arts | KUOW News and Information

arts

KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Ten days after President Donald Trump’s inauguration a group of Seattle-area artists and arts supporters came together to share experiences and build community. KUOW set aside a space for them to record personal messages. Their reflections express the conflict of the moment, marked by fear and hope, uncertainty and renewed determination.

It's perhaps the unlikeliest symphony orchestra in the world — an all-female ensemble from a strict Muslim society where it's often dangerous for young women to step outside of their homes unescorted. It's called Zohra — the name of a music goddess in Persian literature, according to its founder.

And they were performing at an unlikely venue — a hall attached to Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a bombed-out ruin in western Berlin commemorating the horrors of World War II. It's just steps from where Berliners experienced their first ISIS-linked terror attack six weeks ago.

Firefighter by photographer Marsha Burns.
Courtesy of Marsha Burns

In the 1980s Marsha Burns prowled Seattle's streets, looking for people to photograph.

“I was doing pictures of edgy people, people who didn’t fit into the society.” Burns says. “When I would approach them and say, ‘I’d like to make your picture,’ they were thrilled." 

Burns used a large format Polaroid camera, too large to carry with her. If she found somebody who intrigued her, she'd invite them to her studio to sit for a portrait.

FLICKR PHOTO/Penn State (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/jbLpvD

Tim Wise is known for his commitment to exposing and countering racism. He grew up in Tennessee and went to college in New Orleans, where he became involved in efforts to oppose Ku Klux Clansman David Duke’s political aspirations. Dr. Cornel West referred to Wise as “a vanilla brother in the tradition of John Brown.”

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Seattle Times reporter Claudia Rowe about her new book, "The Spider and the Fly." 

Before Seattle Times reporter Claudia Rowe moved here, she was living in Poughkeepsie, New York where  in 1996 women started to disappear. These women had worked as prostitutes, and they had all all reported a man named Kendall Francois to the police for sexual assault, beating, choking. 

A scene from the movie Captain Fantastic, which was set in Washington state.
Bleecker Street

You may have seen the movie Captain Fantastic.

This week, actor Viggo Mortensen got an Academy Award nomination for his work in it.


The Amazon bestseller list has become something of a political barometer of late. Recently Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis's memoir March rose to the top after President Trump criticized him for questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election. Since the election, Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir that has become a guide to working class America has been at or near the top of the list. Now the classic dystopian novel 1984, written by George Orwell and published in 1948, is number one.

Mary Tyler Moore played the girl who could turn the world on with her smile. The actress is beloved for two TV roles: the single young professional Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and before that, the earnest homemaker Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Moore died Wednesday at the age of 80, her longtime representative told NPR.

At first glance, the snapshots featured on yolocaust.de look like any other ordinary selfies. People are smiling, dancing, juggling or striking a yoga pose. But if you move the mouse over an image, the background switches to black-and-white stills showing scenes of Nazi concentration camps. Suddenly, the pictures become profoundly disturbing. People are pictured dancing on corpses or juggling in mass graves.

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When the nominees for the 2017 Academy Awards were announced this morning, La La Land racked up 14 nods, tying records held by Titanic and All About Eve.

Join KUOW at Seattle Shakespeare Company

Jan 20, 2017

Join Marcie Sillman for the fifth Front Row Center of our 2016-2017 season at Seattle Shakespeare Company’s "Bring Down the House" on Sunday, February 12.

Does protest music matter anymore?

Jan 19, 2017
music concert
FLICKR PHOTO/Avarty Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ffNvCc

Bill Radke speaks with music critics Charles Cross and Gina Arnold about what makes a good protest song. They also discussed how protest music has changed over the decades. 

Jacob Lawrence in the Studio, 1983
Photo/Mary Randlett, courtesy UW Special Collections

I first met the artist Jacob Lawrence in his attic. That was more than 30 years ago, on a gray day, not so unusual for Seattle. 


Courtesy of Anne McTiernan

Bill Radke speaks with Anne McTiernan about her new memior called, "Starved: A Nutrition Doctor's Journey from Empty to Full." McTiernan is a research professor at the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine and a member of the public health sciences division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Does America have a divine origin?

Jan 12, 2017
Michael Medved speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
FLICKR PHOTO/Gage Skidmore (CC by SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/kPpwPZ

Bill Radke speaks with conservative talk show host Michael Medved about his new book, "The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic." 

Some Americans believe that President Trump will restore this nation's greatness as God intended it. Medved is not a Trump supporter, but he does believe God has a plan for America. Medved believes the history of the United States is improbable and bizarre, which makes it easier to see where that divine providence guided the nation.

Jessica Bennett at Town Hall Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Author Jessica Bennett and a group of fellow female professionals were facing man’s world issues, like male colleagues taking credit for their ideas and work. The women started a monthly meeting to share stories and look for solutions. Their gatherings explored workplace discrimination and social research on how to combat it. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Ruth Brown, the original queen of rhythm and blues.

Brown’s career took her from the Apollo theatre to Broadway. She was the most prolific African American female R&B vocalist of the '50's, surpassing Dinah Washington for a time.

Chin Music Press

Bill Radke talks with KUOW poetry correspondent Elizabeth Austen about the book, "Are You An Echo? The Lost Poetry Of Misuzu Kaneko," illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri with narrative and translation by David Jacobson, Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi. 

After 36 people died in an Oakland, California warehouse fire in December, artists in Seattle want to prevent that kind of tragedy here. To do so, they are asking city officials for help.

The Ship Canal isn't so pretty from here

Jan 10, 2017
Courtesy of Seattle's Office of Arts and Culture/Photo by Eliza Ogle

Bill Radke speaks with Elissa Washuta about her time as an artist in resident in the Fremont Bridge during the summer of 2016. Washuta had always thought of Seattle as a beautiful city. But that changed as she spent time in the tower — starting with the water she looked at every day in the ship canal.

Sara Porkalob, right, and her grandmother, the inspiration for Porkalob's one-woman show Dragon Lady
Dangerpants Photography, courtesy Sara Porkalob

When Seattle theater artist Sara Porkalob was a kid, her family didn’t have much money.

But they did have unconditional love for the little girl who lived to entertain them.

Ibara-Sandys' take on Mexican nichos, or small shrines, inspired by Dia de los Muertos imagery.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Amaranta Ibara-Sandys was 18 years old the first time she traveled to Seattle from Mexico City.

The year was 1992; teenagers from around the world were flocking to the Pacific Northwest, enticed by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and other Seattle bands.

“I loved grunge,” Ibara-Sandys says. “I loved the music!”

This is the official poem of 2016

Dec 31, 2016

This has been a tough year.

All sorts of news publications have even asked if it was the “Worst Year Ever.”

It’s been the year of a contentious US election season. The year of Brexit. The year of terrorist attacks all over the world.

Blues singer Courtney Weaver performs in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Kenneth Fiaui had always been jealous of his girlfriend. He was even jealous of her 4-month-old cat.

On the night he shot her, Courtney Weaver was preparing to go out with some friends for the evening. Fiaui didn’t want her to go.

Some people possess a quality — a highly specific fuel mixture of intelligence and humor — that makes them seem like they've always got a secret they want to share with you, and only you.

It's not obvious. That's the whole point of it: It lives on the sly, this quality, around the edges of what they say and do. It sidles up to you and draws you in, it whispers to you that you are important and special, and that's why this person chose you. You share something, the two of you.

Carrie Fisher, the actress who became a pop culture icon for her performance as Princess Leia in Star Wars, has died at age 60.

Fisher had suffered a massive heart attack last week on a flight from London to Los Angeles. On Sunday, her family said she was in stable condition.

A representative of Fisher's daughter, Bille Lourd, confirmed that Fisher died on Tuesday morning.

Fisher shot to fame at the age of 19, when she took on her instantly iconic role in Star Wars.

The bag Rose, a slave and mother, gave to her 9-year-old daughter the day she was sold away. They never saw each other again.
Courtesy of Middleton Place Foundation

For about $300, a 9-year-old girl named Ashley was sold as a slave.

Her mother, Rose, remained a house slave at a mansion in South Carolina.


Flickr Photo: Marilylle Soveran

The writer Henry Fielding defined a rogue as a rich man without charity. Merriam-Webster describes a dishonest, worthless or mischievous person. This year, Seattle stage rogues Jean Sherrard, Paul Dorpat, Khanh Doan and Kurt Beattie shared their talents for the annual “Short Stories Live: A Rogue’s Christmas.”

Think you're stressed out during the holidays? Try being one of Santa's helpers.

Turns out being surrounded by children, tinsel and merriment isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Humorist David Sedaris wrote about the downside of holiday joy in a collection of fanciful stories based on his experiences called the Santaland Diaries. Once again, here's Sedaris reading from his essay as a somewhat-flawed Macy's department store elf named Crumpet.

Click the play button to hear this holiday tradition.

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