Summer is finally upon the Seattle area. School is almost out, the mountains are (usually) out and reminding us why we live here, and you’re starting to think about buying that air conditioning again. There’s lots to do in June.
Seattle International Film Festival
SIFF is one of Seattle's real claims to fame, the biggest film festival on the planet and one of the best as well. SIFF starts in May but goes strong into mid-June. Expect a wonderful mix of foreign and domestic, big budget and small. Get your SIFF on.
Where: Multiple venues
When: May 20-June 13
How much: A wide variety of passes, ticket packages, and rush tickets
Maxwell and Jill Scott
Maxwell and Jill were both part of the vibrant 1990s “neo-soul” movement that emphasized musicality and connection with classic soul over the image-driven R&B scene of the day. While neo-soul did not transform the music business, it produced an incredibly rich array of talent. Maxwell and Jill Scott are fantastic live performers and a chance to see them together should not be missed.
Where: Key Arena
When: June 2
How much: $40-170
The Nutcracker is almost every young person’s introduction to ballet, a performance to which they are dragged early and often. A far better choice is Coppelia. The Nutcracker is too enmeshed in the holiday ritual to really be experienced as ballet, while Coppelia is a pure delight—fun and funny, with a great score and fantastic choreography from Ballanchine. A true classic that retains its pleasure to modern audiences, both young and old.
Where: Pacific Northwest Ballet
When: June 3-13
How much: $20-100
It’s not as if we hadn’t seen Tracy Morgan before. He had a recurring part on Martin, and a was a usually welcome face during his stint on SNL. But Tina Fey saw something magical in Morgan, and in 30 Rock has cultivated Morgan’s deranged, hilarious gifts. One wonders if this wasn’t the real Tracy all along. Expect a show like no other.
Where: Showbox at the Market
When: June 3
How much: $35-40
STIFF: Seattle True Independent Film Festival
Five years ago, a few Seattle filmmakers and film lovers decided that the big festivals in town had become too dependent on big stars, big directors, and expensive films. And then they decided to counter-program it duringSIFF, when every crazed movie-goer is checking off her list of 138 films. And…they succeeded. Five years on STIFF is bigger and better than ever. When you can’t get into the Edward Norton tribute at SIFF, check out what STIFF’s got on tap—good chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Where: Multiple venues
When: June 4-13
How much: All access passes are $50, single tickets are regular movie prices
Now first things first: this is not an endorsement of Ayers and his criminal past. But he’s a unique figure, dragged from obscurity into the spotlight by another figure who herself was plucked from obscurity into political celebrity. Like anyone else who finds themselves accidentally famous (or re-famous), Ayers is hawking a book. Whether you think he’s a incorrigible traitor, a redeemed idealist, or just a guy with a good book about children’s education, he’s a fascinating part of our American landscape.
Where: Town Hall Seattle
When: June 7
How much: $5
Crosby, Stills, and Nash
CSN may not have blown up any buildings, but they made a huge impact on the musical and cultural landscape of the ‘60s and ‘70s. With their sometimes-partner Neil Young, this original super-group proved you could have three (or four) very different voices and yet one unified feeling, a reassuring thought in the late 60s as the Beatles were tearing themselves apart. Maybe America really does do democracy better. The Chateau St. Michelle concert venue is absolutely beautiful.
Where: Chateau St. Michelle, Woodinville
When: June 12
How much: $50-80 [SOLD OUT]
Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite
Duke Ellington is amazing. Most pop artists, even the most talented, usually have a good 10-15 year run before they lose steam and start living off their early hits. Duke became a vibrant musical force in the late ‘20s and, apart from a few years in the early 50s, never really stopped making incredible music. This late masterpiece, written in 1966, showed Ellington pushing the boundaries of jazz in a remarkably inclusive, melodic way. Very rarely performed and strongly recommended.
Where: Benaroya Hall
When: June 19-20
How much: $15-40