arts & life | KUOW News and Information

arts & life

Huyen-Tran Phung at a RadioActive event.
KUOW Photo

Before I went on this eye-opening journey, I was like any other teenager who thought they knew everything. Sometimes, we just don’t realize how much our environment shapes our beliefs. 


Why Seattle's Folklife Festival might not return next year

May 24, 2017
The Folklife Festival experience is incomplete without a toy piano band.
Flickr Photo/Megan (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/6tzoRM

Organizers of Seattle’s Folklife Festival don’t want you to take their annual event for granted: There’s a chance it won’t return next year.

In this March 21, 2017 photo, Misty Copeland, first African-American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, appears at the Steps on Broadway dance school in New York.
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Ballerina Misty Copeland started her dance training at the late age of 13. Nonetheless, she was soon recognized as a prodigy and rose quickly to opportunity and success. In 2015, she became the first African-American woman promoted to principal ballerina by American Ballet Theatre.

Photo courtesy of Writers Resist

Authors around the country led a series of events recently called “Writers Resist: A Celebration of Free Speech.” Participants read from their own work or historic writings concerned with freedom, free speech and equality. There were nine such events in Washington State. In Seattle, the participants in order of appearance were:

Teatro Zinzanni, on lower Queen Anne in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Seattle’s long-running cabaret/dinner theater Teatro Zinzanni has been drawing crowds to its elegant vintage tent on lower Queen Anne since 2007.

The tent sits on land just north of Seattle Center; the land was given to Seattle Opera as potential funding source for a new home adjacent to Marion Oliver McCaw Hall.

"Difficult woman" is a loaded term, but writer Roxane Gay isn't afraid of taking on ideas with baggage. (A few years ago, she wrote a book of essays called Bad Feminist.) Her new short story collection, Difficult Women, explores women's lives and issues of race, class and sex.

RadioActive producer Jad Vianu with his father Alec Vianu
Courtesy of Jad Vianu

When I was growing up, I always had a vague idea of where he had come from. But as I got older and was able to understand more, I realized that my dad's story was absolutely incredible.


Tori Zivkovic / KUOW

People sometimes take unlikely paths to get where they're going. This is the story of an unlikely scholar.


Just days away from the Oscars, Hollywood continues to face down questions over its lack of diversity — particularly among the nominees for its top prize. The controversy has helped prompt a viral hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite, and has led the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to pledge to diversify in years to come.

Marley Dias is like a lot of 11-year-olds: She loves getting lost in a book.

But the books she was reading at school were starting to get on her nerves. She enjoyed Where The Red Fern Grows and the Shiloh series, but those classics, found in so many elementary school classrooms, were all about white boys or dogs ... or white boys and their dogs, Marley says.

Black girls, like Marley, were almost never the main character.

Here's What People Are Doing Sunday Night To Avoid Watching The Oscars

Feb 25, 2016

If you're tired of overwhelming whiteness at the Academy Awards, you're in good company. Famous people and normals alike have expressed indignation over the fact that for the second year in a row, zero people of color were nominated for any acting award.

If you don’t want to watch the Oscars on Sunday, there is an alternative. The All Def Movie Awards are taping Wednesday and will air on the Fusion cable network on Sunday, against the Oscars. Fusion caters to millennials, but it is owned by ABC, which is broadcasting the Oscars.

The French have gotten themselves into one of their recurrent linguistic lathers, this one over the changes in their spelling that will be taking effect in the fall. The changes were originally proposed more than 25 years ago. But nothing much came of them until the government recently announced that they'd be incorporated in the new textbooks, at which point traditionalists took to the barricades.

In the central Japanese mountain village of Damine, children have kept up an unbroken tradition of performing Japan's classical theater, kabuki, year after year for more than three centuries. But as people age or leave for opportunities in cities, the village is running out of performers.

Legendary rock musician David Bowie, who influenced generations of musicians and fans, died on Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday.

Lara Davis is the arts education manager for Seattle's Office of Arts and Culture
Seattle.gov

Once upon a time, when you were young, you probably painted pictures, sang songs and danced yourself dizzy.

Many artists and arts educators believe that making art is second nature to humans. And they believe it helps kids learn. But somehow, by the time children reach their teens, many lose their enthusiasm for creative activities. Experts say that lack of arts curriculum in schools may be to blame.

Artist C. Davida Ingram's exhibition, "Eyes to Dream: A Project Room," is a rumination of what it means to be black and female in America in 2015.
Courtesy of C. Davida Ingram

The smell.

That's the first thing you notice in C. Davida Ingram's exhibition at the Northwest African American Museum.

It smells like the sea: fishy and briny, with a sort of musky undertone. You can trace those aromas, in part, to a white dress that's hanging on the gallery wall. Thousands of tiny fish that look like minnows or sardines are sewn onto the fabric.

It's a warning sign at art museums around the world: "Don't touch the artwork."

But Spain's famous Prado Museum is changing that, with an exhibit where visitors are not only allowed to touch the paintings — they're encouraged to do so.

The Prado has made 3-D copies of some of the most renowned works in its collection — including those by Francisco Goya, Diego Velazquez and El Greco — to allow blind people to feel them.

It's a special exhibit for those who normally can't enjoy paintings.

At the 1936 Olympic Games, the University of Washington eight-oar boat crossed the finish line ahead of Italy. They were featured in The Boys in the Boat by Seattle-area author Daniel James Brown.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collection

We’re always looking for good book recommendations, which is why you often hear librarian Nancy Pearl on KUOW. That's why, ahead of summer reading season, we found out the most-checked-out and downloaded titles in 2014 from the Seattle Public Library.

Kurt Cobain, front man of the rock group Nirvana, is shown during a benefit concert at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif., April 9, 1993.
AP Photo/Sam Morris

Marcie Sillman talks with author and journalist Charles R. Cross about the new Kurt Cobain documentary, "Montage of Heck." 

Geoffrey McGrath: The Inadvertent Spokesman For Gay Rights

Jan 29, 2015
Geoffrey McGrath delivers a petition bearing more than 125,000 signatures, urging Amazon to stop donating money to the Boy Scouts on May 21, 2014.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattleite Geoffrey McGrath about his path from a hiking/biking software engineer  to international spokesperson for gay rights after his membership from the Boy Scouts of America was revoked for his sexual orientation.

This story originally aired June 4, 2014.

Ms. Marvel designs by Adrian Alphona. Ms. Marvel, described by writer G. Willow Wilson as "kind of a hipster," is the second from the left.
Marvel Comics

G. Willow Wilson’s origin story, in a matter of speaking, started in New Jersey on about 3 acres of land surrounded by old-growth woods, where her parents raised rabbits and chickens and grew corn, blackberries and sweet potatoes.

The Northwest wine industry has matured to the point where certain regions are trying to set their wines apart -- think the Willamette Valley pinots, or Columbia Valley cabs.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

She loves dirt and hates sunlight. Seattle Magazine named her one of 2013’s most influential people, except she’s not really a person. She’s Bertha, the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine, charged with digging out the replacement path for the Alaskan Way Viaduct under Seattle.

Her profile on the Washington State Department of Transportation site lists her occupation as a tunneling specialist, but right now she’s stuck and has been since December 6. In light of her current predicament, the decision to name the machine, and thus humanize it, could be a shrewd move.

Flickr Photo/GeekGirlCon

She was the nasal-voiced puppeteer behind Red Fraggle on Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock, and she hung out with David Bowie on the set of Labyrinth.

A Young Irish Mom's Painful Decision

Dec 4, 2014
Sian Cullen and her daughter Aine. Cullen was a teenager in Dublin, Ireland when Aine was born. They now live in Seattle.
Courtesy Sian Cullen

I was 16 and going to school; I lived in Dublin and was infatuated with this older fellow who was a jack-the-lad kind of fella.

We met and had a relationship and it was brief. And I got pregnant.

Courtesy of Lincoln County Historical Society

In the competitive world of fishing, joining forces can be tough work. It’s even more difficult if the two parties are superpowers at the height of Cold War tensions.

Flickr Photo/Seattle Munincipal Archives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with James Gregory, director of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project at the University of Washington, about the history of racial exclusion in early 20th century housing covenants.

This segment originally aired May 21, 2014.

Marcie Sillman talks to Dr. Leslie Butterfield about the challenges new parents face and how to spot the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety.

One in five new moms and one in ten new dads have some form of postpartum depression. Postpartum Support International and Postpartum Support International of Washington State are resources for information about postpartum depression, as well as local support groups and counselors. You can also call the toll-free line anytime to talk to a volunteer: 1.888.404.7763.

Mark Bradley's book "A Very Principled Boy.'

David Hyde talks to author Mark Bradley about his book, "A Very Principled Boy." It's the story of Duncan Lee, who became a spy for the Soviet Union only to switch allegiance back to the United States later in his life.

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