From "Ant-Man and the Wasp" to "Lauren Weedman Doesn't Live Here Anymore," our Seattle Times arts writers dish on next month’s most buzzworthy arts and entertainment events.

Share story

From music fests — Capitol Hill Block Party, TUFFEST, Olympic Music Festival and more — to “Persimmon Nights” at Café Nordo and kick-butt choreographers showing off their works at Strictly Seattle, here are some of the top events to put on your calendar next month.



“Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”

You’ve heard of “It,” right? That elusive, mesmerizing je ne sais quoi that actors constantly grasp for. You can’t buy It, earn It or steal It, but, for reasons still unexplained by modern science, sometimes It descends on a select few performers. Lauren Weedman is one of those performers. Her part-confessional/part-fictional monologues (“Bust,” “Wreckage,” “No … You Shut Up”) are whirligig fast, neurotic and painfully funny — often featuring actual, searing emotional pain. She goes right to the edge, then does pirouettes. Her latest show knits two stories into one: the travails of her country-singing alter-ego Tami Lisa, and the real-life experience of learning that her husband had a longtime affair with their teenage baby-sitter. As always, calendar items like these are predictions, not proofs, but Weedman consistently delivers the goods.

July 20-Aug 12, ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle; $20-$65, 206-292-7676,

Brendan Kiley


Phoebe Bridgers

The former merch slinger for Seattle’s Noah Gundersen is now a headliner in her own right, coming off last year’s breakout “Stranger in the Alps” LP and a dazzling afternoon set at Sasquatch! This spring, the pals and reciprocal fans released a medley of the buzzy L.A. songwriter’s arresting “Killer” and Gundersen’s “The Sound” with help from his sister, Abby.

8 p.m. Thursday, July 12, Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., Seattle; $16, 206-441-4618,

Michael Rietmulder


Megan Abbott

Abbott is, as they say, having a moment: Her latest book, the psychological thriller “Give Me Your Hand,” comes out in July and is breathlessly awaited. (I started it the other day and knew no peace until I was done). A dark tale of two scientists and a long-ago crime, it’s currently in development for television, as is Abbott’s 2012 novel “Dare Me” and her 2016 best-seller “You Will Know Me,” set in the world of competitive gymnastics. A three-time Edgar Award winner, Abbott is a master of the kind of thriller that doesn’t rely on bumps in the night, but on her characters’ darkness within.

7 p.m. Monday, July 30, Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333,

Moira Macdonald


Seattle Chamber Music Society’s Summer Festival

July is chamber-music heaven in Seattle, with this festival under the direction of artistic director and stellar violinist James Ehnes. This month offers 12 high-level concerts, each preceded by a free 30-minute recital. There’s also a free outdoor concert, and a popular Family Concert. Smart music lovers will line up to hear the divine violinist Augustin Hadelich on July 2 and 5. On July 12, there’s the world premiere of resident composer James Newton Howard’s commissioned work, “They Have Just Arrived at This New Level,” and let us hope that it is a wonderful level indeed.

7 p.m. free recitals and 8 p.m. paid-admission concerts, July 2-28 (mostly Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays); Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $16-$52, 206-283-8710; 

Melinda Bargreen


Juventino Aranda: “Pocket Full of Posies”

We all know gallows humor, but some punchlines land with the slow, crushing force of actual grief. Walla Walla-based artist Juventino Aranda was born to Mexican immigrants and his work is so stark, it smacks you in the face, but his combinations of objects and wall text are deeply layered. “America (El Dia que Llego la Llorona)” is a massive vela — those iconic Mexican candles in glass tubes — that dwarfs every human in the room. Its wick is almost burned to the bottom. (The significance of the subtitle — about the arrival of “La Llorona,” the ghost of a crying mother whose children drowned in a river — would take too long to explain here.) “Lay Me Down in a Bed of Roses (When I’m Gone)” is a large, crisp, white banner made of the cotton fabric used to weave shirts (evoking maquiladoras), embroidered in slightly glistening white thread with the ensign of the Mexican flag (an eagle fighting with an angry, fanged serpent on top of a prickly cactus). The wall text delivers the kicker: That banner fits the exact dimensions of a U.S. government-regulation burial flag. And that tacky-looking mirror in the corner, the one that looks like it belongs in a tastelessly glitzy Miami hotel, etched to show a palm tree and a dumb sunset with clichéd seagulls? Its wall text reads: “Carry Yourself with the Confidence of a Mediocre White Man (Mar-a-Lago).” Aranda is looking at the current crisis — immigration, capitalism, the American Dream — and laughing through tears.

Through Sept. 23; Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave., Seattle; free, 206-622-9250,

Brendan Kiley





Richelle Mead

Local author of the internationally best-selling Vampire Academy series, Mead will speak about the final novel in her Glittering Court series, “The Emerald Sea.”

3 p.m. Sunday, July 1, University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., Seattle; free; 800-335-7323,

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Hanna-Attisha, a Michigan pediatrician, helped to expose the Flint water crisis several years ago; now she’s in town with her book about that disaster: “What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City.”

7 p.m. Monday, July 9, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Nell Painter

The history professor and author (“Standing at Armageddon,” “The History of White People”) retired from Princeton at the age of 64 — and began a new life as an art-school undergraduate. She writes about the experience, and her subsequent BFA and MFA, in “Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over.”

7 p.m. Monday, July 9, Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Terry Brooks

Brooks, best-selling author of more than 30 fantasy novels, will read from and sign the latest book in his Shannara series, “The Fall of Shannara: The Skaar Invasion.”

7 p.m. Monday, July 9, University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., Seattle; free; 800-335-7323,

Jonathan White

White, who lives in the San Juan Islands, has had a lifelong love affair with the sea as a writer, sailor and marine conservationist. His latest book, “Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean,” a global study of tides, is newly out in paperback.

7 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Susan Mallery

Mallery, the New York Times best-selling author of many novels about romance and family, lives in the Seattle area but rarely makes public appearances; this one is the only event she has planned for the year. She’ll sign copies of her latest novel, “When We Found Home,” and will answer audience questions.

7 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333,

Daryl Gregory

Newly a local, Gregory is the author of several novels and comics, spanning genres of literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy and YA. He’ll read from his latest novel, the Nebula Award finalist “Spoonbenders.”

7 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Ottessa Moshfegh

Moshfegh’s debut novel, “Eileen,” was a Man Booker Prize finalist; her latest, “My Year of Rest and Relaxation,” has an appealingly if-Jane-Austen-were-a-millennial cover and an intriguing premise: a young contemporary woman decides to embark on an extended hibernation.

7 p.m. Friday, July 13, Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Thor Hanson

Got a bee fetish? Come listen to Hanson, a local author and naturalist who’ll read from his latest book, “Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees.”

7 p.m. Saturday, July 14, Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,   Also: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 19, Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333,

Glen David Gold

The final guest for Third Place Books’ Literary Luncheon series is Gold, author of the novels “Carter Beats the Devil” and “Sunnyside.” He’ll read from his latest book, the memoir “I Will Be Complete,” about his riches-to-rags childhood.

1 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, Ravenna Third Place Books, 6504 20th Ave N.E., Seattle; $45 (includes lunch and copy of book); 206-525-2347, Also: 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333,

Angela Garbes

Formerly a staff writer for The Stranger, local author Garbes will speak about her new memoir, “Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy.”

7 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, Third Place Books in Seward Park, 5041 Wilson Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-474-2200,

Porochista Khakpour

Lots of buzz (of the non-bee kind) this season for Khakpour’s memoir, “Sick,” about her longtime struggle with undiagnosed illness, eventually confirmed as late-stage Lyme disease. She’ll speak with local writer Tricia Romano.

7 p.m. Thursday, July 19, Elliott Bay Book Co.,  1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Ayobami Adebayo

Adebayo’s 2017 debut, “Stay With Me,” was an acclaimed tale of love and loss in 1980s Nigeria — and was partly written in our own backyard (at Hedgebrook, on Whidbey Island). She’ll read from the book, shortlisted for the 2017 Bailey Women’s Prize for Fiction, on her return visit here.

7 p.m. Thursday, July 26, Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Moira Macdonald:



Seattle Symphony Orchestra

You’re just in time to catch the last of three performances of Saint-Saëns’ famous “Organ” Symphony (No. 3), plus his even better-known “Danse macabre,” both under the direction of guest conductor Kazuki Yamada (who directs the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, and is principal guest conductor of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande). The soloist is the brilliant young British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, who’ll be heard in the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2.

2 p.m. Sunday, July 1, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $22-$122, 206-215-4747,

Olympic Music Festival

The opening weekend for this Port Townsend-based festival will focus on Bach’s immortal “Goldberg Variations.” Originally composed for keyboard, this new Dmitry Sitkovetsky arrangement for solo violin will feature Steven Copes, concertmaster of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Also on tap: Dimitri Murrath, viola, joining Copes for the Handel/Halvorsen Passacaglia in G Minor, and Beethoven’s String Trio in C Minor, Op. 9, No. 3, with cellist Jennifer Culp rounding out the trio

2 p.m. July 14 and 15, Joseph Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden, Port Townsend; $35, students 12 and under free; 800-838-3006,

Bellingham Festival of Music

Well worth a drive north to Western Washington University, this festival — now in its 25th anniversary year — presents chamber and orchestral concerts featuring such artists as the Calidore String Quartet (July 1), pianist Inon Barnatan (July 7, in the Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 2), cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan (July 11, in Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo Variations”) and the exceptional Seattle native violinist Simone Porter (soloing July 15 in the Prokofiev Concerto No. 1). Michael Palmer conducts.

7:30 p.m., Western Washington University Performing Arts Center; $12-$49; 360-650-6146,

Melinda Bargreen:



Strictly Seattle

This anchor festival for Velocity Dance Center pairs kick-butt choreographers with students of varying levels for three weeks of classes and a weekend of public performances. Unlike many classes-leading-up-to-a-recital events, Strictly Seattle has a knack for cultivating the dancers you’ll be watching in bigger shows soon, and providing rough-draft peeks into what our sharpest choreographers are thinking about. This year’s choreography/teaching crew includes Zoe Scofield, Jody Kuehner (largely known for her dance/performance-art character Cherdonna Shinatra) and several others.

Strictly Outside: July 14, Freeway Park, 700 Seneca St., Seattle; free. Strictly Seattle: July 17-28; Velocity Dance Center at Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, Seattle; $15-$50; 206-325-8773,

Brendan Kiley:



“Ant-Man and the Wasp”

Tickets are already on sale for the sequel to 2015’s “Ant-Man,” starring Paul Rudd as an itty-bitty superhero (who sometimes gets gigantic). Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Peña and Hannah John-Kamen co-star.

Opens July 6 at multiple theaters; 

Also coming in July (though advance tickets were not yet available at the time of this writing):

Skyscraper” (July 13), in which Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson apparently climbs the tallest building in the world (oh, like you think he couldn’t do it); the musical sequel “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” (July 20), with Cher playing Meryl Streep’s mother (?); the coming-of-age comedy and Seattle International Film Festival award winner “Eighth Grade” (July 20); and the latest installment in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise (July 27), in which Tom Cruise presumably runs a lot. Pass the popcorn!

Advance movie tickets and release dates: 

Moira Macdonald:



Dua Lipa

U.K. stream queen skyrocketed last year with club-ready pop hits, namely her tropical house-imbued “New Rules,” the video for which made her the youngest solo female artist to hit a billion YouTube views at 22.

8 p.m. Monday, July 2, WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave., Seattle; $32, 206-3817848,

The Posies

The endearing and enduring local pop rockers celebrate 30 years of bandhood, reuniting their “Frosting on the Beater” lineup for an anniversary tour, the first leg of which closes in their old U District turf.

8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 7, Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; 206-682-1414,


The third-annual Central District festival thrown by Seattle’s TUF collective with funding from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture aims to inspire and amplify creativity among marginalized communities, especially in the white-male-dominated world of electronic music. The free event features performances from Baltimore’s TT the Artist, local QTPOC party starters House of Eclipse, Nightspace and more, plus various workshops.

Noon-10 p.m., Saturday, July 14, Judkins Park, 2150 S. Norman St., Seattle; free,

Timber! Outdoor Music Festival

Laid-back camping-optional fest of mostly local talent — topped by Car Seat Headrest, Thao, Kyle Craft and vocal dynamo Courtney Marie Andrews — promises excessive chill and organized kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding tours and other activities just 45 minutes outside of Seattle.

July 12-14, Tolt-MacDonald Park, 31020 N.E. 40th St., Carnation; $20-$99, $20 parking, $40-$1,000 camping,


Hip-hop’s new feel-good king of positivity, thanks to his crossover suicide prevention smash “1-800-273-8255,” set out to reestablish his rap-nerd credentials with this spring’s banger-heavy mixtape, “Bobby Tarantino II.”

7 p.m. Friday, July 13, White River Amphitheatre, 40601 Auburn Enumclaw Road, Auburn; $25-$120,

Chris Stapleton

Since stepping out from the ghostwriting shadows, country music’s reigning beard has been doing his part to inject some outlaw soul back into mainstream country music. Turns out the Nashville hitmaker was saving his most poignant songs for himself, leading his first two solo albums to awards show coups.

7 p.m. Saturday, July 21, White River Amphitheatre, 40601 Auburn Enumclaw Road, Auburn; $70-$249,

Hot 103.7’s All Star Throwback Jam

Even by nostalgia rap circuit standards, headliners Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s latter-year live shows have been dreadfully lifeless and Ja Rule’s latest claim to relevance is his calamitous luxury fest-turned-“Lord of the Flies” experience, Fyre Festival. At least Bay Area spitter E-40, who’s only gotten more prolific with age, looks to be a bright spot on the bill shared with Ying Yang Twins, Baby Bash and J.J. Fadd.

7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21, ShoWare Center, 625 W. James St., Kent; $34.50-$152, 253-856-6999,

Capitol Hill Block Party

Rowdy bash on the Hill returns with Father John Misty, EDM party boy Dillon Francis, embattled hip-hop collective Brockhampton, who recently booted member Ameer Vann after sexual-misconduct allegations, and more.

July 21-23, Capitol Hill, multiple venues, $155-$300 three-day pass, $65 single day,

The Roots

The best band in late-night TV is also one of the most exciting acts coming to the zoo this year since the arrival of Taj the rhino.

6 p.m. Sunday, July 22, Woodland Park Zoo, 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle; sold out, 206-584-2500,

Michael Rietmulder:



“The Aliens”

“The Aliens” is, well, alien. A note in the script by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker demands that at least a third of the show — about two shiftless, poetry- and music-minded 30-somethings hanging out by the dumpster behind a Vermont cafe, then a high-school kid who joins them — consist of uncomfortable silences. This “Aliens” is a reprise by ReAct, which won a 2016 Footlight Award for the production, described in The Seattle Times as “an affecting study of a teenager learning life lessons from two loitering misfits.”

Through July 29, ReAct at 12th Ave. Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle; $9-$20, 800-838-3006,

“Persimmon Nights”

Sara Porkalob has been tearing up Seattle stages in recent years, including her “Dragon Lady” series (shows partly inspired by her grandmother, who may or may not have been a gangster back in the Philippines) and as a director (cf. her prickly production of Young Jean Lee’s “Straight White Men” for Washington Ensemble Theatre this January). For “Persimmon Nights,” she teams up with Café Nordo to tell the story of a brazen Korean nightclub kingpin and ladies’ man, played by the always-awesome Ray Tagavilla.

July 12-29; Café Nordo, 109 S. Main St., Seattle; $75 (includes four-course Korean dinner, venue 21+), 206-209-2002,

“Femme Fatale”

Just down a flight of stairs at Pike Place Market, the (literally) underground burlesque-bar Can Can has titillated audiences with busts, butts and booze — usually through a highly athletic, savvy, pop-arty lens — since 2005. But its new show, “Femme Fatale,” is a cultural high-wire act: a burlesque-inflected performance about Mata Hari, the Dutch circus performer (stunt-horse rider) turned “exotic dancer” and “courtesan” who played up “Orientalist” caricatures to stoke the fire of her allure. Then she was accused of being a German spy during World War I and executed by a French firing squad. Très romantique, non? This show’s big gun is its star, Celene “Leeni” Ramadan, leader of local “doom-wop” band Prom Queen. How will they pull this off without gyrating into various piles of “Mikado”-esque stereotypical doo-doo (recall the theater world’s “Mikado” crisis of 2014)? There’s only one way to find out — to see for yourself.

Through Sept. 30; Can Can Culinary Cabaret, 94 Pike St., Seattle; $35-$95, 206-652-0832,

Brendan Kiley:



Martha Friedman: “Castoffs”

This digital era seems like a phase of accelerating disembodiment, where virtual reality and physically disorienting, immersive environments are all the rage. (Last fall, Seattle’s Instagram accounts couldn’t shut up about Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” at SAM.) Martha Friedman is another, more paradoxical kind of disembodier — she fractures the body using heavy solids, not effervescent pixels. For “Castoffs,” she took one finely honed male form (choreographer and dancer Silas Riener), cast parts of his body in concrete, broke them apart, then added rubber tubes, spikes and other unfleshy, infrastructural elements. The results look like a three-way crash between anatomy lesson, kink and demolition zone — the body as ever-crumbling ruins.

Through Feb. 10; Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington (at 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 41st Street), Seattle; $6-$10; 206-543-2280,

Sean Barton: “Dirty Laundry”

At the not-so-tender age of 16, Sean Barton dropped out of high school and skidded around the U.S., working odd jobs until he found his calling: sign painting. (If you’ve walked around any of Seattle’s late-night, red-eye zones, you’ve seen his work on the doors and windows of bars, tattoo parlors and food trucks.) Now he uses sign-painting and printing techniques on aluminum, as well as other surfaces, making thick clusters of veiny hearts or fists or everyday scenes (an art studio, a Pink Floyd album cover). His subject matter is delicate and intimate, but his materials are tough and raw.

July 5-Aug. 2; Gallery 4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Place S., Seattle; free; 206-296-7580,

Brendan Kiley: