Friday Fish Wrap 6.22.18

Five things worth knowing this week

Many Masks. A week or so ago, we put a call out to VAIS supporting artists to help raise money for this wonderful program  . . . by making masks we could sell at our September Art Auction and Gala (theme: Masquerade).

Well, Patty Gregorich’s Drama class has taken the Many Masks projects to a whole new level, with each student creating three, four, five or even more masks for VCA’s auction guests to wear this September.  These McMurray students have used a creative array of materials for masks ranging from sophisticated to playful to spirited.  Now there really is no reason to not have something fabulous to wear for this wonderful event.  The kids will be there to model and sell their masks. This will be fun.

The Wonder of Quilts. I’ve been here nearly every day for five months and I’m continually surprised and delighted by what I find by just wandering around.  It turns out that on the third Tuesday of the month, the Vashon Island Quilt Guild gathers in our building to share their great work (and wonderful goodies). They’re preparing for their every-other year quilt show, this one called “Quilted Island Heirlooms: Yesterday’s, Today’s and Tomorrow’s.”

Saturday July 14th and Sunday July 15th
Admission:  $5.00
Location:  Vashon High School Gym
9600 SW 204th St
​Vashon Island, WA 98070

14/48 Collaboration. Vashon Center for the Arts and Open Space for Arts and Community continue their collaboration, planning to produce 14/48: The World’s Quickest Theater Festival on Vashon over the weekend of October 18-20, 2018 at VCA’s Katherine L White Hall.

In preparation for the third incarnation of this community-building, chops-busting, art-generating adventure, a meeting was held onstage at The Kay with the artists behind the Vashon festival.  Pictured: Angela Gist, VCA Artistic Director, David Godsey, Open Space for Arts and Community’s co-founder, Mik Kuhlman local and international performer, and Anthony Winkler, Board Member for The 14/48 Projects.

14/48: Vashon, The World’s Quickest Island Theater Festival.  What is it? Over the festival weekend a never-before-assembled ensemble of island artists collaborates to produce 14 world premiere short plays in 48 hours.  Written, directed, scored, teched, and presented over one rotation of the Earth, each day sees seven plays spring up overnight, like mushrooms.  United by a randomly generated theme, each group offers a unique spectrum of viewpoints on our contemporary condition.  Seven writers, seven directors, musicians, designers, and dozens of actors test their craft and their courage as they race the clock to bring Vashon audiences the freshest plays of the day.

Vote for Seattle Symph!  Every year Gramophone recognizes an Orchestra of the Year.  This year our very own Seattle Symphony is one of just “eight ensembles who have made a particular impression on [Gramophone’s] critics this year. Importantly, Seattle Symph is the ONLY US based group on the list.  In the words of the folks at Gramophone, “ After last year’s Gramophone Award-shortlisted Mahler Tenth, we’ve had a bracing and thrilling coupling of Nielsen’s Third and Fourth Symphonies.”

Voting closes at midnight on July 31. The winner will be announced at this year’s Gramophone Classical Musical Awards on September 13, 2018. Click here to cast your vote.  It will literally take 22 seconds.

New Toaster.  It’s the little things that count.  Thursday morning a brand new toaster showed up in our kitchen.  Bliss in a box.  Just typing this makes me think about English Muffins.

Finally, and this is actually a sixth item, I learned about Boyd Varty while listening to an NPR Podcast,  This self-describe “”World Village Builder” talks about “Ubunutu.”  Read what he has to say from his Ted Talk, “What I learned from Nelson Mandela.

Mandela said often that the gift of prison was the ability to go within and to think, to create in himself the things he most wanted for South Africa: peace, reconciliation, harmony. Through this act of immense open-heartedness, he was to become the embodiment of what in South Africa we call “ubuntu.”Ubuntu: I am because of you. Or, people are not people without other people. It’s not a new idea or valuebut it’s one that I certainly think at these times is worth building on. In fact, it is said that in the collective consciousness of Africa, we get to experience the deepest parts of our own humanity through our interactions with others. Ubuntu is at play right now. You are holding a space for me to express the deepest truth of who I am. Without you, I’m just a guy talking to an empty room, and I spent a lot of time last week doing that, and it’s not the same as this.

Could there be a more healing word than that?  And isn’t that what VCA should be all about?  Boyd goes on to tell a story about a baby elephant that will touch your heart.  Warning, you may want to grab a hanky right about now.

Now although the root word is about people, I thought that maybe ubuntu was only about people. And then I met this young lady. Her name was Elvis. In fact, Solly gave her the name Elvis because he said she walked like she was doing the Elvis the pelvis dance. She was born with very badly deformed back legs and pelvis. She arrived at our reserve from a reserve east of us on her migratory route.

When I first saw her,I thought she would be dead in a matter of days. And yet, for the next five years she returned in the winter months. And we would be so excited to be out in the bush and to come across this unusual track. It looked like an inverted bracket, and we would drop whatever we were doing and we would follow, and then we would come around the corner, and there she would be with her herd. And that outpouring of emotion from people on our safari trucks as they saw her, it was this sense of kinship. And it reminded me that even people who grow up in cities feel a natural connection with the natural world and with animals.

And yet still I remained amazed that she was surviving. And then one day we came across them at this small water hole.It was sort of a hollow in the ground. And I watched as the matriarch drank, and then she turned in that beautiful slow motion of elephants, looks like the arm in motion, and she began to make her way up the steep bank. The rest of the herd turned and began to follow.

And I watched young Elvis begin to psych herself up for the hill. She got visibly — ears came forward, she had a full go of it and halfway up, her legs gave way, and she fell backwards. She attempted it a second time, and again, halfway up, she fell backwards. And on the third attempt, an amazing thing happened. Halfway up the bank, a young teenage elephant came in behind her, and he propped his trunk underneath her, and he began to shovel her up the bank. And it occurred to me that the rest of the herd was in fact looking after this young elephant.

The next day I watched again as the matriarch broke a branch and she would put it in her mouth, and then she would break a second one and drop it on the ground. And a consensus developed between all of us who were guiding people in that area that that herd was in fact moving slower to accommodate that elephant.

What Elvis and the herd taught me caused me to expand my definition of ubuntu, and I believe that in the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the most beautiful parts of ourselves reflected back at us. And it is not only through other people that we get to experience our humanity but through all the creatures that live on this planet. If Africa has a gift to share, it’s a gift of a more collective society. And while it’s true that ubuntu is an African idea, what I see is the essence of that value being invented here.

You can listen to the entire TED talk by clicking the link below (it’s just 12 minutes).



Why “Fish Wrap”? Years ago, living in San Francisco, I became a devotee of a legendary journalists named Herb Caen. While he may not have been the first to use the phrase in connection with “yesterday’s news,” he is the one I remember. Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish wrap. Maybe it’s a generational thing. At any rate, we call our Friday wrap up, The Friday Fish Wrap . . . Five things worth knowing about VCA this Friday.



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