From “Avengers: Endgame” to Independent Bookstore Day, there’s lots to get you out of the house in April. Here’s what to put on your calendars.
TOP 5 EVENTS IN APRIL
Independent Bookstore Day
Seattle loves its independent bookstores — especially on April 27, when locally owned stores will take part in a nationwide party with special events, giveaways and treats. This year, 26 stores are taking part in the Passport Challenge: Visit three on the 27th, get your passport stamped, and receive a one-time 30 percent discount at any participating store. Or, for the ultimate prize, get your passport stamped at 21 stores that day (the list includes several stores with multiple locations; you need visit only one of each of those) on the day, and you’ll be awarded a Bookstore Champion card, good for 25 percent off at every participating store, all year round. I’ve done it twice, and I’m ready to do it again — see you at the stores!
Saturday, April 27; stores participating are Ada’s Technical Books, Arundel Books, Book Larder, Booktree Kirkland, Brick & Mortar Books, Eagle Harbor Book Co., Edmonds Bookshop, Elliott Bay Book Co., Fantagraphics Bookstore, Island Books, Liberty Bay Books, Madison Books, Magnolia’s Bookstore, The Neverending Bookshop, Open Books: A Poem Emporium, Page 2 Books, Phinney Books, Queen Anne Book Co., Secret Garden Books, Third Place Books, The Traveler, University Book Store. Information: seattlebookstoreday.com
The buzz around this hard-twerking, self-love messenger continues to grow, with the Minneapolis rapper/singer ripping viral flute solos, earning raves at SXSW and blowing the roof off “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” studio. Last week, Lizzo dropped her future club classic “Tempo,” a body-positive wall-shaker with Missy Elliott. For all her retweetable moments of late, the warranted hype — peaking as she preps her first major-label album, “Cuz I Love You,” due April 19 — is the culmination of years spent taking her resplendent live show on the road with the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Haim and an arena run with Florence + the Machine. Those who missed out on tickets to this club date can catch Lizzo headlining Capitol Hill Block Party this summer. Tayla Parx opens.
8 p.m. Sunday, April 28; Showbox SoDo, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; sold out; showboxpresents.com
“Frederick Douglass Now”
Remember back in February, when acclaimed stage and screen actor Roger Guenveur Smith was going to bring his solo show based on texts by the iconic abolitionist and feminist, edited into a “jazz-infused narrative” and set between sections of Smith’s own writing? It sounded great; it was postponed (because of “Snowmageddon”). If you didn’t catch that train last time, you’ve got another chance.
April 12-14; LANGSTON and STG Presents at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S., Seattle; 206-682-1414, langstonseattle.org
Haerizadeh, Haerizadeh and Rahmanian: “The Rain Doesn’t Know Friends from Foes”
Do not miss this excellent, scorching and sometimes unnervingly funny exhibition by three Iranian artists working collectively out of Dubai since 2009, after the regime seized works by the Haerizadeh brothers (Ramin and Rokni) from a private collection because they were considered “provocative.” (If you’re an artist, getting your patrons’ homes raided means you’re really scary.) The two and their childhood friend Hesam Rahmanian collage and paint over images from television news and internet feeds to make haunting, psychedelic images that feel deeper and truer than the source material. In one animation, titled “Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?” (after a 1956 pop-art collage by Richard Hamilton), a CNN anchor with a backdrop reading “Iran Election Fallout” “speaks” a series of mutating, nightmarish images that look like scenes from the fused imaginations of Terry Gilliam and Goya. The “news” documents events; “The Rain” documents the soul of that news — its medium, its message and what it doesn’t say. Bonus: On April 18, Dr. Abbas Daneshvari (professor of art history at UCLA) will deliver a lecture on contemporary Iranian art and its “attribute of fantastic as banal and banal as fantastic.” Yes, please.
Through April 28; Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave., Seattle; free; 206-622-9250, fryemuseum.org
Seattle Symphony, Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1
Two excellent reasons to hear this program: the SSO’s music director designate Thomas Dausgaard will conduct, and the concerto soloist is Garrick Ohlsson, one of today’s most reliably thrilling pianists. (He plays the mighty Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1.) You’ll also hear two works by composers of Dausgaard’s native Denmark: Nielsen’s Symphony No. 2, and the Prelude to Rued Langgaard’s “Antichrist.”
7:30 p.m. April 4, 8 p.m. April 6, 2 p.m. April 7, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $22-$122, 206-215-4747, seattlesymphony.org
Lalami, whose previous novel “The Moor’s Account” was an American Book Award winner and a Pulitzer finalist, comes to town with her timely new novel, “The Other Americans,” which movingly explores a family and a community’s reaction to the death of a Moroccan immigrant in a small Mojave Desert town.
7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2; Seattle Public Library’s Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle; free; 206-386-4636, spl.org
Parker, a Pushcart Prize-winning poet and essayist, explores depictions of black womanhood alongside personal narratives in her work. She’s here with her latest collection of poetry, “Magical Negro.”
7 p.m. Thursday, April 4; Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-322-7030, hugohouse.org
This one looks like a charmer: James, who now lives in New York but grew up on Bainbridge Island, will read from his new novel: “Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe,” a comedy of manners about an eccentric family during one Pacific Northwest summer.
7 p.m. Thursday, April 4; Eagle Harbor Book Co., 157 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island; free; 206-842-5332, eagleharborbooks.com. Also 3 p.m. Sunday, April 7; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600, elliottbaybook.com
“When I first read Rachel Cusk’s novel ‘Outline,’” wrote Seattle Times reviewer Michael Upchurch, “I wasn’t sure what she was up to or how she was doing it. All I knew was that I didn’t want it to stop.” That was the first of an acclaimed trilogy for the British author, which also includes “Transit” and “Kudos”; she’s here from London with the latter, just out in paperback.
7 p.m. Friday, April 5; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600, elliottbaybook.com
Coben, the acclaimed crime novelist whose “Tell No One” inspired an excellent 2009 French movie by the same name that I’m always recommending to people, comes to town with his latest: “Run Away,” in which a Wall Street wealth manager tries to find his missing daughter. He’ll speak in conversation with Kristin Hannah (“The Nightingale”).
7 p.m. Monday, April 8; Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; preorder of book required for tickets; 206-366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com
The best-selling author of dozens of crime-fiction novels — who divides her time between homes in Seattle and Tucson — makes a few local appearances with her latest work, “The A List,” which is No. 14 in her Ali Reynolds series.
7 p.m. Monday, April 8; Brick & Mortar Books, 7430 164th Ave. N.E., Redmond; free; 425-869-0606, brickandmortarbooks.com. 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9; Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com. 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 17; University Book Store, 15311 Main St., Mill Creek; free; 425-385-3530, ubookstore.com
Winspear’s popular mystery series features Maisie Dobbs, a former servant turned psychologist/investigator in 20th-century London. The series, whose first installment was set in 1929, now numbers 15 novels; the newest, “The American Agent,” takes place during the Blitz.
7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600, elliottbaybook.com
I am not making this up: Barry, author of 30 books and countless humor columns for The Miami Herald, will be in town with his latest memoir, “Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog.”
7 p.m. Wednesday, April 10; Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; preorder of book required (two event tickets free with book purchase); 206-366-3333, thirdplacebooks.com
Bui’s illustrated memoir “The Best We Could Do,” about her family’s story of arriving as “boat people” from Vietnam in 1978, is this year’s Seattle Reads selection, presented by Seattle Public Library. She’ll make several local appearances to discuss her book, all suitable for both adults and teens.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Seattle Public Library’s Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle; 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at Northgate Community Center, 10510 Fifth Ave. N.E., Seattle; 7 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at Centilia Cultural Center, 1660 Roberto Maestas Festival St., Seattle; 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, at Seattle Public Library’s Greenwood Branch, 8016 Greenwood N., Seattle; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, 3639 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., Seattle (also features a staged reading from the book). All events free; 206-386-4636, spl.org
Westover’s memoir “Educated,” which explored her unconventional road to knowledge (the daughter of survivalists, she didn’t set foot in a classroom until the age of 17), was one of the most acclaimed books of 2018 — and an international best-seller.
7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 14; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $35; 206-621-2230, lectures.org
Luiselli, who writes both fiction and nonfiction, is the author of several acclaimed books including “Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions,” inspired by her work as a volunteer court translator for undocumented migrant children in New York, and her latest novel, “Lost Children Archive,” in which a family on a road trip is confronted with an immigration crisis.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $20-$80; 206-621-2230, lectures.org
Will she or won’t she? Whether Georgia Democrat Abrams, recent gubernatorial candidate and former state representative, will be on a presidential ballot in 2020 remains to be seen — but we do know that she’ll be in town to discuss her book “Lead from the Outside: How To Build Your Future and Make Real Change,” which is newly out in paperback.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25; Temple de Hirsch Sinai, 1441 16th Ave., Seattle; $5 (sold out, but a limited of number of tickets will be available at the door, as well as a standby line); 206-652-4255, townhallseattle.org
Moira Macdonald: email@example.com
President’s Piano Series presents Emanuel Ax
One of today’s unquestionable greats, Emanuel Ax, has chosen a delicious lineup of repertoire for this piano recital, including some of the loveliest works for his instrument: Brahms Rhapsodies, Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales and a tempting assortment of Chopin, including the great Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante.
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, Katharyn Alvord Gerlich Theater at Meany Hall, University of Washington; $60-$68, youth ages 5-17 admitted free (two per paying adult); 206-543-4880, meanycenter.org
Cappella Romana presents the Tallis Scholars
One of England’s premier choral ensembles, the renowned Tallis Scholars, makes a rare Northwest visit with its director, Peter Phillips, under auspices of Cappella Romana. On the program: glorious, otherworldly Renaissance vocal works inspired by the Sistine Chapel, by such composers as Allegri, Des Prez, Palestrina and Morales. Expect excellence and inspiration.
8 p.m. Saturday, April 6, St. James Cathedral, 804 Ninth Ave., Seattle; $35-$65, cappellaromana.org
Byron Schenkman and Friends: Portland Baroque Orchestra
The Seattle-based chamber music series led by Seattle-based pianist/harpsichordist Schenkman invites Portland’s highly regarded period-instruments orchestra for a program called “Music of the Age of Enlightenment.” We could all do with a little enlightenment, supplied by French composers of that period: Rameau, Leclair and Couperin.
7 p.m. Sunday, April 14, Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $10-$48, seattlesymphony.org
Seattle Symphony Orchestra with Demarre McGill
How often do you get to hear a flute concerto at Seattle Symphony? When the flutist in question is the orchestra’s gifted principal, McGill, the answer is “not often enough.” Here’s your chance to hear him in the Marc-André Dalbavie Flute Concerto; music director Ludovic Morlot also will conduct “Préludes,” a world premiere by Joël-François Durand and two beloved classics — Ravel’s charming “Mother Goose” Suite and Mozart’s next-to-last symphony, the great No. 40.
7:30 p.m. April 18, 8 p.m. April 20; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $22-$122, 206-215-4747, seattlesymphony.org
Melinda Bargreen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Haim: “Parts to a Sum”
Dancer and choreographer Haim has a gift for spinning together the grounded, the elegant and the playful in a single piece. One gets the sense that Haim (who studied classical piano before going into dance) owes a lot to Bach, whose “Goldberg Variations” served as the musical platform for Haim’s signature series of solos. But he’s also got a keen wit, which audiences saw in his funny and poignant “This Land Is Your Land,” a tapestry of how people walk (or stalk or flounce) their way through the world, largely set to country music. For “Parts to a Sum,” Haim collected little “dance prayers” from 371 people (from 2½ to 93 years old) and will perform them in a connected chain of movement from oldest to youngest.
April 5-13; Velocity Dance Center, 1621 12th Ave., Seattle; $15-$25; velocitydancecenter.org
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
The great choreographer George Balanchine didn’t make very many full-length narrative ballets, so this one is something to treasure. Among its many pleasures: a plot-crammed, full-speed-ahead first act, based on Shakespeare’s madcap tale of magically miscast lovers; numerous charming opportunities for the young dancers of PNB School to show off their skills; and a wistful, moonlit pas de deux in Act II.
April 12-21; Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $37-$189; 206-441-2424, pnb.org
The well-known and well-loved dance company that combines acrobatics, mime, film and eye-flummoxing illusions returns to Meany Hall with a grab bag of new and older works. If you haven’t seen MOMIX in person, you might recognize them from television. The company, an offshoot of Pilobolus, has made commercials for companies like Mercedes-Benz and Hanes underwear.
April 25-27; Meany Center for the Performing Arts, University of Washington campus, Seattle; $48-$68; 206-543-4880, meanycenter.org
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Arthur Mitchell, who became the first black principal dancer at New York City Ballet in the 1950s, founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with Karel Shook in 1968, at the height of the civil-rights movement, wanting to create a haven for classically trained dancers of all races. Now, in the year following Mitchell’s death, the company celebrates its 50th anniversary — and its triumphant return from an eight-year hiatus in 2012, after financial difficulties — with a tour. They’ll be performing Ulysses Dove’s gorgeous, otherworldly “Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven,” former DTH principal and now resident choreographer Robert Garland’s “Nyman String Quartet #2” and Darrell Grand Moultrie’s “Harlem on My Mind.”
April 27-28; Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $25-$65; 800-982-2787, stgpresents.org
Moira Macdonald: email@example.com; Brendan Kiley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets are already on sale for the following movies:
The 1959 big-screen epic, complete with cinema’s most famous chariot race, returns to the multiplexes for a special 60th-anniversary screening, complete with commentary from Turner Classic Movies.
April 14 and 17; various theaters; $12-$13; fathomevents.com
“Life of Brian”
“HE’S NOT THE MESSIAH! HE’S A VERY NAUGHTY BOY!” The Monty Python classic about a reluctant messiah in 33 A.D. Judea celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and it’s taking every ounce of self-control that I have to not just quote all of my favorite lines at you. Just three more: “Welease Wodewick!,” “No, I’m just pulling your leg, it’s crucifixion really” and “Blessed are the cheesemakers.”
7 p.m. Thursday, April 18; SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave. N., Seattle; $14; 206-324-9996, siff.net
If you’ve been on tenterhooks ever since That Ending (I am referring, of course, to the final 15 minutes of “Avengers: Infinity War,” and if you haven’t seen it, you’d better get around to it), this film — kicking off the summer blockbuster movie season — should provide relief. Here’s hoping the “Captain Marvel” cat makes an appearance.
Opens April 26 at multiple theaters; fandango.com
Moira Macdonald: email@example.com
Ireland’s answer to Ed Sheeran (minus the cloyingly giddy pop jams) has been on a Spotify-launched rocket, his booming singer-songwriter anthems racking up tens of millions of streams between last year’s stellar sold-out show at the Crocodile and this month’s Paramount date.
8 p.m. Saturday, April 6; Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St. Seattle; $25, 800-982-2787, stgpresents.org
Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
The California fest celebrates its 60th anniversary with a tour assembling stars representing “the next generation of jazz artists” and educators with Grammy-bagging vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant warranting top billing on the marquee. Ace pianist Christian Sands serves as the musical director for the all-star band, which includes Seattle-reared bassist Yasushi Nakamura, performing standards and their individual original works.
7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 7; Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $20-$45; 800-982-2787, stgpresents.org
Brooding Toronto rockers furiously blend ’90s alt-rock and stoner grooves with frontwoman Katie Monk’s ghostly half-whisper that builds to a roar, scratching like a jagged pill with the promise of intoxication.
7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9; Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., Seattle; $16, 206-441-4618; thecrocodile.com
Speaking of emerging jazz stars on the vanguard, this Chicago drummer/producer has spun heads with a string of albums fusing together gig tapes from various shows. Last year’s eclectic “Universal Beings” has been equally praised among jazz and indie-music circles.
7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 19; Royal Room, 5000 Rainier Ave., Seattle; $20-$25 ($10 students and military); theroyalroomseattle.com
Michael Rietmulder: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Master and Margarita”
Many years ago, circa 1996, a group of theater artists decided to make a stage adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s chilling, hilarious, Stalin-era novel, which has many, many threads, including a smoking cat, a supernatural midnight ball, a literary trade union and the fate of Pontius Pilate, but is basically rooted in Satan visiting the Soviet Union to see how human nature is holding up. True to their name, the members of theater simple (all lower caps) adapted the complicated, hallucinatory story into a production so compact, it went on the road to fringe festivals on three continents. It was a hit. Our current political reality, theater simple’s Llysa Holland says, “started to feel right to re-examine our adaptation of Bulgakov’s novel, and discover how the satire stands up.”
April 5-27; theater simple at Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave., Seattle; $15-$25; 800-838-3006, theatersimple.org
Seattle-based playwright Yussef El Guindi has a gift for writing highly topical stories whose deeper psychological themes give them long shelf lives. His biting tragicomedies about romance, racism, workaday angst and trying to feel at home in the world keep coming back — as they should. El Guindi wrote “Language Rooms” (about Ahmed, who’s just trying to do his job helping the CIA interrogate terrorism suspects, and what happens when he’s ordered to grill someone all too close to him) in 2005, partly as a response to news about Guantánamo Bay. But the problems of detention, Patriot Act-style powers, xenophobia and crises of conscience don’t seem to have lost much ground. In a 2012 review, the Los Angeles Times described “Language Rooms” as a “complex, ambitious, very funny and very moving play.” Now Pony World stages a new production at the now-decommissioned Immigration and Naturalization Service Building, which detained thousands of immigrants over the decades — and is the same building where, in 1996, El Guindi became a U.S. citizen.
April 12-May 4; Pony World Theatre at The Slate Theater, 815 Seattle Blvd. S., Seattle; $15-$20; 800-838-3006, ponyworld.org
In “Devi Chaudhurani,” an 1884 novel by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, a poor, illiterate woman becomes a heroine of anti-colonial resistance to British rule, running a parallel, freedom-based government. But at the end of the novel, she steps back into her duties as a wife. Local South Asian performance group Pratidhwani (which also hosts classes, workshops and concerts by Indian classical musicians) has adapted that story and rewritten the ending for a dance/music drama with 45 performers and 10 different dance styles.
April 16-May 11; Pratidhwani at ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle; $32-$42; 206-292-7676, pratidhwani.org
Stokeley Towles: “Surfing Underground”
Towles is the poet laureate of infrastructure — and not just infrastructure in the classic sense of cops, garbage disposal, bus drivers and sewage (though he’s made solo shows about all of those subjects), but the underpinnings of whatever we tend to take for granted. His heavily researched projects have taken a close look at masculinity, the life of a sidewalk and what happened at a certain spot in Magnuson Park between now and the Ice Age. He’s part reporter, part anthropologist, part historian and all storyteller. For “Surfing Underground,” he sought out stories from dozens of construction workers who spend their careers in various holes beneath Calgary, Alberta.
April 18-20; SpringShot Performance Festival at 18th & Union, 1406 18th Ave., Seattle; $15-$25; 18thandunion.org
“Nina Simone: Four Women”
Four women, four skin tones, four stinging takes on black womanhood in America — Nina Simone’s 1966 song “Four Women” came just a few years after the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Alabama and the murder of civil-rights leader Medgar Evers in Mississippi. Those events helped radicalize Simone, whose irreproducible arc took her from playing in church to studying at Julliard to jazz clubs and then fame, and whose personal journey ranged from religion to sultry romance to full-throated, righteous rage. Local theater genius Valerie Curtis-Newton directs Christina Ham’s 2016 play about Simone, refracted through the lens of Simone’s four women: Aunt Sarah, Saffronia, Sweet Thing and Peaches.
April 26-June 2; Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St., Seattle; $16-$80; 206-443-2222, seattlerep.org
Brendan Kiley: email@example.com
Artist Tschabalala Self’s solo show is a sometimes-exuberant and sometimes-brooding meditation of her “avatars” that, the Frye says, “celebrate complexities of black life that are often obscured in the American imagination by stereotypes.” There are a few large sculptures of what look like silhouettes of naked people bending over, viewed from behind, but the fireworks are on the wall, where Self uses machine-sewn fabric, acrylic paint, oil pastel and charcoal to make bodies — usually black female bodies grinning, frowning, lounging, embracing. On April 26, Self talks with Kemi Adeyemi, assistant professor of gender, women and sexuality studies at the University of Washington.
Through April 28; Frye Art Museum; 704 Terry Ave., Seattle; free; 206-622-9250, fryemuseum.org
Darren Waterston: “Vistas” and “Semi-occasional Secondary Market Exhibition of Excellent Pictures”
Two promising shows at Greg Kucera Gallery in April: Waterston’s oil landscapes are, as critic DeWitt Cheng once wrote, “mindscapes in which ambiguous transparent forms arise, float, flutter, and sink amid mist, clouds, swirls, drips, and vermicular coils of brushstrokes; each image with its poetic cycles of life represents the cosmos as ‘a divine chaos.’ ” Kucera’s “Semi-occasional Secondary Market Exhibition” includes excellent pictures by Guy Anderson, Roger Shimomura, Robert Motherwell, Jacob Lawrence and the marvelous Norman Lundin, whose masterful composition of light and shadow can suffuse the mundane (a metal door, electrical outlets, an “empty” room) with something like transcendence.
April 4-June 1; Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-624-0770, gregkucera.com
Brendan Kiley: firstname.lastname@example.org