Sitting on the living room floor of his modest Capitol Hill home, a cup of tea in hand and a large cat lounging nearby, Garrett Fisher hardly seems poised to upend opera as we know it. But he might just do so. The acclaimed composer has earned accolades nationwide for his fresh approach, blending ancient and contemporary elements in his intriguing musical productions. “I want to invigorate the opera form,” Fisher says, “by allowing it to evolve and develop in new directions.”
At Kyle Loven’s studio space in Belltown, the worktable is littered with ears—latex ears, which he’s been perfecting for his recent work, When You Point at the Moon. The spooky story is based on Chinese moon mythology that warns, “Don’t point at the moon, or the moon will cut your ears off.” Loven, a skilled puppeteer who uses film, transparency projections (seen at right) and live acting in his work, heard the phrase while performing in Taiwan. “I couldn’t get it out of my head,” he says.
Visual artist Troy Gua wants to be famous. His deadpan stare and signature slicked black topknot are unmistakable at local art gatherings—and often the subject of his own artwork. He’s hung large-scale photographs of himself, fashioned a small sculpture of himself urinating (after the famous “Manneken Pis” in Brussels), and even translated his face into a trademark emoticon: o(:-]}
“This is my eight-year-old dream come true,” says Mandy Greer, surveying her home studio, which her husband (artist Paul Margolis) recently built with a friend in a space adjoining the laundry room. Countless clear plastic tubs are packed to bursting with colorful fabrics. Sparkly garments hang from hooks, as does a furry wolf head and an elaborate headdress. Spools of thread and boxes of beads abound. The industrial window rolls open above a steep decline and onto high backyard branches.
Last May, inspired by a similar feature in St. Louis Magazine, we posed a question to dozens of our city’s leaders (and to our friends on Facebook and Twitter), asking them this: If you had a blank check with which to do anything to improve our city, what would you do?
Why do we make things that aren’t considered necessary? It’s a mystery of the human condition and one that a new nonprofit arts space on Capitol Hill is actively exploring.
The Project Room, which independent curator Jess Van Nostrand opened in July, is an experimental, blank-slate space that local artists can temporarily make use of for works in progress.
Turns out Google Maps can’t, in fact, do everything. Case in point: It can’t bring the past alive via wonderful illustrated maps—some more than a century old—like the Historical Atlas of Washington and Oregon (University of California Press; $39.95), published this month.
Noted historian Derek Hayes, author of several other historical atlases, packs this big, beautiful book with 550 fascinating maps and illustrations tracing the evolution of the Northwest from scrappy port towns to bustling cities.
If you’ve always contended that you’d love skydiving were it not for that part about leaping out of a plane midflight, the time has come to put your money where your mouth is. Austin–based SkyVenture has constructed an iFLY vertical wind tunnel in Tukwila for anyone (ages 3 and older) who wants to experience the thrill of free-fall without the fear of going splat.
Paging Jamie Oliver! There are chicken nuggets and sausage-on-a-stick on the Seattle Public Schools’ lunch menu. The ravioli comes from a Chef Boyardee can. But like the popular British chef whose U.S. television documentary, Lunch Line, exposes the horrors of school lunchrooms, the Seattle school district’s new head of nutrition services, Eric Boutin, is fighting on the front lines for improvement.
Seems like just yesterday video games were making the clumsy transition from bulky joysticks to sleek, wireless controllers. But youth fades, and the time comes to get a haircut, a real job and contribute something to society. Here in the Northwest, several gaming-inspired projects have done just that by advancing videogames from pixelated playthings to purposeful products with the potential to heal, teach and turn a profit.
Words guaranteed to freeze the blood of any local middle-class parent of a teenager: “The University of Washington is now officially a stretch school.” That’s what a high school counselor recently told the Eastside mother of a rising high school senior—and what more and more students are hearing. By “stretch,” the counselor means, “Most kids don’t have a prayer of becoming a Husky.” In other words, the UW is no longer a “safety school”—a relatively good bet for decent students.
Today, we complain about “Seattle process,” of the dithering, second guessing, making and remaking of every major decision, from the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement and downtown tunnel to the 520 bridge expansion, to the Green Line monorail system. Was there ever a time when we got it right the first time?