How to read

1. Know that we're not serious. Yes, we are aware it isn't nice to assume anyone is a dummy. We realize it's impertinent to put ourselves on a pedestal and tell you how to behave. Perhaps we're pushing it by referring to bathroom etiquette, or by finding several different ways to tell you to keep your yap tightly closed. Obviously, most of you know how to comport yourselves in public, right? But we thought you'd get a laugh out of bonding with us on some universal annoyances, so we're providing some elementary rules to live by in each of six areas of arts and entertainment. Tread lightly and have some fun.

2. Except when we're serious. Hey, we do feel passionately about the arts, about its importance to our lives, and we do think you'll find some things you really ought to experience this season. We want you to get out and see what there is to see. We may occasionally be offhand or tell you things you already know, but we mean it when we say that a lot of this information is crucial. And, frankly, based on our often horrifying personal experiences in the clubs, bookstores, music halls, galleries, and theaters of this fair city, some of y'all are dummies.

3. Every picture tells a story. But wait! There's more! Besides our mind-blowing how-tos and the deluge of insider information we churned out for your benefit, you also get . . . visual aids! Cast your corneas over these images. Survey the variety, the quality, the smiles and poses. Take a break from all the tiny print and look at the pictures. Watch for famous visitors. Local talent. Old favorites. New surprises. We've thoughtfully provided you with photos of the fall's worthiest events to help entice you into a ticket-buying spree. We don't want to ghettoize anything—all the genres are mixed together, and you can find extra information on specific offerings in our index. And remember: Most head shots fit inside any wallet!

4. Read as you normally would. That's what we at Seattle Weekly strive to do. We ain't no hicks; we're hooked on phonics. We've been schooled by Merriam Webster and the AP style guide and, of course, Schoolhouse Rock. So here's the scoop: We use all the appropriate vowels (despite what your second grade teacher told you, W isn't really one after all), diphthongs, and we're particularly fond of the serial comma. A period indicates a halt at the end of a sentence, and an exclamation point means, "Stop! We really, really mean it!" When in doubt, "I before E" still applies, and conjunctions will, as far as we're concerned, always have their functions.

5. Use at your own risk. This guide is not meant to include every last event coming up in the next four months.

We don't know everything.

We like stuff you might not like.

We don't like stuff you might like.

Newsprint may rub off on your fingers, which can be very annoying.

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