JUN 30, 2011


Jim Woodring

Why: When The Stranger gave cartoonist Jim Woodring a Genius Award for literature last year, several poets threw tantrums: How can a man whose books often don't contain a single word, they whined, win a literature award? Here's how: Every one of Woodring's comics is an epic poem, a psychedelic novel, and a deeply personal memoir. If you can't identify with his protagonist, the innocent-but-fickle Frank, there's something wrong with you. And if we didn't give him a Genius Award last year, we would have given it to him this year—Congress of the Animals is his best book yet. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600, 7 pm, free)

JUL 1, 2011


'Weekday' Live

Why: Live radio broadcasts, like Seattle Mariners games, are unexpectedly fun to watch. This morning, KUOW's Steve Scher will host a passel of guests for a special two-hour live broadcast of Weekday, which means you'll be able to see the pained expressions that accompany the awkward pauses as Scher asks Sherman Alexie and Visqueen's Rachel Flotard questions like "Have you read that book by that guy? What's his name?" Knute "Mossback" Berger, the Seattle Times' Joni Balter, and The Stranger's Eli Sanders will be discussing the news, as usual. Coffee and pastries available; bring your own vuvuzela to drown out Balter. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 652-4255, 9 am, $5; listen free on KUOW 94.9 FM)


Shabazz Palaces

Why: Shabazz Palaces are Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire. Maraire is a black African trained in Zimbabwean classical music; Butler is a black American whose rap career began in the early 1990s with Digable Planets. The talented musical minds realized Shabazz Palaces in 2009. The mode of their music is neo-Afrofuturistic, and their shows brilliantly capture this mode with theatrical masks and costumes. Black Up, released by the established rock label Sub Pop, has 10 meticulously crafted electro/techno/funk tracks. This album is nearly perfect. This album will be this year's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. (Neumos, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467, 8 pm, $15, 21+)

JUL 2, 2011


James Lavadour

Why: You have two strong reasons to go to this show: James Lavadour is the J.M.W. Turner of the Northwest, a maker of landscape paintings that are layered and gauzy and vivid, full of weather and invitation. He's a member of the Umatilla Tribe, and his relationship with the land was, and continues to be, his school of art, but these surfaces reveal influences from pop artist Robert Rauschenberg to Chinese painting. Your second reason to go? Grover/Thurston is moving. Say good-bye to the gorgeous, double-height old Occidental Square space the gallery has been in since 1993. Starting in August, Grover/Thurston will be housed in the squat nearby space that Catherine Person Gallery recently vacated. In this economy, mixed news is good news. (Grover/Thurston Gallery, 309 Occidental Ave S, 223-0816, 11 am–5 pm, free)

JUL 3, 2011


'Conan O'Brien Can't Stop'

Why: "I am angry," says Conan O'Brien, angrily. "I'm very angry about the way I was treated." Conan O'Brien Can't Stop chronicles Conan's 44-stop anger-powered national tour following his unceremonious (but lucrative) dumpage by NBC. The private Conan is not quite what you expect: grumpy, weary, freckled, driven, hopelessly addicted to show business, and pathologically dedicated to his fans. Can't Stop is a fascinating—if surprisingly nonfunny—glimpse into the mechanics of comedy, the massive machinery of a live tour, and the tenuous cost-benefit balance of celebrity. (See Movie Times:

JUL 4, 2011


Hot Dogs

Why: Independence and hot dogs are two great tastes that go great together, and no American worth the name will allow today's celebration of freedom to pass without pressing a well-slathered wiener into his or her face. (Crucial supplements: a light buzz from cheap beer and the tingle of a pre-sunburn.) For the lowdown on the best home-grilled hot dogs, see Bethany Jean Clement's manifesto on page 33. If you're the type of person who likes to celebrate Independence Day by making other people do the work, consider a visit to Po Dog, home to an array of delicious doggy options both meaty and vegetarian, served on a killer soft brioche. (Po Dog Hot Dogs; Capitol Hill, 1009 E Union St; U-District, 4736 University Way NE;; 11 am–midnight)

JUL 5, 2011


Boat Street Cafe

Why: Boat Street Cafe inspires a calm sort of love. Billed as a gentle-hearted, sturdy-fooded place inspired by French grandmothers, it will take care of you, home-style, while also making you feel you're doing something exciting. The food is solidly great (among the highlights: a magnificent halibut, inspired pickled vegetable garnishes, and medjool dates sautéed in olive oil and sprinkled with flowery salt). On top of all that, this is a place that for years has been staffed by a stable of Seattle artists who love working there. The place basically sparkles with good feeling. (Boat Street Cafe, 3131 Western Ave #301, 632-4602, 10:30 am–2:30 pm and 5–10 pm, happy hour 5–7 pm)

JUL 6, 2011


'Beauty & Bounty'

Why: A Bierstadt painting of Puget Sound is at the center of this show of rarely seen 19th-century landscape paintings borrowed from local private collections. And sure, you can focus on that for a little while. But I would also like to bring your attention to a trio of little paintings by Martin Johnson Heade, the coolest American 19th-century landscape painter. Always included in surveys of the Hudson River School, he's not really one of them. He's weirder, and he puts jokes in his paintings. Look for the haystack with a cowlick, the ridiculous clouds, and the ghosts of erased things on his paintings. The man is just a good time. (Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 654-3100, 10 am– 5 pm, $15 suggested)

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