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Seattle
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Return of Byrne

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It’s likely that many reading this piece were not among the audiences that made Stop Making Sense on of the most successful concert films of all time. I can only hope that they take advantage of the opportunity while it lasts.

Reinventing: Time to Reimagine Seattle Arts

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Seattle will go from being an over-achiever in the arts (measured by our population) to something much closer to other mid-sized cities such as Phoenix, San Diego, Portland, and Milwaukee. Or not.

Seattle Symphony: Reimagining, Reduced

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The orchestra opens its season with a socially-distanced performance. "Imagination is not the word I would use in describing the show, which put competence on view but nothing more. No surprise, no delight, no flair, no depth of feeling."

Still Swinging: Fred Radke on Big Bands and the Evolution of Jazz

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In the past you could go out for six weeks at a time. But now maybe you'll go out and work two or three jobs and you'll try to lump them together. But it's nothing to go to Florida for a one-nighter compared to the past. Really why I keep doing gigs now is because I think it's important to keep this music alive. It's part of the American heritage and it's part of history.

Covid Pushes Arts To Innovation. Will That Happen Here?

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An interesting innovation in Atlanta is to create a new kind of local opera company, built around notable singers who live in Atlanta. This kind of repertory company has the flexibility to put on all kinds of imaginative performances.

Join the Circus: A Way To Get The Arts Back Onstage

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"Theatres need to stop worrying about how they can reopen in a reduced form, and look out for other models of production in different spaces and to different audiences."

Statuary Offenses

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It is true that when we take them down, all those people whose sole method of learning history is walking past statues of “great” men, looking up and then looking down again if there’s enough time on the tour schedule to read an inscription, will have to find another way of learning history.

Existential Angst: If New York Culture Fades, will Seattle Arts Benefit?

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Seattle got a little of this regional spirit, but never drank deeply. Our cultural institutions are instead quite derivative, which is more comforting for audiences and donors. Take away the New York dominance, however, and you might have more vitality at the regional level.

The Arts Online: Ten Great YouTubes that wouldn’t have been made without Lockdown

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Deprived of their usual performance venues, artists have turned to the internet to make and disseminate their art. The art is evolving quickly

Paint The Town: Takiyah Ward and the Autonomous Zone’s Defining Mural

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“Normally getting a project of this size done in the city of Seattle would have required months of bureaucracy, red tape, and writing grants, and trying to find the money, all of which can kill a creative vibe or project real quick.”

2010 Entertainment; 2020 Allegory

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How to Train Your Dragon doesn't exactly live up to my memory of it. It far surpasses recollection, shrugging itself out of the familiar skin of animated fantasy action-movie and emerging as a noble allegory.

Behind The Curtain Walls: Seattle’s Tower Architecture

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For more than three decades, Seattle has been earnestly shaping policy and procedure to get better downtown buildings, and fend off the worst. What have we got to show for it? Rainier Square Tower.

FENCE: The Power of Pictures next to a Changing Waterfront

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The show is a reminder of the power of still photos to explore and explain, especially events that blend history with natural phenomena. Much of the exhibit consists of photo essays reminiscent of extinct magazines like Life.

Remembering Lynn Shelton, Storyteller

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At REEL Grrls, all the hard drives we used to store our short films we made were named after female directors. By fate, I got “The Lynn Shelton” hard drive. I admired Lynn because she had the courage to take a leap of faith, shift gears, and begin a second life as a filmmaker.

Remembering Re-bar: A Home for Tolerant Oddballs

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Perhaps, they said, they might open again in the fall of 2021 in a new but still undetermined location. Either way, my heart is broken. Re-bar was like another home to me in a rapidly changing city that offers fewer and fewer places where it is possible to hold on to some of what once was.

Julie Speidel, A Sculptor Evoking The Glacial Origins Of Puget Sound

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"I cannot see these works now, nor look south from a ferry crossing, without recalling the landscape-shaping power of a melting glacier – in the Vashon case a massive river of receding ice that gave us the islands and waters of the Sound. I see Julie’s striking works as marvelous catalysts calling attention to larger surroundings, to the colossal reach of time."

New Numbers On Arts Losses, New Seattle Leadership at the Local and National Levels

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Two marvelous leadership opportunities. Two chances to make a historic difference. Bad as the arts needs money right now, leadership is even more important.

What Would Don Draper Do? Advertising’s Pandemic Pivot

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With an alacrity I hadn’t anticipated, today’s “Mad Men” are daily pushing out new ads tied to life as we now know it. This pandemic pivot in sales pitches highlights that we still have a robust creative sector hard at work to persuade us to buy things (whether we need them is a separate question).

The Virus has Flattened the Arts. But Why Rebuild When You Could Make Better?

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You can see this as nothing but loss. Or perhaps some of our most intractable debates are now suddenly shaken free of their old moorings.

20 Years Later, The “Seattle Box” Has Reinvented

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Biking around Seattle to re-engage a city that I had not lived in for 21 years, I was intrigued and positively impressed with the quality of speculative housing projects. They exhibit rich texture and articulation, with colors often vivid by historical standards.

A Post Alley Zoomcast: COVID Versus the Arts – It Doesn’t Look Good

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Post Alley writers and editors Barry Mitzman, Tom Corddry, David Brewster and Douglas McLennan talk about the ability of arts organizations to withstand the pandemic.

Seattle Arts for the Plague Years: A Dozen Ideas

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Leaders of endangered arts groups and their boards are busy mulling possibilities. Here are some of the leading ideas, as well as the debate about them, not arranged in any order of preference.

Cringey: Late Night Talk Shows Return And It’s Painful To Watch

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It's jarring to see these late night hosts, stripped of their tech armor and studio wizardry trying to tell jokes for a camera in their living rooms, basements and closets.

Put your TrumpBux to work

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Just between us: do you really need your $1,200 share of the federal largess?

The New Normal (And Its Play List)

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Like most of us, I have been working remotely for the past few weeks, but since I earn my living as a writer, I work remotely anyway. However, under quarantine, it feels different. Like, more remote. Like house arrest.

Panhandling Dialed Up To 10: It Can’t Fix The Arts Crisis

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"The arts” must cease lobbying just for themselves but for their just share of support alongside other “non-profit” instruments of a just society; essentials like universal public heath, public education, basic income.

Calling All Billionaires: Time to Step Up!

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Seattle has a knack for growing families of enormous wealth. Now's a good time to get some of these internationally-focused foundations a bit more intentional about the locals.

The End of Movie Theatres?

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It's not too much of a stretch to think that the movie theatre business - when it returns - will be considerably scaled down and that distribution will have been rethought.

A Building That Is What It Does: UW’s New Life Sciences Center

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Is it good architecture? Yes, very. The UW is joining the larger corporate and scientific world, and the Life Sciences Building is what it does. It makes knowledge workers happy and productive.

Bumbershoot Update: One Seattle Icon Reclaims Another

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It's hard to get more local than One Reel, its artistic and creative pedigree is unsurpassed here, and even the company slogan "Our stage is Seattle" is encouraging.