Five things worth knowing this week

Don’t Miss Big Sonia

This one has a personal connection, so permit me to make this a personal request.  We are screening what I think is a profound, sweet, moving, timely, and important documentary called Big Sonia. Please make time to join us. We have too many tickets available for this important documentary. I promise it will touch your heart at a time when I think we could all use a nudge toward our better angels.

Don’t let the picture fool you . . . Sonia is one tough lady.  A physically tiny woman, Sonia is one of an ever-dwindling group of Holocaust survivors and one of the few who speaks publicly about her experience. It’s an intense story. Spurred by yet another wave of holocaust denial, Sonia decided to speak out.

I know, I know . . . you’ve seen the grainy footage of the camps.  The whole thing is unpleasant to think about (which is why we need to not forget).  What more could we possibly need to know?

The answer is woven through this movie. In the end, Sonia’s story is about love, grit, and incredible optimism that has been tested, not just through the war years, but in the time since.  If you’ve read Viktor Frankl, you’ll recognize the themes. The scenes where Sonia visits a maximum security penitentiary are gut wrenching (watching her walk past razor wire) and yet moving (watching “hard core” inmates melt as they interact with Sonia).

I’ve seen the movie, the family has stayed in my house, I have spent time with the directors and producers.  Closer to home, my uncle spent his youth on the run from the Nazis in Southern France. Like some of you, I have personal connections to survivors.

Big Sonia is art at its best . . . art that challenges, art that encourages, art that reminds us of our shared humanity.  We need all of that and more right about now.  Please find time to come to one of the screenings.

Sunday, October 21st @1pm, Monday, October 22nd @ 1pm, Monday, October 22nd @ 7pm

These free screening are in conjuncture with the Arts & Humanities Series lecture on Sunday, October 21 | 4 pm


Kids Having Fun

Speaking of challenging, encouraging, and reminding of our humanity, I had the opportunity to this week to check out both our Late Start Art kids and the older kids at the Vashon Island Quilt Guild. Hard to say who was having more fun!  I’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.


14/48

Honestly, the idea of producing from whole cloth 14 original plays in just 48 hours seems the third or fourth craziest things I can imagine (I’m keeping the others to myself).  And yet . . . we’re doing it again on Vashon and it’s really going to be the must-see event of the season.

Says our Artistic Director, Angela Gist . . .

There’s no such thing as a comfort zone when you’re participating in a 14/48 Theatre Festival.  I realized this first-hand when I wrote for the festival in January.  14 new plays are created and performed in 48 hours. I have co-produced the festival before, but being on the inside is an experience unlike any other.

It is the camaraderie amongst a large group of some fifty theatre artists—writers, directors, actors, designers, technicians, and musicians that sets the tone for the company meeting the night before the first rehearsals begin.  The excitement in the room is contagious as we talk through the battle plan for the weekend.  Newcomers are indoctrinated and taught the ways of the festival—“go with your instincts”, “say Yes, and”, “make bold choices and take risks”, “when things get hard, RAISE THE STAKES!”, and most important to remember, “we’re all in this together”.

Don’t be that person at Minglement or on the boat Monday who has to look the other way when everyone else is talking about how much fun it was to watch 14-48!!!!

Friday, October 19, (first set of plays) at 7pm and 9pm / Saturday, October 20, (second set of plays) at 7pm and 9pm

Tickets available online and at the Box Office

Tickets for all 9pm shows are by donation


An Overflowing of Submissions

On October 15 we closed our open call for gallery proposals for the 2019 exhibit season.  And what an outpouring of goodness it is.  We were already feeling optimistic if not slightly overwhelmed when we were sitting on 60 proposals.  Between Thursday of last week and Monday we received another 50 entries brining our total to 110.

In round numbers, the submissions break out as follows, with great representation from artists from around the Pacific Northwest.

  • Photography: 20
  • Painting: 28
  • Mixed Media: 26
  • Works on Paper: 15
  • Three Dimensional: 10
  • Group Shows: 11

Our intrepid jury is meeting October 25 and we expect to announce our 2019 lineup on or about the 30th.


The Optimists Creed

In the movie Big Sonia, there is an incredible scene inside a prison where inmates are reading together something called the Optimist Creed.  I find myself looking at it often and recommend it to you with humility and gratitude.

Promise Yourself

  • To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  • To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
  • To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
  • To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
  • To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
  • To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  • To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
  • To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
  • To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
  • To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Finally, and this is a sixth thing

As you may know we recently hosted Judy Collins in our building, an artist who after 59 years of performing professionally still manages to fill a room with sound, beauty, and grace.  Her voice, even these many years on, is still just this side of the angels.

During the show she talked about her professional relationship with the great Leonard Cohen.  Indeed, fans of Miss Collins can surely recite song and verse of all the points of collaboration.  Here are three I hope you’ll enjoy.


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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