See It This Week

Hot Tips for First Thursday, ‘Two-Headed Calf’ at Slate Theater, ‘The Big Sleep,’ Bumbershoot

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in 'The Big Sleep'

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Wednesday, Aug. 31
Filmmaker Will Allen spent 22 years as a member of Buddhafield, a California cult. As the sect’s de facto documentarian, he amassed a staggering amount of footage, edited down to his documentary Holy Hell. It’s one of those too-unbelievable-to-be-true stories, given palpable weight by the immediacy of its maker to the subject. –Tony Kay
Northwest Film Forum

Thursday, Sept. 1
First Thursday
picks: Prographica (now sharing space in Davidson Galleries—a savvy relocation and melding of taste) is debuting an exhibit called Things That Kill that looks deliciously morbid, with works sporting subjects as weirdly titillating as plastic bags and bouquets of greasy french fries. The immensely talented Ellen Ziegler is offering a solo show at SOIL Gallery wherein she reveals some source material—origin stories and miscellaneous objects—behind her painterly abstractions. Speaking of painterly, no one quite captures the spectrums of gray and the watery essence of the Northwest landscape like young painter Laura Hamje, who is offering a variety of takes on Mount St. Helens at Bryan Ohno Gallery. G. Gibson delivers a home-run combo of Samantha Scherer’s chaotic, disaster-inspired graphite drawings and Susanna Bluhm’s luxurious, smeared landscapes (this time they’re smothered in snow). Finally, 35-year-old art institution CoCA is mounting a grand opening and exhibit in its new space, the one next door to SOIL, formerly inhabited by Platform. If you want to get in on some fancy VIP CoCA parties this night, consider becoming a CoCA member to support the organization and enjoy some perks around town by participating businesses.  –Amanda Manitach
Various locations

Thursday, Sept. 1
Stoner metal wafted out of the California desert in the early 1990s; the Northwest today can lay claim to shroomer metal. To wit: Fungal Abyss released their latest opus, Karma Suture, in July, and tonight Lesbian celebrates the release of their fourth album, Hallucinogenesis. Both bands unspool extended jams at top volume and maximum dread while instilling bad-trip headiness into their solos and song structures, though Lesbian’s full-bore, double-kick-drum, death-metal-vocal assault is downright intimidating. As heard on lead single “Pyramidal Existinctualism,” the quintet finds a certain sublime beauty in their dark thrash, accentuated with choir-like vocals that sound like a revolt of angry angels. Braving this maelstrom requires a certain kind of bravura, especially if psychedelics are involved. –Jonathan Zwickel
Chop Suey

Thursday, Sept. 1
This event gets its own mention, since it’s a little off the beaten track. Back in the day, artist Amanda James Parker used to dance at ye olde Lusty Lady (for you newcomers, the now-defunct gentleman’s club across from Seattle Art Museum that used to sport a rotation of chortle-inducing, innuendo-infused puns on their 1st Ave. marquee). These days Parker makes work in the form of clever conceptual/relational photography, gigantic hand-painted soft sculptures riffing on consumer culture and more—her practice and production is all over the map, in a stimulating way. This Thursday during the Pioneer Square art walk, make the short detour north to see Ghosts of Flesh Ave., a new installation she’s mounted in her former place of employment, which has in recent months (before it undergoes development) has been turned over to artists for installations and mount shows. –Amanda Manitach

Thursday, Sept. 1 – Sunday, Sept. 4
The brainchild of friends and kindness enthusiasts Calie Swedberg and Keith White, Two-Headed Calf is billed as “one-part immersive installation and one-part puppet show.” Their collaboration began with a performance, Receive a Kindness, at the 2015 Yellow Fish Epic Durational Performance Festival, and that performance grew into the first iteration of Two-Headed Calf, which debuted at the Pocket Theater earlier this year. This reimagined version of that piece takes you into the world of a mystical child in a Technicolor landscape, which you’re invited to explore during Act One. In the second act, the story—of a farm, a magical girl and a little calf—unfolds through puppets, music and movers. –Gemma Wilson
Slate Theater

Friday, Sept. 2 – Saturday, Sept. 3
Two years ago, while indie-music media was still chuckling to itself over the term “dad rock,” Wilco released the most adventurous rock album of the year. The music on Star Wars was more daring, surprising and fun than the happy psychedelia of Tame Impala and more refined and well-crafted than the slacker groove of Kurt Vile; Wilco gave the album away for free online. The band’s veteran status affords them a lot of leverage in their career, and they could easily rest on their prodigious accomplishments, but Wilco remains effortlessly vibrant and—even in their middle age—endlessly energized. They release their 10th album, Schmilco, Sept. 9. –Jonathan Zwickel
Moore Theatre

Friday, Sept. 2 – Saturday, Sept. 3
If you’re a fan of the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski, you owe it to yourself to catch one of these two screenings, especially because they’re preceded by showings of the 1946 version of The Big Sleep. If you’ve never seen the latter, you’ll be surprised at how much Joel and Ethan Coen’s stoner noir borrows from Howard Hawks’ classic crime thriller/Humphrey Bogart star vehicle. Which one’s better? It’s apples and oranges, ya lug. –Tony Kay
Central Cinema

Friday, Sept. 2 – Sunday, Sept. 4
This year AEG Live takes its second swing at remaking Bumbershoot in its own image. That means the top of the lineup looks like every other major, corporate-backed blowout in America, spotlighting EDM-oriented, festival-circuit regulars like Pretty Lights and Zed’s Dead; the bulk of the performers are well-loved locals like Dude York, Manatee Commune, DoNormaal and Iska Dhaaf. Interspersed are some sweet surprises, like Anderson .Paak, Kamasi Washington, Hinds and White Denim. And of course, being the PNW, we can claim bigtime national headliners like Death Cab for Cutie and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis as local. Your call whether you wanna spend $129 a day to see all of them together. –Jonathan Zwickel
Seattle Center