Megan Howland’s work deals in balanced surrealism. Courtesy Roq La Rue

The Top 15 Things to Do This Week

First Thursday standouts, a music festival in a warehouse, our 40th Anniversary and more.

June 1

Wednesday

Washington Hall Community Reopening Celebration There’s a lot of sad news coming out of the Central District right now—Vulcan’s 23rd and Jackson deal, continued gentrification, an uptick in hate crimes. That’s why the newly restored Washington Hall’s reopening, the vital community building that has since 1908 served as a creative hub for the neighborhood, is such a welcome development—its cultural lamplight is needed more than ever. Washington Hall, 153 14th Ave., 622-6952, washingtonhall.org. Free. All ages. 5–8 p.m. KELTON SEARS

Ancient Soil Reading UW grad student Julia Kelson has done groundbreaking new work in the field of climate change. Kelson is predicting the future of global warming by investigating the past, using soil to find periods in prehuman history when carbon-dioxide levels were similar to those now. Are we doomed? Stay tuned. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. All ages. 7:30 p.m. PAUL CONSTANT

June 2

Thursday

Seattle Weekly 40th Anniversary Shindig When this paper published its first issue four decades ago, there were no Mariners, no Amazon, no Starbucks. No one had heard of grunge or Riot Grrrl. The Seahawks were nonexistent, and their current owner, Paul Allen, was only 23. But there were stories to be told, and The Weekly of Metropolitan Seattle was born to tell them. Come down, hear newsroom tales from the editors and writers who told the story of the city throughout the years, and toast the next 40! Impact Hub, 220 Second Ave. S., 430-6007, impacthubseattle.com. Free. 21 and over. 6–9 p.m. MARK BAUMGARTEN

Life Stands Still Here There is a melancholy sense of absence in much of artist Rafael Soldi’s work, and in his show Life Stands Still Here, this will be more explicit as Soldi presents photography, digital media, and sculpture as a meditation on the absence following the disappearance of a partner. Glass Box Gallery, 831 Seattle Blvd. S., glassbox gallery.com. Free. All ages. 7–10 p.m. Through June 30. T.S. FLOCK

Meghan Howland

You never get a complete view of what’s happening in Meghan Howland’s dreamlike paintings: A human figure stretches across the canvas, obscured by a flurry of colorful plumage … or are they fins? This surrealism is balanced with a painterly style and a soft palette that makes the work feel intimate. Roq La Rue, 532 First Ave. S., roqlarue.com. Free. All ages. 6–9 p.m. Through July 2. TF

Paint Your Wagon

This Lerner and Loewe musical might seem dated, a 1950s musical set in the 1850s, but there is something very contemporary-Seattle about the story of Rumson, a boom town where an overabundance of testosterone and racial tension sets the scene. At its core, though, is a love story—it is a musical, after all—and a host of classic songs, most notably “They Call the Wind Maria.” 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., 6125-1900, 5thavenue.org. $23–$63. All ages. 7:30 p.m. Ends June 25. MB

June 3

Friday

Sweetbitter Reading Stephanie Danler’s debut novel is about a young woman who moves to New York City to make it big in the restaurant world. “Eating becomes a discipline, language-obsessed,” Danler writes early in Sweetbitter, adding that the protagonist “will never simply eat food again.” It’s an opening passage as alive in sensory thrills as anything published this year. Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. All ages. 7 p.m. PC

Iska Dhaaf The Wanting Creature, the second full-length album that Brooklyn duo Iska Dhaaf will be celebrating tonight, is a tense affair, featuring tremulous guitars and eerie synths that play over Benjamin Verdoes’ insistent drums as Nate Quiroga sings about human frailty and hunger with his haunting voice. New here are slow jams that hint at a Radiohead-like talent for texture and pacing that leaves me, at least, wanting more. With Champagne Champagne, Wampire. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-4618, thecrocodile.com. $10 adv. All ages. 8 p.m. MB

Community Talk: the Jungle KUOW’s Joshua McNichols hosts a panel discussion on how the city is addressing the stretch of homeless encampments along I-5 known as the Jungle. Panelists include Tim Harris, founder of Real Change. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, spl.org. Free. 7–9 p.m. CASEY JAYWORK

June 4

Saturday

The Poet Is In Seattle’s very first Civic Poet, Claudia Castro Luna, takes her new title seriously. For the past month, she’s been on a mission, with the help of the Seattle Public Library, to teach Seattleites how to explore their neighborhoods through poetry. This afternoon she’s hosting a reading of poems written in previous sessions.Seattle Public Library, Southwest Branch, 9010 35th Ave. S.W., 684-7455, spl.org. Free. All ages. 3 p.m. PC

BIG BLDG Bash

Of the one million new music festivals out there, BIG BLDG Bash is easily one of the most promising. For two years the festival has managed to pack out the giant, mazelike SoDo warehouse it takes place in with exclusively local talent and, most important, happy festivalgoers (last year it sold out). If you’re feeling festival burnout, or generally down on the Seattle scene, the third annual BIG BLDG Bash should restore your hope. BIG BLDG, 3600 E. Marginal Way, bigbldgbash.com. $20. All ages. 3 p.m.–2 a.m. KS

June 5

Sunday

King of the Worlds Reading M. Thomas Gammarino’s new book, from Seattle publisher Chin Music Press, is a hyperactive science-fiction road trip about an actor who loses the lead role in Titanic and then travels across time and space in the throes of a “trans-dimensional midlife crisis.” After his reading, I’ll be joining Gammarino for a talk. James Cameron will be discussed. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, bookstore.washington.edu. Free. All ages. 3 p.m. PC

Counterculture Comics and Semiotics of Disney Icons Local cartoonist Shary Flenniken was once a member of Air Pirates, an early ’70s underground comics collective that ripped Disney characters (including Mickey Mouse) and placed them in adults-only stories full of drugs, sex, and cursing. Flenniken joins Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid today for a conversation about the collective’s Air Pirates Funnies and appropriated imagery in comics, which concludes with a workshop on how you too can swipe imagery for satirical purposes. Henry Art Gallery, 4100 15th Ave. N.E., henryart.org. $10. All ages. 12:30 p.m.–2 p.m. KS

June 6

Monday

Mirah & Jherek BischoffTwo infinitely charming, wildly talented performers who emerged from the Pacific Northwest’s indie scene before moving on to bigger stages, singer/songwriter Mirah and multi-instrumentalist composer Bischoff return to town with a string quartet to perform their songs. Prepare to be moved. The Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org. $18.50. All ages. 8 p.m. MB

June 7

Tuesday

Vaseline Buddha Reading Jung Young Moon is a prominent experimental South Korean author who is finally debuting a translation of one of his novels in America. Vaseline Buddha is about the events surrounding the funeral of a goldfish named Kierkegaard. This is an incredibly rare stateside appearance. Make the most of it. Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E. Prospect St., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. All ages. 7 p.m. PC

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