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Archives: Feb. 2012


“National Print Show” at Pacific Lutheran University brings themes of compassion to Tacoma

Work by Janet Badger at the National Print Show at PLU. Courtesy photo.

Maybe it’s something about the nature of printmaking, which requires artists to spend many solitary, introspective studio hours in painstaking technical work, but the latest print show in town has brought out a strongly empathetic focus from printmakers around the nation. Pacific Lutheran University’s School of Arts and Communication opened its biannual National Print Show last week, and this year’s focus subject – compassion – is given strong attention.

It’s a comfortably-sized show, which is a good thing – big group shows can be overwhelming – and it’s worth both the trek out to campus and the hassle of daytime parking to see. One of four events in the SOAC Compassion series (the others are an upcoming documentary film, the play “Rabbit Hole” in March and a new choral composition about war in May), the print show delves into human themes of empathy, sorrow, hope, connection and desperation with quiet dignity, and some very skillful use of the print medium.

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New local artists invent and explore in “Dawn of 2012” at Fulcrum Gallery, Tacoma

Kelsi Finney, “Wild Thoughts.” Photo courtesy Fulcrum Gallery

“Dawn of 2012” has been up for a month already at Fulcrum Gallery, but it’s worth going again to see these emerging Tacoma-area artists spread their exploratory wings. The work isn’t all perfect by any means – you wouldn’t expect that – but it’s jolting, witty and inventive by turns, with a real freshness of approach that’s totally apt for the new year.

Two of the best are highly line-based, though with very different treatment. Meghan Mitchell, Tacoma-born with a recent BFA from Portland, does intricate graphite drawings of tangled ribbons swirling over delicately shaded clouds of texture. Like the work of M.C. Escher the three-dimensional puzzles draw you in, then spit you out as you realize there’s no beginning or end in sight. When she superimposes two cut-off hands it’s not as effective: They float arbitrarily over the leaf-like background in a weirdly (and misproportioned) way. But it’s tantalizing to imagine how awesome these textured tangles would be en masse if Mitchell ever decided to enlarge her work. Read more »


University of Puget Sound Tacoma’s “Pirates of Penzance” is a riot – in the best possible way.

There’s a lot on in Tacoma theaters this weekend – Tacoma Opera, the Northwest Sinfonietta, Les Ballets Trockadero – but if you want laughs, great singing and sheer value for money all in one show then head to the University of Puget Sound to hear the student production of “Pirates of Penzance,” with a last performance 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Lovers of Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious 19th-century operatic comedies will rejoice – at last, a local production! – and those who’ve never heard of these English gems with their ridiculously loquacious verbiage, completely silly antics and parody plots will

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Classical presenter Tacoma Philharmonic to merge with Broadway Center

After 75 years of offering classical music in Tacoma, presenting organization the Tacoma Philharmonic is merging into the Broadway Center for Performing Arts, the non-profit organization that manages Tacoma’s downtown theaters, which are owned by the City. The BCPA will now present the Philharmonic’s current classical series and educational programs under its own umbrella and management, manage the Philharmonic endowment and welcome Philharmonic trustees to the BCPA board.

The merger begins April 30, and follows a trial period of joint presentation after Tacoma Philharmonic executive director Andy Wood left early last year. Both boards voted unanimously on the move. Read more »


Critic’s Picks: Canonici in Old Town Tacoma, Tacoma Opera at Theatre on the Square, Northwest Sinfonietta at the Rialto and Gauguin at Seattle Art Museum

Canonici. Courtesy photo.

Canonici sings Renaissance love songs

Step back to Valentine’s Day in 1550 with a cappella group Canonici, who present “Plaisir d’Amour: The Pleasure of Love” as part of the free Classical Tuesdays in Old Town series. The program includes Renaissance love songs in English, French and Italian. 7 p.m. Feb. 14. Free, all ages. Slavonian Hall, 2306 N. 30th St., Tacoma. 253-752-2135, classicaltuesdays.blogspot.com

Kurt Weill with Tacoma Opera

Tacoma Opera’s annual Young Artists’ performances this weekend offer a cabaret version of music by Kurt Weill, the 20th-century German composer and enormous stage influence, with works like “The Threepenny Opera.” Cast members include Celeste Godin, Woong Kim, Ksenia Popova, Bryan Hiroto Stenson and Heather Weirich. 8 p.m. Feb. 11, 2 p.m. Feb. 12. $30. Theatre on the Square, 915 Broadway, Tacoma. 253-627-7789, www.tacomaopera.com. Read more »


Tacoma’s Gritty City Sirens burlesque troupe take on the Pantages, along with Olympia’s Tush and other Valentine goodies next Tuesday.

If you haven’t sorted out a Valentine’s date yet (and you know who you are, out there), this one’s for you. How about a luscious dessert, glass of wine, shopping op for the girls, a scantily-clad burlesque show and a live DJ’d dance party afterward, all in the one venue? Yep, it sounds good, and the good news is there are still tickets. It’s the “Sweet and Spicy Valentine’s Day Burlesque” show at the Pantages next Tuesday night, featuring Tacoma’s Gritty City Sirens and Olympia’s Tush.

Even better, the whole evening is a benefit for both the

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Galumpha rocks into Tacoma’s Pantages this weekend with acrobatics, physical comedy and more.

Galumpha. Courtesy photo.

Each year the Broadway Center for Performing Arts in Tacoma brings in a circus-based troupe, and they always pick a good one. This year it’s Galumpha, an East Coast trio of dancers who combine acrobatics, physical comedy and truly beautiful visuals in a Sunday afternoon show that will appeal to all ages.

Formed ten years ago, Galumpha’s success (including appearances on “The Late Show,” MTV, theaters and festivals around the world and plenty of awards) springs from a combination of inventive choreography and a light-hearted take on the world. Pieces like “Velcro” take an everyday item and explore the hilarious fall-out from over-applying it; others like “Human Fly” balance the dancers impressively on each other’s backs and feet while using perfectly-timed choreography (angled arms, fussing hands) to imitate another creature.

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Edgy humor and phenomenal juggling from the Flying Karamazov Brothers at ACT Theatre, Seattle

The Flying Karamazov Brothers. Photo: Carol Rosegg.

It’s been nearly 40 years since the Flying Karamazov Brothers got their start touring small festivals during the original members’ college days – but some things never change for this master group of jugglers and comedians. The theater is still madcap-vaudeville, the humor is still college-level (some of it) and the juggling is still simply astounding. But if you head along to ACT Theatre in Seattle this weekend to see their latest incarnation, be prepared for quite a few gasps – and maybe a bit of red-faced explaining to any pre-teens you take with you.

Let’s start with the gasps. As FKB veterans will know, this is not your average troupe of jugglers. These guys are what you’d get if you mated a glee club with four drummers and the fifth-grade class clown: They can juggle, yes, in the same way that Andrea Bocelli can sing, and they can do it while creating a rhythm with whatever comes to hand. Read more »