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Archives: April 2013

April
30th

Tacoma documentary on the MLK Ballet dance company by Mick Flaaen screens next Wednesday at the Washington State History Museum for the Seattle True Independent Film Festival

The Moving Company performs "Funeral" in Mick Flaaen's film "A Funeral Dance." Courtesy image.
The Moving Company performs “Funeral” in Mick Flaaen’s film “A Funeral Dance.” Courtesy image.

Next Wednesday night, two things are combining in the theater of the Washington State History Museum: the Seattle True Independent  Film Festival is making a debut appearance in Tacoma, and T-town filmmaker Mick Flaaen is seeing the final-cut screening of his fascinating 2012 documentary “A Funeral Dance,” capturing the backstage drama at MLK Ballet’s Moving Company as they prepare a new show.

For both festival and filmmaker, it’s a big deal.

“Any time you get into a festival, it’s a big deal,” says Flaaen, who caught STIFF’s attention last year with his short film “Paint” about Tacoma’s graffiti murals. “It’s so competitive now because of digital film. Festivals used to get around a thousand entries; now they’re getting three times that. Sundance got 11,000 entries last year.”

But Flaan is proving he’s got competitive chops. Read more »

April
29th

Tacoma Symphony plays Brahms, Beethoven and work by young Tacoma-born composer Alexandra Bryant at the Pantages this weekend

Composer Alexandra Bryant. Courtesy photo.
Composer Alexandra Bryant. Courtesy photo.

You may have heard of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, but this Saturday night it’s Brahms, Beethoven and Bryant – Alexandra Bryant, that is, a young Tacoma-born composer whose work “Strange Attractors” is getting a professional performance thanks to the Tacoma Symphony. The Pantages concert will be led by Paul Haas, the second of four candidates auditioning for the position of musical director, and will also feature Stephanie Leon Shames playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 3, as well as the Brahms Fourth  Symphony.

To be headlining two of the other great “B” composers is an honor, but it’s one Bryant deserves. Daughter of TSO violinist Andrea Bryant and a good violinist in her own right, Bryant grew up in Tacoma leading the UPS and Tacoma Youth symphonies. She went on to study composition at the Cleveland Institute and Rice University, and is currently finishing up her Ph.D. in composition at the University of Maryland. Her review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “a promising young composer” was picked up by TSO director Harvey Felder, who’d also been told by various orchestra members that he should listen to her work. Bryant’s “Strange Attractors” had in fact been premiered by the Tacoma Youth Orchestra in 2010, and it was this that Felder chose for Saturday’s “See Change II” concert, following a mission in this season to offer new works that had only one or two previous performances.

“I’m definitely excited about it,” said Bryant, who’ll be in town this week to work with Haas on the piece (and visit family, of course). “It’s a good feeling that what you’re doing is considered worth hearing.”

Read more »

April
26th

Tacoma Art Museum takes Haub wing plans to Landmarks Preservation Commission for May 8 vote

Olson Kundig's rendering of the western (Pacific Avenue side) elevation of TAM's expansion. Courtesy image.
Olson Kundig’s rendering of the western (Pacific Avenue side) elevation of TAM’s expansion. Courtesy image.

The Tacoma Art Museum and Seattle architects Olson Kundig brought their plans for the museum’s new Western American art wing before Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission at a meeting Wednesday night. Details on the renderings include a close-up of the building material – a Tacoma-made fiber and resin composite called Richlite – the louvred windows which will allow street views into the wing’s sculpture hall, layout of five internal galleries and a metal grill on the Pacific Avenue side of the overhanging canopy.

The 16,000-square-foot wing is budgeted at $15.5 million, and purpose-built to house the newly-donated, 280-piece Western art collection of German billionaire Erivan Haub and his wife Helga, who have a home on Fox Island. The Haubs are paying for part of the expansion, which also includes renovation of the existing lobby, street entrance and parking lot entrance areas. You can read more details in Craig Sailor’s story here.

The Commission had no big objections, says architect and commissioner James Steel, but there were some questions about transparency from the street and whether the ivy slope beneath the cantilevered wing would be closed in for safety.

“They did improve the museum’s entrance – it’s more recognizable and transparent from the street,” says Steel. “They improved the pedestrian feel, and it makes a stronger relationship to Tollefson Plaza.”

What’s interesting about the proposal, which the Commission will vote on May 8 (it has jurisdiction over the exterior look of the building, which is sited in the Union Depot conservation district), are the plans, which show close-up details. Read more »

April
26th

Critic’s Picks: Tacoma Performing Dance Company, Haimovitz/O’Riley at the Rialto, Gaelic at Museum of Glass and Salish Sea Early Music fest at Trinity Lutheran, Tacoma

 

The Tacoma Performing Dance Company in "Carmen Variations." Courtesy photo.
The Tacoma Performing Dance Company in “Carmen Variations.” Courtesy photo.

Tacoma Performing Dance Company offers new choreography at Stadium

The spring show for the Tacoma Performing Dance Company goes from brand-new choreography by director Jo Emery set to both country-and-western and Adèle, to ballroom-inspired work, to a “Chicago” number, to the ballet works “Carmen Variations” and “Tinkerbelles Fairies.” 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 27. $22 adults/$18 youth. Stadium High School performing arts center, 111 N. E St., Tacoma. 253-759-5714, tacomaperformingdance.org

Haimovitz and O’Riley fuse classical and rock at Rialto

Bending genres in a unique collaboration this Saturday are pianist Chritsopher O’Riley, host of NPR’s “From The Top” and acclaimed recording artist, and cellist Matt Haimovitz, in a program blending Radiohead, Arcade Fire and Blonde Redhead seamlessly with Stravinsky, Piazzolla and Bach. 7:30 p.m. April 27. $19-$54. Rialto Theater, 310 S. 9th St., Tacoma. 253-591-5894, broadwaycenter.org

Gaelic songs at Museum of Glass Read more »

April
25th

TMP’s Chris Serface takes over as director of Tacoma Little Theatre

Chris Serface. Courtesy photo.
Chris Serface. Courtesy photo.

Chris Serface, former educational director at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, will leave his position April 30 to take over as managing artistic director at Tacoma Little Theatre.  That position has been open since former director Scott Campbell left a year ago, with TLT’s production manager Brie Yost acting in an interim capacity.

“I felt that it was time to take on a new challenge and help keep the arts flourishing in our community,” said Serface in an email.

For the last five years Serface has managed the large educational program at TMP, including camps, after-school programs and performances. A Pacific Northwest native, Serface has also worked with other theaters around the country as an actor, director, technician, manager, educator and musician, and was a district supervisor for Hollywood Entertainment for seven years. Read more »

April
24th

Sherman Alexie reads and signs new book “Blasphemy” at Urban Grace

blasphemy cover art“Blasphemy” in a church? Well, yes, if it’s Sherman Alexie‘s new book.

The acclaimed Washington writer comes to Tacoma’s Urban Grace Church next Tuesday, reading from and signing his latest book of bitingly candid short stories, “Blasphemy” in a free public event organized by the Tacoma Public Library.

A collection that Publisher’s Weekly called “glimpses into a harried and conflicted humanity” with “plenty of bawdiness and Alexie’s signature wicked humor,” “Blasphemy” was released in October last year and instantly made the top-books lists in Kirkus Review, the New York Times and NPR. In 30 short stories Alexie covers contemporary issues like racism, addiction and infidelity with his usual candor and sharp wit, ranging from road-trip morality tales to lethal wind-turbines, from Asian manicure salons to donkey basketball leagues, from homeless Indians to hearing loss.

Born in 1966 to a Coeur d’Alene father and Spokane Indian mother, Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and has had an award-winning 20-year career publishing 20 books of adult and young adult novels as well as short stories. He lives in Seattle. Read more »

April
23rd

Celebrated opera baritone Sherill Milnes comes to Tacoma for public talks, workshop and fundraiser for Tacoma Opera’s Young Artist program

Opera fans, rejoice: Sherill Milnes is coming to town. No, not to sing – the former opera superstar’s heyday was in the last quarter of the 20th century, and it was a big one, ranging over almost every baritone role in the repertoire and every major house on several continents. But Milnes will be giving four public events: one this Saturday at a interview meet-and-greet fundraiser for Tacoma Opera’s Young Artist program, free one-hour talks at both the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University next Monday, and a vocal workshop Monday night at UPS.

So

Read more »

April
22nd

Simon Shaheen brings Arab-Western fusion on oud and violin to Tacoma’s Theatre on the Square

Tacoma’s being treated to a wealth of Arabic music lately, as international oud and violin player Simon Shaheen – who recently played an Old Town Tuesday concert as well as school visits – returns for a concert Friday at Theatre on the Square.

Shaheen, called one of the most significant Arab musicians of his generation, is a virtuoso on both the lute-like oud and the violin, bridging Western classical, jazz and traditional Arabic music with both “mesmerizing frenzy” and “quiet tenderness,” according to ARAMCO World Magazine.

A Palestinian born in the Galilee area, Shaheen grew up playing both instruments,

Read more »