Local Art News

Merlin Needs Our Help! Local Artist Ryan Henry Ward’s Dog In Serious Condition and in the Hospital! Please Donate to Help Pay His Hospital Fees!

Seattle PI Arts Listings - 8 hours 16 min ago
    Local artist and my good friend, Ryan “Henry” Ward is in trouble and we all need to help him out.  His awesome best friend Merlin–his dog–is in serious trouble and is in the hospital.  Three days ago he just stopped eating and is currently connected to fluids and breathing tubes.  Any of you […]
Categories: Local Art News

A curated guide to this weekend’s biggest art fairs

Crosscut Arts - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 12:17pm

As an independent artist in Seattle, I love going to art shows. I am guaranteed to like only about 10 percent of the art, but it’s also a great social occasion. This weekend in Pioneer Square, you can experience two sprawling artistic events: The international Seattle Art Fair at the CenturyLink Field Event Center and the independently curated (all local) art show Out of Sight at King Street Train Station.

Here are a couple tips to maximize your enjoyment. And my picks for what should not be missed when you head downtown.

FASHION: First of all, get dressed up. At an art show, you can be anyone you want to be. Make up a fake background and history for yourself and make sure your friends know the deal and can back you up. You could be a rich collector from the Yukon, flying in on a private jet just for the weekend, looking to enhance the art collection at your ski lodge. Get eccentric. No one will know the truth.

STATE OF MIND: Secondly, being in an altered state of mind when experiencing art is preferable, particularly when you are in a giant stadium (or the upstairs floor of a train station) that’s full of swarming people.

TOP FIVE MUST-SEES | Seattle Art Fair, July 31 to Aug. 2 at CenturyLink Field Event Center ($20-$35)

(Note: There are plenty of free tickets to this floating around town. Ask a gallery near you or get one here).

Federico Uribe (Adelson Galleries, Booth 301)

Beautiful shiny animals built from bullet casings and 3D images of human faces made entirely from colored pencils, stacked and arranged and swirled.

Psychogeography 74 by Dustin Yellin. 2015

Dustin Yellin (Winston Wächter Fine Art, Booth 403)

Winston Wächter traditionally has provided strong gallery shows for Seattle and they continue to prove their fine taste. Dustin Yellin’s tiny hand-cut images embedded in transparent layers create a larger 3D image that’s pleasing from near and far. Stand real close to see the fine details.






PUMPKIN by Yayoi Kusama. 2015

Yayoi Kusama (David Zwirner Gallery, Booth 111)

From time to time you can experience the work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the Seattle Art Museum, but at the Seattle Art Fair, you’ll get up close and personal with a brand new shiny metal pumpkin.



Monodons of the World Unite by Justin Gibbens. 2013

PUNCH Gallery (Booth 705)
PUNCH is one of the only collectively run galleries (if not the only) at the Seattle Art Fair. This is a rare gem in a sea of big names and brands. Not only that, they’re local. This weekend they offer up a small drawing by Justin Gibbens of narwhals arranging their horns into a not-so-subtle pentagram. It made me wonder, just what are those narwhals up to?

Robert Arneson (Allan Stone Projects, Booth 401)
Treat yourself to Frame Painting #6 (With Rainbow) from 1968. When your eyes need a boost, seek out this painting.


TOP FIVE MUST-SEES | Out of Sight, King Street Station, July 30 to Aug. 2 ($10) 

C. Davida Ingram’s Where Can My Black Ass Be Safe? This framed series of four photographs is one of the strongest pieces of work in this show. Please spend some time with it. It’s powerful, important and well played.

Casey Curran, “To our scattered bodies go” 2013

Casey Curran’s to our scattered bodies go

This undulating (yes, it moves) golden layer of spiked sculpture reflects the light in complicated patterns and conjures a hypnotic rhythm.






Black Bear by Justin Beckman

Justin Beckman’s Black Bear
Twenty thousand rhinestones coat an enormous growling statue of a black bear. Count them: 20,000!







Nola Avienne’s Small Conversation

Nola Avienne’s Small Conversation

Two upside-down cornucopia shapes that barely touch. Covering them are anemone-like creatures made out of iron filings; they look as if they’re waiting for a returning tide. Take some time to get up close to this piece. I almost overlooked it, and it would have been a mistake.

Untitled (After Bruce Nauman) by Gretchn Bennett, 2014

Gretchen Bennett’s Untitled (After Bruce Nauman) 2014
Bennett continues to produce incredible, high-quality works in colored pencil with soft colors and secret realism that sneaks up on you.




Categories: Local Art News

EVENT- Hot Off The Press: A Cool Summer Small Press Fest at Fantagraphics

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 12:03pm
  EVENT- Hot Off The Press: A Cool Summer Small Press Fest at Fantagraphics Fantagraphics Books fbicomix@fantagraphics.com via fantagraphics.ccsend.com   Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will celebrate Seattle’s lively small press and independent comix community on Saturday, August 8 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. Hot Off The Press: A Cool Summer Small Press Fest features tables of publications from […]
Categories: Local Art News

London-based Robert Montgomery opens! new exhibition at ALL RISE

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 11:48am
City of Seattle Edward B. Murray, Mayor ______________________________ _____________________ Office of Arts & Culture Randy Engstrom, Director       London-based Robert Montgomery presents “THE STARS PULLED DOWN FOR REAL” in first northwest exhibition at ALL RISE July 25 through September 5, 2015 Lighting and reception with the artist: Saturday, July 25, 8 – 10 […]
Categories: Local Art News

ArtsWest announces team of Seattle all-stars behind Green Day’s American Idiot

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 11:33am
Music by Green Day Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong Book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer Directed by Eric Ankrim Northwest Premiere 2011 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle nominated Best Musical September 10 – October 11, 2015 at ArtsWest Playhouse & Gallery (picture left to right: R.J. Tancioco; Trina Mills; Eric Ankrim; […]
Categories: Local Art News

John Travolta, move over! Save the Date October 24th for ARTbeat: Brick House Funk–Celebrate Kirkland Arts Center at ARTbeat: Brick House Funk a gala evening inspired by the 1970’s art and funk scene

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 11:20am
Celebrate Kirkland Arts Center at ARTbeat: Brick House Funk a gala evening inspired by the 1970’s art and funk scene When: Saturday, October 24th, 2015 New Location! At the Westin Bellevue Hotel Doors open at 5:30pm BOOGIE your way through dynamite live and silent auctions, featuring the artwork of over 40 of the region’s best artists, […]
Categories: Local Art News

Seattle Art Museum Presents: Are you ready for Remix?

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 11:11am
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM ASIAN ART MUSEUM OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK Public Programs / REMIX SAM REMIX FRI AUG 21 8 pm–midnight olympic sculpture park Learn More » MEET, DANCE, LISTEN, CREATE, PLAY #SAMRemix returns, and we’re celebrating summer at the Olympic Sculpture Park among Sam Vernon’s site-specific installation, How Ghosts Sleep (Seattle): Hive and the Olympic Sculpture Park collection during a special evening […]
Categories: Local Art News

Soil Presents: Drive: The Story of My Life Reception August 6, 6 – 8 pm. Showing August 6 – 29.

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 10:57am
SOIL Gallery 112 Third Avenue South Seattle WA 98104 gallery@soilart.org www.soilart.org   Thursday – Sunday, 12 – 5 pm Seattle Art Fair Hours: Friday July 31, 11 am – 7 pm Saturday August 1, 11 am – 7 pm Sunday August 2, 12 – 6 pm   From top: Piper Brett, Joshua Bienko, Layet Johnson Drive: The Story […]
Categories: Local Art News

Spotting Bigfoot in Washington: A few pointers

Crosscut Arts - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 5:00am

In Washington, there have been roughly 600 sightings of Bigfoot over the years, making our state the most likely place to run into the hairy humanoid. Other states have seen him too, of course. Texans call him Old Hairy Bill. Spokanites know him as the Bad Smelling Tree Man. Oklahomans call him the notorious Monkey Man. But most likely, Bigfoot is a native of the Northwest – all the more reason to get to know him.

In one of those online research projects that spirals out of control, this reporter has spent a good deal of time at the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization’s website over the past few weeks. There I’ve sought out the most interesting sightings, and the patterns that emerge among listings across the country. Below, the fruits of this valuable, worthwhile labor. In the sightings listed below, a few of Bigfoot’s most likely characteristics are revealed.

What does Bigfoot sound like?

Whether he’s thumping rocks, howling at hikers, or shrieking into the night, Bigfoot’s got something to say. The site’s reports provide a few of his more notable vocalizations, and even a few audio clips.

In 2008, things got a bit weird for a dad and his son while hiking down an unused logging road on Grass Mountain. While sitting down for a snack, they heard a groaning float out from the forest. “It was starting to confuse us so we started to go back down the trail,” their report reads. “After about five minutes of walking fast we heard a rib cage rattling scream behind us that just about scared me stiff.”

In 2014, a couple near Maple Valley awoke to the sound of howling from their backyard. “We heard the howl four times and could hear it echo throughout the area,” their report reads.

Having researched deeper, we’re pretty sure the couple heard something close to the 2006 Florida Expedition Howl. You can listen to it here.

According to a Snoqualmie hiker in 2004, Bigfoot’s vocalizations sounded more “like a padded baseball bat hitting a large tree trunk very rapidly.” She heard the sounds while hiking down an abandoned logging road. She was taking a break to listen to some frogs.

“The sound was much deeper than the sounds made by woodpeckers,” she writes. “…Much fuller bodied than knocking a dead branch against a tree branch; the sound is more like if 4 people were to hit a hollow trunk in fairly quick succession 1 ½ to 2 times.”

We think she heard something similar to those from the Berry Morehead Expeditions during the 1970’s – you can listen to those here.

Others report that Bigfoot communicates by throwing rocks and chirping. Whether Bigfoot groans, howls or thumps, many feel as though his vocalizations may be the biggest clue into who he is and what he’s like.

In a 1998 report, a self-proclaimed singer/songwriter observed that “the type of voice mechanism and size of [Bigfoot’s] vocal chords/cavity had to be at least the size of a large buck to an elk or bear….I was struck by this bellowing as being from not only a large animal, but also as animal which must be nocturnal AND trying to communicate.”

What does Bigfoot smell like?

If you’re planning on running into Bigfoot, you better bring a clip from the clothesline for your nose. Reporters agree that Bigfoot stinks – big time.

In 2010, a family hiking near Lake Cushman encountered a horrible odor they describe as “a cross between skunk and ammonia…The odor was so heavy we could taste it and our eyes even began to water a bit,” their report reads.

In a 1993 report, Bigfoot started throwing rocks at the firefighter near Skykomish when he started poking around his cave. But the firefighter would have never actually gone into the cave, he says – the stink was too strong.

“As soon as I got closer to inspect, I could smell a foul odor coming form[sic] inside [the cave],” he writes. “The odor kept me from going any further in. I had heard of the foul odor associated with bigfoots and immediately became uncomfortable.”

The Belly of the Beast

With 71 reports, Pierce County has the highest number of sightings in the state. Going by numbers alone, this seems like the most likely place for Bigfoot to pop up.

Perhaps the most detailed account comes from a group of hikers in 2010. While hiking through some waterfalls, they noticed a musky, wet dog smell. Turning a corner, they spotted the creature. A hiker yelped in surprise, and the creature looked up at them for several seconds, before it “moved lightning quick into the trees.” They noted that the creature “didn’t seem scared but more annoyed.”

Following the sighting, a Bigfoot investigator spoke with the hikers, and wrote up a detailed account of what they reportedly saw.

“The color of the fur was black underneath, but a rusty red at the tips,” the report reads. “The fur was long and straight. The face was wide, like an orangutan. The skin color was reddish-tan; like someone who has been using too much fake tanning cream.”

Unfortunately, the hiker wasn’t close enough to see the details of the mouth, nose or eyes. However, he told the investigator that the creature had no visible neck, that his head was cone-shaped, and that his arms reached down to his knees. He estimated the height at around 6’ 4’’.

Like our trusty drilling machine Bertha, no one really knows quite how Bigfoot works, or why it’s still here. But despite his disheveled appearance and overwhelming stink, Old Hairy Bill’s still found a way to tunnel into our hearts. To read through more reports – or document your own experience –visit The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization’s website.

Categories: Local Art News

“The Female Gaze” an installation of large-scale photographs by Ann-Marie Stillion

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 12:43am
  “The Female Gaze,” is an installation of large-scale photographs by Ann-Marie Stillion “An exploration usually reserved for the female body, my photographic meditations reveal a timeless, vulnerable landscape in the male form.” You are invited Friday July 31 and Saturday August 1 from 5–9 p.m. and Sunday August 2 from 1–9 p.m. Also by […]
Categories: Local Art News

Pacific Northwest Ballet Presents: The Nutcracker, Roméo et Juliette, Coppélia, OH MY!

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 12:17am
The Nutcracker, Roméo et Juliette, Coppélia, OH MY! Dear Xavier, Special savings, just for you! Tickets to PNB’s 2015-2016 season are ON SALE NOW. And… as a special thank-you from all of us at PNB, order before July 31 and pay no handling fees. Need help? Give us a call at 206.441.2424! Order George Balanchine’s The […]
Categories: Local Art News

Congratulations Mayor’s Arts Award Winners! A new network for Seattle arts administrators and more!

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 11:13pm
  Home | Events | Mayor’s Arts Awards 2015 Mayor’s Arts Awards Save the Date Mayor Murray will honor recipients of the 2015 Mayor’s Arts Awards at a public ceremony at Seattle Center, Friday, September 4. The event is free and open to the public. The Mayor’s Arts Awards recognize the accomplishments of artists, arts […]
Categories: Local Art News

The Weekend List: Two big art fairs and the poetic sculptures of Leo Saul Berk

Crosscut Arts - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 5:00am

* Events that are $15 or less

Leo Saul Berk: Structure and Ornament *

The Seattle artist pays homage to his childhood home through sculpture made from wood, wool, coal, aluminum and fiber. Berk grew up in the architectural wonder that is the Ford House, a dome-shaped abode designed by Bruce Goff in a Chicago suburb. Would I be a different person? Berk wonders if, say, he grew up staring at a ceiling of a different sort (the architect imagined a different type of spiral ceiling for the Ford House but he couldn’t figure out how to actually build it so for this show, Berk sculpts a large wooden “bowl” and it is poetic). There is so much here that demands to be seen over and over again. Note: Don’t miss the green glass orbs (or are they black?) floating in the pool outside the museum’s entrance.

If you go: Leo Saul Berk: Structure and Ornament, Now through Sept. 6 (Free)—F.D.


Seattle Art Fair

Airstream by Julie Blackmon

In local arts and culture circles nothing is being more talked about than this week’s Seattle Art Fair (and the other big Seattle-centric art show, see below). Paul Allen, an avid art collector, reportedly got the notion to put on a fair here in his hometown after being inspired by the art fairs in Miami Beach and in Venice a few years ago. So here we go: three days, 60-plus galleries from near and abroad and several off-site installations as well. The buzz about the event—before, during and after—is likely to be louder than anything the Blue Angels produce.

If you go: Seattle Art Fair, CenturyLink Field Events Center, July 31 to Aug. 2 ($20-$35)—F.D.


Out of Sight *

When word arrived that Vulcan would be co-producing a big/fancy/pricey (insert

qayaq by JustinGibbens

preferred adjective) art fair here, local impresarios figured they’d turn the spotlight on a whole host of homegrown contemporary art creatives. So here it is: artwork from more than 80 emerging and mid-career artists, all from the Pacific Northwest, that takes over the third floor of King Street Station (a space that, curators say, has never been open to the public). Note: there’s also a Swedish pancake brunch on Sunday celebrating the event. So how will this fair compare to the other one? We’re so glad you asked. Look for our review in Crosscut this weekend.

If you go: Out of Sight, King Street Station, July 30 to Aug. 2 ($10)—F.D.


Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (SFDI) *

Some of the world’s leading dance improvisers have been in Seattle teaching, creating

Jennifer Monson

and chatting. The festival’s final days include lighting talks, dance jams and a chance to observe (for free) Jennifer Monson, artistic director of New York City’s iLAND, in action as she explores the built and natural environments of Capitol Hill. And here’s a novel tidbit: the festival, celebrating its 22nd year, has also seriously committed to the environment; it’s working with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to offset its carbon footprint. SFDI organizers say theirs is the world’s first climate-neutral dance festival.

If you go: Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, Venues include Velocity Dance Center, Century Ballroom and Broadway Performance Hall (Most events are free; Tickets are $15 for Dance Innovators Performance on July 30)—F.D.


Movies at the Mural presents Selma *

From friends to movie critics, nary have I heard a criticism of Selma, which tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1965 march on Selma, Alabama. Like in any history film, we know the ending. But yet Selma manages to be compelling, revelatory and important. The acting, the storytelling, the cinematography are all on point, making me shiver with anticipation and sorrow even during the trailer. If somehow you’ve yet to see the Oscar-nominated Selma, now is your chance to see it on the big screen for free.

If you go: Movies at the Mural, Seattle Center, 9 p.m. August 1 (Free)—N.C.


Seapony *

The Vera Project’s listing for this Seapony album release show calls the band “reliable dream pop purveyors.” This might sound a little bland as compliments go but not when it’s measured against other similarly genred bands. Many groups make only one good album when working within the narrow confines of the style (jangly guitar sound, ethereal, vocal delivery, muted percussion, etc.); Seapony is releasing its third album, titled “A Vision,” this week, and it’s as easy on the ears as its previous two albums. It innovates enough to stave off boredom, but provides the sonic comfort fans of the genre live for.

If you go: Seapony, The Vera Project, Aug. 1 ($8). All ages.—J.S.H.


The Funky Meters

When many people hear the word “funk” they add the suffix “adelic” almost without thinking, immediately equating the genre with George Clinton and his crew of hallucinogen-quaffing musical pranksters. In some cases, one might think of James Brown shaking it on stage, or hear the organ and guitar interplay of Sly and the Family Stone. But true funk aficionados think of a fourth name: The Funky Meters. They got started early—1965 to be precise—in New Orleans. Since then, they’ve released nearly 20 studio albums and worked as session musicians for artists like Dr. John, Paul McCartney and Robert Palmer. They’ve also been sampled by innumerable rap artists over the years. Theirs is a bluesier, jazzier take on the genre that holds up well over time. Go investigate an (unfortunately) arcane piece of musical history this week.

If you go: The Funky Meters, Jazz Alley, Aug. 4 and 5 ($34.50). — J.S.H.



Here’s a claim that few would make: Canadian band METZ channels the spirit of Nirvana better than any band to date. The statement is admittedly a bit arbitrary; modern hardcore bands are not all competing to see who can do justice to Kurt and Co.’s grunge aesthetic. But while listening to Metz’s first and second albums, you can almost hear Nirvana, especially their extra-raw “In Utero” phase.

The intelligently disinterested lyrics from METZ vocalist Alex Edkins; the frantic drums and chugging, roiling distortion– it’s all there, just like Kurt, Krist and Dave did back in the day. They pay homage to Nirvana’s style from afar, and are neither a cover band nor a rip off job. Ironically enough, they do Nirvana justice by fiercely seeking their own sound, exorcising their demons through screaming and shredding in their own modern, post-hardcore way, rather than trying to take queues literally from the gods of grunge. METZ’s sophomore album, “II,” came out this May. Go see them at Neumos this week and see if they hold up to the comparison.

If you go: METZ, Neumos, Aug 4 ($15) 21+. — J.S.H.

Categories: Local Art News

Must-see: The heroic fight against Japanese internment camps

Crosscut Arts - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 4:45am

I suspected I would like Jeanne Sakata’s play Hold These Truths at Seattle’s ACT Theatre. After all, I knew the story well, and Jeanne had mentioned that she was inspired to write her drama after seeing my 1992 documentary film, A Personal Matter: Gordon Hirabayashi v. the United States on PBS. But I was surprised by the emotional effect the play had on me—and on everyone in the audience it seems, if the number of handkerchiefs wiping wet eyes was any indication.

Hold These Truths is a one-person play that indelibly and forcefully captures a tragic moment in our history—the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans—and the inspiring story of one individual who chose to resist the fateful decision to send Japanese-Americans to what were euphemistically called “relocation centers.”

Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi was a senior at the University of Washington when his world turned upside down. He’d grown up the son of Japanese immigrants in the town of Auburn, 20 miles south of Seattle. He was a popular student and by all accounts, an all-American sort of fellow, even editing the sports section of his high school newspaper. He was doing well in college when, on February 19, 1942, months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and U.S. entry into the war, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. It mandated that all Americans of Japanese ancestry would be rounded up and sent to the camps.

The West Coast was in a state of war hysteria, with suspicions of Japanese espionage running high. The relocation began with a curfew requiring Japanese-Americans to stay in their homes after 8 p.m. At the end of March, the first group of internees was marched at gunpoint from their homes on Bainbridge Island, Washington to a ferry to Seattle and a train that took them to Manzanar, a bleak, hastily-constructed camp in the California desert. Seattle’s Japanese-Americans were “relocated” six weeks later.

But Hirabayashi wasn’t with them. A Quaker with a powerful belief in civil liberties, he had refused to go and had violated the earlier curfew order. He was convinced that the relocation and curfew were violations of the due process clause in the U.S. Constitution. He believed strongly in American ideals and constitutional principles and, despite harsh criticisms from his family and other Japanese-Americans who felt it better to go along with the government, he decided to resist.

He had almost no legal support—even the ACLU was afraid to take on the case—and was convicted of violating the curfew. His conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1943, and he spent two years in jails and prison camps for his courage.

After the war, Hirabayashi earned a PhD in sociology at the University of Washington and taught college in Lebanon, Egypt and Canada. For a time, it seemed his resistance had been futile. Then, in the early 1980s, researchers uncovered evidence that the U.S. government had deliberately withheld important military documents from the Supreme Court during his trial.

The evidence proved that the government knew that Japanese-Americans provided no threat to the security of the United States; they were overwhelmingly loyal. But economic interests, jealous of their well-run farms and businesses, wanted them removed from the West Coast, and wartime suspicion provided an excuse to get rid of them.

The documents were a smoking gun that allowed a team of young Japanese-American lawyers in Seattle to re-open Gordon’s case. When legal scholar Peter Irons called Gordon to ask if he’d like to try again in the courts, he said simply, “I’ve been waiting for your call for 40 years. Let’s go!”

In 1987, his wartime conviction was overturned in a Seattle courtroom.  Soon afterward, in the case of another resister (there were three), Fred Korematsu, the Supreme Court overturned its 1943 decision and declared the internment unconstitutional.

I first saw Hold These Truths a year ago during a very short experimental run at ACT. Popular demand brought Sakata and her play back for a longer run this year. The actors were different: last year the talented Joel de la Fuente played Gordon; this year it is the equally-brilliant Ryun Yu.

On the Monday before opening night, Seattle’s Town Hall was host to a thoughtful panel discussion titled “Being A Courageous Citizen,” which included  Sakata, members of Gordon’s 1980s legal team and Lorraine Bannai , one of Fred Korematsu’s lawyers. Bannai emphasized that other minorities, especially Muslims, still face the suspicion and potential mass violation of civil liberties that Japanese-Americans experienced during the Second World War.

The next morning, I met with Sakata at Seattle’s historic Panama Hotel, where residents of Nihonmachi (or Japan Town, in Seattle’s International District) had left many of their belongings before being put in the camps. In 1991, I had taken Gordon to see what remained of those belongings in the basement of the hotel. His reaction proved to be the most emotional moment of my film. Jan Johnson, who owns the hotel, has turned it into a museum of sorts and it has been honored as a National Historic Site and now, a Historic Treasure by the National Park Service.

Jeanne and I went to the tea/coffee house of the hotel, where photos documenting Asian immigration to Seattle line the walls, and a glass plate on the floor allows a glimpse of goods left in the basement by internees in 1942. Jeanne is a lovely, warm and humble woman, quick to credit everyone else for the success of her play, which she spent a decade developing and writing. She regaled me with great stories of her experiences with Gordon and with the actors who played him.

What is most remarkable about the play and the ACT presentation is how simple everything appears to be. There’s just a single performer—Yu not only plays Hirabayashi, but many other people with whom Gordon had contact during his ordeal—and a set that consists of just a stage and three chairs, which Yu moves about during his acrobatic performance. But what power in that simple setting! The complexity of the story highlights Yu’s remarkable acting skills; he is talking non-stop for 95 minutes since the play has no intermission, and keeps his energy up throughout.

This is a serious play with a profound message about courage and our Constitution. But there are light moments too. Perhaps the funniest comes when Gordon is told he’s been convicted and will have to get to a prison camp in Tucson, Arizona at his own expense. He hitchhikes, wondering, as Yu channels him with maximum irony, how the government is willing to let so dangerous a character travel 1,600 miles over several days on his own, “committing espionage and sabotage every step of the road!” When Hirabayashi arrives at the camp, his jailer has never heard of him and sends him off to a theater while he tries to find out who he is. Yu captures the humor of the scene and the character of the prison camp warden perfectly.

Gordon Hirabayashi never planned to be a hero. It was, he said, just a matter of sticking by the principles he learned in government class. He never saw his fight against internment as a Japanese-American fight, but as an American fight to uphold the principles of the Constitution of his native land and his parents’ adopted country. He couldn’t imagine why every American wouldn’t do the same. “If you can suspend the Constitution every time there is an emergency,” he told me years ago, “then it’s not worth very much.”

Hirabayashi died in 2012 and was posthumously awarded the President Medal of Freedom by President Obama. A low-income housing project now being built in downtown Seattle has been named Hirabayashi Place in his memory.  But perhaps the honor that would have made him most proud is Jeanne Sakata’s wonderful play. When the play was over, one patron confirmed my impression of the audience reaction, commenting that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. If you have a chance to see it, don’t miss it. You’ll leave wanting to rush out and be a citizen.

And our country will be so much the better for that.

Hold These Truths continues at ACT through Aug. 16.

Categories: Local Art News

Deadline Extended! Seattle Public Utilities is expanding its Portable Works Collection

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 1:18am
The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will purchase artworks that represent the experience of communities of color, and of immigrant and refugee communities for SPU’s Portable Works Collection. We invite artists to submit images of available work for direct purchase. All types of 2D artworks will be considered: […]
Categories: Local Art News

The Siken Collaboration Book Launch & Sale: Jul 29-30 CoCA @ Art of the City Fest: Aug 1 Public Performance: Nat Evans @ CoCA Uncontained: Aug 8

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 1:11am
New Book Launch & Sale, July 29-30The Siken Collaboration We are pleased to present the most recent addition to the CoCA Publication Series, The Siken Collaboration. In collaboration with Copper Canyon Press and Center on Contemporary Art, curator Joseph C. Roberts selected eleven visual artists to respond to the title poem in Richard Siken’s new and long awaited […]
Categories: Local Art News

E4C: Art of the City Street-fest Saturday, August 1, 10am – 6pm

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 1:01am
  e4c Evertt Beidler Magnesis screening launch: 1st Thursday, August 6, 6pm Since 2008, e4c – or, Electronic 4Culture – has been a storefront venue for the exhibition of electronic artworks, visible by foot, bike, car or bus. After a brief hiatus for a technology update, e4c will feature Magnesis by Evertt A. Beidler, beginning […]
Categories: Local Art News

“Encanto Live” – Album Release Event – August 2nd — José Iñiguez’s “Encanto Live” Album Release Event

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 12:43am
José Iñiguez’s “Encanto Live” Album Release Event La Sala & Club Sur are excited to bring you José Iñiguez’s “Encanto Live” Album Release Event. José Iñiguez, an Opera Tenor – one of too few Latino Opera Tenor’s in the Country – will release his first album at an inspiring event held at Club Sur! A […]
Categories: Local Art News

N E W S F R O M E L L E N Z I E G L E R S T U D I O: Join us at FEAT 2015: Fellowship Exhibit/Artist Trust during the Seattle Art Fair. Opening party: Friday, July 31

Seattle PI Arts Listings - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 12:35am
N E W S   F R O M   E L L E N   Z I E G L E R   S T U D I O   Join us at FEAT 2015: Fellowship Exhibit/Artist Trust during the Seattle Art Fair. Opening party: Friday, July 31 (We have air-conditioning!) http://www.feat2015.com Concurrent with […]
Categories: Local Art News

City Superhero: Julia Massey, musician, mom

Crosscut Arts - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 8:53pm

Our biweekly City Superheroes column highlights the powerful figures walking among us — with the help of a (usually local) illustrator. This week’s pairing: musician Julia Massey (with special guests Dom and Jared Cortese) and visual artist David Feaman.

Moniker: Cardinal

Given Name: Julia Massey

Other Aliases: JMass, Yaya, Jules, Junior High School

Superpowers: Flight, the ability to turn sound into light

First Appearance: Balanza Bar in Brooklyn in 2007 (her CD release for her first record, Moons and Stars Convene) 

Local Haunts: The Pub at Third Place, Golden Gardens, Big Bowl Pho

Archenemies: Julia Stiles (“When I was in college I saw a movie where she cheated on Freddie Prinze’s character and I said, ‘Fuck Julia Stiles!’”), Pessimists

Even Heroes Have Heroes: Eleanor Roosevelt, Joni Mitchell, Darla Benson, Dom Cortese

What Small Object Holds Great Meaning: “I know the answer immediately because I don’t keep many things. But recently I came into the possession of a bottle opener my dad brought back from Segovia, Spain. He always said if we couldn’t find him he’d be in Segovia. He loves beer and I love beer and now whenever I use it, I think of him.”

Origin Story: Born at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore and raised in Catonsville, Maryland, Julia grew up swimming at the community pool, playing piano (her first lesson was in second grade) and playing lacrosse and soccer. She attended C.U. Bolder as an undergraduate (later getting her masters at Pace University in teaching as part of Teach for America).

It was her college roommates who implored Julia to relocate to Seattle, urging her to check out the local music landscape. “I came out, it was supposed to be for a month, but now it’s been six years,” she says happily.

Julia started her band, Julia Massey and the Five Finger Discount, after playing a show with her friend Andy, a bass player. The members of his other band, Jared and Dom Cortese, came to see Julia play that night at West Seattle’s Skylark Café in 2008. Dom introduced himself and said, “If you ever need a drummer, here is my contact information” and the two have been playing together ever since. With Dom, Julia has released six albums.

It was the following May when Julia began a relationship with Jared, who she married in July 2013. Their son, Baby Carl, was born Jan. 13, 2015 and the three live with Dominic and a third Cortese brother, Tobias (an avid local music fan), in Ballard in a home they call The Pool House.

Julia’s powers of flight and the ability to turn sound into light began at a later age. Much of her energy had previously been spent learning and absorbing the lessons of the world, but when she found a home and deep love in Seattle, her essence flourished fully. Coincidentally, brother-in-law Dom is a gifted conjurer of paralyzing iced lightning and Julia’s superhero husband, Jared, is the only one capable of wielding the mythical Emerald Sword.

Her Philosophy: “If you can balance working hard with having fun, then you’re going to succeed no matter what.”

“If you align yourself with that vibration that you had as a child, like, ‘What am I going to do today? What can I find and soak up? I’m going to have fun here!’ then whatever comes out of you, creatively, is going to be awesome.”

What’s Next: Julia Massey is playing the Conor Byrne on Aug. 28 for a farewell party for former booker and bartender, Alana.

About the Illustrator: David Feaman is an artist/writer living on Capitol Hill in wonderfully rainy Seattle. Though his artistic pursuits range from painting to writing fiction to creating traditional poetry, David drops everything for comic work. Having spent his adolescence with Marvel and DC, his young adulthood with vintage genre comics (i.e., Creepy and Eerie), and his antiquation with Fantagraphics, he believes that no other art form is as shocking, as moving, and as utterly human.

City Superhero Julia Massey
Categories: Local Art News