Ernst Lubisch is something of an unsung hero of Hollywood. The German-born director effectively invented romantic comedies, pushed the boundaries of the production code, and was able to make films that seemed both amoral and immensely warm. His last film, cluny Brown, is presented on a new 35mm print at the Film Forum. It is as rich, funny, and rewarding as his best work. Don’t miss it. Where: Northwest Film Forum
When: May 13-19
How much: Free
Seattle International Film Festival
SIFF is one of Seattle's real claims to fame, the biggest, best attended film festival on the planet. If you live in the Seattle area and enjoy movies at all, consider SIFF mandatory. Recent guests have included Spike Lee, Francis Ford Coppola, and Paul Giamatti. Expect a wonderful mix of foreign and domestic, big budget and small. Get your SIFF on.
Where: Multiple venues in Seattle, Everett, and Renton.
When: May 19-June 12
How much: A wide variety of passes, ticket packages, and rush tickets
Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth
First things first: this exhibit has nothing to do with the Australian rock musician and screenwriter named Nick cave. The Nick cave whose remarkable work is showing at SAM now is a chicago-based avant-garde fashion artist. His “soundsuits” are truly one-of-a-kind, and must quite literally be seen in person to be believed. Even hi-res photographs online make these creations seem colorful and fun, imparting none of the deep unsettling quality they have in person. A brilliant exhibit and wonderful choice by SAM.
Where: Seattle Art Museum
When: Through June 5
How much: Non-member adults $15, children $12
The Frye Art Museum is maybe Seattle's most underrated cultural institution. At once traditional and adventurous, small enough to digest in an afternoon but much more than a gallery, and-best of all-it's always free. The Frye was founded by local meat-packing magnates, Charles and Emma Frye, and this program recreates the content and the atmosphere of their early 1900s home collection.
Where: Frye Museum
When: Through January 2012
How much: Free
April gets all the attention. Opening season, how strong do the Mariners start, who’s disappointing, who’s surprising. But May is really when baseball season starts. You know, when you realize October is almost half a year away and unless your team is really good or really bad, there’s no tension in the playoffs hunt. You go to a game, for just that: the game. Baseball at its best. In early May the AL champ Texas Rangers come to town and at the end of the months there’s a three-day dance with the hated Yankees.
Where: Safeco Field
When: Texas Rangers: May 3-5; New York Yankees May 27-29
How much: Wide range of ticket prices depending on day and seats
The Magic Flute
A great introductory opera, for opera novices and the young, is Rossini’s Barber of Seville, recently staged by the Seattle Opera. A perfect "next step" opera, to determine if you just sorta kinda enjoy the form or really love it, is Mozart’s marvelous Magic Flute. The quality of the music is unsurpassed, with delightful duets, stirring choruses, and breathtaking arias. The story is clunky at time, moving at others, but the setting is fascinating and always exciting. And the comic Papageno provides the perfect balance of comic relief. One of opera’s true masterpieces.
Where: McCaw Hall
When: May 7-21
How much: $25 - $218
Few cities besides Seattle could embrace the "pagan ritual" roots of the holiday so openly, and wholesomely. Join a wide variety of performers (including the Seattle Chamber Players, Gamelan Pacifica, Stuart Dempster) for a 12-hour celebration of the return of May. Morris dancing is optional.
When: May 1, 1pm-1am
Where: Seattle Town Hall
How much: $5 (ticket allows re-entry throughout day)
Seattle Erotic Arts Festival
Join the sex-positive community, the curious, and the gawkers for a three-day festival of erotic art, literature, and performance. In a town where the erotic casually infiltrates mainstream, one might wonder the necessity of a dedicated erotic festival. Rest assured, this will surpass the run-of-the-mill racy movie or nude at SAM. You only live once.
When: May 20-22
Where: Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
How much: $25 day pass
Seattle Cheese Festival
You can say all you want about how arts-friendly Seattle is, how it's a bastion of innovative theater, film, and music. But deep down we all know that this is a food town (Bite of Seattle gets half a million visitors). So you're not fooling anybody if you say you're not interested in 250 cheeses and 21 wines.
When: May 14-15
Where: Pike Place Market
How much: $1 suggested donation, $10 for wine garden