We’ve rounded up the best things to do this week. by Matt Baume
As Seattle shakes off 2020, Stranger staff writers continue to suggest the best things to do around the area—delivering a curated list of recommendations every Wednesday afternoon. Please remember to follow all health guidelines and get vaccinated as soon as you can.
This week: Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner chats with Maangchi, a feminist bird club visits a cemetery, and we’re getting TEN motherfucking Independent Bookstore Days.
OPENING THURSDAY: DEMON SLAYER: MUGEN TRAIN
The highest grossest Japanese movie ever is coming to Washington. Half a year after its theatrical release in Japan, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train will tour American theaters. Yes! Movie theaters. We can go to those now. The movie is based on Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the wildly popular anime and manga series that follows Tanjiro Kamado, a teen who turned to demon-slaying after a demon killed his entire family and turned his sister, Nezuko, into a demon.
In season one, Tanjiro and a pacified Nezuko comb Japan looking for a way to turn Nezuko human again, fighting a lot of demons along the way. The movie picks up where season 1 left off and acts as a canonical bridge between season 1 and the soon-to-be-released season 2. During just its opening weekend in Japan last year, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train earned more than $350 million and beat out Spirited Away to become the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time. Mugen Train was also the fourth highest-grossing movie in 2020. If this film is anything like the series, Mugen Train will be action-packed, beautifully animated, and the characters will have bomb outfits. NATHALIE GRAHAM
You can see if it’s worth the hype in theaters starting this Thursday. Washington counties currently in Phase 3 of reopening can fill theaters to 50% capacity.
OPENING THURSDAY: CHURNING AT GREG KUCERA GALLERY
I’ll write more about Seattle painter Drie Chapek’s new solo exhibition at Greg Kucera Gallery, Churning, in the coming weeks, but let me highlight two quick things in this blurb: drugs and feet.
First, the drugs: I should thank the psychedelic mushrooms I took in college for teaching me about time and, apparently, abstract paintings. Those shrooms sent me on a bad trip—I was frozen and crying on my floor while my friends giggled and looked at plants in my backyard—but the hallucinations were worth it. The images came in chaotic waves: a polar bear jumping in front of a marching band; my 7th birthday party happening next to my prom; the micro with the macro. I learned that time doesn’t communicate in minutes but in overlapping brush strokes, like how Chapek paints.
Second, the feet: Chapek’s largest paintings are at least six feet in either direction. These emotional giants contain everything all at once: a choppy sea, a red schoolhouse, a perfect plate of flan. Chapek earned a degree in set design and it comes through in her work. She sets a foggy stage for you to enter. Get up close and you’ll travel a great, complicated distance. CHASE BURNS
Drie Chapek’s “Churning” is officially exhibiting at Greg Kucera Gallery from April 22 – May 29. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 to 5. There’s plenty of space to keep your distance from those outside your germ circle but make sure to wear a mask.
FRIDAY: VIRTUAL AUTHOR TALK WITH JAPANESE BREAKFAST’S MICHELLE ZAUNER
Michelle Zauner catapulted to the limelight as Japanese Breakfast, her dreamy indie-pop solo project under which she’s released two albums. In her music, she deftly explored grief over the loss of her mother, her identity, and love over fuzzy guitar tracks. Now, she’s back with her first book and memoir, Crying in H-Mart, based on her 2018 New Yorker essay of the same name. In this project, Zauner intimately charts her relationship with her late mother, her identity as a Korean-American, and her family. Jumping from her hometown of Eugene, Oregon, to her grandma’s apartment in Seoul, her love and connection to food thrum throughout.
In this free virtual book talk through Book Larder, Zauner will be joined by THEEEEEE Maangchi, the sensational YouTube cook dedicated to spreading the gospel of Korean cuisine. Listen in as they discuss Zauner’s book and demonstrate how to make Maangchi’s sagwa-ssamjang (apple dipping sauce). And while the Zoom chat is free, you should pick up a copy of Crying in H-Mart to keep close. JASMYNE KEIMIG
The Virtual Author Talk for Crying in H-Mart happens this Friday, April 23, at 5 pm.
FRIDAY: #HBD VELOCITY
As the hashtag implies, Velocity Dance Center will hold its 25th birthday celebration on the internet this year. Before you bust out the streamers and noise-makers, order birthday dinner and drinks from Baked in Bosnia. The video-game-themed bash will begin with a silent auction, where you can bid on art, plants (!), and tarot readings. Toast to the studio’s present flourishing and its future success as the org’s directors continue to hunt for a new space. And then, around 8 PM, take in a bonkers video cabaret hosted by Alyza Del Pan-Monley, featuring work from approximately one million geniuses, including Symone Sanz, Jaret Hughes, Alia Swersky, Michael “Majinn” O’Neal, Tyisha Nedd, Amy J Lambert, Wade Madsen, Drama Topsm Dani Tirrell, Alicia Mullikin, Lavinia Vago, Moonyeka, and Peter Kohring. Pick up tickets here. RICH SMITH
Velocity’s virtual video game bash starts at 6 PM this Friday. Happy birthday, geniuses!
SATURDAY: FEMINIST BIRD CLUB SEATTLE’S APRIL CEMETERY BIRD WALK
The Feminist Bird Club of Seattle takes flight this weekend for the first walk in over a year at — and please try not to dwell too much on the symbolism here — a cemetery. Yes, we’ve spent the last year surrounded by the fear of death, but this Saturday lift your eyes from the gravestones and enjoy the loveliness of peeping on avian neigh-birds. Enjoy a casual stroll about the Evergreen Washelli Cemetery bright and early (well, relative to other Saturday events — 9:30 am on a weekend???). Masks are mandatory, regardless of vaccination status; bring a snack and dress for wet weather because it looks like it might be a bit drizzly. (The birds won’t mind and neither will you when you spot your first warbling vireo.) Everyone is welcome, regardless of skill level, but remember that inclusion, social justice, and equality are cornerstones of feminist birding groups around the world. Though it might not seem like a bunch of ducks and siskins care about your politics, the people with whom you choose to spend your time gazing through binoculars and contemplating habitat preservation most assuredly do. MATT BAUME
STARTING SATURDAY: SEATTLE INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE DAY
For some unimaginable reason, Seattle’s indie bookstores don’t want large numbers of people gathering indoors between narrow rows of books while a deadly respiratory virus continues its rampage around town, so this year’s beloved bookshop spree will work a little differently. Rather than romping around 21 stores across the city in a single day to win the grand prize of a discount at all participating stores for the year, the Seattle Independent Bookstore Challenge now asks readers to make 10 purchases at 10 bookstores over the course of 10 days, either online or in person. If you complete the challenge, you’ll win a tote. But it’s a fuckin’ cool-lookin’ tote. To make things even easier, you can buy the books from the local stores on bookshop.org, Hummingbird, or Libro.FM. Pick up your passport here, and then get ready to go hog wild on some titles.
Looking for a little inspiration? Pick up Kate Lebo’s The Book of Difficult Fruit and/or J. Kenji López-Alt’s The Food Lab (he lives in Seattle now!!). Depending on when you go, pre-order or buy Elissa Washuta’s essay collection, White Magic, at Elliott Bay Book Company. Looks like they’re sold out of Jameson Fitzpatrick’s Pricks in the Tapestry at Open Books, so I guess you’ll have to pre-order Kate Durbin’s Hoarders and pick up Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s The Age of Phillis. Buy Giorgio Carpinteri’s Aquatlantic at Fantagraphics. And show some love to the newbie on the block—West Seattle’s Paper Boat Booksellers—by scooping up Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings and Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel, Klara and the Sun. RICH SMITH
This year, Seattle Independent Bookstore (10) Day(s) happens from April 24 to May 3. Check out participating bookstores right here.
THIS WEEKEND: SEATTLE DEPARTMENT OF DESIGN POP-UP
Your favorite local civic design nerds are back at it again. Seattle Department of Design (SDoD) is celebrating Earth Day and their one-year anniversary with a new merch drop that brings back some of their Seattle Parks and Recreation designs. Starting at 9 AM on Thursday, you can order a selection of long sleeve tees, water bottles, hats, and blankets (get on their newsletter to receive the store link). You can either get those items delivered OR you can pick them up in-person at their pop-up at Gift Shop this weekend. SDoD will have extra items on reserve just for the pop-up, as well as some of their research that went into this drop and a cool installation. Stop by, say hi to Ryan and Nate, pick up some cool clothes, and be on your merry way! JASMYNE KEIMIG
Seattle Department of Design’s pop-up at Gift Shop happens April 24 and 25 from 10 AM – 4 PM.
TAKE A TRIP: VISIT PORT TOWNSEND
After spending a whole pandemic year in the city, I finally took a trip to the small seaport town that the 17th-century British naval officer, and the subject of Jonathan Raban’s masterpiece, Passage to Juneau, Captain George Vancouver, named Port Townsend. The place is, of course, famous for its Victorian homes, historic district, and stunning views of the bay it shares its name with. My trip there, however, was focused on a reservation I made at a restaurant opened in 2017 by former NYC/Seattle chefs Deborah Taylor and Scott Ross and is called Finistère, which basically means “the end of the world.” The good things I heard about this restaurant from the local architect Jerry Garcia proved to be true. But one thing really stood out among the plates I ordered (fried oysters, meatballs, grilled broccolini), the duck breast, which was served on top of spinach and potato puree. Each bite I took of this work of art (crispy skin, soft meat, succulent spinach) made the trip (the hour on the ferry, the ugliness of Bremerton, the hour on the road, the night in hotel with the thin walls) really worth it. I expect to be back in Finistère before the end of spring. CHARLES MUDEDE