Five things worth knowing this week
1 – Tickets to richer life for sale every day
One of the many virtues of living on Vashon is the tasty cultural stew so many of us are cooking on a weekly basis. Hardly a day goes by when there isn’t an opportunity to contemplate wonderful visual art, sample music of nearly every genre on stages big, small, and hardly at all, and feed your literary soul with drama, readings, and dramatic performances.
Indeed, the calendar at VCA is nicely populated with classical music, musical history, art history, jazz, dance, a locally produced movie, and BRIAN DOYLE . . . and that’s just this month.
I do want to place a double underline under the Brian Doyle presentations at VCA this weekend.
To digress just slightly, the man was a literary giant (IMHO) who died way too young, surely with stories left to be caught and told.
Fortunately, longtime islanders and VCAers Gerry and Michael Feinstein have committed their not inconsiderable energy to keeping Brian’s light lit and his stories telling and told through two wonderful events this weekend at VCA. I wrote about them here and you can read about them in the latest issue of the Beachcomber here.
We are celebrating Mr. Doyle in two parts this weekend, Kissing the Joy as it Flies, an original work by the Feinsteins and Story Catcher, a lecture and panel discussion. As I type this (furtively and quietly as I can) I am sitting in the back of our theater listening to the dress rehearsal of Kissing. Tis’ a beautifully wrought work of dialog and verse with music sung and played by the always superb Kat Eggleston.
Come. It will do your heart good.
2 – Tile with a master
There are still a few spots left in Cory Winn‘s Terra Cotta Tile class, March 30th!
Vashon Artists in Schools director, Kaycie Alanis, had the opportunity to take this wonderful class with Cory and remembers how fun and inspiring it was:
“Cory is so patient, such a great problem-solver–and really committed to helping students achieve their creative visions.”
Kaycie created a tile with an elephant and calf motif, backed in a bright, beautiful red and we think it’s gorgeous. The technique employed is known as cuerda seca—using liquid wax to define a design on tile, preventing the glazes from running together. The process can be particular, but Cory makes it accessible to every student.
“Students in my class were fearless,” Kaycie says. “They embraced the process and jumped right in with complex, interesting designs. And Cory helped each student find success.”
Come on your own or share the experience with friends. Enjoy an afternoon of art–as well as some tasty drinks and appetizers, too. And make something beautiful you’ll treasure.
Terra Cotta Tiles
Saturday, March 30th | 1-6 pm
Tuition: $90 Member | $100 General (tuition includes $20 materials fee)
Instructor: Cory Winn
Location: VCA Greenroom
Register for classes Here
3 – Debussy in the house
Everyone who attended last year’s Music History series hosted/presented/anchored/propelled by Michael Tracy agreed it was nothing short of an aesthetic, educational, and performative tour de force. Mike is back this year with a short, two lecture series that opens Sunday, March 31.
I caught up with Mike to talk about what’s on offer.
Me: Mike, this is your second year doing this series. Why Debussy? What’s the story line for this series?
Mike: Last year we explored music of the 19thCentury – to about 1870. So, this season we are exploring composers who started the 20thcentury: Debussy and Ravel. Still today, 100 years later their music sounds new and modern. They are the perfect segue to when my series moves to jazz.
Me: You’ve been immersed in classical music nearly your entire life. Is there a moment or performance when Debussy went from being part of the classical canon to someone more personally interesting to you?
Mike: I would guess I finally started to appreciate Debussy when listening to Miles Davis and Bill Evans, two great 20th century jazz artists. Now When I play Debussy at the piano, I often like to improvise into a jazz idiom. So that makes it quite personal for me.
Me: Do you have a favorite work? A favorite recording?
Mike: It’d have to be Slava Gryaznov’s recording of Debussy’s “Prelude l’apres midi du faun” that Slava transcribed for solo piano from the orchestral original. Minus the wondrous color of the orchestration, as a solo piano piece you hear the surreal harmonies Debussy has created. Luckily enough many on Vashon heard Slava perform this at VCA in February.
Me: You worked with Mark Salman last year. Do I understand that his son will be part of this series as well?
Mike: Pianist Mark Salman performed at my Chopin and Liszt lectures, and I give him credit for their great success. So, when I decided on Debussy and Ravel for the next lectures, I asked Mark to come back.
We both knew that Ravel had transcribed Debussy’s Prelude for two pianos, and in the Salman family both father and son play superbly. Mark’s son Benjamin is a recent graduate of Stanford, and even in high school here in Seattle he was recognized as a gifted pianist. So Mark and Benjamin will play on two pianos, and thankfully VCA does have two grands!
Me: How did you find Mark and what should audiences listen for when he plays?
Mike: I found Mark Salman through a search on YouTube where I found videos of him playing Liszt, Chopin, Schubert, etc. Immediately I heard a virtuoso and wanted him for my lectures. What Mark brings to the audience is an amazing sensitive and emotional touch to the piano. With Mark you are never lost in a piece, his logic and line keeps you in the music.
Get your tickets here.
4 – Point Defiance in the House
Here’s another example of the tasty cultural stew I mentioned a few paragraphs back. When we heard about the opportunity to screen Point Defiance, produced by Islander Mark Sayre, we did backflips on the way to saying, “Heck, yeah!!!”
Here’s the 411 directly from Mark
Point Defiance [the movie] was shot entirely on Vashon, which I think may be of particular interest to the community here for that reason alone.
The film stars of Derek Phillips of Friday Nights Lights/Longmire fame, along with riveting performances from up-and-comer Josh Crotty and Sarah Butler (lead of the I Spit On Your Grave franchise), among others.
This is also Justin Foia’s first feature film, who lived in Seattle for many years. He has gone on to direct DOE, another feature films of ours, and is a rising talent with several other upcoming productions in the pipeline. This film is very special to me and I think the islanders would greatly enjoy it – very neat flick.
Lights go down and the film comes up at 7:00 on Friday, March 15. The best part, it’s $5 at the door and it’s a donation.
In case you need to tell all your friends (please), here’s the elevator pitch:
While under house arrest, stockbroker Peter Allen’s (Derek Phillips) world is turned upside down after his troubled brother Alex (Josh Crotty) returns from military duty in Afghanistan, forcing Peter to face a forgotten past harboring a dark secret.
Watch the teaser here!
5 – Fiber Arts Show, A Love Letter
On Friday, March 1, we opened a show for the ages . . . 44 of our island friends and neighbors debuted an astonishing and spectacular ensemble of every sort of fiber art to an amazed and amazing crowd. It was steadily at near mosh-pit levels from a bit after 6:00 to nearly 8:00. If you were there, you know what the galleries felt and looked like. The art, the energy, the love, the delight . . . someone said that these things used to be about the art and now we’ve made them about the community.
Hanging the show was a truly collaborative effort of staff and volunteers. Gallery Business Manager Lynann Politte and Board Member and Britt Freda ensured that the final presentation was spacious, harmonious, and balanced. Just to point out one scene, I would say that the macramé wall in the Koch is one of the most beautiful displays to ever grace our galleries and would be equally acclaimed in any area gallery up to and including the Seattle Art Museum.
But wait, there was more. It turns out Kaycie Alanis, who so ably directs Vashon Artists in Schools, is also a closeted gallerist. The student photo and encaustic show she hung in our Pinky and Thumb galleries is a masterclass in organization, aesthetics, design, and love for her program, our programs, and our VCA family. Another 50 or so young artists had the chance to show their work!
So, for all of you who played a role, for all of you who came to our opening party . . . THANK YOU. Fully realizing that everyone is living a fully engaged life these days, all I can say to those of you who were not able to attend. . . these brilliant local fiber artists are on display for the rest of the month.
Wait, wait . . . there actually is more. This Saturday, March 9, we’re showcasing a demonstration of Yarn Crafts and Rug Hooking.
Learn basic knitting and crocheting. Discover Kumihimo, a Japanese style of braiding, and make a keychain to take home. Join into a community project, a colorful long Pom Pom garland. Learn the traditional craft of rug hooking from an expert. Supplies and instructions are provided.
Join us between 1:00 and 3:30.
6- Finally, and this is a sixth thing
The “sixth thing” is always a tug of war between what I’m reading, thinking about, and listening to. For example, I’ve been listening to Michelle Obama read her autobiography, Becoming . . . and I have to say it’s just fabulous. Does that mean I’m reading it too?
I continue to obsess broadly about the deleterious effect of the daily digital assault on our hearts, minds, and souls . . . conscious of the fact I’m contributing in some small way by writing this missive. At least I generally confine myself to subjects I hope support your spirit and stir your soul.
I ran across this list of Ten Best Albums from 2018 curated by someone at Time Magazine and embarrassed to say I knew none of them (my tastes run to jazz, classical, that sort of thing).
Now I do.
Some good music here.
I should warn you, this last one contains a fair bit of profanity. But Cardi B is all the rage, and if you didn’t know her before, now you can say you know who she is.
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.