RIP, Jerry Manning: Last night, Jerry Manning—a longtime member of Seattle's theater community and artistic director of Seattle Repertory Theatre—passed away. There's been an outpouring of remembrances on Facebook among people who loved Manning's inimitable manner: droll, sharp, and lovingly cynical, in the way only a passionate idealist who realizes what they're up against can be. (One Facebook comment said: "I remember asking you at an audition what you were looking for, you said 'good actors.' You will be missed, Jerry.") At the Seattle Rep, he navigated working at a large, nationally prestigious institution while swinging hard for the careers of local artists, particularly local actors. As he said to me in an interview last fall, when he first came to the Rep, "this city was hemorrhaging its best and brightest. I came when the idea among artistic directors was 'god forbid you hire a Seattle actor.'" Manning helped change that. He was also remarkably candid—not always on the record, of course, but beautifully honest about the shortcomings in himself, his theater, and his community. Not in a bitter way, but in a we-can-and-should-do-better way. And he seemed to believe we could, should, and would do better. His brand of hopeful, merry melancholy was an inspiration.
The Rep released a statement today:
Complications arose after Jerry underwent a routine procedure in March. As you can imagine, our staff and those close to us are in a state of shock as we wrap our heads around this news.
Jerry was a force to be reckoned with at the Rep, equal parts collaborator and fearless leader. His biting sense of humor, irascible spirit, and sharp mind will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Plans are underway for a celebration of life at Seattle Rep to honor Jerry and his incredible legacy. In lieu of flowers, the Manning family encourages donations to the Rep to help sustain the art that made Jerry so very happy. A memorial page has been set up for Jerry, which you can visit here.
Glassholes Discover Art: Google Glass is sponsoring the New Museum Triennial, opening in February 2015, and Google Glass eyewear will be available to visitors, potentially “replac[ing] the conventional audio tour.” How do the artists in the Triennial feel about this? We’d be curious to know.
Local Artist Wins Public Art Award: Norie Sato, the longtime public artist based in Seattle and the artist charged with what is now a very weird Union Street corridor in the new Seattle Waterfront Plan, today won the 2014 Public Art Network Award from Americans for the Arts. Your brain knows her from her bright, pointy, stripy poles along the Light Rail system.
Because "Keep Calm and Art On" Seemed Old: Just Be Your Selfie will be the slogan hanging over Occidental Park this summer, in a public installation by Dylan Neuwirth that’s part of the city’s public-art-in-parks program. From June to September, there’ll be installations at Occidental, including something else that sounds interesting: an interactive installation by Tariqa Waters, the artist who runs the space Martyr Sauce.
Let's Start Over: Comic Book Resources publisher Jonah Weiland yesterday announced that he was wiping his comics site's forums completely clean and starting again, citing the toxic environment that has developed in the forums through the years. (Recently, the community responded to a blog post complaining about the sexism of a comic book cover by making rape threats.)
Blockheads: Here's a trailer for this week's Simpsons episode, which is mostly made with Legos: