Arts & Entertainment

The Underpants at Tacoma Little Theatre

South Sound Arts - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 2:40pm
Published in The News Tribune, Sept. 23, 2016
Tacoma Little Theatre opens its 98thseason with a frothy bit of silliness called “The Underpants” from the multi-talented Steve Martin, renowned comic, actor, writer and musician who wrote the brilliant Picasso at the Lapine Agile. It is hard to believe that Steve Martin wrote this one.
At best, it is good for a few laughs. There is some entertaining word play, it pokes fun at sexist attitudes that were prevalent when the play is set, in the first decade of the 20th century – attitudes that in some quarters still exist today. It is also mildly risqué and would have been even more so in 1910.
Read the complete review.

Louise (Cassie Jo Fastabend)  and Gertrude (Deya Ozburn). All photos courtesy Dennis K. Photography
Daya Ozburn and Jed Slaughter
Cassie Jo Fastabend and Daya Ozburn
Ben Stahl and Cassie Jo Fastabend
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Resonating Objects

South Sound Arts - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 8:28am
Margaret Noble’s sound art at South Puget Sound Community College
Originally published in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 22 and posted online at

Students interacting with Margaret Noble's sound art installation “Material Shrine for a New Class,” photo courtesy South Puget Sound Community CollegeSouth Puget Sound Community College gallery director Nathan Barnes said noted that Margaret Noble’s exhibition, Resonating Objects, begs the question “what is art?”. Is it just painting and sculpture? What about sound, movement, light? What are the boundaries between visual art and the performing arts? There are no easy answers, but Noble’s exhibition certainly raises the questions. 
Read the complete review at:
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

And We’re (nearly) DONE!

Sherwood Press - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 5:39pm
It all started with digging out the foundation. Terry and I removing shingles to expose rot below the big south-facing window. The window opening being prepared to receive the new window. The new window being fitted. Jocelyn and Betty next to the new old window, next to the new window. One last look up the 'Nutcracker' Douglas Fir. So long, and thanks for the majestic presence. Luis starting his climb. Luis approaching the tree-topping point. Fast-forward a bit to Terry surgically removing the tree stump. And the stump has been wrenched from its last earthly tether. Sad but, well, good. Ariel Biggerstaff prepping and opening our old windows! And the color begins! Old and New. The colors look good together. With wet paint one can see the circular saw marks from the old shingles.  the office window with Schanen at the computer. I wonder why they chose to mention 50 years when that fact would end up so dated. It's now 76. I started volunteering the year before this plaque went up.  RESTORED & REVIVED!!!


They say that time contracts when you’re busy, and I would have to say this feels true, especially of everything that’s happened since the close of our Indiegogo restoration campaign last December. It’s an understatement to say we were successful. We raised a whopping $17,429, a full 128% of our goal, and only a little over $1500 off of our stretch goal. We are SO very grateful to all the people who supported the press!

The winter was a busy one for us, as we wrapped up the campaign and continued shipping perks out as they came available. But as early spring approached, the REAL work began in earnest.

The first order of business was to excavate soil out from around the building. It had built up pretty badly and on the south side of the building had caused unexpected rot to the foundation, so right off the bat we were hit with unanticipated costs. Fortunately, my partner Terry is capable of anything and he managed the replacement of some beams and the south wall rim joist. We also had to remove shingles on the south wall below the window to expose and remove rot in the wall below the big window, and to get ready for the new window.

In late February, Ecowoodworks came out, deconstructed the old window, and carefully saved every pane of glass (but two) for the new window. Shop Foreman Devin Markoff personally handled the construction of the new window, and friends, it’s a thing of total beauty. The installation took place on March 17. It’s impossible to describe the feeling of satisfaction and gratitude the moment we were able to look out of this gorgeous, strong, weatherproof new window without the filter of worry and concern we used to feel with a rotting, leaking window. And remarkably, it’s a perfect match for the previous window, with a stain to match, the proper mill profile and the same old wavy glass that made the lake view even more special.

Next up was the (gulp) tree removal. This epic two-day project began on May 10th as Luis from Ron’s Tree Service got his gear on and started climbing the 180′ fir, cutting branches as he went up and lowering them each to the ground by rope so as not to damage anything below. At the end of day one, Luis cut the tree top out and we watched as he perilously swung to and fro at the top of the bare 100′ trunk.

The next day Luis climbed back up the tree and with the aid of a huge crane (that I never thought would make it up my narrow driveway), the tree started coming down in larger chunks than the day before. This time, the pieces were long enough to be milled at a future date and donated to various projects. It was another long day, but at the end of it, five huge logs had been hauled off to a yard to season, and the shorter pieces were stacked off to the side for future firewood and other uses.

Of course, there was also a huge stump surrounded by a large mound of soil. Terry and I decided that rather than pay to have it ground out, we would cut it out of the ground. Easier said than done! We dug and dug for weeks, trying to remove every little bit of soil and rock that would interfere with the saw blade. Then Terry got to work exposing each massive root and cutting through them one by one until the only thing that remained was the taproot going straight down. You wouldn’t believe the list of tools that were needed to get this stump detached from the earth! But at long last, on July 1st, Terry used his grandpa’s block and tackle to pull the stump over on its side, severing the last few inches of uncut taproot that remained. Another incredibly impressive accomplishment by Terry Bunce! It’s looks so beautiful where it rests, that we’ve decided to keep it there through the winter and will consider dragging it somewhere to rot in peace next year.

At this point we were exhausted, our budget was about spent, but we really wanted that last important thing… new paint.

The press hadn’t been painted in many, many years, and it showed. I don’t know how to put it any other way, but spiders had been pooping on the siding since the day after the last paint job, and even though I have washed as much as I could off every few years, spider poo is strangely resilient, and leaves little white streaks and droplets on the siding. We hired Ariel Biggerstaff from Great Bigg Painting Co. to come and prep the building while I looked at hundreds of color swatches and changed my mind a few too many times. But at long last, I found my color. It wasn’t easy to choose, because the press has been the same lichen-y, forest-service green since early days. Yet, I wanted to show in some more obvious way that the press was restored and ready for the future. New color really sends the message. I chose a deep blue-green to harmonize with the varied greens of maple leaves, woodland plants, Douglas Fir and ivy

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

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South Sound Arts - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 8:29am

What: The 10th Annual Lord Franzannian's Royal Olympian Spectacular Vaudeville Show!

Lordy, lordy, it's another Lord Franzannian's Royal Olympian Spectacular Vaudeville Show.
This is the 10th anniversary edition of this ever-popular show. Dance, music, comedy, storytelling, burlesque, puppets, sketch comedy, even feats of amazement!
This year the show will take place at Obsidian, a much larger space with a restaurant/café/coffee shop in the daylight hours, a full service bar serving beer and spirits at night, and a fully enclosed 80 seat black-box theater with an elevated stage located in the back.
Proceeds benefit working performers and BigShowCity, a non-profit Performing Arts Organization whose mission is: To help burgeoning artists realize their ambitions by providing financial and emotional support.

Special performance for an ALL AGES audience * on October 23 at 2 pm! 
When: October 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23* 2016

Time:  8:00 PM
*Special Youth Audience Show October 23 at 2:00 PM
Ticket Price: $15-$25 Available at the Door or Online(No one will be turned away at the door for lack of funds).
Appropriate for audiences over the age of 16. 
Special Youth Audience Show Ticket Price. *2PM Matinee on October 23rd: 15 years of age or under: $7.00. 

Tickets available at door night of show,
or to RESERVE A SEAT buy a ticket online at

Where: Obsidian 414 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia, WA. Across the street from the Artesian Well Park.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Changes coming starting today

South Sound Arts - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 7:58am
Things have changed since I started this blog. I am now writing many more reviews of both visual and performance art, and they are showing up online and in more blogs and publications - meaning posting my reviews here is becoming almost superfluous/redundant.

So . . . beginning today, instead of re-posting reviews that have been published elsewhere, I am going to post a lead-in with a link to the original as I did with the review of Shaw Osha's show at Salon Refu, which was posted in Oly Arts online and re-posted here moments ago (see below).

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Shaw Osha’s My love hath kissed in fixing at Salon Refu

South Sound Arts - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 7:42am
Published in Oly Arts online.

Salon Refu owner Susan Christion posted this on Facebook: “I have an art gallery, Salon Refu. This evening we finished installing a quiet, enticing, initially mysterious show of works by Shaw Osha, my friend and an important artist. Sometimes I don't understand what Shaw is doing in her work as an artist. Right now I do understand it. It's beautiful, thoughtful, compelled by feeling. You should come in and see what happens inside of you.”Shaw Osha is a painter and visual arts professor at The Evergreen State College known for her earlier figurative paintings in an abstract-expressionist style, works somewhat reminiscent of Richard Diebenkorn’s early figurative works and more recently for conceptual work.  
The work she is currently showing at Salon Refu is a radical departure from earlier work. It is a group of collages with dried flowers and a theme of racial relations that is not at all made clear in the work itself, the only hint being one piece that has collaged onto it in words cut from a newspaper “who is white” and “who is black.”

Read the complete review here.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

2016-2017 The Evergreen Art Lecture

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Tue, 09/20/2016 - 11:11pm

The Evergreen Art Lecture Series presents a broad range of interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary art issues by artists, writers, activists and scholars.  The emphasis is to introduce the way in which a variety of practices undertake fields of inquiry in the arts. The series provides a lively forum for the exchange of ideas between the speakers, students, faculty and the public. The series will take place in Lecture Hall 1 (after week 4) at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Most of the talks take place on every other Wednesday during the quarter from 11:30-1:00 pm and are free and open to the public.

Fall Quarter 2016

Week 2, 10/ 5: Emily Adams, visual artist; Evergreen faculty and printmaking technician (location TBA)

Week 4, 10/19:  Geraldine Ondrizek, visual artist; her exhibition, Tracing Genetic Inheritance, is currently at the Evergreen Gallery (location TBA)

Week 6, 11/2: Charles Mudede, cultural critic, film maker and Associate Editor for The Stranger; LH1

Week 7, 11/9: Anna Moschovakis, poet, translator and editor (location TBA)

Week 8, 11/16: Molly Dilworth, visual artist, public art and creative research; LH1

Week 10, 12/7: Dakota Gearhart, visual artist; an artist-in-residence at Recology in Seattle; LH1

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Moby Dick

South Sound Arts - Fri, 09/16/2016 - 7:23am
The Tale Retold by Assemblage TheatrePublished in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 15, 2016
Dennis Rolly (left) as Captain Ahab and Mark Peterson as Starbuck, photo courtesy Assemblage TheatreIt is hard to imagine a more difficult play to produce on stage than Moby Dick. To my way of thinking it would have to be done either on a huge stage with a multi-million-dollar budget or in an intimate playhouse with nothing but a handful of props. The former would perforce be an extravaganza in which all of the insights of Melville’s story would be lost to special effects; the latter would be the sensible way to do it, but would have its own daunting challenges.Director David Domkoski of Assemblage Theatre had the good sense to know that a small version would make more sense — besides which, he didn’t have the bucks or the space to do it up big —  which is why he produced it in the small black box at Tacoma Youth Theatre with only a scattering of chairs, ladders and buckets on stage to be used as settings ranging from a New Bedford tavern to a whaling ship.He also did it without regard to gender, with Heather Christopher, Jillian Mae Lee and Kaylie Rainer playing men’s roles.In an interesting twist such as I have never before seen, the play begins with a prelude in which the entire cast came out one-by-one and recited facts about sperm whales and about Melville’s writing of the classic novel, which sold no more than a few hundred copies in his lifetime. The cast is superb. Casting Dennis Rolly as Captain Ahab was a stroke of genius. His intensity, his craggy appearance with balding hair long on back and an old Quaker-style beard, and the mad look in his eyes —this is how I shall forever picture Ahab.Casting Christopher as the cannibal harpoonist Quequeg was another stroke of genius. Nobody could look less like the huge man with the tattooed face than this attractive woman, but with a top hat and strips of colorful ribbon in her hair (and without the tattoos) it is her big, hypnotic eyes and her strong acting that make her into this frightening yet lovable character.Tim Hoban is outstanding as the narrator, Ishmael. He delivers his lines with restrained passion and makes of Ishmael a sympathetic character. Other actors of note are Mark Peterson as Starbuck, Rainer as Elijah and Flask (although her lack of clear enunciation in spots made her hard to understand), and Chad Russell as Stubb and Captain Gardner; he was especially good as Gardner), and Tyler Dobies as an unnamed sailor and Captain Boomer. Two things bothered me about this production, even though I feel that both were somewhat necessary. I felt that there was far too much narration and wished they had followed the adage “show don’t tell,” but in this case, without the narration it would have been nothing more than an action-adventure and much of Melville’s insight into the human psyche would have been lost. Similary, I was bothered by the amount of bombast. It was loud and in places chaotic. There was some overacting. But that was the way it had to be. These were rough, loud and lusty men in situations where there would, of course, be a lot of shouting. But in a small, enclosed space the noise was almost painful. In the most chaotic scenes I could not hear what anyone was saying as they shouted over each other.If your taste runs to intense drama, this is the play to see.Moby Dick, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, through Sept. 24, Tacoma Youth Theater, 924 Broadway, Tacoma, tickets $10-$15, available at the door or Brown Paper Tickets @

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Woolworth Windows fall 2016

South Sound Arts - Fri, 09/16/2016 - 7:20am

The latest installations by Spaceworks TacomaPublished in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 15, 2016painting by Lauren Boilini, courtesy Spaceworks TacomaSpaceworks Tacoma’s latest installations in the Woolworth windows are big, bold and impressive.In the northernmost windows on Broadway are wire animal sculptures by Eva Funderburgh, who says she uses her “simple, emotive animal forms to examine human motives and emotions.” Her animals are hybrid forms, somewhere between realistic and ritualistic, see-through skeletal like tumbleweed or tangles of wire turned into animal forms, in this case a deer-like creature and something between a howling dog and a hyena. They bring to mind sculptures by Deborah Butterfield, but with more expressive movement and less of an attempt to be naturalistic.The next window down is filled with bold prints by various artists or groups of artists created during the 2016 Tacoma Wayzgoose Festival where artists make prints using a steamroller press on huge sheets of paper. The images are strong and often confrontational, some looking like scratchboard and woodblock prints, and many like revolutionary posters from the 1930s.Lauren Boilini’s wall-size painting executed directly on the wall in the corner space at 11th & Broadway is an open, brushy and drippy abstract-expressionist work. Since the painting rounds the corner, it cannot be taken in all in a single glance. On the wall are abstract shapes in blue on a white wall barely recognizable as a street scene with flying giant birds. The paint drips onto the floor to form islands and puddles of green and red. The artist says, “Recently I have been drawn to images of battles and duels, where opposing forces fight for the same space. I am interested in what drives us to violence and destruction of life.”The most awesome (in the sense of fearful) installation is Nola Avienne’s “Ashflow” in the Commerce Street window. It depicts a pyroclastic eruption made of rocks, iron filings, wool, spray foam, fabric and sand. It depicts a still moment with lava flow and ash as in a stop-motion photograph. It is dark, gritty, heart-stopping. And beyond my descriptive abilities. You must see it for yourself. Take your time, let it sink in. And perhaps keep in mind that within sight of where you are standing is an active volcano.Woolworth Windows, 11thand Broadway and 11th and Commerce, seven days, 24 hours, through November 17.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

TLT's Off the Shelf

South Sound Arts - Tue, 09/13/2016 - 1:12pm

Tacoma, WA- Tacoma Little Theatre presents an evening of one acts for the first OFF THE SHELF of their 98th Season, on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 7:30pm.  The production will be directed by Chris Serface.

Lemonade introduces us to a pair of Peoria matrons who seek respite from the doldrums of middle age by selling spiked lemonade to highway travelers and trading tales; Second Chance tells the story of a widow who has decided to begin a new life in the theatre and her married neighbor who tries to put a damper on her aspirations; and The Cat Connection which takes us to a park, where two older women have little in common—except they feed the same cat.

All three stories bring together the theatrical powerhouse of Sharry O’Hare and Carol Richmond, reuniting on the TLT stage for the first time since they were in Auntie Mame.

Tickets for the September 22, 2016 performance at 7:30pm are $10.00 for non TLT Members, and FREE for those who are members. Tickets may be purchased online at, or by calling our Box Office at (253) 272-2281.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Retro Colby

South Sound Arts - Thu, 09/08/2016 - 3:27pm
 A Bill Colby retrospective at UPSPublished in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 8, 2016
“Blue Stairway,” watercolor by Bill Colby, courtesy Kittredge GalleryKittredge Gallery at the University of Puget Sound kicked off the building’s 75th anniversary year with a retrospective of works by printmaker and longtime UPS art professor Bill Colby, who taught there from 1956 to1989.On display are 26 works, mostly prints and a few watercolors. The works chosen for this exhibition display a wide range of Colby’s subject matter and style, including works from the 1950s right up to this year. “Sun at Short Sands” woodcut 1956, by Bill Colby, courtesy Kittredge Gallery
Much of his early work puts me in mind of the early Northwest School painters from the 1930s and ’40s (Mark Toby, Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, Morris Graves). These painters were also called mystics, and there is much of the mystic in Colby’s prints, to be seen in his simplification of form and in color schemes based on the dull light of the Northwest as seen in mountains, clouds and water. Among his earlier prints are scenes with people in interior settings, which hint at narrative without explicitly telling stories. In later works he depicts landscape in various degrees of abstraction, from simply stylized to almost purely symbolic or emblematic shapes.“East Door” is the largest piece in the show at approximately seven feet tall. It is a simple abstraction with both Native American and Asian influences. Near the top a stylized wreath of leaves that encircles a cold moon. Below that is a mountain range simplified to little more than a line of triangles, and below that larger and similarly abstracted mountains and trees. This piece is on loan from Roger and Andrea Smith. It is restful, contemplative.“Ravine,” a large woodcut, is one of the strongest images in the show. It is a highly expressive landscape with broad and energetic marks that appear to havebeen gouged out with wide swipes of some kind of trowel. Next to it is a watercolor study for the same piece that is even more expressive, with loose and energetic brushstrokes. It’s one of my favorites, and it exemplifies something I’ve often observed; and that is that studies for larger works of art are often more compelling than the more “finished” pieces due to their sheer exuberance and spontaneity.  “Quiet Time,” a black and white etching from 1965, pictures a group of women seated in what appears to be a bar. The interior scene is done with squiggly lines and organic shapes that are close to pure abstraction, and the women’s figures are hidden among these shapes. It’s like a Tobey painting with peek-a-boo figures.“Downtown Swing,” a woodcut from the same year, depicts a scene very much like that in “Quiet Time,” but the figures are less abstract, and the scene is anything but quiet. It is a rambunctious, rhythmical scene of figures drinking, dancing and arguing with jazz-age exuberance.  “Blue Stairway,” a watercolor from 1965, is a mystical and lyrical painting that I see as Colby’s take on Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” (obviously not intended as such since it was painted before the Zeppelin song was published). It is lovely, delicate, atmospheric, and otherworldly.The most recent picture is “Crow Watch,” a mixed watercolor and woodcut from this year depicting a large black crow in flight with a much smaller murder of crows on what appears to be a power line. Bill Colby, Kittredge Gallery, Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday noon to 5 p.m., through Sept. 24, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma, 253.879.3701.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride

South Sound Arts - Fri, 09/02/2016 - 8:19am
Photo: cover of Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride, courtesy Mud Flat Press

Christian Carvajal writes about a theme park for swingersPublished in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 1, 2016
Volcano scribe Christian Carvajal —voted Best Writer in the Weekly Volcano’s Best of Olympia — has published a new novel under the pseudonym Lynn Savage. It is called Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride (Mud Flat Press, 2016), and it is the story of the building and cataclysmic opening of a theme park for swingers on an island near Los Angeles.Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride is the tale of Gary Klein, a marketing guru who accepts the job of brand manager for a sexy new theme park . . . at which point his life and his marriage spin into chaos. His tragicomic downfall culminates at Bliss Panerotic, a paradise for lovers and a feast for the senses. Carvajal says, “It's an island playground for couples whose lust for adventure knows no bounds. Mr. Klein's Wild Ride is a satire that calls to mind Jurassic Park and Exit to Eden, yet merges its own cutting-edge technology with polyamorous sexuality.”This is Carvajal’s second novel. The first, not written under a pseudonym, was a story of the apocalypse set in Oklahoma. Carvajal grew up in Los Angeles, Northern California and small-town Oklahoma. “We were a family of Jehovah's Witnesses back then. I'm not in that faith anymore, but it inspired my continuing fascination with subcultures. I promised myself I'd write three novels: one about religion, one about sex and the other about politics. I think those are the biggest taboos in American conversation, hence the subjects we want to talk about the most. Lightfall (Campanile Books, 2009) was my religion story. Mr. Klein's Wild Ride is my novel about 21st-century sexuality. I have the setup and characters for the third book on paper, but I keep getting distracted by pressing obligations. I can tell you it'll be what science-fiction fans call a ‘first contact novel.’ In many ways, I've been planning it since I was a teenager. Now I just have to find the time and head space to encourage its birth.”Those “pressing obligations” that keep distracting him include directing and acting in numerous plays, including the recent Credeaux Canvas, which he directed for Theater Artists Olympia, storytelling at Story Oly, editing Oly Arts, and both hosting and reading at several Creative Colloquy events.Carvajal will do a reading at Creative Colloquy Olympia Sept. 5. In October, Mr. Klein will be part of the Creative Colloquy Crawl in Tacoma and will be in an Off the Shelf reading and discussion at Tacoma Little Theatre (full disclosure: I will also be a part of that event, along with Tacoma writer Melissa Thayer). Watch for details. “I’ll sign copies at every event, and some will get downright steamy,” he says.Creative Colloquy Olympia, 6:30 p.m., Sept. 5, Forrey's Forza in,130 Marvin rd. SE #130, Lacey.Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride Book Launch Party, 7- 8:30 p.m., Sept. 6, Browsers Bookshop, 107 Capitol Way N, Olympia.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The Last Five Years at Harlequin

South Sound Arts - Fri, 09/02/2016 - 8:09am
Published in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 1, 2016Aaron Lamb and Katherine Strohmaier, photo courtesy Harlequin Productions
The Last Five Years is a little musical with a big heart, and actors Aaron Lamb and Katherine Strohmaier, directed by Linda Whitney, make of it a mesmerizing evening’s entertainment.Composer, lyricist and playwright Jason Robert Brown has created a story told in song that is heart-wrenching and real — no fairy tale romance this, but rather a look at five years in the life of a couple who meet, fall in love, and live through the tears and laughter of reality; with humor, with sadness, with conflict.The truly clever thing about Brown’s story, which could come across as contrived and corny in the hands of a lesser playwright, is that the story is told both forward and backward. Catherine Hiatt (Strohmaier) begins the telling of their story from the present moment and works her way backwards to when she first met Jamie, who tells his version of their story from the beginning. It’s two stories of the same five years told from two points of view and told entirely through song. There is a single piano set on a revolve in the center of the stage, and the two performers take turns on it accompanying each other as they each sing solos. There are two songs sung as duets, one when their stories (told from beginning to end and end to beginning) inevitably intersect, and that moment of intersection is one of the most beautiful moments in the play — and one other duet at the end.Katherine StrohmaierWithout Strohmaier and Lamb, The Last Five Years could not have been produced, because finding a triple-threat duo, a man and a woman who can each sing, play piano and act, is next to impossible. Harlequin audiences know Lamb from his performances as Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird, Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and many other non-musical shows, but we never before knew he could sing and play the piano — but oh can he ever belt out a song with beautiful pitch, range and seething emotion!Strohmaier is new to the Harlequin stage, but she comes with an impressive resume, having performed in Guys and Dolls at the 5thAvenue Theatre, in The Gypsy King at Village Theatre, and having performed as a vocalist with the Seattle Symphony Pops concerts. She is an instructor and music director at Cornish College of the Arts. Strohmaier has a clear and strong voice. She and Lamb both inhabit their characters in such a way that their songs are not just songs; through expression and movement the audience sees the characters they portray as real people who wear their emotions like battle scars.Linda Whitney’s set design is simple yet stunning. There is nothing on the stage except for the single piano and two benches. Behind the piano are three projection screens upon which are still and moving images that correspond with the stories being told through song. Other than the changing projections, the only set change is lighting on the back wall (lighting design by Mark Thomason).For two actors to command a stage for 80 minutes without an intermission, is quite a stunning feat. Strohmaier and Lamb do it with style and seeming ease as they become Jamie and Katherine, a successful writer and actress navigating careers and marriage in New York City.
The Last Five Years, Thursday through Saturday, 8p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. through Sept. 10, Harlequin Productions’ State Theater, 202 E. 4th Ave., Olympia, ticket prices vary, call for details, 360-786-0151;

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The Bold and the Black

South Sound Arts - Fri, 09/02/2016 - 8:05am
“After the Storm,” Sumi painting by Selinda Sheridan, photo courtesy Matter. Sumi paintings by Selinda Sheridan at MatterPublished in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 1, 2016“After the Storm,” Sumi painting by Selinda Sheridan, photo courtesy MatterViewing Selinda Sheridan’s show at Matter is like walking into a group exhibition of Sumi painters. There are only six paintings in the show, and each of them is so different from all the others that they could easily be mistaken for the work of six different artists. And yet there are similarities that cannot be denied. There is an old truism that in great art there is always complexity within simplicity or variety within unity. Complexity within simplicity is the hallmark of Sheridan’s show, The Bold and the Black. These six paintings are as alike as they are different, and the title of the show underscores what they most have in common. They are bold, and they are black (and white and gray, but mostly black shapes and marks on a white surface). Most of them present a single image in bold strokes of the brush, but within these simple images are a variety of shapes and marks; and many of them refer to or resonate with forms seen in nature.“After the Storm” pictures a line of five black balls in the deepest, darkest solid black. They are side-by-side with the most delicate of asymmetrical balance: three in a line, a slight space, and then a fourth, with a fifth on top balanced between numbers two and three, and in the space an outline drawing of an apple. This is a Zen-like painting. It is so calming I want to meditate while sitting in front of it.“Dream Field with Blue” is a dense field of heavy, scratchy crisscrossed lines like barbed wire and sticks all in a tangle that form a square.  Within the square created by this jumble of marks are almost-invisible blue lines. The image is mostly flat but with layered levels that create an illusion of shallow space. There is a feeling of threat to this one.“Before and After” pictures a single, curved, horizontal shape that makes me think of a boat, perhaps a Native American canoe. It is solid black with a thin white line that could be a seam in the boat’s hull. Sticking out on top of it like a series of broom straws are strokes of a different sort. The whole thing appears to have been painted with no more than seven or eight broad strokes of a wide brush.Like all the others, “Another Side of Darkness” is an abstract painting that calls to mind things seen in nature, in this case a night sky or an explosion of galaxies. This astral field is painted on a white background with tiny gold flecks.These are four of the six paintings in the show. I will leave the other two to the reader’s imagination and hope you will go see them for yourself.Also showing with Sheridan is “Spectral,” a mixed-media installation by Elise Richman (reviewed in this column last week), and original ceramics by Melissa Balch.The Bold and the Black by Selinda Sheridan, noon to 6 p.m., by chance and by appointment through Oct. 1, Saturdays and by appointment; for appointment call Lisa Kinoshita 253.961.5220, Matter, 821 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.879.3701.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Selector Dub Narcotic “And Stuff like that There”

K Records - Wed, 08/31/2016 - 6:50pm
Hold on a sec while I fix my hair – “And Stuff like that There”, the second video from the debut Selector Dub Narcotic album This Party Is just Getting Started [KLP199] directed by Red Williamson of Newspin Films. Featured players are Calvin Johnson, Chris Sutton and Smoke M2D6. Can you feel that something in […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia Poet Laureate

South Sound Arts - Mon, 08/29/2016 - 3:37pm

 Applications Available for Olympia’s First Poet Laureate
The City of Olympia is seeking a Poet Laureate to engage our community in the literary arts. The intent of Olympia’s Poet Laureate designation is to:·         Promote poetry as an art form·         Expand access to the literary arts·         Connect the community to poetry·         Promote poetry as a community voice that contributes to a sense of place
Applications due Friday, September 30, 2016, 5pm.·         2 year appointment·         $1000 stipend per year·         In coordination with City Arts Program staff, the appointed Poet Laureate will have the flexibility to shape a scope of work that reflects their interests, skills and abilities.·         Applicant must be a practicing poet, dedicated to producing poetry (in and form, genre or style) on a regular basis.·         Applicant must be an Olympia resident (within city limits or in the Urban Growth Area) over 18 years of age. A residency verification process will be conducted prior to approval.Applications available online at A pre-submission workshop will take place Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 7pm, Room 101/102 of The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St NW, and will address questions about the application and submission process.

Questions? Please contact Stephanie Johnson, Arts Program Manager, at 360.709.2678 or
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Art in the Swan Creek Food Forest

South Sound Arts - Mon, 08/29/2016 - 8:31am

"Color Grove" by Elizabeth Gahan, photo by Beth GahanLisa Kinoshita is a force of nature. She is Tacoma’s indefatigable impresario of art and nature—
  • art FROM nature
  • art IN nature
  • nature AS art.
She recently curated an art exhibition at W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Wright Park that blended art and nature so thoroughly that it was almost impossible to tell the art from the plants, and she has put together similar shows at the Seaport Museum, at her gallery Moss + Mineral; at Matter (co-owned by rePly Furniture and birdloft); and Gallery 301, where she showed her own and other artists’ hand-made jewelry and exhibited taxidermy as art.  And who can forget the Chastity Show?
Eukarya" by Gabriel Brown, photo courtesy Lisa Kinoshita
"River in the Forest" by Terri Placentia and students at Tacoma School of the Arts, courtesy Lisa KinoshitaNow she has pulled together an outdoor, site-specific art show for Swan Creek Food Forest with works by 13 local artist. I haven’t seen it yet, but from what I’ve read about it, wandering through the park is like a scavenger hunt for art, much of which is made from materials found in the park itself. It’s a show (or event) that blurs the boundaries between art and life, continuing a tradition that began more than half a century ago with Marcel Duchamp and then Allan Kaprow, blurring the walls between art and life. The park itself becomes the art.
For starters there’s the sculptured tree tied to a fence by Acataphasia Grey. If that name sounds familiar, Grey is the Tacoma-based taxidermy artist feature on the television show “Immortalized” three years ago. This is what I wrote about her for the Weekly Volcano at the time: “(Acataphasia) sees what others may call grotesque — roadkill, for instance, and strange hybrid creatures —as beautiful. Tacoma’s art audience was first introduced to Grey when she did an installation in an empty building in Opera Alley called ‘Tea for Short Expectations.’ Seen through peepholes in the window were reworked taxidermy animals not found in nature, and stuffed animals with more than the normal number of eyes and limbs.” That may be quite a far cry from a sculpted tree carved from a dead tree with limbs bolted on and gold paint applied, but it’s a good example of the kind of outside-the-norm thinking that has gone into this outdoor art installation—which, by-the-way, will remain in place until the art works are rotted, blown away or destroyed by nature or my vandals (and this is not an invitation to vandals).
Gabriel Brown’s “Eukarya” is made from cardboard that has been ripped into strips and pieced together with found garbage to form what looks like hornets’ nests hung on tree trunks. Brown wrote: "Eukarya protrudes out as an abnormal growth, catching the eye of those passing by. Upon second glance, Eukarya is easily determined as made of cardboard/garbage, and may be interpreted as a manmade tumor, nest, or 'ManFungus' reminding us of our mounding garbage problem. In this case, garbage has taken on a life of its own, becoming a new invasive species of our creation."
"River in the Forest" by Terri Placentia and students at Tacoma School of the Arts is a stone and pinecone mosaic that cascades around massive evergreens toward a precipice.
"Color Grove" by Elizabeth Gahan is recycled political posters wrapped around a pair of trees in a red, green, black and white checkerboard pattern in a grove. 

“What makes (this installation) super special is the park and food forest are next to Salishan," Kinoshita said. "Once among Tacoma's most troubled neighborhoods, it is now a shining, national model of urban renewal. The Eastside is a low-income area, and has been described as a ‘food desert’ (with limited access to healthy restaurants and groceries), so that makes the food forest an educational test pilot, as well. The woods are extraordinary; in the fall it feels a bit like the Olympic rainforest. And, there is a perennial salmon stream, Swan Creek, the first one salmon go up on their migration after leaving Commencement Bay. I amso lucky to live here.”
Swan Creek Food Forest, an experimental garden inside a 373-acre wilderness on Tacoma's Eastsidemanaged and cared for by volunteers. The entrance to this part of the park is at E 42nd and E Roosevelt in Tacoma.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Elise Richman’s Spectral

South Sound Arts - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 2:05pm
Published in the Weekly Volcano, Aug. 25, 2016“Spectral,” mixed-media installation, photo courtesy MatterElise Richman’s unique installation, “Spectral" at Matter Gallery may be difficult for many to grasp, but should be worth the effort to really look and contemplate deeply.Call it a wall hanging, a painting or assemblage with plastics, this piece explores properties of light and color and was inspired, according to a statement from the gallery, by the phenomenon of shimmering color seen in a butterfly’s wing. The term “spectral” means of or like a ghost, a phantom, incorporeal, insubstantial, otherworldly. A secondary definition is of or relating to a spectrum, which is what you get when sunlight passes through a prism to produce light of many colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Richman’s “Spectral,” is all of that, but not in a spectacular, light-show kind of way. There are color changes that some viewers may find hard to see, and there is a visual investigation of the nature of absence of color.It can be seen as a single work of art with multiple parts or perhaps as two similar but contrasting works hung side-by-side. On the left are four flat panes of plastic in alternating colors: blue, yellow, blue, yellow. Dull colors, but with intensely colored edges. The blue edges are dark, and the yellow ones are like lemon-colored light. Matching in color are a group of rods that stand out from the wall above these sheets, and suspended from these rods are clear plastic sheets in the shape of tall, multi-faceted tents or umbrellas that are colorless but act as prisms. On the right, a similar arrangement consists of three tall, rectangular sheets of light blue plastic sheets with dark blue edges with more clear, tent-like prisms suspended in front of them.The installation needs to be studied slowly and from many points of view. Don’t approach it expecting something like a kaleidoscope and you might enjoy the subtly shifting and shimmering colors. Richman co-programs the Art+Sci Lecture Series at Tacoma Art Museum. She was a finalist for the 2015 Neddy Award, recipient of the 2014 Davis Teaching Award, and of the 2014 Foundation of Art Award from the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. Richman explains: “The interplay between material form, environmental conditions and visual perception inform ‘Spectral.’ Repetition and transformation infuse the process of creating ‘Spectral’s’ shimmering three-D forms from rectangular sheets of plastic. Multiple incised lines transform flat Dura Lar into dimensional angles.“While these transparent forms have no inherent color they capture and are activated by light and color in the surrounding environment. Ever-shifting reflections express a state of constant interaction as in the shifting glow of a blue morpho’s delicate wing. Our own capacity for optical perception, as well as the interaction between matter and surrounding environments are integral to the manifestation of structural colors.” Also showing with Richman are The Bold and the Black, abstract sumi ink paintings by Selinda Sheridan, and original ceramics by Melissa Balch.
Spectral by Elise Richman, Saturdays noon to 6 p.m., or by appointment, through Oct. 1. Call 253.961.5220 or 253.879.3701 for an appointment. Matter, 821 Pacific Ave., Tacoma.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Six Characters in Search of an Author

South Sound Arts - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 2:03pm

Blurring the line between fiction and realityPublished in the Weekly Volcano, Aug. 25, 2016Steve Gallion as the Father and Kathryn Grace Philbrook as the Director, photos courtesy New Muses Theatre
New Muses Theatre Company is among a handful of lesser-known companies that produces excellent theater for mostly sparse audiences. By my count, here were only 10 people in the audience opening night of Luigi Pirandello’s absurdist play Six Characters in Search of an Audience. The actors outnumbered the audience by one. That small audience witnessed an intelligent, challenging, well-written and well-acted play.It is a play that calls into question the relationships between fiction and reality, between actors and the characters they play, and between characters and the author. In New Muses’ interpretation, it starts before it starts with a bit of pre-curtain play between two actors (Vivian Bettoni and Eric Cuestas-Thompson) playing a couple of unnamed actors running lines before rehearsal. They stand off to the side and speak softly as the audience enters. Most of the audience can’t hear them and perceptibly pay no attention. It is almost as if the audience is an unwilling part of the play. I was sitting close to the two actors and could hear that their dialogue was about the age-old question of the chicken and the egg. The play they are preparing to rehearse is Mixing It Up, also by Pirandello. I thought this pre-play bit was inventive but slightly confusing, and that it was too long. But it segued nicely into the actual play, which starts out even more confusing but soon begins to make sense. And it did make me wonder if others who seemed to be entering as audience members might also be actors. Amina Ali and Steve GallionJust as the director (Kathryn Grace Philbrook) gets ready to start the rehearsal, a strange family invades the theater. The director tells them it’s a closed rehearsal and they have to leave, but they refuse. The father (Steve Gallion) says they are looking for an author. They are unfinished characters in an unfinished play, and they have to find the author in order to complete themselves. At first, the director is outraged, but as the father and his stepdaughter (Amina Ali) began to tell their story, the director becomes intrigued and decides to produce their story as a play with the highly skeptical actors playing the parts of these real characters. So the director and the family argue over their story and how to present it, and the family — most adamantly father and the stepdaughter, who laughs outrageously in the actors’ faces, —thinking the actors are doing a terrible job of portraying them.The family’s story is that the father had sent his wife (Becky Cain-Kellogg) and their son (Karter Duff) away, and she later had three more children by another man: two younger children (11-year-old Corey Cross and 7-year-old Keiralee Monta), and the now grown stepdaughter, whom the father tried to seduce, ostensibly not knowing who she was.It is a wild and imaginative play filled with absurdist arguments about what is real and what is play acting and about the relationships between actors, the characters they play, and authors, without whom the characters cannot exist. It is presented in the round with no set decoration and no set pieces other than a table and a few chairs.Niclas Olson, founder and managing artistic director of New Muses, adapted Pirandello’s play and does a fine job of directing it. The three lead characters, Gallion, Philbrook and Ali, are outstanding, making unbelievable characters totally believable. Ali is brash and seductive, and has a marvelous laugh. Philbrook plays the director as a most complex character, arrogant and sure of herself, which turns out to be a cover-up for self-doubt. She beautifully and convincingly portrays the director’s astonishment at the audacity to these interlopers at her rehearsal. And by-the-way, the director was a man in the original. Gallion plays the father as a kind of bumbling but sincere man who lurches around the stage in a manner that brings to mind Peter Falk as Columbo. I’ve seen Gallion in only one other play, New Muses’ Romeo and Juliet; I hope to see much more of him.Six Characters in Search of an Author is presented in one act and runs approximately 90 minutes.Six Characters in Search of an Author, 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m., Sunday through Aug. 28, $10, Dukesbay Theater, Merlino Arts Center, 508 S. Sixth Ave.,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Urban Sketchers at Handforth Gallery

South Sound Arts - Sat, 08/13/2016 - 7:24am

Candid shots of T-town in pen, ink and watercolorPublished in the Weekly Volcano, Autg. 11, 2016“Theater District Downtown Tacoma,” masthead sketch for Urban Sketchers Tacoma website by Mark RyanThe Urban Sketchers exhibition at Handforth Gallery in the downtown Tacoma Public Library is delightfully lightweight.The walls are filled with quick sketches in pencil, pen and ink, watercolor and other media of mostly local scenes familiar to many Tacomans—some by well-known local artists and some by artists known only to friends and family.Urban Sketchers is a nationwide movement for artists who love to draw the area where they live, work, or visit. Their works are executed while looking out a window at home, from a cafe, standing by a street-corner, or other convenient location.
The local group, Tacoma Urban Sketchers, typically meets at a designated spot in the morning and then disperses to sketch until noon. During the summer, there is an afternoon sketching session. There are sketch outings on the first Saturday of each month and on the third Wednesday year around. Works from this group currently on display in the library are like candid photos of local people and places,only they’re not photos; they are artworks typically done in a loose, free and quick manner.  “Neck Brace Guy,” a pencil sketch by Helen Phillips  pictures a man wearing a neck brace seated in an airplane as seen from the side and back. I can imagine he never suspected he was being drawn. The style looks a lot like a lithograph, which is interesting because it lends to the picture a gritty texture not usually seen in pencil drawings. “The Breakfast Club,” pen and wash by R.J. Lane, is one of the few pieces in the show not of a Tacoma-area scene. It is a sketch of patrons in Carla’s Country Kitchen in Morro Bay, Calif. The great casually rendered expressions on their faces are fun to contemplate. A watercolor called “Blanket Stories” by Kate Buike pictures the great sculpture by the same name that is on permanent display against the front wall of the Tacoma Art Museum. It is cropped and pictured from an intriguing angle with the dome of Union Station seen in the background.“Fort Nisqually Southwest Corner” by Ken Fulton is one of a few almost pure line drawings in the show, with strong dark and light contrasts in the rare shaded areas.A similar drawing, but less sketchy and more nicely controlled is Frances Buckmaster’s ink drawing “Breakwater Marina, Point Defiant.”There are three excellent line drawings by Paul Morris: “Union Station,” “Thea Foss Waterway” and “Downtown Library Alley View.”A couple of other works of note are K.D. Keckler’s “Swiss House Gathering,” another scene of diners, and Roy Steiner’s “Abandoned Van Lierop Farm,” depicting an abandoned barn painted blue with tall grasses and a leafless tree in front of it. This is the only picture in the show that has no line-drawing element. The media was not listing on the wall label, but it looks like gouache.
Find out more about the local Urban Sketchers at and
Handforth Gallery at Tacoma Public Library, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays-Saturday, through Sept. 6, 1102 Tacoma Ave. S, Tacoma
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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