The Washington State Fair kicks off its nearly month-long run this weekend. 

Fri, Aug 30
Cook the Books: Pok Pok Thai Cuisine
Come prepared to learn a few tricks from Portland's street food stalwart, Pok Pok, with a side of wine. Chef Nora Drummer will simplify four different recipes from Andy Ricker's cookbook: a papaya salad, flank steak seasoned with lemongrass and mint, shrimp and peanut pad thai, and sticky coconut rice with mango custard. Culinary Essentials, $70

Fri, Aug 30
Somesurprises
Somesurprises, a local four-piece, has been drifting around Seattle’s indie scene for a few years playing pretty, if diaphanous, shoegaze. While its earliest work verges on inaudible, a fog over water, the group's eponymous debut album, which it releases at this show, blushes with color and confidence, deploying synths and orchestral flourishes. Clock-Out Lounge, $10–$12

Aug 30 & 31
Chuck's Arcade Expo
Beer and video games have been a proven weekend duo since Atari’s pong paddles first started scrolling up and down little screens in the '70s. Chuck’s is bringing the tradition out of basement and into the hop shop for two days. The usual tap armada, with a video game–themed beer or two, accompany an all-day Mario Kart tournament and speed run challenges of retro classics. And for underage patrons, there's an all-ages tournament. Not competitive? Friday's free play session and video game movie viewings are more low-key. Chuck’s Hop Shop Central District, A la carte 

Sat, Aug 31
Neal Kosaly-Meyer: Finnegans Wake
Perhaps you’ve heard: Seattleite Neal Kosaly-Meyer has undertaken a 17-year project in which he recites James Joyce’s landmark (meaning, in this case, something you look at without entering) modernist novel from memory. On Saturday, he does Part I, Chapter 4. Will you understand all the language so famously difficult it’s often dubbed gibberish? Likely not, but Kosaly-Meyer is a musician and here engages with the book's weird aural beauty. Gallery 1412, $5–$15

Aug 30–Sept 1
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché
Columbia City’s new movie theater, the Beacon Cinema, screens a documentary about Alice Guy Blaché, a female director who was instrumental in the early days of moviemaking, and who’s since been obscured in history—until this documentary investigation, from Pamela B. Green, came along to change that. The Beacon Cinema, $13

Mon, Sept 2
Alex Gallo-Brown
Kicking off Town Hall Seattle’s month-long Homecoming Festival, local writer Alex Gallo-Brown reads from his new book, Variations of Labor, a collection of poems, essays, and fiction about the worker, in all permutations. Nicole Vallestro Keenan-Lai, the executive director of nonprofit Puget Sound Sage, joins him on stage. Town Hall Seattle, $5

All Weekend (thru Sept 22)
Washington State Fair
The state’s major fair arrives this weekend with all the things you’d expect: nauseating rides, foods that seep enough oil to entice BP, multitudes of vendors. Music this weekend includes Billy Idol, Keith Urban, Weezer, and the Beach Boys. Of these, pick Weezer, because when they played the Showbox in 2017 the audience turned it into a nightlong sing-along and enjoyed the hell out of itself despite the band phoning it in. Even if you aren’t so lucky, the always excellent Black Tones open. Washington State Fair Events Center, $11–$14 (general admission), $30–$125 (concerts)