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City Arts Fest 2011 Guide

For the second year, Heineken City Arts Fest expands into the dark corners of Seattle’s creative community, absorbs its juiciest bits and presents them back to the city under the banner of experimentation and collaboration. Call it the Unified Field Theory of Art: Everything is everything.

To view or download the entire festival grid, click here.

MUSIC

Ryan Adams
See "Stripped Down"
Friday, 9 p.m., 
Benaroya Hall

Bryan John Appleby
A regular at Conor Byrne’s Sunday night open mic, the hushed and gracious Bryan John Appleby stands out in a noisy room brimming with talent. This summer, the bearded balladeer released Fire on the Vine, a collection of beautiful, patient folk songs that will shut you up.
Friday, 8:15 p.m.,
Rendezvous

Big Spider’s Back
As Big Spider’s Back, Yair Rubinstein builds songs from forgotten effluvia like old Indian films and British library audio archives, over which he plays basic melodies and sings. BSB’s latest, Memory Man, brings programmed drums into the mix, with danceable elements of dubstep, house and hip-hop.
Friday, 10 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Birthday Suits
Former members of beloved Minneapolis punk provocateurs Sweet J.A.P., Birthday Suits feature drummer Matthew Kazama banging out tribal rhythms beneath a flurry of black hair while Hideo Takahashi peels discordant riffs from his guitar.
Thursday, 9:45 p.m.,
Comet Tavern

Black Whales
Black Whales possess the spirit and sound of early-‘70s pop, sweetened by singer Alex Robert’s anglophilic warble. This summer the band released Shangri-La Indeed, an album pushing into sonic experimentation while maintaining the melod- ic underpinnings of the Velvet Underground, the Beatles and Supertramp.
Friday, 9:45 p.m.,
Neumos

Blackalicious
It’s time for the second coming of Blackalicious. A decade ago, Sacramento-based MC Gift of Gab and DJ Chief Xcel were leaders of the West Coast underground, making true-school hip-hop that students memorize to this day. It’s been years since their last record, but a new one is expected in ’12. This performance is an early stop on the road to their return.
Saturday, 11:30 p.m.,
Showbox Market

Blue Sky Black Death
Bay Area production team Blue Sky Black Death has worked with a long line of MCs in its eight-year history, including Wu-Tang affiliates and Jean Grae. The two-man crew is best known for its instrumental, orchestral hip-hop that traverses from bleak to frenetic to sunny and back in the course of a single song.
Friday, 9 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Brain Fruit
Brain Fruit is head food. The Seattle duo plays a strangely cyborgian brand of psychedelic electronica, fusing deep, languid beatscapes with slick, spacious melodies. It’s transporting stuff—music to massage your mind.
Friday, 8:15 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Built To Spill
Can we call Built to Spill underground if they’re signed to Warner Brothers? Underrated if they sell out the Showbox every trip to Seattle? Indie if they jam? Let’s simply agree that the smart, sinuous, guitar- centric rockers are one of America’s Great Bands and have been for almost 20 years.
Friday, 9:30 p.m.,
Moore Theatre

Campfire OK
Soon after releasing its debut full-length at the beginning of the year, Campfire OK earned raves for its impassioned folk songs, propelled by a crack acoustic band and infinitely sing-along-able choruses penned by singer Mychal Goodweather.
Thursday, 10 p.m.,
Showbox Market

Capsula
After tearing up the KEXP BBQ in August, the Buenos Aires-via-Bilbao, Spain trio Capsula returns to Seattle with more explosive garage rock and untamable onstage energy.
Saturday, 10:45 p.m.,
Comet Tavern

Cataldo
Cataldo creates textured pop tapestries of acoustic guitar strum, circling banjo-picking, running bass lines and ricocheting drum parts stitched together by Eric Anderson’s high, desperate tenor.
Thursday, 8 p.m.,
Showbox Market

Cobirds Unite
Rusty Willoughby has popped and rocked Seattle for the last 30 years. After pairing with Visqueen siren Rachel Flotard, he discovered a talent for rootsier music and started Cobirds Unite, proving that great songs transcend genre.
Thursday, 9 p.m.,
Showbox Market

The Cops
On hiatus since 2008, the Cops returned to the Comet Tavern in late 2010 for one more set of driving rock ’n’ roll filled with the sparring guitar work of Mike Jaworski and John Randolph. The show went so well that the band decided to write a new album’s worth of material, some of which will debut here.
Thursday, 10:45 p.m.,
Comet Tavern

Crypts
Crypts create dark industrial songs, droning out melodies and then cutting them up with rapid-fire bursts from its Roland CR- 8000 drum machine. Call it Witch House if you must; we call it good music.
Thursday, 10:15 p.m.,
Showbox SoDo

Crystal Castles
Ethan Kath, producer for Toronto’s Crystal Castles, pounds icy electronic beats and furious synths layered with euphoric Gameboy beeps while Alice Glass punctuates disinterested vocals with cathartic yelling. The duo’s live shows are famously tumultuous, one recently ending with Glass breaking her ankle onstage.
Thursday, 11:30 p.m.,
Showbox SoDo

Daydream Vacation
Asya from precocious Seattle pop duo Smoosh returns with party-starter Dave Einmo in dance-pop outfit Daydream Vacation. Always front and center with his band Head Like a Kite, Einmo cedes vocal duties to Asya here, creating skittering dance tracks for his young bandmate to sing over.
Thursday, 9 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Disco Doom
Disco Doom calls Switzerland home, but the slacker pop on latest album Trux Reverb is a child of America’s indie underground, recorded by Built to Spill’s Jim Roth in Seattle and filled with songs that recall early-’90s greats like Pavement and Superchunk.
Friday, 8:30 p.m.,
Moore Theatre

DJ Riz
Best known for the sprawling audio experiences he creates on KEXP’s “Expansions,” DJ Riz is an anchor, guiding light, urban shaman and sonic innovator with a deep love for soulful house beats.
Friday, 6:15 p.m.,
Triple Door

Don’t Talk to the Cops
Backed by fresh, old-school breaks and non sequitur movie-dialogue samples, DTttC revisits that long-ago era of hip-hop when the DJ was the star and the music was made solely to provoke ridiculous moves at the dance club.
Saturday, 8:45 p.m.,
Showbox Market

Dyno Jamz
Featuring a three-piece horn section, two drummers, guitars, keys and two emcees, Dyno Jamz is a monstrous force on stage, mixing ‘50s cool jazz with the late-’80s alternative hip-hop of De La Soul.
Saturday, 8:35 p.m.,
Showbox SoDo

Shelby Earl
Shelby Earl emerged at the beginning of 2011 with her solo debut Burn the Boats and immediately found a place on the city’s singer-songwriter rolls. Earl’s deft lyricism and world-weary voice, plus production by John Roderick, yield an album that sounds like the work of an old pro.
Thursday, 8:30 p.m.,
Crocodile

Elk and Boar
Kirsten Wenlock and Travis Barker (not that one) will be joined by other musicians when they perform as Elk and Boar, but you will only notice the couple from Tacoma. No discredit to their rotating band, but the folk music created by Elk and Boar is rooted in the couple’s breath- taking harmonies.
Thursday, 9 p.m.,
Rendezvous

Exohxo
Exohxo’s live show promises the curious mix of orchestral bom-bast and endearing pop songcraft found on its latest EP, which bears the fittingly dramatic title The Pitfalls, the Possibilities, the Peril and the Promise.
Thursday, 10 p.m.,
Rendezvous

The Felice Brothers
The Felice Brothers are equally infamous for recording in a chicken coop, wrecking their instruments on stage, and playing soulful, lyrically vivid roots music. The upstate New Yorkers’ latest album set them apart from the neo-folk crowd by putting an electronic spin on rustic Americana.
Thursday, 10:30 p.m.,
Crocodile

Fences
See the interview with Chris Mansfield
Friday, 11:45 p.m.,
Neumos

Fly Moon Royalty
One of the more adventurous duos from the fertile 206 hip- hop scene, Fly Moon Royalty’s charismatic DJ Action Jackson and frontwoman Adra Boo mix soulful beats and organic-sounding electronica into a mix of modern R&B that’s intelligent, erotic and utterly addictive.
Thursday, 7:30 p.m.,
Triple Door

Freestyle Fellowship
In the early ‘90s, the five-man Freestyle Fellowship came together from a slew of different backgrounds and L.A. neighbor- hoods to set the West Coast standard for hyper-stylized, hyper-melodic, jazz- inflected hip-hop. This fall, they release The Promise, their first record in over a decade. Bow down.
Saturday, 10:15 p.m.,
Showbox Market

The Fucking Eagles
The Fucking Eagles play gritty garage rock steeped in R&B and readied for crowd-sourced handclaps and shout-along choruses. It’s been two years since the Tacoma band released its last slab of soulful rock ’n’ roll; word is new material is on the docket.
Saturday, 8:15 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Rebecca Gates
Since the release of the final Spinanes album in 1998, singer Rebecca Gates diversified her portfolio by making visual art, curating land-art exhibitions and editing an audio magazine, all while continuing to craft up- beat pop songs delivered in her aching alto. 
Friday, 8 p.m., 
Benaroya Hall

Grand Archives
Over three records, Grand Archives have transitioned from twangy alt-country to rose-tinted harmony-pop—though their songs are still haunted by lonely ghosts and lost love. On stage, Mat Brooke ringleads a circle of friends in what usually feels like a Northwest love-in.
Saturday, 9 p.m.,
Neptune

Grand Hallway
The voice of Grand Hallway bandleader Tomo Nakayama is one of the most singular in Seattle. It wafts eerily, gently above his band’s elegant, Fleetwood Mac-gone-folk compositions, often backed by a small orchestra of strings and horns. Grand Hallway deserve to be more than a well-kept secret.
Saturday, 9:30 p.m.,
Crocodile

Noah Gundersen
After wandering in the woods of blues rock with his band the Courage for two years, Noah Gundersen and his violin-playing sister Abby recently returned to their roots with Family, a collection of stripped-down folk songs fraught with emotion, populated with everyday problems and brought to life with Noah’s hushed delivery.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.,
Triple Door

Daniel G. Harmann
On his debut full-length Risk, Seattle’s Daniel G. Harmann plays transcendent pop songs grounded in a blue collar lifestyle, filling them with hooks that are as undeniable as the work ethic of the battered construction workers and fried electricians he sings about.
Friday, 9 p.m.,
Neumos

The Helio Sequence
The Helio Sequence’s most recent album for Sub Pop, 2008’s Keep Your Eyes Ahead, shines in its diversity. The Portland duo deepens its usual upbeat, guitar- driven electro-rock with heart-on-sleeve gospel upswing and hyper-literate Dylanisms. Should make an appropriately ecstatic show at the FREAKIN’ LASER DOME.
Friday, 11:15 p.m.,
Laser Dome

Helluvastate
“All I wanna do is smoke weed and make music,” Helluvastate’s MC Tay Sean raps over TH’s underwater-funk groove on “Brain Champagne,” a stand-out from the group’s self-released debut. Apparently, focus is the key to hip-hop so cool it shivers, so laid-back it’s horizontal.
Thursday, 9 p.m.,
Neumos

Hi-Life Soundsystem
Featuring West Seattle MCs B-Flat and Khingz, whose 2009 LP From Slaveships to Spaceships is one of the decade’s best, Hi-Life Soundsystem aims to ignite a dance party on the floor and the synapses in your head.
Saturday, 9:30 p.m.,
Showbox Market

The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady bandleader Craig Finn writes true-rock tales about booze-fueled hook-ups, hungover mornings, sketchy drug deals, tedious cross-country drives for dubious purposes, and unexpected parking-lot epiphanies, and sings about it all with abandon. This band might be your life.
Saturday, 10:15 p.m.,
Neptune

The Horde and the Harem
Amongst folk-influenced quintets in town, the Horde and the Harem is the most punk. They’re tattooed, tattered, and ragged, punctuate songs with gritty electric guitar solos and belt out beautiful four-part harmonies.
Thursday, 11 p.m.,
Rendezvous

Joseph Giant
It’s not just a name. Joseph Giant leader Joe Syverson is, in fact, a big dude. Also a talented one, penning upbeat acoustic pop songs and delivering them with a raspy twang that rests on the brain like a penny on the tongue.
Friday, 9 p.m.,
Rendezvous

Katie Kate
The good-girl’s bad girl, Katie Kate raps with the tone of a teacher’s pet and the mouth of a reprobate. On record, she’s backed by low-key bedroom beats for an ethereal, late-night vibe but, like any good performer, knows how to kick up the volume and energy onstage.
Thursday, 10 p.m.,
Neumos

Gill Landry
A busker from the streets of Louisiana, Gill Landry helped form the old-timey Kitchen Syncopators and has contributed guitar and vocals to Old Crow Medicine Show. A few years ago, he struck out on his own to write lonely, hopeless songs sung in a gumbo of jazz, blues and country.
Thursday, 9:30 p.m.,
Crocodile

Lemolo
An incredibly efficient band, Lemolo crafts Seattle’s dreamiest pop with only two members, singer and guitarist Meagan Grandall and drummer Kendra Cox. The band has been playing a year but has built a moving live experience and amassed an audience to go with it.
Saturday, 8:30 p.m.,
Crocodile

The Long Winters
See interview with John Roderick
Thursday, 11 p.m.,
Showbox Market

Lovesick Empire
Though his musical roots are in bass and drums, Jason Lajuenesse has transitioned nicely to guitar in his project with smoky-voiced Alicia Amiri. With a sensual swing evocative of PJ Harvey’s relaxed moments and emphasis on unexpected arrangements, Lovesick Empire’s disarming beauty and sinister charm are all its own.
Saturday, 9 p.m.,
Neumos

Shelby Lynne
Since dueting with country legend George Jones more than 20 years ago, Shelby Lynne has earned her own adoration. Fresh off the release of her 12th full-length album, Revelation Road, the Alabama native will perform music inspired by her country predecessors updated for a new generation of broken-hearted pop fans.
Saturday, 8:30 p.m.,
Triple Door

Mad Rad
Still reeling from the alleged assault of a Tractor Tavern sound technician, this Ballard-based folk crew.... Wait, what? Oh yeah—Mad Rad beat up a Neumos bouncer! Also, they play electropop hip-hop that makes young women do bad things.
Thursday, 11:15 p.m.,
Neumos

Male Bonding
Male Bonding takes cues from early-’90s punk and grunge, with some Beach Boys added for vocal melodies. The London band’s recent Sub Pop release, Endless Now, is filled with urgent/slack songs that are perfect for long drives and sweaty gigs.
Saturday, 11 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Man Man
Man Man’s swinging acid-Vaudevillian chamber rock and unpredictable, theatrical concerts have earned a dedicated following on both coasts. Mustachioed frontbro Honus Honus (Man Man likes likes repeti- tion repetition) brought in a new band to record this year’s Life Fantastic, but strangeness and intensity— and now lasers—remain Philly crew’s M.O.
Saturday, 11:15 p.m.,
Laser Dome

Metal Chocolates
A colloboration in experimental hip-hop between OC Notes and Rik Rude, Metal Chocolates runs wide with otherworldly soundscapes (“Glass Elevators”), humor (“Chocolate Grills for Cavities”) and regional content (“Pioneer Square Powdered Donuts”). Don’t sleep on this show: The duo has played only a handful of times since their live debut last year. 
Friday, 7:30 p.m., 
Triple Door

Midday Veil
See the interview with Emily Pothast
Saturday, 9 p.m., 
Rendezvous

Gabriel Mintz
Few Seattle guitarists coax poetry from their instruments like Gabriel Mintz. Even more impressive is the soulful croon the singer uses to deliver his odes to the dusty West, recreational drugs and chain supermarkets, subjects treated with an expert lyricist’s reverence and delivered with lucid jams.
Thursday, 7:45 p.m.,
Crocodile

Mudhoney
There’s more blood-and-guts rock ‘n’ roll left in Mudhoney than bands half its age. Since the late ‘80s, the Seattle rock wrecking crew has played the type of blistering, fist-pumping, head-banging concerts that first put this rainy little burg on the musical map.
Saturday, 10:30 p.m.,
Neumos

Nazca Lines
Frontman Cory Alfano’s sharp vocal cadence and unearthly howl are hypnotic; his band’s knack for tension and release exhilarating. At the Drive-In comparisons exist for a reason, and that’s not a bad thing.
Thursday, 8:15 p.m., 
Comet Tavern

Nightmare Fortress
Spawned from Seattle’s late and beloved audio-visual spectacle Sleepy Eyes of Death, the appropriately-named Nightmare Fortress is an immersive experience that drenches audiences in mellifluous melancholy.
Thursday, 9:25 p.m.,
Showbox SoDo

Kris Orlowski
Indie-folk artist Kris Orlowski elevates clichés like love, loss and the search for meaning with his impassioned acoustic strum and breathy, heart-melting tenor. The occasional string quartet or chorus of voices might take the stage to hammer the sentiment home but never strip Orlowski’s songs of their intimacy.
Saturday, 7:45 p.m.,
Crocodile

Ozomatli
After 15 years, Ozomatli is more relevant than ever. The party-starting Voice of the People, Ozo represents the loud minority that, soon enough, will be America’s majority. The 10-member LA band fuses Latin rock, hip-hop, funk and indigenous African rhythms, and begins and ends each concert with a parade through the crowd. ¡Ya se fue!
Saturday, 11 p.m.,
Showbox SoDo

Pickwick
See “Universal Motown"
Friday, 9:30 p.m.,
Crocodile

Picoso
Not up to speed on Latin geography? No problemo. Picoso’s congas, trumpet, timbales and flamenco guitar will transport you to the heart of Puerto Rico, Spain and North Africa, where the folk music of the Berbers adds extra oomph to this seven-piece Seattle collective’s urban-Latin sound.
Saturday, 9:25 p.m.,
Showbox SoDo

The Replacements All-Star Tribute
See "The Band That Wasn't There"
Friday, 9:00 p.m.,
Comet Tavern

Richard Cheese
Imagine “Weird Al” doing covers in the style of Frank Sinatra! Appreciate the juxtaposition of bawdy rap and metal hits styled in sophisticated jazz arrangements!  If you’ve ever posted the clip of Will Ferrell violently crooning “Black Hole Sun” on Facebook, you want to see Richard Cheese.
Friday, 8:30 p.m.,
Showbox Market

Robyn
Swedish diva Robyn makes mainstream pop songs that are OK to like. She writes indelible hooks for sing-along tracks heavy on electro and R&B that appeal equally to Madonna and Britney fans (she’s toured and sung backup for both) and more uppity pop enthusiasts (she’s collaborated with Röyksopp and Basement Jaxx).
See "Forever 21"
Thursday, 9:30 p.m.,
Paramount

Rose Windows
With eight bandmembers, video projections and a ripping rock ’n’ roll flute, Rose Windows build titanic musical experiences that risk visceral over-loading audiences into a deeper concert experience. Yes, it’s trippy. Yes, you should try it.
Saturday, 8 p.m.,
Comet Tavern

School of Rock
School of Rock director Kris K’s one-word description of SoR’s festival performance: “GRUNGE!” That’s correct—Kids born a decade after Kurt Cobain’s death will play Seattle’s signature sound. Really well. At the Laser Dome. This will make you feel simultaneously old and young.
Thursday, 6:30 p.m., 
Laser Dome

Seapony
Lead by Jen Weidl’s shrugging, sweet vocals, Seapony takes twee back to basics. The Seattle band charms with jangling guitar, tambourine and deceptively simple drum parts, all of which commingle in the shadow of bands like Heavenly and Beat Happening.
Friday, 7:45 p.m.,
Moore;
Saturday, 11 p.m.,
Rendezvous

Shabazz Palaces
“It’s a feeling,” Shabazz Palaces MC Palaceer Lazaro purrs on the group’s celebrated debut album as a warm, digitized beat oozes beneath his words. That mantra sums up the Seattle hip-hop innovators’ entire oeuvre. There’s a lot to intellectualize in the music—notions of identity, evolution, isolation—but there’s even more to feel.
Friday, 8:30 p.m.,
Triple Door

Slow Dance
Slow Dance’s unofficial coming-out happened in July with “Melter,” a fidgety, electro-hip- hop dancefloor heater and its appropriately dance-mad video (‘90s Midwest rave represent!). At Block Party, MC Murder Dice rained 20-dollar bills from the stage while producer/ DJ Rudy rode atop the Cha Cha crowd in an inflatable raft.
Thursday, 8 p.m.,
Neumos

Smokey Brights
When Hounds of the Wild Hunt bassist Ryan Devlin partnered with What What Now guitarist Mike Kalnoky, it was natural to assume that the resulting band would be heavier than, say, the Doobie Brothers. Not so! Smokey Brights play pop ballads that belong on 1970s AM radio.
Friday, 10 p.m.,
Rendezvous

Sons of Warren Oates
Think of Sons of Warren Oates as the soft-strumming, country-folk yin to the Maldives’ hard-stomping, country-rock yang. Maldives frontdude Jason Dodson sings longingly with a faded-corduroy voice—one of the best in Seattle—while Kevin Barrans plucks banjo and Seth Warren saws fiddle. Expect special guests.
Friday, 11 p.m.,
Rendezvous

Stag
The members of Stag are not trying to make it. A band of veterans from That Petrol Emotion, Sanford Arms, the Mellors, Jackie on Acid and Red Jacket Mine, Stag’s number one priority is having fun. Fortunately, they’re studied musicians whose idea of fun is playing power-pop that would make Alex Chilton proud.
Saturday, 8:45 p.m.,
Comet Tavern

Allen Stone
Allen Stone is the unlikeliest of soul singers. The shaggy, bespectacled Chewelah, Washington, native with Stevie Wonder’s vibrato and Prince’s range performs a winning take on ‘70s soul-pop that’s gaining notice in the wider R&B world, earning him a recording session with Raphael Saadiq’s rhythm section.
Thursday, 8:30 p.m.,
Triple Door

Strong Killings
Strong Killings are characterized by caustic wit, aggressive edges and a sense of fearless abandon. At their core is an innate sense of pop, but their battered, bloodied and bruised exterior is evidence that they are as masochistically interested in crafting hooks as hooking audiences.
Thursday, 9 p.m.,
Comet Tavern

Tea Cozies
Purveyors of garage rock grit and Brit-pop bounce, Seattle’s Tea Cozies recently invested in new hardware, including a Nord keyboard, a 1960s Harmony Rocket hollowbody, an army of tambourines and former Fleet Foxes drummer Garrett Croxon. Hot liquids are not advised on the dancefloor.
Saturday, 10 p.m.,
Rendezvous

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down

Like a post-millennial Edie Brickell, Thao Nguyen leads a spunky, strummy indie rock crew with deft electric guitar and a voice equal parts aloof and alluring. Unlike Paul Simon’s spouse, she’s also a badass beatboxer.
Saturday, 10:30 p.m.,
Crocodile

That 1 Guy
As That 1 Guy, Oakland-based solo weirdo Mike Silverman sing-raps songs like “Buttmachine” and “The Moon is Disgusting” while plucking his single-stringed Magic Pipe, a homemade instrument somewhere between washtub bass and drum machine, the design for which came to him in a dream.
Thursday, 10 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Thee Emergency
Students of garage rock, Thee Emergency put on the ballsiest damn school recital around. Fronted by power-house vocalist Dita Vox, revved up by the guitar of Matt “Sonic” Smith and a badass rhythm section, the Seattle scene vets make timelessness timely.
See interview with Dita Vox
Saturday, 9:45 p.m.,
Neumos

Theoretics
Seattle’s Theoretics work hard to take Seattle hip-hop to a higher plane through live instrumentals, aggressive delivery and uplifting lyricism. They released their debut earlier this year, delivering a message of funk, soul and positivity.
Saturday, 10:10 p.m.,
Showbox SoDo

USF
On record, USF is all echo-laden ambience, electronic fantasy music that reaches from deep, dark underwater chasms to the brightest corners of outer space. On stage, the Seattle duo makes you wanna dance.
Friday, 11 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Unnatural Helpers
Righteously hard-rocking Unnatural Helpers is mostly Dean Whitmore, backed by whoever is in his garage at the moment. Not surprisingly for a band with a singing drummer as a frontman, rhythm rules and their shows are really loud.
Saturday, 10 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Viper Creek Club
Two-man Viper Creek Club seemed to beam into Seattle from nowhere last year, crafting minimal, late-night electro-pop and remixing local hip-hop and indie rock luminaries. These insider’s outsiders fall in with recent downtempo soul stars like James Blake and SBTRKT. There’s a place for them here.
Thursday, 8:15 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Virgin Islands
Born from the ashes of the Cops (since-revived), Virgin Islands is a band that likes politics in its rock. They recently released Ernie Chambers vs. God, an album named for a lawsuit filed by a Nebraska congressman against the Supreme Being that’s brimming with fight songs.
Saturday, 9 p.m.,
Chop Suey

Whalebones
Hey man, is that Freedom Rock?? Well, turn it up! Seattle trio Whalebones released its eponymous debut earlier this year, a bell- bottomed, leather-vested collection of bluesy, psychedelic, ramble-rock jams straight out of Easy Rider.
Saturday, 9:30 p.m.,
Comet Tavern

William Elliott Whitmore
Diesel locomotive on overdrive, gravel on a cold tin roof, grizzly bear on a whisky bender: How to describe the sound of William Elliott Whitmore’s singular voice? The Iowa-born former punk-rock roadie now makes his living as a proletariat bluesman, carrying on the troubadour tradition with a banjo and an axe to grind.
Friday, 10:30 p.m.,
Neumos

Witch Gardens
The year-old Witch Gardens is three-quarters amateurs, with relatively experienced guitarist/vocalist Casey Catherwood holding together its shambling compositions. That’s not a knock: the innocence of the performers shines and lends a sprightly energy unavailable to the well-trained.
Saturday, 8:15 p.m.,
Rendezvous

YACHT
Initially the solo project of Jona Bechtolt, YACHT recently added vocalist Claire L. Evans and backing band the Straight Gaze (zing!) to the lineup. Unlike many of its peers, YACHT’s hybrid of dance punk and alt rock doesn’t date easily; its early work sounds as fresh as new album Shangri-La.
Thursday, 8:15 p.m.,
Paramount

Yuni In Taxco
Yuni in Taxco sounds like music you might hear at a sock hop in some distant land, songs burnished with surf guitar and shot through with dreamy harmonies that relocate the Beach Boys to another hemisphere.
Friday, 7:45 p.m.,
Crocodile

ARTS

Jose Bold’s Seateeth
See interview with John Osebold
Thursday & Saturday, 10:30 p.m.,
Theatre off Jackson

Color Me Obsessed
See “The Band That Wasn't There" 
Friday & Saturday, 7 & 9:30 p.m.,
Northwest Film Forum

The Ecstasy of Influence
Literary mastermind Jennifer Borges Foster (of Filter literary journal) hosts an evening with Heather McHugh, local super-poet, and three of McHugh’s former students: Kate Lebo, Kary Wayson and Erika Wilder. The evening features readings by all four, along with music by old-timey bluegrass band the Half Brothers. Chrom-A-Matic, a visual art collective born out of late-night cabaret, paint live during the whole thing.
Thursday, 8 p.m.,
Town Hall

Genre Bender
See "Collaboration Frustration" 
Friday, 7:30 p.m., 
On the Boards (PLEASE NOTE: This show is no longer at the Can Can.)

Movie Sing-Along
These cult classics are reason to pull out a wig or rat your hair. Add your voice to a chorus of fanatics who know every word at these sing-alongs. Long live the movie musical!

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Thursday, 8 p.m.,
SIFF @ uptown

Purple Rain
Friday, 9:30 p.m.,
SIFF @ uptown

Grease
Saturday, 4 & 7 p.m.,
SIFF @ Uptown Theatre

Erin Leddy’s My Mind is Like an Open Meadow
Hand2Mouth Theatre returns to Seattle from Portland with this celebrated full-length production based on the year Erin Leddy spent living with her grandmother in 2001. The Hand2Mouth gang layers an audiovisual landscape over Leddy’s live performance to create a moving meditation on consciousness, memory and generation.
Friday, 10:30 p.m., & Saturday, 4 p.m.,
Theatre off Jackson

Red Light Nights
Canoe Social Club presents Red Light Nights, a series inspired by Amsterdam’s notorious vice district. It includes an installation by Tim Stackpole, interactive video by Dayton Allemann, micro-drama performances by the Satori Group and a slice of Riddled, a new play by Marya Sea Kaminski. Check out the artists in the window and/or pay Art Madame (and curator) Daryle Conners for a private trip to a back room for an intimate creative encounter with the artist of your choice.
Thursday, 6–10 p.m.,
Paramount Theatre

So You Think It’s Dance: Show (+Tell)
First there will be performances by dancers with a tendency to ruffle people’s feathers, namely Jessica Jobaris, Cherdonna & Lou and Douglas Ridings. Following said rabblerousing, boylesque star Waxie Moon joins a panel of critics—Brendan Kiley (The Stranger), Sandi Kurtz (Seattle Weekly) and Leah Baltus (City Arts)—to talk about what distinguishes dance from performance art, political protest and cabaret, and whether or not those boundaries matter. Velocity’s executive director Tonya Lockyer hosts.
Saturday, 3 p.m.,
Velocity

Steve Cuiffo Is Lenny Bruce
There are imitations— and then there’s Steve Cuiffo’s Lenny Bruce, which resurrects the late comic from the dead with uncanny, spot-on renditions of Bruce’s take on race, religion, sex, drugs and politics.
Friday, 10:30 p.m.,
Showbox at the Market (PLEASE NOTE: This show is no longer at the Can Can and has moved from Saturday to Friday.)

Thriller Dance Class
Known collectively as Dance Belt, dancers Inga Ingenue, Lou Henry Hoover and Waxie Moon can teach anybody Michael’s moves. All ages and abilities are welcome. Here’s your chance to prepare for future flash mobs and cultivate an exceptional party trick, just in time for Halloween.
Friday, 4 p.m.,
Velocity

VITAMIN WATER CULTURE CLUB at FRED

Daniel Barrow’s Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry
See “Transparency and Layers"
Saturday, 8 p.m.,
Culture Club

Celebrity Karaoke
Witness some of the finest local pipes in action as 20-plus festival artists and Seattle celebs belt out your favorite power ballads and pop obscurities with competitive gusto. Arts impresarios and husband/wife duo Eric Fredericksen (Western Bridge) and Betsey Brock (Henry Art Gallery) host.
Thursday, 9 p.m.,
Culture Club

City? Arts? Festival?
Arts Leadership Lab hosts this chat to determine whether or not the arts belong in a city or a festival, whether cities should have festivals, whether our city has enough arts in its festivals and what City Arts could do to make the festival more useful and relevant for the city and the arts. No circular logic allowed.
Saturday, 4 p.m.,
Culture Club

Factory: NW Hip Hop Redesigned
The Members Only crew assembles more than 50 local singers, rappers and beat-makers for this one-time performance. Participating artists— including OC Notes, Katie Kate and Vitamin D—have been grouped into teams, with each team responsible for creating an original song. Their 17 original songs debut at this event, along with some special 2x4 DJ sets. The whole thing will be recorded live for later distribution.
Friday, 10 p.m., (previously listed as 11 p.m.) 
Culture Club

Pie Life
Extreme pie enthusiast Kate Lebo and KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel assemble a bunch of vivid storytellers (David Schmader, Tilson, Shauna James Ahern, Sara Dickerman) to spin some yarns about pie. After the nostalgic hilarity concludes, a pie contest ensues—and you are welcome to bring your own homebaked entry. The Tall Boys provide ambient twang.
Saturday, 1 p.m.,
Culture Club

Pop-Up Art Market
Creations and publications will be for sale from an array of artisans and cohorts, including LxWxH, Marquand Books, Cairo Collective, Iron Curtain Press, Free Time Industries, R&L Goods, Ladies & Gentlemen, and Iacoli and McAllister.
Thurs–Fri, 4–7 p.m.,
Sat, 1–7 p.m.,
Culture Club

Selling Without Selling Out
Don’t be a commercial sucker. This happy hour with Washington Film Works reveals viable means to work in film while scratching your creative itch and scratching up some scrilla at the same time.
Thursday, 4 p.m.,
Culture Club

Visual Art
Curator Sierra Stinson joins forces with more great curators to install a new exhibition each day, collectively showing a diverse range of visual artworks in the Culture Club at the FRED Wildlife Refuge.

THURSDAY
Here’s where it gets weird—and utterly compelling. Free Sheep Foundation (DK Pan and Nko) present artists Dan Hawkins, Charles Krafft, Robb Kunz, Steven Miller, Kelly O, Alexandra Roxo and No Touching Ground in a show titled Love & Anguish: collected acts of transgression. (The Headless Hunter, a new 'zine, also debuts at this show.)

FRIDAY
Michael Van Horn presents Sol Hashemi and Jason Hirata, a pair of collaborating artists who use whatever media they want to explore Japanese rock gardens, audiophilia and seasonal décor, among other things. Klara Glosova and Sierra Stinson host a visual arts happy hour. Artists Greg Lundgren, Gala Bent, Jim Demetre, Lindsey Apodaca, Joey Veltkamp, Susan Robb and Robert Yoder use visuals and video to fill various glasses with various concoctions as you sip your actual drink.

SATURDAY
Serrah Russell and Amanda Manitach present Lightness, featuring local artists working with illumi- nation. Artists Susie J. Lee, Justine Ashbee, Gretchen Bennett, Zack Bent, Saskia Delores, Francesca Lohmann, Jess Marie and Jennifer Zwick, Rodrigo Valenzuela explore glow and glare in a heady investigation of philosophical weightlessness and physical ethereality.

Photography by Garrett Kelly (Seapony), Andrew Waits (Waxie Moon).

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