Having nothing better to do on Mount Olympus, the Greek muse Clio descends to 1980s Venice Beach in the form of an Australian roller girl to help a struggling artist open a roller disco. (Like you do.) A surprise hit on Broadway, Xanadu skates into Issaquah’s Village Theatre, promising high camp and big laughs. 9/12–10/20. Times and prices vary. villagetheatre.org
ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST The theme of this year’s Seattle Design Festival is “Design in Health”—which, thankfully, has been interpreted loosely for the featured film screenings. The lineup includes recent documentaries on such diverse topics as a 1960s commune, a wind-powered home and the first park built exclusively for parkour. Also on the bill are films about rebuilding at the 9/11 ground zero site and the history of West Coast Modernist architecture. 9/13–9/15. SIFF Film Center; seattledesignfestival.org
A CAPPELLA Experimental vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth earns automatic points for its excellent name. In addition, the group combines Tuvan throat singing with yodeling and pop-style belting, and one of the members is composer Caroline Shaw, who took home the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for music. We call that a win-win-win. 9/19. 7:30 p.m. Prices vary. Town Hall. townhallseattle.org
Choreographers always seem to see life from a different angle, and that’s nowhere more apparent than in this fall’s lineup of dance performances. In Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite’s “Emergence” (11/8–11/17. Pacific Northwest Ballet; pnb.org), black-clad dancers emerge from a dark tunnel to swarm and flit across the stage, moving alternately like leggy spiders and insects thrashing against windows, while the soundtrack transforms the clicks and buzzes of actual bugs into industrial music.
The best part about art—be it a painting, dance, play, book, film or rock show—is that it has the power to change your perspective, maybe on something small, such as earthworm mating rituals, or maybe something conceptually huge, such as what sort of bodies make for excellent dancers. Free your mind and let the season’s wave of arts offerings wash over you. You may well end up with a whole new way of seeing things. Follow the links for detailed listings in each of the below categories:
At the media preview on Saturday, July 20, Seattle magazine editor in chief Rachel Hart toured Bertha's dig site with photographer Stuart Isett. The 57.5-foot diameter cutterhead can swallow boulders 3 feet in diameter.
Must PicnicAuction of Washington Wines Picnic & Barrel EventThursday (8/15, 4 p.m.) — Behold, the Top 10 tips for making the most of your time at the Auction of Washington Wines Picnic event.Must Fete FashionW Hotel’s Wear Wednesdays
As Ivar’s marks 75 strange and successful years bringing seafood, marketing mania and fishy wordplay to Seattle, we reel in a few delicious bits of trivia (do you know which one isn't quite true?) from the just released Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook: The O-fish-al Guide to Cooking the Northwest Catch (Sasquatch, $29.95). 1. Haglund convinced a heavyweight boxer to wrestle with a giant octopus.
This month, Gray Matters takes up the subject of gray areas. Seattle is a tidy city for the most part, without the huge slums and decay of some older cities. But for all our Scando-Asian embrace of neatness, it is not so much our sense of order that defines us but rather along our messy edges, where creativity flourishes, trends are set, and necessity becomes the mother of invention.
Dance performances are often loosely described as “entrancing,” the word implying something akin to “compelling.” But viewers watching the work of Seattle choreographer Kate Wallich often actually feel as if they are going into a trance. “I hear that a lot,” says Wallich, 24. Whether a hypnotist or just highly skilled (maybe both), the 2010 Cornish College of the Arts grad is making a splash in Seattle’s thriving contemporary dance scene.
It is a cloudless day and spring has quilted the sprawling 8-acre Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (RBUFW) in every shade of green, from the chartreuse tips of awakening shrubs to the hunter green of contorted, Seussian pines. Here in South Seattle, grasses, clover and dandelions hug the ground, sprinkled with drifts of tiny daisies. It is lively and a little wild in paradise: Red-winged blackbirds heckle from the wetlands’ reeds, and a bald eagle coasts high in the blue sky.
Writer Peter Mountford has a bone to pick with American literature. The Ballard-based father of two young girls, whose debut novel, A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism, won the 2012 Washington State Book Award, is baffled by the fact that one subject remains taboo in fiction writing: money. Sitting in his wedge of an office at the Richard Hugo House, where he is writer-in-residence, he embarks on a bit of a rant, peppered with the dry humor that enlivens his book. “In real life, everyone is obsessed with money. It ruins relationships and lives,” Mountford says.
You could say Lacey Leavitt is OK with getting hit from all angles—especially since the shy and steady Ballard-based filmmaker has spent time as a local roller derby skater for the Tilted Thunder Rail Birds and Rat City Rollergirls. Her competitive name, Rambo Connection, says it all: On the track and on the set, Leavitt, 31, artfully combines the sweet, “let’s put on a show!” spirit of The Muppets with the no-holds-barred determination of John Rambo. “I’m always putting out fires in different places,” she says. “I just figure out which is burning the brightest.”
Klara Glosova makes ceramic sculptures that look like tube socks. She flattens clay with a rolling pin from her kitchen, cuts it into sock shapes and fires it in the kiln in the basement studio of her Beacon Hill home, then precisely paints the forms in colors that look straight off a soccer field. In shows at 4Culture, Vignettes and elsewhere, she has displayed them tossed about—sometimes along with the wadded-up underpants, crumpled jeans and dishtowels she’s also sculpted—where they appear to be so much discarded laundry.
On a sweltering day in June, Jerick Hoffer is carefully stretching a second pair of nude-colored dance tights from his toes up to his waist. The Portland-raised, First Hill–based drag performer customarily wears four pairs of these thick pantyhose on stage, plus a couple of Spanx undergarments to make his form more feminine. But for today’s photo shoot at Cornish Playhouse, he’s taking it easy—even letting someone else do his makeup, a task he usually tackles himself over the course of two hours. He’s happy with the results. “I love it!” he says. “I look like a male Lady Gaga.”