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caption: Wonder Boy, by Barbara Earl Thomas.
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Wonder Boy, by Barbara Earl Thomas.
Credit: Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum

These end of summer arts and culture picks amuse and inspire

We may be in the waning days of summer, but there are still plenty of events to explore. Seattle Times arts and culture reporter Brendan Kiley shared some of his favorites with KUOW’s Kim Malcolm.

Ms. Pak-Man: Breakout!

The character is based on the iconic '80s video game character Ms. Pac-Man. This fantastic comedy actor Scott Shoemaker anthropomorphized her, but made her sort of a bitter and angry train wreck. The idea is that she peaked in the '80s and has been cratering ever since. Now she's trying to resuscitate her career as a lounge act, but she's a mess. She sings, she dances —sometimes begrudgingly— but what she really wants to do is tell us confessional stories about her divorce, and her pill problems, and her affairs, and her wreckage. You're sort of laughing with her, laughing at her, and laughing at the part of yourself that resembles her. It's kind of layered that way.

Cafe Racer relaunches on Capitol Hill

Racer was a café, bar, a music venue and a real authentic feeling community space in this city, where people are lamenting the loss of those. It had to close during the pandemic, but it's back. It will continue to be a bar, a live music venue, an art gallery and recording studio. It'll be great to have a down-home community spot like that on Capitol Hill.

Barbara Earl Thomas: The Geography of Innocence

Thomas is one of Seattle's great living artists. She studied with Jacob Lawrence, among others, at the University of Washington. About seven years ago, she started working at a new media: cut paper. Her work with that is just stunning.

This is a solo exhibit at Seattle Art Museum, a series of portraits of Black children. It's very affirming of basic humanity. As Thomas herself has said, popular culture and media often depict Black children as less innocent, more knowing and devious than white children. She chose Black children specifically for this exhibition, which at times almost feels like a sacred space, like a chapel. It's really powerful.

Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.