VAN GOGH TO MONDRIAN
Sat., May 29–Sun., Sept. 12. Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St., 206-625-8900.
Every summer needs a blockbuster art show; King Tut got that tradition rolling around here back in 1978. This time, SAM turns to some of the biggest names in painting: Van Gogh (never out of fashion), Picasso (just coming off his impressive $104 million showing at Sotheby's earlier this month), and Mondrian (possibly overexposed, but still with cachet). Eighty works by these and other masters will be on loan from the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands, home to the collection of art patron Helene Kröller-Müller, who amassed the largest private holdings of Van Gogh's works. According to SAM, many of these pieces have rarely been seen in this country. Bids, however, will not be accepted. MARK D. FEFER
FREMONT OUTDOOR CINEMA
Sat., June 26–Sat., Aug. 28. North 35th Street and Phinney Avenue North. $5. Info: 206-781-4230 and www.outdoorcinema.com/seattle.
Raiders of the Lost Ark inaugurates the annual Saturday-night carnival of open-air filmgoing. There's not an ounce of stuffiness to Steven Spielberg's 1981 cliffhanger (co-written by George Lucas), a hugely entertaining B-movie homage, with Harrison Ford at his most relaxed and confident. Other family-friendly titles in the 10-week series include Casablanca, Grease, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Finding Nemo. As in past years, expect comedy, contests, and sundry preshow activities while lawn chairs are set up and dusk falls. Bring your own food, but no booze. (There will be a separate Friday-night series at a different Fremont location screening more adult fare like Deliverance and Crash; details are still pending.) BRIAN MILLER
EVERGREEN STATE FAIR
Thurs., Aug. 26–Mon., Sept. 6. Kids 5 and under are free; $4 youths 6–15; $6 seniors (62+); $8 adults. Fairgrounds, Monroe, 425-388-3200, www.evergreenfair.org.
It's entirely unnecessary to wear a smirk and a trucker hat in order to enjoy this fair. Approach it without kitsch and you'll still have a great time. The dog shows and apple pie contests and chili taste-offs are a hoot. And the pig race is already making fun of itself, sparing you the trouble. Plus there's a rodeo, rides, funnel cakes, concerts, and the most expertly run parking field you've ever encountered. If uncynical entertainment is what you're after, this annual fair is well worth the drive. M.D.F.
7 p.m. Fri., Aug. 20. $55. Pier 62/63, www.summernights.org.
Oh, Liza, are you sure you want to haul it back up on an outdoor stage in the middle of August? Really?! 'Cause, look, you have nothing to prove in my book, honey. The pathetic bleating of that horrible eunuch you made the mistake of marrying does not change the fact that you are LIZA—the same gal who vamped through Cabaret, the same voice that's knocked "New York, New York" off the back wall of innumerable concert halls, the same daughter who, unlike certain sisters she could probably mention, has never whored her mother's name to make her own. David Gest? Please—that nefarious leech probably had brunch plans with Ann Miller right up until she called it a day. You're better than that, and you don't owe anybody anything. That last Broadway comeback of yours was stunning according to Rex Reed, so why push it? You've braved harsher criticism than anyone with your generous talents should ever have to face; those bland little replicants squalling frigidly through pop tunes on American Idol can kiss your ass. I mean, go grab a peaceful retirement, and screw the bastards who can't understand that growing up with Dorothy might tend to leave a girl feeling like a house had been dropped on her psyche. No? OK, I'll be there in the audience with fingers crossed, and, hey, maybe Seattle's where you'll find the respect you deserve—it is the Emerald City, after all. STEVE WIECKING
Wed., July 14–Thurs., July 15. Price TBA. White River Amphitheatre, Auburn, 206-628-0888.
The decreasing relevance of North America's longest-running rock package tour forced a late-'90s shutdown, followed by several years of silence and, finally, a tepidly reviewed run last year. So, it's no laughing matter that this year's version of Lollapalooza not only lasts two days, but also features a powerhouse lineup. To wit: Morrissey, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Modest Mouse, Le Tigre, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and the Von Bondies on the mainstage the first day; String Cheese Incident, the Flaming Lips, Basement Jaxx, Wilco, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Gomez, and the Polyphonic Spree headlining the second. Another stage will feature Broken Social Scene, the Walkmen, Wolf Eyes, Danger Mouse, the Datsuns, and Sparta on the first day; and the Thrills, the Fire Theft, the Coup, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Elbow, and Wheat on the second. Do we love all of these bands? Of course not. But there's so much for a rock fan to adore here that all objections are essentially rendered moot by the sheer firepower of the thing. Not to mention that any excuse to see Sonic Youth play outdoors, the band's surprising natural habitat, is an excuse worth heeding. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
STP BIKE RIDE
Sat., July 17–Sun., July 18. Registration: $70–$100. www.cascade.org.
If you wondered why, last July, friends and strangers offered unwelcome remarks like, "My ass is on fire, and I can't sit down," they had good reason. Or about 200 good reasons, since that's about the number of miles they pedaled from Seattle to Portland during the annual STP event—formally known as the Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic—now in its 25th year of humbling the strong and empowering the weak. Everyone leaves at the crack of dawn from the UW Montlake parking lots. Lance Armstrong wanna-bes (some 1,500 last year) complete the course in a day, while weekenders (5,800 of them in 2003) take a more sedate and civilized two—stopping to sleep, eat, and enjoy massages. The smart riders are training as you read this, but you've still got about seven weeks to pump up your tires, strap on your helmet, and whip your ass into shape. It'll never forgive you, but then you'll have the privilege of whining to your friends and office mates, too. B.R.M.
SEATTLE CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL
Mon., July 5–Fri., July 30. Single concerts: $16–$35; $133 for any four; $399 for the whole series of 12.
Lakeside School, 14050 First Ave. N.E., 206-283-8808.
During our cold, wet winters, a classical concert in a cozy hall is an easy sell. But how do you get audiences to spend a ravishing Seattle summer evening indoors? Well, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival takes full advantage of its pretty setting at Lakeside School: You can savor an early dinner on the lawn; catch the informal 7 p.m. recital in the airy, neocolonial McKay Chapel (the huge windows make it feel like a greenhouse); or just bring a blanket and enjoy the 8 p.m. concerts on the lawn for free, broadcast from inside St. Nicholas Hall. The programs cover the spectrum from works you probably know and love to others you've likely never heard before; opening night, July 5, for example, features Schubert's Rondo Brilliant, Mozart's Quintet in D, and Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio. Modern music highlights include music by Bartok (July 7), Paul Schoenfield (July 12), Karl Pilss (July 19), and Walter Piston (July 28). There's always at least one percussion work (chamber music's not all about strings and piano)—this year it's a quartet for clarinet, horn, cello, and side drum by Bohuslav Martinu (July 21). Among the returning musicians (like summer camp, the SCMS annually lures back a devoted core of participants) are Anton Nel, James Ehnes, Marcus Thompson, Bion Tsang, and, of course, director Toby Saks, who's pulling it all together for the 23rd time. GAVIN BORCHERT
THE SINGING FOREST
Fri., July 23–Sat., Aug. 21. $27–$46. Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St., 206-269-1900.
Playwright Craig Lucas seems to be in the middle of a well-deserved renaissance: His screenplay for Alan Rudolph's The Secret Lives of Dentists won the 2003 New York Film Critics Circle Award; he just wrapped up his first movie directing project with an adaptation of his furious Hollywood tragedy The Dying Gaul; and The Light in the Piazza, the tingly, tear-jerking musical romance he wrote with composer/lyricist Adam Guettel, and which debuted at Intiman last summer, is slated for Broadway next season. Now he's back at the Intiman with a world-premiere production of Forest, which first received a reading at ACT a few seasons ago. It was an appealing if slightly ungainly script then, but Lucas' work has a voice that stays with you—its dark, dreamy, fantastic arias remain rooted in real human emotion. He's met his perfect match in director Bartlett Sher, who, as artistic director, has led Intiman through similarly grounded flights of imagination. Working together, the two could produce something that will haunt us long after summer's over. S.W.
Sat., July 31–Sat., Aug. 21. Price TBA. McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, 206-389-7676.
If it's August, it must be Wagner, and this year Seattle Opera presents Stephen Wadsworth's acclaimed staging of Lohengrin, the 1850 work that put Wagner on the map. A tale of purity (male and female) threatened by envy, lust, and imperial politics, it was composed before the Bad Boy of Bayreuth started writing singer-killing roles, and its two main characters, the knightly Lohengrin and his spacey bride, Elsa, have often served vocalists as launching pads to the greater challenges of Siegfried and Brünnhilde. The executants in Seattle's production are both debutants, but Dutch tenor Albert Bonnema has already sung the less ball-busting Götterdämmerung half of the former role, while Marie Plette has the chops for heavy lyric parts like Butterfly and Rusalka, so both should find the roles right up their alley. In a major bonus for ticket buyers, Wagnerian superstar Jane Eaglen will sing the secondary but crucial role of Ortrud, a woman just as wicked as the name makes her sound. The physical production, by Tom Lynch (set), Marin Pakledinaz (costumes), and Peter Kazorowski (lighting) is gorgeous, nontraditional but not goofy, either. ROGER DOWNEY
SUNSET SUPPER AT THE MARKET
7:30–11 p.m. Fri., Aug. 13. $60 (two for $100 before Aug. 2); reserved seating: $75–$1,500. 206-682-7453.
This summer the Pike Place Market will be 97 years old and will celebrate with its biggest party of the year: the annual Sunset Supper to benefit the many human- services programs that make the Market much more than a commercial enterprise. The Market Foundation expects participation by as many as 60 restaurants, wineries, and breweries, with stalls set up around a traffic-free Pike Place offering bits and quaffs to wandering diners. Already committed to be present are Café Campagne, Le Pichet, Serafina, and Fish Club, with Hogue Cellars and Skyy Vodka among those offering libations. Attendees who want the security of a reserved seat can pay to have one; those inclined to take their chances perch where they can or eat as they stroll. Music for dancing by the Dudley Manlove Quartet. R.D.