Local Art News

The Weekend List: Native art weekend. Plate of Nations. Shaprece. Caspar Babypants.

Crosscut Arts - 17 hours 10 min ago

* Denotes items that are $15 or less

 Native Art Weekend *
The Burke is hosting a weekend-long celebration of Northwest Native art, in conjunction with its “Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired” exhibit. Scholars as well as artists will be part of a free symposium Friday evening and all day Saturday that looks at 50 years of Northwest Coast art. And on Sunday, the Northwest Native Art Market offers visitors a chance to buy original works from 13 emerging and established artists themselves.

If you go: Native Art Weekend, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Symposium is March 27 and 28; Art Market is March 29 ($10) — F.D.

Black is the Color of My Voice

A one-woman show, written and performed by Apphia Campbell, explores the life of a fictional American jazz singer in the wake of her father’s death. Inspired by Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. The Shanghai-based theater company Play the Spotlight initially produced the show in 2013. Now it lands at Langston Hughes. A co-presentation with the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas. 

If you go: Black is the Color of My Voice, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, March 27 and 28 ($20) — F.D.

The Comparables

Here’s a world premiere by playwright Laura Schellhardt about three women

Keiko Green and Cheyenne Casebier in Seattle Repertory Theatre’s The Comparables (2015). Photo: Alabastro Photography.

navigating the high stakes world of Manhattan real estate. Bette (Linda Gehringer) is an Aikido-loving, 50something-ish woman about to launch a reality TV series about herself. (To be honest, she needs way better clothes.) Monica (Cheyenne Casebier) is oh, in her 40s, and she wants to be Bette’s successor. She wears slacks and flats and yes, the wardrobe telegraphs her personality. And then there’s 20something Iris (Keiko Green), who struts in on a pair of stilettos like, you know, she’s ready to kill. The three women form alliances and rip one another apart and shirk their own long-held morals in order to Play the Game of being a woman who wants to get ahead. I seriously coveted those shoes. And that set, designed by Carey Wong who must seriously never sleep because his work is everywhere, is just plain fab.

If you go: The Comparables, Seattle Rep, Through March 29 (Tickets start at $22) — F.D.

Plate of Nations

Rainier Valley is home to an array of immigrants, and naturally, an array of independently owned, unpretentious, and delicious ethnic restaurants. Each year, these restaurants (from Huarachitos Cocina Mexicana to Huong Dong Vietnamese to Momona Café) offer set menus for $15 and $25 (often with a special vegetarian option), allowing patrons a glimpse of what makes each cuisine so unique. Personally, I can’t wait to try all the Eritrean and Ethiopian food (lamb tibs, lentils, cabbage all sopped up by injera) I can get my hands on, and try the Lao dinner at Thai Savon. Bring a friend or loved one because each meal is enough to be shared between two. Also, fill up your Plate of Nations passport along your journeys, and win a prize!

If you go: Plate of Nations, Various restaurants all along Martin Luther King Jr. Way South in Seattle, March 27 through April 12, All ages ($15 and $25 menus) — N.C.

Rodeo Donut Pop-up *

The people behind Cupcake Royale introduce Rodeo Donut Pop-up – inventive flavor combos and locally sourced ingredients all on BRIOCHE dough (I didn’t even know that was an option!) – which make this confectionary treasure stand out. While there’s a lot left to be revealed, the website shows enough to get my mouth watering; pickled lemon perched atop a lemon curd-filled donut; vanilla cream covered with chocolate caviar; and “The Bonanza,” banana custard with chocolate glaze. Each comes with a free 12 oz. Stumptown coffee (on Saturday morning only). Let’s hope this is a temp-to-permanent situation.

If you go: Rodeo Donut Pop-up, Ballard Cupcake Royale, starting at 7 a.m. March 28 — N.C.

Caspar Babypants *

In an interview with KCTS, Chris Ballew, who performs as Caspar Babypants, claims that he doesn’t make music for kids, but for families. “I’m thinking about a family in a car, stuck in traffic. They’re hungry, they’re tired, they’re mad at each other … you should be able to put in a CD and have it transform the atmosphere,” he said.  “I get a lot of feedback from actual families stuck in actual cars that it works.” Ballew, who enjoyed decades of acclaim as the front man of indie rock group The Presidents of the United States of America, has discovered his truest self as Caspar Babypants, and has seven albums of “family” music to prove it. In that same interview, he claims his music under the new moniker is not a far cry sonically from his work with the Presidents. The same energetic, guitar-driven, bouncy playfulness is present in both projects. In retrospect, this transition in genres makes a lot of sense.

If you go: Caspar Babypants, March 28 The Neptune ($6). All ages. — J.S.H.

Chastity Belt *

Chastity Belt’s music has, from the beginning, been reminiscent of director Richard Linklater’s 1991 cult classic Slacker. Both the film and the band in question involve jaded youth in their 20s, and exude a sort of chic apathy on the surface — Chastity Belt’s brand new album Time to Go Home even has a song called “Why Try.” But both Chastity Belt’s music and Slacker are beautifully composed and quite thoughtful. The all-female group’s song “Cool Slut” is an act of musical word reclamation with a heartfelt feminist message. Formed in Walla Walla, Chastity Belt is a “joke” band that’s always sarcastic, but cunningly so. With a sunny/drony garage sound that never gets boring to hear live. Joining them at the Highline is pop rock hook machine Dude York and the rootsy/bluesy rock group Cool Ghouls, who are in from San Francisco for the night.

If you go: Chastity Belt, The Highline, March 28 ($8) 21+ — J.S.H.

Shaprece *

Seattleite Shaprece, like an R&B version of Purity Ring, uses her refined voice (and lots of vocal effects) to build soulful sonic sculptures humming with electronica’s influence. Her songs are rife with vocal loops, swelling strings and heart-pounding programmed basslines. Shaprece’s live shows feature electronic beat programming on sample pads alongside various live strings like cello and harp. This setup, set against Shaprece’s spine-tingling singing, is a captivating mixture of a modern DJ/rapper two-person act with a more traditional lead singer and backing band combination. Opening for her is another local, the wonderfully contemplative Bryan John Appleby. It will just be him and an acoustic guitar for this performance, but his timelessly intimate folk ballads sound amazing when performed in such a minimalist fashion.

If you go: Shaprece, March 29, The Crocodile ($13) – J.S.H.

An Evening with Ann Hamilton *

Ann Hamilton’s exhibit the common S E N S E has filled UW’s Henry Art Gallery for the last six months. For the exhibit (continuing through April 26), Hamilton took over the entire museum, unblocking the skylights and covering the walls in pictures, printed on newsprint, of dead animals (many from the Burke Museum’s collection). As the exhibit has gone on, exhibit-goers have taken home copies of the prints themselves, and as Hamilton hoped, it’s taken on new meaning as layers of images have been torn off the walls. In conjunction with the exhibit, celebrated for the inventiveness and intimacy that’s synonymous with

Artist Ann Hamilton will appear at Seattle’s Town Hall on Monday as part of Seattle Arts & Lectures series.

Hamilton’s name, she’ll be speaking at Town Hall as a part of Seattle Arts & Lectures series. People have said a lot about Hamilton, but one of my favorite snippets is from radio journalist Krista Tippett, who said, “She uses her hands to create installations that are both visually astounding and surprisingly inmate, and meet a longing many of us share, as [Hamilton] puts it, to be alone together.”

If you go: An Evening with Ann Hamilton, Town Hall, 7:30 p.m. on March 30 ($15) — N.C.

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The post The Weekend List: Native art weekend. Plate of Nations. Shaprece. Caspar Babypants. appeared first on Crosscut.

Categories: Local Art News

A few questions with Imps and Monsters artist–Justin Hillgrove! Check out Hillgrove and Jesse Link at Piranha Shop on April 2nd Artwalk!

Seattle PI Arts Listings - 21 hours 28 min ago
I recently had the awesome opportunity to ask a few questions to one of my favorite artists in the Seattle Art Scene–an artist whose work is always happy-making and who is also just a really good person!  If you ever get a chance to hang out with Justin Hillgrove you will see that this is […]
Categories: Local Art News

CULLOM GALLERY PROUDLY PRESENTS: Solo Exhibit of New Works by Robert Hardgrave Opens May 9th

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:35am
Solo Exhibit of New Works by Robert Hardgrave Opens May 9th View this email in your browser   CULLOM GALLERY PROUDLY PRESENTS DIE KOPIE: NEW TRANSFER WORKS BY ROBERT HARDGRAVE MAY 9 – JUNE 6, 2015 OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY MAY 9, 6 – 9 PM IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HOST VENUE studio e gallery: 609 S […]
Categories: Local Art News

Developers’ think tank to Seattle: Forget about redeveloping Rainier Beach. Try a little TLC.

Crosscut Arts - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 5:12pm


When Mayor Murray announced two weeks ago that a delegation from the renowned Urban Land Institute (ULI) would visit and advise on what to do with Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, it alarmed some wary Southeast Seattleites, for two reasons.

First, because of the ULI’s history. It was created by the real estate industry in 1938 to advocate “urban renewal,” which all too often translated into urban removal. And it has more recently endorsed the use of eminent domain for private redevelopment, a very fraught subject in Southeast Seattle following the Nickels Administration’s efforts to deploy it there.

And second because of the announced goal of the year-long consultation that the Land Institute would provide the city: “To review and comment on plans for transit oriented development and job growth in Rainier Beach.”

Transit-oriented development (TOD) is another fraught subject down here; one stop up the light-rail line at Othello Station, it neglected neighborhood needs and went bust. Patricia Paschal, a longtime Othello activist, summed up the apprehension: “Light rail has been operating for six years and none of the promised prosperity has materialized. How much of our tax money will this review cost? Maybe the City should take the focus off transit-oriented [development] and put it on strengthening the existing community.”

Paschal wasn’t among the dozens of citizens and officials the Land Institute delegation interviewed last week. But aside from the question of city funds (the Land Institute pays its way and covers the city’s costs to participate), her critique was prophetic. After three days exploring Rainier Beach, the delegation of design and development experts and officials from other cities came to exactly the same conclusion: Forget, for now anyway, about trying to lure developers to put up Othello Station-style midrise TOD. Concentrate on what the neighborhood needs and wants now. Which means (what a concept!) listening to it.

To understand how this change of focus came about, let’s go back to how this visitation came to be. Six years ago, with the National League of Cities lending its imprimatur, the Urban Land Institute founded the Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership. Its declared mission: “To empower leaders in the public sector to envision, build, and sustain successful 21st-century communities.” (Why mayors rather than ordinary citizens need empowering, especially in cities like Seattle with strong-mayor charters, isn’t immediately clear). But as the Rose Center’s homepage goes on to explain, it’s really about supporting “excellence in land use decision making.” You can see why some wary residents worry about this being a stalking horse for big development.

The Rose Center’s approach is however more nuanced. Each year it offer mayors and key staffers in four cities the chance to become “Rose Center fellows” and receive year-long consultation on some major development or redevelopment challenge. This consultation comes not just from house experts but from past fellows, making it a sort of on-the-ground exchange program between cities.

Many of the fellowships have gone to cities such as Detroit. Philadelphia, Hartford, and Memphis that have suffered significant economic and/or population declines. But the Rose Center had wanted from the start to come to Seattle. “We like a mix of strong and weak markets,” says Gideon Berger, the program’s senior director, “and it’s hard to find a stronger market than Seattle.” Furthermore, Berger says, “we like to work with mayors when they’re newly elected. They seem most eager to get advice when they’re new in office.”

Finally, the fellowship program looks for “stability” – i.e. mayors who will be around long enough and have enough clout to act on what they learn. “There seemed to be a lot of mayoral instability before,” Berger says diplomatically of Murray’s one-term predecessor, Mike McGinn. By contrast, “Mayor Murray has had some early successes.” Translation: this mayor seems worth the investment..

The Rainier Beach focus reflected Murray’s declared equity agenda and promise to do more for Southeast Seattle. What the visiting Rose Fellows and Land Institute experts saw at Rainier Beach was a Seattle far removed from the prevailing narrative of Shanghai-pace growth at South Lake Union and nosebleed housing prices in once-sleepy neighborhoods like Ballard. Their preliminary findings, PowerPointed last Thursday at the downtown library,[LINK PDF] were a catalog of deferred action, missed opportunities, unmade connections, and enduring potential.

One thing to defer: TOD dreams. Light rail can hardly seed new development when it hasn’t rooted in the existing neighborhood. Rainier’s Beach’s commercial and civic life lies a half-mile away on Rainier Avenue. Henderson, the street connecting them, is a dreary gauntlet of worn low-rise apartments, vacant lots, and cracked sidewalks, passing under ominous high-tension wires. Rainier Ave’s transit lifeline, the Route 7 bus, bypasses the station; other, less frequent routes from Renton do connect along Henderson Street, but that compounds commute time and trouble.

Some of the out-of-towners seemed surprised to find no park-and-ride lot, or even kiss-and-ride dropoff, at the rail station. Here, as elsewhere along the Link line, the city forbade station parking to discourage driving, even driving to take transit. (Tukwila didn’t, so suburban trainriders get 662 free parking spaces, while Seattleites who can’t walk or bike to the stations play park-and-hide on city streets, wait for connector buses (if any), or just give up and drive. And struggling restaurants and other businesses near Othello Station miss out on an influx of potential park-and-ride customers.)

At the same time, the delegation noted some important assets at Rainier Beach that have been underexploited and often unappreciated. One, the area’s rich ethnic diversity, gets much lip service. Others, less appreciated, are its natural beauty and water access, with a beachfront facing Mt. Rainier and flanked by a public high school and relatively inexpensive apartments and condos. This is one stretch of Lake Washington shoreline that hasn’t gone Gold Coast.

Surely the Seattle Parks Department and others could do more to exploit these advantages. How about kayak and paddleboard rentals, perhaps a human-powered boat fair to counter the Seafair thunderboats to the north?

It’s not fair to say that the public sector hasn’t invested in Rainier Beach. The school district installed a topflight Performing Arts Center at Rainier Beach High in 1998. Mayor McGinn persevered to fulfill a promise to replace Rainier Beach’s decrepit community center and swimming pool at Rainier and Henderson, even as he had to slash the overall city budget.

A contracting snafu delayed construction, and Rainier Beach languished without swimming, basketball courts, and other activities for three years. Maybe it’s just coincidence that street shootings spiked then. Maybe not. But the new community center, with, is the snazziest in town; its excellent swimming and play pools (I hate to publicize this) attract swimmers from across town. All this, plus the rail station and beach park and a new library one block down Rainier, ought to form the armature of a vital pedestrian district. But grim sidewalks, scanty and scary pedestrian crossings, chainlink fences, and bank-branch and fast-food parking lots . As the ULI/Rose Center presentation notes, there’s no “coherent sense of place,” no there between the amenities – “lots of open space but no common ground.”

“We heard about diversity,” Rose fellow Karen Abrams, who heads Pittsburgh’s Redevelopment Authority, told Murray and the other locals assembled last Thursday. “But we didn’t feel it when we got off at the light rail stop. We wanted to see a lot more public art there.” (Other light-rail stations prominent artwork celebrating their environs.)

Rather than grand redevelopment, she (and the delegation as a whole) urged the city to go for “low-hanging fruit” and other measures that “could be implemented immediately”: art and way-finding signage, which is currently poor to nonexistent. Relocate Route 7 layovers to the rail station. Fix and maintain pedestrian infrastructure. Beautify the streetscape. “Activate open space” – say, with community cookouts on vacant lots. Encourage street food.

Here, Seattle’s already ahead of most cities; Pittsburgh’s Abrams marveled at what she called a “food bus,” a.k.a. a taco truck. After last Thursday’s presentation, I chatted with another attendee, architect and development strategist David Harmon. He thought the ULI team missed an important piece: low-cost venues for fledgling retailers who can’t afford the storefronts in conventional TOD projects. For a model, Harmon suggested, look to the Pike Place Market. At its founding 108 years ago, it provided just the sort of entrée for Italian and Japanese immigrant farmers that today’s immigrants could use.

Indeed, why not a farmer’s market in Rainier Beach? It’s farther from Columbia City’s market than the Queen Anne and Fremont farmer’s markets are from each other. And many Rainier Beach lots are actually big enough for truck gardening.

All this, plus concerted graffiti removal, would serve an essential need to, in the ULI panel’s words, “change the perception of public safety.” The panel noted receiving three environmental design plans to that end from the Seattle Neighborhood Group. They join other plans that have been thoughtfully developed and thoughtlessly neglected over the years.

Foremost among these is the well-regarded Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan completed in 2004 and updated in 2012. It identifies many of same needs as the envisions a welcoming, tree-lined “gateway to Seattle” on MLK Way and “grand boulevard” along Henderson Street, plus downzoning Henderson to encourage neighborhood business and forestall Othello-style midrise TOD.

But as for implementation, “the plan is stuck,” the ULI panel’s co-chair Nadine Fogarty, a Berkeley-based TOD expert, told the Seattleites Thursday. “I would go further,” Murray responded. “It’s actually broken.” He noted diplomatically that while “two of the last four mayors were engaged” in neighborhoods like Rainier Beach, two (presumably Paul Schell and Greg Nickels) took a “more diffused” view. The result: “Our departments are very siloed.” Transportation doesn’t talk to Planning and Development, and so on and on. “Lack of integration is the problem we’re dealing with. We need not just a philosophical but a structural reset.”

So hizzoner gets it. Whether or not he learns anything new from this exercise, it ought to help concentrate his and his staff’s minds. But “structural reset” raises a familiar question: As City Hall sets out to fix itself, will it once again forget to help fix Rainier Beach?

The post Developers’ think tank to Seattle: Forget about redeveloping Rainier Beach. Try a little TLC. appeared first on Crosscut.

Categories: Local Art News

Legislature considers protecting bars from songwriters’ reps

Crosscut Arts - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 12:28pm

You go to a bar or outdoor concert, and listen to a cover band. Or you sing karaoke at a tavern.

In any of those spots, the live renditions of songs — “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” or “Bad to the Bone” or just about anything else – are supposed to earn royalties for the songwriters. And the venues providing the music are supposed to pay the royalties.

Broadcast Music Inc. and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers – known, respectively, as BMI and ASCAP — collect those royalties for the songwriters, as does a European-based counterpart. The three organizations’ agents visit bars, restaurants concerts, churches, farmers markets and other venues to check whether the royalty agreements are being complied with. The agreements are enforceable under federal law.

Bar owners complained to Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, about these agents being rude, charging high fees on the spot and not providing documentation to back up their claims.

Consequently, Van De Wege introduced a bill in the Washington House that would require the music licensing agencies to take a variety of new steps. They would have to file an electronic copy of each performing rights contract with the Washington Secretary of State’s office, provide 24 hours notice before personally visiting a business premises, provide proper identification and documents to an owner, and not use abusive or profane language in talking to the owner. The House passed the bill 92-6.

The Senate Commerce & Labor Committee held a hearing on Van De Wege’s bill Friday. Van De Wege told the committee that the bill’s intention is not to keep venue owners from paying royalties, but to ensure those owners are aware of what they are required to do and that licensing agencies don’t bully the venue owners.

“It’s very unclear to restaurant owners what their responsibilities are, and who the good actors are,” said Trent House, representing the Washington Restaurant Association.

Songwriter Branden Daniel, front man for Seattle-based Branden Daniel & The Chics, said BMI and ASCAP are making sure he can make a living. He has written roughly 50 songs, with several covered by other bands playing in the Northwest. A venue’s failure to pay royalties means he does not get paid for much of his work.

“The owner of a bar benefits when music is played,” Daniel said. “What’s the difference between paying for music usage in an establishment and paying a liquor distributor?”

He added, “I make less than those bar owners.”

BMI and ASCAP representatives Brian Case and Lisa Thatcher told the committee a cover band playing a song is no different from a person using Microsoft software when it comes to the requirement that someone somewhere along the distribution chain pay royalties. They voiced concerns about the state possibly trying to pre-empt federal copyright laws, and proposed changes to Van De Wege’s bill to ensure that does not happen. And they said that sometimes venue owners are rude and abusive to BMI and ASCAP representatives.

The post Legislature considers protecting bars from songwriters’ reps appeared first on Crosscut.

Categories: Local Art News

Viral Video: John Oliver’s March Madness

Crosscut Arts - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 7:54am

John Oliver’s masterful, 360-degree, in-your-face jam of the NCAA and their money-making machine, March Madness, is an absolute must-watch. It’s a cross between a deeply ethical Harpers magazine exposé and an episode of Family Guy.

Beginning with a checklist of major advertisers branding every moment of a basketball game, from the plays-of-the-game to the cutting down of the championship nets (a commercial for Werner, a ladder company), Oliver then dips into a satirical comparison to the perennially twee filmmaker Wes Anderson, before swiveling his righteous rocket launcher toward the unctuous NCAA president Mark Emmert. (When Emmert was the University of Washington prez, I once videotaped him for an interview; his answers were classics of the patronizing, phone-it-in school of soundbites.)

Emmert’s favorite rebuttal to the idea that college athletes should be compensated for the NCAA’s exploitive practices is to state – with theatrical condescension –  “athletes are not employees, they are students.” This tees up Oliver’s next barrage, an examination of how athletes are not only enslaved to the sweat-shop routine of meetings and practices (cue a helpful clip from the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman), but also how their actual education is a smokescreen of phony academics. Their only textbook seems to be the 400-plus page manual explaining what they cannot do as so-called “student athletes.”

It’s not like these universities are hurting for cash. Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari recently signed a $52 million extension on his contract. Alabama’s football coach Nick Saban is paid $7 million a year. And the skipper of the Clemson Tigers’ football team, with the ass clown name of Dabo Swinney, is guaranteed more than $3 million a year for the next eight years, during which time 98 percent of his players will never make it to the NFL. Yet Swinney claims his amateurs don’t deserve compensation because they are already awash in “entitlements” (a word Swinney probably picked up from watching Sean Hannity). It’s worth watching Oliver’s entire segment just to see how he links up Swinney’s name with the phrase “edamame farts.”

But make sure you stick around for the final bit, a fake video game featuring two ex-NCAA players with firsthand experience of how this gargantuan “non-profit” reaps billions of hypocritical dollars from the unpaid labor of their student serfs. The video game is called “March Sadness 2015.”

The post Viral Video: John Oliver’s March Madness appeared first on Crosscut.

Categories: Local Art News

SAM Talks: Up Next: Gaylord Torrence!

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 10:31pm
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM ASIAN ART MUSEUM OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK Public Programs                 THE ART OF THE PLAINS INDIANS Mar 25 7 PM – 8 PM Seattle Art Museum Learn More » SAM Talks: Gaylord Torrence Plains Indians artwork features imagery that celebrates Native identity and preserves a rich cultural history. After the […]
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Ballet BC: Worth a Trip to Vancouver

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 9:33pm
Ballet BC, 8 pm, March 26-28, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver. Tickets: $30-80 at www.balletbc.com/sandbox/tickets.html#anchor.  By Alice Kaderlan Vancouver’s Ballet BC has a distinctive place in the West Coast dance universe, bringing a European aesthetic to contemporary ballet as befits the international city it calls home. But the troupe has a low to non-existent profile in Seattle, […]
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The Comedy Womb Celebrates Its 2 Year Anniversary at The Rendezvous

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 12:14am
The Comedy Womb Celebrates Its 2 Year Anniversary at The Rendezvous Seattle’s All-Inclusive Comedy Phenomenon Outgrew Its Humble Beginnings   The Comedy Womb, Seattle’s original, all-inclusive weekly comedy open mic comes up on its two-year anniversary on April 7 in The Rendezvous’ original 1920’s speakeasy, “The Grotto.” Helmed by Canadian born comedian Danielle K.L Gregoire, […]
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SOIL’s 20th Birthday Party and Auction, Sunday, March 26

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 10:18pm
SOIL’s 20th Birthday Party and Auction, Sunday, March 26.     SOIL Gallery 112 Third Avenue South Seattle WA 98104 gallery@soilart.org www.soilart.org Thursday – Sunday, 12 – 5 pm. BIRTHDAY PARTY INVITATION! ***** Join us on Sunday, March 29th, 1 pm at the luminous Greg Kucera Gallery 212 Third Avenue South, Pioneer Square for SOIL’s […]
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Video Blog #2! Happy Time Apocalyp’s Sami A. Saurus, Talks Art, Gallery and Seattle!

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 6:47pm
Categories: Local Art News

Center On Contemporary Art – New Exhibit Open Now, Introducing our New Board

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 3:13pm
  In this Newsletter Change-Seed: Art from Hong Kong Opens Tomorrow (3/19) Introducing CoCA’s New Board Po Fung Chan. The Chinese Dream of Train. Jewlery. 2014   New Exhibit Open Now! Change-Seed: Art from Hong Kong At last, the long wait is over. Change-Seed: Contemporary Art from Hong Kong and Beyond opens tomorrow night. Recognized as a […]
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Music of Remembrance: Don’t Miss “The Golem” on 3/30/15!

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 2:41pm
  Questions? Please Contact Us. Phone: 206-365-7770 Email: info@musicofremembrance.org Website: www.musicofremembrance.org        Music of Remembrance | PO Box 27500 | Seattle | WA | 98165 _____________________________________________________________
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Storefront Seattle – Eight new Storefronts for spring in South Lake Union!

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 1:56pm
    Eight new Storefronts for spring in South Lake Union! by storefrontsseattle Storefronts and Shunpike are proud to present eight new Washington State artists in South Lake Union, exploring subjects including interactive color field “paintings,” musings on the artifice of NASA photography, the geometry of pool, and the weight of shadow. Through July 20, 2015. […]
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New Show at Puppet Center: Bathtub Pirates by Grey Seal Puppets Playing March 21-29, 2015!

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 12:56pm
A swashbuckling adventure begins when a child’s imagination turns the bathtub into a pirate ship!  Northwest Puppet Center is proud to present: Bathtub Pirates by Grey Seal Puppets Playing March 21-29, 2015 Showtimes: Saturdays at 1pm & 3pm, Sundays at 1pm & 3pm Admission:  $9 child, $11 adult, $9 senior Advance tickets available online or […]
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A&C – Call for Artists – Public Art Boot Camp Training

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 12:47pm
Call for Artists – Public Art Boot Camp Training The Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) is invested in training the next generation of public artists, who can create culturally relevant artworks that represent the diverse population of the city of Seattle. ARTS is offering a FREE two-day intensive basic training overview to artists who are ready to […]
Categories: Local Art News

The benefits of clowning around at the hospital

Crosscut Arts - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 5:05pm

Hospitals, with their metallic, sterile aesthetics, aren’t known for their humor. But in Seattle, there’s a group of clowns working to change that.

Room Circus Medical Clowning is a team of five clowns that makes ‘rounds’ at Seattle Children’s Hospital, visiting patient rooms on the medical/surgical and rehabilitation units, the outpatient waiting rooms and the chemotherapy rooms.

The clowns of Room Circus. Credit: Room Circus

Victoria Millard, who goes by Dr. La Foo during her comedic rounds, founded Room Circus in 2013, after a similar program she’d been a part of folded. She describes the clown team as “accomplished comedians and improvisers, whose skills include magic, juggling and stage performance.” They always work in pairs, as comedic duos like Laurel and Hardy.

Where the European tradition of clowning is more artful and subtle, Barnum and Bailey, Millard says, turned clowns into “filler acts” that lost their “intimacy and emotional subtlety.” “Room Circus is based on the European historical tradition of clowning,” Millard explained to me over a cup of coffee at a pub in Ravenna, the neighborhood where she lives.

“We’re character-based, very human, and also bizarre and surreal,” she says. “Studies show that clinical health benefits of medical clowning for children include reducing anxiety before surgery, reducing pain and reducing the time it takes to recover from respiratory infections.”

Millard remembers the case of one eleven-year-old in particular. “Her legs were amputated above the knee,” explained Millard. “When we came into her room – after being invited, we have to be invited – she was reading and trying not to cry. We noticed she had sheets with Frozen characters on it, so Dr. Hamster Fuzz [Linda Severt] started playing songs from Frozen on her ukulele. About a week later Linda saw her and asked if she wanted to learn to juggle, so she taught her how to juggle scarves and even gave her the scarves! The hospital doctors told us later that she carried those scarves around with her all the time.”

Recently, Room Circus expanded their time at Seattle Children’s, allowing them to visit children on the medical surgical ward as well as in the outpatient and chemotherapy areas of the hospital.

The project is costly though. It takes about $84,000 a year to pay for the talented, professional clowns and administrative responsibilities. Millard, who dedicates all her time to RCC, runs it out of her home.

So far Room Circus has been funded primarily through individual donors and grants from 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, but the troupe is currently planning a 2015 fundraiser where clowns will be conducting a small auction and serving food and drinks to donors.

Millard is eager to see the program, which has been lauded by doctors, families and even a Nobel Prize winner, grow.

For more information, and to see how you can help, visit http://www.roomcircus.org.

The post The benefits of clowning around at the hospital appeared first on Crosscut.

Categories: Local Art News

Book City: Publisher Tim Colman’s poetic must-reads

Crosscut Arts - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 1:28am

Poetry-loving publisher Timothy Colman has been turning his passion for the environment into educative art ever since he founded Good Nature Publishing Company in 1995. Colman works with artists to create media for schools and public agencies that illustrate the ecology of hedgerows, native flora and fauna and the benefits of rain gardens, among other environmental topics. An avid outdoorsman, Colman hikes, climbs and swims the Northwest.

You publish pocket notebooks with a ‘Read’ graphic on the cover. What are you reading yourself at the moment?

Annie Dillard’s The Maytrees after just rereading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  And The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, a book born of her influential writing in the New Yorker on the confluence of climate impacts and the great extinction we’re living through right now. I prefer Kolbert laced with New Yorker cartoons; the subject is dismal, but her great writing makes it lively reading. I love Lemony Snicket and have been reading 13 Words illustrated by the marvelous Maira Kalman.

Do you make notes as you read? Is that the intent of the little notebooks? 

I make notes around poems, not so much when I’m reading books. But I write letters about them or little rants just to synthesize what I’m reading.  Susan Sontag wrote something like, “I write to discover what I think about the world.”  I think of the loop of writing and reading as feeding all creativity.  Reading, writing and conversation are prayer practices, a secular sanctuary for our society.  So my notebooks are born partly out of a desire to name a space where people can dream positive visions about the future.

Favorite poets?

Washington state poet laureate Elizabeth Austen is on fire in my book. Marge Piercy, who was born in Detroit during the depression, writes with my home town’s bluntness. She’s a strong feminist, a sensualist with a deft sense of justice and a passionate humor about sex and desire.

Jane Hirshfield, because she understands me. I read her and my mind just opens and the words flow to my heart. I’m fond of Carolyn Forsche for her witness poetry that speaks up in solidarity for diversity. Amiri Baraka has been an up front voice of outrage since his days as a beat poet. The Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish has a lyrical voice, and W.S. Merwin has a zen mind, compassionate and cool language. I read Mary Oliver and Terry Tempest Williams for their evocation of nature, and Wendell Berry for his shrewd political sense and love for the land. Seamus Heaney makes me so happy the way he paints pictures. Naomi Shihab Nye offers up poems with her Arab American lens on the world. And if I can add one more it would be Gary Snyder for precisely locating the way cedar, rivers and mountains flow through our soul. I keep a collection of Pablo Neruda’s on my desk, and a book of William Stafford’s poetry.

The Poetry Foundation has a wonderful app for phones where you can search for poems by spinning for subjects like “gratitude,” spirituality” or “humor” – it’s like a wheel of good fortune because you never know what will show up. I have found some wonderful poems with it.

Have you read a truly great book lately? One you’d unhesitatingly recommend to friends and colleagues?   

I don’t know, “great” is pretty subjective. But Animal Liberation by Peter Singer changed the way I think about suffering. On Writing by Stephen King was a great book at a certain time when I was reaching up from the bottom of the well.

Is there a natural history book or two that have influenced you?

Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance, most of Paul Hawken’s writings, Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind, works by Rachel Carson and Henry David Thoreau.

Have any of your ideas for Good Nature posters come directly from your reading? From poetry?

The hedgerows poster field guide is in response to a lot of great writing by Terry Tempest Williams and other greens about bringing the wild into our settlements. We sent the poem “Mad Farmer Manifesto” by Wendell Berry to a client in the Forest Service and out of that came a Giant Sequoia poster with a wonderful design by artist John Pitcher.

Do you use the library, read on paper or iPad, Kindle? Do you frequent bookshops, buy new or used books, order from Amazon? 

I am a big fan of public libraries. They’re essential for democracy. I sell my products through the larger indie bookstores and love visiting them. We are rich with Third Place, Elliott Bay Books, University Bookstore, Powell’s in Portland, Village Books in Bellingham, Orca Books in Olympia, lots of other independent bookstores. I try not to use Amazon — especially for book purchases.

What were your most cherished childhood books?

I loved Charlotte’s Web and Misty of Chincoteague. I read the Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes, and all of Dr. Seuss. As a teenager I was influenced by the Lord of the Rings, and read Mark Twain and William Faulkner. And when our daughter Katie was little, we loved to read the works of Roald Dahl.

Can you think of a particularly powerful passage from a book that’s stuck with you? That you return to?

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” These are the final passages from A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean.

Do you have a book or two that you’ve re-read over the years and will no doubt read again? 

I grew up Presbyterian in a family of teachers and preachers, became an agnostic and now am a humanist. I’ve been reading scripture for the poetry in it and finding myself drawn to the wisdom found there.

Any book you’ve read lately that really caught your imagination, inspired you, or changed how you look at the world? 

Reading Cultivating the Mind of Love by Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart helps to reduce the suffering between me and people I love.

What do you plan to read next? 

I’ve just started Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club, which I’ve been wanting to read since it won a Pulitzer. Menand argues that after the civil war, America became a different country, and points to Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Dewey, Charles Pierce and William James as seminal to our transformation.  Their ideas about education, democracy, liberty, justice and tolerance are alive to this day.  The book is a cheat in a way, since I will never read original texts of Dewey or James or Pierce in this life. And I plan to catch up on a month of The New York Review of Books.

What Val’s Reading This Week: Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience, is a beautifully designed book, with photos of the correspondents and copies of the original letters. The variety of authors is mindboggling, from Mick Jagger to Hunter S. Thompson and Queen Elizabeth, who in 1960 sent a handwritten note to President Eisenhower that includes her drop scone recipe he enjoyed when he visited her at Balmoral.

The post Book City: Publisher Tim Colman’s poetic must-reads appeared first on Crosscut.

Categories: Local Art News

The Weekend List: Movie theater theater. A Forsythe dance revival. Argentineans gone wild. And more.

Crosscut Arts - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 5:46pm

* Denotes events that are $15 or less

The Flick

It’s been 10 days since I saw this production (yes, I’m counting) and thinking of it still makes me gush. For anyone who loves movies, for anyone who has ever worked a crappy low-wage job, for anyone who gravitates towards smart dialogue and nuanced performances that make you feel like you’re watching real people, not some forced imagined caricature, this is your show.

The Flick takes place in a Massachusetts movie theater, an independent, grungy, actually-has-a-film-projector venue, where three employees banter, debate, flirt and lash out about much in the world – and in their own unfulfilled lives.

Annie Baker won the 2014 Pulitzer for this drama; this is the Seattle premiere and in the hands of the New Century Theatre Company, it’s superb. From the movie theater set, to the dingy water in the mop bucket, to the soundtrack of movie trailers, to the Six Degrees of Separation film actor version of the game, to the poignancy of learning about Sam’s (Sam Hagen) family, to the poignant, embarrassing, uncomfortable moves of Rose (Emily Chisholm) on Avery (Tyler Trerise), to Avery’s empowerment speech, to the way Chisholm dances. I could go on.

It’s three hours and during intermission you start thinking, Hey, nothing’s really happening here but somehow, I’m really enjoying myself. And then it’s over and you start figuring out when you can go see this production again.

If you go: The Flick, 12th Avenue Arts, Now through April 4 ($30) – F.D.

The Vertiginous Thrill of Forsythe

For weeks, Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers have been posting photos on social media of rehearsal, being backstage and mugging with choreographer William Forsythe. Forsythe was in town for two weeks earlier this year, helping fine-tune the company’s all-Forsythe production – the first for any U.S. company.

Clearly, the choreographer has his dancer fans and that translates into some of the best dancing I’ve ever seen from the company. There is so much energy on stage and so much passion that pours forth in all three works and that has everything to do with the choreography. It’s not just the steps, it’s that the dancers come off as so utterly enjoying the complicated, athletic, unexpected dancing that Forsythe invites them to do.

Jonathan Porretta, Carrie Imler, Benjamin Griffiths, Seth Orza – each are dynamic marvels, but what I loved about opening night was the discovery of William Lin-Yee. He’s not new to the company but in the final piece, “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated,” it’s as if he’d been waiting all his life to dance Forsythe. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

If you go: The Vertiginous Thrill of Forsythe, McCaw Hall, Through March 22 (Tickets start at $30). – F.D.


A white American businessman tries to make a business deal in China, with the help of a Chinese-speaking Brit, and they awkwardly, sometimes humorously, fumble. But what surprised me about this culture clash story, written by playwright David Henry Hwang (his M. Butterfly nabbed the Tony), is the character of Xi Yan (fully, terrifically embraced by Kathy Hsieh). Xi is the vice-minister of culture with a savvy, complicated

Kathy Hsieh (Xi Yan) and Evan Whitfield (Daniel Cavanaugh) in Chinglish, now playing at ArtsWest. Photo by Michael Brunk.

business agenda and without entirely spoiling the plot, she’s a sexually vivacious woman as well.

The whole “power issue” is explored here – in the boardroom, in the bedroom – and in charge (sometimes) is a Chinese woman who deliberately winds up in her underwear. I can’t remember the last time I saw an Asian female character, a woman — not an “exotic” young girl – in a lead role like this. And I know I’ve never seen a play where the sex talk was in Chinese. About one-quarter – one half? – of the play is in Chinese; there are supertitles.

Director Annie Lareau, in the program, notes how Seattle is blessed with a talented but underused group of Asian American actors. Here, then, is a chance to see some of them in a really fine show.

If you go: Chinglish, ArtsWest, Now through March 29 (Tickets start at $34.50) – F.D.

Wild Tales *

Damián Szifrón’s Wild Tales is an anthology film (think Paris Je T’aime) with six short films all circling a single theme: losing control. The director places characters in relatable situations, such as being on the receiving end of bad restaurant service or road rage, and then entertainingly and bizarrely, all rationale goes out the window as characters cross into madness to exact revenge.

This beautifully shot Argentinean film, Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language film, has garnered praise for its inventiveness, outrageousness and the dark laughs that come from witnessing revenge and outrage.

If you go: Wild Tales, Seven Gables Theatre, Now through March 26 ($10.50) – N.C.

Moisture Festival

You’ll have a few weeks to make it to the (enigmatically named) Moisture Festival, now in its 12th year as unparalleled entertainment. Because of my generally bad experiences with vaudeville and singular fandom of Teatro Zinzanni, I didn’t have high expectations when I went last year. And boy, was I wrong. The Comedy/ Varietè performance that I attended was hilarious, zany and enveloped by a rare casual, authentic warmth.

The variety show attracts entertaining talent from around the country, from jugglers to aerialists to dancers, and each performer overflows with charisma and joy. The Moisture Festival also includes Burlesque, workshops and a few benefit shows.

If you go: The Moisture Festival, Hale’s Palladium, Georgetown Ballroom, and Broadway Performance Hall, March 19 to April 12 ($25-30) – N.C.

Pickwick *

Last summer, The Sunset Tavern got renovated big time. Their new set-up cleverly divides the bar from the performance area and has a magnificent sound system. This Friday, the rootsy, poppy and, above all, soulful young Seattleites who perform as Pickwick are playing for free. Their stellar harmonies (and of course lead singer Galen Diston’s unforgettable bluesy pipes) deserve The Sunset’s new speakers.

Live, this group is nothing short of spellbinding. They possess the rock-and-roll precision and southern flavor of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Musically, the piano, organ, bass and percussion blend gritty and smooth just as deftly as Diston oscillates his voice between crooning and wailing. These free tickets are only good on a first come, first serve basis, so getting to the show early is a good idea.

 If you go: Pickwick , The Sunset Tavern, March 20 (free). 21+ — J.S.H.


Just a few months after an epic Christmas show (including a holiday version of “Just the Two of Us” that’s still stuck in my head) Dina Martina returns with her newest spring show. DINA MARTINA: TONIGHT! promises a new video, and of course, the same offbeat comedic stylings, expressed in song, dance and winding monologues.

Whatever I say won’t do her justice: Dina Martina is drag for people who didn’t think they liked drag, laugh-out-loud funny for the stoic and absolutely my favorite way to spend two hours. This time I’m buying a t-shirt so I can start identifying potential friends faster.

If you go: DINA MARTINA: TONIGHT! Re-Bar, Weekends through April 26th ($20) – N.C.

Wind Burial *

Wind Burial takes cues from some of the grandest subgenres of darker rock. Lead Singer Kat Terran’s voice echoes Grace Slick’s deep, eerie wail, but set adrift in a sea of reverb. It’s also tempered with the formal bitterness of British alt-rock patron saint PJ Harvey. Behind her, subtly textured 12-string guitar, drums and bass swirl together, forming waves of shadowy atmospheric psychedelic with understated aftertastes of EMA’s drone pop and Heartless Bastards’ somber blues rock.

Wind Burial’s sound, easily generalized as dark, is in fact beautifully textured beneath the veneer. Although Hypatia Lake is headlining this show at The Highline, this is Wind Burial’s debut album release show. The record is called “We Used to be Hunters.”

If you go: Wind Burial, The High Dive, March 21 ($8). 21+ — J.S.H.

Lemolo *

Beach House will always be the apex of the dream pop genre, but they do have one tiny fault: lead singer Victoria Legrand’s vocals tend to become overly dreamy, fading away into reverb and synth. Seattleite Megan Grandell, who releases music as Lemolo, does not have this problem. Her voice, like a towering wall of crystal, is at once massive, fragile and perfectly transparent. Every well-placed word rings with crispness and euphony.

She’s opening for From Indian Lakes, who pull a very interesting Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act, switching sneakily between sweet-sounding alt-rock and post-hardcore scream-and-shred tactics.

If you go: Lemolo and From Indian Lakes, The Vera Project, March 25 ($12). 21+ — J.S.H.

The post The Weekend List: Movie theater theater. A Forsythe dance revival. Argentineans gone wild. And more. appeared first on Crosscut.

Categories: Local Art News

Jacques Brel’s Passion is Well and Alive

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 8:15am
Jacques Brel is Well and Alive and Living in Paris Co-production of 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT Theatre, through May 17, 2015 at ACT’s Falls Theatre By Alice Kaderlan The great Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel was – is – sui generis. He was part of the French post-war popular music movement that included Edith Piaf, […]
Categories: Local Art News