Above photo: Infinity Mirrored Room–Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, Yayoi Kusama, 2016.
“Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” travelling exhibition opened today at the Seattle Art Museum. Although it will remain open until Sept. 10th of this year, and although all timed-entry tickets are completely sold out, limited ones are set aside/reserved and available on a daily, walk-in basis. Ours is the 2nd U.S. city that her popular artwork is on display in, featuring lighting installations, sculpture, paper works, and her paintings. For the first showing at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC, the first 9,000 people received free tickets and it sold out in 6 minutes, which crashed the site. SAM also reported tickets selling out extremely fast here as well.
Ms. Kusama’s infinity rooms have both a sense of whimsy and yet an eternal quality to them. Two or three people are immersed in a small, intimate setting, viewing each room for 20-30 seconds, in some cases, walking amid her work. But there are also mirrors which repeat and repeat within that space, and the guest’s own reflection becomes part the room. These exhibits, with often a repetition of motifs (such as polka dots or reflections) feature a wide spectrum of this 87-year old artist’s work from the 1950s to present day.
After unusual and possibly traumatic early life experiences, Yayoi Kusama, received an encouraging letter from American artist Georgia O’Keefe then moved from Japan to New York City in the 1950s to pursue her art. One of her contemporaries was Andy Warhol, and her varied work sometimes explored anti-war and sexual themes filtered through her own lens. For over 40 years now, after a mental breakdown, she has lived voluntarily in a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo, Japan. She checks herself out of the hospital daily, walks to her studio nearby to work, then returns at night: a combination of structure and freedom which allows for her continual, infinite creativity.
“This effect of continual repetition calls out to the human senses, and in return, deep inside our heart we yearn for true amazement.”
– Yayoi Kusama, Hirschhorn Museum interview, Dec. 2016.
Enjoy lots of fun in Belltown this month, with plenty of events that you won’t want to miss…
April 1: Pizza Class 9:50am – 11:30am | Serious Pie Virginia Serious Pie on Virginia Street is offering a pizza class on Saturday, April 1st. Learn about the pizza and ingredients used at Serious Pie, plus get hands-on instruction and experience stretching and shaping the pizza dough, topping it with your choice of ingredients, baking and turning it to cook it perfectly, and finally, eating your ‘za with a glass of wine! Classes are limited to 12 people, and the cost is $50/person.
April 1: Free Tour of The Paramount Theatre 10am – 11:30am | The Paramount Theatre On the first Saturday of each month, The Paramount Theatre offers free tours of its historic facilities. This month, the tour is from 10 a.m. until about 11:30 a.m. on April 1st. Meet in the main entrance of the theatre by 10 a.m. to participate.
April 2: Lamb Feast at Tavolàta 6pm – 9pm | Tavolàta in Belltown Coming up on April 2nd, Tavolàta’s Sunday Dinner for this month is … lamb! This family-style dinner includes eight courses, plus a delicious dessert of rhubarb crostata. There will be some yummy lamb dishes such as lamb tartare, pickled lamb heart, lamb meatball, lamb T-bone, and Calabrian chili brined lamb leg. Dinner is at 6 p.m., and the meal is $85 per person. Reservations are required, so call 206-838-8008 to reserve your spot.
April 5: Yakima Valley AVA Dinner 6pm – 9pm | Dahlia Lounge Dahlia Lounge’s monthly AVA dinners continue, with the fourth installment of the series featuring wines from the Yakima Valley. Chef Brock Johnson is preparing some delicious dishes to pair with wines from our friends at Chinook Winery, Côte Bonneville, Owen Roe and Two Mountain – all wonderful wineries who source their grapes from the Yakima Valley. The cost is $95 per person, includes tax and gratuity.
April 7: First Friday Wine Share 6 – 8:30pm | Location TBD Each month, a different business or individual in the neighborhood will host the monthly First Friday Wine Share. Stay tuned for April’s location. Bring a bottle of vino to share and friends welcome!
April 14: Belltown Art Walk 6 – 9pm | Belltown Community Center Belltown’s April Art Walk begins at the Belltown Community Center then sends walkers off to local businesses, galleries, dive bars and venues to enjoy works by local artists. Start at the neighborhood community center to pick up a gallery map and snacks between 6 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14th, and then wander throughout Belltown to check out the work of various artists and establishments participating in this monthly event.
April 25: Cinerama Anime Festival Kick-off 12pm | Cinerama Seattle Cinerama is hosting its first ever Anime Movie Festival, starting April 25th and running through May 3rd, with twenty three titles including many fan favorites. Tickets are $16 for each showing, and reserved seating is available. In honor of the event, the nearby Tom Douglas restaurant TanakaSan is offering a special menu inspired by the anime films.
In the midst of the digital age, many are astounded that film still even exists. Everyone has digital film and video capabilities, and film Is very expensive, so, why bother right?
While that may have been what you thought once upon a time, your mind will be forever changed once you see the brilliant art made on and with film by artist Jennifer West at her Seattle Art Museum installation “Film Is Dead”.
In this revolutionarily inventive show, West uses 70mm, 35mm and 16mm analog film strips to create beautiful and visually compelling works of art. She treats the film with common household items including food coloring, nail polish, coffee, vinegar, bleach and more to create patterns and unplanned but stunning effects by eroding the films emulsion, staining it and letting the film take one whatever characters it might.
West’s SAM exhibit features film strips and remnants that have been treated and manipulated by the artist in this way, hung from the ceiling, and spanning almost the entire length of the gallery.
In addition to the physical installation at SAM, West has taken many of these works and digitized them to create a film that explores the differences and relationship between the analog and digital qualities of the film medium, creating another layer to this thought provoking artistic experiment.
Jennifer West is a Los Angeles based artist with some history in the Seattle. West received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Evergreen State College in Olympia before returning to her home state of California to earn her Masters in Fine Arts from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena.
West’s works have been displayed in various solo and group exhibitions across the country and the world including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Lisa Cooley Gallery, New York, NY, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China, Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR and many more.
Her love affair with film dates back more than ten years and she boasts a very interesting and varied portfolio of works including photographic and video works using different and rare types of film and film techniques, light play, performance and her unique film quilts and magic lantern works. West’s style and aesthetic are likely different from any you’ve seen before, exploring and challenging the differences between modern digital photographic art and classic analog film techniques. Her style simultaneously evokes nostalgic feelings and encapsulates a modern and almost futuristic aesthetic, and over all seems to challenge films obsoleteness and the digital waves supremacy.
If you share a love of visual arts, interesting techniques, the fusion of arts and science or simply subscribe to the thought that everything old is new again, “Film Is Dead” is a show worth seeing, if for no other reason than to see something beautiful before it’s gone.
Brought to life by local comedic sensation Scott Shoemaker, Ms. Pakman is a big, round, sparkly yellow mess with an over-sized pink bow on her head, what some may deem to be too much makeup, and an arsenal of anecdotal stories, confessions, songs and one-liners to have you rolling with laughter in the aisle all night.
Enjoy stories from the 80’s icon’s sordid and somewhat sketchy past, candid celebrity confessions, quips about almost anything and songs ranging from delirious to soulful and everywhere in between, all told by this big, beautiful, probably intoxicated video-game starlet of yesteryear.
Her life, her loves, her “power” pills…her stories (glitches and all) come to life in this limited time run of a one of a kind show.
She’ll sing, dance and drink her way to a high score and the bottom of your heart!
“Ms. Pakman: On My Last Heart” is the third installment in Shoemaker’s highly acclaimed “Ms. Pakman” series, and is sure to deliver the same thrills, chills and scandal that made its predecessors such a hit.
Be sure to bring plenty of quarters and level up for this fun-filled, bizarre and boozy show. With 6 opportunities to catch her before she’s gone, you’ll want to get tickets now. This show is sure to be one you’ll remember…even if its star can’t…
Ms. Pakman: On My Last Heart
Live at Re-bar theater
114 Howell St, Seattle, WA 98101
6 Performances only:
8:00-10:00 PM Thursday-Saturday March 2nd, 3rd & 4th
8:00-10:00 PM Thursday-Saturday March 9th, 10th & 11th
We all know Seattle is a cultural metropolis, even if much of the rest of the world doesn’t. So, to say it’s exciting to see a musical with its roots in Seattle hit the Broadway scene, might be a bit of an understatement.
The musical smash “Come From Away” got its start on the stage of the 5th Avenue Theater, right here in Seattle, (as The Seattle Repertory Theater’s best-selling show ever, no less) and this month, it makes its debut under the bright lights of Broadway.
While it may seem like strange subject matter for a musical production, “Come From Away” takes us back to one of the most tragically memorable periods in recent American history, September 11th, 2001. But this show is not about gloom and doom, or irreparable loss, nor is it about spinning what happened into something to sing about or a comical view of the events of that fateful day, but rather, shines a light on the true and often untold story of the airline passengers stranded away from home during that time.
After the attacks on 9/11, the FAA shutdown our airspace indefinitely. That means you were not leaving the country by plane, and if you were out of the country already, you couldn’t come back home either.
In light of their inability to come back stateside, there were approximately 7,000 airline passengers destined for the US that were instead forced to land in the quaint Canadian town of Gander, Newfoundland.
The humble town of Gander had only 500 hotel rooms in total, and suddenly found itself playing host to 7,000 unexpected visitors. So, in true Canadian fashion, the residents of Gander opened their homes to these stranded strangers, and more importantly, they opened their hearts.
“Come from Away” tells the story of the beauty in humanity after such a catastrophe, with the Townspeople feeding, clothing, housing and caring for those stranded.
“They didn’t have time to organize or structure a response other than the human response of we will help them,” said Kenny Alhadeff, one of the producers of Come From Away in an interview with King5 News. “We will clothe them. We will feed them. We will shelter them.”
Alhadeff is not only a Broadway producer with such critically acclaimed productions as the Tony Award winning “Memphis” on his resume, but also a Seattle native with deep roots in the Pacific Northwest.
As soon as Alhadeff and his company secured the rights to “Come From Away” he knew he wanted to bring some more local talent onboard to really make this production “sing” (pun intended). He started by recruiting locally-grown and critically hailed Musical Director/Conductor Ian Eisendrath to arrange the music, right here at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater.
The cast boasts West Seattle native and star of the hit musical “Memphis”, Chad Kimball as one of the major players, as well as another familiar face on the Broadway stage, Kendra Kassebaum.
While Kassebaum may not have been born and raised in Seattle, she chose Seattle as her home many years ago, after a very successful turn in New York and on Broadway (You may recognize her as the bubbly-blonde Glenda the Good Witch in the musical phenomenon “Wicked”).
Even though she sought to escape the craziness of the NYC life, the beautiful story of “Come From Away” was powerful enough to pull her back, much to even her surprise, calling it “the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life”.
Most productions seek to add star-power when they finally hit the “Big-Time” of Broadway, but Alhadeff and Co. have chosen to keep the original cast intact for their Broadway debut. That’s a lot of Northwest sourced talent cropping up in the Entertainment Capital of the World, to tell a very powerful, and moving story.
“It’s a show that transcends an evening in the theater,” Eisendrath said. “It’s a story that causes you to leave entertained, but deeply moved, and soul revived, and you think about how you live and what you hope the world might become.”
If ever there was a story that found the light in the darkness of true calamity, the tale told in “Come From Away” is it. A beautiful, moving true story about the goodness in people, about community without borders, about love, loss and coming together as citizens of the world to help those in need with selfless acts of kindness and grace.
“Come From Away” not only tells a story that is often forgotten, but serves as a wonderfully entertaining and truly touching reminder of the healing that can be found in the most unlikely places and the triumph of good and altruism over evil and suffering.
“A great piece of theater won’t end the war; it won’t cure cancer. It won’t stop the disparity in wealth,” said Alhadeff. “It won’t bring civility back to the political arena, but it will carve a path of light in your soul so you can do those things.”
“Come From Away” began its Broadway preview on February 18th, and will officially make its debut on March 12th.
For more information about the show or how to get tickets, click here.