Artscape

Artscape
8:19 am
Sun June 12, 2011

The art of circus school

Anna Partridge of Mercer Island was one of the first students at The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts when it opened in 2004. She'll be spending her summer as part of a children's circus troupe in Vermont.
Photo by Florangela Davila

There's a downside to hanging out at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) and that is, you start to feel really boring.

There's Nickolai Pirak, an expert juggler. And Erica Rubinstein, who basically juggles people.

"If you can imagine a 12-foot-long bar that’s kind of like a beam and a trampoline, but supported by people. Our flier stands in the middle of the bar," Rubinstein says.

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Artscape
9:00 am
Sun June 5, 2011

Play tackles fears of young Native Americans after woodcarver killed

Young Native American actors portray prisoners in the Red Eagle Soaring production, A Right To Justice. The play aims to help youth work out their feelings about police since Ian Birk, a former Seattle officer, shot woodcarver John T. Williams.
Charla Bear KPLU

It’s been more than nine months since a Seattle police officer killed First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams, and tensions are still running high among Native Americans. They say the shooting brings up the long history of brutality Native people have faced.

The anxiety has also affected children, who’ve had a tough time putting Williams’ death in perspective.

This coming weekend, a local theater group will debut a performance to help young Native Americans move forward, starting with a look at the past.

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Artscape
7:00 am
Sun May 29, 2011

The art of disaster

HItler Teapot by Charles Krafft
Charles Krafft

When you think of porcelain, your grandmother’s fancy dishes might come to mind. The ones that are taken out of the cabinet only for Thanksgiving and other special holidays. Or maybe you own a beautiful china vase.

There are a lot of delicate dishes and trinkets in the home of Seattle artist Charles Krafft. But his pieces go beyond pastels and pretty flowers.

Krafft has made a career out of messing with our expectations of ceramic art. Pouring tea from one of his teapots or eating from one of Krafft’s plates might make you lose your appetite.

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Artscape
9:03 am
Sun May 22, 2011

It's movie festival time and these folks are film crazy

Mary Bond and her son Ira talk movies at their Seattle home. Bond has a Full Series Pass for this year's Seattle International Film Festival and she's become a movie resource for her son, who is also a film nut.
Florangela Davila

If you’re crazy about films, then this is the time of year when you’re over the moon. Over 25 days, the Seattle International Film Festival shows 450 movies at 20 venues in and around Seattle.
 
Among the ordinary festival-goer is a special type of film fan: those who don’t sleep, mow the lawn, or spend time with friends or family unless they’re with them at the movies.

These are the approximately 400 folks who have a full series pass, who may see around 100 films or so per festival.

A few tips if you wish to be this die-hard:

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ARTSCAPE
9:00 am
Sun May 15, 2011

Whidbey Island retreat provides solitude for women writers

Hedgebrook's website say that it "supports a growing global community of women writers from all over the world with residencies at our retreat." Left to right: Molly Smith Metzler, Radha Blank, Susan Soon He Stanton, Lisa Loomer, Alva Rogers.
Courtesy of Hedgebrook

On Whidbey Island, among the evergreens, sits Hedgebrook, a writers retreat solely for women. Nestled on 48 acres, women writers, like feminist and journalist Gloria Steinem, have been seeking solitude at the property since 1988. It's a piece of land that many say is a source of creative power.

Recently, young women playwrights have been honing their works with only the sounds of the surrounding forest to interrupt their writing. They've been invited to Whidbey Island to join in the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival.

For  KPLU's weekly Artscape series, I travelled to Hedgebrook to talk to two of the writers about their work.

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Artscape
9:22 am
Sun May 8, 2011

The art of karaoke includes singing - or not!

April Schiller "sings" to a standing-room-only crowd at the Frances Farmer Organ Karaoke Night at the Vermillion bar in Seattle. The FFOK is held the first and third Thursdays of every month.
Florangela Davila KPLU

Throughout Seattle, on any given night, you can find some place hosting karaoke, which means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.

There’s karaoke in friendly community halls in Greenwood; in swanky clubs on Capitol Hill; in private rooms underneath cutesy bubble tea houses in the I-D.

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Artscape
12:34 am
Sun May 1, 2011

The Agony & Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

Mike Daisey—pictured here in front of a famous monument to Deng Xiaopheng, in Shenzhen, China—returns to Berkeley Rep with an audacious new monologue: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.
Ursa Waz

Modern life can be difficult to live without help from our smart-phones and other gadgets. Apple is at the forefront of this technology and its users are often incredibly loyal. But a new show by monologist Mike Daisey at the Seattle Repertory Theater raises the point that all of this beautiful design and convenience comes at a cost to factory workers in China.

The production is called “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.”

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Artscape
8:00 am
Sun April 24, 2011

Seattle's Langston Hughes African American Film Festival stands apart

The film "Butterfly Rising," written and directed by Tanya Wright, will close the 2011 Langston Hughes African American Film Festival.
Courtsey of Langston Hughes African American Film Festival

If we relied on Hollywood, we’d get a very limited view of African Americans. 

"There’s three models that we have of black people in Hollywood and none of them are any good. The ho, the gangster, the victim. And occasionally you get the saint."

That's Jacqueline Moscou, artistic director of Seattle's Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. And what she's talking about are films like "Booty Call,"The Book of Eli" and "Precious."

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Artscape
12:30 am
Mon April 18, 2011

"Taking Punk To The Masses" opens at Experience Music Project

Members of Nirvana (l to r: Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic) do their "Beatles wave" while boarding a flight out of Australia in 1992.
Courtesy of Shelli Hyrkas

This week marks the 20th anniversary of when an audience heard Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time. The band played it at Seattle’s OK Hotel near Pioneer Square and the rest as they say, is history. A new exhibit at the Experience Music Project called “Taking Punk To The Masses: from Nowhere to Nevermind” looks at all of the factors that led to Nirvana explosion onto the global music scene.

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Artscape
6:03 am
Sun April 10, 2011

The Mighty Wurlitzer organ stars at Paramount Theatre's "Silent Movie Mondays"

Jim Riggs is the host and Mighty Wurlitzer organist for this month's "Silent Movie Mondays" series at Seattle's Paramount Theatre.
Photo by Bob Cerelli

Each winter and spring, the Paramount Theatre in Seattle hosts a silent movie series on Monday nights.
This month’s classic films showcase New York City and it also features one of Buster Keaton’s best works.

But the star attraction isn’t what’s on screen. It’s the instrument making the music.

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Artscape
4:38 pm
Mon April 4, 2011

Humor in jazz: puttin' on the wits

Jazz great Mose Allison, one of the artists in this survey of humorous jazz songs.
AP

April is National Humor Month. So, Nick and I thought we'd explore the funny side of jazz.Here are  five jazz artists known for their wit as well as their jazz chops. 

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Artscape Encore
1:53 pm
Tue March 29, 2011

Ukuleles bring the islands to Tukwila

Students playing ukuleles is a common sight at Tukwila's Foster High School. The instrument is enjoying a surge in popularity.
Jennifer Wing/KPLU

The little ukulele is having a moment in the spotlight. It has come a long way since Tiny Tim tiptoed through the tulips. 

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Artscape
8:01 am
Sun March 27, 2011

At Washington state's children's psych hospital: poets and Pongo

Poems are typed or written by hand by kids at the Child Study and Treatment Center in Lakewood.
Florangela Davila KPLU

Some of Washington’s toughest kids, at the toughest moments in their lives, are locked-up at the only state-run children's psychiatric hospital. They spend their time as residents, patients and students. And on occasion, they also get to be poets, working with the non-profit Pongo Teen Writing Workshop.

The weekly writing workshop unfolds in an ordinary classroom: five kids paired up with five adult mentors.

The mentors ask questions: How are you feeling? What's on your mind? They type up the answers and then flesh them into verse.

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Artscape
2:58 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Now at SAM: Art by Nick Cave that's furry and sequined

A Cornish College of the Arts dancer in a Nick Cave Soundsuits "Invasion" at the Seattle Art Museum
Photo by Barbara Kinney

What's the new show at the Seattle Art Museum look like? Think Chewbacca painted neon yellow and bubblegum pink, without any eyes in a cone-shaped head.

There's a tiger-masked creature with a huge cage surrounding his body. The cage is made up of ceramic birds.

There's a jumpsuit stitched from hundreds of Beanie Babies. And suits that look like astronauts made entirely of mother-of-pearl buttons.

There are more than 50 otherworldy, jaw-dropping creations featured in the exhibit, "Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth."

The show is the first museum tour for the Chicago-based artist (not to be confused with that other Nick Cave). It's a riot of texture and pattern that can be experienced in two major ways.

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Artscape
4:18 am
Mon March 14, 2011

The Official Bad Art Museum of Art, aka The OBAMA

Baby

We all know where to go to see “great” art. But what about really “bad” art? Where do you see that collection?Well, you are in luck because Seattle has its very own Official Bad Art Museum of Art. It’s The “OBAMA.” The collection’s curators are the Seattle couple Marlow Harris and Jo David.

Club House for the Creative

The museum is housed inside Cafe Racer, a blue, nondescript coffee house and bar right at the edge of the University District in Seattle.

The people who hang out here are burlesque artists, cartoonists, musicians and the occasional sword swallower. It’s a club house for the creative. To get into the “OBAMA” isn’t easy. Joe David says the artwork has to meet a certain standard."

“It’s a piece that started out with the right intentions and then something horribly went wrong along the way.”

Yes, the pieces are bad, but they are still interesting to view. The collection goes well beyond "Dogs Playing Poker." 

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