to provide a weekend of high-energy live music performances in a lush woodland setting. Headliners will be announced soon, and there will also be “adventures” like rafting, helicopter rides, and kayaking.

    AUGUST 7

    MUSIC

  245. Tame Impala

    Somehow the will of music-industry titans and the whims of music-consumer taste have converged, launching Australia’s Tame Impala as one of the big-festival psych-rock bands of the mid 2010s. Their debut album Innerspeaker introduced mastermind guitarist/vocalist Kevin Parker as an ambitious auteur prone to firmament-filling, heavily FX’d guitars and vocals that take John Lennon’s in “#9 Dream” to the heavens. Parker’s managed the rare feat of making rock songs that sprawl and possess memorable hooks while not ignoring the crowd-pleasing power of prominent, funky beats. Ironic that the guy who wrote the lovely “Solitude Is Bliss” now performs before several thousand people per show. DAVE SEGAL

    AUGUST 8-22

    PERFORMANCE

  246. Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci (Seattle Opera)


  247. Our impressive local opera company will open its latest season with two of the darkest yet most accessible operas around, the frequently paired short works Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Both belong to the verismo movement, an artistic endeavor to depict the common people rather than figures of royalty and mythology. In Cavalleria Rusticana, a love triangle in Sicily brings about despair and violent death. Pagliacci arguably started the scary clown trope with its story of a vaudeville troupe riven by lust, jealousy, and madness.

    AUGUST 14

    FOOD & DRINK

  248. Sunset Supper

    At this annual event commemorating Pike Place Market’s anniversary, more than 100 local restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and other vendors commune on the cobblestones during a balmy August evening, as the sun sinks low in the sky and casts a soft glow, and guests soak up food, drink, and live music.

    AUGUST 14-16

    FESTIVALS

  249. Hempfest 2020

    The “premier flagship event of the global cannabis culture” may sound like a big claim, but as far as anyone can tell, Seattle’s massive Hempfest isn’t stretching the truth when it bills itself as such. Returning for the 29th year and touting itself as a major influence on weed legalization in Washington State, the cannabis convocation will bring three days of talks, pot-loving celebrity guests and congresspeople, and hundreds of vendors to Myrtle Edwards Park, where throngs of Seattle stoners will be greeted by four stages buzzing with live music, panel discussions, lectures, and other entertainment.

    AUGUST 14-23

    FESTIVALS

  250. Seattle Design Festival 2020

    Now in its 10th year, Design in Public’s Seattle Design Festival explores how urbanism, architecture, and design can further justice, ecology, and community by featuring art installations and events in public spaces. This year’s theme will be “About Time,” and the festival will include all the staples, like the Block Party in South Lake Union (August 15–16).

    AUGUST 15

    MUSIC

  251. Maroon 5, Meghan Trainor

    Perennial billboard-charters Maroon 5, currently riding the waves of their latest big hit “Memories,” will crest in Auburn on their worldwide tour with support from Meghan Trainor.

    AUGUST 18

    MUSIC

  252. Harry Styles, Jenny Lewis

    Harry Styles, the pop scene darling, folk-pop-rock star, and young Mick Jagger-Elton John hybrid, will visit our fair region with a tour stop in Tacoma. Indie rock queen Jenny Lewis will open for his North America dates.

    AUGUST 19-25

    FESTIVALS

  253. Washington State International Kite Festival

    Sometimes the best part of living in the city is leaving it, and there’s no better time to explore the Pacific Northwest than the summer. One excellent excuse to get out of town is the annual International Kite Festival in Long Beach. Called the “the greatest, grandest kite festival on the North American continent” by KiteLife.com, you’ll see kites here you’ve never imagined. There are competitions for speed, for beauty, and for the best photos. Over 10,000 kite lovers come from all over the world to commune together, kite, and look toward the skies. KATIE HERZOG

    AUGUST 22

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  254. Seattle Marathon

    Seattle’s biggest annual marathon/half marathon brings upwards of 15,000 runners every year.

    Major Annual August Events with Dates TBA: Seattle Tattoo Expo


    SEPTEMBER

    SEPTEMBER 2

    MUSIC

  255. Def Leppard, Motley Crüe, Poison, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

    Relive your best hair days with this quadruple-threat bill of ’80s stalwarts Def Leppard, Motley Crüe, Poison, and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts on this cleverly-named “Stadium” tour.

    SEPTEMBER 4-6

    FESTIVALS

  256. Bumbershoot 2020

    Bumbershoot, Seattle’s biggest music, comedy, and arts festival, will take over Seattle Center for Labor Day Weekend 2020 for the 50th year.

    SEPTEMBER 4-7

    GEEK & GAMING

  257. PAX West 2020

    Seattle’s annual Labor Day weekend convention devoted exclusively to gaming is always hugely popular, often selling out soon after tickets go on sale. The convention features dozens of panels with special guests, an exhibit hall, new game demonstrations, and video game-inspired musical performances. 

    SEPTEMBER 4-27

    FESTIVALS

  258. Washington State Fair

    The first days of autumn coincide with the latter portion of the annual Washington State Fair in Puyallup, which brings family-friendly activities like rides and games, carnival food, free music and performances, baby animals, cultural events, produce contests, a rodeo, live concerts, and much more.

    SEPTEMBER 5

    MUSIC

  259. The Doobie Brothers

    You may have caught them on Washington tour stops with ZZ Top and Santana in the past, but now the San Jose-bred roots-rock group the Doobie Brothers will take the stage as headliners on their 50th Anniversary Tour.

    SEPTEMBER 11-OCTOBER 4

    PERFORMANCE

  260. The Laugh Track (ACT Theatre)

    This play by Wendy MacLeod, developed at the Hedgebrook Women’s Playwright Festival, argues the obvious (but sadly not-so-obvious to some people): Women can be funny.

    SEPTEMBER 19

    MUSIC

  261. KISS

    Despite Gene Simmons’ political fanaticism and the band’s many schisms over the years, iconic makeup metal group KISS is still gigging hard and will hit the Pacific Northwest this winter on their End of the Road World Tour, marking the chosen finale of their tenure as a band.

    SEPTEMBER 19-20

    SPORTS & RECREATION

  262. Seattle Tough Mudder 2020

    If you’ve participated in past Tough Mudder races, prepare yourself for a revamped obstacle course complete with eight to 10 miles packed with 25 hurdles, including steep-sided gravel pits, deep-wood runs, a century-old coal heap, and lots of sludgy black coal mud.

    SEPTEMBER 21-22

    FOOD & DRINK

  263. Fremont Oktoberfest

    Raise a (gigantic, oversized) stein to Seattle’s biggest fall beer festival, which features over 100 craft beers and ciders.

    SEPTEMBER 25-27

    FOOD & DRINK

  264. Kirkland Oktoberfest

    Grab a bier and celebrate Oktoberfest with live German music, traditional foods, DJs, games, contests, and more at this three-day festival.

    Major Annual September Events with Dates TBA: Seattle Cider Summit


    OCTOBER

    Special Holiday Calendars: Halloween (Oct 31) | Día de los Muertos (Oct 31–Nov 2)

    OCTOBER 2-4

    FOOD & DRINK

  265. 16th Annual Oktoberfest Northwest

    Oktoberfest NW is Western Washington’s largest Munich-style “festhalle biergarten,” complete with German food, bier, dancing and entertainment. They also offer Hammerschlagen, a German drinking game involving a hammer, nails, and a tree stump.

    OCTOBER 2-17

    FOOD & DRINK

  266. Leavenworth Oktoberfest

    Since Leavenworth is Washington’s Bavarian-style village all year round, we believe them when they say that their Oktoberfest celebration is “the next best thing to Munich.” Kicking off with an opening ceremony complete with a keg tapping and an oompah-style marching band dressed in dirndls and lederhosen leading a procession, the festival promises German-style fare like bratwurst and coleslaw, family activities, and enough beer to keep your stein full at all times.

    OCTOBER 3

    MUSIC

  267. Dan + Shay

    Singer-songwriter duo Dan + Shay have been hard at work prepping their latest self-titled album, and will play hits from their last three releases while on this arena tour.

    OCTOBER 8-12

    FILM

  268. Orcas Island Film Festival 2020

    Head to Orcas for this top-quality film festival—with more than 30 feature-length and short films—featuring progressive plots and directors. As Jasmyne Keimig wrote of the 2019 edition, “Attendees will have the chance to see some films twice or catch a film they might’ve missed the first time.” This festival gets better every year.

    OCTOBER 17

    FILM

  269. Slay

    We know reality is scarier than fiction right now, so go on—put your darkest fears on film. From classic ghost stories and slasher films, to dystopian cults and political nightmares, we want to see you SLAY!, the new amateur horror film fest from the people who brought you HUMP! And yes… just like with our other film festivals, there are CASH PRIZES! Audiences attending SLAY will judge the films and vote by secret ballot. These votes will be counted up, and a scary amount of money will be awarded to the winning filmmakers in four categories: “Goriest” film will win… $2,000! “Funniest” film will win… $2,000! “Scariest” film will win… $2,000! “Best in Show” film will win… a whopping $5,000! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

    OCTOBER 17-31

    PERFORMANCE

  270. Elixir of Love (Seattle Opera)

    Seattle Opera will take on the enchanting L’Elisir d’amore or the Elixir of Love, a full-hearted comic opera that follows the story of a country boy who falls in love with a farmer’s daughter and the successes and failures that befall him.

    OCTOBER 23-NOVEMBER 15

    PERFORMANCE

  271. Witch (ACT Theatre)

    In Jen Silverman’s Witch, a riff on the 15th-century fable The Witch of Edmonton, the Devil comes to a sleepy town and tries to capture a woman named Elizabeth, whom everyone believes to be a witch.

    Major Annual October Events with Dates TBA: Earshot Jazz Festival, Freaknight, Lit Crawl, Seattle Queer Film Festival, Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, Borealis


    NOVEMBER

    Special Holiday Calendars: Thanksgiving (Nov 26) | Election Day (Nov 3)

    NOVEMBER 7

    VISUAL ART

  272. Short Run Comix & Arts Festival 2020

    Now in its 10th year, Short Run has firmly established itself as an indie comix festival of the first order, featuring well over a hundred local, national, and international publishers. RICH SMITH

    NOVEMBER 12-15

    MUSIC

  273. Freakout Fest 8 2020

    If the acts at Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot skew a bit too young and EDM-ish for you, you may want to check out Freakout Festival, which has been gradually improving in quality over the last seven years. What began as a psych-rock-heavy event has morphed into something more diverse, while still retaining elements of its original mission statement (see the festival name). DAVE SEGAL

    NOVEMBER 14-15

    FOOD & DRINK

  274. Northwest Chocolate Festival

    Now in its 11th year, this gathering of artisan chocolate makers actually extends beyond the Northwest to more than 20 countries around the globe.

    Major Annual November Events with Dates TBA: GeekGirlCon, Seattle Turkey Trot, WildLights


    DECEMBER

    Special Holiday Calendars: Winter Holidays | New Year’s Eve

    DECEMBER 4-20

    FESTIVALS

  275. Christmas Lighting Festival

    Holiday cheer abounds in Washington’s own Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth, which celebrates the season with live Christmas music, visits from both St. Nickolaus and Santa Claus, sledding, and more—all culminating in glorious lighting ceremonies every Saturday and Sunday.

    OPENING DECEMBER 18

    FILM

  276. West Side Story (Wide release)

    What a collaboration! Steven Spielberg and playwright/screenwriter Tony Kushner adapt the 1957 musical about two love-struck young people from rival gangs, one Polish and one Puerto Rican. It’ll be awesome to see Rita Moreno, Anita from the 1961 version, onscreen again! Also starring Ansel Elgort as Tony and, in her debut, Colombian American singer-songwriter Rachel Zegler.
  277. Dune (Wide release)

    Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) adapts Frank Herbert’s desert-planet-set sci-fi megalith with Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, and other big stars.

    Major Annual December Events with Dates TBA: Christmas Ship Festival, Resolution, Sheraton Grand Gingerbread Village, SantaCon

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