From Brandi Carlile at the Gorge to “Toy Story 4,” our Seattle Times arts writers dish on next month’s most buzzworthy arts and entertainment events.
TOP 5 EVENTS IN JUNE
Brandi Carlile: Echoes Through the Canyon
The local star has been on a tear the past year — collecting Grammys, launching her own women-led destination fest and Highwomen supergroup, among other ventures — and this mega show at her home state’s signature venue should be one for the books. Country great Emmylou Harris and Northwest folk-rock stalwart Neko Case make for an excellent triple bill.
June 1; Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Road N.W., George; $55; livenation.com
“Toy Story 4”
I will cry at this, for sure, and so will you. Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack) and the gang are joined by a new friend: Forky (Tony Hale, of “Veep”), a road trip is taken, poignant lessons are learned and, damn it, I’m feeling weepy already. This is surely the last of this franchise, right?
Opens June 21 at multiple theaters; fandango.com
Cauleen Smith: Give It or Leave It
Multimedia artist Cauleen Smith comes to the Frye Art Museum with “Give It or Leave It” which, the Frye says, “envisions a world that is black, feminist, spiritual and unabashedly alive.” Her new films, sculptures and a light installation take four fleeting slices in moments from American life as reference points: Alice Coltrane’s California ashram; Bill Ray’s iconic 1966 photos of Simon Rodia’s sculptural, found-object Watts Towers; the stunningly weird desert installations of Noah Purifoy near Joshua Tree; and a 19th-century, black Shaker community led by “eldress” Rebecca Cox Jackson. Every bit of life carries a seed of death (Coltrane’s ashram, for example, burned in a 2018 wildfire) — “Give It or Leave It” promises to offer rich material for rumination.
June 1-Sept. 1; Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave., Seattle; free; 206-622-9250, fryemuseum.org
Named one of the best plays of 2018 by The New York Times, Antoinette Nwandu’s “Pass Over” is a riff on Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” with some obvious Book of Exodus undertones. Two guys, Moses and Kitch, spend the play trapped on a corner (like Vladimir and Estragon trapped on their country road) talking: about plagues and locusts, escaping, the things they’d buy if they could, language and cops. Critics have described it as “a housing-project ‘Godot’ for the Age of Trump,” “‘Waiting for Godot meets Black Lives Matter” and so on. Nwandu’s delicate-but-tough script reveals its closeness to and distance from “Godot” in its spare setting notes, before a single character opens his mouth. (Beckett’s: “A country road. A tree. Evening.” Nwandu’s: “a ghetto street. a lamppost. night. but also a plantation but also Egypt, a city built by slaves.”) Listening to how director Tim Bond and actors Treavor Boykin, Preston Butler III and Avery Clark step through Nwandu’s linguistic dance should be one of the harrowing highlights of the month.
Through June 23; ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle; $27-$47; 206-292-7676, acttheatre.org
Seattle Symphony Presents “Morlot Conducts Debussy”
Nothing says French music like Debussy, and the Seattle Symphony’s Ludovic Morlot devotes much of his final program as Seattle Symphony music director to the beautiful music of his countryman. You’ll hear Debussy’s Suite from “Pelléas et Mélisande” and also his “Nocturnes,” along with Janaček’s “The Eternal Gospel.” A nod to this city’s Wagnerian element: the “Prelude and Liebestod” from “Tristan und Isolde.” Vocal soloists include Maria Männistö, soprano, and Ludovit Ludha, tenor.
7:30 p.m. June 20, 8 p.m. June 22, 2 p.m. June 23; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $22-$122; 206-215-4747, seattlesymphony.org
Though he lives here, it’s rare for Stephenson to make a public appearance, so fans of “Seveneves,” “Anathem” and his other best-selling works of speculative fiction will want to secure their tickets ASAP. He’ll be speaking about his latest novel, “Fall; or, Dodge in Hell,” in which a billionaire’s brain is scanned and uploaded for use in the future.
7:30 p.m. Monday, June 3; Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave., Seattle; $5-$35 (higher price includes copy of book); 206-652-4255, townhallseattle.org
The recently elected Hall of Famer will be signing copies of “Edgar: An Autobiography,” in which he tells of his childhood in Puerto Rico, a fateful tryout with the Seattle Mariners at the age of 20, and spending 18 seasons — an entire career — with the team. Co-author and Seattle Times sports columnist Larry Stone will also be on hand.
6 p.m. Wednesday, June 5; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; $28 (includes copy of book, admits one person to signing line); 206-624-6600, elliottbaybook.com
Here as part of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Women You Need To Know series, Mbue is the author of “Behold the Dreamers,” a best-selling debut novel about a young Cameroonian couple in New York. The book, described by The New York Times as “a capacious, big-hearted novel,” won Mbue the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection.
7:30 p.m. Friday, June 7; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $35-80; 206-621-2230, lectures.org
The best-selling author of the mystery novels featuring Parisian private investigator Aimee Leduc is here with the 19th installment in the series, “Murder in Bel-Air,” in which Ledux finds herself caught in a web of “international spycraft, post-colonial Franco-African politics, and neighborhood secrets in Paris’s 12th arrondissement.” Sounds busy!
6 p.m. Friday, June 7; Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-633-3333, thirdplacebooks.com
The author of “The Vagina Monologues” will read from and discuss her latest work, which examines how to begin to heal the wounds of sexual abuse. Written from the imagined point of view of her late, abusive father, Ensler creates for herself in “The Apology” the words that will help her move forward.
7 p.m. Friday, June 14; Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-322-7030, hugohouse.org
Nothing like a little noir on an early-summer evening, right? Ellroy, author of “The Black Dahlia,” “L.A. Confidential” and numerous other works of crime fiction, will discuss his latest thriller, “This Storm,” set in 1942 Los Angeles and involving a wartime murder whose investigation uncovers rising fascism and xenophobia.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $5-$32 (higher price includes copy of book); 206-652-4255, townhallseattle.org
The latest book from Hugo and Nebula-award-winning author Chiang, the short-story collection “Exhalation,” has been receiving rapturous reviews; Joyce Carol Oates, in The New Yorker, described the stories as “likely to linger in the memory the way riddles may linger — teasing, tormenting, illuminating, thrilling.” Chiang, who lives in the Seattle area, is the author of the previous collection “Stories of Your Life and Others”; the title story of which became the basis for the movie “Arrival.”
7 p.m. Thursday, June 20; University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., Seattle; 800-335-7323, ubookstore.com. Also 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 25; Ravenna Third Place Books, 6504 20th Ave. N.E., Seattle; $45 (includes lunch and copy of the book); 206-525-2347, thirdplacebooks.com. Also at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26; Third Place Books at Seward Park, 5041 Wilson Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-474-2200, thirdplacebooks.com
Vuong, author of the prizewinning poetry collection “Night Sky with Exit Wounds,” is here with his highly anticipated debut novel, “On Earth We’ve Briefly Gorgeous.” Written as a letter from a Vietnamese son to a mother who cannot read, the novel was described in a starred Kirkus review as “an uncategorizable hybrid of what reads like memoir, bildungsroman, and book-length poem” and “a raw and incandescently written foray into fiction by one of our most gifted poets.”
7 p.m. Thursday, June 20; Seattle Public Library’s Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle; free; 206-386-4636, spl.org
Local author Mallery has sold more than 30 million books worldwide, and is frequently sighted on The New York Times best-seller list. She’ll speak about her latest novel, “The Summer of Sunshine and Margot,” about a pair of very different twin sisters.
3 p.m. Saturday, June 22; University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., Seattle; 800-335-7323, ubookstore.com
Edugyan, a Canadian author who lives in Victoria, B.C., is in town to celebrate the new paperback edition of her novel “Washington Black,” which won the Scotibank Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year. A tale of adventure that begins on a Barbados sugar plantation in 1830, it’s the current selection of Moira’s Seattle Times Book Club.
6 p.m. Friday, June 28; University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., Seattle; 800-335-7323, ubookstore.com.
Seattle Symphony Orchestra presents “The Planets”
Up-and-coming young maestro Jonathon Heyward conducts the orchestra and the Seattle Symphony Chorale in a program featuring Gustav Holst’s colorful, mystical “The Planets,” alongside Haydn’s Symphony No. 98 and the U.S. premiere of a new work by Hannah Kendall, “The Spark Catchers.”
7:30 p.m. June 6, 8 p.m. June 8, 2 p.m. June 9; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $22-$122; 206-215-4747, seattlesymphony.org
Northwest Chamber Chorus presents “Lux Aeterna”
Hear the masterpiece of one of the world’s great living choral composers, Washington-born Morten Lauridsen: a requiem he composed after the death of his mother. It’s radiant, transcendent music, and the Northwest Chamber Chorus (Mark Adrian, conductor) is joined by a 24-piece orchestra to perform it, alongside Ola Gjeilo’s crystalline “Northern Lights” and two other works.
7:30 p.m. June 8, 2 p.m. June 9; University Congregational Church, 4515 16th Ave. N.E., Seattle; $20-$25, students 18 and under free; northwestchamberchorus.org
Salish Sea Early Music Festival
This festival, directed by flutist Jeffrey Cohan, winds up its season’s offerings with two concerts: the June 10 program features “Early 17th Century Canzonas,” with violinist Shulamit Kleinerman, dulcian/baroque bassoonist Anna Marsh, baroque guitarist/theorbo player John Lenti and Cohan on the baroque flute. The final (June 18) program, “Haydn & J.C. Bach,” features harpsichordist Jonathan Oddie, violist Stephen Creswell and cellist Caroline Nicolas, with Cohan.
7 p.m. June 10 and 18; Christ Episcopal Church, 4548 Brooklyn Ave. N.E., Seattle; $15-$25, youth 18 and under free; 206-633-1611, salishseafestival.org/seattle
Bellingham Festival of Music, Opening Concert
Up north in Bellingham, the annual festival gets underway with an orchestral program featuring the dynamic pianist George Li in the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3, arguably the best of that composer’s concerti. Music director Michael Palmer also conducts Glinka’s sprightly “Russlan and Ludmilla” Overture and Rachmaninoff’s sumptuous Symphony No. 2. (Early warning: Consult the festival schedule for promising programs next month featuring pianist Marc-André Hamelin, mezzo-soprano star Jamie Barton and guitarist Pepe Romero, among others.)
7:30 p.m. June 29; Western Washington University Performing Arts Center, 516 High St., Bellingham; $45-$55, students $12; 360-650-6146, bellinghamfestival.org
When he first took over the reins at Pacific Northwest Ballet more than a decade ago, artistic director Peter Boal began a new tradition: a “season encore” final performance of the year, to celebrate retiring dancers and to present a last-look sampler of the season’s repertoire. It’s always a rich, varied evening of dance and an opportunity for poignant final curtain calls. Saying goodbye this year are principal dancers Rachel Foster (with PNB since 2002) and Jonathan Porretta (since 1999); highlights of the evening will include Foster in Alejandro Cerrudo’s brief, gorgeous “Silent Ghost” and Porretta showing us the drama as only he can, one more time, as George Balanchine’s “Prodigal Son.” The program also includes, among other works, Balanchine’s sweeping “Theme and Variations,” Nacho Duato’s Haitian-inspired “Rassemblement” and Christopher Wheeldon’s poignant “After the Rain” pas de deux.
6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 9; Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $37-$189; 206-464-2424, pnb.org
Tickets are already on sale for the following movies:
Seattle International Film Festival
It’s not over yet: Seattle’s most sprawling film fest continues through June 9; highlights of its second half include a gala screening of the Emma Thompson/Mindy Kaling comedy “Late Night” (Thompson plays a late-night talk-show host, and admit it, you would watch that show) on Saturday, June 1, at 5:30 p.m. at the Egyptian, and a closing-night gala screening of Lulu Wang’s poignant comedy “The Farewell,” with Awkwafina as a young woman who travels back home to China to visit her terminally ill grandma — who doesn’t know that she’s terminally ill. Wang will attend the screening. And, if you prefer your SIFF extra-curated, there’s always “The Best of SIFF,” which takes place June 14-20 at the Uptown and will feature a not-yet-announced lineup of SIFF award winners and audience favorites.
SIFF, at various locations through June 9; Best of SIFF June 14-20; 206-324-9996, siff.net
The latest X-Men movie lets the X-Women step front and center: Sophie Turner (of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) as Jean Grey, who undergoes a transformation during a rescue in space, Jennifer Lawrence as shape-shifter Mystique and Jessica Chastain as a Mysterious Unnamed Character (all movies should have one of these, right?). James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are also on hand as Professor Xavier and Magneto, respectively.
Opens June 7 at multiple theaters; fandango.com.
The new neo-goth queen of teen pop is riding high after becoming the first artist born in the 2000s to land a No. 1 album with this spring’s “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” But this early-season Marymoor Park show — which ushers in a terrific summer lineup at the Eastside park venue — sold out well before the rising star earned the distinction. Denzel Curry opens.
7 p.m. Sunday, June 2; Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond; sold out; marymoorconcerts.com
Father John Misty and Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
One of several all-star Marymoor bills finds Sub Pop’s enigmatic balladeer Father John Misty with Jason Isbell and co., who twang-rocked the park with a jammy, summer-night set last year. Post up early with your low-back beach chair for opener Jade Bird, the British singer-songwriter who charmed a lawn-lounging afternoon crowd at Bumbershoot last year.
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 11; Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond; $65-$70; marymoorconcerts.com
Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals
Los Angeles’ funkiest rapper/singer/drummer is riding high on the heels of two new albums infusing contemporary West Coast hip-hop with vintage sunny-day soul — with April’s “Ventura” faring considerably better than the uneven “Oxnard.” Paak, a dynamic performer who crushed his late-night Sasquatch set last year, and his Free Nationals band lead one of this summer’s top tours with a maturing Earl Sweatshirt and fellow Angeleno and progressive funkmaster Thundercat supporting the Seattle stop. The only downside is that this stacked summer lineup is stuck indoors at the cavernous WaMu Theater.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20; WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; $65.50, centurylinkfieldevents.com
One of the all-time greatest rap crews is reassembling for a tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of its seminal debut, “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).” While the boom bap heroes made formidable tour mates with Public Enemy and De La Soul (who are toasting classic albums of their own) on their recent European “Gods of Rap” trek, Wu-Tang sagely tapped New Orleans hip-hop/brass brigade the Soul Rebels as support for a number of their U.S. dates.
8 p.m. Friday, June 21; WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; $139, centurylinkfieldevents.com
An afternoon bright spot during last year’s Capitol Hill Block Party, this Chicago soul/R&B singer, poet and teacher recently unleashed her exceptional sophomore album, “Legacy! Legacy!” sending her stock rising. Each track on the record swirling with hints of trip-hop, electro-pop and gospel references a different groundbreaking artist of color, using each to examine oppression, appropriation, resilience and, of course, legacy with the politically entwined introspection Woods flashed on 2017’s “HEAVN.”
7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26; Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., Seattle; $20-$60, 206-441-4618, thecrocodile.com
According to local theater lore, a Seattle director once shopped this 2005 play by David Harrower, called “an immensely powerful work” by The New York Times, to theaters all around town who turned it down, saying its subject matter was too difficult. The subject matter: 27-year-old Una tracks down 56-year-old Ray at his office, 15 years after a sexually abusive relationship when she was 12 and he was 41. The emotional duet between Una and Ray has won awards, critical praise and the inevitable comparisons to Nabokov’s “Lolita,” but the cringe-inducing premise, along with the script’s tension and intensity, can make it a searing experience. A few experienced Seattle theater-makers have decided to take the challenge, as Paul Budraitis directs Shawn Belyea and Libby Barnard.
Through June 15; White Rabbits Inc. at 18th and Union, 1406 18th Ave., Seattle; $15-$25; 18thandunion.org
“Take Me Out”
Richard Greenberg’s 2003 “Take Me Out” poses a fantastic question: If a major-league baseball superstar came out of the closet, what would the locker-room talk sound like? The result won the play a Tony Award for its combination of hilarity and confrontation among men who are used to showering together, but stumble over deep questions about masculinity, identity, race and what “equality” really means. Greg Carter directs a great cast, including Lamar Legend, Carter Rodriquez, Trick Danneker, Nicholas Japaul Bernard and others.
Through June 22; Strawberry Theatre Workshop at 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave., Seattle; $27-$36; 800-838-3006, strawshop.org
It’s 1849. Susan B. Anthony is white and 29 years old. Frederick Douglass is black and 31 years old. They’re both on the Anthony family farm in Rochester, New York, destined to be remembered for their agitation in the arenas of feminism and abolition — as well as destined for a long, and not always harmonious, friendship — but neither of them know it yet. That’s the promising premise for “The Agitators,” a newish play by Mat Smart, and this production has a promising roster: local treasure Valerie Curtis-Newton (“Nina Simone: Four Women” at the Rep) directs Carol Roscoe as Anthony and Reginald André Jackson as Douglass, with scenic design by Kuo-Hao Lo.
June 6-30; West of Lenin, 203 N. 36th St., Seattle; $15-$35; westoflenin.com
Northwest New Works
Some years, it feels like weirdness and experimentation in the Seattle theater/performance world is at an ebb tide. Maybe it’s just because there’s less space/fewer personnel who can afford to sleep, work, and take nutball risks in town these days. Maybe it’s part of some more abstract, cultural-cycle phenomenon. Maybe that feeling is just a mirage of malaise and everything’s just as popping as it ever was. Regardless, I’ve been hearing other people echo the sentiment. But take heart, everybody: For 36 years, Northwest New Works (NWNW) at On the Boards has been a reliable stalwart of fresh freakiness. On deck this year: the always-intelligent, always-slightly-curlicued theater of HATLO; delightfully unnerving drag artist Arson Nicki; noises that sound like they shouldn’t come out of a flute, courtesy of flautist Keanna Keith; Indonesian-Texan storyteller Imana Gunawan; and Portland-based Body Home Fat Dance, whose founder (KT Kusmaul) once wrote: “I want to subvert the narrative of ‘I can do this even though I’m fat’ and actually explore movement that is best performed precisely because the dancer is in a fat body.” And that’s just a few artists in NWNW’s 15 showcases (plus festival book-ending parties). Go wallow in the glorious weirdness.
June 12-16; On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., Seattle; $15 single performance-$40 day pass; 206-217-9888, ontheboards.org
Look How Far We’ve Come: A Queer Art Show 902 Feet in the Air
For Pride month, and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, artist and curator Timothy Rysdyke has assembled a collection of queer art far, far above Seattle — in the Sky View Observatory of the Columbia Tower. Anthony White’s glossy, plastic paintings will hang alongside puffy, cloudlike ceramics by Coco Spadoni; the clever screen prints of Mary Anne Carter; and photo portraits by Steven Miller; plus work by Clyde Pedersen, Kade Marsili, Loren Othon, Billy Cacarella and others.
June 1-30; Sky View Observatory, 700 Fourth Ave., Seattle; $20-$22; 206-386-5564, skyviewobservatory.com
Bisco Smith: More Than We Know
Smith got his start as a New York graffiti writer and is now fusing those skills with the gesturalism of abstract expressionism — but you can still see the roots of street art in his newer, raw black-and-white compositions.
June 6-Aug. 3; Treason Gallery, 319 Third Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-257-5513, treasongallery.com
Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement
An exhibition of artists who pushed back against the new aesthetics of industrialization and traditional training by the Royal Academy of Arts, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, Kate Bunce, Edward Burne-Jones and others.
June 13-Sept. 8; Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., Seattle; $30; 206-654-3210, seattleartmuseum.org
Freelance writer Melinda Bargreen (email@example.com) contributed to this report.