Fall Arts Event Picks

The best entertainment the season has to offer.


Sept 29

Childish Gambino Donald Glover is better than you at comedy, television, writing, and rapping without his shirt on. This night will mainly feature the latter. KeyArena, keyarena.com

Oct 4

Beyoncé and Jay-Z America’s royal family. CenturyLink Field, centurylinkfield.com

Oct 7–Nov 4

Earshot Jazz Festival Sure, it’s not the mainstream taste, but anyone who says jazz isn’t still a thriving genre hasn’t been to the annual city-spanning celebration of the art form. earshot.org

Oct 25

Wild Powwers: Skin Release Show If you’ve been sleeping on Seattle’s best modern grunge band, hopefully its ripping new record will be your wake-up call. Neumos, neumos.com

Oct 31

Mitski On her new album Be the Cowboy, Mitski solifies her place as one of indie rock’s most vital voices by taking things in a complex, experimental pop direction while still pouring out buckets of emotion. Showbox SoDo, showboxpresents.com

Nov 7

Daddy Issues With apologies to this show’s very good punk headliner (the Menzingers), opening act Daddy Issues put out the best album of 2017 (the claws-out bubblegum grunge of Deep Dream) and haven’t toured behind it in Seattle yet. El Corazon, elcorazonseattle.com

Nov 10

Frankie Cosmos The heartwarming, youthful twee pop rock of Frankie Cosmos’s Vessel makes it the best Sub Pop release of 2018. The Neptune, stgpresents.org

Nov 14

Steady Holiday Barsuk Records own indie-pop soloist melds her violin and guitar playing into songs of cowardice that cut sharp but go down smooth on Nobody’s Watching. Sunset Tavern, sunsettavern.com

Nov 16 & 17

Freakout Festival There have been many attempts to put on a music festival in Ballard with a loaded local lineup, and none have stuck around. Freakout Festival gives it another try with Shabazz Palaces, Lisa Prank, and more. Ballard, the-freakout.com


Oct 9–Nov 4

Come From Away After getting its feet wet at Seattle Rep in 2014, the joyous musical about the human spirit in the tiny Canadian town of Gander—where planes were forced to divert after the 9/11 attacks—became a Broadway hit. Welcome its return landing at the 5th Avenue Theatre. 5thavenue.org

Oct 12–Nov 11

Oslo Peace in Middle East may seem impossible, but a Norwegian couple almost made it happen in the ‘90s. Oslo tells the thrilling back-channel drama that led to The Oslo Accords between Israel and Palestine. ACT Theatre, acttheatre.org

Nov 8–Dec 30

Matilda the Musical Thanks to witty tunes courtesy musical comedian Tim Minchin, the stage adapatation of Roald Dahl’s story of an underloved, bookish 5-year-old girl with telekinesis can entertain audiences of all ages. Village Theatre (Issaquah), villagetheatre.org

Oct 17–Nov 25

A People’s History Firebrand monologist Mike Daisey returns with a show examining the way we teach and respond to history by comparing his high-school education to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Seattle Repertory Theatre, seattlerep.org

Nov 23–Dec 30

In the Heights Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical captures the familial Hispanic American spirit of New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. It’s a shame that Miranda never followed the show up with anything significantSeattle Repertory Theatre, seattle rep.org


Nov 2–11

All Premiere I mean, it’s right there in the title. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s freshest show of the season features the Seattle debuts of Alejandro Cerrudo’s Silent Ghost and Alexander Ekman’s Cacti, plus the premiere of A Dark Lonely Space from PNB’s Kyle Davis. McCaw Hall, pnb.org

Nov 8 & 9

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker Since the Russians created The Nutcracker, why not take a year off from the PNB version and see the home country’s touring take on the holiday classic? The Paramount, stgpresents.org

Nov 8–10

Compagnie Käfig Complex digital lighting projections shift the choreographic landscape and virtually become another dancer in Pixel, the acclaimed work by the French-based acrobatic street-dance company. Meany Hall, meancenter.org

SAM brings in Indian royalty for ‘Peacock In the Desert.’ ||| Sheikh Taju, ‘Maharao Umed Singh of Kota on a Hunt,’ 1780, opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 26 × 20.5 in. Photo by Neil Greentress/Mehrangarh Museum Trust

SAM brings in Indian royalty for ‘Peacock In the Desert.’ ||| Sheikh Taju, ‘Maharao Umed Singh of Kota on a Hunt,’ 1780, opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 26 × 20.5 in. Photo by Neil Greentress/Mehrangarh Museum Trust


Oct 6–Jan 27

Quenton Baker: Ballast Baker looks to connect survival tactics of slaves and modern black Americans through erasure poems made from Senate documents of the 1841 revolt on the slave ship Creole and additional invented-form poems. Frye Art Museum, fryemuseum.org

Oct 12–Mar 24

Polaroids: Personal, Private, Painterly You down with O.P.P. (Other People’s Pictures)? Seattle’s Robert E. Jackson might be the world’s premiere Polaroid collector, and he showcases some of the best in an exhibit that looks at what moments we chose to capture in a pre-selfie era. Bellevue Arts Museum, bellevuearts.org

Oct 18–Jan 21

Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India SAM offers a sense of what it would’ve been like to be Indian royalty (circa 17th century–1947) through 250 intricate paintings, canopies, jewelry, and weapons that once resided within palace walls. Seattle Art Museum, seattleart museum.org

Nov 17-June 2

Edgar Arceneaux: Library of Black Lives Via a nondescript wooden, mirror-laden, labyrinth library filled with stacks of books featuring misremembered covers (some unreadable due to the crust of crystalline sugar), Los Angeles artist Arceneaux questions the notion of an absolute truth of the black experience. Henry Art Gallery, henryart.org


Oct 4

American Experiences The Seattle Metropolitan Orchestra opens its 10th season with an all-American program featuring Michael Wansley as guest rapper in Randall Woolf’s Blues for Black Hoodies. Benaroya Hall. smco music.org

Oct 13–27

The Turn of the Screw In Seattle Opera’s version of Benjamin Britten’s chilling 1954 opera, adapted from a Henry James story, two children are menaced by a ghost. McCaw Hall. seattle opera.org

Oct 17

Marc-André Hamelin Watch Hamelin (aka The Guy Who Can Play Anything among piano mavens) put his superhuman technique and artistry into music by Bach and Chopin and arrangements of songs by pop chansonnier Charles Trenet. Meany Center. meanycenter.org

Oct 18–20

Sheku Kanneh-Mason One day, we hope, a female conductor won’t be remarkable, but an expert 19-year-old cellist always will be. Kanneh-Mason (who played at Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding) joins the Seattle Symphony to solo in Tchaikovsky; Ruth Reinhardt also conducts Schumann, Saariaho, and Beethoven. Benaroya Hall. seattle symphony.org

Oct 19

Mahler’s Symphony no. 2 Feel the masterwork’s earthshaking power as organist David Briggs plays it in his own transcription—in this case accompanying four choirs in the grandiose St. James Cathedral. stjames-cathedral.org

Nov 13

Brooklyn Rider Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw is one of the four female composers whose music this adventurous New York string quartet is combining with Beethoven’s. Meany Center. meanycenter.org


Oct 8

Eric Idle This Monty Python alum’s “sortabiography” couldn’t be titled anything other than Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. University Temple United Methodist Church, ubookstore.com

Oct 20

My Favorite Murder Live Do I find the popular obsession with true-crime podcasts—like this comedic favorite—deeply unsettling? Sure. But I’m gonna be mum about it because Y’ALL LOVE MURDER. The Paramount, stgpresents.org

Oct 21

Carol Burnett Now and forever the goddess of TV comedy. Expect hilarious stories as she expands on the traditional audience Q&A cold open from her legendary CBS variety show. Benaroya Hall, seattlesymphony.org

Nov 2

Abbi Jacobson Along with Ilana Glazer, she’s half of the duo behind the brilliant Comedy Central sitcom Broad City, but here she’s chatting up her art book, I Might Regret This. Third Place Books (Lake Forest Park), thirdplacebooks.com

Nov 3

Short Run Seattle’s indie comics and small press/self-published literary scene is always bustling with creative energy, and Short Run is its high holy day, when everyone emerges from their cramped living and working spaces to supportively show off their exciting new wares. Seattle Center Fisher Pavillon, shortrun.org

Nov 28

Bob Woodward The acclaimed journalist who once took down a president made more waves with his new Trump tome, Fear. It’d sure be nice for a repeat, Bob. The Paramount, stgpresents.org


Oct 11–21

Twist: Seattle Queer Film Festival This year’s LGBTQ slate includes Rupert Everett’s Oscar Wilde biopic, female motocross, documentaries about George Michaels and trans folks in the military, Rafiki (which garnered raves at Cannes, but has been banned in the director’s homeland of Kenya), and much more. SIFF Cinema Egyptian & Northwest Film Forum, threedollarbillcinema.org/twist

Oct 25-28

NFFTY It’s always wunderkind central when the National Film Festival for Talented Youth screens the genre-spanning works by top sub-25-year-old filmmakers. SIFF Cinema Uptown & Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, nffty.org

Nov 11

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live! After successfully relaunching the B-movie-mocking classic on Netflix, MST3K’s 30th anniversary tour pairs new host Jonah Ray with original host Joel Hodgson for a rollicking night of talking back at the big screen. The Moore, stgpresents.org