This Week's Critics' Picks

Mos Def, author Elijah Wald, and the L.A. Philharmonic top our must-see list.


The mighty Mos Def snuck through town earlier this year, but your ear doesn't have to be underground to catch the extraordinary, dapper rapper at this blowout featuring Mix Master Mike, Carlos Mencia, Phantom Planet, and our own U.S.E. Hec Edmundson Pavilion, UW, 3870 Montlake Blvd., 800-325-7328. $18 with UW ID/$28. 4 p.m. Fri., May 12. RACHEL SHIMP


InRiding With Strangers: A Hitchhiker's Journey (Chicago Review, $22.95), Elijah Wald celebrates thumbing a lift, once a proud American tradition and perhaps due for revival with current gas prices. The journalist and musician persuasively argues that we shouldn't be so scared of our fellow travelers. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600, www.elliottbay Free. 6 p.m. Tues., May 16. BRIAN MILLER


Conductor/composer Esa-Pekka Salonen has brought the Los Angeles Philharmonic a buzz that instills confidence about classical music's future. On the bill: Beethoven's Eighth and Fifth Symphonies, flanking the Fourth (1992) by bold colorist Witold Lutoslawski. Benaroya Hall, Third Avenue and Union Street, 206-215-4747, $30–$95. 7:30 p.m. Wed., May 17. GAVIN BORCHERT

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