Dancers, and a very big gold wheel, in Carmina Burana.

Dance

Carmina Burana and Agon

Sept 27–Oct 6 Dance always contains a measure of spectacle. But when Pacific Northwest Ballet stages Carmina Burana—which PNB founding artistic director Kent Stowell choreographed in 1993—the show is spectacle itself. A 2,500-pound golden wheel turns, above more than 100 dancers, singers, and musicians, to Carl Orff’s absurdly epic choral cantata. Here Carmina is paired with a piece that can match its force and beauty (if not its gilded grandeur): Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine’s Agon. McCaw Hall, $30–$190

Comedy

Demetri Martin

“A treehouse is very insensitive. That’s like killing something and then making one of its friends hold it.” —Demetri Martin

Sept 27 The current master of wry one-liners brings his Wandering Mind tour, along with his guitar and maybe some drawings, to town. Paramount Theatre, $36–$136

Washington's own Sleater-Kinney plays the Paramount this November.

Image: Courtesy STG

Concerts

Sleater-Kinney

Nov 23 & 24 While Washington unleashed a slew of bands in the 1990s, few have seen such graceful, if dissonant, longevity as Sleater-Kinney. The band’s second album since returning from a 10-year hiatus, The Center Won’t Hold matches its title’s Yeatsian fire with big pop-tinged production by St. Vincent—which adds up to another fearsome punch from a band that’s been throwing them for 25 years. Paramount Theatre, $34

The Black Keys with Modest Mouse

Nov 23 The Black Keys and Modest Mouse have long floated in the mainstream. Yet the Keys live in a pop blues groove (see the duo’s newest, “Let’s Rock”), while Modest Mouse veers between skronking horns, introspective space rock, and barking vocals. Luckily, to smooth the pairing when the bands play together, they’ve brought opening excellence: surf rock crew Shannon and the Clams. Tacoma Dome, $100–$500

Books & Talks

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Oct 20 What living American writer has more genre range than Ta-Nehisi Coates? He’s written a memoir, articles for The Atlantic, the Black Panther comics, and soon the Captain America comics. In September, he releases his first novel, The Water Dancer, a lyrical account of a man born into slavery who’s saved from drowning and becomes part of the resistance. Whatever form Coates’s words take, they pry at this country’s racially fraught past and present, arriving richly imagined and wise. Benaroya Hall, $60–$70

Ta-Nehisi Coates tours the country after the release of his first novel.

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