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?
On a grayish Sunday afternoon in early spring, 150 or so potential home buyers, real estate agents and others packed the Princessa Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Seattle, where the mood was anything but dreary. With rock ’n’ roll music blaring in the background and an upbeat PowerPoint presentation flashing simultaneously, this was a last-ditch effort by seller Legacy Partners to move languishing real estate inventory.
With its mix of pristine Victorian homes, quaint cafes, and independent shops and restaurants, the small West Galer Street commercial strip on Queen Anne Hill is as pleasant a neighborhood hub as you’re likely to find. At least, it used to be. For months, Galer8, a partially constructed residential development sandwiched between a brick apartment building and a charming pizzeria, has drawn stares and grimaces.
In the 1880s, a brick wall encircled downtown Seattle. A safety measure, the wall was 15 to 20 feet thick, in places rising as high as 200 feet. Inside, zombies ran amok. Or, that’s what we’re told in Boneshaker (2009), local author Cherie Priest’s multiple-award-winning “alternate history” steampunk novel. At 35, Priest is at the top of her game—producing an astonishing amount of addictive, wildly imaginative work.
In case you just emerged from 12 months of living “off the grid,” we’re sorry to be the first to tell you: It’s been a rough year for the arts. (Also: Michael Jackson is dead. Seriously!) Not surprisingly, when the economy takes a dive, so do theater and arts attendance numbers. But it’s not all bad news (don’t go running back to your yurt just yet). Our city remains rich in exciting arts offerings for the fall and beyond.
NAME: Bao tranART FORM: FilmWEB SITE: bookiethemovie.comNEXT UP: See Black Coffee on the big screen at Bumbershoot’s One Reel film festival 9/5–9/7; Also this month, watch Bookie online at bookiethemovie.com
In the beginning, she was just in it for the tutu. As a young girl, choreographer Zoe Scofield coveted the scratchy pink skirt her older sister earned as a reward for completing a ballet class. She made it her mission to earn her own, and in the process learned she loved living in fantasy—even if only for the duration of a dance.
If you were one of the estimated 10,000 people who happened to be near the Harbor Steps last May Day, you have already experienced one of artist Lucia Neare’s self-described “theatrical wonders.” The two-hour spectacle, Ooo-La-La, was inspired by the question, “What if we put love in the air in downtown Seattle, just for a few hours?” The answer included a multitude of Marie Antoinettes (the Sophia Coppola version) blowing kisses from nearby hotel windows, 150 French toque-wearing and Lindy-hopping bakers giving golden eggs and three-tiered cakes to the audience, maids with pin
“Do you consider yourself mumblecore?” The question was lobbed from the back of the Egyptian Theatre, over the heads of a full-house crowd, during the Q&A session at the 2008 Seattle International Film Festival premiere of Lynn Shelton’s feature film My Effortless Brilliance. From the stage, hand over her eyes to block the lights, the effervescent Shelton quickly defined the term (contemporary, low-budget, indie movies with muted drama and improvised scripts) and answered that if the label helped draw attention to smaller films, then sure, stick it on her.
When Diem Chau wanders through thrift stores, she hears a cacophony of voices: A ceramic rice bowl whispers of family dinners, a porcelain teacup betrays shared confidences, a sturdy mug evokes memories of staying home sick and sipping Campbell’s soup.“I love more traditional techniques and mediums, but at some point I just found that they don’t talk back to me as much as an everyday object would,” says the 29-year-old Ballard-based artist, who uses found objects to create her arresting, small-scale works.