Five things worth knowing this week

Monster Mash

File this in the “too cool for school” file, except that it’s all about our schools!

Art rooms at ALL THREE Vashon Island School District schools have participated in creating a Monster Mash!  Kindergarteners at Chautauqua created monster drawings to scare and delight. Then those drawings were delivered to the ceramics class at Vashon High School.  Each was adopted by a “big brother / big sister” student who turned the drawing art into 3D ceramic ghoulish reality.

Then it got funner still.  Photography students at McMurray created portraits of each sculpture. And wonder of wonder, the ceramic monsters sent invitations to the Kinders to come down to the Blue Heron to see their ceramic selves!!!

You can too.

All work, from drawing to sculpture to portrait, is on display through November in the Blue Heron Education Center Gallery!  Come on by tonight, November 2, from 6pm – 8pm to get the added bonus of talking with the artists about their work at First Friday.


Buddy Building Bash Part 2

I wrote last week about an event our Vashon Center for Dance pulled together  to have some fun and do some team building across generations of our dancers.  The pictures from the event say it all.  We are blessed as an organization and as a community to have in our midst such a vibrant, creative, and mutually supportive “dance family.”  Thank you to everyone involved!


Wordless Stories and The Problem With Some Words

On Friday, November 2 at 6:00 P.M. we will publicly unveil an exhibit of truly extraordinary Vashon Artists, people whose names figure in significant galleries, public places, and private collections across the country.  I’ve written this before: “Hanging week” is a magical time at The Kay.  Watching the art get hung, spending time with the artists, looking at things this way and that . . . well, it’s hard to top.

One trick we are still attempting to master is faultless proofreading. We publish so much, so often, relying on a menagerie of people to source content and move it through to publication, that we inevitably miss something.  Names are the worst because spellcheckers play havoc with names like  Wordless Story artist Cris Bruch . . . which every time I saw it was spelled some other way.  The surname of the brothers Nelsen were similarly mangled along the way.

I have already begged forgiveness and hoping the word mavens out there will agree.  We vow to do better.

The dates are another thing.  Sheesh.

So to clear things up for the poets among us . . .

  • Poetry submissions are due end of day, November 18th.
  • The closing party and reading date is Thursday November, 29th.  The key word there is THURSDAY. We’ll start at 7:00.

Please come and see this extraordinary show.  In the meantime, enjoy these pictures of one of Scott Fife’s pieces going up (and a fun view of one of Cris’ pieces).


I’m With Pablo

I found this quote by Pablo Picasso the other day while working on an end-of-year fund raising letter (yes, we’ll be sending one out soon).

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

I couldn’t agree more.

Whatever your political persuasion or views on current events, I think we can all agree it feels like we are living in dusty times.  The 7.7 hours a day the average American spends marinating in media (that statistic is hard to believe, but check it out) isn’t helping . . . and I’ve seen other studies that put the figure closer to 12 hours if you count multi-tasking.  Ugh.

I don’t know if spending time with art is the cure for all that hounds us, but it’s a place to start.  So please, please . . . Support what you love and spend time with art.  Make some.  Sing some.  Come see some, here at VCA or any of the other places on Vashon that show and feature our many wonderful visual and performing artists.  And yes, please listen to VOV every chance you get . . . ’cause what they’re playing is art!


Exploring the American Narrative

We have a big weekend at VCA.  Besides the Monster Mash and Wordless Stories, we are showcasing some amazing talent on our stage.

First up is the latest installment in our Local Music Series, produced for us by the cool kids over at Vashon Events and generously underwritten by our good friends over at John L. Scott.

Think of Friday as “singer songwriters gone wild,” featuring three talented fellas . . . JD Hobson, Gregg Curry and Jeff Kanzler.  In the long tradition running through Woody Guthrie (see following item), this will be a tasty meal of American music via the blues, roots music, country, bluegrass, folk rock, and gospel.  Gotta be there.

Show starts at 7:30.  Tickets are free.  Come help it be a sellout.

On Saturday at 7:30 and again on Sunday at 4:00, we will explore the American Dream from a different direction courtesy of the good people at Intiman Theater.

I should back up.

For the past four years, Intiman Theatre has produced some stunning work through its Intiman Emerging Artists Program (IEAP).  This program brings together a diverse group of local artists for professional training and development that prepares them to work professionally in the region. The program culminates in an exciting Showcase Production with performances by the Emerging Artist Actors. 

And for the first time, Intiman is bringing this theatrical goodness to The Kay where we’ll have the opportunity to hear a selection of these original stories that illustrate the new American dream. 

This is good stuff and I think we’re presenting it at an important time.  Please come see for yourself.

Click here for tix.


Finally, and this is a sixth thing

Staying with the Americana theme of this post, I went down a rabbit hole this week . . . and taking a deep breadth, I’m going to share the journey with you.

I’m guessing you know the famous Woody Guthrie song, This Land is Your Land . . . one of the great American folks songs, and often twinned with God Bless America in the pantheon of patriotic songs that are easier to hum along to than our anthem.

Growing up, I remember singing This Land in third grade and listening to versions by Pete Seeger and Peter Paul and Mary. Later generations might feel more rooted in versions by Bruce Springsteen, The Waterboys, Johnny Cash, or Arlo Guthrie (sung at a big farm-aid event with Willy Nelson, Neil Young, and a whole lot more).  It’s been sung by a lot of people.

All that aside, I haven’t thought about This Land in forever until randomly I saw a commercial for a famous whiskey company built on that very song I’m not here to promote the brand, but I am here to tell you LA-based band Chicano Batman just plain slays it.

Again, this is an advert for whiskey.  If that offends you, please don’t watch the video.  If not, rock on.  You won’t be disappointed.  Then keep reading.

So down the rabbit hole I went.  After refreshing my memory of the versions from my youth, I found this straight-up fabulous version by a group of The United States Army Field Band, also known as the Six String Soldiers.

And just to round out the story, how about this kick-butt version by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings!

That’s what I’m talking about!

In case you’re fuzzy on your Depression-era history, Woody Guthrie was a champion of the little guy, of farmers and of the working class.  He wrote This Land is Your Land as a direct response to what he saw as the overplaying of  of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” on the radio. He thought the lyrics were “unrealistic and complacent.”  What he wrote certainly wasn’t that.

Most of us are only familiar with the first few verses of This Land.  You can see the political commentary much more clearly in the last three verses.

This Land Is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Lest you misunderstand me, while the song has deep political roots, my writing about it is not meant to be. At the point we can find great versions by such a wide range of performers, I think we can safely say it is our song about our land.

Like I said, I went down a rabbit hole.  I enjoyed the process of getting reacquainted with the song. Now you can too.


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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