Arts & Entertainment

Psycho-Moto-Psycho at Brick & Mortar

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 7:37am

"Hyper Medico Della Peste," mixed media installation by Marty Fehl. Photo courtesy Laura Hanan

 Published in the Weekly Volcano, Aug. 27, 2015
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen art by Marty Fehl, and his new show at Brick & Mortar Gallery is quite a departure from the paintings of his I saw years ago — a good and exciting departure.Fehl’s new work consists of paintings and installations based on motorcycles and motorcycle culture, or as the gallery refers to it, moto-inspired art. The repeated term “psycho” in the show title should also give readers a clue as to what to expect.Anchoring  the left-hand wall as you enter the gallery are two six-foot-by-four-foot realist paintings of parts of vintage Ducati motorcycles. From five feet away they look like photo-realist paintings, but closer-in, brush strokes and paint build-up become evident. The artist wanted these paintings to look almost like photographs but still be about paint and the arrangement of shapes and colors on canvas rather than just about the appearance of the machines, which he obviously loves. "Hypersensitive," acrylic on canvas by Marty Fehl. Photo courtesy Laura HananThe first of these paintings is called “The Bevel Make Me Do It,” a clever pun. It is an extreme close-up with great luminous metallic colors. It seems to the be cowl and parts of the motor. There is a curved section that looks like tinted glass. I thought it might be a montage of different parts, but I asked the artist and it is not. The extreme close view makes it into something abstract and confusing, at least to me, but attractive and beautifully painted.The second of the two paintings is an even more extreme close-up, so close that the motorcycle becomes an abstract configuration in black and white with a few small areas of brown and tan. Imagine a Franz Kline painting in which all the brush strokes are precise and hard-edged. This is a strong painting.There are two actual motorcycles in the show. One of them is mounted by a leather-clad rider with a leather mask that looks like a bird’s face with a long and menacing beak. He’s wearing goggles, and there is a red light behind one of the lenses. The figure inside the clothing is completely covered with leather: boots, helmet and gloves, so it is impossible to tell what the figure is made of. It could be a mannequin, or it could be sculpted of papier mâché or clay or almost anything. It is life-size and convincingly human and surrealistic. According to a printed statement, the beak-like mask is based on the masks medieval plague doctors wore. The leather jacket is the remnant of one Fehl was wearing when he had a recent motorcycle accident; the crash was captured on video and the video is also in the show, projected on the back wall.Also on the back wall is a green-faced painting of Frankenstein’s monster, face only, floating in space with a little red Ducati gas tank for an eye.And there are dada-esque motorcycle helmets on sculpture stands and a sculpture made from a strange motorcycle handle bar that reaches almost floor to ceiling.This show contains elements of pop art, surrealism and dada, and is unlike anything else you’re likely to see in Tacoma.Also included in the gallery are works by ceramic artist Steve Portteus, welder Josh Lippencott, and painter Laura Hanan, all of which were in the previous show at Brick & Mortar. I would prefer seeing more of Fehl’s work, but the inclusion of the other pieces is good for people who missed the previous show.Psycho-Moto-Psycho, Thurs-Sat. noon to 2 p.m., Fri.-Sat., noon to 9 p.m. through Oct. 15, Brick & Mortar Gallery, 811 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.591.2727.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

To Kill a Mockingbird at Harlequin

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 6:34am

Published in The News Tribune, Aug. 28, 2015Loren Kattenbraker as Scout and Aaron Lamb as Atticus Finch.
David Wright as the judge, Helen Harvester as Mayella Ewell, and Russ Holmes as Bob Ewell. Photos courtesy Harlquin Productions
The bar is set impossibly high for the stage play of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee and the Oscar-winning film are each among the most popular and highly praised in the history of American film and literature. Playwright Christopher Sergel took on the challenge of adapting “Mockingbird” for the stage, and Olympia’s Harlequin Productions is now running it under the direction of Linda Whitney with three outstanding child actors supported by a large cast of some of Southwest Washington’s finest. Eight-year-old Loren Kattenbraker plays Scout, the loveable central character in the book and movie. She is amazingly expressive and a joy to watch. Nick Hayes, a 7th grader who has appeared on every stage in the Olympia area and even appeared in “Oklahoma” at Seattle’s prestigious 5th Avenue Theater, is Scout’s big brother Jem. His performance is near flawless. Fifth grader Annabelle Samson plays Charles Baker Harris, aka, Dill, and she is delightful. It is also her second cross-dressing role, the previous one being when the played a girl pretending to be a boy in Olympia Family Theater’s “Orphan Train.” All three of these kids are terrific.To say all that should be said about the rest of the cast would take twice the space I’m allowed for the column. Aaron Lamb is solid and believable as Atticus Finch. Scott C. Brown nails the role of Sheriff Heck Tate. (He confessed to this reviewer, who grew up in Mississippi, that he was unsure of getting the Southern accent right. His accent is perfect.) Helen Harvester turns in a performance as the emotionally crippled Mayella Ewell that is worthy of a Tony Award, and Russ Holmes, a longtime favorite of Harlequin audiences, pulls off one of his best performances ever as Bob Ewell. Comedian and actor Morgan Picton shows just what a great actor he can be in the challenging roles of the public prosecutor and as Boo Radley. (If he were not the only bald actor on stage, nobody would suspect these two characters are played by the same actor.) David Wright also does a superb job of playing two quite different characters, the poor farmer Walter Cunningham and Judge Taylor. And Robert Humes puts his heart into a heart-wrenching portrayal of the falsely accused Tom Robinson. Rounding out this terrific cast and each performing at the top of their game are Edsonya Charles, Ann Flannigan, Korja Giles, Walayn Sharples, and DuWayne Andrews.In adapting the story for the stage, Sergel made the dubious choice of having the neighbor, Maudie Atkinson (Flannigan) narrate the story, which in the book and movie was done by Scout. Maudie is a wonderful character, likeable and a rare voice of reason in a town full of bigots and ignoramuses. But her narration was totally unnecessary, serving only to moralize and slow down the flow of the story. Likewise, Sergel’s decision to freeze the action during the mesmerizing court scene for a little scene with Scout and Dill disrupted the story in a way that added nothing. One other thing that marred an otherwise marvelous play was overdoing the dumb-Southern-hick bit in the scene where the townsmen are intent on lynching Tom Robinson. They turned a frightening scene into a comic parody of stereotypical rednecks. Fortunately, Scout stepped up to talk one-on-one with the lynch-mob leader and turned the scene into one of the most touching in the play.The set by Jeannie Beirne captures the feel of 1930s Maycomb, Ga., in a beautifully stylized fashion and allows for complicated set changes with actors moving pieces in full view of the audience in such a way that is not at all distracting. Costumes by Darren Mills are authentic, and Amy Chisman’s lighting is wonderful.“To Kill a Mockingbird” is 2½ hours long with a 20-minute intermission. It includes mature content and racially-charged language.
WHAT: To Kill a Mockingbird WHEN: Thursdays through Saturdays, 8p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. through Sept. 12WHERE: State Theater, 202 E. 4th Ave., OlympiaTICKETS: prices vary, call for detailsINFORMATION: 360-786-0151;
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

My Spectacularly Unsuccessful Teaching Career

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 10:23am

No wonder they fired me in Clarkton when I looked like this (Nashville, TN, all dressed up for a job interview).

Departing from my usual arts writing, I’d like to share this with some of my friends.Yes, I was a teacher for a brief moment a long time ago.In 1970 I was hired to teach art in the tiny town of Clarkton, Missouri. For a $200 bonus they also got me to direct a school play. I had never before directed a play. The last (and only) play I had been in was in the first grade when I was one of the dwarfs in Snow White. In Clarkton, population approximately 2,500 at the time, I taught high school art classes three days a week and junior high and elementary art the other two days (high school and junior high shared a building and the elementary school next door was connected to the high school by a covered walkway). I at least got to spend enough time with my 10th, 11thand 12th grade students to learn their names, not so with the earlier grades where I felt I accomplished absolutely nothing; at best I was a fun babysitter.I did a pretty good job with the high school students, but I have to admit that my classes got pretty wild. I was not good at disciplining the students. My theory was that if you made the classes interesting enough, discipline would not be necessary. That theory proved to be partially true, but definitely not completely true.My end-of-year evaluation gave me high marks on innovation and knowledge of subject but ended with this statement from the principal: “The noise from Mr. Clayton’s class, especially the laughter, is disrupting to other classes. Not recommended for rehire.”Thus ended my public school teaching career with the exception of a few years substitute teaching in Nashville, Tennessee and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where my inability to keep the kids in line was even more of a problem.After that I was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi for about three years and a half-time studio art instructor and gallery director. And then I was laid off. That’s code for fired. The reason given was that I had only an MA degree and the job required an MFA, which is a terminal degree in studio art. Of course my MA was good enough when they needed me. The real reason I was fired, which I heard through the grape vine, was that the college hired some hotshot in another department who agreed to come only if they also hired his wife, an art teacher. So she got my job and I got the hell out of Mississippi—the end of my teaching career and the beginning of a career as an artist and writer in Olympia, Washington.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The Life and Death of King John

South Sound Arts - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 9:54am

Animal Fire Theatre’s annual Shakespeare in the Park
Published in the Weekly Volcano, Aug. 20, 2015from Left: Allison Zoe Schneider, Dennis Worrell, Kate Ayers (atop the tower), Brian Jansen, Brian Hatcher. Photo by Kate Arvin.This summer’s Shakespeare in the Park by Animal Fire Theatre tackles one of the bard’s lesser known plays, King John. It is a difficult play to follow, primarily perhaps, because it is little known. Since plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet are so celebrated it is much easier to understand them, but since fewer people know who Philip the Bastard and Lady Blanch and Lady Constance are, King John can be difficult to understand. That’s why a synopsis is printed in the program and why director Scott Douglas encouraged the audience to study the synopsis before the play starts.Added to that difficulty are the usual distractions of outdoor theater: passing trucks and motorcycles, airplanes overhead, and the night I attended a dog off leash who got excited and barked a couple of times while watching the play, which was distracting but sort of funny, but then tried to join in a sword fight on stage, which was not funny. Please, people, think twice about bringing your dog; and if you do please leash them during the performance.Yet one other difficulty: one of the actors, Pug Bujeaud, got sick and was replaced at the last minute by Jen Ryles, founder of Olympia Family Theater, who had to be on book but did a commendable job of acting despite being hard to hear. Some of the other actors were also hard to hear, exacerbated because the slope of the ground meant much of the audience was sitting quite a distance from the stage area.Even with these problems, it is an entertaining play. Typical of Shakespeare, it combines history, tragedy and comedy and features larger-than-life characters. The amount of bloodshed is considerably less than in many of Shakespeare’s tragedies and history plays.It begins when an ambassador from France (David Shoffner) demands that English King John (Brian Hatcher) renounce his throne in favor of Arthur, whom the French King, Philip (Dennis Worrell) believes to be the rightful heir to the throne. War, intrigue, religious disputes and a marriage between Lewis (Maddox Pratt), the son of King Philip, and King John’s niece, Blanche (J Benway) ensue — all of which leads eventually to the poisoning of King John.Hatcher is a strong presence as King John, and Worrell is strong and fierce as King Philip. The clashes between these two are like a standoff between two immovable objects, as are the hot war of words between Elinor of Aquitaine (Ryle) and Lady Constance (Christine Goode), mother of Arthur, who is fearless and strong and backs down from no one.One of the most engaging characters is Philip (Brian Wayne Jansen), the bastard son of Richard the Lionhearted, not to be confused with Philip the king of France. I had a hard time keeping track of how Philip the Bastard fit in with the various warring factions. He seemed at times to be a go-between or reconciler and at other times a warrior for King John, but mostly he seemed to be looking out for his own self-interests. Though it was difficult to understand his part in the story, Jansen’s acting was great to watch. So was Kate Ayers'. She provided a lot of comedy in the roles of Lord Pembroke and First Citizen, Warden of Angiers, Brittany.There are a lot of gender busting roles in this production, including Allison Zoe Schneider, who was a good young Arthur and doubled as Prince Henry and as a messenger, and Maddox Pratt, who was outstanding as King Philip’s son, Lewis.By-the-way, Richard the Lion Hearted is the same Richard who was prominent in the Robin Hood legends, but Arthur is not the Arthur from Camelot. Shakespeare was not concerned with historical accuracy.King John, 6: 30 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays through Aug. 23, Priest Point Park, Olympia (park in the lot by the playground on the west side of the park and walk into the meadow behind the bathrooms). Free, donations accepted.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The Aloha Club Collection exhibition at Tacoma Art Museum

South Sound Arts - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 9:48am

 Published in the Weekly Volcano, Aug. 20, 2015
“Burnt Offering,” pastel by Randy Hayes, courtesy of Tacoma Art Museum, gift of the Aloha Club

Selections from the Aloha Club Collection now showing at the Tacoma Art Museum includes 21 diverse works in painting, printmaking, ceramics, photography, jewelry and textiles by well-known regional artists described in the press release as “emerging artists in new media” and “historically important yet overlooked Northwest artists.”The Aloha Club is a women’s club formed in 1892 to support Northwest culture. They began collecting regional artists in 1948, and gifted their collection to TAM in 1971. A little less than half their collection is represented in this show. Included are such regional luminaries as Randy Hayes, Merrill Wagner, Marie Watt and Matika Wilbur. (In the collection but sadly not included in this show are photos by Mary Randlett and at least one painting by Michael Spafford; perhaps TAM decided these have been shown too often, but that didn’t stop them from including William Ivy’s “Blues and Whites,” which has been shown multiple times over the past three years and is one of my favorite works in the museum’s collection.)Watt is the artist responsible for the wonderful curved spire of blue blankets in front of the museum. In this show she has a wall-hanging piece (I’ll call it a quilt for lack of a better descriptor) titled “Tear This Wall Down.” It is made of reclaimed blankets, satin binding and thread. Does the title refer to the Berlin Wall and Reagan’s famous admonition to tear it down? Probably. The image is an architectonic structure of multicolored bands of wool that looks like a craggy wall or two mountain peaks. There is much to contemplate in this work, culturally and aesthetically.Perhaps the most striking painting in the collection is Hayes’s “Burnt Offering,” a brilliantly colored pastel of two figures in the dark of night with faces and hands lighted as if by holding flashlights under their chins — dramatic, Halloween-like imagery. This is a powerful painting that verges on melodrama without crossing that line.There are also three photos from Wilbur’s Project 562, an ambitious photographic study of Native American culture that TAM showed in its entirety a year ago. Boyer Gonzales is unknown to me, but seeing his oil painting “Ancient Site-Delphi” makes me want to see more of his work. It is a dark and ominous abstract landscape that pictures a stream running through a canyon. In its solid, bulky structure it seems like a cross between a Cezanne and a Marsden Hartley.I was intrigued by a series of four etchings by Thomas Handford, a Tacoma artist from the early 20th century most known as an illustrator of children’s books. I liked his “Cherry Street New York,” 1920, and his “Merry-Go-Round” with severe foreshortening that makes the riders seem to be tipping over.I was also impressed with Vanessa Helder’s simple little watercolor “Water Tower” from 1939, which looks a lot like paintings by the early modernists Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler. Patty Warashina’s “Amazed” is a wall sculpture in porcelain and Plexiglas that is inventive, funny and horrifying, depending on your point of view; and technically flawless. Porcelain female nudes—every one of them bald headed and with identical figures — are trapped in a maze and trying to help each other out. Also trapped in the maze are giant rats as large as the women. It gives new meaning to the phrase “trapped like rats in a maze.”Tacoma Art Museum, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays–Sundays, $14; Student (6-17), Military, Senior (65+) $12; Family $35 (2 adults and up to 4 children under 18).
Children 5 and under and members free. Third Thursdays free from 5-8 p.m., 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, 253-272-4258,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Trans FX play Olympia this weekend!

K Records - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 3:32pm
An Olympia treat! Trans FX, about to release their new album Into the Blu [KLP259], will play an all ages show Friday evening at Obsidian, 414 4th Ave. E, Downtown Olympia.  Also playing are LAKES from Australia (not to be confused with the Olympia combo LAKE) and Montaña de Oro (from Olympia!). The show starts at […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

An Improbable Peck of Plays

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 7:46am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Aug. 13, 2015 Debbie Sampson, Alayna Chamberland, Christian Carvajal, and Ethan Bujeaud (under the table) in Amenities. Photo by Austin Lang
Aaron Bredlau in Glory, Glory vanish. Photo by Austin Lang
Sara Fiksdal in
Cherry-Flavored Chemistry. Photo by Austin Lang
Eight plays by local playwrights, seven directors, and a dozen actors. What could possibly go wrong? Very little. This cadre of local talent pulled together by Theater Artists Olympia in collaborationwith the Northwest Playwrights Alliance is offering a marvelous evening of entertaining one-act plays at the Midnight Sun.Improbable Peck of Plays Vol. IVis the latest installment in this series, and I’ll go on record right now as saying I hope there will be a volume V, VI, VII, and on and on ad infinitum.Village of the Sirenswritten by Sherry Narens and directed by Jackie Nordquist is a poem musically recited by five women — sirens in the Homeric sense who tempt not just with sex appeal but by reciting words signifying desirable qualities/events such as stillness, quiet, comfort, home, sex and so forth. There is a rhythm and a lyrical quality to this that is enticing, and that they memorized the oft-repeated phrases is an amazing feat.The Restorewritten by Merridawn Duckler and directed by Lanita Grice was a brilliant idea, but it doesn’t quite work on stage despite some delightful comedic acting by Ethan Bujeaud who plays a living work of art being worked on by the art restorer played by Ellis Tyler-Crowl.Something More Cheerfulby Morgan Picton, directed by Amanda Stevens is a comedy horror show that satirizes politics and show business with Swiftian absurdity. An aspiring actor (Maxwell Schilling) is cast as the President in a something that at first seems to be a movie but then turns out to be real life. Or to put it another way, real life, including the presidency, is a movie cast, written and directed by the Illuminati. Schilling plays the actor well as naïve and overly enthusiastic. Also outstanding as members of the auditioning panel are John Lyons Beck, who reminds me of John Goodman, Aaron Bredlau, who is hilariously over-the-top in this play and in Glory, Glory Vanish (more on that below), Sara Fiksdal and Sara Geiger.Amenities by Gregory Hirschak, directed by Deane Shellman, with Christian Carvajal, Alayna Chamberland, Debbie Sampson and Ethan Bujeaud, is roll-on-the-floor funny. A couple, Carvajal and his drunken wife (Sampson), are showing off their new condo to a dinner guest (Chamberland). Everything is immense for this wealthy couple, and they are proud of their new home in “The Bohemian” where each unit comes equipped with its own artist. Their artist (Bujeaud) lives under the dining room table. Sean Raybell is unbelievably powerful and funny as an New England seafarer and Maxwell Shilling plays a wide-eyed hapless college student who encounters him on the docks in The Wisdoming by Gregory Hirschak, directed by Gabriel McClelland.In Glory, Glory Vanish, written by Eva Suter and directed by Xander Layden, Carvajal plays a Viking who has had “many, many lovers,” and Bredlau is once again outstanding as his buddy, while Bujeaud plays the sincere young Viking who finally has to ask an obviously sensible question that at least temporality pops the fantasy. Carvajal and Bredlau hilariously play the not-so-smart loudmouth braggarts, and Bujeaud is believably down-to-earth.Schilling stars again at his nerdiest best in Cherry-Flavored Chemistry by Jackie Nordquist, directed by Christopher Rocco. This is a sweet little love story about a pair of loveable chemistry nerds. Fiksdal is oh so loveable as the geeky girlfriend. The evening ends with the ridiculously funny One for the Chipper by Adam Seidel, directed by Gabriel McClelland in which Carvajal — brilliant again — is a Little League baseball coach giving a pep talk to the worst team in the history of Little League. More than half the team has quite, and it is down to four incompetents: Chamberland, Beck, Raybell and Kadi Burt.I highly recommend this night of short plays.
Improbable Peck of Plays IV, Thursday through Saturday at 9 p.m. through Aug. 22, 2:30 p.m. Aug. 23, The Midnight Sun, 113 N. Columbia St. Tickets: $15.00 ($16.52 with service fee at brownpapertickets. Available at door night of show or online at, pay what you can tonight (Aug. 13).
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

9 Circles Canceled

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 7:10am
I was just notified that the one-night-only staged reading of 9 Circles by Bill Cain, scheduled for Aug. 16 at Tacoma Little Theatre, has been canceled. It will be replaced by Dying City by Christopher Shinn.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Wunderkammers invade the Seaport Museum

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 10:01am

Artifacts, False Memories and Projections curated by Lisa KinoshitaPublished in the Weekly Volcano, Aug. 6, 2015“illumination” mixed-media by Lisa Kinoshita. Courtesy the artist.The exhibition WUNDERKAMMER: Artifacts, False Memories and Projections is so uniquely integrated into the projects and collections at the Foss Waterway Seaport that separating the exhibition, curated by Lisa Kinoshita, from the maritime museum’s collections is a scavenger hunt filled with delightful surprises.The show is a collection of Wunderkammers created by a group of the South Sound’s better-known artists including: Renee Adams, David Blakesley, Justin Gibbens, Chuck Iffland, Steve Jensen, Alexander Keyes, Lisa Kinoshita, Nicholas Nyland, Holly Senn, Jessica Spring, Brent Watanabe, Mishele Dupree Winter, and Robert Zinkevich, plus collaborative works by the teams of Marc Dombrosky and Shannon Eakins; Alice Di Certo and Kyle Dillehay; and Jenny Pohlman and Sabrina Knowles .And what, you might ask, is a Wunderkammer? Fair question.  Explorers of the Renaissance age collected natural specimens and a variety of cultural, scientific, and religious artifact to fill the cabinets of curiosity, or wunderkammers, of European royalty. They were like museums in a cabinet or collections of strange oddities —precursors, perhaps, of Joseph Cornell’s artistic boxes.Some of the wunderkammers in this exhibition were built by the artists and some were found or collected by them, many are combinations of found and built assemblages, and all are fascinating. Most relate in one way or another to bones, feathers, skin, body parts and archeological finds. There is a morbid and grotesque fascination to many of them."Recycling" glass and mixed media by Alice Di Certo.Some of the works are free-standing pieces that are not really wunderkammers at all but relate in spirit, such as Jensen’s carved boat funerary objects —free-standing sculptures on plinths that are made of such things as driftwood, chain, boat resin, and a skull, all eerily beautiful. Or Senn’s nests made of shredded book pages and Spring’s accordion-fold books. Or Pohlman and Knowles’ strange wall-hanging sculpture “Homage to the Bush Doctor’s Market,” two rusted chains draped across a four-or-five-foot expanse of wall from which hang a collection of blown-glass vessels with translucent or frosted surfaces within which can be dimly seen various collected items. Also draped from the chains are items such as beads, feathers and boxes. The work is based on healing markets in Zimbabwe seen on a trip to Africa. It is strangely reminiscent of glass art by William Morris.Another intriguing find is Kinoshita’s “Illumination,” a watercolor, ink and pencil drawing of a man, and a calligraphic quote from Pope Francis on pages of sheet music identified by the artist as the libretto from “La Bohéme.”And then there’s Watanabe's indescribable tiny video projected onto a picture of a woman. Kinoshita says it is “intentionally infected with a virus so over the course of the show it will pixillate, degrade and possibly disappear.”There is so much more that I wish I had space to describe, if I even could describe it. See it for yourself, you will be glad you did. Plus, the collection at the museum is something everyone should see. Give yourself plenty of time to investigate everything in the collection.WUNDERKAMMER: Artifacts, False Memories and Projections, , 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
Wed.- through Sat. and noon to 4 p.m. Sun.,  through Aug. 30, admission $5-$8, free to members and children under 5, 705 Dock Street, Tacoma.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Nine Circles of Hell

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 9:28am
Note: Just notified on Aug. 13 that this play has been canceled.

Preview: staged reading by New Muses Theatre CompanyPublished in the Weekly Volcano, Aug. 6, 2015Katelyn Hoffman and Nick Spencer in New Muses’ recent production of Miss Julie. Photo by Niclas Olson.From the fringe theater company that brought you the provocative Miss Julie and staged readings of David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicagoand Neil Labute's Reasons to be Prettycomes 9 Circles by Bill Cain, another one-night-only staged reading performed at Tacoma Little Theatre on Aug. 16.A psychological thriller based on actual events, 9 Circles tells the story of an American soldier on trial for his life. The young soldier—honorably discharged but then accused of an unspeakable war crime in Iraq—is forced to navigate a labyrinth of commanding officers, public defenders, lawyers, preachers and military psychiatrists. The actual case upon which it is based that of former 101st Airborne Division Pfc. Steven Dale Green, convicted in a federal court in 2009 of raping and killing an Iraqi 14-year-old girl and murdering her family. Staged reading of On the Verge by Eric Overmeyer (August 2014 at TLT)From L to R: Kaylie Rainer, Katelyn Hoffman and Brittany Griffins.Photo by Bethany Bevier
As described by the company, this play is “shocking, mesmerizing and bitingly funny” and “a tour de force journey to a shattering conclusion in which the infinite size and tremendous power of a young man's soul is revealed.”The playwright, who is a Jesuit priest, based the structure of his play on the nine circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno.Denver Post reviewer wrote: "9 Circles is a brilliant play: dark, profane, provocative, profoundly funny in spots, and disturbing. (It also requires an audience advisory because of the brief full male nudity that is neither titillating nor camouflaged.) It's demanding. It asks the audience not only to think and interpret, but to hang on every word…”9 Circles is directed by and stars New Muses Theater Company founder Niclas Olson as Daniel Reeves, Kait Mahoney as various women and an actor yet to be cast at press time for all the men’s roles.Olson says: “9 Circles may be the best script I’ve read in the past couple years. It grabbed me from the first synopsis I read, and after finally ordering a copy I became a little obsessed. But unfortunately I couldn’t find a spot for it in our mainstage season. But that’s why this series exists, to tackle the shows we just can’t fit in anywhere else, but need to be seen. I love that Bill Cain in writing this has simplified the war in Iraq into a single soldier’s story. It isn’t over-the-top political, it’s just about one young guy who came home from Iraq and now has to deal with the things he did. And while Cain hints at the larger things going on around him, ultimately it’s a single soldier’s journey and in that way it’s a very timeless, yet timely, story. Olson says the company is “dedicated to producing intelligent, thought-provoking, and engaging theatre for a contemporary audience.” 9 Circles, 7 p.m., Aug. 16, pay what you can, Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 N “I” St., Tacoma,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

LAKE Tenth Anniversary Installation!

K Records - Wed, 08/05/2015 - 6:03pm
LAKE are happening, ten years deep. Can you believe these folks have been rockin’ the gentle side of your harsh toke for an entire decade? They will play all of their many albums live (including K classics Oh, The Places We’ll Go [KLP196], Let’s Build a Roof [KLP213] and The World Is Real [KLP246]) at […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Arrington de Dionyso’s Malaikat dan Singa live in Brussels, Belgium

K Records - Mon, 08/03/2015 - 1:36am
A live extract from an Arrington de Dionyso’s Malaikat dan Singa performance at Théâtre de la Vie, Brussels, Belgium for the Okraïna Records Night, during “Fête de la Musique” day! Malaïkat Dan Singa, conducted by Arrington de Dionyso, is composed for this event of Tseg (Thomas Giry) on drums, Valentin Portron on electric bass guitar […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Driven to Abstraction at B2

South Sound Arts - Sat, 08/01/2015 - 8:04am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, July 30, 2015
Pacific Palisades” by Vic Wade. Photo courtesy B2 GalleryI’m so tempted to make a play on words from the title of this show, but gallery owners Gary and Deborah Boone beat me to the punch.  Driven to Abstraction showcases the works of three painters whose common thread is abstraction but whose approaches to art are quite diverse. "Composition #2" by Elmore Williams. Courtesy B2 GalleryOne of the three, Elmore Williams, paints in such diverse styles that he’s like four painters in one. He is extremely eclectic, drawing on inspiration from Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and some of the early 20th century American abstract artists like Stuart Davis. His “Composition No. 2” and a similar little painting on the adjacent wall are lovely Davis-like paintings with vibrant colors. Going in totally different directions, there are two gritty little paintings near the reception desk with burlap, ivory and fishnet collage, a pseudo Pollock hung high over that same desk, and a whole bunch of cubist paintings, some with Afro-centric figures and themes, that are nicely designed but too derivative.Picasso stole from everyone and bragged about it, but still, if you’re going to steal from Picasso,the faces and hands should not be so much like those by the master. As for being Afro-centric, he’s just returning the compliment; it was African masks more than anything else that inspired cubism. South Sound gallery-goers are certainly familiar with Becky Knold by now. She’s one of the most prolific and ubiquitous painters working in the area today. And she’s damn good. I didn’t count, but I estimate there are close to 20 Knold paintings in this show. They are all abstract, many inspired by landscape, and they all have rich but nuanced surface textures and color variations. Most of the colors are muted. They are restful but with an underlying intensity like skies with storm clouds just beginning to gather in the distance.  In the central gallery area are three large Knold landscapes. Two versions of “Shimmering Bay” depict water with land in the foreground, sky in the background, all in muted tones of brown and shimmering gold. A third in the series is abstract enough that you can’t tell what is land, sky or water, but has the same feel. All three feature gold horizontal bands in the middle.There is understated expressive energy in Knold’s paintings. The most energetic piece in this show is one called “Unleashed Horizons.” The most highly expressive paintings in the show are two by Vic Wade, “The Caves of Altamira” and “Pacific Palisades.” These are rough, gritty, tumultuous paintings. I particularly like the floating blue shapes and the contrast between relatively flat shapes and dense lines and swathes of color. Like Williams, Wade has included works in quite different styles. A real departure and, in my opinion, one of the best paintings in the show is “Origins of the Universe,” a simple painting with a few roughly drawn oval shapes floating over a dark brown and black background that is locked between two broad bands of green. It is the teetering sense of being almost unbalanced that makes this painting stand out. I heard that future shows with Williams are slated for B2, and I look forward to seeing them because he is a man who knows what to do with paint.Driven to Abstraction, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, through Aug. 15, B2 Fine Art Gallery, 711 St. Helens Avenue, Tacoma, 253.238.5065]

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

PETS “Sewing Machine”

K Records - Sat, 08/01/2015 - 1:31am
“Sewing Machine” is from the first PETS vinyl record album, Personal Electronic Transactor Sounds. It features their signature Tri-Cities (Washington) sound, a PETS sound that cannot be denied. Groove on.   View an earlier PETS video for “Can We Share”:   The PETS album Personal Electronic Transactor Sounds (Funkytonk Records) is available now from the […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Gyasi Ross “Harvard”

K Records - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 1:29pm
A view into two minds in what may be a typical teacher-student relationship. Cranky over-worked teacher going out of her way to help a student, yet unable to contain her pessimism. A hopeful student with a realistic world view. Powerful stuff from Gyasi Ross and his Isskootsik (Before Here Was Here) [KLP257] album. Says Gyasi […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

3rd Annual Northwest Literary Showcase!

K Records - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 3:05pm
The 3rd Annual Northwest Literary Showcase at this year’s Helsing Junction Sleeopver presents a broad mix of novelists, poets, essayists, and zinesters from around the Northwest. Combining seasoned award-winning authors with up-and-coming writers, the showcase brings an entertaining assortment of local talent. Cari Luna is the author of The Revolution of Every Day, which won […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Shivas “Beach Heads”

K Records - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 1:16am
The sweetest day in the studio yields these soothing sounds. It being the Shivas, it is still rock’n'roll until the end. K Song of the Day: Shivas “Beach Heads” from their album You Know What to Do [KLP252]. The Shivas album You Know What to Do [KLP252] is available now from the K Mail Order […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Heroes and Survivors

South Sound Arts - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 9:02am

Two important exhibitions coming to TAM and MOGPublished in the Weekly Volcano, July 23, 2015Kia Labeija,“Mourning Sickness,” 2014. Inkjet print, 16 × 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Hey Tacomans, do you know how fortunate you are to have two world-class art museums? Few cities the size of Tacoma have such treasures Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Glass. These museums not only bring great art and great artists to town (and show the works of great artists already living and working here), but they also touch our hearts and minds and educate the populace about critical social and political issues and events that touch the lives of everyone. Scheduled for fall openings are two exhibitions that should be of interest to many Tacomans and, particularly, to the soldiers and their families at JBLM.Art AIDS America at Tacoma Art Museum Art AIDS America at Tacoma Art Museum explores the AIDS epidemic from the early days in the 1980s when no one fully understood what it was, how it was contracted and spread; to today when many people have now lived with HIV/AIDS for decades —albeit with drug regimens that are themselves devastating. Ten years in the making, and featuring more than 115 works of art created over a 30-year span, Art AIDS America is America’s first comprehensive exhibition of art by and about the AIDS epidemic. Throughout that 30-year history, artists have created AIDS-related art that is angry, sad, hopeless and hopeful, including political protests against the lack of government reaction to the epidemic and against drug companies that were more concerned with the bottom line than the lives of fellow citizens. Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire at Museum of Glass In 2013 Museum of Glass piloted a new program called Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire. Led by glass instructors, soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord’s Warrior Transition Battalion worked in the museum’s hot shop to fire glass art expressing their experience as warriors. Hot Shop Heroes is an exhibition of work created by JBLM soldiers who are veterans of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The soldiers in the program have all served at least one deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan; some have multiple deploymentsNot all work created in the program is included. The exhibition is from spring and summer classes in 2015, classes that are ongoing at the time this article is being written, meaning we do not yet know what works will be included.A MOG press release states that the works includes personal expressions of the soldiers’ personal experiences and feelings about war and life in the military and also "a few pieces that are more lighthearted and are representational of the basic glass-working skills acquired during their participation in the program."Hot Shop Heroes opens Sunday, Nov. 8 at Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, AIDS America opens Oct. 3 at Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Wordstock Olympia

South Sound Arts - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 9:12am

I just finished reading ebook/dp/B00UW51OLW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1437672910&sr=8-3&keywords=the+protest" target="_blank">The Protest by Dianne Kozdrey Bunnell. Wow! What a powerful and moving story. It’s a classic tale of good and evil with the good personified by a naïve and open hearted young mother and the evil in the guise of a charismatic and manipulative fundamentalist preacher.  And it is a fictional memoir, meaning it really happened, only the names (and maybe a few other things) have been changed.

I was lucky enough to get to read an advance copy of The Eagle Treeby Ned Hayes. It is set in Olympia, Washington and is the self-narrated story of a teenage boy with severe autism who takes on big-time developers who are dead set on destroying a part of a local nature park. Hayes is the author of previous novels Couer d’Alene Watersand Sinful Folk (a 2014 Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Award nominee).I was also honored to be able to read an advance copy of Christian Carvajal’s Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride, an hilarious adventure in a theme park devoted to sexual pleasure. Imagine Disneyland for swingers. Forget 50 Shades of Grey, this is a rainbow of primary colors celebrating libidinous pleasure. Carvajal is a well-known local actor director as well as a writer for the Weekly Volcano and author of the novel Lightfall.So why am I introducing these novelists? Because they will be joining me as featured writers at Wordstock Olympia 2015 at the Midnight Sun in Oympia on Wednesday, July 29 — graciously hosted by Theater Artists Olympia whose Improbable Peck of Plays IVopens  in The Midnight Sun Aug. 7. Wordstock will be an evening of readings by local actors from these books plus my novel Visual Liberties. Carvajal and his wife, Amanda Stevens, will read a selected scene from Visual Liberties. Deya Ozburn will read Carjaval’s short story “Retreat,” a “funnel” story for Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride written under the pseudonym Lynn Savage (no secrets here). Bunnell will read from her own novel, and actor Jackson Jones will read a selection from Hayes’s The Eagle Tree.Following the readings there will be book sales and schmoosing with the authors. If you’re anywhere near Olympia, you don’t want to miss this. Tell your friends about it.Wordstock Olymia 2015, Wed. July 29, 7 p.m., the Midnight Sun, 113 N. Columbia Street in downtown Olympia.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Angelo Spencer et les Hauts Sommets “Solid Home Life”

K Records - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 1:52pm
Mini-vans au go-go! Direct from the Angelo Spencer et les Hauts Sommets album Love in the Morning [KLP256] it’s Angelo Spencer and assorted cast of Olympia characters – just a typical day of kidnapping and throwing dice.   The Angelo Spencer et les Hauts Sommets album Love in the Morning [KLP256] is available now from […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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