Sometimes things come together in such unexpectedly and wonderful ways. This week feels like one of those times.
1 – It’s Go Time
Welcome to a week (and a month) in a year like no other.
Hosting Seattle Dance Collective and showcasing the world premiere of a significant body of dance work is a big, big deal. It would be big if it we’re happening at McCaw Hall in Seattle, but it’s happening here.
At the same time, we are in week two of our second ever Vashon Summer Arts Fest. If you haven’t visited the gallery, please do. The quality of the art and the care with which it has been displayed is really remarkable. It’s a show that would hold its own in any of the commercial galleries in Seattle . . . if only their spaces were as accommodating and as lovely as ours.
And right behind all of this is a massive push to get our 2019 Gala Auction in the air.
We have never done something on the scale of SDC. There are very few (none) arts organizations that take on something like VSAF . . . I mean seriously, who in their right might would turn a gallery every week?
I have asked a lot of our staff, board, and volunteers this past year and we have individually and collectively moved our beloved organization forward and upward by leaps and bounds. I believe what we are doing matters. We have much of which to be proud.
We’ve had some brilliant moments this week, this month, and this past year. Many in fact.
We’ve also had some pinch points. It comes with the territory. Sometimes our ticketing system fights us. We mix up a seating chart. We send out an email we didn’t mean to and we fail to send a letter we should have. The list goes on.
Please know that everyone is trying their best. Sometimes we can do better. Sometimes we can reach out and take an even bigger load. Sometimes we can barely support the load we’ve taken on.
But we can always proceed with love, find a kind word, make an offer to help someone who could use a hand, find an extra smile . . . and if someone feels bruised, we can take a breath, extend a hand and a heart, and remember we’re all in this together.
We’re all in this together.
2 – Puppets in the house
The story of our week begins with puppets. Magic-maker Adam Ende has spent the week leading an intrepid group of young students through all phases of becoming puppeteers.
Starting with a fabulous mélange of “found objects,” the newly formed troupe has worked together to develop a story and script using collaborative writing techniques. They have constructed props and puppets by drawing, painting, sculpting, formingpaper mache, and fabricating cardboard constructions.
At the same time (or nearly), the young troupe has been honing its performance skills through improv exercises, theater games, and play. The whole journey lands at the Blue Heron Education Center for a 3:00 PM show, Friday July 12th. All are welcome.
3 – Queue amazing masks
The story continues our gallery and atrium.
Last week we hung the first show of the first week of our second annual Vashon Summer Arts Fest. Everyone who saw it agreed it was a stunning debut for the show and a breathtaking showcase for the first set of the 100 island artists in the festival.
This week we added round two, a sweeping survey of what our island makers have been up to this past year . . . brilliant works in wood, stone, steel, and precious metals.
We’ve had lots of people in the building while we’ve loaded in and displayed the new work, and to a person, they agree with my assessment that the whole show could be taken to any gallery in Seattle and be met with praise and open checkbooks. It’s that good.
James Chesney’s concrete masks are a show unto themselves. It is hard to overstate their impact and presence.
What has me all goosebumpy is the visual conversation the masks create with Robin Jones’ rapturous portraits and Kim Ferrell’s quietly powerful black and white photography . . . from eye to eye to eye.
What I didn’t see coming was the telepathic dialog from these three artists to the mask making puppeteers going on at exactly the same time in our Blue Heron Education Center.
I’d tell you we planned it, and we did, but not in the way it has come to pass. Come see for yourself.
4 – And then came Seattle Dance Collective
Do you remember the feeling of a first date, or your tenth birthday, or maybe a holiday morning? You could barely sleep the night before. The next day couldn’t get here fast enough. No appetite. Just too excited for words?
We do too.
That’s what it was like on the VCA campus Monday morning as the Seattle Dance Collective dancers began gathering for their week on Vashon rehearsing for their first-ever performances.
Clad in all manner of “comfortable” apparel, clutching coffee cups from most of the island establishments, you couldn’t miss them for professional dancers. Elegant. Graceful. Fluid. Fabulous in sweatpants.
Soon the rehearsals began . . . and I couldn’t help myself. I went over to the Blue Heron dance studio ten times if I went once (I went ten times). You just can’t take your eyes off of them, even when they’re just stretching.
And when they start to dance? Sublime. Transporting. Stunning. Crazy good. And they were just practicing. I’m not sure what’s better than perfect, but whatever that is, that’s what’s waiting for you when the lights go down and the curtain parts if you are here for one of the four premiere shows.
We still have some tickets. Get yours here or come to the box office.
. . .
This third item adds to the remarkable energetic symphony. Picture it. While the young troubadours are learning how to stage a puppet show in the downstairs classroom at the Blue Heron, the big puppets, some of the finest dancers in the Pacific Northwest, are upstairs rehearsing their world premiere . . . two dance world premieres in one building at the same time.
Only at VCA.
5 – Come hear Christine Andreas
Sometimes this way a Broadway legend comes.
The show is called “Love Is Good,” and here’s what the critics have to say about Ms. Andreas:
“The most thrilling rendition of “La Vie en Rose” this side of Edith Piaf.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“Her engagement with lyrics is so intense that you feel you are her, living the song she is performing.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“Songbird Christine Andreas….is everything anyone who loves romantic pop music could want—simply sine qua non” – Liz Smith, New York Post
“Love Is Good, and so is the pure, shining voice of the angelic Christine Andreas…it‘s an incredible instrument, that voice of hers..…restrained and heartfelt, she truly connects with the lyrics’ emotions—and with ours” – Time Out New York
“Love Is Good” is a shared musical valentine between super talented husband and wife devoid of the lovey-dovey cuteness that can curdle marital duets in nightclubs. It is a breathtaking tour through some of the all-time classic love songs.
I’ve heard Ms. Andreas sing a couple of different times. The critics don’t lie, at least to my ears. Her voice ranges from subtle and sweet as the morning sunrise, to powerful and commanding in that “can’t turn away” way you expect from a singer of her caliber.
Ms. Andreas, I’m sorry, I have to call her Christine . . . Christine has a gaudy resume that you can read about here. Or better yet, treat yourself to a chance to fall in love with a great artist performing great songs in a great venue. You deserve it!
Hear Christine live in this exclusive Pacific Northwest engagement only at Vashon Center for the Arts on August 10. Buy lots of Tickets here.
6 – Finally, and this is a sixth thing
I was quite taken by an article in the Washington Post the other day, entitled Aretha: Her story was in her songs. An interesting and fun list and a great article if you like Aretha (and who doesn’t like Aretha!?).
Without all the words, here are the songs the guest authors chose . . .
The first is Dr. Feelgood (Love is a Serious Business)
Second on the list is Carole King’s, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman that was recorded live at Kennedy Center in 2015 with the Obamas and Ms. King in attendance.
Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” There are a lot of versions online. Here’s the studio album version . . .
If you have time, listen to this live version. Chilly willies it will give you.
I had never heard this on, Sisters are Doin’ It For Themselves, written by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.
You’ll know this one, but did you know Aretha recorded it? She was literally a last-minute fill-in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti, singing Nessun Dorma. . .
I wouldn’t care to guess how many times Aretha sang Amazing Grace, and that’s the sixth and final entry on this list. I listened to several and settled on this version she sang on Oprah in 2003.