Pearl Jam home shows! Seattle Art Fair! Our Seattle Times arts writers dish on next month’s most buzzworthy arts-and-entertainment events.

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August is a packed music month, with a pair of Pearl Jam home shows, Sub Pop’s 30th-anniversary beach bash and Bumbershoot all heading our way. Add in Seattle Art Fair, the start of Seattle Opera’s 2018-19 season and the events below, and there’s more than enough to fill your calendar.



Caroline Fraser

A lot of us grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s evocative “Little House” books — but, even as adults, knew little about the real Wilder, who wrote the books late in her eventful life. Fraser’s remarkable biography “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography last year (it’s out in paperback Aug. 7), examines how fact and fiction mingle in Wilder’s work, answering the questions that the books — particularly if you read them in adulthood — leave behind. Fraser, a native of Mercer Island, is also the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House series.

3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12; Elliott Bay Book Co.; 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Moira Macdonald


Seattle Opera presents The Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess”

“Summertime … and the livin’ is easy,” in McCaw Hall at least — where this great American classic is on stage for a two-week run. Two strong casts alternate, with Alfred Walker and Angel Blue in the opening-night title roles, and Mary Elizabeth Williams as Serena; Francesca Zambello’s staging will be reinterpreted by Garnett Bruce, and the highly regarded John DeMain is the conductor.

Saturday, Aug. 11, through Saturday, Aug. 25; McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $25-$328; 206-389-7676;

Melinda Bargreen


Pearl Jam

It’s been five years since the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers graced their hometown, and the grunge gods’ two “Home Shows” at Safeco Field — with an accompanying campaign to raise $10 million to combat homelessness — look to be the biggest Seattle concerts of the year.

7:30 p.m. Aug. 8 and 10.; Safeco Field, 1250 First Ave. S., Seattle; sold out

Michael Rietmulder


Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals

You might think you know a thing or two about musical theater, but director and impresario Brandon Ivie has tricks up his sleeve. For the past few years, the associate artistic director at the Village Theatre has been running between Seattle and New York (and elsewhere) to encourage new artists and bust up everyone’s expectations about what a “musical” can be. This year’s festival will spotlight new musicals with subjects including, but not limited to: monsters in basements, female factory workers during World War II and Gretl (from “Hansel and Gretl”) re-imagined as a single mom living in Chicago. The only hitch: To see the shows, you have to become a “member” of the Village Originals “beta-tester” club and that will cost a little money up front. But if you’re curious about the future of musical theater, you might consider joining. Ivie is a vibrant, clever force in bicoastal theater. Whatever he’s doing is usually worth checking out.

Aug. 10-12; Village Theatre, 303 Front St., Issaquah; $75 (for a one-day pass) through $200 (for a three-day pass); 425-392-2202,

Brendan Kiley


Seattle Art Fair

This is the big one, folks. If you pay attention to one cultural event in the next sultry month, let this be it. A quick primer: Late summer is usually a sleepy season in the arts and culture world. But Seattle is nothing if not contrary. So, a few years ago, Paul Allen had some ideas, wrote some checks and launched a serious art fair. It is now an international event, with major curators and collectors with fat wallets, as well as everyday folks just wandering around to gawk. Members of the cognoscenti will recognize these galleries: Deborah Force, Gagosian, Zwirner. If not, no big deal. There will also be giant puppets (by one of the designers from “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”), scarily industrial robots (by Survival Research Labs) and other flashy things. Meanwhile, Seattle’s renegades, street artists and other aesthetic gunslingers are mounting satellite shows at nearby venues. (See down below in the art listings for details.) Just go check out the scene.

Opening-night preview Thursday, Aug. 2. Fair runs Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5; CenturyLink Field Event Center, 1000 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; $5 (for teens), $35 (one-day ticket), $55 (three-day ticket), $90 (opening-night preview and three-day pass),

Brendan Kiley





Austin Channing Brown

The author of “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness” will speak about how organizations can practice genuine inclusion, in conversation with pastors Gail Song Bantum and Brenda Salter McNeil.

7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2; Quest Church, 1401 N.W. Leary Way, Seattle; free (RSVP requested at; 206-352-3796,

Owen Hill

Raymond Chandler fans — step right up, this one’s for you. Hill, himself an author of crime fiction and poetry, is one of the editors of “The Annotated ‘The Big Sleep,’ ”  a vast new edition of Chandler’s noir classic that includes hundreds of illuminating notes and images. (Just one quote, for fun: “Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.”)

7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2; University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., Seattle; free; 800-335-7323,

Sallie Tisdale

Tisdale, a Portland-based nonfiction author, drew on her years of experience as a palliative-care nurse to write her latest book, “Advice for Future Corpses (And Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying.”

7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4; Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-624-6600,

Thrilling Tales: A Storytime for Grownups

The popular twice-monthly lunchtime program of suspenseful short stories read aloud expands this month to an evening slot. Selections this month are Henry Slesar’s “Something Short of Murder” (12:05 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6), Jane Speed’s “End of the Day” (7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13), and Steven Popkes’ “The Sweet Warm Earth” (12:05 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20), all performed by librarian David Wright.

Microsoft Auditorium at Seattle Public Library’s Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle; free; 206-386-4636,

Andrew Shaffer

An idea whose time has come: Shaffer’s latest book is “Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery,” in which the former president and vice president team up to investigate a mysterious death in Delaware. The cover — they’re in a car; Biden is driving, Obama is intently pointing at something — sold me already.

7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6; Third Place Books at Seward Park, 5041 Wilson Ave. S., Seattle; free; 206-474-2200,

Kristi Coulter

Coulter’s debut collection of essays, “Nothing Good Can Come From This,” examines what happened to her life when she stopped drinking, and discovered that giving up a habit leaves a space that’s hard to fill. She’ll speak in conversation with local author Claire Dederer (“Love and Trouble”).

7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6; Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free; 206-366-3333,

Laurell K. Hamilton

The author of the best-selling Merry Gentry series comes to town with the latest book in her Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, “Serpentine.”

7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7; University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 N.E. 43rd St., Seattle; $28 (admits two; includes copy of book);, 800-335-7323,

Jasmin Darznik

Called by Booklist “the Sylvia Plath of Iran,” Darznik is the author of the memoir “The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life,” but she’s in town with her debut novel, “Song of a Captive Bird.”

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

Andrew Lawler

Lawler, a journalist, explores in his latest book the haunting real-life mystery of a lost English settlement in the New World: “The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke.”

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

Kristin Hannah

The author of numerous best-selling novels (including the World War II-set “The Nightingale,” soon to be a movie) lives here in the Pacific Northwest, but rarely makes local appearances. Now’s your chance: She’ll speak about her latest novel, “The Great Alone” (set in 1970s Alaska), in conversation with local author Megan Chance.

7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16; Third Place Books at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free (book purchase required for signing line); 206-366-3333,

Moira Macdonald:



Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival

It’s the 21st year for this charming chamber fest up in the San Juan Islands, where artistic director Aloysia Friedmann and her pianist husband Jon Kimura Parker head a talented cast of musicians — including the Miró Quartet and the WindSync Quintet. The concert lineup offers an enticing Aug. 10-11 program of all six Bach Brandenburg Concerti, and an Aug. 15 performance of the ever-popular “Peter and the Wolf.” The artists will ferry from Orcas over to nearby Lopez Island for a concert on Aug. 5.

Friday, Aug. 3, through Saturday, Aug. 18; Orcas Center, Eastsound; $10-$40; 360-376-6636 or

Olympic Music Festival

Care for a little trout on the Olympic Peninsula? The Olympic Music Festival has Schubert’s famous “Trout Quintet” on offer this month, along with a chamber program of “Rhapsodies of Eastern Europe” featuring Jinjoo Cho, gold medalist of the 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. Also on tap: two “Bach to Bluegrass” programs and a family concert.

Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11 and 12, Saturday, Aug. 18,  through Sunday, Aug. 26; Joseph Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden, Port Townsend; $20-$40, students 12 and under free; 800-838-3006,

Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival

Head “east of the mountains” to Twisp for a chamber-music lineup that includes Brahms’ delectable Clarinet Quintet, plus music of Haydn and Bach (Aug. 2), followed by Mozart’s even more beloved Clarinet Quintet, and Respighi’s atmospheric “Il Tramonto” (Aug. 4). The festival, now in its 23rd season, is located at Signal Hill Ranch; preconcert activities start at 6:30 p.m., the concerts are at 7:30, and there’s an “afterglow” party with the artists after the music-making.

Thursday and Saturday, Aug. 2 and 4; Signal Hill Ranch, 115 Signal Hill Rd., Twisp; 509-997-5000,

Melinda Bargreen:



Tickets are already on sale for the following movies:

“The Spy Who Dumped Me”

Summer’s the time for big action-movie buddy comedies; this one, with Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon (who memorably stole “Ghostbusters” a couple of summers ago) as best friends on the run after one of them is dumped by a spy, sounds potentially popcorn-worthy.

Opens Aug. 3

“The Meg”

The shark is big. Really big. As in, 70 feet long. That’s the premise behind this latest “Jaws” wannabe, taking place in a deep-sea submersible at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, where a research crew is trapped inside, and apparently the shark is hungry. In other words, “summer movie.”

Opens Aug. 10


Spike Lee’s latest joint is based on a fascinating true story: Ron Stallworth, a young black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s — thanks to some clever phone work and a colleague serving as a body double. John David Washington (Denzel’s son), Adam Driver and Topher Grace star. The story’s also told in a new book by Stallworth, just out this summer: “Black Klansman: A Memoir.”

Opens Aug. 10

Moira Macdonald:



Summer Stag Party

Psych-hued alt-rockers Love Battery reunite their “Dayglo” lineup to play the 1992 Sub Pop classic in its entirety at this third-annual party thrown by local power-pop vets Stag. Punk-rock-and-rollers Pink Parts, Andrew McKeag Band, buzzy garage-blues power trio The Black Tones and DJ Kingblind also perform.

6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4; Slim’s Last Chance Saloon, 5606 First Ave. S., Seattle; $20-$22, 206-762-7900,

Sub Pop 30th-anniversary party

Seattle’s big little indie label celebrates the big 3-0 with a beachy bash along Alki Avenue, dubbed SPF 30. With an all-star lineup culled from Sub Pop’s diverse roster — including Mudhoney, dream-pop heavyweights Beach House, hip-hop Afrofuturists Shabazz Palaces and Wolf Parade — it’ll be worth the sunburn.

Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11; Alki Avenue along Alki Beach; free;

The End 107.7 Summer Camp

The alt-rock station’s annual Summer Camp returns, bringing radio-friendly indie rock/pop acts like headliners Awolnation (Saturday, Aug. 11) and spirited soul-rockers Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (Sunday, Aug. 12) to one of Seattle’s loveliest venues.

Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 11-12; Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway, Redmond; $49 single day, $95-$199.50 two-day passes;

Bass Canyon
Live Nation and dubstep’s dark lord Excision launch this new three-day brodown at the Gorge with some of bass music’s most punishing DJs. Shuttle options from downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport are available.

Friday-Sunday, Aug. 24-26; Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Road, George; $145-$215 three-day pass, $109.50-$640 camping;

KISW’s Pain in the Grass

The three-day headbangers’ delight kicks off Friday, Aug. 24, with a handful of metal titans, led by thrash kings Slayer, currently on their final tour. Grunge heroes Alice in Chains top the bill Saturday, Aug. 25, a day after releasing their first album in five years, “Rainier Fog” — the title track an homage to their late ’80s Seattle peers. While Avenged Sevenfold (and their rap-rock supergroup tourmates Prophets of Rage) canceled after a viral infection left singer M. Shadows “voiceless,” KISW is “working on a plan” for Sunday, Aug. 26.

Friday-Sunday Aug. 24-26, White River Amphitheatre, 40601 Auburn Enumclaw Road S.E., Auburn; $25-$129.50;


It’s a busy Labor Day concert weekend, with Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band and Dave Matthews Band all playing Washington shows. But this annual urban fest is the best reason to stay in town, with hip-hop heavyweights (J. Cole, SZA, Lil Wayne), Northwest indie-rock faves (Fleet Foxes, Portugal. The Man), EDM party starters (Illenium, RL Grime) and insipid crossover duo The Chainsmokers.

Friday-Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept. 2; Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle; $130 single day, $240-$775 three-day pass;

Michael Rietmulder:



“Henry IV, Part 1”

Listen up, theater nerds: “Henry IV, Part 1” is the best play in Shakespeare’s three-part “Henry” series. It’s the one where we get to know the lovable scoundrel Jack Falstaff (“what is honor? A word”) and a hotheaded, practical soldier humiliates a pompous wizard who brags about his magical powers, then can’t deliver the goods. Amelia Meckler Bowers directs this Shakespeare-in-the-park production by GreenStage.

Through Aug. 10; various locations (Lynndale Park, Lower Woodland Park, Fall City Park); free;

“The Great Inconvenience”

Celebrated local theater duo Holly Arsenault (playwright) and Erin Kraft (director) team up again for a story about what the U.S. might look like in the 2050s if some very powerful people with bad intentions win the culture wars and erase history. The play draws from a diverse palette of inspirations: mass migrations; fascists who’ve rewritten their own countries’ histories; the diaspora of Acadians kicked out of Canada in the 18th century; and the balance between history, art and lies.

Through Aug. 18; Annex Theatre, 1100 E. Pike St., Seattle; $10-$20; 866-811-4111,

“The Phantom of the Opera”

The world’s most famous musical-theater ghoul comes to haunt us yet again in a touring production. (Boo! Are you scared yet?) This version is a reboot by big-shot producer Cameron Mackintosh (“Miss Saigon,” “Cats,” “Hamilton,” more) and a bag full of Tony Award-winning designers.

Aug. 8-19; Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $35-$150 (ticket prices subject to changes and fees), 206-812-3284,

Yellow Fish Durational Performance Art Festival

Yes, the very phrase “durational performance art” gives some people hives. But bear with me: Back in 2013, when the adventurous Italian choreographer Alice (pronounced “Ali-chay”) Gosti launched Yellow Fish in Seattle, she asked the most daring artists she could find to stress-test the borders of what you’re even allowed to do in front of an audience. Memorable performances have included dead animals, rope, ice, toilet paper, writing through exhaustion, eating an entire day’s worth of food in reverse order while blindfolded (starting with a cigar and digestif, ending with eggs and coffee, then copious vomiting), etc. Don’t worry: You won’t be trapped in a room like a traditional theater, and can come and go as you please. Think of it as an art-world version of the Tour de France — tough people from around the globe (this year, artists come from Belgrade, Oakland, Seattle, Tokyo, Mexico City, New York, New Orleans, Halifax, elsewhere) pushing their bodies and brains to the limit.

Monday, Aug. 27, through Friday, Aug. 31; various venues around Seattle; free;

Brendan Kiley:



Seattle Art Fair satellite events

Seattle Art Fair — like all good art fairs across the world — has a tendency to inspire the most interesting work in its own shadow. Want to see strugglers, scrabblers, establishment contrarians and spray-paint outlaws do their thing? Visit these folks, among others: Cold Cube Press (trans artists Darius X and Clyde Petersen present “Shredders,” a “feminist reimagination of Guitar Center”), Treason Gallery (featuring D*Face, a colleague of Shepard Fairey), Martyr Sauce (owner Tariqa Waters will feature her daughter’s filmed choreography and other work) and Steve Gilbert Photo Studio (featuring around 25 artists in the show “CA$H 4 GOLD”). These are just a few hints — keep looking for other satellite events. Fortune, as they say, favors the bold.

Check these — and other galleries’ — websites for dates and other details:;

Brendan Kiley: