Local Art News
From Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson:
ArtsWest cultural center in West Seattle announced it will present as planned the musical “Dogfight,” despite the loss of the show’s co-producer, Balagan Theatre. The Balagan board of directors announced last week that the nonprofit Seattle company was being disbanded, due to crippling financial shortfalls. “Dogfight,” about the offbeat romance of a young soldier and a waitress in 1960s San Francisco, plays Oct. 23-Nov. 22 at ArtsWest.
In addition, a press statement by ArtsWest stated that “current Balagan subscribers will be offered complimentary tickets to ‘Dogfight,’ and also be provided the opportunity to transfer into ArtsWest season subscriptions at no charge.”
“It is important to all of us at ArtsWest to take care of Balagan Theatre's supportive and dedicated audience. It is the right choice for us to support Seattle theatre patrons and Balagan subscribers need a welcoming home that we can offer,” said ArtsWest managing director Laura Lee.
For more details, contact ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery at www.artswest.org or 206-9938-0339.
The fall arts season is underway in earnest. Good thing, too, since it's looking like we'll need all the indoor entertainment we can get in the next few weeks. (Let the rainy season begin!)
Here are a few things to put on your weekend calendar. For hundreds more, see our Fall Arts Guide. And feel free to make your recommendations to other readers on the comments thread.
You read that right - free. Saturday, Sept. 27, is the 10th annual Museum Day Live, which means more than 1,000 museums across America will be open free of charge (visit the site for instructions on getting a ticket, good for 2 people). Quite a few in the Seattle area are taking part, including Seattle Art Museum, MOHAI, Burke Museum, Northwest African American Museum, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, The Museum of Flight, Nordic Heritage Museum and EMP. Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, Washington State History Museum and Tacoma Art Museum are also part of the package. If you happen to be weekending in Bellingham, the Whatcom Museum is free, too.
Some new exhibits you might want to check out are listed below, seeing as they're free and all.
The globe-trotting Cirque du Soleil will return to King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond in January 2015, with the local premiere of the circus extravaganza “KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities.”
The latest touring production by the popular Canadian outfit, the show will be performed under the company’s blue-and-white big-top tent at Marymoor starting on Jan. 29, 2015. Tickets will be available to the general public starting Friday, Sept. 26. Details and purchases: cirquedusoleil.com/kurios or 1-800-450-1480. Tickets range from $35 to $156.
One Reel, the nonprofit outfit that presents Bumbershoot, has announced that due to a revenue shortfall tied to the 2014 music and arts festival, it is laying off five seasonal and three full-time staff members, at least temporarily. The exact terms of the layoffs -- and the size of the shortfall -- have not yet been disclosed.
The Seattle Times is pursuing the story. In the meantime, here's the official word from Bumbershoot spokesperson Barbara Mitchell:
"In an ongoing effort to adapt to ever-changing circumstances and evolve Bumbershoot to best serve Seattle, One Reel is temporarily reducing its staff to core personnel for Q4.
"This year, a number of conditions accelerated Bumbershoot’s return to Memorial Stadium as its Mainstage venue. Although we were excited, it was a financial risk. The outpouring of enthusiasm for the move and incredibly positive feedback from patrons and participants across the board was unfortunately not enough to make up for a revenue shortfall caused by the additional expense.
"One Reel is in the midst of working diligently to complete its financial obligations for 2014, while looking ahead to make Bumbershoot 2015 even better for our patrons, participants, staff, and Seattle as a whole.
"We operate on a pretty bare bones year-round staff. I believe the layoffs affect five seasonal contracted employees (most by just a week, one by a month), three full-time staff members who are temporarily laid off (the hope is to bring them back in the next four to six weeks), and a small handful of us who are here in a reduced capacity for the time being.
"Attendance was down from 2013 (an exceptionally high year that far exceeded expectations) and in line with 2012 numbers (which reflect the revised vision of the festival post-2010)."
Repost in Honor of Tonight’s Concert – Of Failed Interviews, Failed Landscapes, Die Antwoord and Nostalgia–We live in an era of terrible beauty and pop conceptualism.
Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson writes:
A prolific author of plays, novels and short stories, J. (Joan) California Cooper passed away Saturday, June 20, in Seattle, where she lived with her daughter Paris Williams since 2013. Ms. Cooper was 82.
Born in Berkeley, Calif., and a longtime Bay Area resident, Cooper penned at least 17 plays. Her script "Loners" was given a staged reading in Seattle in 2010, by the Lorraine Hansberry Project, which also honored Ms. Cooper as a Hansberry Project Legend.
But she received widest recognition for her fiction. Encouraged by fellow author Alice Walker, who compared her to Zora Neale Hurston and wrote that her "style is deceptively simple and direct and the vale of tears in which her characters reside is never so deep that a rich chuckle at a foolish person’s foolishness cannot be heard," Ms. Cooper published more than a dozen books of prose, both novels and short stories. Her story "Funny Valentines" was made into a TV movie starring Alfre Woodard.
Ms. Cooper was the recipient of numerous literary prizes, among them an American Book Award (for her story anthology, "Homemade Love"), a James Baldwin Writing Award and a Literary Lion Award from the American Library Association.
Memorial services have not yet been planned.
By Michael Upchurch/ Seattle Times arts writer
Trouble at the U.S.-Canadian border again for a traveling artist wanting to share his expertise. Canadian dancer Yannick Matthon, one of the stars of Crystal Pite’s troupe Kidd Pivot, was scheduled to start rehearsals of excerpts from Pite’s brilliant “Dark Matters” for the Cornish Dance Theater Fall 2014 Concert. He was also slated to present a lecture/demonstration about Pite’s choreography on Sept. 19.
“Unfortunately, there was a problem in securing his visa in a timely manner and he was unable to cross the border in time,” says Cornish director of communications Rosemary Jones. “‘Dark Matters’ has been removed from the fall program, although we hope to be able to do it in the future. The Sept. 19 lecture was canceled.”
The Cornish Dance Theater Fall 2014 Concert will still happen in November as scheduled, featuring choreography by Iyun Ashani Harrison, José Limón, Vivian Little, Michele Miller and Amy O’Neal. 8 p.m. Nov. 21 and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Nov. 22, Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, 201 Mercer St., Seattle; $5-$10 (1-800-838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com).
By Michael Upchurch/Seattle Times arts writer
The Seattle Art Museum has purchased an 1814 painting by Raphaelle Peale, “Still Life with Strawberries and Ostrich Egg Cup,” from the Roy Nutt Family Trust, for an undisclosed sum.
Peale (1774-1825) was the son of artist-naturalist Charles Willson Peale and the brother of portraitist Rembrandt Peale. His painting portrays an eclectic array of objects from his father’s collection, including “a silver mounted ostrich egg from Africa, a Chinese export porcelain pitcher, a celadon bowl, a finely crafted silver spoon, and a gathering of strawberries cultivated on the family’s experimental farm.”
“Still Life with Strawberries and Ostrich Egg Cup” has been on loan to SAM since 1991. In its public announcement, SAM said the painting is regarded as “one of the most beautiful, ambitious, and evocative paintings by this American master of the genre.”
SAM is also the beneficiary of a recent donation from the estate of the late Ruth J. Nutt. It consists of 45 examples of early American decorative art – silver, furniture and needlework – that join six other pieces given to the museum by Nutt, a former SAM trustee. The silver objects, roughly 40 in all, have also been on loan to SAM since 1991.
Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson writes:
Balagan Theatre announced Friday that, due to financial concerns, it will shut down permanently.
"This is not a decision that the board took lightly,” said board president Jim Griffin, in a company press release. “When viewing the big picture of our overall financial health, this was a difficult conclusion, but ultimately a responsible fiscal action to take.”
The press statement offered no details about the extent of the eight-year-old, nonprofit Seattle theater troupe's fiscal difficulties, but did state that being unable to meet the projected costs of continuing to produce after losing its recent home, The Erickson Theatre, was a big factor, and that "the board is still working out how to address creditors."
The move was surprising to even those close to the company, including Balagan founder and longtime producer Jake Groshong and previous artistic director Louis Hobson. The two had left their administrative posts this summer to form a for-profit entity, Indie Theatricals, which was set to co-produce two world premiere musicals in Balagan's six-show, 2014-15 season: "Make Me Bad" and "Citizen Ruth." Hobson says he was "blindsided" by the closure, but still hopes to mount the shows in Seattle.
Balagan started out presenting a mixed menu of modern and classical works in the basement of a Capitol Hill multi-use building on East Pike Street. In 2011, the group signed an agreement with Seattle Central Community College to manage and perform in the 133-seat Erickson Theatre on Harvard Avenue. Since then, Balagan has attracted fans, rave reviews and local awards for dynamic versions of such popular modern musicals as "Spring Awakening," "Avenue Q" and "Les Miserables" at the Erickson. And it has branched out to present "Jerry Springer, the Musical" at the Moore Theatre and "Ernest Shackleton Loves Me" at Seattle Repertory Theatre.
Balagan moved out of the Erickson recently, after Seattle Central reclaimed the theater for its own programming.
However, the troupe announced it would continue with a six-show, 2014-15 season staged at various other venues. The season opened in August with "Urinetown," co-produced with Seattle Musical Theatre in Magnuson Park.
There is no word yet on whether Balagan subscribers will be compensated for their unused tickets. Attempts to contact the company had not yet been answered as of Sunday afternoon.
Repost – Interview with Erin Verginia of apertureSTOP! Mixed Media Presentation Art and Poetry – “Women Are From Venus!” September 21st at Twilight Gallery!
Repost: Lisa Yuskavage – Upstaging Masculinity and Speaking With the Power of Pretty. Kristeva, Lacan and an Aside That Changes Everything.
Hey! You! Yeah, we're talking to you, the one sitting around wondering, "What is there to do this weekend?" Here, we offer three things to do that will get you off that couch/barstool/toadstool and have you enjoying the arts.