Arts

Dumi Maraire, the hip hop artist better known as Draze, will be performing at Northwest Folklife Festival this weekend.
Facebook Photo/Draze

Some of the roots of Seattle hip hop go back to Zimbabwe.

In 1968, Dumisani Maraire came to the University of Washington as an artist in residence to share the music of the Shona people. He was supposed to stay a year, but stayed and raised a family here. 

Now his two sons are active in Seattle’s hip hop scene: Tendai is half of Shabazz Palaces and Dumi Jr. is the hip hop artist “Draze.” Music was life for the Maraire family. 

Ross Reynolds interviews Ryan Harvie, co-director of a new documentary called "Bodyslam: Revenge of the Banana."

Between 2003 and 2009 a group called Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling was packing dive bars in Seattle with gonzo wrestling performances. Characters like Ronald McFondle, Eddie Van Glam and The Banana were cabaret fighters, spoofing wrestling pros. 

Eli and Oliver Abrahamson at home in 2012.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Memorial Day weekend in the Seattle area means barbecues, camping trips and the annual Northwest Folklife Festival.

This four-day festival of folk traditions convenes again Friday, May 22, at the Seattle Center. Attendees can experience everything from do-it-yourself drum circles to square dancing to a bevy of string bands.

Three years ago, we introduced audiences to the Oliver and Eli Abrahamson, two boys who got their musical start busking at Folklife. At the time, they and their parents performed together as the Smalltime String Band.

When the final episode came, after weeks of accolades and tributes to his genius, David Letterman made sure he punctured the emotion of the moment with a little old-fashioned, self-deprecating sarcasm.

The iconic sculpture in McCaw Hall, home of the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Opera.
Flickr Photo/Frank Fujimoto (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A new national survey ranks Seattle fourth in the nation when it comes to the number of nonprofit arts and culture organizations. That's higher than San Francisco or Minneapolis.

Longtime arts administrator Sue Coliton isn't surprised by that news.

Marcie Sillman talks to Nancy Pearl about a new planned trilogy that promises the same thrills and devotion as "Harry Potter." Pearl gives the first book in Edward Carey's series, "Heap House," two thumbs up. 

Jennie Reed rides during qualification for an individual pursuit race in London on Feb. 18, 2012.
Flickr Photo/Marc (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Seattle-area resident Jennie Reed thought that after a world championship and two Olympics, she was ready to end her racing career in track cycling.

But when a fellow racer asked her to be part of the first-ever women's Olympic cycling team pursuit event, Reed decided to answer the call.

Studhorse is the name of this Methow Valley home in Central Washington state. Here, compact living pavilions surround outdoor living spaces.
Courtesy Benjamin Benschneider/Olson Kundig Architects / Olson Kundig Architects

Marcie Sillman speaks with Tom Kundig, owner and principal of Olson Kundig Architects, about how the landscape and culture of the Northwest influenced his newest award-winning building, and how Northwest architecture reflects our changing culture.

From the beginnings of the Mad Men phenomenon, many of the show's fans wondered if superstar adman Don Draper was destined to write one of the iconic advertising catchphrases of the time.

So it's a testament to the skills of show creator Matthew Weiner that some regular viewers were still surprised by the show's series finale Sunday, which implies that Don invented the classic 1971 Coca-Cola campaign, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke." This, after he concluded a long, soul-searching trip through America with a trip to a California yoga retreat.

When Sam Swiller used hearing aids, his musical tastes ran to AC/DC and Nirvana — loud bands with lots of drums and bass. But after Swiller got a cochlear implant in 2005, he found that sort of music less appealing.

"I was getting pushed away from sounds I used to love," he says, "but also being more attracted to sounds that I never appreciated before." So he began listening to folk and alternative music, including the Icelandic singer Bjork.

It seemed as if he'd go on forever — and B.B. King was working right up until the end. It's what he loved to do: playing music, and fishing. Even late in life, living with diabetes, he spent about half the year on the road. King died Thursday night at home in Las Vegas. He was 89 years old.

Once the scene of tragedy, a school in the West Point slums of Liberia is now a work of art — and it's an international affair. Street artists from Baltimore collaborated with Liberian artists to create murals on the Nathaniel Varney Massaquoi Elementary and Junior High School.

Meditators at Seattle's Frye Art Museum during a recent weekly session.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Five years ago, Frye Art Museum senior deputy director Jill Rullkoetter was casting about for the perfect public program to accompany an art exhibit called "Seance" which featured the work of German artist Albert Von Keller.

"He depicted images of women in seances, and kind of having these out of body experiences," Rulkoetter explains.

She wanted to create some kind of participatory event that would bring museum-goers into the spirit of this artist's work.

After 26 seasons of giving life to nincompoops, do-gooders, and even God, actor Harry Shearer has announced he'll be leaving The Simpsons. A stalwart of the show, Shearer has voiced central characters such as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Reverend Lovejoy and Principal Seymour Skinner.

In a tweet sent in the wee hours of Thursday, Shearer said he was leaving "because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

Writer and performance artist Anastacia Tolbert
Courtesy of Zorn Taylor

Elizabeth Austen presents a piece by poet Anastacia Tolbert, a writer, performance artist and workshop facilitator. She's also a black woman and the mother of two sons.

Her poem "What To Tell My Sons After Trayvon Martin, After Michael Brown, After Medgar Evers, After, After, After, After and Before..." is a fierce assertion that black lives have always mattered. 

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