Arts & Entertainment

Boycott! The Poster Show

South Sound Arts - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 4:15pm

 The Art of Economic Activism
"Boycott" by Ricardo Levins Morales, Northland Poster Collective, digital print2002, Minneapolis, MN
“Rosa Parks” by Donnelly/Colt, offset print, 1990. Courtesy American Friends Service CommitteeThe featured art exhibition at Obsidian Café in Olympia is Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism, a traveling poster exhibit of 58 posters highlighting diverse historical boycott movements, from Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott that fired up the civil rights movement in the 1950s to today’s Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.
The exhibit features posters for more than 20 boycotts, including, in addition to those mentioned above, the United Farm Workers’ grape and lettuce boycotts in the 1970s and divestment from Apartheid in South Africa in the ’80s.
Protest posters are designed to be bold and grab immediate attention. Like advertising art of all types, poster art tries to convey the most information with the fewest words, to have an emotional impact and to move the viewer to action — whether that action is to attend a lecture or meeting or to spread the word or to not buy lettuce. Unlike a lot of advertising art, such posters tend to be less than aesthetically sophisticated or sophisticated in a way not normally associated with fine art – although that lack of sophistication itself can have an aesthetic impact, as witnessed by much of pop art or, as a prime recent example, rock posters by the likes of Art Chantry (see my recent review of Art Chantry Speaks in the Weekly Volcano).
Some of these posters are all words with no images, crudely hand-written, such as Ricardo Levin Morales’ poster that reads: “If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let’s work together.”
Some are simple and elegant, such as the Rosa Parks poster with a sepia-tone photograph of the civil rights icon seated on a bus and the words: “You are the spark that started our freedom movement. Thank you sister Rosa Parks” — lyrics from the song by the Neville Brothers.
Bob Zierings’ poster “Divest Now” from 1978 is an anti-apartheid poster that combines strong and beautifully rendered drawing of a face with hands breaking chains with bold and simple Helvetica type in all caps: “FREE SOUTH AFRICA – DIVEST NOW.”
Another poster from the same year has a black and white line drawing of a stereotypical black mammy with a head scarf in the style of 19th century woodcuts and the legend “Del Monte Profits from Apartheid.”
One of the strongest images with the simplest message of all is a fairly recent (1992) poster by an unknown artist that has nothing on it but the words “Boycott Colorado” in all-caps with white letters over a black silhouette of a mountain range. Without knowing the story behind it there would be no way of understanding that it was in protest of an amendment of Colorado’s state constitution that prevented any city, town or country from recognizing LGBTQ individuals as a protected class. At the time, no explanation was needed.
Overall the posters in this show are bold and colorful, innovative and well designed. Artistically they accomplish what good posters should, and the show as a whole presents a history of political movements over the past half century that should be appreciated by everyone, whether or not they agree with the advocated political positions.
The show was organized by the American Friends Service Committee and Center for the Study of Political Graphics and is sponsored in Olympia by the Rachel Corrie Foundation.
Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism, through May 30, Obsidian, 414 4th Ave E, Olympia
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The Crabs Sleep EP

K Records - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 3:22pm
Last month The Crabs went back to the Unknown studio in Anacortes, WA and made some noise, the way only they can do! Sleep is a three song EP from the new expanded Crabs line-up featuring original members Lisa Jackson and Jonn Lunsford with Vince on drums, percussion and Zinnia, keyboards. Three songs that pack […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

All Your Friend’s Friends, NW Folklife 2015!

K Records - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 1:29pm
Thee XNTRX has a heavy presence at the 2015 Northwest Folklife Festival this weekend! The All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255] road show lands Sunday, May 24 at the EMP Sky Church at the Seattle Center, preceded by a screening of the All Your Friend’s Friends documentary film at SIFF Film Center. Thee XNTRX is a […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Amjad Faur: Wednesday, May 27th, 11:30-1:00 pm in Lecture Hall 1

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 9:44am

imageAmjad Faur currently teaches photography and visual arts at The Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Washington. He came to Evergreen from the University of Arkansas, where he primarily taught art history and critical theory. His current research involves the overlapping visual languages of colonial Europe in the Middle East and the tropes/signifiers scattered throughout Western art history that harmonize with these expansionist tendencies.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Upcycled Style Trash Fashion Show at the Schack Art Center

Olympia Dumpster Divers - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 8:31pm

We promised you pics from the Upcycled Style Trash Fashion Show at the Schack Art Center in Everett, WA, and we intend to keep our promise!

Nancy Judd of Recycle Runway with Ruby Re-Usable of Olympia Dumpster Divers

Nancy Judd with Ruby Re-Usable
Nancy is wearing her “Caution Dress,” made from caution tape, along with a “Throw Caution to the Wind” fascinator by Ruby Re-Usable; Ruby is wearing her “Once Is Not Enough” dress, which is made from a Mason County recycling sack & a thrift store frock, plus a plastic bag flower fascinator and pop top jewelry by Ruby.

As guest curator/co-producer, Ruby Re-Usable had her hands full and therefore does not have many photos of her own (but lots of learning experiences/stories she could tell …).  However, there were folks on hand to document this trashtastic event:

You can view every outfit from the show on Ruby’s Upcycled Style Trash Fashion Show Pinterest board, which features a selection of the fabulous photos from Josh+Rosemary Photography.  There is also a marvelous set of pics by Annie Mulligan/Everett Herald

Lana Landfill, Ruby Re-Usable, Lova Landfill, and  Lena Landfill Lana is wearing "Go-go Organic," Lova is in "Plastic Bag Blues," and Lena is modeling "Six-pack Princess," all designed by Ruby

Lana Landfill, Ruby Re-Usable, Lova Landfill, and Lena Landfill
Lana is wearing “Go-go Organic,” Lova is in “Plastic Bag Blues,” and Lena is modeling “Six-pack Princess,” all designed by Ruby Re-Usable

Monica Today posted this video of Six-pack Princess, designed by Ruby Re-Usable in true recycle/reuse style: it is a revised version of the original Six-pack Princess that Trashie Cassie wore last year.  The dress was created out of discarded blue packaging paper from ACT Theater, six-pack rings from various friends and family, and unused/unwanted mylar cookie packaging that was originally donated to the Museum of Glass art studio.  The jewelry is made from cat food can pull rings and soda pop tops.  Watch Lena Landfill, our spokesmodel for a greener world, sashay down the runway:

More short vids from Monica Today of the Upcycled Style Trash Fashion Show at the Schack Art Center HERE

Kudos to the Upcycled Style Trash Fashion designers: Kitty Center, Lynn Di Nino, Marita Dingus, Selena Eon of Rock Eon, Jane Grafton aka Tinker’s Dam, Monica Ann Guerrero Yocom aka Monica Today, Terra Holcomb, Susie Howell, Nancy Judd of Recycle Runway, Kristie Maxim aka Elle Poubelle, Rebecca Maxim aka Alotta DeTritus, Ruby Re-Usable, Loran Scruggs, Britni Jade Smith, and Robin Worley aka Rayona Visqueen.

Thank-you to all of the marvelous models: Robyn Lang, Leska Ratliff, Rosemary Jones, Marissa Motto, Megan Mullan, Jules Anslow, Russ Morgan, Stuart Gullstrand, Steve Jensen, Elinor Paulus, Lorelei Paulus, LisaLou Gogal, Heather Reiki, Allison Grable, Jana Rekosh, Kristen Humphries, Kahley Mae Estenson-Montez, Beth Dodrill, Abby Storwick, Joss van der Put, Raniere, and Christy Smith.  Thanks to Kallipso Rose for doing make-up, Steven Lough and Nancy Judd for being MCs, and to Jill King for doing flamenco dance during intermission.  And thank-you to the staff and volunteers of the Schack Art Center for hosting this event, especially gallery director Carie Collver!


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Trans FX “Why I’m not Where You Are”

K Records - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 9:26am
Roller rink imagery shot at Olympia’s Skateland accompanies the first blast from the Trans FX album Into the Blu [KLP259].
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Black Women in Music Festival

South Sound Arts - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 10:15am
Hey Tacoma, This is coming your way. Get ready.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Gyasi Ross “Winona LaDuke”

K Records - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 12:55pm
A stunning visual to accompany Gyasi Ross and his homage to “Winona LaDuke”, from his album Isskootsik (Before Here Was Here) [KLP257]. “Teach me.” The Gyasi Ross album Isskootsik (Before Here Was Here) [KLp257] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Why artists hate Dale Chihuly

South Sound Arts - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 8:27am

Dale Chihuly "Basket Drawing," 2013 in the Dale Chihuly Drawings exhibition at Museum of Glass. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Oxblood Soft Cylinder with Payne’s Gray Drawing,” blown glass. Collection of Tacoma Art Museum, Gift of the artist in honor of his parents, Viola and George, and his brother, George W. Chihuly. Photo: Scott M. Leen, copyright Chihuly Studios.
I saw a poster in the office at the old Commencement Art Gallery. It was a take-off on a dictionary entry: “Chi-hu-ly (chü-hoo-lee) n.  The art of self-promotion.”
Artists hate Dale Chihuly. Not all artists, but a lot of them. They hate that he’s so amazingly successful. They hate that he’s much better than they are at doing what all artists must do if they are to have any chance at popularity and financial success. They also hate that he doesn’t blow his own glass but has a team of workers who do all the work for him. Some resent the fact that he, almost alone, is credited with the rise in popularity of the modern glass art movement, which is almost exclusively a Pacific Northwest movement, when he is but one of many equally talented artists associated with the Pilchuck Glass School, the catalyst for the modern glass art movement. Granted, he was one of the founders, long with Anne Gould Hauberg and John H. Hauberg. But there are many other Northwest glass artists who are as good as, if not better than, Chihuly. Martin Blank, Preston Singletary, Rik Allen, Cappy Thompson, William Morris and Ben Moore are a few that come to mind.
Back to the idea of not doing his own work. A lot of famous art has been done by assistants. Andy Warhol was notorious for that. So is Jeff Koons. Since the 1970s a major tenent of contemporary art has been that the idea is supreme. It doesn’t matter who did the work or how well it is done. It’s the idea that matters. Blame it on Marcel Duchamp who bought a urinal and entered it in an art exhibition in 1917 under the title “Fountain” and attributed to “R. Mutt”.
Not creating the work with his own hands should not disqualify Chihuly from recognition, but there is something inherently grating about the assembly-line nature of his art.
When I see a large collection of his work all in one place, such as in the current shows at both the Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass, I am struck with the notion that he comes up with something good and then has his studio workers repeat it with slight variations thousands of times (reference Warhol again: “I think everybody should be a machine.”)
It also bugs me — and yet I have to begrudgingly admit that it somehow impresses me as well — that what he has accomplished is essentially to take precious craft items and blow them up to gigantic scale. By so doing he has elevated a decorative craft to the level of fine art. Actually that is kind of the basis of the entire modern art glass movement just as elevating pop culture and advertising to the level of fine art was the basis of pop art. Still, it was easier to accept pop art because it was so audacious, and because people like Warhol and Lichtenstein and Wayne Thiebaud were such good painters. It’s not as easy to accept the same premise when it comes to glass art because with glass there’s this niggling idea that no matter how big or how attractive, every glass art piece is really nothing more than a pretty vase or bowl. Colored glass is pretty no matter what you do with it. The only one of the modern glass artist who has pushed his art into a more transformative realm is not Chihuly, but Morris, whose work is monumental, ageless, and doesn’t look like glass at all.
Having said that, Chihuly can also be monumental and audacious. Just not consistently enough. At its worst, his work is mediocre and boring; at its best, it can be so beautiful that it boggles the mind. The best of his best might be the drawings, now on display through June 30 at Museum of Glass. There is also a large and varied collection of Chihuly work on display on extended view at the Tacoma Art Museum.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Theater Review: Time Stands Still

South Sound Arts - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 8:16am

  Troubled Love between a Photojournalist and a War CorrespondentPublished in the Weekly Volcano, May 14, 2015
From left: Jenny Vaughn Hall as Sarah, Matt Shinkus as James, Steve Manning as Richard, and Helen Harvester as Mandy in Time Stands Still. Photo by Scot WhitneyThe wartime love story Time Stands Stillby Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies is now playing at Harlequin Productions in Olympia. It is an intense and intimate portrait of a pair of lovers — Sarah Goodwin (Jenny Vaughn Hall) and James Dodd (Matt Shimkus) whose passionate devotion and equally passionate conflicts are exacerbated by their friend Richard Ehrich (Steve Manning) and his girlfriend, Mandy Bloom (Helen Harvester).
The show takes place entirely within the Brooklyn apartment Sarah and James share. Beautifully designed by Linda Whitney, the apartment appears to be a loft in possibly a former industrial building with a giant arched window looking out over the city. The dim city scene seen through the window is a video projection by Marko Bujeaud. The furnishings appear typical for people who spend little time at home.
Sarah is a photojournalist home from Iraq where she was almost killed in a bomb explosion after which she spent time in a coma. In the opening scene she hobbles into the apartment on crutches wearing a large cast on one leg and with scars on her face. She adamantly refuses help from James, who hovers protectively. In successive scenes we see her with smaller and smaller casts and finally only a knee brace as her leg injury slowly heals. The heavy scarring on her face never heals.
Both Sarah and James are living with post-traumatic stress. She does not want to admit it. What she wants more than anything is to heal enough to go back to the war where she feels her work gives her meaning. James, a war correspondent, was so emotionally scarred by his tour of Iraq that he had to get out, only to go back to help Sarah when she was wounded. Now he wants to marry Sarah, have children, and work on safer writing assignments such as celebrity profiles. He accuses Sarah of being addicted to the adrenalin rush of war.
Richard is Sarah’s photo-editor. He wants them to collaborate on a photo-book about their adventures in the war. Richard’s new girlfriend, Mandy, is 20 years his junior and is seen at first by Sarah and James as empty headed arm candy, but proves to be much deeper than they supposed.
The conflicts between these four friends are monumental, intense, and in-your face. Their arguments are emotional explosions analogous to what we can only imagine they went through in Iraq. Thankfully there is also a lot of comic relief with smart and witty dialogue and the love between the two couples is palpable.
All four cast members are excellent. Hall plays Sarah with controlled intensity and seems ready to explode throughout the play. Harvester transitions seamlessly from playful and goofy to deep burning anger. Manning is solid and down-to-earth, sometimes gruff but mostly walking on eggshells in the face of the others’ explosiveness. Shimkus particularly impressed me with his eye-rolling and smirking reactions to the other three. His performance is award worthy.
I liked the city scene out the window, but when the projected images change for dramatic effect the changes are mostly ineffectual, with the exception of two scenes of war when Sarah was describing a particularly horrible event.
The final scene is something of an extended denouement that trickles to an expected end. I wish the playwright had been able to find some more dramatic way to wrap it up. Nevertheless, Time Stands Still is a powerful drama of love and domestic strife on par with such classics as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I highly recommend it.
Time Stands Still,8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Sunday through May 30, State Theater, 202 E. 4th Ave. , Olympia, 360-786-0151;

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Preview: BUDDY – The Buddy Holly Story

South Sound Arts - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 4:48pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, May 14, 2015
Matt McClure as Buddy Holly. Photo courtesy of Venice Theatre, FL. Credit: Renee McVety Don McClean said the day Buddy Holly died was “the day the music died,” but Buddy’s music will never die. I first saw BUDDYat Tacoma Little Theatre in 2009 and then at Capital Playhouse in 2012. And now it’s going to rock the big stage at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, opening May 15 and running through June 7.
TMP artistic director Jon Douglas Rake said, “Before the Beatles, The Beach Boys or The Rolling Stones ever played a note, Rock ‘n’ Roll was forever changed by Buddy Holly, a 19-year-old kid from Texas. BUDDY – The Buddy Holly Story tells the true story of Buddy’s meteoric rise to fame, from the moment in 1957 when ‘That’ll Be the Day’ hit the airwaves until his tragic death less than two years later. The show features more than 20 hits including ‘That’ll Be the Day,’ ‘Peggy Sue,’ ‘Maybe Baby’ and ‘Oh Boy’!”
In addition to so many of Buddy’s hit songs, audiences will be treated to rousing renditions of the Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace,” and Richie Valens’ iconic “La Bamba,” as performed in the final concert in Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1959 before the plane wreck that took their lives.
The play opens with Buddy (Matt Mcclure) as a raw teenage singer at the KDAV Radio dance party at the Grand Ballroom in Lubbock, Texas, defiantly sliding from a standard country tune to a rocking “Reddy Teddy” and later fighting with his manager and a record producer because they want him to sing country and he wants to rock ‘n’ roll. It follows him to recording studios in Nashville and in Clovis, N.M., and then to the great Apollo Theatre in Harlem where he wows the audience with some of his most popular hit tunes, including “Peggy Sue” and “Not Fade Away.” We see him romancing and marrying Maria Elena (played by Deanna Martinez Niedlinger), and finally the big concert with Richie Valens (Anthony Deleon) and the Big Bopper (Lance Zielinski).
McClure played Buddy for the first time at the sold-out run of the show at Venice Theatre in Florida in January of this year. He is a graduate of Piedmont College with BA degrees in Theatre Performance and Technical Theatre. Other than Buddy, some of his favorite roles at Venice Theatre were in Don't Dress For Dinner (Robert Dubedat) and in The Elephant Man (John Merrick).
The creative team for BUDDY is Rake, director and choreographer; Jeff Strvtecky musical director; Bruce Haasl, technical director and set designer (he played Buddy at Capital Playhouse and has both designed sets for and starred in more shows in area theaters than you can shake a stick at); and John Chenault, lighting director.
BUDDY The Buddy Holly Story, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through June 7, with Saturday matinees, May 30 & June 6, $20-$29, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, 7116 Sixth Avenue, Tacoma, 253-565-6867,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Review: “Mama Won’t Fly”

South Sound Arts - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 9:32am

Published in The News Tribune, May 14, 2015

Stephanie Kroschel as Hayley Quinn, from left, Nicole Galyearn as Savannah Sprunt Fairchild Honeycutt, and Gretchen O’Connor as Norleen Sprunt (Mama) perform in “Mama Won’t Fly” at Olympia Little Theatre. Photo by Austin Lang
The writing team of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten hit upon a winning formula for writing silly, Southern-fried comedies for small town community theaters including such popular shows as “Dixie Swim Club” and “Dearly Beloved.” Their latest to hit the boards at Olympia Little Theatre is “Mama Won’t Fly.”It is directed by Kathryn Beall and features a cast of little-known actors.Southerners Savannah Sprunt Fairchild Honeycutt (Nicole Galyean) and her mother, Norleen Sprunt (Gretchen O’Connor) have a typically toxic mother-daughter relationship. A divorcee with a track record of bad choices in men – note the many names – Savannah blames her mother’s meddlesome nature for everything wrong in her life. And as this play quickly proves, Mama really is meddlesome in the worst way. Savannah’s brother is getting married and his fiancé has traveled from California to Birmingham, Ala., to fly back across country with her future sister and mother-in law. But Mama refuses to fly and they embark on a four-day road trip with stops along the way in small towns such as Tater Mound, Miss., and Nickle Bone, Tex. (These are made-up names, cleverly invented by the playwright team. The closest I could find to a similar name on Google was Tater Creek, Miss.)In Tater Mound they tour the big local attraction, a brassiere museum where a little old lady (Claire McPherson) conducts the tour wearing a bra on top of her dress. In Nickle Bone, population 31, they visit horrible aunts and uncles and cousins. They have to escape in the night due to circumstances I can’t divulge, and they wind up in a bar run by brothers who fight over whether it should be a cowboy bar or an Irish pub. And oh yes, the bar apparently doubles as the town’s little theater. The improbability of having a theater in a town of only 31 inhabitants is but one of many countless improbabilities in this play, which relies on stock characters, absurd situations, and groaner punch lines. The many minor characters are all overblown Southern or country stereotypes. The three principle characters, Galyean, O’Connor, and Stephanie Kroschel as the fiancée, Hayley Quinn, are talented actors who give it their all playing characters that demand over-acting. The rest of the cast, playing a multitude of minor characters are either absurdly histrionic or they do not act at all but just walk through their lines.There are a few funny scenes and lines, the scene in the brassiere museum being one of the funniest. The succession of cartoonish cars and trucks they travel in are something between interesting and ridiculous, and most of the costumes are almost laughable because they are so bad, but overall “Mama Won’t Fly” is not a funny show. The over-the-top characterization of some roles and at least one entire scene near the end is offensive. At almost three hours it is a chore to sit through.
WHEN: 7:55 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1:55 p.m. Sunday, through June 7WHERE: Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Ave., NE, OlympiaTICKETS: $10-$14, available at Yenney Music, 2703 Capital Mall Dr., OlympiaINFORMATION: (360) 786-9484,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

K Phono Safari: Underground ’90s Olympia!

K Records - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 1:01am
Can you dig it? Olympia, WA is the place. Wild screaming teenage rock’n'roll is the medium. Phonograph records are the vessel. The K Phono Safari: Underground ’90s Olympia is the super-groovy pak of musics made to rile the savage breast. What follows are a stack of K albums from the ’90s that originate in the […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Literary Heroes Down for the Count

South Sound Arts - Sat, 05/09/2015 - 12:20pm

I recently bought Tom Robbins’ latest book, Tibetan Peach Pie. The first sentence of the preface says, “This is not an autobiography,” but autobiography is precisely what it is. It is a book of episodic tales of events in Robbins’ life, all written in his unique style—a style that for many years captivated the hell out of me.I didn’t get very far into the book before I realized that his writing style is wordy and cutesy and that he strains for humorous affect.Damn. I had so loved his earlier books, especially Jitterbug Perfume, which was not only outrageous and funny, but was brilliantly structured. I can’t remember much of anything about any of his other books, but I know I liked them when I read them.I mentioned my reaction to his book to a couple of writer friends and they said they had the same reaction to other Tom Robbins books (apparently they reached the same conclusions much quicker than I). I talked about Tom Robbins with Jack Butler via email. Butler wrote: “This is also how I felt about Brautigan, although I dearly love some of his titles and individual lines—shoveling mercury with a pitchfork.  In every generation there seem to be those who mistake novelty for importance.  After a while, though, it becomes apparent they're one-trick ponies, and one grows bored.”Robbins has written some great lines, and he definitely comes up with good titles—Another Roadside Attraction, Still Life With Woodpecker, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas. You can’t not admire the inventiveness of a writer who creates a character who has giant thumbs and uses them for marathon hitch-hiking. But I become weary of his cuteness. For example, in Tibetan Peach Pie he wrote about watching Natalie Wood as a child star:  “My scruffy whippersnapper heart opened like a sardine tin, my impressionable kiddish brain sidestepped the domination of cognitive experience; I sensed the world in me and me in the world, felt fundamentally connected, saw the many as all and the all as one; one and all bobbling along forever and ever in an unending, indestructible river of tears and tickles, breath and meat.”There’s some amazing stuff in that word stew, but that kind of writing for hundreds of pages has got to make for painful reading. I’m only up to page 65 and I’m beginning to wonder if I can make it to the end. I’m beginning to think I can take Robbins only in short spurts. How did I stand it when reading his earlier work? I know that I did. I even enjoyed it. Has he always been like this and I just didn’t notice, or has he gotten worse? The only way I could find out would be to re-read some of his earlier books, but the thought of doing that scares the hell out of me. I’ve recently had a similar experience with another literary giant whose stature shrunk upon re-reading. It started with a play. I saw One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Lakewood Playhouse in Lakewood, Washington. It was a marvelous production. Scott C. Brown as McMurphy gave Nicholson a run for his money. But I noticed something I did not recall noticing in the book or in the movie. McMurphy was racist, and women, to him, were sex objects and nothing more. The black orderlies in Cuckoo’s Nest were black stereotypes. Nurse Rached (brilliantly played by Jennifer Rifenberry) was a horrid bitch, true to the book and movie, and the other women played by Julie Wensel and Alison Monda, were brainless bimbos. I got the impression that not just the character McMurphy, but the author, Ken Kesey, was racist and misogynistic. I was so intrigued by that revelation that I read reviews to see if other critics had the same response, and they did. I re-read the book, and it became clear that Kesey viewed blacks as dumb and devious and women as either witches or whores. Dammit. There went another literary hero down for the count.I wonder now if I re-read other literary heroes from my past if I would have a similar reaction. Actually, I have recently re-read some from the ’50s and ’60s—Steinbeck’s East of Eden and Joseph Heller’s Catch 22—and I found them to be even better than I remembered. But I suspect that if I read Douglas Adams or Jack Kerouac again the air would go out of two more heroes. I don’t think I want to test that theory.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Steven Hendricks: Wednesday, May 20th, 11:30-1:00 pm in Lecture Hall 1

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Fri, 05/08/2015 - 10:18am

hendricks-front                               Hendricks-photo_smSteven Hendricks was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He moved out west to attend Evergreen. He completed his MFA in Writing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then returned to Washington to teach at Evergreen. Hendricks’s work has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, Web Conjunctions, Fold: The Reader, The Encyclopedia Project (Vol. 2), Sidebrow, and at XCP (archived at PennSound, 2005). Hendricks is also a practicing bookbinder and letterpress printer. His artists’ book work, Breathing Machine, appears in Lark Books’ anthology 500 Handmade Books: Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form. He has shown artist book works in galleries in Olympia, Portland, and Seattle. His first novel, Little is Left to Tell, was published by Starcherone Books in the Fall of 2014.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Love and War and Music

South Sound Arts - Fri, 05/08/2015 - 7:00am

Theater Review: For All ThatPublished in the Weekly Volcano, May 7, 2015
Cast of For All That. Photos courtesy CenterstageCenterstage’s For All That is a phenomenal show. I left the theater wondering how I could possibly review it when it left me speechless. In many ways this performance is the best thing I’ve seen on stage in years, and the marvel of it is it was written by Centerstage Artistic Director Alan Bryce.
For All That is a love story set during World War I. It is a musical unlike any I’ve ever seen but with echoes of such masterworks as Johnny Got His Gun (the novel), Miss Saigon and Les Misérables.  Bryce gave a hint of what was to come when he ended his curtain speech by saying, “At this point I usually say enjoy the show — but it’s not that kind of show.”
Immediately thereafter a single actor came onto the smoky gray stage in a scene of horror I will not describe, which soon gave way to a joyful scene of villagers dancing and singing. Similar unexpected changes happened throughout the play, all perfectly timed. The story begins in a small village on the Island of Lewis off the coast of Scotland. As the play opens, Andrew (Joshua Williamson) has come home and hopes to marry his old sweetheart, Mairi (Katherine Jett), but during the time he was off at college his brother, Donald (Cooper Harris-Turner) has fallen for Mairi and when he proposes marriage, a surprised Andrew reluctantly steps aside.
Andrew (Joshua Williamson) and
Mairi (Katherine Jett), back:
Donald (Cooper Harris-Turner)And then war is announced and everyone’s lives are ripped apart.
As brothers and best friends are sent off to war, Andrew declares himself as a conscientious objector. He is rejected by family and sent to prison.
The local boys go off to war and fight in the battle of the Somme, one of the most horrendous battles in the history or warfare.
The story is complex and beautifully structured. Bryce, a Scot raised in England, based it on true stories taken from the War Diary of the Seaforth Highlanders.  He spent a year researching. His research took him to the Isle of Lewis and the Somme battlefield. He visited the Imperial War Museum, spoke to leading historians of the period and interviewed scholars, soldiers, ministers and musicians.
The production is excellent in every aspect, from Craig Wollam’s gritty set with its raked stage fronted by battered and rusted tin to Christina Barrigan’s stunning lighting to Janessa Styck’s period costumes, to music by Joshua Zimmerman and John Forster that ranges from lively folk jigs to tragic laments.
The acting throughout, from the large ensemble to the principle characters, is excellent. Williamson (whom I couldn’t look at without thinking of Alan Cumming) plays the misfit Andrew with brilliant sensitivity. Randall Scott Carpenter is terrific as Mairi’s brother, Malcolm, who starts off as loveable and a highly entertaining goofball and is changed by the war into a confused and emotionally scarred man. To a slightly lesser degree, Harris-Turner’s Donald goes through a similar transformation, and both actors go through these intense changes compellingly. Jett portrays a subtle spectrum of emotions as the loving, strong, and often conflicted Mairi, as does Kate Witt as Donald and Andrew’s mother.
Among the musical highlights are the boisterous “Lewis Work Songs” by the entire cast and the lusty “Mademoiselle From Armentieres” by Donald and the soldiers, Harris-Turner Jett’s beautiful duet on “Ae Fond Kiss,” and Bridgid Abrams as the lusty French barmaid singing “C’est Impossible.” And the most stunning of all, Carpenter’s heart-wrenching solo on “Black is the Sun.”
For All That should go from here to major theaters across the land. I advise you to see it while it is here.
For All That, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Sunday through March 24, 2 p.m. May 14 and 23, $10-$30, Centerstage at Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road, Federal Way, 253-661-1444,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Spring Artswalk Installation @ Dub Narcotic

K Records - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 1:30pm
Each Artswalk Dub Narcotic invites a local artist do a sound installation in the studio this Spring we choose Melanie Valera AKA Tender Forever. She transformed the space with her piece, “The Leftovers” Only two people were allowed in at a time to interact with the work.   In the chaos of Friday night Artswalk […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Georgia O'Keeffe Gone for Good

South Sound Arts - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 11:20am
Listen up, art lovers, Eloquent Objects: Georgia O’Keeffe and Still-Life Art in New Mexico at the Tacoma Art Museum closes in just a few weeks on June 7. Then it will be gone from the West Coast forever! 

Maurice Sterne (1878-1957), New Mexico Still Life, circa 1919. 0il on canvas, 10½?- 23½ inches. Lent by Denver Art Museum, Colorado. William Sr. and Dorothy Harmsen Collection, by exchange. 2013.5. © Maurice Sterne. Courtesy International Arts ® You may never get another chance to see a show quite like this. Read my review in the Weekly Volcano.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Nathan Barnes’ ‘Strangely Familial’ at Salon Refu

South Sound Arts - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 8:23am

Originally published in the Weekly Volcano, April 30, 2015
All photos courtesy Salon Refu

"Planting Seeds Setting Hooks"After a too-long hiatus, Salon Refu is back with a vengeance with “Strangely Familial,” painted mixed-media constructions by Nathan Barnes. What a strange, exciting and beautiful show!
The show consists mostly of “pop-surreal” portraits of the artist’s close friends and family. (I put “pop surreal” in quotes because I’ve been told the artist may not think of them as such, but I can’t think of any other term that describes them as well.)
Faces in each portrait meld into other body parts and such oddities as mechanical objects, circuit boards, plants and animals. Bulging eyes abound, and big, open mouths with teeth bared. There is a horror-show quality to many of these portraits, and yet some of them — particularly a couple with faces of little children, whom I suspect are the artist’s  — are undeniably tender. And there is an almost unaffected and “normal” portrait of local artist Barlow Palminteri, which is not identified but is recognizable to anyone who knows Palminteri. (By “almost normal” I mean except for the leopard-spotted internal organ floating out of the forehead.) 
Despite the sculptural elements, these are paintings in concept and execution, with excellent composition and color usage. I particularly admire the way various parts resonate with one another through the use of repetition of form, color and type of line or mark. Even the individual pieces are arranged on the gallery walls in ways that they visually relate to one another. For example — and I can’t imagine this was happenstance — there is an electric cord ending in a three-way plug coming out of a head titled “Frantic,” and in “Perceived/Received” right next to it there is a face with an open mouth, and inside the mouth is a wall receptacle for a three-way plug.
Many of the faces along the north wall are frightening images. One called “Event Horizon” is an upside-down face with teeth protruding from the top of the head (bottom of the painting), and in the middle of the face there is what looks like a second mouth or pig’s snout with a computer circuit board inside of it.
“Marginal Spaces” is quite different from everything else in the show because it is a pure painting in a rectangular format with no sculptural or mixed-media elements. It stretches almost the entire length of one wall and is like a series of still frames from a film strip with unrelated images in 10 panels that flow one to another, beginning with folds of cloth that change to hands with interlaced fingers that are seemingly made of the same cloth. As the changing images march left to right they morph into faces, and finally into sumo wrestlers. Viewers may recall that this painting was shown in Barnes’ exhibition at Pierce College in 2014, but in that exhibition it was called “Buoyant World.”
One other piece that is quite different, because there is no portrait face in it, is “Planting Seeds, Setting Hooks,” a pair of large, wrinkled, gray-green hands planting seeds in the ground. These hands relate stylistically to those in “Marginal Spaces.” Above the hands there is a stone arch and something like seismic waves made of carved wood painted blue, and below the hands are ocean waves also made of carved and painted wood, and an actual fishing lure.The many objects Barnes includes in his paintings surely have personal meaning to the artist as well as to the people whose portraits they are, but there are no clues for viewers, who are left to guess at the possible meanings.
These are exquisitely crafted works of art that are mysterious and intriguing.There will be a gallery talk by the artist with question-and-answer period May 9 from 6-8 p.m.
Salon Refu, 114 N. Capitol Way, Olympia:  Nathan Barnes’ “Strangely Familial”, Thursday-Friday-Sundays 2-6 p.m., Saturdays 2-8 p.m. through May 24.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Upcycled Style in Everett

Olympia Dumpster Divers - Fri, 05/01/2015 - 9:39am

Tomorrow, May 2, is the Upcycled Style Trash Fashion Show at the Schack Art Center in Everett, Washington.

The Mussel Gatherer by Terra Holcomb, now at the Schack Art Center in Everett

The Mussel Gatherer by Terra Holcomb

Ruby Re-Usable is the guest curator; she will be joined by our trashionable friends Kitty Center, Lynn Di Nino, Marita Dingus, Selena Eon, Jane Grafton, Monica Ann Guerrero Yocom, Terra Holcomb, Susie Howell, Nancy Judd, Kristie Maxim, Rebecca Maxim, Loran Scruggs, Britni Jade Smith, Robin Worley, Lana Landfill, Lena Landfill, Lova Landfill, and more.  This event takes place in the gallery where the Saving the Environment: Sustainable Art exhibit is currently on display.  More pics next week!

Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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