From the Capitol Hill Block Party to “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” our Seattle Times arts writers dish on next month’s most buzzworthy arts and entertainment events.



“Comedy Gold from the American Cinema”

Should you be in need of something utterly delightful this summer, scurry on down to the Seattle Art Museum for its Thursday-night series, featuring some of the greatest comedies ever made. Things kick off July 11 with the endlessly rewatchable 1934 caper “The Thin Man” (and I should know; I’ve watched this movie more times than I can count, wondering how William Powell and Myrna Loy make screen chemistry look so effortless) and continues with more classic fun: “After the Thin Man” (almost as good as the original!), “Easy Living,” “The Awful Truth,” “The More the Merrier” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (not the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie movie, but the Carole Lombard/Robert Montgomery one). Giggles guaranteed.

Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., July 11-Aug. 15; Seattle Art Museum’s Plestcheeff Auditorium, 1300 First Ave., Seattle; series pass $52 ($47 for SAM and film partner organization members); 206-654-3210,

Moira Macdonald


Seattle Chamber Music Society’s Summer Festival

For music lovers, one of the delights of summer is this monthlong series of free recitals and paid-admission concerts, where artistic director James Ehnes assembles a lineup of 43 first-rate musicians (like Augustin Hadelich and Jon Kimura Parker) in both famous and seldom-heard repertoire — from Mendelssohn and Brahms to the world premiere of Sebastian Currier’s Piano Quintet. The atmosphere in the theater is always electric.

7 p.m. free recitals and 8 p.m. paid-admission concerts Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays July 1-26; Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $20-$52; 206-283-8710,

Melinda Bargreen


John Buck and Ed Wicklander

On display at Greg Kucera Gallery, Montana-based artist John Buck’s work arrests and amazes: motorized, carved-wood sculpture with parts that rotate on wooden belts; mammoth woodblock prints; delicate-looking but durable bronze sculpture with hermetic symbols. (Kucera says this exhibition is the “biggest, tallest, most complex artwork we’ve ever shown.”) It’s as if a medieval alchemist and an Alaskan backwoods genius with nothing but time on their hands were suddenly given an art-worthy shop to play in. But, intellectually speaking, Buck’s no hermit. Look and you’ll find flickers of “Dr. Strangelove” and Stormy Daniels, the grievances of Occupy Wall Street and hits of the eerie upside-downism people often associate with surrealism (see the carved-wood turkey dreaming of a city skyline). Buck’s date for this show: Ed Wicklander’s sculptural kittens, which art critic Jen Graves once described in The Stranger as “hilarious and heartwarming, an almost impossible combination in contemporary art.”


Through July 13; Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-0770,

Brendan Kiley


“The Events”

Written in response to Norway’s July 22, 2011, attack (when a lone, right-wing, homegrown terrorist killed 77 people and wounded more than 300 others), “The Events,” by Scottish playwright David Greig, asks what happens when the shooting stops. The excellent Sarah Harlett stars as Claire, the lone survivor of a mass shooting, and Conner Neddersen co-stars as The Boy, a series of characters including the shooter himself. Each performance also includes a different community choir, including Seattle Labor Chorus and Northwest Firelight Chorale. Paul Budraitis directs, fresh off his success with the excellent, unsettling “Blackbird” at 18th and Union. The personnel is stellar and you can’t beat the price — for “The Events,” Intiman is giving the “radical hospitality” model a whirl. Tickets are $25 if you can afford that and free if you can’t.

July 18-Aug. 10; Intiman Theatre at Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, 1524 Harvard Ave., Seattle; free-$25;

Brendan Kiley


Timber! Outdoor Music Festival

The laid-back riverside fest brings a solid lineup to Carnation, led by full-throttling garage rockers Oh Sees and venerable Seattle alt-rock great Mark Lanegan, plus a deep roster of local/regional talent including Portland’s Haley Heynderickx, dream-pop songsmith Hibou, Summer Cannibals, poignant singer-songwriter Anna Tivel and electronic craftswoman Chong the Nomad.

July 11-13; Tolt MacDonald Park, 31020 N.E. 40th St., Carnation; $45-$110;

Michael Rietmulder




Deborah Harkness

Harkness’ bestselling vampire saga “A Discovery of Witches” is now a TV series, but she’s in town with another book: the paperback debut of “Time’s Convert,” a novel about becoming a vampire, set concurrently in present-day London and Paris and on the battlefields of the American Revolution.


7 p.m. Monday, July 1; Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333,

Andrea Dunlop  

The Seattle-based author of “Losing the Light” and “She Regrets Nothing” launches a new book this summer: “We Came Here To Forget,” about two sisters — one an elite skier — driven apart by a terrible truth.

7 p.m. Tuesday, July 2; Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333,

Karl Marlantes 

Lots of buzz for the latest novel from Washington resident Marlantes, whose previous books include the bestselling “Matterhorn” and “What It Is Like to Go to War.” His new work, “Deep River,” is set in the early 20th century in the Pacific Northwest, among a family of Finnish immigrants.

7 p.m. Monday, July 8; Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333, Also at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 18; Eagle Harbor Book Co., 157 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island; free; 206-842-5332,

Anthony McCann

A faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of California, Riverside, McCann is the author of “Shadowlands: Fear and Freedom at the Oregon Standoff,” which examines and contextualizes the saga of a group of right-wing protesters encamped in eastern Oregon’s high desert.


7 p.m. Wednesday, July 10; Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333, Also at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $5; 206-652-4255,

Lisa Taddeo

Taddeo, a journalist, spent eight years reporting and writing “Three Women,” a nonfiction examination of erotic longing and female desire — and the No. 1 choice on booksellers’ Indie Next list for July. Taddeo will speak in conversation with Seattle author Claire Dederer (“Love and Trouble”).

7 p.m. Friday, July 12; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Margaret O’Mara

A history professor at the University of Washington, O’Mara writes and teaches about growth of the high-tech economy and the history of U.S. politics. Her newest book connects the two: “The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America.”

6 p.m. Monday, July 15; University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., Seattle; free; 800-335-7323, Also 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 23; Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333, Also 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 24; Island Books, 3014 78th Ave. S.E., Mercer Island; free; 206-232-6920,

Ann Leckie

The Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author of “Ancillary Justice,” as well as its sequels “Ancillary Sword” and “Ancillary Mercy,” will speak about and read from new work.


7 p.m. Tuesday, July 30; Seattle Public Library’s Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle; free; 206-386-4636,

Garth Stein

The Seattle-based author of The New York Times bestseller “The Art of Racing in the Rain” — a film version of which will arrive on movie screens later this summer — will appear with the book’s new cover release.

5 p.m. Tuesday, July 30; Island Books, 3014 78th Ave. S.E., Mercer Island; free; 206-232-6920,

Moira Macdonald



Bellingham Festival of Music

Music director Michael Palmer leads the world premiere of a David Arend work, and there’s a Brahms Symphony (the lovely No. 2), but the real draw of the July 10 concert will be guitarist Pepe Romero playing Joaquin Rodrigo’s hugely popular “Concierto de Aranjuez.” Pianist Marc-André Hamelin is featured on July 12 in a chamber program, and on July 14 in both of Brahms’ gorgeous Piano Concertos. Most promising of all: mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who’s been dazzling them at the Met, stars in a July 19 program of favorite opera arias and choruses.

7:30 p.m. July 10, 12, 14, 19; Western Washington University Performing Arts Center, 516 High St., Bellingham; $45-$55, students $12; 360-650-6146,

Olympic Music Festival presents Sarah Chang

Over on the scenic Olympic Peninsula, this festival in the Chapel at Fort Worden opens with two recitals by highly regarded violinist Chang (with pianist Julio Elizalde) in a virtuoso program called “Art of the Violin I”: Brahms’ Violin Sonata No. 3, Bartók’s Six Romanian Dances (arr. Székely), and shorter works by Bach-Busoni, Bazzini, Dvorák and Ravel.


2 p.m. July 13 and 14; Chapel at Fort Worden, Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend; $100 (children 7-12 free, but must reserve in advance); 800-838-3006,

Seattle Piano Institute Showcase Recital

For keyboard fans, here’s a free recital by some of today’s top international and U.S. piano students, in town for the 2019 Seattle Piano Institute. Hear the most advanced piano students of institute professors Robin McCabe and Craig Sheppard in a showcase recital of diverse repertoire, following their 10-day curriculum of individual instruction, master classes and associated seminars.

12:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 17; Katharyn Alvord Gerlich Theater (formerly Meany Theater), University of Washington, 4040 George Washington Lane N.E., Seattle; free; info:

Melinda Bargreen



Seattle Dance Collective

Ever wonder what Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers do in the offseason? Here’s what a few of them are up to this summer: performing with a new local company. Founded by longtime PNB principals Noelani Pantastico and James Yoichi Moore, two dancers capable of making a simple walk mesmerizing, Seattle Dance Collective’s 10 dancers (eight of whom are PNB members) will be performing six contemporary works by a diverse array of choreographers. The company’s stated goal is to “provide the community with new access to the transformative power of dance.” Sounds like a potentially powerhouse troupe; here’s a chance to catch them on the ground floor.

July 12-14; Vashon Center for the Arts, 19600 Vashon Highway S.W., Vashon; $45-$75 (family matinee on July 13 is $25 adults/$10 students), shuttle service from ferry available for $10; 206-463-5131,

Moira Macdonald

Strictly Seattle

Each summer, some ace choreographers lead a weekslong dance intensive for students with varying levels of experience, from freshly hatched beginners to young professionals. They perform the results at the end of the month — an excellent chance to see new ideas and rough drafts of what our choreographers are thinking about. Teaching/choreographing this year: Pat Graney, Dani Tirrell, Kate Wallich, Alethea Alexander, Mark Haim, Jaret Hughes and Maya Soto.


July 26-27; Velocity Dance Center at Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, Seattle; $15-$25; 206-325-8773,

Brendan Kiley



Tickets are already on sale for the following movies:

“Spider-Man: Far From Home”

Did you think the current Marvel Comics story cycle — Phase 3, to be exact — ended with “Avengers: Endgame”? Ha! It actually ends here (Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said so), with our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) goes overseas on a class trip, only to find Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and more saving-the-world business to do. Also with Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jon Favreau.

Opens July 2 at multiple theaters; advance tickets at


Because you’ll want to celebrate the Fourth of July by watching a truly scary movie, right? Writer/director Ari Aster freaked out a lot of us last summer with “Hereditary” (or so I’ve heard; I haven’t had the nerve to watch it yet), and now he’s back with another horror film, in which a young couple (Florence Pugh, Jack Reyner) attend a super-creepy summer festival in Sweden. Brr.

Opens July 3 at multiple theaters; advance tickets at

Moira Macdonald


Ballard SeafoodFest

Come for the free rock ‘n’ roll, stay for the beer and salmon, if you don’t mind squeezing into the Ballard Avenue beer garden near the crowded live-music stage. The midsummer bash recruited booming power trio the Joy Formidable and classic rock-indebted Portlander Kyle Craft, plus local faves the Moondoggies and Pickwick to help ring in the Ballard tradition’s 45th year.

July 12-14; Ballard Avenue Northwest and 22nd Avenue Northwest, Seattle; free,

Beck and Cage the Elephant

Pop/rock chameleon Beck offers one of the best excuses for Sasquatch fans of yore to hit the Gorge this summer, provided they’re also up for co-headliner Cage the Elephant, the Kentucky rockers who’ve come a long way since “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.” Spoon sweetens the pot for elder millennial indie-rock fans, while Rough Trade Records’ Starcrawler pays tribute at the proto-punk altar.


6 p.m. Saturday, July 13; Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Road N.W., George; $39.50-$170,

Capitol Hill Block Party

The street fest on steroids returns with a particularly strong lineup, headlined by Phantogram, bass lord RL Grime and self-love gospel spreader Lizzo, just as the rapper/soul-pop diva’s world-domination cruise is mid-sail. The three-day blowout on the Hill plays mostly to the under-30 crowd, with indie-electronic producers (Snakehips, Big Wild), buzzy hip-hop artists (Aminé, Denzel Curry, Saba) and hip indie acts (Mitski, Yves Tumor).

July 19-21; main entrance: East Pike Street and 12th Avenue, Seattle; $70-$425; all ages;

Black Book in the Park

Beyond the construction noise and meandering tourists, this Fourth of July weekend promises to be a loud one at Seattle Center. In addition to Elysian and Vera Project’s annual rock-and-beer bash Search Party (July 6), Los Angeles dance promoter AMFAMFAMF (aka All My Friends) has ventured north for a joint dance party under the Needle with Seattle’s Studio 4/4. U.K. house thumper Chris Lake headlines the Mural Amphitheatre lineup featuring Dirtybird’s Justin Martin, All My Friends founder Destructo, Noizu, VNSSA and Seattle’s Darrius. The L.A. promoter has another blowout with Dillon Francis slated for Aug. 4 at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion complex.

4-10 p.m. Thursday, July 4, Mural Amphitheatre at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle; $49.50, 21-plus,

Summer Jam

When KUBE 93.3 returned to the airwaves last year, many wondered whether Seattle’s longtime hip-hop station would also bring back its annual summer concert. Indeed, the revived Summer Jam (moved indoors to the Tacoma Dome) returns with Compton heavyweight YG, rising trap star Lil Baby, Kid Ink, hard-hitting Miami duo City Girls and XXL Freshman YK Osirus, ostensibly stepping in for Miguel, who was initially set to perform. Pardison Fontaine and Burien’s Epic-inked rapper Travis Thompson round out the bill.


7 p.m. Friday, July 26, Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma; $25-$454; 800-877-7575,

Michael Rietmulder




Campy, queer-heavy production company Kitten N’ Lou returns to Seattle with a lovingly odd homage to summer camps. Performers include Chicago burlesque performer Jeez Loueez (“the Honey Badger of burlesque”), Minneapolis drag queen Victoria DeVille and a camper van full of beloved locals in the burlesque/dance/who-knows-how-to-categorize-’em performance scene: Cherdonna Shinatra, Waxie Moon, Stephen Hando, Markeith Wiley, ilvs strauss, Woody Shticks, more.

July 11-14; Kitten N’ Lou at the Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $28-$45; 206-838-4333,

Puppeteers for Fears: “Cattle Mutilation: The Musical”

Puppeteers for Fears, the musical-horror puppet theater company from Ashland, Oregon, is on another West Coast tour. Last time they brought “Cthulu: The Musical.” This time, PFF’s actors, custom-made puppets and live rock band are performing something about a Sasquatch hunter, an actual Sasquatch and aliens who abduct them. PFF’s press materials come with the disclaimer: “Shows are R-rated, and not intended for children — unless they’re awesome.”

July 17-18; Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle; $15;

“The Year of Magical Thinking”

Suzanne Bouchard stars in this solo stage adaptation of Joan Didion’s 2005 book about life after death — specifically, her life and its fog of grief after the death of her husband in 2003 and the simultaneous decline of their daughter, who was hospitalized with pneumonia, which led to septic shock. Victor Pappas directs.


July 19-Aug. 11; ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle; $27-$47; 206-292-7676,

Outdoor theater

It’s that time of year again, when theater hits the parks and audiences watch from picnic blankets. This summer, Seattle has the usual Shakespeare (“Romeo and Juliet,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” more), plus a few other performances, including Mary Zimmerman’s “Metamorphoses” and the Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival, July 13-14. See our roundup at The Seattle Times ( for links to the companies showing which parks they’ll visit on which days.

Through Aug. 17; various parks around the Seattle area;

Brendan Kiley




Salish Sea Anti-Space Symposium (S.A.S.S.)

Fifty years ago this month, the United States sent three of its citizens on a dangerous mission to the moon (or allegedly sent, depending on who’s talking) to take some photos, gather some rocks, hit a golf ball and plant a flag. This month, Pipsqueak gallery in the Central District hosts S.A.S.S., a critical commemoration of the Apollo 11 mission, with artwork by Judy Twedt (a climate scientist and data-sound artist), Daddy Daddy & Daddy (a pranky young trio negatively inspired by “Daddy” Jeff Bezos) and Meghan Elizabeth Trainor (whose visually and intellectually enchanting work with “computational witchcraft” weaves space- and computer-age tech into the lineage of occult magic). On July 20, S.A.S.S. will also have speakers from 1-6 p.m. (poet Elisa Chavez, Tulalip Tribes commissioner Terry Williams, activist/co-founder of the Seattle Black Panther Party Elmer Dixon), followed by a block party. Should be a blast.

July 19-21; Pipsqueak Gallery, 173 16th Ave., Seattle; free;

Juventino Aranda: Sculpture and Paintings

Aranda’s work hits like a sneaker wave: You think you know what’s coming, but something else, more moving and powerful, overwhelms you. The first work people saw at the Walla Walla artist’s exhibition last summer at the Frye was a painting of big, bone-shaped letters reading: “Every-thing is a rich mans trick.” Indictment noted. Beyond, he turned household objects (velveteen paintings of posies and jaguar eyes, an oversized vela candle, a pair of bronzed Converse sneakers hanging on a wire, a blanket made from scraps of rejected Pendleton fibers) into a quiet, haunting rumination on home, immigration and safety (or lack thereof). I, for one, can’t wait to see what he’s been up to in the past year.

July 18-Aug. 24; Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-0770,


Carrie Yamaoka: recto/verso

Artists, as a group, tend to be interested in surfaces — but Yamaoka seems more curious than most regarding what can be etched, painted, drizzled, corroded and removed from the plane between her ideas and your eyeballs. A painter who specializes what mylar and resin can do to a framed plane, Yamaoka declares her interest in legibility with the title “recto/verso,” graphic-design speak for what is printed on the left or right side of an opened book or newspaper. “Her efforts intimate a rejuvenation of Minimalism,” Robert Smith once wrote in The New York Times, “spurred by new materials, more refined techniques and fresh ideas.”

July 13-Nov. 3; Henry Art Gallery, 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast  41st Street, Seattle; $6-$10 (free for UW and other students); 206-543-2280,

Brendan Kiley

Freelance writer Melinda Bargreen ( contributed to this report.