Archive for August, 2009

Readings, signings, and other events vaguely literary for Monday, August 31, 2009

seattle art museum by faeryboots. from our flickr pool.

seattle art museum by faeryboots. from our flickr pool.


7:30 PM – Michael Darling: Target Practice: Painting Under Attack 1949 – 78
Elliott Bay Book Co.

The Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Seattle Art Museum will discuss this summer’s big show. EBB will have copies of the catalog available.
[LINK]

Wicked at the Paramount, 9/2 – 10/4

In a case of history repeating itself,just as L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was adapted for the stage in a musical that became the toast of Broadway a couple years later, Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked, an imagined history of the land of Oz and its characters inspired by the original, was transformed into a hit Broadway musical a couple years later.

Wicked tells the story of what happened in Oz from the time a strangely green-skinned girl is born, the friendship she forms with a beautiful and ambitious young woman she meets and school and the separate paths that lead them to their ultimate destinies. It begins a month long run at the The Paramount on Wednesday, September 2.

Tickets have been on sale for a while but there are still seats to be found – The Paramount is offering a nightly lottery for $25 orchestra seats. Present yourself at the box office two and a half hours prior to show time to have your name placed in lottery drum; a half hour later names will be drawn for the opportunity to buy up to two orchestra seats for $25 each, cash only.

Wicked6
Photo by Joan Marcus

I recently spoke with Donna Vivino, starring in the role of Elphaba, the character who becomes by story’s end the famous Wicked Witch of the West about the show. Vivino, who has been a working stage actor since she was just eight years old, says she wanted to play the role of Elphaba as soon as she saw the show for the first time herself, back when it first opened on Broadway and she found herself taken with the role. This November will mark her second anniversary of playing Elphaba so it’s obvious that she’s been enjoying it.

One of the reasons she enjoys working on Wicked so much is that it has a devoted and enthusiastic fan following–“People love the show; it’s got a great following,” she says–but you needn’t already be a fan of the show to enjoy it and you definitely don’t need to have read the novel. Vivino hadn’t read the novel herself the first time she saw Wicked on stage and thinks that it might even be advantageous to see it without already knowing the story so you can go in with fresh expectations. “A lot of people don’t know anything about the show” when they go see it, she says, and still leave happy.

Readings, signings, and other events vaguely literary for Sunday, August 30, 2009

all that i will ever be

2:00 PM – Alan Ball: All That I Will Ever Be
Elliott Bay Book Co.

The third staged reading of the Tenth Annual Staged Play Reading Series features the creator of HBO’s Emmy-winning Six Feet Under and the Oscar-winning screenwriter of American Beauty. Co-presented with ReAct Theatre and sponsored by the Mayors Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.
[LINK]

Readings, signings, and other events vaguely literary for Saturday, August 29, 2009

princess of landover

2:00 PM – Terry Brooks: A Princess of Landover
Barnes & Noble Westwood Village
The local author will visit my hood, to read and sign.
[LINK]

4:00 PM – Poets West Open Mic
SPL Greenlake Branch
[LINK]

in other blogs: product placement

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photo by scott [flickr] via our group pool [#].
  • the MJ flash mob will not be choreographed. [chs]
  • Nike and Sub Pop to get married on your feet. [p’fork]
  • I’m not entirely sure why people continue to pay to see Cat Power be uncomfortable performing. [reverb]
  • Molly Moon unveils two new seasonals — blackberry sage & lavender lemonade — and adds Theo chocolate to the permanent collection. [twitter]
  • People who travel to Forks for Twilight tourism are probably getting exactly what they deserve. [videogum]
  • Speaking of that rainy vampire burgh, Death Cab for Cutie wrote a song for the sequel soundtrack. [lineout]

weekend agenda : long goodbyes

3852275279_e9994d1ff8.jpg
see the squid vs. whale mural unveiled at the twilight this weekend [cdn]. photo by shawn [flickr] via our group pool [#].

  • For a while, it seemed like Harvey Danger was always playing their last show, usually once a year for rhetorical effect. But this weekend’s set of shows are really the really last ones before they call it quits for keeps or until the soon-to-be-anticipated cashing-in reunion arena tour. So serious is the farewelling that Sean Nelson has been blogging the final countdown as the tour reaches Seattle. [music-mix]. Tonight’s penultimate performance is at the Vera Project ($13, 7:30 pm, with Ships & Sleepy Kitty ) the walls come down on Saturday at the Crocodile (late show w/Sleepy Kitty, sold out [croc]; tickets for 4pm show with Can You Imagine still available $20. [croc])
  • Menomena spin-off, collaborative solo-project Ramona Falls join BOAT for a night of pop sweetness tonight. $10, 8pm. [crocodile]
  • Join or just be aware: Critical Mass amasses cyclists tonight at Westlake Center to ride around town, leaderless and agendaless to congregate in demonstration and in celebration.
  • Fun abounds with Mad Rad taking the Comet [myspace] tonight and the Coconut Coolouts on Funhouse duty on Saturday. [myspace].
  • Celebrate the d.i.y./house scene with local bands all weekend in support of Hollow Earth radio and the Urban Rest Stop with the Carousel Festival. $5-17, tons of bands like the Pica Beats and Partman Parthorse. [subsonic]
  • Former Project Runway contestants Jack “the one who sadly had to leave early” Mackenroth and Kevin “the straight one” Christiana host a fashion competition tonight in Seattle in which interior designers and architects make clothing out of building supplies without advice from Tim Gunn. $30-100, 7pm, Exhibition Hall. [productrunway]

The “New” Starbucks Experience: Open Thread

On the heels of 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea, comes the news that Starbucks is planning another “neighborhood” coffee shop called Roy Street Coffee and Tea to open this fall.

Now, I’ll be honest. I don’t really like Starbucks’ coffee. However, I never really had a problem with the company. They have done a lot for the coffee culture in this country and I believe they are part of the reason that coffee shops (in general) have a much higher success rate as businesses than restaurants.

Plus, no matter how many Starbucks there are in this city, the small independent coffee shops are doing quite well. So I certainly don’t see them as a big evil corporation. From what I’ve read, they try to do good and working there is a pretty good experience (unless of course, you were one of the many they laid off over the past two years).

However, this whole rebranding just doesn’t sit well with me. It feels like they are trying to be something they aren’t. I’m all for their baristas pulling shots by hand again and trying new things (like the pour over brew), but why not just embrace the fact that they’re Stabucks? They are the big giant coffee shop with the green sign and the modest siren on the door. They are the ubiquitous coffee shop. The one I can find in every town I visit, and I can always expect pretty much the same thing.

I know when I go to Dallas for a trade show, without a car, that I can find predictable coffee in the Starbucks in the hotel. I know that I will pay a reasonable amount for it, and that I will get what I expect.

I guess I just wish they would stick to what made them popular in the first place.

But that’s just me. What do you think?

Readings, signings, and other events vaguely literary for Friday, August 28, 2009

sword of the lady

7:00 PM – S.M. Stirling: The Sword of the Lady: A Novel of the Change
UW Bookstore U District
Stirling writes good, solid genre fiction, fun and engrossing enough to keep you reading until well after bedtime. I’m not a fan of this latest series, but that’s just me. If you like dystopian fiction, cannibals, and religious fanatics, this should be right up your alley.
[LINK]

Weekend Film Agenda August 28

ink_imageContemporary science fiction films typically rely very heavily on their special effects to tell their stories, effects which are often quite costly. It doesn’t take a fortune to make a good movie, though. Case in point: Ink (YouTube trailer here), the new release from Double Edge films, a story about the forces that battle for human souls through their dreams that manages to tell an intriguing story with powerful visuals every bit as stunning as you’d expect from a big ticket production from the majors even though it was shot on the usual shoestring indie budget. The benevolent Storytellers give people good dreams that inspire and give hope. The Incubi use nightmares to attack and destroy. Caught between them is a man who must face down his own demons to rescue his little girl when she is stolen away by the Incubi. This extraordinary new film screens for two nights this weekend at Northwest Film Forum, Friday and Saturday at 11 pm.

Also at NWFF: Over a hundred thousand protesters took to the streets of Burma in 2007, the start of a rebellion against government oppression. As in Iran this year, the Burmese government shut down the media and free communication in and out of the country, forcing citizens to use new technologies to make their voices heard. Members of the Democratic Voice of Burma took to the streets to film the rebellion as it was happening and then smuggled their footage into Thailand to share it with the rest of the world. Burma VJ shows you the stories they fought so hard to tell.

Much closer to home is the Columbia Basin in Southwestern Washington, an area still struggling to recover from its past as a source of plutonium production in the 1940s. Arid Lands is a thoughtful documentary about the many different perspectives and opinions on the largest environmental clean up site in the world, featuring insights from Yakama Indians, farmers, housing developers, environmental activists and radiation scientists. Also playing at NWFF.

Many a frustrated actor has tried breaking free of typecasting by taking on a completely new type of role, but few have succeeded so well as Tyrone Power in 1947’s Nightmare Alley, on screen at the Grand Illusion. Best known at the time as the lead in a series of popular romances, Powers turns to the dark side as a drifter who takes on a job as a carnival barker where he becomes fascinated by the show’s Geek, who bites the heads off of live chickens in exchange for a bottle of rotgut and a place to sleep. When he’s not watching the Geek, he’s worming his way into the arms of the widow of a mentalist, using her to learn her late husband’s tricks before deserting her for another woman. Even after achieving success with his new wife, Powers remains dissatisfied and he soon joins forces with an unethical psychiatrist who helps him bilk the wealthy by convincing them he can communicate with their deceased loved ones. He charges them plenty, but it’s him who pays the highest cost in the end.

The tough and lovely ladies of the Rat City Rollergirls are the stars of Blood on the Flat Track: The Rise of the Rat City Rollergirls, an excellent locally produced documentary about the first two seasons of the popular local league. At Central Cinema.

SAM pairs a series of short films by Stan Brakhage, David Rimmer, and Yoko Ono with a screening of Two-Lane Blacktop, a cult film from 1971 in which James Taylor and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson star as a couple of disaffected young men who race their souped up ’55 Chevy across the backroads of America. August 28 at 7:30 pm.

Midnight at the Egyptian: This is Spinal Tap. a movie that by now should require no more introduction.

It’s the 40th anniversary of Woodstock and director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) celebrates with Taking Woodstock, a comedy inspired by the true story of young Elliott Tiber who leaves behind the happening Greenwich Village scene to help his parents run their motel in upstate New York. Hoping to get some new business for the motel, he calls the producers of some hippie rock festival who’ve just had their permit request turned down. The rest is, literally, history. At Metro Cinemas.

200 year old boat gets fresh look, new launch

NordicSpiritphotoBack in 1909 during the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, one of the most popular events during the three-month fair was “Norway Day”, a celebration which included a specially built Viking ship which sailed across Lake Washington.

This year’s celebration of the centennial anniversary of the A-Y-P includes a day to commemorate that Norway Day with the launch of another Viking ship, this one even older than the original. The Nordic Spirit was originally built in the early 19th century in Norway as a coastal fishing boat. Back in the 1960s, a dragon’s head and other decorations were added to make it look like a Viking ship. For the past 10 months, the Nordic Spirit has been docked at the Pacific Fisherman Shipyard where a dedicated crew has been restoring the vessel with a number of components including new planks, 10 gallons of pine tar, and hundreds of copper rivets.

On Sunday, August 30, the newly refurbished Nordic Spirit will leave the confines of the shipyard to be rowed over to Fisherman’s Terminal (3919 – 18th Ave W) for a special rededication ceremony featuring Honorary Consul of Norway Kim Nesselquist, Washington state senators Ken Jacobsen and Jeanne Kohl-Welles, representatives from the Nordic Heritage Museum, the Norwegian Male Chorus and the Norwegian Ladies Chorus.

The ceremony begins at 2 pm.

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