JUN 29, 2014


‘The Hunchback of Seville’

Why: Charise Castro Smith’s new play packs the action—and rough-justice attitude—of a Tarantino movie into the boudoir of a 16th-century Spanish noblewoman named Maxima Terriblé Segunda. As the nerdy and reclusive sister of dying Queen Isabella, her bedroom becomes a cyclone of machinations over who will take the reins of the brutal kingdom and its slaughtering armies in the New World. “I just can’t believe that I was born at such a relentlessly shitty point in history,” her lover (turned fugitive from the crown) moans, “and there’s nothing I can do about it!” You might sympathize. (Washington Ensemble Theatre, 608 19th Ave E,, 7:30 pm, $20, through June 30)

JUN 30, 2014


‘The Circus’

Why: The Circus is not Charlie Chaplin’s best work, but it has two important things going for it. One, the film stars the Tramp, and it’s just impossible for any human being from any culture to ever get enough of the Tramp and all of his problems. Two, it was released the year after Al Jolson said to the world from the screen in The Jazz Singer: “Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet.” This finally and irreversibly broke the silence of cinema. When watching The Circus, you are seeing the last gasp of silence on the screen. (Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St,, 7 pm, $10, all ages)

JUL 1, 2014


Kij Johnson

Why: Every summer, local writing organization Clarion West brings an impressive slate of sci-fi authors to Seattle. The most exciting author this year is Kij Johnson, a multiple-award-winning fantasy and science-fiction author (you don’t win Nebula Awards three years in a row—and score both a Nebula and a Hugo in the same year—by being lucky, motherfucker). Her fiction is interested in gender, the connection between humans and animals, and the inherent impossibility of getting communication exactly right. In other words, she’s a writer who is fascinated by everything that makes life worth living. (University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE,, 7 pm, free)

JUL 2, 2014


Iman Raad and Shahrzad Changalvaee

Why: Tonight, two brilliant Iranian graphic designers—Iman Raad and Shahrzad Changalvaee, who participated in the acclaimed Seattle-Tehran Poster Show at Bumbershoot in 2008—deliver a lecture. The audience will be exposed to ideas and images of a world that is at once familiar and foreign, new and old, seductive and political. Raad and Changalvaee’s Iran is not the same as the one that’s regularly presented in the press and on TV. It is an Iran that’s much closer to reality—meaning, it’s much more dynamic and unstable. Note: If you can’t make the talk tonight, there’s another, earlier one on June 28 at the Seattle Center Armory. (Tether, 316 Occidental Ave S,, 7 pm, free but reserve tickets online)

JUL 3, 2014



Why: Let’s do something different tonight! Abrasive LA rap/experimental hiphop trio clipping. just debuted their Sub Pop album CLPPNG, and it’s a much-needed dose of weird. Producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes make noise—crumpling cardboard, abrasive alarm clocks, scrambled alien frequencies, clanging cartoon metal—while Daveed Diggs raps dark and gritty stories in a shotgun whirlwind-rap style. It’s hiphop with barely any beats, in the traditional sense—the darker and sparser side of future rap, especially incendiary in a live setting. (Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Ave S,, 8 pm, $12 adv/$15 DOS, 21+)


‘Freedom Fantasia’

Why: Somebody really should write a Book of Deuteronomy–style lineage of Seattle’s oddball, sui generis, psycho-drag/freak-queen/conceptual-burlesque culture (Dina, Waxie, Pho Bang, Jinkx, Cherdonna and Lou, and so on). My theory: We were just cosmopolitan enough to appreciate the possibilities of experimental burlesque and drag, but just isolated enough that we could incubate our own version—with the cross-pollinating vigor of contemporary dance and performance art. Anyway, Freedom Fantasia is an Independence Day–themed parade of Seattle’s strange cabaret scene: Major Scales, Cherdonna, Lou, BenDeLaCreme, Kitten LaRue, and others including theater and dance types Jim Kent, Markeith Wiley, and Scott Shoemaker. (Triple Door, 216 Union St,, 7:30 pm [17+] and 10:30 pm [21+], $28–$45, July 2–3)

JUL 4, 2014


‘Obvious Child’

Why: Obvious Child will always be known, first and foremost, as “the abortion comedy.” That’s the pitch, the premise, and the novelty of writer/director Gillian Robespierre’s great new film: It’s about a young woman who has an abortion and doesn’t feel bad about it. But Obvious Child isn’t content to simply portray abortion as the medical procedure that it is: Here, the consequences of an unprotected hookup essentially provide the “cute” in a topsy-turvy millennial meet-cute where drunken sex, pregnancy tests, and Planned Parenthood waiting rooms all come before deciding if you really even like someone. This is the real America! (Guild 45th, 2115 N 45th St,, showtimes TBA)

JUL 5, 2014


Tour de France at Cafe Presse

Why: First things first: Yes, there is indeed a conflict between today’s start of Le Tour de France and the continuing drama of La Coupe du Monde, because today is the second set of quarterfinals for the greatest prize of the most popular sport on earth. Now that I have said that, let’s please turn our attention to the first stage of Le Tour, which will take riders on a 190.5-kilometer dash from Leeds to Harrogate (the first few stages are in England this year). The most relaxing way to watch Le Tour is to focus not on its stars but on its peloton, a snaking mass of competitive life that moves like magic and goes well with a chilled summer drink. (Cafe Presse, 1117 12th Ave,, check online for start time)

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