arts | KUOW News and Information

arts

The fastest growing Mariachi music program outside of Mexico is in Washington state. A high school Mariachi band from Wenatchee has an award winning director and they’ve won a few themselves.

Since the 18th century, Mariachi has been an integral part of Mexico’s music scene and most students here have Mexican roots. There aren’t many programs like this in the U.S.

Meredith Heuer

Bill Radke speaks with Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, and his wife Lisa Brown about their new book, "Goldfish Ghost." Handler wrote the story and Brown did the illustrations. And as you might guess from the title, it's a kid's story about a dead goldfish. Handler and Brown discuss the new book, why we don't really want happy endings, and the need for loneliness and bewilderment in our daily lives. 

Two short poems from Seattle's juvenile jail

May 1, 2017
A poem read by a teen reader at King County Juvenile Detention in Seattle. The reader, a teen girl, had memorized it and therefore didn't read from the page.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

CHICAGO ON THE SOUTH SIDE

By a young man in juvenile detention, age 15

Everybody should know
that when I was younger
I was at school one day,
I went straight from lunch to recess.
My brother was driving down the street.
Somebody was shooting at his car.
The police said that one of the bullets
went through the window and
hit him in the back of his head.

He lost control of his car
and crashed into the monkey bars.

A poem read by a teen reader at King County Juvenile Detention in Seattle. The reader, a teen girl, had memorized it and therefore didn't read from the page.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The girl had been raped as a child.

Years later, she was in juvenile detention in Seattle, telling her story to Richard Gold, who was helping her write a poem.

Bill Radke speaks with Wes Hurley, co-director of the award-winning autobiographical documentary short Little Potato. Hurley explains the hardships of growing up gay in Russia and the mysterious Channel 3 which began broadcasting American films, giving his family hope as they struggled to make it to America. He also discusses the culture shock of moving from Vladivostok to Seattle in the late 90s. 

Seattle Symphony violinist Mikhail Shmidt came to the U.S. as a refugee from the former Soviet Union.
Courtesy of Mikhail Shmidt

America has been called a nation of immigrants.

If that’s the case, then Seattle Symphony is a quintessentially American orchestra.


Photo Credit: Brady Harvey/Museum of Pop Culture

Bill Radke speaks with NPR music writer Ann Powers about the current state of protest music. Powers is moderating a panel discussing politics and music at The Pop Conference 2017 happening at MoPop this weekend. Also joining the conversation is local poet, songwriter and singer for the band The Flavr Blue, Hollis Wong Wear. 

Courtesy of John Ulman

Since 2011, the people behind Sandbox Radio have been putting together live performances of the kind of variety show you don’t hear much these days. There’s comedy, drama, sound effects and music — all percolating up from the minds and talents of local artists and featured guests.

Seattle poet Quenton Baker and Spokane high school student Ben Read have poems published in a new anthology titled 'WA 129.'
Photos courtesy of Helen Peppe and Sophie Carter

Each week during National Poetry Month, we're featuring works by Pacific Northwest poets, curated  by KUOW's Elizabeth Austen. Most are drawn from the new anthology "WA 129." 

Jeannie Yandel speaks with KUOW's arts and culture reporter Marcie Silman about a proposed tax that would benefit the arts in King County. 

music concert
FLICKR PHOTO/Avarty Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ffNvCc

Bill Radke speaks with KEXP DJ Sharlese Metcalf. She hosts the local music show Audioasis on Saturday evenings. She came in to KUOW to talk about three bands she thinks you should know.

Songs mentioned: Falon Sierra "Expectations," Haley Heynderickx "Ride A Pack of Bees," Baywitch "Technopagan"

A sales tax to fund arts and culture in King County will not go to voters this summer after all.

King County Council member and budget chair Dave Upthegrove has pulled the proposal from consideration by his committee because he believes it is fundamentally inequitable.

Courtesy of Mosaic Voices

Human beings have depended on mythology since the beginning of our existence. Myths told us how the world began, how to understand its trials and wonders, and how it might end.

Yet now, when many of us believe something is not true, we call it a myth. What happened?

Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.
Wikimedia Commons

On April 4, 1968,  Gary Heyde had just arrived for a conference at Kentucky State College. He and more than 500 students from every major black university waited in line to register. Heyde happened to be the only white student there.

No more than 20 minutes had passed when a girl came running into the lobby where conference-goers waited to register. “They’ve killed Martin,” she screamed.

At first, the room was cloaked in complete and total silence. Then chaos ensued.

La Vida Boheme plays upbeat music on somber themes. The Venezuelan rockers' last album, Será, came as student protests were erupting in their home town of Caracas. The band's booking agent was murdered; their tour manager was kidnapped. The four members of the group locked themselves inside their apartments. They would later describe the record, which won a Latin Grammy, as "the soundtrack to an apocalypse."

Seattle Opera General Director Aidan Lang
Facebook/Seattle Opera

Earlier this month, Seattle Opera general director Aidan Lang met with scene shop manager Michael Moore and dropped a bombshell.


Couresty of Phil Elverum

Phil Elverum, aka Mount Eerie, wrote an album about his grief after the death of his wife. This is his story.

Couresy of Seattle Opera/Rozarii Lynch

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW arts and culture reporter Marcie Sillman about the Seattle Opera's plan to close their scene shop in Renton.

A couple of weeks ago, Seattle Opera announced it was making budget cuts. Among them was closing the opera’s scene shop. It is a custom-made building in Renton where they build the sets.

The opera says it needs to be fiscally responsible to its donors. But whenever you tighten the purse strings, somebody feels the pain. In this instance, it’s the artisans who build the scenery for the opera.

Courtesy Private Collection

There are many reasons to be thankful for the life and work of author Betty MacDonald.

If you have a love/hate relationship with chickens, her best-seller “The Egg and I” will satisfy both passions. If you have children in your life, her “Mrs. Piggle Wiggle” series will likely delight and challenge them. And if you suffer from self-doubt her book about finding work in the Great Depression, “Anybody Can Do Anything,” may help.

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen at Seattle Public Library
KUOW photo/Sonya Harris

Before Viet Thanh Nguyen became the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel “The Sympathizers,” he was a 4-year-old boy uprooted from war-torn Vietnam and transported to a refugee camp in the United States.

Nguyen’s experience as a refugee marked his journey towards becoming an American in crucial ways. He describes the experience of being both a refugee and an American as being “split in two.”

Try out a Sad Bath. You just might like it

Mar 21, 2017
music concert
FLICKR PHOTO/Avarty Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ffNvCc

From Seattle's Macefield Music Festival in Ballard DJ Michael Stevens shares with Bill Radke some local bands you ought to know about.

How do you dispose of an old totem pole? Fortunately, this is not a problem we regularly face. But a tall totem gifted by Seattle to its sister city in Japan renewed this question.

Left: Replica of totem pole carved in early 20th century by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Charlie James in Stanley Park, Vancouver B.C. Right: A track suit produced by Adidas, design adapted from Charlie James' totem pole. Click through for more examples.
Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) and Courtesy Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, Burke Museum, University of Washington

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 makes it illegal to knowingly sell non-Native made goods as authentic Native American art or craft. More than 600 fraud cases have been filed since the law's enactment.

But the IACA doesn't apply to the more widespread practice of borrowing and adapting Native imagery, themes, or traditional cultural expression on a range of commercial products.


Artist and entrepreneur Louie Gong, inside his Pike Place Market shop
Photo by Ken Yu, courtesy Louie Gong

Traces of Seattle’s Native American heritage are everywhere, from the Seahawks logo to totem poles at the Pike Place Market.

After all, Seattle is the only major American city named for a Native American chief.

How to keep young readers from ditching Dickens and chucking Chaucer

Mar 18, 2017
books
KUOW Photo/Soraya Marashi

Breaking up with Shakespeare? Done with Dickens?  Between misrepresentations, boring language, and distracting covers, reading classical literature can seem like a chore. Join RadioActivians Soraya Marashi and Zuheera Ali as they explore youth’s broken relationship with classical literature and how we can help mend the ties.


Bill Radke talks with music director Ludovic Morlot about the Seattle Symphony's performance of "Music Beyond Borders: Voices from the Seven." The concert was performed just 12 days after Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entry to the U.S. from seven majority Muslim countries.

A Seattle third grader auditions for Pacific Northwest Ballet's Dance Chance program.
Pacific Northwest Ballet/Lindsay Thomas

Last fall the National Endowment for the Arts awarded almost a million dollars in grants to 34 arts groups across the state, large and small. 

That money funded everything from King County’s Creative Justice Program, an alternative to youth incarceration, to a project that brings professional theater artists to rural Davenport, near the Colville reservation in eastern Washington. A significant portion of the NEA awards went to projects targetted at youth, community outreach, or rural touring programs.

The NEA also funds some of Seattle’s big arts groups.

Kurt Geissel, owner of Cafe Racer, says he needs to move on
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Seattle's Cafe Racer, where four people were shot and killed in 2012, is being sold. 

The cafe, bar and restaurant has been a fixture of the University District for years.

Lime green on the outside with velvet paintings hanging by the bar, it’s known as a popular meeting spot for local musicians and artists.


Twenty years ago, on March 10, 1997, TV audiences were introduced to Buffy Summers, a pint-sized blonde who could hold her own against the undead. Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran for seven seasons from 1997 to 2003. It had witty dialogue and used monsters as a metaphor for everyday high school problems like bullies, catfishing and feeling invisible.

Courtesy of Jane Richlovsky

Bill Radke talks to Seattle artist Jane Richlovsky about why she wants people to rethink how artist keep their business alive as the city of Seattle grows. 

Her talk "When Artist Get Together They Talk About Real Estate" is available through Humanities Washington. 

Pages