Art and Performance Spring 2024

What the Hell Is Make Believe Seattle?

Finally, a Film Festival for Fellow Weirdos

The Power of Making People of Color Invisible

Stephanie Syjuco Empowers the Oppressed with Just a Finger

Better, Stronger, Faster

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra Pays Tribute to the Legendary Oliver Nelson

Where to Pickup a Copy of The Stranger's Spring A+P 2024

Find it at Hundreds of Locations Around Seattle!

Queen of Our World

When Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe Writes, the Revolution’s Coming

Blowing Minds and Melting Faces

Thunderpussy Celebrate Their Survival with a Surprising Benaroya Hall Takeover

Person of Interest: Arson Nicki

Finally, a Fashion Expert for the People

Six Films You Need to See at Make Believe Seattle

Starring Ethical Vampires, Ridiculous Puppets, and a Dude Who Pretends to Be George Lucas for Funsies

Art, Illness, and Auto Repair

Cherdonna Makes a Compassionate Comeback

Person of Interest: TeZATalks

Harbinger of Horror-Filled Hardcore Pop

It’s Important That the Bug Undulates

How Anida Yoeu Ali Uses Wiggling Worms and Glitter as Forms of Protest

Sincerely Joking

Chastity Belt Live, Laugh, and Love 10 Years On

Your Spring Arts Itinerary

24 of This Season’s Very Best Art, Books, Music, Film, Theater, and Food Events

Tessa Hulls’s Feeding Ghosts Is Instant Canon Fodder

Too Bad She’ll Never Write Another Graphic Novel

Isabel Hagen’s Comedy Strings You Along

How a Juilliard-Trained Violist Found Harmony as a Stand-Up Comedian

Person of Interest: Taha Ebrahimi

Seattle’s Coolest Street Tree Expert

Nine-Tenths of the Law: Squatters’ Cinema

Various showtimes through March 30

Squatters are not a group of folks that I’d previously associated with cinema, but I’m not afraid to admit that I was wrong. “In 2019, a radical group calling itself the Cinéma La Clef Revival Collective forced their way into the derelict building which housed La Clef (The Key), a ‘70s-era cinema,” The Beacon explains. The French collective revitalized the space, which had shuttered in 2015 because the owners wanted to sell the property for redevelopment. Booo! La Clef Revival has fostered a community-programmed space for “squatter’s cinema” ever since, shouting a gargantuan “fuck you” at exclusionary rental practices and vampiric landlords and developers. Show up to this screening series throughout March for a selection of squat-centric flicks like Occupied Cinema, Winstanley, and many others. One of my personal faves, Robinson’s Garden, will screen March 18 and 20—it’s a clear-cut punk statement offering up a rare glimpse of a multicultural Tokyo sans city pop and financial prosperity. Not to gush too much, but the film draws from underground No Wave aesthetics (think Jim Jarmusch) to tell an anticapitalist story of a bohemian drug dealer who discovers an abandoned building lush with vegetation. Promise you’ll dig it. (The Beacon, 4405 Rainier Ave S, various showtimes through March 30, $12.50) LINDSAY COSTELLO

Sleepless Nights

Every Fri–Sun through March 30

Curator Hannah Newman’s Sleepless Nights explores the horrors that would’ve kept Edgar Allan Poe twisting and turning at night, had he been born in the last 50 years or so: Doomscrolling, mental health struggles, grind culture, inflation, all that very scary stuff. Describing busyness as a survival tactic (“The moment we slow down, our worries catch up,” the promotional materials explain), Sleepless Nights posits that artists distract themselves by creating beauty. The exhibition, which features works by Marcelo Fontana, Pamela Hadley, Nicholas Moler-Gallardo, Jessie Rose Vala, Morgan Rosskopf, Katherine Spinella, and Newman, will unfold in a “dark room via blacklights, nightlights, phone screens, and projectors...infused with a continuous stream of audio, a background score of current events, news updates, podcasts, and other data.” Nothing we’re not accustomed to, right? (SOIL, 112 Third Ave S, every Fri–Sun through March 30, free) LINDSAY COSTELLO

Jaune Quick-To-See Smith: Memory Map

Every Wed-Sun through May 12

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, a citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, is one of the 20th century’s most innovative artists—she blends references to pop art and abstraction with Native perspectives on Americana and mass media in brilliant, layered compositions. This solo exhibition curates from across five decades of the artist’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures; I’m especially drawn to the Bush Administration critique of War is Heck and Indian Map, Smith’s “first recognizable map of the country in which brushstrokes and drips blur states’ borders and collaged texts and photographs tell stories of the land’s vast Indigenous presence.” (Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, every Wed–Sun through May 12, free–$32.99) LINDSAY COSTELLO

Text Me Back Live With Lindy West and Meagan Hatcher-Mays

Fri, March 15

Lindy West, the former Stranger film editor and sharp wordsmith behind the essay collection Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, co-hosts the podcast Text Me Back with the similarly brilliant Meagan Hatcher-Mays, a lawyer and democracy policy expert. At its core, their pod focuses on making you laugh. Each week, they swallow down whatever garbage has hit the news cycle so you don’t have to—the result is like a regurgitated owl pellet in podcast form, but instead of being full of crushed bones and indigestible fur, it’s a combination of political smartiness, sincerity, and snark. Now that I’ve conjured that image for you, head to this live edition of Text Me Back, in which they’ll take audience questions and discuss their favorite animals. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 7:30 pm, $20–$25) LINDSAY COSTELLO

Dorothy Gale dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, 1939, MoPOP Permanent

Massive: The Power of Pop Culture

Every Thurs–Tues starting March 16

The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) has unveiled a new long-term exhibit that asks visitors to consider their role as creators and consumers of modern pop culture. Across 2,400 square feet, the showcase will feature 80-plus artifacts, films, and interactive experiences that range from Judy Garland’s iconic gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz to Kim Kardashian’s gaudy neon sneaker pumps. (Side note: Can you imagine what those pieces would look like if styled together? Iconic.) The exhibit will dig deeper than a traditional artifact display with thought-provoking questions about appropriation, celebrity culture, and representation. (MoPOP, 325 Fifth Ave, every Thurs–Tues starting March 16, included in general admission) AUDREY VANN

The Master and Margarita

Various showtimes, March 22-April 13

Mikhail Bulgakov’s masterpiece, The Master and Margarita, was first published (in a censored form) in 1967, and it’s beautifully weird. It’s about the devil and his entourage; there’s a scene-stealing chain-smoking cat; it’s full of pranks and hypocrisy, metaphysical elements, beheaded bureaucrats, haunted theaters, Communism, and Stalinism. It’s gothy and fantastical and anti-totalitarian. I mean, what’s not to love? Director Mike Lion has adapted the tome for this production, which attempts to preserve its Russian sensibilities but also includes musical numbers, puppetry, physicality, and clowning. (12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave, every Fri–Sun, March 22–April 13, $1-$60) LINDSAY COSTELLO

See Mary Timony at Clock-Out Lounge Saturday, March 23. Chris Grady

Mary Timony

Sat, March 23

Best described by Carrie Brownstein as “Mary Shelley with a guitar,” indie rock innovator Mary Timony has made an undeniable mark on rock music as a member of bands like Helium, Ex Hex, Autoclave, and Wild Flag. Now, Timony is back with her first solo album in 19 years, Untame the Tiger. The album is a perfect encapsulation of her 30-plus year career with melodic guitar riffs, melancholic lyrics, and signature deadpan vocals. It simultaneously sounds like it was recorded in 1998 while finding pockets of fresh experimentation—a true feat if you ask me! Don’t miss an opening set from Philadelphia-based folk rock artist Rosali. (Clock-Out Lounge, 4864 Beacon Ave S, 8:30 pm, $20–$22) AUDREY VANN

Caetano Veloso

Wed, March 27

Revolutionary Brazilian artist Caetano Veloso is known as one of the founding fathers of the Tropicália movement for his distinctive blend of pop psychedelia, traditional Brazilian rhythms, and anti-authoritarian lyrics. The loss of fellow Brazilian psychedelia trailblazers Rita Lee and Gal Costa still feels fresh, so I am elated to see that Veloso is still peddling his songs around the globe. Not to mention, he also came out as bisexual at the age of 80—that’s king behavior if you ask me! If you’re new to Veloso’s music, then drop everything and listen to his 1972 album Transa. It seamlessly floats between English and Portuguese, detailing his experiences with loss, loneliness, and British culture while living in political exile in London. (Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave, 7:30 pm, tickets start at $46, all ages) AUDREY VANN


Every Sat–Thurs, March 28–June 2 with an artist reception Thurs, April 11

I confess that, even though it is a 20-minute walk from my home, I had never been to Photographic Center Northwest until their last exhibit featuring the works of Jon Henry. It humbled me and inspired me to return. I typically have a hard time understanding “art,” and gravitate toward photography where I expect things to be more real. The latest PCN exhibit, Alterations, challenges that idea, as it features six Pacific Northwest artists who burn, tear, and paste various ephemera into their photographs. The works use collage to enhance, challenge, or twist the image, providing commentary on various aspects of our reality from gender stereotypes to environmental destruction. (Photographic Center Northwest, 900 12th Ave, every Sat–Thurs, March 28–June 2, free) SHANNON LUBETICH

PDX Jazz Presents: Laurie Anderson

Sat, March 30

Just in time for Women’s History Month, pioneering electronic musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson is bringing her groundbreaking works to Benaroya Hall. Her latest show, Let X = X, revisits songs from her 42-year-long music career with a reinvigorated perspective, spirit, and sound—thanks in part to her backing band, New York jazz ensemble Sexmob. Anderson is known for her ‘80s art pop albums full of electronic experiments and spoken-work quips. Some of my favorite Laurieisms include “I don’t know about your brain, but mine is really… bossy” (“Babydoll”) and “I met this guy / And he looked like might have been a hat check clerk at an ice rink / Which, in fact, he turned out to be” (“Let X=X”). (Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 8 pm, $59.75–$100, all ages) AUDREY VANN

Seattle Restaurant Week

April 14–27

Gourmands across Seattle rejoice over this twice-yearly event, which gives diners the opportunity to try curated menus for $20, $35, $50, and $65 at dozens of restaurants. It’s an excellent opportunity to branch out of your usual rotation of tried-and-true favorites and cross some destinations off your culinary bucket list. Round up some friends to join you, and don’t forget to tip your server generously. (Various locations, April 14–27, see the full lineup at JULIANNE BELL


Sun, April 21

A band since 2017, Cheekface really captured the voice of our generation with the song “We Need a Bigger Dumpster” in 2021. KEXP wouldn’t stop playing it, and for good reason, with its guitar-driven rhythms and tongue-in-cheek lyrics like “I caught a cold / I coughed on all my friends / Now everyone is coughing on everybody else / And we’re coughing on our doctors and our doctors cough out / ‘EVERYTHING IS FINE.’” Equal parts catchy indie rock and social commentary, lead singer Greg Katz’s talk-singing puts the message front-and-center as we bob our heads and smile wryly to the beat in spite of (because of?) existential dread. Hazy bedroom pop artist Yungatita opens the show. (Madame Lou’s, 2505 First Ave, 8:30 pm, $22, all ages) SHANNON LUBETICH

Hanif Abdurraqib

Wed, April 24

Hanif Abdurraqib is the best friend I never met. Having spent years reading his work—his essays, his poetry, his music criticism—it feels as though we’ve spent half a lifetime together sitting on floors, listening to records, and exchanging observations about everyone from Aretha Franklin to My Chemical Romance. He doesn’t write at you, as so many culture critics do—his prose opens up and pulls you into whatever little world he’s spinning in his brain. You don’t just understand his observations, you often feel them, too. He’ll be at Town Hall in April in support of his new book There’s Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension, which NPR, Time, Chicago Review of Books, and Lit Hub, among many others, have deemed as one of the most anticipated books of 2024. I can’t fucking wait. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 7:30 pm, $5–$25) MEGAN SELING

Gabrielle Zevin

Thurs, April 25

If you follow the goings-on in contemporary literature, you’ve probably seen more than a few nods to Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, which was released in 2022 to significant fanfare, including New York Times bestseller status and a lofty 4.18 review ranking on Goodreads. In my opinion, one of the book’s merits is that it might get your non-reader friends to pick it up: The plot follows three friends who begin a video game company together. (This perked up my partner’s ears–try it yourself.) Zevin will visit Seattle for a Q&A session with Ruchika Tulshyan, who covers diversity and leadership for Forbes. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 7:30 pm, $12-$116) LINDSAY COSTELLO

Author Talk: Health Nut, Jess Damuck

Thurs, April 25

Recipe developer and food stylist Jess Damuck worked for Martha Stewart in various capacities for over a decade—including a stint as her personal chef, when she’d craft her signature “three-hour salads” for the legendary home and cooking mogul herself. Her 2022 debut cookbook Salad Freak detailed how to make these leafy masterpieces. With her latest release Health Nut, Damuck’s set her sights on updating traditional “hippie health food” like smoothies, stir-fries, and grain bowls, adding a modern twist to these granola-core staples. This results in nourishing, well-rounded dishes like brothy white beans with parmesan and pesto, or crispy rice and salmon bowls with quick pickles and greens. She’ll visit Book Larder to chat about her fresh approach to wholesome cuisine. (Book Larder, 4252 Fremont Ave N, 6:30 pm, $39.50, admission includes a signed copy of Health Nut) JULIANNE BELL

The Lehman Trilogy

Various showtimes, April 27–May 12

When I asked my play-obsessed friend in New York about The Lehman Trilogy, he responded “I’ve heard it’s quite good. It’s veryyy long.” He’s not wrong. The show won five (!) Tonys in 2022 (Best Play, Best Actor, Best Direction, Best Scenic and Lighting Design) and it has a runtime of almost three-and-a-half hours with two intermissions. The Lehman Trilogy tells the story of three young Jewish brothers immigrating to the Big Apple in the 1840s, and how they found tremendous success. But those of us living in the modern era associate these brothers (the Lehman brothers) with the 2008 financial crisis. So how did we get from those humble yet successful beginnings to triggering one of the largest modern financial crises? I’ll be putting my butt in a seat (for longer than I might like) to find out. (ACT - A Contemporary Theatre, 700 Union St, various showtimes April 27–May 12, $50–$89) SHANNON LUBETICH

Sporkful Live: Anything’s Pastable with Dan Pashman & Lindy West

Thurs, April 30

In 2021, a new pasta shape entered the scene. With a convincingly Italian-sounding name, cascatelli took the foodie world by storm (to be fair, the root of the word, cascate, does mean “waterfalls”). Dan Pashman, James Beard Award-winning host of The Sporkful podcast, invented this pasta shape because he was frustrated by all others in existence (see the “Spaghetti Sucks” episode) and wanted to create a shape that was more “forkable” and better at holding sauce. Social media featured tons of people cooking the new shape, but Pashman was disappointed by the lack of creativity in the dish as a whole. His response: releasing his first cookbook, Anything’s Pastable: 81 Inventive Pasta Recipes For Saucy People. Hear him discuss it with local comedian and writer Lindy West in the first-ever live taping of a Sporkful episode. (Fremont Abbey Arts Center, 4272 Fremont Ave N,7 pm, $28.50-$59.50, all ages) SHANNON LUBETICH 

The Bloody Mary Festival

Sat, May 4

With its savory vodka-spiked tomato juice base and garnishes ranging from the humble (celery) to outlandish (mini cheeseburgers), the bloody mary is a bona fide brunch classic. At this event, you’ll get to enjoy an unlimited supply of the umami-rich cocktail in a myriad of iterations from local bars and restaurants, not to mention coffee, food and drink samples, temporary tattoos, and photo opportunities. Plus, cast a vote for your favorite bloody mary to win the People’s Choice Award. (Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, 301 Mercer St, 10:30 am–6 pm, $49.95-$67.50) JULIANNE BELL

Belltown Bloom 2024

May 4–5

Technically, spring starts in March, but in Seattle, it’s more like May. Welcome the season of blossoms with a two-day festival where women in music take over the entire Crocodile complex. Headliners include global stars, like Aluna of electronic duo AlunaGeorge, dance music DJ TOKiMONSTA, and poet laureate/folk star Kara Jackson. The fest was started by sisters Valerie and Veronica Topacio, who are also in the local rock band La Fonda, and they’re doing the work to highlight PNW acts as well, like Glitterfox, a folk group formed by a Portland wife-and-wife duo. I’m also stoked for Gustaf, a Brooklyn art-punk band that seems to have the time of their lives onstage. (The Crocodile Complex, 2505 First Ave, May 4-5, 6 pm, $105–$165) SHANNON LUBETICH

Julia Holter

Mon, May 6

If you’re ISO an exploratory and uplifting time, California-hailing symphonic singer Julia Holter should help you shake something loose—she’s a low-key baroque pop queen whose surreal music is widely hailed by critics. If you’re into pop girlies, you’ll like Julia. If you’re more avant-garde, you’ll like, Julia, too. Her dewy, harpsichord-filled 2015 track “Sea Calls Me Home” and its lilting chorus (“I can’t swim! Its lucidity! So clear!”) helped me glide through the last nine years—as I navigated the end of college, my first “real” writing jobs, and the pandemic, every listen was a swan dive, a rest on a chilly rock as I gazed at the sparkle of sunlight against ocean waves. Since the birth of her daughter and the death of a loved one, though, Holter’s brand of dream pop has expanded to become more sensual and nocturnal. Her new album, Something in the Room She Moves, will be released on March 22. (The Crocodile, 2505 First Ave, 8 pm, $20) LINDSAY COSTELLO

A Conversation with Pailin Chongchitnant: In‑Person & Online

Thurs, May 9

Over 1.7 million subscribers tune in to watch the ebullient Cordon Bleu-trained chef Pailin “Pai” Chongchitnant on her cooking channel Pailin’s Kitchen, where she breaks down Thai cuisine for home cooks of all levels, demonstrating how to whip up dishes like pad kra pao and coconut pancakes. Chongchitnant grew up in southern Thailand and osmosed the fundamentals of cooking from hanging out in the kitchen as a kid. Today, she’s the author of two cookbooks, Hot Thai Kitchen and Sabai: 100 Simple Thai Recipes for Any Day of the Week. She’ll discuss the book with local author J. Kenji López-Alt. (Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, 7:30 pm, $12–$85) JULIANNE BELL

Seattle International Film Festival 2024

May 9–27

SIFF will return for its 50th year with the best in international and independent cinema à la mode from across the globe, and you know the drill—the city’s most well-recognized hybrid festival, which boasts an impressive selection of films from more than 70 countries this year, will present screenings virtually at both SIFF and non-SIFF venues citywide, including Pacific Place, Majestic Bay Theatres, Museum of History and Industry, and Shoreline Community College. (In 2023, I liked Art for Everybody, a surprisingly thoughtful documentary on—insert groan here—Thomas Kinkade, universal basic income doc Free Money, and 26.2 To Life, which followed a marathon race at California’s oldest state prison.) (Multiple locations, May 9–27, see the full schedule at LINDSAY COSTELLO

Book Signing: The Paris Novel by Ruth Reichl

Sat, May 18

As a restaurant critic for the New York Times in the 1990s, legendary food writer Ruth Reichl gained renown for her acerbic observations and penchant for donning disguises to maintain her anonymity in restaurants, and she went on to become the editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine. Reichl has since penned five best-selling memoirs as well as a cookbook and a novel, has won six James Beard Awards, and is known for her warm voice and fierce advocacy of home cooking. In her latest fictional work, The Paris Novel, she tells the story of Stella, a woman who receives a one-way ticket to Paris after her estranged mother dies. Of course, Reichl’s cozy ode to the City of Light is full of sparkling descriptions of decadent French cuisine, vintage fashion, and dazzling art, making it a perfect escapist romp for when you’re consumed by wanderlust. (Book Larder, 4252 Fremont Ave N, 2 pm, $32.75, admission includes a signed copy of The Paris Novel) JULIANNE BELL

See Kathleen Hanna at Town Hall Wednesday, May 22. RACHEL BRIGHT

Kathleen Hanna - Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk

Wed, May 22

As a longtime student of Riot Grrrl, I’ve annihilated every piece of literature about the movement that I can get my paws on. Some favorites through my life have included Sara Marcus’s Girls to the Front, Carrie Brownstien’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, and Marisa Meltzer’s Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music. Most of these music memoirs and anthologies tell the story of the precocious Evergreen State College student Kathleen Hanna, who propelled the movement with the creation of feminist art space Reko Muse, and later, with the trailblazing feminist punk band Bikini Kill. Now, Hanna is telling her own story in the memoir, Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk. The book chronicles her life of activism, music, friendships, illness, love, and limitless amount of determination. Hanna will be joined in conversation by Seattle’s own Shrill author Lindy West. (Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, 7:30 pm, $68–$104) AUDREY VANN