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Davyd Betchkal, Soundscape Technician for the National Park Service, in Patrick Shen's In Pursuit of Silence.

Wed, Aug 30
What Every American Should Know
It’s no secret that America is morally, politically, and socioeconomically divided. How can a country with so many wage, cultural, and geographic barriers come together? To address these questions, founder and CEO of Citizen University Eric Liu presents a diverse lineup of speakers with backgrounds in poetry, activism, performance art, and journalism. Each reflect in their own way on what it means to live in America, and what a more unified future may look like. Seattle Public Library: Central, Free

Wed, Aug 30
Caroline Gerdes: 'An Oral History of the New Orleans Ninth Ward'
August marks the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the storm that destroyed the homes, belongings, and livelihoods of many New Orleans residents. Most deeply affected were marginalized and underrepresented communities, like the Ninth Ward district. New Orleans native Caroline Gerdes worked to preserve the narratives of people who experienced the most tremendous losses. Her new book is a special type of historical account—personal and emotionally charged, revealing more than any history textbook could. Gerdes travels to Seattle to present her stories of poverty, loss, faith, and discrimination. Elliott Bay Book Company, Free

Aug 30 and 31
'In Pursuit of Silence'
In this cinematic ode to silence, director Patrick Shen travels around the world seeking and capturing the different ways in which silence manifests itself and the strategies people have developed to seek silence. From a cross-country American backpacker taking a vow of silence to a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, the film follows a diverse crowd using different means to achieve the same end. Shen crafted the film with careful intent and method: the camera's wide angle shots and minimal movement mimics how one would perceive the world standing still. Take a break from the hustle of city life and enjoy the quiet. Northwest Film Forum, $12

Thu, Aug 31
Hoa Nguyen
Toronto-based Hoa Nguyen (Violet Energy Ingots) seems clairvoyant. This special knack for interpretation makes people across the world seek out her tarot-reading expertise. But Nguyen also finds applications of her spiritual intuition in her poetry. A Wave Books published writer, Nguyen's poetry is experimental and intense: she has the ability to evoke humor, anger, melancholy, or awe from dense, punctuation-less verse. Nguyen is an eccentric, one of a kind artist, which makes her live readings that much more special. Open Books, Free

Corrected August 31, 2017: The Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) performance has been postponed, date TBD.

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