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performing arts

From Seattle Repertory Theater's Facebook page

Playwright Samuel B. Hunter was never a fundamentalist Christian, but his boyhood experience at a Christian school was the inspiration for his new play, "A Great Wilderness."

Courtesy of John Ulman

Stephen Black remembers the moment he decided to bring a play called "The Normal Heart" to Seattle.

Courtesy of Bamberg Fine Art

Olivier Wevers remembers the first time he took a dance class; It ended badly. Wevers' mother found her very young son crying at the side of the dance studio.

"They gave me tights to wear," Wevers said. "I wanted a tutu."

From 50 Sense Circus' Facebook page.

You've probably seen a circus at some point in your life: maybe it was the traditional three-ring extravaganza, or perhaps a glitzy Cirque de Soleil performance with aerialists.

Flickr Photo/Stuart Anthony

Charles Dickens’ story “A Christmas Carol” is a holiday favorite. It was performed earlier this month in front of a live audience at Seattle’s Center for Spiritual Living under the title “The Enlightened Message of Scrooge.”

This show will air on KUOW December 23 at 9:00 p.m.

Five Minutes Onstage At Ignite Seattle

Dec 19, 2013
Flickr Photo/Randy Stewart

What would you say if you had five minutes onstage and a captive audience?

That's the premise of Ignite Seattle, a regular worldwide event where presenters get five minutes and twenty PowerPoint slides to get a point across. Speakers at November’s event touched on a variety of topics, including living in two cities, superbugs, and little-known facts about "Hamlet."

Ignite Seattle 22 took place at Town Hall on November 20. The talk was moderated by Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet/Copyright Lindsay Thomas

Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite might actually be better known in Europe than here on the North American continent. The Vancouver Island native trained in ballet and danced with Ballet British Columbia before moving to Europe to perform with legendary American choreographer William Forsythe.

Courtesy of Seattle Reperator Theatre/Nate Watters

It's been a busy year for Elizabeth Heffron. The Seattle playwright's new one-woman show "Bo-Nita" had its world premier at Seattle Repertory Theatre in late October.

Heffron is working on two other scripts she hopes will get full productions. "Portugal" is about a pair of tank farm workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The second play, "The Weatherman Project" is a collaboration with Kit Bakke, a former member of the Weather Underground.

Dave Beck On The Legacy Of Toby Saks

Oct 16, 2013
Flickr Photo/Martin A Lester

Last Monday, musicians from around the world gathered at Benaroya Hall to remember cellist, UW music professor and Seattle Chamber Music Society founder Toby Saks. She died from pancreatic cancer this summer. Classical KING FM host (and KUOW alum) Dave Beck attended the memorial. He talks with Marcie Sillman about the memorial and about Saks' legacy.

Flickr Photo/Jared Kelley

Radiolab is a show about, as the creators simply say, curiosity. It looks into questions on science, philosophy and the human experience. This year, they are touring around the country with their live show, "Apocalyptical." Marcie Sillman talks with hosts Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad about their roots and translating science to radio.

High School Play Challenges A Family To Forgive

Oct 7, 2013
Courtesy of Trent Selland

Darlene Selland still remembers the day she found out: the knock, being told to sit down. Her niece Tiffany had been murdered. For a long time, she and her family wanted the man responsible to die. Now, thanks to a high school play, they're not so sure.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Photo/Lindsay Thomas

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Studio C is a big rehearsal hall, with the same dimensions as the stage at nearby McCaw Hall where PNB performs. Despite its size, on this afternoon the room feels packed to the gills.

From DASSdance's Facebook page.

Artists are inspired by all sorts of things: a song, an image or a story they want to tell. Choreographer Daniel Wilkins and his company, DASSdance, will premier a new work this weekend, “Tale of Ten Green.”

It springs from the story of the Awa people, an indigenous tribe that lives in Brazil’s Amazon River basin. The Awa haven’t had significant contact with the outside world until recently, and according to Wilkins, the experience has been both violent and exploitative.

“Tale of Ten Green” premiers Friday evening at Seattle’s Washington Hall. 

So You Want To Be A Clown?

Aug 12, 2013

You don’t have to run away to join the circus – this week a camp kicks off in Seattle where kids between the ages of eight and 21 can go and train to learn how to juggle, tumble, walk a tight rope and more. But not everyone can pull off a clown nose. Would-be clown Ben Sherrill recounts the story of how he tried – and failed – to become a clown.

Flickr Photo/Alec Schueler


What Caused Henrietta Lacks’ Aggressive Cancer? Researchers Now Know
The New York Times bestseller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” tells the story of a young woman who died from aggressive cervical cancer and her amazing immortal cells which have been reproduced since 1951. A new study by the University of Washington has pieced together what caused her cancer, called “a perfect storm of what can go wrong in a cell.” We talk with study author Jay Shendure.

Art Of Our City: Cartoonist Ellen Forney
Ellen Forney is an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator. Her work has been published by Fantagraphics and appears regularly in the pages of The Stranger. Forney has just published a graphic memoir. “Marbles:  Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo and Me” chronicles Forney’s diagnosis with bipolar disorder, and her long journey to finding mental balance.

Sleep Less, Eat More?
Scientists have known for a long time that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. A new study sheds light on why. The study in Nature Communications finds that lack of sleep causes people to crave unhealthy, high-calorie foods like potato chips and makes it harder for people to control their impulses. We talk with study co-author Matthew Walker of the University of California.

How Wagner Came To America
This month, opera lovers from around the world will flock to McCaw Hall to take in Seattle Opera’s internationally acclaimed production of Richard Wagner’s “Ring of the Nibelungen.” But where did a music lover go in the 1890s to take in some world-class Wagner? Would you believe Coney Island? Cultural historian and Wagner expert Joseph Horowitz tells KUOW’s Dave Beck the story of Laura Langford, the Brooklyn newspaper editor, suffragist, clairvoyant and Wagner disciple who founded a series of outdoor Wagner concerts at the famed Coney Island amusement park.

The Pizzarelli Patriarch Still Swings At 87

Aug 5, 2013
Flickr Photo/Eduardo Loureiro

Bucky Pizzarelli is the patriarch of one of America’s great jazz families.  His talented offspring include guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli and bassist Martin Pizzarelli.  The Pizzarellis often perform standards from the Great American Songbook together at jazz clubs and music festivals around the world. 

Prior to a weekend of performances with the family band at Jazz Alley in Seattle last weekend, Bucky Pizzarelli brought in his signature seven-string guitar and played live music in the KUOW Performance Studio.

KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

If a Hollywood filmmaker decided to make a movie version of composer Richard Wagner's epic "Ring Cycle," he would probably have the latest computer wizardry at his fingertips. But the "Ring" is performed live onstage, featuring more than 15 hours of music spread out over four nights of opera.

Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times

If Seattle’s dance community had a mayor, it might be Tonya Lockyer. As executive artistic director of Velocity Dance Center, Lockyer oversees a busy hub of classes, performances, lectures, and even potluck dinners. Professional dancers mingle with aspiring amateurs and visiting artists check in at Velocity to learn more about the city’s dance scene. Velocity is busy seven days a week, and you’ll often find Lockyer at her desk, taking in the activity and plotting to create more.

William Sitwell's book"A History of Food in 100 Recipes."

 This Week In Olympia
Lawmakers have until July 1 to reach a budget agreement or the government will shut down. Everett Herald reporter Jerry Cornfield joins us with a look at what’s happening in Olympia this week in special legislative session number two.

The History Of Food
We eat every single day, but  we rarely pause to consider why we eat the food we do. How did food evolve throughout history? Where did pasta come from for instance? Who baked the first cupcake? When did humans start recording recipes in cookbooks? William Sitwell has written "A History of Food in 100 Recipes."

Computer Science And Social Justice
Computer science technologies play a powerful role in service of the military and industry, but don’t seem to be widely used by visionaries in the fields of social justice and sustainability. Ideas like complexity theory and nanotechnology seem to have a distant connection to making an impact on social change. Mathematician Dr. Ron Eglash believes in the power of computing for social justice and sustainability. He explored the state of technology today and how it can impact future social change in his work as co-editor of recent book “Appropriating Technology.”

Five Minutes Onstage At Ignite Seattle

Jun 20, 2013
Flickr Photo/Randy Stewart

Five minutes onstage. What would you say?

That's the premise of Ignite Seattle, a regular worldwide event where presenters get five minutes to get a point across. Speakers at May’s event touched on a variety of topics, including busking in Pike Place Market, stalking strangers online and teaching children how to fail.

Ignite Seattle 20 took place at Town Hall on May 16. The talk was moderated by Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman.

Flickr Photo/giocomai

In the last 12 months there has been a series of political trials in Russia. First there was the punk rock group Pussy Riot. Then, demonstrators from the anti-Putin protest movement faced the court followed by the rising star of the opposition, Alexei Navalny. Some say Putin is using the justice system to shut down their political rivals and that this kind of injustice is accelerating.

When This Whole Thing Started

It began ten years ago with the arrest of the oil billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He has been in prison ever since. First, he was in Siberia. Now, he's at the edge of the Arctic. His mother travels vast distances to visit him.

Today on KUOW Presents, we join her on that long, cold train ride.

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents,  June 20:

Seattle Opera General Director Aidan Lang
Facebook/Seattle Opera

 Seattle Police Union President Backs DOJ Reforms
The president of the Seattle Police Officers' Guild Rich O'Neill is now urging members to accept the reforms the Department of Justice has mandated. Seattle Times reporter Steve Miletich explains O'Neill's position.  

Art Of Our City
When Seattle Theater Group took over the Neptune Theatre, the idea was the use the historic venue for concerts and other live performances. Now STG has launched a program to provide the Neptune free of charge for community group shows. Vicky Lee from STG and Bill Anderson, producer of "Out And In," explains the launch of "Nights At The Neptune."

We Hate Our Jobs!
A new Gallup poll suggests that seven out of 10 workers are “checked out” or “actively disengaged” at work. Sandeep Krishnamurthy, Dean of the University of Washington Bothell School of Business explains how the workplace has changed and why that would lead to dissatisfaction.

Who Replaces Speight Jenkins?
Seattle Opera General Director Speight Jenkins has been at his job for three decades, but next year one of the region’s best known arts leaders will step down.  After more than a year, and an international search, Jenkins’ successor has been named:  Aidan Lang, current Director of New Zealand Opera. He talks about what he’ll bring to one of Seattle’s oldest art institutions.

Meet The Mellotron

Jun 19, 2013
Flickr Photo/Tobias Akerboom

Ask most people what instrument opens the Beatles' song “Strawberry Fields Forever” and they'll tell you: it’s a flute. But it's not a flute.

Meet the Mellotron. It's an analog instrument from the 1960s that connects dozens of loops of audio tape, each with a single, pre-recorded note, to a keyboard. It was a clunky and expensive precursor to synthesizers and modern music sampling.

Its inventors intended it as a replacement for an orchestra. At that task, it failed miserably. But musicians in the 1960s and 1970s fell in love with the instrument’s odd sound. That sound defined a musical era. And today, its quirky guts full of tape and levers looks very old school. Yet it's made a comeback, and is popular with modern musicians like Arcade Fire.

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, June 19:

Medical Malpractice, And David Armstrong

Jun 17, 2013
Flickr Photo/ernstl

Medical Malpractice
Medical professionals occasionally make mistakes. Other times, a patient believes a mistake has been made. Both scenarios lead to lawsuits. What's it like for a doctor sued by a patient? What advice do lawyers give to doctors who have made a mistake? Are medical lawsuits elevating the cost of medical care in the United States? Phil deMaine and retired doctor Jim deMaine talk about the costs of medical malpractice.

How "Hairspray" Changed 5th Avenue Theatre
It’s been a decade since Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre launched the musical “Hairspray.”  It went on to win Broadway’s highest honor, the Tony award. How did that experience change the 5th Avenue? Artistic director David Armstrong explains how one big hit can transform a regional arts organization.

Courtesy of Paul Stetler

Don't Patent Human Genes
In a unanimous vote the United State Supreme Court has said you may not patent human genes. The biotech company Myriad Genetics patented BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, the genes that have been found to be linked to breast and ovarian cancer. Dr. Mary-Claire King first found evidence of the existence of the BRCA 1 gene while working at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. King will explain what the Supreme Court’s decision means for the science and research community.   

Science News, It's Not Just Nobel Anymore
Many have heard of the Nobel Prize, but it is no longer the only big prize scientist receive. There has been a rise in scientific awards that come with a million dollar bonus. Science journalist Zeeya Merali explains how these new awards can benefit and hurt the scientific community.

Letters From Famous Fathers
What would you put in a letter to your son or daughter? How do you transcend the moment and pen words of advice or love that they can carry with them all their lives? Paul Stetler asked himself those question when he sat down to write a letter to his son. He was inspired by a letter his dad had written to him years ago. It became the subject of a new play Stetler has curated called "Dear Dad." The play features the intimate letters of famous American fathers, from John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan to John Steinbeck and Jackson Pollock.  

POC Photo/Paul O'Connell

When you hear the word burlesque, what comes to mind?

Some of us envision down and dirty night clubs populated by weary strippers clad in not much more than feather boas and G-strings. For most of the past century, burlesque has been synonymous with women doing a little bump and grind for mostly male audience members. Remember the musical "Gypsy?"

LeRoy Bell
Courtesy/LeRoy Bell Facebook Page

Most people know about singer-songwriter LeRoy Bell  from his appearances in 2011 as one of the top performers on the network television singing competition, The X Factor. But long before televised competitions, LeRoy Bell was at the top of the pop music charts.

Weekday's Annual Listener Spelling Bee

Mar 21, 2013
Spelling Bee
Flickr Photo/Wumpiewoo

The region's top middle school spellers go head to head this weekend in the King-Snohomish Regional Spelling Bee at Seattle's Town Hall. The winning wordsmith heads to Washington, DC, to compete in the 86th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. Last year's regional champ had to spell "putrescible." Think you have what it takes to win? Call 206.543.5869 and prove your spelling prowess on live radio against your fellow listeners.

Photo/Charles Peterson

You probably know the bands that put Seattle on the international music map in the early 1990s. Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam have become legends, but they're only part of the Seattle music story. Women rocked the scene, too. Gretta Harley came to Seattle in 1990, looking for her tribe, and she says she found it.

Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers perform "Nutcracker."
Angela Sterling

As the busy holiday shopping season revs up, it seems like retail stores and delivery services have the hardest working folks in town.  But another industry shifts into high gear after Thanksgiving: the arts.

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