West Seattle, Washington
Next week, ArtsWest will be honored at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s 2019 Westside Awards breakfast as Not-For-Profit of the Year. This week, the Junction playhouse has a big announcement of its own – its 2019-2020 season slate, under the title Agents of Change:
Artistic Director Mathew Wright today announced AGENTS OF CHANGE, ArtsWest’s 2019-20 Season, with six productions – featuring plays by Tony and Nobel Prize-winning playwrights, a boldly reimagined classic, and a world premiere from local luminary Sara Porkalob – all centered on revolutions, and the people who create, fuel and represent them.
Speaking to the idea of change and revolution that informs the Season – and draws on the theatre’s mission statement to, among other aims, use live theater as a powerful agent of change – Wright said, “We must each be constantly renewing ourselves. This company must always be renewing itself. Our politics must always be renewing itself. Our understanding of each other must always be renewing itself.” Wright invited everyone to join ArtsWest “for a season of theater that probes, interrogates, and celebrates change, growth, renewal – and revolution.”
AGENTS OF CHANGE opens with the Seattle premiere of SUNSET BABY, OBIE Award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau‘s fiery saga of a former revolutionary rebuilding a relationship with his estranged daughter. For the holidays, ArtsWest is thrilled to present the Seattle premiere of the riotous, joyful musical HEAD OVER HEELS, a technicolor tale of a kingdom in crisis set to the irresistible music of The Go-Go’s. Next, from Lauren Gunderson, American Theatre’s Most Produced Playwright of 2017, THE REVOLUTIONISTS reimagines the lives of four famous women who risked their necks during one of France’s most infamous periods of social upheaval.
Kicking off the second half of the Season is SAINT JOAN, George Bernard Shaw‘s celebrated story of one of history’s most infamous revolutionaries, to be directed in a new, stripped-back staging by Mathew Wright. Next is ALEX & ALIX by celebrated playwright and activist Sara Porkalob (DRAGON LADY, DRAGON CYCLE), a moving meditation on love and memory, in its world premiere. Capping off the AGENTS OF CHANGE Season is the Seattle premiere of MISS YOU LIKE HELL, a dynamic, heart-rending musical about an immigrant mother, her estranged daughter, and their cross-country journey to discover what – if anything – can keep them together.
Dates, and more about each play, after the jump:
By Dominique Morisseau
September 26 – October 20, 2019
When the tough, independent Nina is visited by her father, a former revolutionary in the Black liberation movement, she can’t tell what he’s after – a fix to their broken relationship, or the cache of letters that ties their fates together. As father and daughter circle one another, old wounds are revealed, generational differences exposed, and blazing truths laid bare. Morisseau’s smart, entertaining, and moving story about family, survival, and the nature of liberation is “not only dynamic, it’s dynamite” (The New York Times).
Head Over Heels
Songs by The GoGo’s
Based upon The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney
Conceived & Original Book by Jeff Whitty
Adapted by James Magruder
November 21 – December 29, 2019
A hilarious, exuberant musical that will get you grooving in your seat, Head Over Heels follows a royal family on an outrageous journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction, only to discover the revolution they need is within their own hearts. From the visionaries who rocked Broadway with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Avenue Q, and Spring Awakening, this bold and fierce new musical comedy – set to the iconic music of the ’80s all-female rock band The Go-Go’s, including the hit songs “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed” – is a spirited and sexy celebration of love in all its infinite varieties.
By Lauren Gunderson
January 16 – February 9, 2020
Four beautiful, badass women – Playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle – lose their heads in this irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. As this fearless comedy about a motley female foursome unfolds, The Revolutionists rewrites the book on violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world.
By George Bernard Shaw
March 12 – April 5, 2020
Tracing the life of Joan of Arc, from the siege of Orleans through her trial and recantation, and culminating with the tragedy that transformed her into a legend, Saint Joan is an electrifying portrait of one of history’s most revered and revolutionary lightning rods. Fiery and timeless, Shaw’s masterpiece shines a fierce light on the limits of an individual in a society dominated by political and religious forces.Presented in a new, stripped-back staging directed by Mathew Wright, prepare to see Joan’s incendiary life shine brighter than ever.
Alex & Alix
By Sara Porkalob
April 30 – May 24
From artist & activist Sara Porkalob (Dragon Lady, Dragon Cycle) comes a new play about endings, beginnings, and the unseen forces that shape the way we remember love. A moving meditation on memory, trauma and healing from one of Seattle’s-and now, one of the nation’s-most celebrated theatre makers, Alex & Alix is about two women, one name, and a love story that gets rewritten every day.
Miss You Like Hell
Book & Lyrics by Quiara Alegría Hudes
Music & Lyrics by Erin McKeown
June 18 – July 26, 2020
Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes (Water by the Spoonful,In the Heights) and acclaimed, genre-breaking singer/songwriter Erin McKeown join forces for anew musical that will find your soul and stay with you forever. When Beatriz, an undocumented immigrant facing trial for deportation, persuades her estranged daughter to speak on her behalf, they set off on a road trip that crosses state lines and reveals what sets them apart-and what connects them forever. Featuring music every bit as diverse and eclectic as America, Miss You Like Hell exudes the joy, love, and frustration of being a family in a changing country.
ArtsWest (4711 California SW) is selling season subscriptions now, and plans to offer individual tickets by August 1st.
Before his sold-out show in Columbia City, SYML – Seattle-area musician Brian Fennell – took the stage this evening at Easy Street Records in The Junction. WSB’s Jason Grotelueschen dropped in for a bit of video. SYML’s first album officially goes on sale in early May; tonight’s Easy Street audience got a preview. (Here’s the story behind the name, among other things.)
25 girls who’ve been studying design in the Miss Reese Fashion Club showed their creations at VAIN in the West Seattle Junction on Monday night. This year, the inspiration was “Rebel Girls.” Each participant focused on one special “rebel” who inspired her – for Luka, Rosie the Riveter:
For Pilar, Mata Hari:
For Emily, Hatshepsut the Pharaoh:’
For Audrey, Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
In our photo, she’s with Miss Reese herself, who teaches the design class at West Seattle Art Nest. In addition to modeling outfits designed with their inspirations in mind, the girls also created presentations about them:
And of course proud families were at VAIN to cheer them on:
The other girls and their inspirations: Emma, Michelle Obama; Gigi, Nancy Wake (WWII spy); Maria, Ada Lovelace (mathematician); Ilya, Helen Keller; Clare, Jill Tarter (astronomer); Myla, Coco Chanel; Sam, Alek Wek (supermodel); Jada, Beyoncé; Monroe, Madonna; Lola, Marie Callas; Gracie, Audrey Hepburn; Ava, Misty Copland; Gabby L., Simone Biles (gymnast); Dylan, Jessica Long (swimmer); Gabi K., Mary Kom (boxer); Ella, Grace O’Malley (pirate); Bella, Anne Bonny (pirate); Lainey, Jacquotte Delahaye (pirate); Shai, Brenda Chapman (director); Layla, Christina, Queen of Sweden; Marlies, Cleopatra.
Years in the making – and ready to share with the world! Student artists are hoping you’ll come see their work Tuesday night. From Chief Sealth International High School‘s International Baccalaureate program coordinator Allison Hays:
The community is invited to attend the 4th Annual Chief Sealth International High School IB Art show on April 16th, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, in the Library. Light refreshments will be provided. This public reception is for families, friends, and anyone interested to see, learn, and celebrate the IB Visual Arts Program. The senior artists will be presenting their portfolio of work which they have been building over the last two years. The junior artists will be presenting a sneak peek at their developing work.
CSIHS is at 2600 SW Thistle.
11:57 AM: Record Store Day is an international event but you have to wonder if any other music store drew a crowd like the one lined up outside Easy Street Records in The Junction before it opened at 7 am today. Proprietor Matt Vaughan made good on his promise of free bacon for earlybird customers:
Here’s a wider view of the line:
At the door, a guest greeter – Jeff Ament, bassist for Pearl Jam. The Seattle-based band is this year’s Record Store Day Ambassador.
Jeff brought doughnuts “but clearly didn’t bring enough” and told WSB’s Jason Grotelueschen, “I wouldn’t be here without records. … Listening to records gave me something to dream about in the small town I grew up in (Big Sandy, Montana).” He lauds Easy Street as “a hub of the community.” RSD continues on into the evening at Easy Street, including a free in-store, all-ages performance by Hibou at 4 pm.
ADDED SUNDAY: Video from Hibou’s show:
5:57 PM: Awesome night for art! The first spring 2019 West Seattle Art Walk is on, and our first photo is courtesy of Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW; WSB sponsor), where Shelli Markee and her wire sculptures are featured until 8 tonight. Check out this post on the WSAW website for more highlights, plus the map and venue list – we’re off to make a few stops too.
6:49 PM: On the north end of The Junction, we visited West Seattle Art Nest (4138 California SW):
That’s calligrapher Claire Braby demonstrating her art.
7:17 PM: And a bit south, Maggie Sharar is at Hotwire Coffee:
Hotwire is at 4410 California. Art Walk is second Thursday every month – get out and explore!
Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Here are some video clips from the show:
Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Singer-songwriter Steve Earle played to a packed house at Easy Street Records in the Alaska Junction on Monday night, sharing songs from his new album Guy, a tribute to the late folk-country icon Guy Clark.
Earle’s solo performance, rescheduled from March 7 because of a bad case of the flu, drew a big and appreciative crowd that sang along to songs like “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” and listened intently as Earle told stories of his close relationship with Clark, who helped Earle get his start as a recording artist in Nashville in the mid-1970s.
After the show, Earle headed upstairs to sign albums and meet fans of all ages:
Here is a batch of video clips from the in-store performance:
P.S. Thanks to Dixon Hamby for this photo:
Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Newcomb is a longtime Seattle-area musician, known for his bands Goodness, the Rockfords, and Shadow, and is a childhood friend and frequent collaborator of Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready (read more from the Seattle Times).
The band spent time with fans after the in-store performance. Earlier this month, they celebrated their record release party at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard.
Here are two videos of the performance:
Earlier this month, we reported on vandalism damage to the West Seattle Junction mural known as “The Old Mud Hole.” We promised a followup on plans for repairing it – and we have that information as well as an update on the big-picture mural-restoration plan. Above is muralist Bob Henry, photographed during a recent visit to the damaged mural with West Seattle Junction Association executive director Lora Radford and says the tagging can be painted out for $300. Full restoration of the “Mud Hole” mural would be more than $10,000. Henry has already restored two of the West Seattle murals. Next month, he’ll start work on the “West Seattle Ferries” mural behind KeyBank/Pharmaca, a $19,000 project. Also high on the list for the restoration project is the “Duwamish Bridge” mural, which was fading even before it was vandalized (and then mysteriously repaired):
That one is so big, it’s a $40,000 project. Grant money’s being sought to cover part of the cost but a community challenge is under way too – you can contribute via this crowdfunding page.
If you love literature, we bet you look forward to the third Wednesday of the month, when WordsWest Literary Series takes over C & P Coffee (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor) for the night. Next edition is March 20th – still more than a week away but we want to give you extra heads-up, as WordsWest has announced this will be its final season of regular monthly presentations. Here are the details on who you’ll see and hear this month:
WordsWest Literary Series Presents “Questions of Time Travel, Time Zones, Time’s Up”
with poet Catherine Barnett and fiction writer Renee Simms (L-R in top photo)
Favorite Poem by Open Books: A Poem Emporium
We let it rule our lives, we say it passes too slow and then too quickly. What is time and how does it affect us? Poet Catherine Barnett and fiction writer Renee Simms will share 90 minutes with us and read from their new books — both looking at time in a multitude of ways.
WordsWest Literary Series is grateful for funding from Poets & Writers, Inc. that allows us to pay our writers for their time and talent.
Catherine Barnett is the author of three poetry collections, Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (2004),The Game of Boxes (2012), winner of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, and Human Hours, just published by Graywolf Press. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Award, she is a member of the core faculty of New York University’s Creative Writing Program, a Distinguished Lecturer at Hunter College, and an independent editor. She lives in New York City.
Renee Simms‘ writing appears in Callaloo, Oxford American, Ecotone, Literary Hub, Southwest Review, North American Review, The Rumpus, Salon and elsewhere. She’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, Ragdale, Vermont Studio Center, Kimbilio, PEN Center, and Cave Canem. She’s been a featured artist at Elliott Bay Book Company, Tempe Center for the Arts, Midnight Special Bookstore, and on the Portland book podcast, Between the Covers. She lives with one-and-a half children (her eldest is away at college) and a black and white kitty named Barack. Renee’s debut story collection is Meet Behind Mars. She is currently working on a collection of essays and a novel.
WordsWest is curated by West Seattle writers Katy E. Ellis, Susan Rich, and Harold Taw.
The series launched in 2014. Susan says that various life changes have led to the co-curators deciding that Year 5 will be the last, but, “we are probably going to return for special events.”
The sun’s out, clocks “spring forward” tonight, and it’s time to think about the warmer seasons. Above, you’ll find inspiration – this year’s winning West Seattle Garden Tour artwork, just announced:
West Seattle Garden Tour announced today the artwork titled Garden Girl in Red Shades by West Seattle artist Sheila Lengle has been selected as the winner of this year’s annual art competition.
Ms. Lengle is best known for her exuberant, color-infused paintings. Working primarily in acrylics, her creations are often whimsical, playful, and exhibit a vibrant joie-de-vivre. Not painting “by the rules,”, Ms. Lengle says. “I just absolutely love, love, love painting…creating shapes and using incongruous color combinations with the goal of making me and anyone who sees my work happy. I have unbridled freedom to paint whatever I want, however I want, with whatever I want. I am an UNRULY ARTIST.”
Ms. Lengle was also the winning artist in WSGT’s 2012 call for artists.
Garden Girl in Red Shades (30” wide x 20” high; acrylic) will be featured on the 2019 Garden Tour’s official poster and ticket book. Ms. Lengle will also receive a $500 cash prize. West Seattle Garden Tour will conduct a silent auction of the artwork during the May 2019 West Seattle Art Walk (at Capers Home store) and on the day of the tour, Sunday, June 23, 2019, where bids will be taken in one of the gardens from 9 am to 5 pm. Proceeds will benefit the year’s designated beneficiaries, which will be announced in early April.
Garden Girl in Red Shades will be on view along with works by six WSGT Art Competition finalists will be on view at Capers Home Store during the West Seattle Art Walk on May 9.
Tickets for the June 23rd WSGT itself are already on sale online.
African American History Month has stretched into March this year at local schools – in part because of the days lost to the snow in February. These photos are shared by Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark, from what he described as ” a night of camaraderie, celebrating Black history and family involvement.”
Thank you to Ms. Brown, Ms. Fields, all of our amazing scholars and their families, all of the guest presenters, performers, and speakers, the Masons, Mr. Walton, Kashauna, Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Russell, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Smith, Ms. Selina, all of City Year, Ms. Farah, Ms. Hamilton, Ms. Kugisaki, Ms. Frost, Ms. Bordeanu, Ms. Bock, Ms. Fondale, Ms. Sebastian, Ms. Bennett, Ms. Azevedo, Ms. Tschida, Mr. Tomas, Ms. O., Mr. Lai, Ms. Lehman, Mr. Haessly, and everyone else who helped or attended this special event!
It was a terrific evening of community celebrations, scholar performances, learning together, inspiration and celebration of amazing culture and community! Go Dolphins!
Something cool at YOUR school? Let us know – thank you!
Know a young actor who might be interested in being part of a musical production in West Seattle? From the WSB inbox:
Calling all actors 4th – 8th grade! Seattle Lutheran High School’s drama program invites community members for an amazing opportunity to be included in the spring production of “Wizard of Oz.” The production calls for 12 actors to appear as Munchkins who may or may not have a speaking part. Ms. Zandi, the director, is excited to welcome all who are interested. Please contact her right away for an immediate need. Performance dates are April 26, April 27 and April 28. Please contact Ms. Zandi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
This week the band released their first full-length album, “Hear Me Out,” and played the show and album-signing at Easy Street before playing a sold-out show on Friday at the Sunset Tavern.
Reignwolf has played big shows around the world since 2012, opening for bands like Black Sabbath and playing Sasquatch and Bumbershoot, but hasn’t had an album until now. (See this profile from the Seattle Times).
At Easy Street on Thursday night, Cook said it was special for him to play at the store because “without (owner) Matt Vaughan, there would be no Reignwolf.” Vaughan was an early champion of the band, even letting Cook play music on the roof of the Easy Street van at Sasquatch in 2012.
At one point during the show, Cook literally climbed the walls at Easy Street and played songs while his band accompanied him from the stage (with flashlight/spotlight provided by Vaughan, at lower left):
Toward the end of the show, the staff at Easy Street opened the east-facing door/window as the band played on:
Fans could attend the performance by pre-ordering a copy of the new album:
Videos of the performance are below. Here’s the band on the main stage, as seen from the upper balcony:
Here’s Cook playing from up high (with Matt Vaughan wielding the flashlight/spotlight at lower-left):
And here is the end of the band’s set, as seen from just outside on California Avenue:
Upcoming ESR in-store shows are listed on the shop’s website.
The photo is from Nancy, reporting that another of the 25+-year-old murals in The Junction has been vandalized: “I wake up each morning to look at this awesome mural and this morning when I pulled up the blinds, this is what I saw. How disappointing.” The mural on the parking-lot-facing north side of the building at 4520 44th SW depicts a scene at the swimming hole that preceded Colman Pool on the shore at Lincoln Park; the vandalism is tagging done in white paint on the swimming-hole midsection of the mural. This is one of the murals that community volunteers hope to be able to restore, with an ongoing fundraising campaign. Meantime, the West Seattle Junction Association has been made aware of the vandalism, and we will follow up next week.
Friday is just two days away and West Seattle High School music students and supporters want to renew their invitation to the 7th annual Big Band Dinner Dance – happening at the school Friday night:
This is a fun evening of music, dancing, raffles, dinner, and appetizers. Music is provided by the WSHS Jazz Ensembles 1 and 2, the WSHS Orchestra, and the West Seattle Big Band. All food is prepared by the WSHS Culinary Arts Program. All proceeds benefit the music program and help us to provide travel scholarships, music coaching, and support the growth of our growing music program. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
You can buy your ticket right now by going here. WSHS is at 3000 California SW.
You might know West Seattle artist Desmond Hansen (above right) best for his signal boxes. He also works on commission – and today we learned one of his latest works is in the Northwest Insurance Group (WSB sponsor) office of John Moore (above left), who shared the photo as well as this time-lapse video:
John explains that he recently asked the artist – who’s also a client of his – to “create a unique piece of art for our office and somehow tie it into our new logo. I am a big fan of his work and sometimes get lost in the depth of his detail and imagery. He approached me with a couple of concepts and I chose the one featured here. He spent 3 days working on it and I couldn’t be happier.” (NW Insurance Group, by the way, is headquartered at 5431 California SW.)
Something new to look forward to in West Seattle this summer! From the WSB inbox, this announcement:
RRoxhill Community Events in partnership with Seattle Arts in Parks and the Seattle Parks Foundation is proud to announce this Summer 2019, Roxhill Park World Music Day!
Roxhill Park World Music Day: Connecting Cultures Through Community, will be a one-day live music festival featuring performances from artists representative of the people of the surrounding neighborhood.
Roxhill Park Community Events is seeking volunteers to help plan and promote the event. If you’re interested in learning more about the help needed please get in touch at: email@example.com
Story and photos/video by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The band, formed in Boston in 1991, is touring in support of their new album “Look Alive.” Their appearance featured a 30-minute set and a meet-and-greet autograph session with fans, before the band headed downtown for a sold-out show at the Showbox.
Singer and guitarist Ryan Miller thanked fans for their support, noting that the band had previously played at the Easy Street location in Queen Anne (closed in 2013) many years ago, but it was their first time at the West Seattle store.
Here’s a snippet of video from the performance:
Next up on Easy Street’s in-store calendar: Cold Soda, 7 pm next Saturday (February 23).
Thanks for the tips! After word that artist Desmond Hansen was working on yet another signal box – this time at 35th SW and SW Roxbury on the north edge of Arbor Heights – we went over for a look. We found the artist packing up to take a break for some errands; he says this is a portrait of karate legend Chojun Miyagi (who is quoted on the website for West Seattle Karate, just steps away from the box). He’ll be back to finish it later today. This is his 10th signal box – here’s a montage of the first 9.
Thanks to the reader who sent photos of West Seattle artist Desmond Hansen‘s latest signal-box work:
That one, at 35th and Fauntleroy, is Nikola Tesla (here’s a picture on Hansen’s Instagram account, including finishing touches). Nearby, at 35th/Avalon:
You’ve played the game – now see the show! This year’s student-directed production at West Seattle High School, “Clue,” opens tomorrow (Wednesday) night, the first of three nights you can see it (January 16, 17, 18), 7:30 pm curtain each night. Isabella Hale is directing; tickets are $10 at the door, no reservation required.
(That promo is student-produced too, by Jonah Elbaum.) Find out more at westsidedrama.com. WSHS is at 3000 California Avenue SW.