Seattle Opera's The Tales of Hoffman combines romance and drunken storytelling.


CLASSICAL & MORE

May 3–17
The Tales of Hoffman
Seattle Opera closes out its 50th season in style with the thrills of The Tales of Hoffmann, which was a hit when last staged in 2005. The poet Hoffman regales his tavern cronies with three tales of beautiful loves lost with a tone that captures both whimsy and heartache. McCaw Hall, $15–$243.

FAMILY

May 2–4
Sesame Street Live: Make a New Friend
Even if a sunny day doesn’t sweep the clouds away, you shouldn’t need anyone to tell you how to get to Sesame Street when it hits town. In the live show Make a New Friend, Grover’s friend from India comes to visit and shares lessons about cultural kinship with old friends including Elmo, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster. Comcast Arena at Everett Event Center, $12–$63.

FOOD & DRINK

May 3 & 4
Mobile Food Rodeo
A single day proved too small a stable to contain the bucking bronco that is Mobile Food Rodeo. The gathering of Seattle’s best food trucks expands to two days in 2014, just in time for an early Cinco de Mayo block party celebration. Expect food truck heavy hitters like Skillet and Maximus/Minimus, fresh upstarts to try for the first time, and tens of thousands of hungry Seattleites looking to lasso that perfect bite. International District (Sat) & Fremont (Sun), free.

Sat, May 3
Taco Truck Challenge
Get in the Cinco de Mayo spirit with one of this weekend's two taco truck festivals. The Taco Truck Challenge gets the slight nod for a number of reasons. The event starts with the Fiesta 5k Ole race, so there's an option to pre-burn off the taco calories. The music should also be rocking as Nashville-based band Leagues and (appropriately) Seattle's own TacocaT play sets. Plus, a May afternoon at Volunteer Park almost always pleasant. Volunteer Park, free ($5 beer garden entrance fee).

BOOKS & TALKS

Sun, May 4
An Afternoon with Ira Glass
"Sadly one of the problems with being on public radio is that people tend to think you're being sincere all the time." - Ira Glass, host and producer of NPR’s This American Life, bemoaning how telling lies for clear comedic effect sometimes doesn’t work on his show. Perhaps when he heads to Tacoma for a Sunday afternoon engagement (the most NPR-iffic performance time), the audience will be in on the joke. Pantages Theatre, Tacoma, $29–$75.

May 4–6
National Geographic: The Search for Life Beyond Earth
Is anyone else out there? It’s a question stargazers and scientists have been asking for millennia, but there’s still yet to be a definitive breakthrough on the topic. Astrobiologist Kevin Hand hopes to find an answer 600 million kilometers away. He’ll discuss how he and NASA hope to find a subsurface ocean on one of Jupiter’s moons. Benaroya Hall, $21$38.

THEATER

May 2–25
Returning to Albert Joseph
Timidity isn’t in the Satori Group’s vocabulary. The Seattle theater group strives to produce works that tweak the typical theater experience. Playwright Spike Friedman’s new two-person play Returning to Albert Joseph explores the power structure of language in a society where inefficient speech isn’t an option. What happens when there’s resistance to pure rationality? The Lab @ Inscape, $15.

CONCERTS

Fri, May 2
Grynch: Street Lights Release Show
There’s no denying Grynch’s foothold in Seattle hip-hop scene. The MC has collaborated with Macklemore, Blue Scholars, Sol, the Physics, Budo, and most everyone else in the 206. He heads to the Croc to drop his latest LP Street Lights. The Crocodile, $12.

Fri, May 2
Vox Mod: The Great Oscillator Release Show
Seattle electronic wizard Scot Porter (aka Vox Mod) has crafted another soaring journey on The Great Oscillator. Once again, he's enlisted a harem of singers like Irene Barbaric (XVIII Eyes), Alisha Roney, and Whitney Lyman to provide lovely vocals over his swirling soundscapes. Vox Mod doesn't skimp on the visual component either, so expect a full sensory experience when he heads to Chop Suey to unveil the album. Chop Suey, $7$10.

Sat, May 3
Cathedrals VIII: Bare
Fremont Abbey combines its two most popular series as the move their yearly a cappella Bare show to St. Mark's for the eighth Cathedrals. This year's lineup of local artists performing with nothing more than their voices include Courtney Marie Andrews, Shenandoah Davis, Pollens, Daniel Blue (Motopony), Bradford Loomis, and many more. St. Mark's Cathedral, $12–$15.

Sat, May 3
We Are Scientists
We Are Scientists' 2005 debut album With Love and Squalor is a flawless collection of upbeat and heady rock tracks. And while the New York band garnered some buzz in the states, they blew up in England. As a result, they've become one of those rare American bands who are bigger across the pond, so they focus most of their touring energy there. We Are Scientists makes a rare Seattle appearance in support of their new record TV en Francais. The Crocodile, $15.

FILM

May 2–10
Seattle True Independent Film Festival
Think of STIFF as the punk rock counterpart to SIFF. While SIFF is busy selling out theaters and schmoozing at galas, STIFF plays basement shows and crashes on old couches. The festival organizers don’t just screen unsettling films that other fests wouldn’t touch, they intentionally seek them out. And since 2014 marks STIFF’s 10th anniversary, they must be doing something right. Various venues, $8; festival pass $50.

VISUAL ART

May 1–31
Eric Zener
Eric Zener has a fascination with bodies in water and a knack for capturing the photosurreal aspects of the submerged human form. His technique uses underwater photography applied with resin and paint to distort reality while maintaining the spontaneity of a snapshot. The images make the perfect May daydream fodder to get your mind primed for a summer in the sun. Foster/White Gallery, free.

May 1–June 7
William Powhida
Calling William Powhida’s works meta is an oversimplification. The artist rips into the pretensions and preciousness of the art world establishment with reckless bravado and dry wit, but does so with an insider’s insight. His wordy and detailed drawings lampoon the flaws in the system while simultaneously showing the heights that art can reach. Platform Gallery, free.

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