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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Hickenlooper Out? – But First An Inspirational Arts Story

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It looks like the presidential campaign of former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is coming to an end. Key advisers are leaving, and the pressure...

Total Bore: Why Did Seattle’s New Waterfront Tunnel Have To Be So Ugly?

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Has ever so dreary a car tunnel been constructed as the one we just built to replace the Seattle waterfront viaduct? The two-and-a-half-mile tube...

The Kennedy Center’s New Campus And Its Seattle Connections

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One wonders, as former Seattle Symphony exec Deborah Rutter reinvents the cultural center to reach wider audiences with striking architecture, whether that might have happened (or still could happen) at Seattle Center.

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

“Morning Edition” And The Theme Music From Nowhere

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Theme music for a radio show is like graphics and fonts and paper format for a magazine. Music establishes the neighborhood, telegraphs what's going...

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.

Arts Fix: Return to the Repertory Model?

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The Seattle Repertory Theater (as the name recalls) once deployed a repertory method. It commenced in 1963, right after the Seattle World's Fair, when the repertory idea was the hot idea for regional, non-commercial theater.

Overtime Pay: Seattle Arts Groups On The Defensive

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The arts groups are badly on the defensive. They are caught by their own shifts to social justice causes, particularly in the age of Trump.

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.

Intiman: Theatre Of The Future? (an update on the “theatre that wouldn’t die”)

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The existential question is what exactly Intiman is at this point. The speed at which money has been raised so far suggests there's still a constituency willing to find out, but the Big What is still an open question.

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.

Ear, Ear! for the New Town Hall

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Town Hall Seattle on First Hill, after two years of full renovation, has opened again for some early programs. This past Tuesday, Joshua Roman...

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.

A New Funder Invests in the Future of Seattle Arts

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All philanthropic support is not equal. And the pandemic lockdown demonstrates different approaches.

Two Writers: One Bernadette

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If ever a film was sure to raise cries of “It’s not like the book,” Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is that film.

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.

Bumber-Gone? How An Iconic Seattle Festival Lost Its Way And How It Might Be...

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What explains the flagging fortunes of Bumbershoot, which has over the past 20 years become less and less distinctive, spectacularly more expensive to attend, and suffered diminished attendance and an increasingly unsustainable business model?

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.

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.

Have I got an Opera for you!

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In this spare, intense revival from the Opera am Rhein in Düssedorf, it fits our current national mood like an Iron Maiden.

Overtime pay for arts workers: the debate continues

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"I believe that if right now there is a huge increase in salaries forced by the government, the organization I know best will have to do the very thing that will kill it: cut its quality."

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).

Model Of Reinvention: Seattle Symphony At A Crossroads

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A decade ago the orchestra was badly broken. After ten years of huge progress the SSO is playing better than it ever has and is a model of reinvention. And now another crossroads.

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."

The Showbox Becomes A Slowbox

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The city of Seattle is slow-walking the decision process on what to do with the venerable music venue, the Showbox, at First and Pike,...

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.

Seattle Has Just Built Its Best Urban Plaza

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In some ways, 2&U is a laboratory for cities of the future. It could show us how to activate the all-important ground floor after e-commerce and now the pandemic have dealt blows to downtown retail.

Should arts groups and nonprofits set the pace for equity?

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This new report from Boston studies how nonprofits can become "anchor institutions," pacesetters for community goals. The idea is borrowed from eds and meds,...

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."

Is Seattle Courting Over-Tourism?

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When cities invest in the visitor market (hotels, convention centers, festivals) they are ordinarily playing a final, desperate card in economic development.