Seattle Summer Arts Guide 2016

Make the most of the season with these tasty cultural pairings.

By Seth Sommerfeld June 23, 2016 Published in the July 2016 issue of Seattle Met

Tuneful Reunions

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Image: Shutterstock/Yakub88

Dixie Chicks

While the Dixie Chicks certainly aren’t outlaw country, the powerhouse trio never takes guff from no one. Whether turning antiabuse anthems into pop hits or railing against George W. Bush despite being red state darlings, the women always stood their ground. A decade since their last album and Seattle area show, the Dixie Chicks reunite to bang out the hits for an eager fan base. July 8, White River Amphitheatre, dcxtourclub.com

Guns N’ Roses

While it’s probably coming about 15 years too late to really matter, Axl Rose bringing Slash and Seattle’s own Duff McKagan back into the Guns N’ Roses fold feels right. Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler might still be MIA, but fans of fast and hard rock are justifiably foaming at the mouth to see Slash and Duff rip through classics like “Welcome to the Jungle” while Axl wails and snake dances (assuming he recovers from a broken foot and doesn’t throw out his hip this summer). Aug 12, CenturyLink Field, gunsnroses.com

Silly Singing On Stage

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Monty Navarro believes in a very twisted version of upward mobility. When the poor Edwardian-era lead of the 2014 Tony winner for best musical learns he’s actually a distant heir to a previously hidden family fortune, he begins picking off those above him in the line of succession. Can Monty achieve his devilishly comedic goals while balancing a mistress and fiancée? A gentleman never tells. July 12–31, 5th Avenue Theatre, 5thavenue.org

The Wicked Adventures of Count Ory

Love is in the air at Seattle Opera, assuming the laughs of Count Ory don’t drown it out. While most of the men from a French village are away fighting the Crusades, noted lothario Count Ory spends his days comforting local women. When the count and his page become embroiled in a love triangle—battling for the affections of Countess Adèle—Ory’s plot to sneak into her castle becomes an operatic, cross-dressing, madcap farce. Aug 6–20, McCaw Hall, seattle-opera.org

Gglam tour 9 courtesy joan marcus dt418u

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. Image: Courtesy Joan Marcus

Sporting Stars

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Courtesy Neil Enns / Seattle Storm

Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame Weekend

Seattle’s finally getting its first Baseball Hall of Famer; time to celebrate. Back in the ‘90s, the Kid not only saved the Mariners, he was the Mariners. The coolest baseball player ever returns to Seattle for a weekend of festivities including a Griffey bobblehead night, number retirement and Hall of Fame replica plaque game, and replica jersey day. Oh, and the Mariners are playing the Angels too. Aug 5–7, Safeco Field, seattlemariners.com

Seattle Storm

Excited for the 2016 Rio Olympics? Then check out the Seattle Storm’s Olympians on the hardwood. Storm stalwart Sue Bird and rookie no. 1 pick Breanna Stewart both suit up for the U.S. squad, Ramu Tokashiki takes the floor for team Japan, and Abby Bishop (possibly) competes for the Australian national team. Hopefully the team’s push for national glory will fuel a deep WNBA playoff run. Thru Sept 18, KeyArena, storm.wnba.com

Indoor Kids

The International

As professional video game competitions have exploded in popularity the past few years, Seattle has quietly become a hub of the esports world, hosting multiple ESPN-televised events like Blizzard’s Heroes of the Dorm. But all other gaming competitions pale in comparison to the International, Valve’s championship for the team strategy battle game Dota 2. Last year’s competition featured a record-breaking $18.4 million prize pool, and things are only expanding, as the International 2016 invades KeyArena for an entire week. Aug 8–13, KeyArena, blog.dota2.com


What bounty will the Northwest’s biggest video gaming convention offer this year? An early chance to play titles like Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and The Legend of Zelda for Wii U? A look at the new Nintendo NX console? Gamers never know exactly what PAX holds until they hit the show floor, but with a communal spirit of discovery (and an absurd amount of 3DS StreetPasses) the convention consistently delivers fun new digital worlds. Sept 2–5, Washington State Convention Center, paxsite.com

Art Intake

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David Beck Momentary Indiscretions at Seattle Art Fair. Image: Allan Stone Projects/David Beck

Seattle Art Fair

Traveling to see art remains a romantic, but rather impractical, idea. Thankfully, Seattle Art Fair offers a globe-spanning art walk under one roof. The event’s second edition brings together 83 world-renowned galleries from Paris, London, Seoul, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle (of course), and more. All of the art, none of the jet lag. Aug 5–7, CenturyLink Event Center, seattleartfair.com

SAM Bike Night

Don’t want to waste the summer weather being cooped up while getting your art fix? Then join area bicycle clubs and pedal down to Seattle Art Museum’s Bike Night at Olympic Sculpture Park. Check out Victoria Haven’s dimensionally deceptive crystalline wall drawings Blue Sun and Jaume Plensa’s mammoth head sculpture Echo, craft your own bike-related art pieces, munch on food truck grub, take guided tours of the park, and listen to live music from local rabble-rousers Chastity Belt and Boyfriends. Aug 4, Olympic Sculpture Park, seattleartmuseum.org

Gallery Goodbyes

Platform Gallery

Everything’s going digital these days. Platform Gallery only further proves that point. At the conclusion of Scott Fife’s ongoing sculpture exhibit, the 12-year-old gallery will cease brick-and-mortar existence and transition into an online-only entity. Make one final visit before Platform becomes another idea in the cloud. Thru Aug 6, Platform Gallery, platformgallery.com

Roq la Rue

After 18 years of adding freaky pop surrealism to the Seattle gallery scene, Pioneer Square’s Roq la Rue prepares to be laid to rest. The alternative-leaning gallery closes its doors for good on August 20. On August 5, Roq la Rue gathers some of its favorite artists from over the years to throw one final party (or premature wake) to mark the opening of its last group show, Death and the Maiden. Thru Aug 20, Roq la Rue, roqlarue.com 

Nostalgia Trips

Suicide Squeeze 20th Anniversary

Seattle indie record label Suicide Squeeze has always been content operating under the radar as the unassuming cool kid, dating back to its early seven-inches by acts like Elliott Smith, Modest Mouse, and Pedro the Lion. In addition to reissuing some of its most beloved releases, Suicide Squeeze celebrates turning 20 with two nights of concerts at Neumos and the Neptune, featuring Minus the Bear, the Coathangers, Childbirth, and more. Aug 25 & 26, Neumos and Neptune Theatre, suicidesqueeze.net

I Love the ’90s Tour

Like a BuzzFeed post come to life, the I Love the ’90s Tour takes no prisoners with its ruthless raid on our deep-seated nostalgia. It’s a veritable hit parade where you can push it with Salt-N-Pepa, get up to get down with Coolio, drink a funky cold medina with Tone Lōc, and bust a move with Young MC. Aug 27, Marymoor Park, ilovethe90stour.com

Sound of the City

Capitol Hill Block Party

It feels odd to think of Capitol Hill Block Party as an established entity instead of a plucky upstart, but the numbers don’t lie. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the neighborhood music festival. When headliners like the uber popular Seattle electronic duo Odesza and Scottish synthpop trio Chvrches mix with the local bands that give the Hill its flavor, it’s a vicennial bash not to be missed. July 22–24, Capitol Hill, capitolhillblockparty.com


Bumbershoot bought local this year. Seattle superstars Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and Death Cab for Cutie top the musical lineup, the writers from Amazon’s award-winning Transparent and Sherman Alexie top the words and ideas slate, and former Seattleites Father John Misty, Reggie Watts, and Nick Thune all deliver musical laughs. That’s a loaded lineup without even getting to nonlocal acts like Third Eye Blind, Tame Impala, Run the Jewels, and Billy Idol. Sept 2–4, Seattle Center, bumbershoot.com

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Courtesy Bumbershoot 

Film Fix

Live on the Silver Screen: The Symphony in Hollywood

Sneak some popcorn into Benaroya Hall and hear the Seattle Symphony take an aural journey through cinematic history with Live on the Silver Screen. From the sweeping orchestral majesty of Gone with the Wind to the grandiose work of John Williams to the Oscar-winning hip-hop of Selma’s “Glory” (with an assist from rapper VellVett), there’s something for all ages to enjoy as clips from the selected films play on an overhead screen. July 2, Benaroya Hall, seattlesymphony.org

Outdoor Movies at Magnuson Park

An abundance of summer outdoor movie series now exists around town, but it’ll be hard to top Movies at Magnuson’s sterling slate. The eight-movie lineup includes the interstellar action of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (July 21) and Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug 4), a chance to celebrate the late David Bowie with Labyrinth (July 14), and even the best film of 2016 so far, Zootopia (Aug 11). (See our full outdoor movie calendar here.) July 7–Aug 25, Magnuson Park, epiceap.com/seattle-outdoor-movies

Courtesy erinn j hale photography nswn3s

Movies at Magnuson  Image: Courtesy Erinn J. Hale

The Entertainers

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Image: Shutterstock

Steve Martin and Martin Short

Hordes of comedy fans would love to be a fly on the wall when pals Steve Martin and Martin Short hang out. But since the science of turning into a fly is still sketchy (see: The Fly), catching the duo engage in a night of comedic conversation entitled An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life will have to suffice. Short and Martin will riff, tell stories, and even play a little music with the help of Martin’s frequent bluegrass cohorts, the Steep Canyon Rangers. July 23, Paramount Theatre, stgpresents.org

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs

When he takes a stage, Tony-winning thespian Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) transforms into a force of nature that would make Liza Minnelli proud. In his cabaret show Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs—which The New York Times called an “emotional firestorm”—Cumming taps into his own raw feelings to perform a range of tunes, from Stephen Sondheim to Miley Cyrus, with a gripping flair for the dramatic. July 2, Town Hall, townhallseattle.org

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