Enclosed lovingly in this week's Stranger, it's the brand-new A&P: Seattle Art & Performance Quarterly, and it is great (if we do say so ourselves).
It's The Only Guide You Need to Winter Arts, Performance, Film, Classical Music, Drag, and More!™
And it's all online right over here. The theme: money. Some things you will find:
· Jen Graves on buying local art, which is not scary, not (necessarily) expensive, and something you should do! Plus: three pieces that we bought and we have loved ever since; and art you could (and should) buy right now
· Paul Constant on how much a novelist actually makes
· Rebecca Brown on the opera, Elvis, and greenbacks
· Three working artists, two philanthropists, and one person who's a little bit of both: The Lineup by Brendan Kiley
· Charles Mudede on a brilliant new Seattle building
"My queer legos couldn’t wait," writes Slog tipper Mrs. Brown. "They got married last weekend." Wedding procession above, ceremony and post-wedding dance party after the jump.
...a writer named John Englehardt. His story won't appear until a week from now, in the winter issue of our arts quarterly A&P, and I don't want to give anything away. But what can I tell you that won't spoil it? Let's see. I can tell you it is titled "Gingrich," that part of it is set in Pioneer Square, and that this is the art that will accompany it, by the illustrator Jungyeon Roh.
There's no way you'll be able to figure out what the story is about from those clues.
Thank you to all the writers who sent us stories (so many stories!), and to judges Rebecca Brown and Sherman Alexie for donating their expertise. As you know if you read the rules, the contest was judged blind. No one in the office had ever heard of John Englehardt before his story was selected for publication. Later we found out he has a degree in creative writing from Seattle University and he's currently pursuing an MFA at the University of Arkansas.
Without affecting its existing programs, the City of Seattle's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs shuffled around some money this year (including making administrative cuts) in order to give a one-time-only round of grants that directly pays employees at arts organizations. The funded jobs had to be "positions that can generate extra revenue to carry out the mission of the organization," and those ended up ranging from teacher trainers to print-shop managers to executive directors to jazz competition contest overseers to social justice training coordinators to raisers-of-money.
The contracts total $260,000, and you can see a full list of recipients with breakdowns at the Arts Mean Business website.
Many of the orgs are familiar names—On the Boards, Gage Academy, Pratt, Pottery Northwest—but five have never before been funded by OACA. Those include the Duwamish Tribe, where $9,200 will pay for a manager of rentals for the longhouse, and ROCKit Community Arts in Beacon Hill, which with the city's $10,000 will leverage its first full-time staff position.
A grant of $11,894 to Arts Corps may help to wipe some of the egg off the city's face after the levy debacle in March.
Since it's a one-time thing involving a buzzword in a mayoral election year—job creation!—who knows what this means long-term. It's good news this morning.
David Danh of Burien, age 15, who has been taking breakdancing classes with ArtsCorps for three years, was there to accept.
A couple years ago in The Stranger, I explained how Arts Corps is the biggest school in the city without a building, and why I think it's the most awesome secret thing in Seattle arts (and it's still pretty secret).
In addition to the recognition of being one of only 12 winners from a pool of 350 applicants and 50 finalists, Arts Corps receives $10,000.
The whispers have been verified: Seattle's own Jerick Hoffer/Jinkx Monsoon will be fighting for the title of America's Next Drag Superstar on the forthcoming fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. We've never had a local queen in the mix, and I couldn't be more excited. Introductory video below, Drag Race season 5 begins airing in January (which is also when Hoffer will be starring in a new production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Moore.)
This post has been bumped up because the deadline's today.
Hey, fiction writers! Whatcha been working on? The Stranger is looking for a short story, no longer than 1,200 words, to be published in the winter issue of our arts quarterly A&P. The only requirement is that it be set in Seattle in wintertime. The winning piece will be selected by our judges Sherman Alexie and Rebecca Brown, both Stranger Genius Award-winning fiction writers, and the winning entry will be rewarded with publication and $500. The deadline is fast approaching: November 15 at 5:00 pm, PST. Get on it!
RULES, FORMATTING, AND ADVICE
(1) There is no entry fee, but only one story may be submitted per writer. Only send your best work. The story may not be longer than 1,200 words.
(2) Entries must be submitted electronically. They should be written in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and sent as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line of the email should read "winter fiction." Entries sent by mail will be converted into confetti and thrown about the office.
(3) The title of the piece and the author's name and contact information should appear in the body of the email that contains the attachment. The title of the piece should also appear in the attachment, at the top of the story itself, but not the author's name or contact information, because the contest will be judged blindly. That means that judges will not know the author of the winning piece until after they have made their selection. Authors' publishing history will not be taken into consideration: The winner may be someone who has been published extensively, or it may be someone who has never been published before. The only consideration will be the quality of the work. If you would like to know more about the judges, read their books.
(4) Authors may reside anywhere, although, again, the story must take place in Seattle in wintertime.
(5) Entries will be received and processed by Stranger books intern Cate McGehee. She will notify you that your submission has been received, and she can answer any administrative questions you may have, but please don't annoy her. We will not provide feedback to individual writers about their work. Again, the email is email@example.com. Callers will be shot.
(6) "Fiction" is a loose term. If you send in an essay, or a piece of memoir, that functions as a story, how would the judges ever know?
(7) The winning author will be announced on Slog on November 28. Their story will appear in the winter issue of A&P, which comes out December 5. (Look for the magazine with a glossy cover conveniently tucked into the December 5 issue of The Stranger. A&P is also distributed independently to newsstands, bookstores, museums, galleries, coffee shops, etc.)
(8) We reserve the right not to publish anything if the judges don't find anything they like.
Good luck! Get cracking!
WaPo on the exhibit "Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe":
The exhibition of painting, sculpture, maps and prints is focused on 73 potent rather than visually sumptuous objects. If not always a feast for the eyes, the show is a compact and dense lesson in how race was conceived between the late 1400s and the early 1600s. It was a complicated period. In the 15th century, slaves were overwhelmingly “white,” brought from lands to the East, including Central Asia and Russia. Africans circulated and lived in Europe as emissaries and ambassadors, came for educational opportunities, participated in the dissemination of Catholicism, and occasionally rose to high rank in European courts. One of the Medici dukes of Florence was probably the son of a slave or servant of African descent, and former slaves achieved renown as playwrights, scholars and artists. But the same period also brought the codification of racism in the New World, the rigid association of dark skin with newer, crueler forms of slavery, and the invention and spread of vicious religious justifications for racism and enslavement. Shakespeare’s “Othello,” written near the end of the period covered by this exhibition, gives one a good sense of the contradictions and complexities of African life in a Renaissance context.Why is this exhibit important? The core reason:
[T]he process is worth the effort, as the fascinating story of a painting by Jacopo da Pontormo demonstrates. The image includes a dignified woman of indeterminate age directly facing the viewer, and a small girl with tightly curled hair staring out of the painting to the right. In 1902, when the painting was acquired by Henry Walters, there was no little girl, just the woman, who was identified as a poet. Subsequent X-ray analysis revealed the girl, who had probably been painted out to make the image more attractive to collectors. Conservation returned her to view, and scholarship in the 1990s identified the girl as the daughter of the presumably mixed-race Alessandro de’ Medici, whose dark skin and tightly curled hair can be seen nearby in a small painting by Bronzino.Much of the history we have today about early black African/white European encounters is a lot like this painting at the beginning of the previous century. A good part of what actually happened has been "painted out."
Deep in Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman writes:
Until now neuroscience has just studied one brain at once, but now two are being alayszed at once, unveiling a hitherto undreamed-of neural duet between brains as people interact.In my opinion, you will never get a full picture of the human brain if it's not seen interacting with several other brains. The human brain is really other brains, a collection of brains, many brains at once. One brain tells you has much about itself as one ant tells you about itself and its colony. A good idea of the actual brain can be obtained from this image of a Portugese art work called: Centipede Cinema. 16 brains linked into one box (cinema) is something like what the human brain actually is.
An evening celebrating the life of our dear friend Heather Hughes. Hosted by Taj Franke, featuring Frau Sylvia, the Atomic Bombshells, Miss Indigo Blue, Gaydolf Hitler, David Schmader, Gary Gloryhole, Miss Anita Goodmann, Ragazza featuring Dejha & JV, Dina Martina, Gams Galore, Imogen Love, Vincent Drambuie, Coach, Gary Zinter, Ade, Annex Theater, DJ DavidJames & DJ Cherry Canoe.
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8 pm, 21+ with valid ID. $10 at the door. All proceeds will go to "The Frank Bank," a fund set up for Heather's beloved young son Frank.
See you there.
Seriously, Bogota and Havana are above Seattle in the Global Arts Centers Index. When it comes to the arts, we are a lot of hot air and a lot of bad public art.
As Paul Constant informed us this past weekend:
On Monday night, Genius Award-shortlisted cartoonist David Lasky and his writing buddy Frank Young will be debuting their brand new book, The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song. It's a comic book biography of the first family of country music. This party will feature a cartoon slide show, music, and a chance to talk to two people who are presumably now among the country's foremost Carter Family experts.
I would only like to ad that the book is gorgeous and tonight's Hugo House event should be a blast.
· three-on-three basketball game with Sherman Alexie (you and two of your friends and he and two of his friends)
· signed Linda McCartney photograph (a photo by her, not of her)
· a framed portrait of Shakespeare made out of macaroni (extra macaroni for eating included)
· concierged getaway with Heather McHugh in Victoria
· a bunch of signed broadsides
· Whistler condo getaway
· architectural glass panel of a beetle from Rhuby Glass
· dinner at Oddfellows with Christopher Frizzelle and Heather McHugh
· signed copy of Murphy by Samuel Beckett
· books from Heather McHugh's personal treasure trove
There's some pretty great stuff in there. (I'm looking at you, macaroni Shakespeare.) More info about tonight is here.
As you were.
The appointment is an outreach move, which is direly needed since for years the city office has seemed like a limb with no blood flowing to it. Engstrom is a ninja at connecting and showing up. Go to an event, he's there. He knows and/or has collaborated with pretty much every arts worker in the city, with some sustained focus on social justice through the years. He has been working in Seattle for more than a decade.
Mayor McGinn and Engstrom met back when Engstrom was the founding director of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in Delridge, he said in a phone conversation Thursday evening.
"I feel a very strong overlap with Randy," McGinn said. He described the process:
"We had an interview process. I had a panel composed of Darryl Smith, Michele Scoleri, and Robert Nellams from the center, because they’re good people and Robert was bringing in a little experience as a department head, and then I briefly did an open advertisement. Three finalists were then entertained by a three-person panel from the arts commission to get feedback. And then I interviewed the three finalists, and chose Randy.
I feel a very strong overlap with Randy. His values about the role of arts in our community. And I also really appreciated the way in which he approaches doing the work, which is that, you know, we’ve got a big city government, and there’s a lot of opportunities to partner across city government around the arts, and that’s where he was coming from as a starting place. So it felt like a strong selection. ...I’d met him when he was at Youngstown, he was indeed in a lot of different places, I loved his work with FEEST, I loved the way in which he engaged with youth and his deep concerns about race and social justice, so that’s why I said it’s a very strong values overlap with Randy and me. And his thought processes on the role arts can play in how we get things done in the city—that arts is not a standalone thing; that’s very important to me. That it’s a way of integrating multiple objectives. In city government right now, the way we approach problems is you try to bring in all the departments that touch it and then work collaboratively with the community on how to address it, and I’m just really excited to bring the office of arts and cultural affairs into that, and I value department heads that know how to do that well.
Since relationship-making is a large part of what someone at this level does (and who knows exactly what the hell else they do?), Engstrom seems a smart choice.
He starts Wednesday. The first order of business is stability, he said. (The office's employees got a shock when the previous director left suddenly recently—they didn't know he was going until the day the resignation was announced publicly.) Engstrom said he believes the office does plenty of great work, but hasn't done such a great job of getting the word out about it.
"They just need stable, grounded leadership that has the relationships that can help them be successful," he said in a phone conversation today.
Teen Tix is a great Seattle organization that we love. We shortlisted it for a Genius Award in 2009 and wrote about it in this year's back to school guide. (My eternal disclaimer with Teen Tix: I help teach critical-writing classes with the organization. But even if I didn't, I'd still think it's great.)
If you're somewhere in your teen years, Teen Tix will get you $5 tickets to On the Boards, ACT Theater, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet (the ballet is one of the most popular Teen Tix destinations, which surprised me), the Henry, Northwest Film Forum, SAM, the EMP, and so on.
This is good for teenagers (obviously), but also good for theaters. Theaters need young people—not only as a future audience base, but also as an influence. If young people start showing up in big enough numbers, they will become a new constituency and inevitably shake the dust off of dusty organizations.
Anyway, Teen Tix recently announced that it's making moves to split off from the City of Seattle/Seattle Center, which used to be its umbrella, and is becoming its own organism. It expects to fully sever ties by 2014. "We are a Seattle Center program that Seattle Center has done such a successful job supporting that Seattle Center is now able to spin us off," said Teen Tix director Holly Arsenault. "Hopefully like Frasier not Joey."
A recurring topic of conversation Saturday night at the Moore (party pics) was the way this year's Genius Awards were being given out—Academy Award-style, with the winners selected in a surprise announcement from the stage while the other nominees squirmed and fidgeted and general awkwardness ensued.
"It's awful!" one former Genius winner told me.
Yes, there was awkwardness for both winners and non-winning finalists. (LIFE IS STRESSFUL.)
But look: In years past, we've announced the winners weeks ahead of time, then published shortlists in the paper on the week of the party. This creates a situation in which absolutely nobody remembers who the shortlisters were. There's been no glory in it. And being shortlisted for Genius has never changed anybody's life.
But being a finalist has.
I wasn't sure where I fell on this whole issue until Amanda Manitach told me last week, "This nomination literally changed my life. No, really." She had been planning, for financial reasons, to stop being an artist. She was going through some changes in her personal life, and they meant that she had to entirely support herself. When the announcement hit, she figured she'd "keep up appearances" as a serious artist until after the ceremony, thinking she wouldn't win, anyway.
But the attention of the nomination itself sent commissions and collectors her way. And for the first time, she has made her living on her art for these last months.
So while I realize it's not easy being a finalist—and I also dislike anything that smacks of similarity with the dimwitted, shittily selected, utterly meaningless Academy Awards—I say: Let's do it again like this next year.
Because triple the people get the glory, even though not everybody goes home with the cash.
This Saturday night, for the first time in history, the Stranger Genius Awards—which annually honor five artists and have typically been announced months in advance in the paper—will be revealed live onstage.
On Saturday night, we will have the answers. But however the title distribution works itself out, the moral is this: All of these people are entirely worthy of Genius Awards.
Beyond the award-bestowing, Saturday's night Genius Bash will feature the Seattle Rock Orchestra playing the music of all our Music Genius nominees (with nominee Lori Goldston joining them onstage) and a performance by Velocity Dance Center's Kate Wallich. Get your tickets here.
Recently I found myself in a restaurant/bar featuring two TV sets.
On one set was this.
On the other set was this.
That is all.
San Francisco-based Keith Hennessy describes his project Turbulence (a dance about the economy) as "a bodily response to economic crisis, engaging the frictions between disaster capitalism, debt, precarity, propaganda, torture, war, magic and queer identity." There's video here.
Velocity's his host in Seattle this coming weekend, and the dance center is not just presenting the performance but also staging a weeklong series of events under the title Failure: Conversations Around Art + the Economy. (Has the economy failed art? Has art failed the economy? Is art necessarily an economic failure? Is failed art an economic success or failure?)
It starts tonight at Liberty with Body Book Club (bodies and books! My two favorite things!), a roundtable chatting about Cassie Peterson's essay But, What Is Queer Art?: A Paradoxical Manifesto. Body Book Club II, responding to the legendary art curator Harald Szeemann's statements in Failure as a Poetic Dimension, will involve actually using your body, moving in response to his words. That's the one I'm most interested in.
There's more, too, including a talk with Hennessy and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?, on Thursday, and the performances Friday and Saturday, followed by a coffee-and-bageling-about-economy-and-community with Seattle dancers. All info here.
Next Saturday night at the Moore Theatre, we're all going to be doing this:
Well, some of us will, anyway. Join. Watch. It's time again for the best party of the year.
And this year, none of us editors will know who the Geniuses will be until we hear them announced from the stage at the 10th annual Genius Awards—just like you.
A 50-piece rock orchestra will be playing. Velocity resident dancer Kate Wallich will perform for you. And past Genius artists Lynn Shelton, Jeffry Mitchell, Susanna Welbourne, Sarah Rudinoff, and Jim Woodring will tear open the envelopes and hand out the awards.
What should you wear? Wear that thing you're dying to put up on your body, whatever it is. I will personally compliment every hot one of you.
Tickets are $12 (regular) or $50 (VIP: free booze, more hours/booty dance, and the money goes back toward funding the awards!). Buy here.
From the man's website:
I am Patrick Andraste, a sometimes photographer of pretty shiny things. I am based in Seattle and travel often to Central California and Portland Oregon. Have a look around. I hope you enjoy what you see.
From the Smoking Gun:
Police are investigating a series of explicit pictures that were taken last week at a veterans cemetery in Seattle and then posted on the photographer’s web site, which is devoted to fetish and bondage images. The photos show a naked woman bound by rope hanging from a cannon barrel and a statue of a soldier. In the background of the photos are the neatly aligned headstones of dead veterans buried at the Evergreen Washelli cemetery.
Now let's never speak of this again (unless Andraste's charged with something).
This Saturday brings not one but two high-octane events starring America's most beloved radio host.
At 8 pm at Benaroya Hall, Ira Glass presents Reinventing Radio, which he describes thusly:
Basically, it's me standing onstage talking about what we're doing on the radio show, how it's different from other radio shows, and I play examples. Onstage, I've got an iPad, and I can play clips and music from the show, and basically re-create the sound of the radio show as I stand there—the scoring, ambient sound, quotes—so as I describe the stories, I can make them appear out of the mist and narrate them live. That's it. It doesn't sound like the most emotional or hilarious description, but I swear that in practice that it is!
When we set this up, I was totally going to spend months thinking through what kind of music to play and really do an awesome job. And now I realize I've got to do all that in the next week. I was going to make a whole study of this! I was kind of looking forward to spending months working on it, going to friends who listen to a lot of new music, and really thinking it through—and I have done nothing. Fortunately for me, everything Dan plays is infected with a kind of Broadway-show-tune showiness, so even when it's not a show tune, it is a show tune in its immortal soul. So even with my lax preparation, I believe I will best him.
Full Ira Glass interview here.
The Greatest of Failures: A bunch of anarchist-hearted artists set out to make an opera about WTO. What could possibly go wrong? By Jen Graves
Seattle Artists Redesign the Waterfront: With Glass-Bottomed Pools, Submarine Shuttles, Mini Forests, Lights for Scared Fish, and Arches Made of Viaduct Ruins
The End of Anonymity: Should a food critic always be undercover? Is it important—or even possible—anymore? By Bethany Jean Clement
James Baldwin in Istanbul: Photographer Sedat Pakay's Images of a Writer in Exile By Charles Mudede
The fourth annual report on Arts and Economic Prosperity—a national breakdown of how institutional arts economics fit in with the rest of the economy—was released this summer. You can check out its findings over here. It has a few nuggets worth noticing. The Seattle arts economy, for example, supports the equivalent of around 11,000 full-time jobs—roughly the same number as Dallas, even though Dallas's population is twice as large.
And as you head to—or avoid—Bumbershoot this weekend, you can think about the jobs it supports and this graph:
Strange that the US has more people working in arts and culture administration than police officers and firefighters put together. And strange that they don't have a more influential lobbying presence.
From this week's review of the sixth Lo-Fi summer arts festival at Smoke Farm:
The conditions couldn't have been more accommodating for a summer arts festival at an old dairy farm 58 miles north of Seattle—sunny but not sweltering, a cool river for swimming, and the shade of an old barn where people talked about the dozens of artworks they'd seen that day. They discussed modern dancers weaving colored rags into a large nest, clotheslines with white fabric that started on top of a riverbank and disappeared into the water below, hundreds of small red flags fluttering in a grid over a slow-moving slough populated by tiny fish.
One piece dominated the conversations: a miniature house by Jordan Schwartz along the path to the Stillaguamish River. (Nearly everyone had seen it, since nearly everyone had gone swimming.) From a distance, it looked like a simple dollhouse. But as people got closer, they could hear it hum with life. Inside, the house was packed with bees—climbing over tiny chairs, swarming against tiny windows, hanging around a honeycomb suspended from the ceiling and dwarfing the house's tiny furniture. From a few steps away, the piece looked like a cute visual pun—dollhouse as beehouse. But close up, peeking through the windows, it looked like a nightmare invasion of giant stinging insects.
Some photos from the festival:
Marcie Sillman interviewed David Brewster on KUOW this morning about the sorry state of public funding for art in this city compared to others, about the irreplaceability of Speight Jenkins at Seattle Opera, and about all else cultural across the city. It's a great interview full of tidbits, and you can listen to it here. (It's based on a few recent pieces in Crosscut, found here.) Brewster is about to step down as publisher of Crosscut, which he founded.