Arts & Entertainment

Oly Freakdown Fest

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 11:00am

Friday and Saturday, October 24th & 25th

Evergreen Noise, FLY, Bones Cvlt, OPP and OCS presents..

OLY FREAKDOWN FEST 2014
Olympia’s own loud rock costume party!

BANDS:
Motion (Tour Homecoming!)
Vessels (Tour Homecoming!)
Believer
Bréag Naofa
A God or an Other
Toarn
Countless The Dead
For the Likes of You
Lo’ There Do I See My Brother
Mi Amore Cadenza
The Lion in Winter
Thistopia
Redeem the Exile
The Further
A Friend
Brightside
Sorrow’s Edge
Heathen Washington
Gunslinger

MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED

Buy tickets at:
http://olyfreakdown14.brownpapertickets.com/
PRESALE ONLY: $12 Two Day Pass
DAY OF EVENT: $8 Per Day

When:
October 24th and 25th, 2014
Shows start each day at 2PM!

We are accepting band submissions for consideration. Please contact Joey Cristina joey@ourcityshows.com

www.olyfreakdown.com

Facebook Invite

olyfreakdownfest

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Oly Freakdown Fest

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 11:00am

Friday and Saturday, October 24th & 25th

Evergreen Noise, FLY, Bones Cvlt, OPP and OCS presents..

OLY FREAKDOWN FEST 2014
Olympia’s own loud rock costume party!

BANDS:
Motion (Tour Homecoming!)
Vessels (Tour Homecoming!)
Believer
Bréag Naofa
A God or an Other
Toarn
Countless The Dead
For the Likes of You
Lo’ There Do I See My Brother
Mi Amore Cadenza
The Lion in Winter
Thistopia
Redeem the Exile
The Further
A Friend
Brightside
Sorrow’s Edge
Heathen Washington
Gunslinger

MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED

Buy tickets at:
http://olyfreakdown14.brownpapertickets.com/
PRESALE ONLY: $12 Two Day Pass
DAY OF EVENT: $8 Per Day

When:
October 24th and 25th, 2014
Shows start each day at 2PM!

We are accepting band submissions for consideration. Please contact Joey Cristina joey@ourcityshows.com

www.olyfreakdown.com

Facebook Invite

olyfreakdownfest

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Teach Me Equals // RedRumsey (new project of Vern Rumsey, ex-Unwound) // Hamartia // Sounjaneer

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 5:00pm

Wednesday, September 3rd, doors at 8pm

Teach Me Equals … Florida “scrape rock” on Minorlit Records, touring w/ RedRumsey
http://teachmeequals.com/
https://www.facebook.com/teachmeequals

RedRumsey … Olympia solo alternative artist, ex-Unwound
http://www.redrumsey.com/
https://www.facebook.com/redrumsey

Hamartia … Seattle freak/folk/punk
https://fatalflaw.bandcamp.com/

Sounjaneer … Oakland CA experimental/mystical/folk
http://sounjaneer.wix.com/legaseeds
http://sounjaneer.bandcamp.com/

Facebook invite

RedRumsey

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Gladness & Dick Dagger And The C Monsters & Big Idiot & Crack House & Fuzzy Math

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 5:00pm

Friday, August 29th, doors at 8pm, show starts at 8:15 sharp!

GLADNESS … alt/gaze/wave from Portland, OR
http://gladness.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/gladnessbandpdx

DICK DAGGER AND THE C MONSTERS … psych/garage/glam from Eugene, OR
http://dickdaggerthecmonsters.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/DickDaggerAndTheCMonsters

BIG IDIOT … skaterthrash/powerviolence from Olympia
https://www.facebook.com/bigidiotoly

CRACK HOUSE … stonerfunkbluespunk from Olympia
https://www.facebook.com/crackhouseolympia

FUZZY MATH … alt/indie/pop from Olympia
https://www.facebook.com/FuzzyMath.OlympiaWA

Facebook Invite

dickdagger

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Review: “Middletown” at Harlequin Productions

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 1:11pm



Published in The News Tribune
Alec Clayton
Bill Johns as John Dodge and Jenny Vaughn Hall as Mrs. Swanson in Harlequin's "Middletown"Harlequin Productions’ “Middletown” is the surprise hit of the season. The play by Will Eno, which has been called absurdist and surrealistic and an “Our Town” for the 21st century, is brilliantly written and performed with style and sincerity by an outstanding cast on a minimalist set.
The set by Jeannie Beirne consists of simple drop-down windows and a few tables, chairs and beds that are unobtrusively moved about between scenes. Video projections by Amy Chisman cast scenes from the past to the future in small town America. The projected opening scene looks like an idyllic small town as painted by Edward Hopper, but this town is populated by citizens who could have been invented by Eugene Ionesco or Samuel Becket.
Right off the bat they break the fourth wall when Mike Dooly as a droll commentator in the “Our Town” mold welcomes the audience. It is unclear if what we’re experiencing is a curtain speech or a part of the play; what is clear, however, is that he is hilarious. And then the play-proper begins with Dooly again, now a drunk on a park bench being hassled by a cop (Scott C. Brown) who is frightening because he changes in the blink of an eye from friendly and down-to-earth to bully with gun and night stick.
There doesn’t seem to be any story arc at first, as we go from scene to scene viewing the citizens of Middletown from a range of perspectives, from that of a librarian (Walayn Sharples) to stereotypical, photo-shooting tourists (Josh Krupke and Lorrie Fargo) being given a tour by Elex Hill, to an astronaut viewing the town from outer space. But gradually a sweet and sad story begins to emerge as a budding relationship develops between a newcomer to town, Mrs. Swanson (Jenny Vaughn Hall), and a handyman named John Dodge (played brilliantly by Bill Johns). John Dodge is a sad misfit. Mrs. Swanson, whose working-out-of-town husband we never see, is friendly and loveable, but underneath her charm also lies a deep sadness. Sparks between these two are evident from the moment they meet.
I cannot praise the acting in this play enough.
Johns, in his first role at Harlequin, comes to the Olympia stage from Seattle, where he has performed in “The Adventures of Kavelier and Clay” and “Frankenstein,” both at Book-It Repertory Theatre. He has a way of quickly changing expressions that reminds me of Tim Conway from the old Carol Burnett show. He goes easily from comedy to tragedy in what may well be the best acting I’ve seen this year.
Also exceptional is Dooly as the mechanic who comments wisely on the absurdities of life in his drunken manner and who also touches the hearts fellow characters and audience alike.
Hall is charming and expressive as Mrs. Swanson. Like Dooly and Johns, she touches the heart and makes the audience want to root for her.
I’ve been following Brown’s career since I first saw him as Salieri in “Amadeus” and as R.C. McMurphy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at Lakewood Playhouse (I chose him as Best actor in my annual Critic’s Choice for both roles). No matter what part he plays, he becomes the character. As the cop in this show he starts out as an almost demonic bad guy but becomes a real softy by the tragic end.
“Middletown” is as funny, as intelligent, and as heart wrenching as any play can be. Eno’s writing is rife with sharp observations on the human condition, but is never pedantic. The philosophy and psychology, the pathos and humor, is all served up in the words of everyday people who are absolutely believable.  I highly recommend this play.
alec@alecclayton.com
Check Alec’s blog at alecclayton.blogspot.com for reviews of other area theatrical productions. Watch for a review of “Blithe Spirit” at Olympia Little Theatre and “And Then There Were None” at Lakewood Playhouse.
SIDEBAR: Middletown WHEN: Thursdays through Saturdays, 8p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. through Sept. 13WHERE: State Theater, 202 E. 4th Ave., OlympiaTICKETS: prices vary, call for detailsINFORMATION: 360-786-0151; http://www.harlequinproductions.org/
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Session Notes: The Pinheads

K Records - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 11:10am
The Pinheads tore in from Pittsburgh ready to rock’n'roll.  They were well rehearsed, had set realistic goals, and (mostly) sober. If you are paying for studio time BE THESE THINGS. You’re gonna get a lot more done. I took our new Chameleon Labs TS1 MKIIs out for a spin on the drums, using the large […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Mind Drumming

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 9:04am



A long time ago I was a drummer in a country and western band called the Southern Playboys, and after that in a kind of Lawrence Welk type quintet. The leader of the band played accordion. I kid you not. I also used to be a painter. I have a master’s degree in art and spent most of my life making art. But then I quit that, too. I still make art in my head, and in bed at night I sometimes have lucid dreams about painting. As for drumming, I constantly drum with my fingers on my thighs or a table top or the steering wheel when I’m driving—to whatever song is in my head at the time. Sometimes I wake up about four o’clock in the morning and start drumming in my head. I will visualize sitting at a drum set with sticks in hand and playing a masterful solo.When I make art in my head it can be as frustrating and as fulfilling as making an actual painting. You see, I remember that when I was actively painting I would often—more often than you can imagine—screw it up; and the more I tried to fix it the worse it got. When this happened (notice I put that in the passive voice: it just happened; I had nothing to do with it) I often had to scrape everything off and start over. You’d think I could avoid stuff like that when I’m painting in my head, but I don’t.Drumming in my head usually goes better. I do things I was never able to do when I was actually drumming. I’m talking like things only a Buddy Rich or a Ginger Baker can do.You’d think that if I do all this painting and drumming in my head I’d want to pick up a brush or a pair of drumsticks and do the real thing, but I really have no desire to do either. I have a pair of drumsticks that sit by the TV. I often think about picking them up but, you know, I’d have to get up and walk across the room.The thing is, doing these things in my head is just as satisfying, if not more so, than doing the real thing. I know I can never be as good as Michelangelo or Jackson Pollock or Phillip Pearlstein, but in my mind I can. Besides, painting is messy. As for drumming, do you have any idea how physically demanded drumming is? At my age and as out of shape as I am I could never last through a couple of rock songs, and I know I could never be another Ginger Baker.But in my mind . . . damn I’m good.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Summer Shows in Seattle

Olympia Dumpster Divers - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:32pm

Seattle has a lot of artists who work with recycled materials.  One of our all-time favorites,  Ross Palmer Beecher, has been making art out of recycled materials since 1980, yet she continues to inspire us with her ingenuity, craftsmanship, and wit.  Her ability to find new ways to reuse stuff other folks throw away was on display this summer at Greg Kucera Gallery.

My Palette by Ross Palmer Beecher, 2009  23 x 16 x 2 inches

My Palette by Ross Palmer Beecher, 2009
23 x 16 x 2 inches

Two of our new favorite pieces from this recent show are “My Palette,” made out of tins, paint brushes, paint tubes, and enamel paint, and “My Palette #2.” The former takes the traditional shape of an artist palette and incorporates the traditional paints and brushes in a fresh, recycled-artist-kind-of-way, creating a sampler of some of her techniques and materials. “My Palette #2″ is made out of spray cans, paint tubes, and foil, arranged in a traditional multi-pieced star quilt pattern.  It is this juxtaposition of the traditional images and the non-traditional/unexpected materials that never fails to excite us.  More Ross Palmer Beecher HERE and HERE

My Palette #2 by Ross Palmer Beecher, 2013 46 x 38 inches

My Palette #2 by Ross Palmer Beecher, 2013
46 x 38 inches

Another fabulous Seattle artist that works with tin is our friend Jenny Fillius, who had a solo show at Gallery4Culture back in the beginning of June.  The Stranger described her work as “energetic, wall-mountable tin sculpture pieced together from salvaged metal pieces (toys, religious iconography, advertisements). It sometimes looks like it was made by a junkyard savant in a delirium.”  We regret to admit that we managed to miss seeing this show in person, but we can attest to the fact that Jenny knows what she is doing, and she does it with craftsmanship, intelligence, and humor.  See more Jenny Fillus HERE and HERE

Jenny Fillius Stay On the Sunny Side

Lastly, while we are posting about shows in Seattle that we are sad to have missed, we need to tell you about our friend and mentor Barbara De Pirro, whose work was in ”Vorfreude” with Katie Miller at Method Gallery this summer.  Barbara’s current medium is reclaimed plastic bottles, which she transforms into elegant, organic shapes.

Vorfreude is a German word meaning “the joyful anticipation of future pleasures.”
“Vorfreude” explores the anticipation of growth, transformation, and renewal in life through the installations of Katie Miller and Barbara De Pirro … De Pirro examines renewal through using reclaimed materials. The resulting relationship between each installation is the process of transformation, exploring the expected potential of materials, their lifespan, and connection to their environments. The audience is linked with the exhibition as they observe its transformation and await the final event.

Metamorphosis by Barbara De Pirro at Method Gallery, 2014

Metamorphosis by Barbara De Pirro at Method Gallery, 2014

Our next chance to view Barbara De Pirro’s work will be September 5 – October 12, when it will be part of the group show “Ethnobotany: An Artists’ Study of Plants” at the Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Tacoma; this time, Olympia Dumpster Divers vow to be there!  More Barbara De Pirro HERE and HERE

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 011

K Records - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:15am
The Pink Elephant’s Graveyard is where artifacts are stored and displayed. If it is uniquely K we want you to have an opportunity to discover it. Nothing could be more exciting for us than to offer up this interview and performance with Ruby Fray. On a NW tour which included an appearance at the Helsing […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

An Improbable Peck of Plays 3D

South Sound Arts - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 9:29am


TAO is at it again with the third installment of one-act plays at the Midnight Sun. This one’s called “An Improbable Peck of Plays 3D.” Supposedly a peck indicates how many plays, but a peck is not that kind of measurement. It is a dry measure of eight quarts; the fourth part of a bushel, equal to 537.6 cubic inches (8.81 liters). I looked it up. There are eight one-acts in this evening’s festivities, so maybe they equate the number of quarts with the number of plays. Anyway, that seems just the right amount. All eight are so short as to seem more like skits on a television variety show — like something by Sid Caesar and Imogene Coco or Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman. I’m not sure why they call them improbable unless that refers to the main plot points to most of these plays. Debbie Sampson and Ryan Holmberg in “Guido in Therapy”
Stephanie Kroschel and Bobby Brown in “Second Wind”Imagine this if you can: Pygmalion, the Greek sculptor who fell in love with the statue of the goddess Galatea, who comes alive and turns out to be a feminist who berates the sculptor for lusting after her body while ignoring her mind and her spirit. Yep. Pretty improbable. But if a statue of a goddess could come to life in the 21st century, I can imagine it might happen something like this. Novelist, actor, director and playwright Christian Carvajal made this the premise of his play An Imperfect Galatea, directed by Pug Bujeaud. Cheyenne Logan is delightful as the beautiful and headstrong Galatea in this philosophical comedy, and Bobby Brown is equally enjoyable to watch as the bumbling, not-a-clue Pygmalion. Logan plays a similar part in Narcissus and Tiresia by Sammy Scott, directed by Morgan Picton, in which Narcissus (Sam Johnson) hates everyone in the world because people are ugly but Tiresia has an improbably cure for his condition.These plays are all locally written and produced. The writers are associated with The Northwest Playwrights Alliance, which was founded right here in Olympia by Bryan Willis and now operates out of the Seattle Repertory Theatre.
For another comedy based on a totally improbable premise, look no further than the first play of the evening, Second Windby Dan Erickson, directed by the duo of Vanessa Postil and Mark Alford of Harlequin Production’s improve comedy troupe Something Wicked. Valerie (Stephanie Kroschel) is a woman who goes to her doctor (Debbie Sampson) for a checkup. Her tests all come back showing she’s in good health, but the doctor is worried about something else, to wit, there is a man in a swivel chair attached to her by a rope tied around her waist. Apparently the cure needs to be something more than simply untying the rope. I will not spoil it any further by divulging who the man is other than to say that he is famous. Bobby Brown plays the man in the swivel chair and Dennis Worrell plays another character named Tuttle who is rather disruptive to say the least.Improbabilities stack up with skits about people in therapy, or who should probably be in therapy. For example: Amy (Sara Geiger). Amy believes she is living in a Broadway musical. Or, more accurately, a life comprising songs from many musicals. This one was written by Andrew Gordon, is directed by Mark Alford, and also features Jodie Chapin, Maxwell Schilling and Worrell again.  My choice of the most hilarious play of the evening is Guido in Therapy by Beth Peterson and directed by the team of Alford and Postil. This one features Aaron Bredlau as the therapist, Sampson as the patient, Beth, and the unconquerable Ryan Holmberg as Guido. Beth is in therapy because she has an inappropriate relationship with her cat. She takes pet love to a whole new level. Guido is the cat, and Holmberg has the cat moves down perfect — the scratching, the licking, the grooming. I may never see another cat video without thinking of him.Other one-acts filling out the evening are Next Stop: Reckoning by Marcy Rodenborn, directed by Elizabeth Lord; Temperature on Mercury by Bryan Willis, directed by Christian Carvajal; and Scent of a Man by Solomon Olmstead, directed by Pug Bujeaud.
Aug. 28, 29,30,31 and Sept. 4, 5 and 6 at 8 p.m., Sept. 7 at 2:30 p.m., The Midnight Sun, 113 N. Columbia St.
Tickets: $12.00. Available at door night of show or online at brownpapertickets.com
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Beat Happening, Girl Band, I Love You

K Records - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:09pm
Irish eyes are smiling at the thought of one of their native sons’ covering the Beat Happening classic “I Love You”. The British music paper New Musical Express reports that the Dublin combo Girl Band covers “I Love You” as the flip-side of their new single “De Bom Bom”, due out Sept. 1. “I Love […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The Shivas – Manson Girls!

K Records - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:45am
The new Shivas album You Know What to Do [KLp252], recorded by Calvin Johnson at Dub Narcotic Studio, is out on K September 30. You dunt need to wait that long to hear a taste of the latest pop basement garage wranglin’ from our Vancouver, Washington rock’n'roll heroes. Brooklyn Vegan has debuted a song from […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

JPNSGRLS, robotsvsghosts, Calliope

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:00pm

Tuesday, August 26th, doors at 8pm

JPNSGRLS (Vancouver, BC)
https://jpnsgrls.bandcamp.com/

robotsvsghosts

Calliope
https://soundcloud.com/calliope-music/

Facebook invite

JPNSGRLS

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Emby Alexander ,,, Middlewav ,,, The Straws ,,, Crowd the Sky

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 5:00pm

Monday, August 25, doors at 8pm

EMBY ALEXANDER … Phoenix chamberpowerpop
*http://www.embyalexander.com/
*http://www.embyalexander.bandcamp.com/
*https://www.facebook.com/embyalexander

MIDDLEWAV … Olympia experimental electrofolk
*http://middlewav.bandcamp.com/
*https://www.facebook.com/Middlewav

THE STRAWS … Oly alt groove, multigenre sprawl
*http://thestraws.bandcamp.com/
*https://www.facebook.com/strawsband

CROWD THE SKY … Oly synth sounds, ex-Celestials
*https://www.facebook.com/stanley.donwood

Facebook invite

emby

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Critic’s Choice 2013-2014

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 12:51pm




I wasn’t going to do a Critic’s Choice this year because there are too many plays I did not review in the 2013-2014 season.  But there are plays, actors and directors I would like to acknowledge.
Starting with last year’s Critic’s Choice my selections have not been of the best-in-category variety, but simply acknowledgement of actors, directors, set designers and so forth whose work is worthy of special recognition.  I’m sorry that those recognized won’t be able to list best actor, etc. on their resumes.
Plays – Fighting Over Beverly at Harlequin Productions. This was an outstanding play by the great Israel Horovitz,  an outstanding ensemble piece with Dennis Rolly, David Wright, Karen Nelsen and Ann Flannigan. Twelve Angry Men at Lakewood Playhouse – outstanding drama; tour de force for ensemble cast led by Bruce Story-Camp in his best dramatic outing ever and with standout performances by  Christian Carvajal, Ronnie Hill and Rob Reed, among others. Directed by Victoria Webb. Middletown at Harlequin Productions. Written by Will Eno, this is a sharp, intelligent and beautifully staged play mixing equal doses of comedy and tragedy.
Actors (drama) – Brynne Garman for her mesmerizing depiction of Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Lakewood Playhouse; Sara Beth Puett in the title role of Driving Miss Daisy at Dukesbay Theatre; Gabriel McClelland as Finbar and David Wright as Jack in The Weir at Tacoma Little Theatre, and Mike Dooley and Bill Johns for Middletown at Harlequin Productions .
Directing (drama) – Pug Bujeaud for The Weir at Tacoma Little Theatre, Victoria Webb for Twelve Angry Men at Lakewood Playhouse.
Actors (musical) – Cole Hagerman as Patsy in Spamalot at at Lakewood Playhouse and Andrew Fry as Georges and Jeffrey Bassett as Albin in La Cage Aux Folles at Tacoma Musical Playhouse.
Musicals – The best of the best were La Cage Aux Folles at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, directed and choreographed by Jon Douglas Rake;  and  Spamalot at Lakewood Playhouse,  with outstanding direction by John Munn and choreography by Casi Wilkerson.
Set, Lighting and Costumes –Judy Cullen (set), John Chenault (lighting) and by Margot Webb and Grace Stone (costumes) for La Cage Aux Folles at Tacoma Musical Playhouse.
Children’s Plays – Lyle the Crocodile and The House at Pooh Corner by Olympia Family Theatre.
Special Category writing and acting– Peter Serko for writing and performing the amazing one-man show My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg at Dukesbay Theatre.
Special Category Notable Knockoff of William Shakespeare  – A Rock ‘n’ Roll Twelfth Night at Harlequin Productions.Special Category riskiest play – American Roulette, a joint production by Theater Artists Olympia and Animal Fire written by Christopher Evans and Fredric Hendricks and directed by Brian Hatcher.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Pine Hill Haints “Spirit of 1812″

K Records - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 11:26am
Live on the streets of Atlanta! The Pine Hill Haints stopped by the studios of the Digital Arts Entertainment Lab at Georgia State University for the WRAS | indieATL music series, produced by Matt Rowles.   The Pine Hill Haints album The Magik Sounds of the Pine Hill Haints [KLP254] is available now from the […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Gearlust: Fender Coronado XII

K Records - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 11:10am
When your goal is to make dreamy, jangly rock ‘n roll, staring at your shoes and a 6-string just isn’t enough. This beautiful vintage Fender Coronado XII 12-string guitar provides not only 6 more strings to look at, but also yields one of the sparkliest tones available in the studio. Recently, we’ve had all of […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Tag! You’re it!

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 8:52am





Tacoma talks about graffiti and art Weekly Volcano, Aug. 21, 2014
from left: David Schrodel, Lt. Leroy Standifer, Allyson Griffith, Traci Kelly
There was quite a lively discussion at the Old Post Office Wednesday night when the New Neighborhood Council sponsored a panel discussion on graffiti with representatives from a good number of community groups. On the panel were City Art Administrator Amy McBride; Judi Hyman, president of the Downtown Merchant’s Group; David Schrodel from Business Improvement Area Lt. Leroy Standifer from the Tacoma Police Department, and Allyson Griffith from the city’s Community Based Services. Moderating the discussion was Traci Kelly, chair of the Tacoma Arts Commission and representing the New Neighborhood Council.
Amy McBride. Photos by Gabi ClaytonGriffith talked about the city’s Rapid Removal Pilot program focusing on eradicating graffiti as quickly as possible, noting that the longer graffiti remains the more likely it is to invite more tagging. She said if your property gets hit by graffiti you should call the police non-emergency number, 798.4721.
Much of the discussion, both from panel members and from community participants, centered around the difference between graffiti and street art. McBride said the difference is graffiti is done without permission. She said street art has been an established art form since the early ’80s.
Famous artists such as Jean-Michael Basquait and Keith Haring started out as graffiti artists, and Banksy’s illegal street art became so famous that sections of walls he had painted on have been bought, removed from buildings and displayed in museums.
McBride said she would like to see opportunities for street artists to express themselves.
A number of community members also talked about wanting to provide legal and less destructive ways for street artists to express themselves. Both McBride and Kelly talked about the city’s mural program which secures legitimate walls for graffiti-style artists to work on them and provides training. Forty-four murals have been completed through the program over the past four years, and only a couple of them have been tagged. Although it was made clear by many on the panel and in the audience of approximately 40 citizens that tagging is a criminal act that is destructive and costly, one interesting thing that was pointed out is that taggers tend to respect the work of other street artists, which may account for the fact that so few of the city’s murals have been tagged.
When asked how big the graffiti problem is, Lt. Standifer said it is “out of control.” He said they have identified 44 taggers by their markers. None of them are affiliated with violent gangs, most are high school-aged males who are predominantly white, and they range across all economic classes.
Standifer also stressed the importance of quick removal, saying if it is not removed it sends the message that nobody cares. “It makes us look like a war zone. Graffiti’s artistic value is not an issue.”One woman in the audience identifying herself as being an artist associated with the Spaceworks program asked for suggestions of positive steps that can be taken, and a number of people talked about the benefits of the mural program and Spaceworks. Several people expressed sadness and frustration that the graffiti garage on Broadway has now been closed to street artists by the owners, probably due to liability issues. Hyman said she has heard from people as far away as Los Angeles asking about the graffiti garage, and local merchants talked about how it was an attraction that brought people downtown who then explored other offerings there.
A representative from Washington Department of Transportation said they clean up graffiti from bridges and signs when it becomes a safety issue and said that racial slurs and obscenities take priority over other forms of tagging.
Hyman said there is now an app for reaching Tacoma First 311 for reporting graffiti or potholes or other non-emergency issues. More information is available at http://www.exit133.com.
Street art can be beautiful and exciting and can enhance the business and culture of the community. Tagging is illegal, often ugly, and can be harmful to business and culture. Often the line between the two can be hard to recognize.  Hopefully this New Neighborhood Council discussion will be a step toward finding ways to encourage the good and do away with the bad.
Photos: Graffiti talk.png - from left: David Schrodel, Lt. Leroy Standifer, Allyson Griffith, Traci KellyAmy.png – Amy McBride
Photos by Gabi Clayton
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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