GO Arts

Everything new on the walls, stage, screen and streets of Tacoma and South Puget Sound.

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Category: Outdoor

June
11th

Tacoma’s BQDanza brings giant puppets to Art on the Fly, kicking off the Seattle International Dance Festival this weekend

A dancer in puppet costume plays with Naomi Jacobsen at a PLU rehearsal. Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti
Avalon Ragoonannan, wearing a bride puppet, dances with Naomi Jackobson at BQ Danza’s rehearsal for Art on the Fly. Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti

 

Question: Where can you see giant wearable puppets, audience-controlled marionettes, a Bollywood flash mob and national champion breakdancers all in one day?

Answer: At Art on the Fly, the free outdoor kick-off dance event for Seattle’s International Dance Festival. Art on the Fly happens from noon-9 p.m. this Saturday on Terry Avenue in South Lake Union; while the festival runs June 14-23 and involves emerging and established companies from the Northwest and around the world.

But it’s Art on the Fly, though, that involves Tacoma group BQDanza, headed up by our own choreographer Carla Barragan, who is bringing back 14-foot-high Peruvian Paway puppets in a roving performance they’ve been practicing this week on campus at Pacific Lutheran University.

“It’s improvisation…the moment it’s happening it’s just enjoyment (for the dancers),” explains Barragan, as she watches her troupe of five cavort with passers-by in the PLU courtyards. “The performers love interacting with the audience. And mostly the audiences are very respectful, and join in. The hard part is rehearsals, getting it together behind the scenes.”

Along the campus’ shady walkways, the figures stroll like a Diego Rivera painting come to life. Read more »

March
19th

Free day at Seattle Art Museum on Sunday to celebrate new Doug Aitken art installation on the façade

It’s not often you get to see Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Gainsborough for free – but you can this Sunday if you hustle. Seattle Art Museum, where these treasures and more are currently visiting from Kenwood House, England, is holding a free admission day this Sunday to celebrate the launch of a new permanent art installation on the building’s façade. Advance tickets are already sold, but more will be available online this Friday for a few lucky souls.

But even if you don’t get free entry, the outdoor installation is definitely worth checking out. Created by international artist

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Sep.
20th

Free for All kicks off a varied and exciting Broadway Center season, with guest appearance by Vicci Martinez

Singer Vicci Martinez, playing the Pantages this Saturday for Tacoma's Fall Free for All festival. Courtesy photo.

Who doesn’t like free dance, theater and music? The Broadway Center knows it’s pretty hard to resist a free show, let alone a free weekend of shows, and for the second year around is kicking off its season with the Fall Free for All weekend of free arts events this Saturday and Sunday to entice newbies into the downtown theaters and give us all a taste of what’s coming up. Headlining the weekend is Tacoma indie singer Vicci Martinez, playing the Pantages Saturday night.

You can download the program pdf on the Broadway Center’s website, but here are some highlights:

-       New this year is Vicci Martinez, the Tacoma native singer/songwriter who went big on NBC’s “The Voice” and has found it hard to schedule her adoring hometown into her gig schedule ever since. She didn’t make it to Art on the Ave – but she’s booked in at the Pantages, so get in line early. 9 p.m. Sat.

-       Also new this year is a scheduled dinner break. No, they’re not giving you a free meal, but at least there’s a two hour break in the performance schedule to allow everyone to refuel at some of downtown T-Town’s great eating places (Two Koi, Matador, Maxwell’s, The Old Spaghetti Factory, El Gaucho, Corina and The Office), where your FFFA wristband will get you discounts. 5-7 p.m. Sat., 4-6 p.m. Sun. Read more »

Sep.
12th

A brassy lunch in downtown Tacoma this Friday, thanks to TSO’s brass quintet

I just found out about this little downtown lunch secret: At noon this Friday you can pick up a boxed lunch from one of several yummy theater district eateries and head to a free outdoor concert by the Tacoma Symphony Brass Quintet. It’s the last in a series of summer lunch concerts that will hopefully be repeated soon – a collaboration between the Broadway Center, downtown restaurants, The Roberson and arts groups like B2 Gallery on St. Helens Avenue, where the concert will happen.
Pick up a box lunch from AmeRAWcan Bistro, Broadway Quick Stop, Rain City Cafe, Commerce Teriyaki,

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Aug.
16th

Get involved with art, music and games at the Tacoma Downtown Block Party

Tacoma’s downtown merchants are putting on another block party, and this time you get to be a part of it – literally. This Saturday afternoon and evening the Opera Alley block (Court C between 7th and 9th Streets) will be humming with live music, a DJ dance party, beer gardens with local brew, live painting, food, dance and more – and you get to join in.

“At this festival the line between producer and consumer is blurred…” says the website, and stuff you can do includes a costume photobooth, chalk drawing, mural painting, body painting, a community canvas, music

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Aug.
14th

Clouds of art in Tacoma’s new Woolworth Windows installation

Janet Marcavage, "Fabrication." Courtesy photo.

Just when the weather’s finally warming up, we get clouds of art. The latest Spaceworks installation in the Woolworth Windows in downtown Tacoma features three artists – all female, not sure if that means anything – playing with clouds in form, metaphor and effect, using paper, fabric and straw to create art that wafts through the windows’ large interiors.

On the uptown end University of Puget Sound-based printmaker Janet Marcavage continues her rather dry, formal investigation of patterns and textures. This time she takes the ubiquitous stripe – think college dorm sheets, tacky business shirts – and transmutes it into flowing, leaf-shaped papers that flutter by in drifts, their interestingly-hatched stripes giving them the illusion of folded fabric.

Janet Marcavage, "Fabrication." Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti

The flat window decals add to the dimensional riff, and the palette of violet/poppy red is bold and lipsticky. What drags the installation down is the inclusion of all the striped jersey sheets, pinned lumpily to the walls. Their heaviness detracts from the paper’s skillful construction, and the whole thing seems a little lazy – a kind of “how can I possibly fill this entire window?” Read more »

July
26th

Metro Parks’ annual Ethnic Fest in Wright Park brings global arts to Tacoma

Members of Samoan dance group Teine Tama Samoa at last year's Ethnic Fest. The group performs 6 p.m. this Saturday. Photo: Janet Jensen, News Tribune.

Ethnic Fest is always fun – strolling through funky vendor stalls, watching a world full of countries dancing, singing and beating drums onstage in downtown Tacoma. This year, add in the Wright Park sprayground (let’s hope for hot weather) with hands-on activities and family entertainment, free wifi around the park and a free Saturday night movie to the yummy food, and you’ve got yourself a fine festival this weekend. As always, it’s free.

Ethnic Fest runs noon-7 p.m. July 28 and 29 in Wright Park, Division and I Streets, Tacoma. metroparkstacoma.org/ethnicfest

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday

Main Stage:

11:30 a.m. opening; noon the Islanders; 1 p.m. Miho and Diego; 2 p.m. Geoffrey Castle; 3 p.m. Cambodian Cultural Dance; 4 p.m. PAYO; 5 p.m. Korean Drum and Dance; 6 p.m. Teine Tama Samoa Read more »

July
25th

“Crafts of the Past” brings live artisans to Fort Nisqually museum every weekend

As if there weren’t enough history already at Fort Nisqually, the historical open-air museum at Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park now has live artisans every weekend in summer.  They’ll be demonstrating and displaying 19th-century craftforms like blacksmithing and puppetry in a cool program called “Crafts of the Past.”

One month into the program and there’s been a lot to see already – but luckily for us, many of the artisans are returning in late July and August. They’ll be at their posts all day on Saturdays and Sundays, showing what they do and helping others do the same (except

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