by Jen Graves
on Wed, May 22, 2013 at 8:41 AM
What was the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs has become Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. I might even argue to remove "Office of," too. Officiousness begone! (It is also possible that I have been driven to a mad desire for minimalism by lo those many years of Affairs. AbsurD with a capital D.)
A new logo comes with. It was designed by the Seattle crew Civilization, and it's this:
Says the press release:
The new logo features the clean lines of "A & C" for Arts and Culture with an embossed "C" evoking forward movement. The logo is frequently presented at small dimensions on partner-produced collateral, so a mark that is easy to recognize at small scale was essential. Reducing the elements of the previous logo to the basic A & C makes the new logo simple, efficient and elevated.
There's a new tagline, too: "Making Art Work." There was no old tagline.
It's all part of there being a new sheriff in town: Randy Engstrom, who took over a few months ago and was recently formalized in the position of director of the Office (where there are no Affairs).
Says Fidelma McGinn, Seattle Arts Commission co-chair, this is "a new era for the arts office in our city. Seattleites can expect many exciting developments in the future."
A new logo does not exactly rise to the level of exciting development, but the new logo is certainly better than the old logo. As you were.
Following her well-earned triumph on RuPaul's Drag Race, hometown hero and America's New Drag Superstar Jinkx Monsoon continues her media blitz.
Here's a great interview with Jinkx from TheUnderwearExpert.com, where she holds forth on her tucking regimen and her favorite member of the RPDG pit crew, the tattooed-and-mustached Shawn Morales:
He’s actually such a sweet guy and has such a good sense of humor. Also, he is of the au naturale persuasion—he doesn’t wear deodorant. So at times when I was feeling really homesick for Seattle, I would just stand next to him and take it in and feel like I was at home for a moment, because he has that kind of Seattle-grunge-funk about him. He was my favorite just for the fact of sense memory purposes!
And here's a Stranger Suggest about Jinkx's upcoming Seattle show The Vaudevillians—about two old-timey variety stars who were frozen in an avalanche, have been thawed by global warming, and are trying to sing, dance, and joke their way back into the 21st century—which will soon be travelling to NYC.
Finally, here's a Facebook page devoted to getting Jinkx Monsoon to host Saturday Night Live.
Stay tuned for news of Jinkx's EGOT and appointment to the Supreme Court.
Depending on how many Seattle-area nonprofit email lists you're on, you may have received between zero and 6 million reminders that today is "GiveBIG"—the day when any money you donate to a nonprofit gets some extra bucks from the fat pockets of the Seattle Foundation.
It's a little confusing: Not all nonprofits are eligible (though a jillion of them are on the list), your donations aren't exactly matched but "stretched," and there are "Golden Tickets" of extra $1,000 gifts doled out throughout the day.
The short version: If you intend to give any money to a Seattle-area nonprofit this year, today is the day to do it.
GiveBIG 2013 is a 24-hour period beginning at midnight and running through midnight, Pacific Daylight Time, on Wednesday, May 15, 2013.
How does GiveBIG work?
All donations made through The Seattle Foundation's website on GiveBIG day will receive a percentage of the matching funds (or "stretch") pool. This percentage depends on the size of the stretch pool and how much is raised in total donations on GiveBIG day. For example, if the stretch pool is $500,000 and the total amount raised that day is $2,000,000, then the stretch percentage is 25% (or 25 cents on the dollar). In other words, it is a prorated match.
All donations up to $25,000 per donor, per organization, qualify to receive funds from the GiveBIG stretch pool.
You can also, if you are so inclined, donate to the Stranger Genius Awards—which will, in turn, dole out money to kick-ass artists, by donating to Shunpike and mentioning the Stranger Genius Awards in the comments.
Our editorial staffers' favorite nonprofits are below! (It's like an office litmus test.)
by Dan Savage
on Thu, May 2, 2013 at 9:03 AM
A "Savage Love" reader with phimosis recently wrote and asked for advice. Dr. King, my guest expert, suggested circumcision as one possible fix. Toby Butterfield also suffered from phimosis and wound up getting circumcised. Butterfield told the story of his circumcision—and his first post-phimosis orgasm—at a recent installment of Portland's Mystery Box Show, a performance series dedicated to stories about sex.
It's an installation by Cohen Van Balen, a London-based artist. In the everyday world, each machine connects with some vital part of the human life system and history. In the installation, the artist connected the machines to support not humans but themselves...
“The Immortal investigates human dependence on electronics, the desire to make machines replicate organisms and our perception of anatomy as reflected by biomedical engineering. A web of tubes and electric cords are interwoven in closed circuits through a Heart-Lung Machine, Dialysis Machine, an Infant Incubator, a Mechanical Ventilator and an Intraoperative Cell Salvage Machine. The organ replacement machines operate in orchestrated loops, keeping each other alive through circulation of electrical impulses, oxygen and artificial blood.”
The looping of the fluids, the rise and collapse of the balloon, the process whirring of the wheels—this is a real imitation of life.
A&P: It stands for Art & Performance, it's Seattle's Only Arts Magazine™, and the next issue comes out on June 5.
If you didn't save a copy of the spring A&P, they're still out in special boxes on the street and in galleries and places like Vito's. And look: A&P is all here online, including calendars of what you should NOT be missing in Seattle arts RIGHT NOW. If you want to page through a PDF of the whole issue as it appears in print, you can do that too.
And if you're an artist or performer or arts organization or bookstore or whatever that would like your summer event(s) listed in the next A&P, info for events from June 5 through September 10 is due to us by end of day tomorrow, May 1, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send it on over!
• Performed last weekend at On the Boards, KT Niehoff's Collision Theory was touchy-feely dance/theater that insisted on extended audience interaction and built to an explicitly conveyed moral about the value of communicating our stories. Which makes it all the stranger that, during Friday's post-play discussion with KUOW's Marcie Sillman, Niehoff visibly bristled at benign question after benign question, a number of which she refused to answer. Cheers for Sillman's professionalism, jeers for hippie-dippy dance theater with a sour core.
• Sunday's meeting to determine the future of the Zine Archive and Publishing Project went well, if a little slowly. The group of 50 or so concerned citizens broke out into three discussion groups based on ZAPP's current responsibilities: archiving, community outreach, and event programming. Nothing concrete was determined, but people took on tasks. The next meeting will be in May; keep an eye on The Stranger's readings calendar for details.
• In the textile manufacturing plant that's now the artists live-work space the Bemis Building, there are 30 gorgeous, light-filled live-work lofts, and they have an open house twice a year. The event this past weekend featured resident and visiting artists. The standout has to be Vic DeLeon's taxidermy-and-other-preserved-living-things museum. Contact the Bemis and feast your eyes on a freeze-dried human heart and a taxidermied rat posed like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park.
A&P: It stands for Art & Performance, it's Seattle's Only Arts Magazine™, and The Stranger is putting out the next issue on June 5—one that will tell you everything you need to enjoy this summer to the utmost, artwise. Plus, a full calendar of summer festivals.
The summer A&P will also contain profiles of the Most Fascinating People in Seattle Arts Right Now™, aka the 2013 Genius Award finalists. (You know—those awards where every fall since 2003, The Stranger has given a check for $5,000 and an obscene amount of attention to five artists in five disciplines. Also, cake—winners are notified via cake.)
If you didn't save a copy of the spring A&P, they're still out in special boxes on the street and in galleries and places like Vito's (which hosts great live jazz, as noted in Charles Mudede's A&P jazz calendar). And look: It's all here online for you, including ongoing calendars of what you should NOT be missing in Seattle arts RIGHT NOW. If you want to page through a PDF of the whole issue as it appeared in print, you can do that too.
Aaaaannnnddd, speaking of calendars, if you're a performer or arts organization that would like your summer events listed in the next A&P, info for events from June 5 through September 10 is due to us by May 1 at email@example.com. Send it on over!
I don't know about you, but I woke up to this gray morning with an aggressive disinterest in anything happening now.
That mood seems to strike more and more often, and it's a terrible one for someone who's supposed to care deeply about current issues, articles, blog posts, and tweets for a living. When that mood strikes I can't bring myself to care about the news or the latest tech or song or whatever nuisance is flitting around like an overvalued mayfly.
Nothing could be more boring, when that mood strikes, than the present. Which must mean I'm getting old.
The actors... they have an awfully good time. They keep giving one another prizes and they have all this. The writers I think have a fairly tough time, except I didn't... You used to get an awful lot of money. Ladies and gentlemen, there was one time I was so rich I thought that detective stories were wonderful.
And one by choreographer Merce Cunningham in which he begins to articulate what will become his still-difficult-to-articulate legacy:
There has been a shift of emphasis in the practise of the arts of painting, music and dancing during the last few years. There are no labels yet but there are ideas. These ideas seem primarily concerned with something being exactly what it is in its time and place, and not in its having actual or symbolic reference to other things. A thing is just that thing.
And one by famously conservative genius Robert H. Hutchins of the University of Chicago about the dangers of our education and legal systems falling prey to anti-radical (communist, anarchist) hysteria:
The low point came in the demand of an Indiana textbook commissioner that Robin Hood and all books referring to Quakers be removed from the schools because both Robin Hood and the Quakers follow the Communist Party line. Or perhaps an even lower point was reached in the reference of a Senator of the United States to our oldest university as a "sanctuary for communists and a smelly mess. What the Senator was objecting to, by the way, was that Harvard had failed to fire a professor who had availed himself of rights guaranteed him by the Constitution the Senator had sworn to defend.
There are also items by Max Brod, Theodore Roetke, and an essay by Gilbert Highet on kitsch that I haven't read yet this morning, but a friend urgently recommends to me with this quote: "The kitsch writer is always sincere; he really means to say something important; he has a lofty spiritual message to bring to an unawakened world, or else he has had a powerful experience which he must communicate to others. And then, he chooses the wrong form."
Perhaps this friend of mine is trying to tell me something.
by Jen Graves
on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 4:25 PM
John Boylan, Seattle's most generous and truly best conversationalist (we are so lucky that these go hand in hand), is having another one of his open public discussions tonight at Vermillion. It runs from 7:30 to 9:30 and the theme this time is "Inclusion/Exclusion."
Even if you can't attend, reading his advance exploration of the theme is worth your time. It includes high-school outcasts, TED versus BIL talks, holiday dinner invitation lists, the fashion world, the gender of grunge, and Charles Krafft. You can get on his email list by just asking him.
I’ve been thinking lately about inclusion and exclusion. These opposing concepts tend to intertwine, and they often lie in tandem at the center of the ways in which we create our societies. They are at the root of tribalism: members of my tribe, clan, gang, platoon, ethnic group, or football team are better than those who are not members of my tribe, clan, and so forth. And they are at the core of the dynamics of adolescence: in youth, too often one is either part of the school in-crowd or the various groups who cluster around the in-crowd, or one is an outcast. Or in the case of a great true dork, even joining the outcasts is unattainable.
Exclusion and inclusion also form the root of how we build concepts of class, and of course of race, especially in terms of exclusion from place and from opportunity. And they are integral to how we build a sense of privilege. They are how we build deep friendships and exercise compassion, and how we inflict pain. They are how some of us live in exclusive gated communities, while others are exiled to a life on the street.
I’ve been wondering what would be the qualitative differences—and parallels—between these two statements: the first that old saw of white separatists, made all the more vicious for its ostensible innocuousness, “I have nothing against black people. I just don’t want to have to live next to them.” And the following: “Let’s not invite Betty to Thanksgiving dinner this year. She talks so much, and she’s bound to get into an argument with your uncle.” Is there a parallel?
In the arts, discussions of inclusion and exclusion seem to be everywhere these days. I’ve sometimes heard it said that large parts of the visual arts scene in Seattle are cliquish. I can easily see where that perception might come from, but I don’t think it’s true. To the extent that there is a certain incestuousness here, I think that it comes from laziness more than anything else.
To quote the succinct headline of their webpage, Storefronts Seattle is the program that puts art and artists into empty storefronts. And their next deadline for applications is this Sunday, March 17. Full info here.
Maybe you remember some of these photographs from the pages, and the covers, of past issues of The Stranger, taken by yours truly? They are framed and hanging (and for sale) at the Elliott Bay Cafe through the weekend. Forgive the shameless self promotion, but do check 'em out, if you're at Elliott Bay, browsing for that new book this weekend...
Drawings by Drew Christie from his work in progress.
Drew Christie hates guns. He didn't grow up around them, he doesn't understand why so many people love them, and he doesn't want them in his house. Guns just kill people. That's what they do best. And if you own one, it's more likely to harm you or someone you love than protect you or someone you love from some burglar. Christie (beer in one hand, sketchbook in another, sun in the sky) was saying these things to me as we sat on the porch of his Central District home. The house is yellow and huge, and it was first owned in the old times by a tobacco merchant. In the 1960s, it became a home for nuns. Now it's where he sleeps, eats, and does art.
But who exactly is Christie? He is a local filmmaker and animator whose work appears regularly in the New York Times' Op-Docs series. A short film of his, Song of the Spindle, screened at Sundance in 2012. Also in 2012, he was a finalist for a Stranger Genius Award in film. Because his films involve a lot of historical, social, and scientific facts, Christie is constantly researching this and that neglected or forgotten part of American culture. His current but not complete animation project about the cultural history of guns—working title: The Haunting of America—was under way even before Newtown returned gun control to the center of mainstream politics.
Three things in his research so far have caught Christie's imagination: One, the NRA's idea of Second Amendment rights actually came from the Black Panthers. Two, many of the towns in the Wild, Wild West actually had more gun-control laws than cities do today. And three: There is no more potent symbol of the United States today than Sarah Winchester, the heiress of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, who kept adding rooms to her mansion because she feared its completion would fatally expose her to the ghosts of people killed by the guns her family manufactured.
David George Gordon is a municipal treasure. He's a naturalist, bug chef, cookbook author, musician, and one of the odder (and more endearing) stars in the constellation of Seattle culture.
I first met him in 2008, when he came to my kitchen for a Stranger video about how to cook a tarantula (the squeals you hear in the background are courtesy of photographer/videographer Kelly O and food critic/managing editor Bethany Jean Clement):
Later, I got to know him as the harmonica player for God's Favorite Beefcake (two of whose members were killed during the Cafe Racer murders). And I've always been a fan of his "Feast of St. Gratus," when he cooks a bug banquet and serves it up to the public.
Recently, Gordon had stroke—thankfully, he lost none of his cognitive abilities, but he's got some steep hospital bills to pay. Tonight, Cafe Racer is throwing a benefit party starting at 6 pm. (I'm not sure exactly what it'll look like, but these folks know how to have fun. Facebook page here.)
On a side note: I'm always (and increasingly) infuriated by how many people have to resort to fundraising to cover their necessary medical bills. This is old news, but still—when we have to crowd-source and rely on donations to pay for urgent medical care, we have been failed by both the government and the market.
Tell me about the dinosaur head. It's an allosaurus. I copied the face out of a National Geographic. I like the idea of masks. And I like using cardboard a lot—it's a really plentiful material. It's everywhere. And it's light. Papier-mâché is a lot heavier and a lot messier. This is no mess. For me, the dinosaur is childhood—playing with dinosaurs when you're a kid.
And you've been dancing since you were a kid? My mother is a dance teacher. She put me in dance when I was 4. I started at Pacific Northwest Ballet when I was 8, and I danced there for 12 years on full scholarship. I left PNB when I was 20, and I went to Cornish and got a degree in dance with an emphasis in choreography. Even before graduating, I was supporting myself as an artist.
You're working on an outdoor dance piece about your mom, who's been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was homeless for a time. Is that right? Yes. She called me and tried to act like nothing weird was going on. She was like, "Oh, I'm living on the street right now," but she wanted to move on and ask me about what I was doing. And it set my imagination going—both "Oh my god, my mother is living on the street," but also "This is heavy, crazy imagery that's popping into my head now." When your parents are weird and sporadic artists, it lends itself to making art about them. And it's not like I'm making fun of them or want anyone to think less of them, but I'm really inspired by their craziness.
It's called Mother for You I Made This and starts outside the Greyhound station downtown. Right now the performance is scheduled to begin May 6 at 7 p.m., and I'll perform every single day until May 19. Fourteen shows. Or 21 shows, if the 14 go well. I imagine this as maximum 20 people as an audience. But one day, it could be just for two people. I love the idea of having a super-intense solo performance just for two people, potentially.
What if it rains? Great. I'm going to be providing the audience with umbrellas. And myself, I'm going to be dancing through it.
Dickinson talks about his work in progress on April 14 at Velocity Dance Center, 2 pm, free, and performs Mother for You I Made This, May 6–19, velocitydancecenter.org.
All the homosexuals in the building are so frantic getting A&P, our quarterly arts magazine, off to the printer that no one remembered to put up the news: Jinkx Monsoon killed it last night. Gawker called it "the best-ever impression of Little Edie Bouvier Beale," and they have a highlight reel right here. But whatever with highlights, you ought to watch the whole thing. The alternate headline for this post was "Hometown Hero Outsmarts a Pack of Wolves."
A New York City landlord who plastered over a Banksy mural is likely regretting that decision amid reports that a U.S. gallery is planning to auction off a work by the street artist that was recently cut from the wall of a London building.
The Miami gallery is estimating that the 2012 Banksy mural, now called “Slave Labor (Bunting Boy),” will fetch between $500,000-700,000 at auction this Saturday. The work was removed last week from the side of a department store, apparently with the approval of the building owner.
It's an equal bummer that people are cutting Banksy's work out of the sides of buildings now, just to make a buck. Good public art should be preserved for the enjoyment of the public, given how little of it out there is actually enjoyable.
Apparently, according to the collector, whose name has not been disclosed, the portrait of the woman which formed the top half of the complete painting lay unrecognised for many years in an antique shop.
In 2010, the portrait was discovered and since then has been subjected to a series of tests to authenticate it.
Jean-Jacques Fernier, a top expert in Courbet’s work, has confirmed that the portrait belongs to the famous painter.
This, the unknown collector claims, is the head of the Origin. It's something to think about: There just might be a mind at the beginning of the world.
The Origin of the World is after the jump for all you NSFW pussies...
If you are making/producing/promoting an arts event between March 4 and June 1 and want it listed in A&P, our arts quarterly, please tell us about it today.
Jen Graves posted this deadline last week. Consider this your reminder.
We want our calendar to be comprehensive, but your email doesn't have to be—theaters, for example, might have a performance scheduled between March 4 and June 1, but don't know all the details yet (who's in the cast, the ticket price, etc.).
That's okay. We don't need long, exhaustive press releases. (In fact, we never want long press releases, but that's another subject for another day.) All we need is the title, the location, the date range, and the briefest of explanations (one sentence will suffice) about what it is.
If you cannot send your March 4-June 1 email today, send it tomorrow. Or the next day. But please don't wait much longer than that. Today is technically the deadline, and we want to make you happy by including your event in our calendar.