14 Best Things To Do in Seattle in August 2018

Our hand-picked list of best bets for entertainment this month
Prom Queen, pictured here, provides the live music for Can Can’s Femme Fatale

This article appears in print in the August 2018 issue. Click here to subscribe.

Femme Fatale
Through 9/30
Like Casanova, Mata Hari was a real person who became a sexual archetype: a dancer turned WWI spy, possibly innocent, but whose name nevertheless still evokes the power of female seduction. Can Can is channeling her power in this dinner cabaret—“a twisted tale of entangled lovers [and] espionage”—with a novel twist: live music by Seattle “doom-wop” singer Prom Queen. Times and prices vary. Can Can Culinary Cabaret, downtown, 94 Pike St.; 206.652.0832.

Local south Asian arts promoter Pratidhwani presents this play by NYC-based Madhuri Shekar, in which bee researchers (hence the title) on the verge of an ecological breakthrough become torn between career and friendship. Times and prices vary. ACT – A Contemporary Theatre, downtown, 700 Union St.; 206.292.7676.

A detail from Femail’s piece, “AMPM”

Femail: AMPM (2.0)
Through 9/30
Long before texting and the internet, the U.S Postal Service was actually used for sending things other than credit card offers and Bed Bath & Beyond coupons. Some people still use this quaint technology in odd, creative ways. For example, fashion designers Janelle Abbott (based in Seattle) and Camilla Carper (in Los Angeles), who, as Femail, collaborate by sending garments back and forth to each other, adding and subtracting to each piece with “found objects, gifts from friends and family, and items from Abbott and Carper’s wardrobes.” See the elaborate, deeply personal results of their first museum show, AMPM (2.0). Times and prices vary. Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, 510 Bellevue Way NE; 425.519.0770.

Edward Curtis’ The Picture Musicale
As part of the city’s multi-venue survey, Beyond the Frame, honoring photographer Edward S. Curtis, the Rainier Club offers this rare public exhibit of images by one of its most famous members including reproduced slides from his Picture Musicale: a presentation he toured in support of his masterpiece, The North American IndianTimes vary. $7.50. The Rainier Club, downtown Seattle, 820 Fourth Ave.; 206.296.6848ralf.brownpapertickets.com

 An untitled piece from JoEllen Wang’s series, Disembodying Women

JoEllen Wang: Disembodying Women
An architect by day (she’s the founder of Seattle’s Tiny Beast Design), JoEllen Wang will show her work on a smaller scale at the recently relocated Ghost Gallery. Her lovely but disturbing Disembodying Women series of watercolors features textbook-style anatomical illustrations combined with—or invaded by—what look like engineering blueprints: woman as baby machine. Times vary. Free. Ghost Gallery, Capitol Hill, 1111 E Pike St., Suite B.

Well, it is English, and a musical, but in all other respects The Who’s 1969 rock opera is a left-field choice for the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s annual summer show. Gracious me, that deaf, dumb and blind kid does indubitably play a mean pinball, does he not? Times and prices vary. 12th Avenue Arts, Capitol Hill, 1620 12th Ave.; 206.329.7303; seattlegilbertandsullivan.com

Seattle Shakespeare’s 2017 production of Pericles  at Luther Burbank Park

Shakespeare in the Park
Various dates Through 8/18
One comedy and one tragedy seem to be the winning formula for these free summer performances in parks all over Greater Seattle. Shakespeare company Wooden O offers King Lear and The Merry Wives of Windsor, while GreenStage presents Henry IV Part 1 and, to mix it up, a stage version of Dumas’ swashbuckling The Three Musketeers. GreenStage’s “Backyard Bard” series strips The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Winter’s Tale down to one hour and four actors. Times, prices and locations vary. See seattleshakespeare.org and greenstage.org for the full schedule and venues for all three series.

Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation

A week of master classes and workshops, which draws instructors and students from all over the country, peaks with a series of public performances. Dance cannot get any newer than when you are watching it being invented. Times and prices vary. Velocity Dance Center, Capitol Hill, 1621 12th Ave.; 206.325.8773.

The Esoterics
Conductor, pianist, lecturer, author, TV host, classical-music heartthrob, gay icon, “radical chic” celebrity, and composer for stage, screen and the concert hall: Leonard Bernstein packed a dozen careers into his 72 years. It’s this last role that expert contemporary music choir The Esoterics is celebrating precisely on the centennial of Bernstein’s birth, music ranging from the here boisterous, there chaste Chichester Psalms to excerpts from his ultra-hep multimedia Mass. 8 p.m. Prices vary. St. James Cathedral, First Hill, 804 Ninth Ave.; theesoterics.org

Drenched in Mexicana, last year’s hit Coco may take over from Up as the Pixar film most likely to require Kleenex. You’ll have five opportunities this month to sit under the stars and watch this tale of a boy who visits the Land of the Dead to explore his secret musical ancestry. Free. Films start at dusk. 8/2, Crossroads Community Park, parks.bellevuewa.gov; 8/3, Lea Hill Park, auburnwa.gov; 8/3, Skyway Outdoor Cinema, mywesthill.org; 8/18, West Seattle Outdoor Movies, westseattlemovies.blogspot.com; 8/24, Denny Park, seattle.gov/parks

Yellow Fish Durational Performance Art Festival
Three Seattle venues will host this fifth annual 120-hour (straight) marathon of dance, music and other uncategorizable performance work by artists from around the world. Work must comment on the passage of time itself and have been previously presented to the public. Local talent in past years has included dancer Alice Gosti, Thunderpussy frontwoman Molly Sides, and Jody Kuehner, aka Cherdonna Shinatra; this year, writer Alex Mari, choreographer Petra Zanki and interdisciplinary artist Robert Campbell, among others, will participate. Times and ticket prices TBA. Venues vary. yffestival.com

The sun sets on SAM’s summer programming at the Olympic Sculpture Park with the Summer at SAM Finale

Summer at SAM Finale
The Olympic Sculpture Park hosts public events every Thursday and Saturday during the sunny season, culminating with this performance by Khu.éex’, the new, local supergroup composed of bassist (and glass artist) Preston Singletary, Galactic drummer Stanton Moore and saxophone god Skerik, among others. The band combines traditional Alaskan Tlingit music with funk, improv, spoken word and storytelling. Food trucks and kids’ activities fill the evening. 6:30 p.m. Free. Olympic Sculpture Park, downtown, 2901 Western Ave.; 206.654.3100seattleartmuseum.org

Sallie Tisdale and David Shields
A writer and a palliative care nurse, Portland’s Tisdale is well placed to offer Advice for Future Corpses (plan for your death and its aftermath now, she encourages). She is also well matched with University of Washington writer in residence David Shields, who in 2011 edited the essay collection The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death7 p.m. Free. Elliott Bay Book Company, Capitol Hill, 1521 10th Ave.; 206.624.6600; elliottbaybook.com 

Edward Curtis’ The Picture Musicale
As part of the city’s multi-organization survey in honor of the sesquicentennial of early-20th-century photographer Edward S. Curtis, Beyond the Frame—anchored by the Seattle Art Museum’s Double Exposure exhibit, which runs through September—the Rainier Club opens its doors for a rare public exhibit of artifacts from Curtis’ storied career. The club houses a large collection of images by Curtis (who was a member and paid for his lodging with those works). Those images not on loan to SAM are included in the exhibit, along with lectures and reproduced slides from Curtis’ Picture Musicale project: a multimedia presentation he toured across the nation to raise support for his ongoing photo series The North American Indian, now considered a masterpiece. Times vary. $7.50. The Rainier Club, downtown Seattle, 820 Fourth Ave.; 206.296.6848; ralf.brownpapertickets.com

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