Monthly Planner

13 Seattle Events to Catch This August

SAM parties in the park, George Clinton embarks on his final tour, and Rigoletto kicks off the opera season.

By Stefan Milne July 23, 2019 Published in the August 2019 issue of Seattle Met

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Image: Joan Marcus

Books & Talks

Chuck Klosterman

Aug 8 The author of the Gen-X essay collection to rule them all, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klosterman returns with his 11th book, Raised in Captivity—34 brief “fictional nonfiction” stories: A power pop band sees one of its songs turn into a white supremacist hit; lightning strikes a whale, and an onlooker’s life changes. In typical Klosterman fashion, it should be amusing, amused, wild, and willfully curious. Elliott Bay Book Company, Free


George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

Aug 8 Last year, George Clinton’s band Parliament swaggered out of a 38-year silence with its epic, ribald Medicaid Fraud Dogg. The album somehow digested the music Parliament influenced—Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Cardi B—and pulled those sounds back into the band’s inimitable world. Now the Godfather of Funk is heading out on his last tour; this may be your last chance to see the Mothership before it lifts off for good. Showbox SoDo, $50


Aug 11 Trying to fit Leslie Feist into a stereotypical artist arc doesn’t quite work. She started as a vocalist in a Canadian hardcore band, wended through the indie world for a while, released two beloved folk-pop albums, and had an iTunes–commercial hit with “1234.” She released one more album in 2011, then disappeared for six years. When she returned with Pleasure, her most recent album, any twee glimmer had left: It’s a record that takes the ruggedness of her hardcore beginnings and tempers it with folk rock wisdom. Woodland Park Zoo, $40

Flying Lotus

Aug 11 Production of Flamagra, the new album by Flying Lotus, took a turn when he heard David Lynch speaking at a party. Lynch, in fact, ended up on the album as a contributor—along with Solange, George Clinton, and Seattle rappers Shabazz Palaces. Those voices are all folded into Lotus’s production which blends jazz with experimental electronica—delirious, diffuse, eerie, beautiful. Showbox SoDo, $35


Aug 12 If you’ve ever questioned what the Talking Heads in full funky unease might sound like if they traded David Byrne for a yelping Kathleen Hanna, Gauche is something like an answer. Another upstart in the fertile Washington DC scene, the band is shrill (sax jots all over) and giddy and a little glam, like a zine page rendered in colored markers. Barboza, $15

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

Aug 18 Maximalism is King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s MO, from that buzzing name, to the time they released five albums in one year, to those albums themselves, which sound like this seven-man Aussie outfit has gobbled every sound from the 1970s—Black Sabbath, Diana Ross, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis—and then flung their sated bodies into some current music festival dance pit. Paramount Theatre, $31

The National

Aug 29 The National has always owed a deep debt to Leonard Cohen. The band’s lyrics don’t arrive with the late master’s allusive power, but both might be most easily summarized as “majestically depressed.” Never has the influence been clearer than on I Am Easy to Find, which accompanies singer Matt Berninger’s rumpled baritone with that late-career Cohen signature: an array of golden-voiced female vocalists shining light in the sad man dark. Marymoor Park, $60

Special Events

SAM Remix

Aug 23 Seattle Art Museum throws its Remix parties three times a year. The most sprawling of these events happens in the summer, when SAM heads to Olympic Sculpture Park and holds a bona fide fete. Pathologically casual Seattleites (mostly) dress up, dance in the park at night, see installations and sculptures, and even make some art of their own at craft booths. Olympic Sculpture Park, $35


Aug 30–Sept 1 Officially closing the book on festival season, and summer with it, Bumbershoot is back. Last year saw dwindling crowds; the current lineup is lighter on big names and local acts than previous ones, with the Lumineers and Tyler, the Creator taking top billing. Word circulates that this year’s festival might be make or break. Nevertheless, while it’s here, Bumbershoot remains a titan, and bright spots appear throughout the lineup, like Portland’s Y La Bamba and comedian Ramy Youssef. Seattle Center, $109–$220


Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Thru Aug 11 It is easy to forget—since it was followed by two film adaptations, one a classic, one starring Johnny Depp—that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was first a Roald Dahl children’s book. This musical stage adaptation splits the difference, creating not a work of pure imagination, exactly, but a new adaptation of the book with a fresh score, embellished with some songs from the Gene Wilder movie. Paramount Theatre, $30–$105


Aug 10–28 The story behind Giuseppe Verdi’s breakthrough opera mirrors Rigoletto’s themes. Verdi and his collaborators, adapting Victor Hugo’s Le roi s’amuse, tweaked the play because it’d been banned in France after only one performance (it disrespected royalty). They changed Hugo’s king to a megalomaniacal duke. Still the censors pushed back. Eventually the work made the stage, a classic tale about—what else?—power. McCaw Hall, $49–$299

Visual Art

Studies in Nature: Photographic Views

Aug 6–31 This photography group show contains images of “delicate botanicals” and “bird portraits” and “intricate nest studies,” according to the gallery. That might not sound especially alluring, until you see some of the images: like Joe Freeman Jr.’s 9032, in which tree stumps emerge from a mystical fog, and a root system sprays from one like a mess of wires yanked from an ancient machine. Harris/Harvey Gallery, Free

Imminent Mode

Aug 8–31 Every year, Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar shows Imminent Mode, in which artists imagine, through photography and attired mannequins, how the future will affect aesthetics. On opening day, real people replace the mannequins, take the clothes to the street, and put on a DIY outdoor fashion show, including a DJ and a dance party. Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar, Free

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