Local Art News
The FXX channel "Every Simpsons Ever" marathon wraps up today. How'd the Bartapalooza do? Fledgling network FXX figured that forking over $1 billion for the rights to "The Simpsons" would pay off, and it looks like it did: according to The Hollywood Reporter, episodes of the round-the-clock marathon that aired during prime time averaged 1.01 million viewers, up 391 percent from what FXX usually draws.
If you're caught up on classic "Simpsons" episodes, here are a few other marathons that will keep you on the couch today:
--To no one's surprise: USA is broadcasting a "NCIS" marathon beginning at 6 a.m.
--Looking for someone tougher than Jethro Gibbs? Catch all the "Rambo" movies starting at 12:30 p.m. on TMC.
--Take a ride in the wayback machine and watch all the original "Star Trek" movies. They begin airing in order at 8:30 a.m. today on SyFy, from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" to "The Undiscovered Country."
We're honored that our colleague (OK, boss) at ArtsPage HQ chose the Every Simpsons Ever marathon (showing on FXX) thread to be part of the "Weekend Preview for Bumbershoot Haters" post. Not that we advocate hating Bumbershoot (although some readers do; check the comment thread on the festival guide.). Rather, we advocate Bart Simpson, the devious heart and questionable soul of "The Simpsons." A dude with 'tude. The D student who knows "how George Washington felt when he surrendered Fort Necessity to the French in 1754." Someone who would probably tunnel under the fence at Bumbershoot and not get caught.
A handful of the best Bart lines:
--Homer: "Well now that you're a little bit older I can tell you that's a crock. No matter how good you are at something, there's always about a million people better than you."
Bart: "Gotcha. Can't win, don't try."
-- Mrs. Krabappel: "Bart, do you mean to tell me you read a book intended for preschoolers?"
Bart: "Well, most of it."
--Reverend Lovejoy: "Friday you will have the chance to party down in the church basement to the decent rock stylings of Testament."
Bart: "Pfft! All the best bands are affiliated with Satan."
--Robot: "Tell me, young man, what is it like to have feelings?"
Bart: "I said I'm human, not a girl."
Can "real" people be guest stars on an animated TV show? Sure! "Scooby-Doo" did it (Phyllis Diller and Don Knotts, for example) and "The Simpsons" does it really, really well. Some celebs got to appear solely as voices, while others were on screen as themselves. (How is your animated self different from your physical self? Or are they the same? Discuss.)
Some of the best famous-people-as-themselves appearances:
Aerosmith: The band performed at Moe's tavern in the Season 16 episode "Flaming Moe's." Drummer Joey was the object of Mrs. Krabappel's crush, Moe got to be on stage with the guys and the show was one of the most popular in "Simpsons" history. It opened the door for other musicians to appear, such as Cypress Hill, Peter Frampton and Smashing Pumpkins. Oh, and Spinal Tap.
Whole bunch of MLB players: In "Homer at the Bat," a dream team of players assembled by Mr. Burns was actually ... a team of real players: Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Scioscia and others appeared as themselves.
Stephen Hawking: Yes, the Smartest Guy in the World knows good TV when he sees it -- Hawking has appeared in Springfield three times.
Bumberhaters, you know who you are: You avoid Seattle's annual three-day music and arts festival because it's too crowded, too loud, too expensive. So here's a look ahead to the weekend tailored just for you.
These suggestions are specially selected to help you finish out a beautiful Northwest summer with a final round of outdoor entertainments, before fall sends us all scurrying back inside. Please share your own recommendations with other fellow Bumbervoiders on the comments thread.
Grinch, schminch. The best seasonal animated program is surely the annual "Simpsons" Halloween special (aka "Treehouse of Horror") full of classic film references, pop culture, obliviousness from Homer and hell-raising from Bart. (You can catch up on the "TOH" specials thanks to the FXX broadcast of "Every Simpsons Ever" marathon, which wraps up Monday.)
We at ArtsPage HQ think the first "TOH" is the best of the bunch -- it introduced viewers to the slavering aliens Kang and Kodos, depicted a "Bad Dream House" and, best of all, turned Bart into the title character of Poe's "The Raven," with Homer as the narrator.
Yada, yada. Catch the next "Treehouse of Horror" in the marathon at 8:30 a.m. today (Friday, Aug. 29). It's "TOH XVII."
Summer is drawing to a close, which means:
A) A holiday weekend
C) More time to watch the FXX broadcast (going on now!) of all 552 episodes of "The Simpsons."
In the interest of holidays, we're letting some others do some of the heavy lifting in this post -- which salutes brainy Lisa Simpson, the foil for her oblivious family members and neighbors. Lisa would be happy to know that she has lots of thoughtful fans, who have celebrated her in time-consuming ways we never could:
Was there any doubt? "The Simpsons" series often refers coyly to the characters' hometown, without divulging a state (one notable close call was when a character stated "Springfield, O...." and was cut off). We PNWers know that since "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening is from Portland, what the hey else would he be referring to? Springfield, Ore.! People! Work with us here.
And the proof is now ironclad. The real Springfield (Oregon) is now home to a "Simpsons" mural, and Yeardley Smith, who voices Lisa Simpson, was on hand to unveil it.
Want to search for your own personal Springfield? Tune in to the FXX broadcast (going on now!) of all 552 episodes of "The Simpsons." There's no better way to end the summer.
Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burns is really, really old and really, really rich. And he doesn't ever remember Homer Simpson's name, even though Homer has been working at Burns' nuclear plant since 1989, FCOL. Burns went to Yale. He has a devoted minion. He travels in his own railcar. He has hounds (and loves to say in a sinister tone, "release the hounds.") In short, this walking poke at U.S. capitalism is one of the best fictional bosses ever.
So in honor of the FXX channel's broadcast (going on now!) of all 552 episodes of "The Simpsons," we're sharing what we think makes the show great...which means a tip of the Panama hat to Mr. Burns. Some of his priceless (well, for him, nothing is priceless) pearls:
"What good is money if you can't use it to strike fear into the hearts of men?"
"I'll keep it short and sweet. Family. Religion. Friendship.
These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business."
"Answer those phones, install a computer system, and rotate my office so the window faces the hills."
"I'll either tickle your ribs or feed them to my dogs."
So it falls to us at ArtsPage HQ to recap the big losers and assorted lowlights (at least in one editor's opinion, at the end of a long night). Let's get right to it, shall we?
Feel free to add your own quibbles and/or disappointments on the comments thread.
From Seattle Times arts writer Michael Upchurch:
You expect to see price-tags on paintings, drawings, sculptures and even the odd video installation in an art gallery. But a sign saying “THIS STAIRCASE IS FOR SALE!” is a tad more unusual.
The staircase in question is at Davidson Galleries, and it’s a handsome, sturdy, fir-and-welded-steel affair. So why is gallery owner Sam Davidson selling it?
Because he’s shifting his emphasis to works-on-paper only, and reconfiguring his gallery space so as to have four or five small exhibits always on display, with no downtime between exhibits.
Davidson is converting his mezzanine display gallery to an employee-only workspace where artworks can be prepared for exhibit. That means he has no need for a public staircase leading up to the mezzanine. And that staircase takes up a sizeable footprint in the gallery. Removing it will give him more display space on the gallery’s main floor
As custom-built staircases go, this one is a bargain. Davidson bought it three years ago for $7,000, but is offering it for $2,500. Its builder, David Bethlahmy of D B Ltd/The Periodic Table, is available to move it for a price -- a price that depends on where the purchaser intends to put it. Interested buyers should call Rebecca at 206-624-7684 or email her at Rebecca@davidsongalleries.com.
Welcome to Day 5 of our celebration of “The Simpsons,” Matt Groening’s famous family. Our party celebrates the FXX channel’s marathon broadcast (going on now!) of all 552 episodes of the animated comedy. Today we honor Abe Simpson, the turnip-headed elder of the family, who drifts in and out of real time in hilarious fashion. Some favorite exchanges:
Bart: "Grampa, Matlock's not real."
Abe: "Neither are my teeth, but I can still eat corn on the cob if someone cuts it off and mushes it into a fine paste."
Abe: "The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets forty rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it."
Marge: "And so, just as things looked their worst..."
Abe: "I realized I could make money selling my medication to deadheads!"
Welcome to our celebration of “The Simpsons,” Matt Groening’s famous family. Our party celebrates the FXX channel's broadcast (going on now!) of all 552 episodes of the animated comedy so far.
Since moms are awesome, today's post celebrates Marge Simpson, the blue-haired matriarch of the Springfield clan. Did you know Marge is real? As in, based on a real person? Our good friends (specifically, columnist Julie Muhlstein) at The Herald in Everett uncovered the full story upon the death of Margaret Ruth Groening in Portland in 2013. Margaret Wiggum met Homer Groening in college, married him and together they were the parents of Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons," as well as his siblings Mark, Lisa, Patty and Maggie.
Let's leave this post with a little wisdom from Marge herself:
Lisa: But I'm so angry.
Marge: You're a woman. You can hold on to it forever.
Welcome to our celebration of “The Simpsons,” Matt Groening’s famous family. Our party celebrates the FXX channel's broadcast (going on now!) of all 552 episodes of the animated comedy so far.
You can't talk about "The Simpsons" without talking about the couch gags. By that we mean the scenes at the end of each opening sequence, during which the family (and sometimes others) scramble to fit on the davenport in front of the TV.
One of our favorites: The one from 1995, in which the family enters an M.C. Escher-like space, with multiple staircases, altered perspectives and gravity-defying furniture placement, and drifts over to the couch. What's your favorite couch gag? Here are some other classics:
Welcome to Day 2 of our celebration of "The Simpsons," Matt Groening's famous family. Our party in turn celebrates the FXX channel's marathon broadcast (going on now!) of all 552 episodes of the animated comedy. Any "Simpsons" newbies out there? You may think Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie just sprung up, all shiny and TV-ready, in 1989. Not quite.
Those of you of a certain age (ahem, we're not telling what age that is) will remember the seeds of "Simpsons" discontent scattered in Groening's "Life in Hell" comics. (C'mon, you had a "Work is Hell" panel tacked in your cube at some point in the '90s.) The panels' off-kilter bunnies, the fezzed Akbar and Jeff and the black humor caught the eye of the producer of "The Tracey Ullman Show," who asked Groening to make a series of 1-minute animated shorts to use before commercial breaks. The shorts ran for three seasons -- kind of a gestation -- and the Simpson family phenomenon was born on Dec. 17, 1989, as a independent series. Now, go forth and be knowledgeable.
Welcome to Make a Newsprint Masterpiece, the 2014 Seattle Times DIY contest. For this one, all we ask is that you create something out of newsprint — yes, that paper that makes your hands black.
It can be something to wear, or something nice to look at. We want to see your creative minds at work. For inspiration, see what one design student created.
Prizes: A panel of newsprint experts will select winners, who will receive gift cards from Paper Delights in Wallingford.
Deadline: Enter by Monday, Sept. 8, at midnight.
Who can enter: Anyone, but kids under the age of 18 need to have their parents' permission.
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Why are you reading this? The 12-day, 552-episode FXX marathon of "The Simpsons" is going on! (Full schedule here.) If you weren't lucky enough to arrange vacation (D'oh!) around this Vital Television Event, we hope you have your DVR set.
In honor of this VTE -- which truly does include every episode, from No. 1, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," to No. 552, "The Yellow Badge of Cowardge" -- we're doing a celebration of our own. Today we launch The 12 Days of Simpsons, during which we'll share our own "Simpsons" high points, and invite you to chime in with yours on the comment thread. Need prompting? Here's one critic's Top 10 list. Cowabunga!
From Seattle Times arts writer Michael Upchurch: Painter Susanna Bluhm and multimedia artist Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes have won the 2014 Neddy at Cornish Award, Cornish College of the Arts has announced. Each artist receives $25,000 and their work will be shown at the annual “Neddy at Cornish” exhibition beginning Sept. 3, along with pieces by six other finalists for the award.
Bluhm explores the idea of “landscape as a lover and loved one, enmeshed with the paint” in her paintings. She’s represented by G. Gibson Gallery and is a member of the artist-run gallery SOIL, both in Seattle.
Alley-Barnes uses film, text, design, installations and visual art to ponder “the resonance of genetic cultural memory through the mystical and the mundane.” He belongs to a collective, Black Constellation, that includes Shabazz Palaces, Nep Sidhu and THEESatisfaction. Currently, he has work on show at the Frye Art Museum.
Bluhm and Alley-Barnes were selected by curator Aram Moshayedi from Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum. The other finalists were Robert Hardgrave, Kimberly Trowbridge, Claude Zervas, Mark Calderon, Clyde Petersen and Joey Veltkamp.
The Neddy is named after the late Ned Behnke, a Seattle artist and art enthusiast.
The famed Globe Theatre of London will bring its scaled-down production of "King Lear" to the U.S. this fall, and play three performances at Seattle's Moore Theatre on Nov. 25-26. The production, directed by Bill Buckhurst, features eight actors in a fast-paced adaptation. It will be presented here with a "booth-style" stage, inspired by paintings and etchings from Shakespeare's time. Joseph Marcell, a classical actor many will recognize for his role as Geoffrey the butler in the TV sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," is in the title role.
Tickets ($40-$60) go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22.