Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lauren Weedman / NYC

Lauren Weedman by David Belisle

Good news for New Yorkers. My friend Lauren Weedman will be performing her one woman show, BUST. I missed it when it was in Seattle and I'll miss it in NYC (by three days!). But if you'll be there, you should check it out. She'll make you laugh (and like all my favorite comedy, a little bit sad, too). 

Written and performed by Lauren Weedman
Directed by Allison Narver / Music by Mark Nichols
"Weedman is a sharp chronicler of the larger social context"
-LA Times

"Lauren Weedman is the funniest woman alive"
-The Stranger (Seattle)

"Bust is very very funny; some of it poignant; and it whizzes by in a glimmer"
-Talkin Broadway
Bust goes behind bars and into the echoing chambers of the punishing psyche of former Daily Show correspondent Lauren Weedman. Juggling (sometimes) paying acting jobs and her volunteer gig in the L.A. County Jail, Lauren’s gotten an in-depth look at the L.A. penal system so that you don’t need to! Our heroine brings her humor, energy and biting self-indictment to this intelligent and funny portrayal of incarcerated women and the mixed motives that brought Laurento their door. 

Ars Nova
511 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
54th Street, just West of 10th Ave
N/R/Q/W to 57th St; A/C/B/D/1 to 59th St; C/E to 50th St


Monday, June 29, 2009

Cupcake Royale / Pride 2009

If you were anywhere near downtown or the hill during the past weekend, you probably already know it was Pride 2009. Let me apologize for any traffic inconveniences because it sure seemed like a lot of streets were closed. 

Even though I've been here 13 years, this is the first time I walked in the parade. I joined my friends to throw out buttons, stickers and free cupcake coupons. Man, people do not like coupons...they just want stickers and buttons!

Miss Cupcake Royale + Jody Hall

A lot of folks were asking if they could buy the "LEGALIZE GAY CUPCAKES" tshirts. You sure can - they're available at all 3 (soon to be 4!) Cupcake Royale locations. $5 from each tshirt sold goes to the good folks at Lambda Legal

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pride 2009

Pride 2008 @ Linda's

Has it already been almost a year since the picture above was taken? I don't even call it Gay Pride anymore since about half the friends I celebrate it with are straight. It's been a busy with week with me shutting down the office at my day job and I haven't really paying much attention that Gay Christmas is almost upon us.

While I was bummed when the parade left Broadway for 4th Avenue a couple of years ago, it's a real good indicator of acceptance. Every year I have a couple of friends (straight and gay) ask me why do 'teh gays' think a pride celebration is still necessary. I can see their point - in a town like Seattle, it can seem redundant (according to census records, Capitol Hill is one of the gayest neighborhoods in the country). But then I think back to the events of this past year and I'm reminded that the rest of the country isn't quite as progressive as Seattle. A lot of bad stuff went down this year: the passage of Prop 8 (and even worse measures in other states), Obama and his DOMA brief (and slow work on repealing DADT), and continued hate crimes like case of Angie Zapata, So yes, I do still think it's necessary. And I know we're getting kind of boring and integrated. But I think this pride is going to be different because thanks to MA, CT, IA, VT, ME and NH, we have a lot to celebrate this year, too!

Arts in Sustainable Communities / AFTA

Pathway by Kumi Yamashita (2008)
Photo by Spike Mafford

Last week, almost 1,200 art professionals from across the country gathered in Seattle to celebrate public art. This is the 9th year that The Americans for the Arts (AFTA) has been recognizing works of public art. This year's theme was Renewable Resources: Arts in Sustainable Communities, which seems perfectly suited for Seattle.

Seattle's public art director, Ruri Yampolsky said, "We are a city known across the globe as a leader in environmental responsibility, and many of our artists draw inspiration from the environment to address the issues of sustainability." Other folks have made similar observations.

Gilded Bowl Column by Horatio Hung-Yan Law (2008)
Photo by Hyunchul Luke Jung

Five local public art projects won awards. Recipients included Carol DePelecyn, Jenny Heishman, Horatio Hung-Yan Law, Sheila Klein and Kumi Yamashita. Other winners included the venerable Buster Simpson (2009 Public Art Network Award) and Randy Engstrom (2009 Emerging Leader Award). Both Lorna Jordan and Dan Corson won Public Art Year in Review Awards.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's happy hour again / Sorrento Hotel

Image via Seth Gaines

You already know that The Sorrento Hotel has recently stepped up its art offerings. But don't be fooled by that opulent exterior - they have one hell of a happy hour. First off, it's daily. I can't emphasize that enough. And whether you like early (4-6pm) or later (9pm to close), they got ya covered. Which is exactly what you'd expect from a grand dame (she turned 100 this year) like The Sorrento.  

Let's start with the drinks - $4 wells/wine/import beer. After you've been drinking a bit, you're bound to get hungry. You can literally pull quarters out of your pocket and still find something to eat.

.50 cents/each: chilled shrimp or fried oysters
$1: homemade chips, pistachios or licorice
$2: olives, calamari, garlic fries or hummus + pita
$4: caesar salad, sliders with cheese, or jalapeno dip
$5: Tomahawk lamb chop (!), crab mac'n'cheese, chicken satay or ahi tuna

And the best part? You get to enjoy the unbeatable ambiance of the Fireside Room or the Hunt Club. Want to have an awesome evening? Start here on a First Thursday and walk a couple short blocks to the Frye Art Museum. The Puppet Show is up through September 13.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Art:21 / Season 5

Need something to look forward to after summer is over? Season 5 of Art:21 is premiering in October of 2009. I'm hoping I can sweet-talk the fine folks at Cupcake Royale into having a viewing party for the Season 5 preview.

Here is a comprehensive list of the 72 artists featured so far. Some of my favorites have included Collier Schorr, Josiah McElheny, Kara Walker and so many more.

The Brothers (A.M & M.) by Collier Schorr
© the artist, courtesy Modern Art, London

Major underwriting for the early seasons were funded by several local art philanthropists, including The Jon & Mary Shirley Foundation (Seasons 1-3), The Bagley Wright Fund (Seasons 1, 3 & 4) and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation (seasons 1-3). We're awfully lucky to have such involved patrons!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

La Especial Norte #4

My favorite Seattle art zine just came out yesterday.  This issue looks great!

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Greg Lundgren: The Waiting Room
Matthew Offenbacher: Green Gothic
Elise Richman: Nicholas Nyland's Fall into Color
Martha Rosler: Untitled Statement (1977)
Whiting Tennis: This Head Mechanism

with illustrations by Matt, Elise, Whiting, and Dawn Cerny

Find a free copy at ...

Howard House, James Harris, Lawrimore Projects, Crawl Space, SOIL, The Hideout (in the women's bathroom), Western Bridge, Henry Art Gallery (near the lockers), or the Seattle Art Museum (near the auditorium).

... or by mailing a SASE to the address below.

La Especial Norte features writing by visual artists and their friends in the Pacific Northwest. Critical, theoretical, narrative, essay, review, interview, manifesto, speculative, visionary, practical, short or long, or somewhere in-between. Published four times a year. Edited by Matthew Offenbacher. Distributed free around Seattle.

Back issues
#1 - Gretchen Bennett: You and I Have Memories Longer Than the Road / A Philosophy of Street Art, Robert Smithson: Cultural Confinement, Joseph Park: Spokane Interview, Matthew Offenbacher: The Underground Tour, and Eli Hansen on architecture and pornography. April 2008.

#2 - Dan Webb: I Public Art, Heide Hinrichs: Only There, Debra Baxter: Neutral Nude Part One, Adrian Piper: Cheap Art Utopia, and Matthew Offenbacher: Black Fu Dogs. September 2008

#3 - Debra Baxter: Neutral Nude Part Two, Jeffry Mitchell: Thoughts on Roy McMakin’s Purplish, Joey Veltkamp: It Began with a Chair ..., Susan Robb: Socialites, Scientists, and Big Leather Handbags, Emily Pothast: Fleeting Moments in an Infinite Flux, and Jean Tinguely: Untitled Statement 1961. February 2009

Sorry, there are no subscriptions. If you would like to receive a copy of the current issue or back issue in the mail please send a S.A.S.E. to 1402 NE 63rd St / Seattle, WA / 98115 (one regular business-sized envelope, with one 42-cent stamp for each issue requested).

Issues 4-7 have been generously supported by a grant from 4Culture.

For further information: northern.special@gmail.com

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This post is almost directly from Matt's email announcement. Just wanted to make sure you heard about it if you're not on his mailing list. 

"Get off my lawn!"

My sister and I

Last night, a group of folks were talking at dinner.  A friend mentioned studies show that college Freshman view email as something antiquated used to communicate with parents or teachers. AIM/txting/social networking sites rule the school these days.  

At 37, I've become one of the folks who have seen enough changes since I was a kid that I feel like a fossil when I start to think about how things used to be. My god, I feel like Erma Bombeck. If you're under 35, you won't know who she is anyway. So Google her.

Knowing some one's birthday meant you cared about them (or at least kept good notes and referred to them frequently). We didn't have Facebook to remind us of things. You knew all your friends' phone numbers by heart. There was one phone line per house and usually someone was using it. There was no call-waiting. If you were expecting an important call, it became a game of negotiation with other household members. If the phone rang, you couldn't screen because there was no caller ID. But no one screened back then, if you were home, you always answered the phone. And if the person you were calling wasn't home, there was no answering machine -- you had to try again later. If you missed a call, you couldn't *69. Poor message taking skills caused tons of family fights. Even weirder, my grandmother rented her phone from the phone company her entire life, right up until she died about 10 years ago.

Forms of communication were simple - you could call someone, see someone in person or send them a letter (with a stamp). Those were your options (outside of skywriting or putting it on the blimp).

Say it's ten pm and you want to find out some useless piece of trivia like, "Who was the 5th Beatle?" TOO BAD! There was no internet. Instead, there were books, libraries and adults who knew stuff.  And if you thought they were full of shit, you couldn't go to Snopes to confirm/deny it. There's a reason they said, "Knowledge is power."

Entire Christmases would be ruined by forgetting one thing -- batteries. Nothing had a charger. Everything good seemed to run on batteries. And the toys of my childhood would usually require monstrous DD batteries. The biggest battery hog? The invention of portable boom boxes. I imagine they were roughly 50x the size of the first generation iPod. You could either listen to the radio OR bring along any cassette tapes you wanted. When the iPod arrived, it was the first thing ever that made me think, "This is the future I was promised as a kid!" 

Alternative music was simply anything you didn't hear on the radio.  If you liked the song, you could try to buy the album (if the record store was open, or if they hadn't sold their only copy). If you couldn't get to the record store, that was it. Your only other option was wait to hear it on the radio. Sometimes requesting it helped. Back then, actual DJs manned the booths. Nothing was preprogrammed. There was no music archive or playlists. If you REALLY loved a song, you'd wait til it came on (I mean, like, didn't leave your house.) and then would run, press play on your tape recorder, put the microphone by the speaker and pray the phone or doorbell didn't ring.  Usually they did. If not, your parents or siblings were yelling in the background. Travelling to visit cousins in bigger cities was awesome because you could hear music that would take month's to reach your town's radio stations.

You couldn't get money out of ATMs, mostly because they didn't exist, In my childhood, you got money at a bank, during limited business hours. Which was extremely inconvenient if you worked during the day. Alternatively, you could write checks. Sometimes, if you had a good relationship with your grocery store, they'd "take a check for over". Some would even cash your paycheck (very helpful considering you couldn't get direct deposit).

Pictures were for special occasions. That's why you see so many "retro" (are they retro if they're from your own childhood?) pictures of celebrations. In fact, somewhere, I have a picture of me holding my cake from every birthday until I was 13. 

Video games were brand new when I was a kid. Every Sunday, my family would go out for pizza and they would give my sister and I a roll of quarters. It was only as an adult that I found out they would have to skip lunch a couple days a week in order to do that for us. That's one thing that still hasn't changed--even back then, we were spoiled and had a sense of entitlement. 

When I was a kid, people could smoke cigarettes in airplanes and even restaurants. I know it sounds insane to now, but back then it wasn't ever questioned. If you had asthma and someone lit up next to you? That's your problem!

I guess it just makes me realize that these truths that seem so obvious now (smoking on an airplane? wtf!) were once completely socially acceptable. There are very few things that are absolute. Societies evolve and twist and change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. What seems so controversial today will most likely be commonplace in a decade or two.

I remember rolling my eyes at my parents when they'd talk to me about how things used to be. I knew that would never happen to me. So when you see one of us "old-timers" struggling with new technology, be patient with us. We've seen a lot of changes.

PS -- will somebody please bring back Garanimals and Underoos (but for adults)?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Adelaide Paul and Andrèe B. Carter

Currently showing at Pacini Lubel through June 27th.

Travestito by Adelaide Paul
Leather, Taxidermist Manikin, Silk, Pearls

Sardinian Sea by Andrèe B. Carter

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Moore Inside Out / Moore Theater

Seattle Theater Group and 4Culture Site Specific are hosting an amazing event this Saturday called Moore Inside Out. All work is curated by Free Sheep Foundation and will reference the Moore's historic past and its connection to the A-Y-P.

The roster of visual and performing arts is amazing! Some of my favorites artists have created brand new site-specific installations. Gretchen Bennett has been working hard to create a projected piece that revolves around Kurt Cobain. The projections are based on the stage lights from Nirvana performances at the Moore. Gretchen mentioned that Thom Heileson was also an integral part to the project, providing visual agility and technical knowledge. 

My buddy Joshua Lindenmayer will be creating a couple of posters. Rachel Kessler will be something awesome! Robb Kunz has created an audio tour. Brendan Kiley of The Stranger does a nice artist spotlight here.

Visual artists include Gretchen Bennett and Joshua Lindenmayer along with Lead Pencil Studio, Susan Robb, Iole Alessandrini, Susie Lee, BelizBrother, Megan Mertaugh, Laura Curry + Lori Dillon, Jason Puccinelli, KeearaRhoades, Wen Marcoux, Robb Kunz, Jesse Higman, Stefan Gruber, VideoEgo, Heumer, Baldman, NKO, and No Touching Ground. 
Are you excited yet? 

In case you need even more to pull you in, you'll also get to see performances by Orkestar Zirkonium, Harlequin Hipsters, "Awesome”, Seattle School, HidmoJason Webley, Byron Au Yong, Kaleb Hagan-Kerr, Butoh - Joan Laage, Sheri Brown, DouglasRidings, Kaoru Okumura, Dub Marronics (from Kyoto), Ezra Dickinson, Karn Junkinsmith with PaulHawxhurst, Rachel Kessler, Lucia Neare, Scratchmaster Joe, OrangeMan.

The event is happening Saturday, from 6-10pm. Admission is free. Don't miss it, folks! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Artist's Studio: View From the Easel by Eric Elliott

The winners of the 2009 Neddy Artist Fellowship are Eric Elliott (visual art) and April Surgent (glass). The nominee exhibit will be up until October 4th, 2009 at the Tacoma Art Museum. Previously.

The first recipient of the annual Conductive Garboil Grant is Johnathan Heath Lambe. If you're not familiar with the grant, it's new this year and was established in memory of beloved artist Su Job. The main requirement is that you either live, work or are connected to Pioneer Square.

Want to win your own award? There's still time to apply for the 31st Annual Betty Bowen Award. Last year's winner was Isaac Layman (and fellow nominee Eric Elliot ended up winning this year's Neddy). The entry fee is nominal ($10) and you have until Saturday, August 1st to complete the grant.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Iran + Twitter

It's weird when there's a palpable shift in the way we disseminate and/or receive breaking news. I remember after 9/11, everyone I knew subscribed to CNN alerts. At that moment, I felt like the country (world?) was sharing in a common media shift. It felt like the first time when daily news wasn't fast enough.

During the past couple of days, I fee like the same thing is happening with Twitter. As the Iranian government has attempted to block outgoing information regarding the election via the traditional media, Twitter has become a (if not, the) primary way to get out messages. I'm usually embarrassed to admit I twitter. Mostly because its relevance is questionable to me. Outside of re-tweeting (RT, the act of broadcasting someone's tweet to gain a wider audience), I don't have that much of use for it yet. However, I see other people use it very effectively. 

Right now, if you search using the hash tag (a way of tracking what people are talking about RIGHT NOW) #iranelection, you'll get 100+ updates per minute.  Think about what a powerful shift that it is.  Everyone lifting up a single voice and rebroadcasting it to create a chorus that becomes hard to ignore. As a media source, it's both perfect (it instantly gets your message out, can get info out when other channels are blocked) and imperfect (100 tweets saying, "Everyone is attempting to switch to hash #iran9 in response Iran gov attempts to block #iranelection" creates an influx that forces editing in your head, especially when it's revealed to be false 5 minutes later. Plus, there's no editor or any way to verify accuracy. It's democratic in the sense that as long as you have access to a computer, you get send out any message you want and the online group decides to give it legs or not).

When it comes to Twitter, I'm neither pro nor con.  As someone who is interested in how the world changes and evolves, I just find Twitter a very interesting social experiment. But I do think this could be a turning point for the way we receive our media in the future.

Island Life

more pics

Friday, June 12, 2009

Water, part II

Matthew Smith, 2006 (image via Western Bridge)

It's summer here in Seattle and instead of water being something we avoid (rain), it's something we can't get enough of. Here are a couple of really cool water-related arts events.

Western Bridge (my favorite place to see art in Seattle) has a summer show simply called Underwater. Chock full of paintings, drawings, videos and installation of water in all its forms. The return of Jeppe Hein's ice-cube is a personal favorite. Other artists include Hiroshi Sugimoto, Gary Hume, Trisha Donnelly, and nearly 40 more.

Carla Klein (image via The Stranger)

This Tuesday, June 16, COCA is hosting one pot + art of the table + things that swim. This will be Michael Hebb with Dustin Ronspies (chef/Art of the Table) and special guests all joining together to celebrate all the beautiful things that swim. Implied Violence, Randy Lewis, Matt Gano and John Boylan will be adding their special touches to the evening. An added bonus is Tracy Boyd's show currently up at COCA.  $45/cash bar.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The High Line / NYC

The High Line was a railroad line running in NYC.  Trains quit running on it in the 1980s and it sat abandoned for years, slowly sinking into decay.  In 1999, the Friends of High Line organization was created in hopes of turning the dilapidated line into an elevated public park (similar to promenade plantée in Paris). 

I thought this was about the coolest thing ever when I first heard about it several years ago. I had totally forgotten about it until yesterday when my friend Dave sent me a link saying the first portion had finally opened.  The timing couldn't be better since we'll be visiting NYC in just about a month.  

Photo by Joel Sternfeld

“A subtle play between contemporary and historical design, industrial decay and natural beauty sets the tone. The surface of the deck, for example, is made of concrete planks meant to echo the linearity of the old tracks. The path slips left and right as it advances, so that at some points you are right up against the edge of the railing and at others you are enveloped in the gardens.” (via)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Hour Again: Licorous

this sign

If you're heading down 12th and see this sign (above), take a detour and step on into Licorous. Midweek (T-Th), they have a great happy hour featuring inexpensive bites (pretzel dots & terrines) and drink specials. Tonight, they had a rose and a special evening cocktail (12th Ave. Cocktail)

The space is great, the service is great and it's always one of my favorite places to stop by for some food and drink.

pretzel dots, pate and cheese trio

Other current favorite happy hours:

Smith: Not really a happy hour as much as cheap beer with delicious food. Been my favorite place for over a year.
Boom Noodle: A daily happy hour from 3-7, 7-close (Fri/Sat), all day Thursday... Katsu? Gyoza? Tori Karaage? Each around $5!!
Vermillion: House wine $3/glass during from 4-7pm. Diana's mac'n'cheese + art!

Glenn Rudolph / Sorrento Hotel

Trailer, Stampede Pass, gelatin silver print (2000) 
image via JHG

As if anyone ever needed a good reason to visit The Sorrento's Fireside Room/Hunt Club, Glenn Rudolph is kindly providing us one anyway. Artist Roy McMakin put on his curator hat (that fella wears so many hats!) and selected 14 of his personal favorites from Glenn's private collection. 

Trailer, Stampede Pass, gelatin silver print (2000)
image via JHG

Rudolph has been documenting the changing Northwest landscape for the past 30 years. Glenn explained, "I once thought that railroads were forever. Watching a transcontinental line evaporate was a strange experience." He was also one of three Seattle artists (along with Mark Mumford and Roy McMakin) to be included in the West coast survey, Baja to Vancouver.

The show opened on May 1st and will be up through September. Glenn and Roy hosted a talk last Monday. This is the inaugural exhibit of The Sorrento's new biannual exhibit program.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Captain Blacks

Please welcome the newest Capitol Hill bar/eatery, Captain Blacks.  It's sandwiched between Half-Price Books and Olive Way. Based on the name, I was expecting a pirate-themed dive bar but it's not dive-y at all.  The staff seemed really great (and that's usually my sticking point). The beer was cold and they had the requisite cheap draft (Rainier).  A lot of great options for food, including bites for around $5 (like the alcohol-inhibiting Fried Beecher's Cheese Curds). 

If you go here though, you're going to have to try the po'boys or the waffles and fried chicken (I'd definitely order it again!). The biggest draw during the summer is going to be their decks. That's right - plural, there's one in the front and one in the back. The back one faces west and even though your view is mostly blocked by apartment buildings, it feels much different than the typical Cap Hill deck.

Their website doesn't seem to be working yet, but you can follow them on twitter @captainblacks. Until then, the menu is here and here.

Early reviews/mentions here and here. Check it out - I doubt you'll be disappointed.  

Saturday Knights / Fatal Lucciauno

Looking for something awesome to do this Saturday night?  Then go see The Saturday Knights and Fatal Lucciauno.  They'll be playing (along with The Girls) at Club Motor. Just last week I was thinking how much I listened to TSK's album last summer and was wondering when they would be coming out with a new record. Well, just in time for summer '09, they'll be releasing Mingle on June 24th.  Can't wait to hear it.

And you already know I love Fatal.  It'll be a fun show, you should check it out.

Monday, June 8, 2009


As an educational response to climate change, The Seattle Public Utilities* have funded both temporary and permanent art projects. This summer, three very different artists (John Grade, Mandy Greer and Stokley Towles) will create temporary artworks to increase public awareness around our responsibility to environmental stewardship.

Host by John Grade (image via)

"Grade will create a large cloud-like sculpture with corn-based polymer that biodegrades through direct contact with rainwater over a six-month period." John Grade just closed an amazing show at Davidson Galleries that included Host. I really hope you saw it!


"Artist John Grade will create a large-scale, outdoor sculpture that evokes the image of a water tower and consists of a wooden frame that cradles a spherical, cloud-like form...Viewers will experience a sculptural installation that is evolving and changing incrementally within a public landscape, offering a means of framing and examining the role water plays in our urban lives. Grade will begin construction of the sculpture on July 20 at the Bitter Lake Reservoir, near the intersection of North 138th Street and Linden Ave North. The sculpture will be on view through January 2010."

Waterlines by Stokley Towles (image via)

"Beginning July 2nd I will present a performance and installation about drinking water at Volunteer Park in Seattle. For this project I traveled within the world of Seattle Public Utilities speaking to members throughout the organization who work with water. I also explored ancient Mesopotamia (home of King Hammurabi's water rules) and made side trips to the land of virtual water.

The project will take place in a temporary office trailer located between SAM Asian Art Museum and the conservatory. An exhibition of photography, prose stories and water-related artifacts will be open for viewing before and after the performance."

I just met Stokley last weekend and the project sounds really interesting. More info here.

Mater Matrix Mother and Medium by Mandy Greer (image via)

Mandy's project has been an amazing community builder. If I were to hold up a model for what art can do, this is the project I'd reference. For the past couple of months, Mandy has been setting up shop in public places and with the help of strangers/new friends, she has been creating a 200 foot beautiful river of yarn. Even if I wanted to (and why on earth would I, this project is awesome on every level!), I can't go a day without getting some sort of update on the project. It's that entrenched in the community. You can read all about it on her blog. We haven't met in person yet, but I'm pretty sure I love her already!

"This River, made up of thousands upon thousands of tiny moments and movements of individual citizens, integrated, linked together and interwoven into the natural environment, will itself embed Scofield in an exploration of how we ourselves are both literal and metaphoric manifestations of the living essence of water. Our experience of water is both one of ultimate intimacy and also of civic structure. This artwork, a unique blend of community engagement and personal inquiry, site-embedded installation and performance, embodies the ancient human practice of acknowledging our own physicality rooted in the cycles of water and how this forms the very foundation of human community. Water, both mundane and miraculous, mirrors the everyday meeting of strangers and the tiny moments that begin to bond us together."

"Mater Matrix Mother and Medium will culminate with a site-specific performance by Seattle-based and internationally-recognized choreographer and dancer Zoe Scofield. Come join in this one-time experience on July 16th, 2009 at 6:30 pm at the pond at Camp Long in West Seattle, 5200 35th Ave. SW."


I think I was looking at some old information. Mandy posted a comment directing me to a better source of info. There are actually a lot more water-related activities this summer.

Kristin Ramirez will be doing a summer residency in the Fremont Bridge. Call (206) 455-9983 to share a memory or thought related to bridges.

Also, five folks made short films (8-12 minutes) that address protecting water quality and/or drainage issues. Filmmakers include SJ Chiro, Susan Robb, Britta Johnson, Luke Sieczek and Rick Stevenson. All five will be screened on Thursday, July 9 (7pm) at Central Cinema.
*Proper funding source updated 6/10/2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"New ways of living"

Late night dodgeball at Cal Anderson

Sometimes, I feel like I'm the biggest creature of habit I know. I tend to eat at the same restaurants (hi Smith!), hang out in the same neighborhood (hello Capitol Hill!) and spend most of my time with the same people. Since I'm also the same guy that happily re-watches the same movies and rereads the same books, this actually doesn't bother me.  I have a nice little life that's usually pretty satisfying. Until it's not and then I reach for whatever book suits my mood. Last week, it was Douglas Coupland's Life After God. In it, he writes: 
“Now: I believe that you’ve had most of your important memories by the time you’re thirty. After that, memory becomes water overflowing into an already full cup. New experiences just don’t register in the same way or with the same impact. I could be shooting heroin with the Princess of Wales, naked in a crashing jet, and the experience still couldn’t compare to the time the cops chased us after we threw the Taylors’ patio furniture into their pool in the eleventh grade. You know what I mean."
I know exactly what he means. Those feelings of intense wonder visit me less frequently as an adult.  This summer, I'm going to change that. More midnight swims, more getting off Capitol Hill, more trips, more silliness, more saying YES! Friday night was a great reminder that those experiences can still be had, I just need to be a little more open to them. 

While it might not have been an impromptu ice-blocking run (Hi Dolan!), Saturday's ALL BACON bbq for Gabe's birthday was pretty fun.  I know they say that bacon is over, but looking down at those bacon-wrapped scallops, I hope it stays around for a long time!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Public Art / Seattle

Jack Mackie, Dance Steps on Broadway (Rumba)

Jen Graves continues to keep the spotlight on public art in Seattle. I love the way she presents the information via fictitious meeting notes. One of the artists she quotes in the piece is Jack Mackie. He's the fellow who did the bronze dance steps on Broadway. Ever since I moved here 13 years ago, they've been one of my favorite things about Capitol Hill. To me, they work on so many levels (conceptually, emotionally, fully-integrated, and accessible by everyone).
updated 6/12/2009: Corrected artist name. Apologies to Jack and thanks to Greg Kucera for catching it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sweet Crude / SIFF

Photo by Kendra E. Thornbury

My friend Sandy Cioffi recently completed a documentary about the effects of oil in the Niger Delta.  Making this movie has been a long and emotional process that has put both herself and the crew into situations of great peril.  But as she has said before, it's nothing compared to the daily struggles of the people who live there.  Sweet Crude has been making the film festival rounds and it's so exciting that it has landed here for the Seattle International Film Festival. 

In the opening sequence of Sweet Crude, director Sandy Cioffi explains that this wasn't the film she started out to make. Due to the complexity of the situation, the direction of the movie changed its course during production. What remained constant was the desire to make the world pay attention to the Niger Delta before it was too late. 

Flash back to 3 1/2 years ago when indie film maker Cioffi went to the Niger Delta to document the building of a library, a symbol of hope to be shared by previously warring tribes. During the opening ceremony, a peaceful protest was led by residents of the area. Sandy knew she had to their story or else no one else would and the documentary Sweet Crude was born.

Photo by Kendra E. Thornbury

"In a small corner of the most populous country in Africa, billions of dollars of crude oil flow under the feet of a desperate people. Immense wealth and abject poverty stand in stark contrast. The environment is decimated. The issues are complex, the answers elusive.The documentary film Sweet Crude tells the story of Nigeria’s Niger Delta. The region is seething and the global stakes are high. But in this moment, there’s an opportunity to find solutions."

During the Q&A following the movie, an audience member asked the question about what the people in the room could do to help affect change.  Sandy replied that not to be flip, but we need to change how we look at everything. The best way to do that is through education and involvement. The statistics are shocking and compelling.

Photo by Kendra E. Thornbury

Verite Coffee helped fund Sweet Crude and it's a passionate subject for owner Jody Hall. When I asked her how she got involved with the documentary, she explained that, "Every day, folks ask me and my baristas about our coffee. Is it organic?  Is it fair trade?  Are the farmers being paid properly? I'm proud to answer “YES, YES, YES!". We work with Stumptown, and they pay a fair price for coffee, buy direct, and choose social responsibility over profits (as do many of this fine city’s roasters).  Coffee is the #2 traded commodity in the world, second only to oil. And like oil, it’s highly exploited. It’s nice to work with a roaster who ensures that the farmers are paid the proper price to sustain their families.  But when it comes to oil, we don’t ask these questions, and I think we should.  I think that as a small business owner, you create and are a part of a community and you can use your super-powers to do good, create awareness and make this city/community/planet a better place."

Sweet Crude has two more screenings during SIFF.  The night I went, the theater was completely packed, so you should purchase your tickets early. 
Sunday, June 7 at 1:30 (Kirkland Performance Center) tix
Saturday, June 13 at 1:30 (Egyptian Theater) tix
After the June 13th screening, there will be a discussion at the new Verite location (1111 Pike).

Artwalks and openings

It's summer time (or at least it sure feels like it here in Seattle)! If you don't want to be trapped inside and you're already bored with the lake, why not check out all this great art Seattle's providing us. Days like this don't always bring a lot of people into the galleries and there's nothing worse than an opening with no people. Forget the children, won't someone think of the artists?

Thursday, June 4

Heide Hinrichs & Debra Baxter at Howard House
Image via gallery

Laura Castellanos at Zeitgeist Coffee
Image via artist website

Leigh Bowery by Fergus Greer
I.D.: Individual Demographics at Greg Kucera Gallery
Group show with tons of amazing artists. I don't know who to love more at this point, Leigh Bowery for being one of the most amazing artists ever? Fergus Greer for recognizing that? Or Greg for showing these photos! Also very excited to see Nola Avienne's The Donor Wall Project.
We HATE you by Dawn Cerny (image via 4Culture)
100 years; for better or worse at Gallery4Culture.
Group show with Dawn Cerny, Patrick Holderfield, Brent Watanabe and more.

Kate Hailey at OK Hotel
Image via flickr

Miniature by Rick Araluce (image via artist website)
FRONT at Canoe (starts at 10pm). Group show including James Allen, Rick Araluce, Debra Baxter, Tania Kupczak, Damian Puggelli, ilvs strauss and Daniel Thornton.
Friday, June 5

YOU at On The Boards. Details here.
Thursday, June 11
Blitz (the new and improved Capitol Hill Artwalk)

Shaun Kardinal at Vermillion Gallery (image via artist website)
And of course, I'm really excited for LAND/STRUCTURE/IMPACT.
Emily Pothast's recommendations here.