GO Arts

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New Dukesbay Theater in Merlino building attracts new fringe theater group New Muses, with edgy season starting next week

Having just opened the doors of their new black box theater in the Merlino Building, Tacoma company Dukesbay Productions has already attracted a three-show season from South Sound company New Muses Theatre Company.

Producing fringe theater in Seattle and surrounds since 2009, New Muses will kick off their first show July 12 – Neil Labute’s dark comedy “The Shape of Things,” exploring modern ideals of love, art and manipulation.

8p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays July 12-28.

The season continues with “Angels in America” from Aug.16-Sept.1, Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer-winning play about the ’80s AIDS crisis, and goes on with a version of “Romeo and Juliet” updated for the social media age in late September.

“We are thrilled to be bringing our brand of independent fringe theater to Tacoma,” says managing artistic director Niclas Olson.

Renovated from a long, sunlit room on the top floor of the Merlino Arts Building, the Dukesbay Theater is the work of Tacoma theater husband-and-wife duo Randy and Aya Hashiguchi Clark, who have presented plays in other non-traditional venues like the revamped basement of First Congregational Church downtown. Watch this space for more details soon.

The theater is located at 508 6the Ave., Tacoma. All New Muses tickets will be $15 single, $33 season. newmuses.com, dukesbay.org Read more »


Gail Weyerhaeuser to head up Museum of Glass’ board of trustees

The Museum of Glass has announced that Gail Weyerhaeuser is the new president of the board of trustees. A local clinical psychologist, Weyerhaeuser is part of the Federal Way family lumber business of the same name, and cousin to the late George Weyerhaeuser Jr., a former board president, trustee and arts patron who passed away in April, and in whose honor an endowment fund was recently set up by the family.

“The Museum of Glass is a wonderful asset to Tacoma. I look forward to this new challenge, to working with the Board on the strategic decisions ahead and to the opportunity it brings for expanding my understanding of the art of glass and glass making. Stepping into this role is a way to acknowledge and honor the work of my cousin George Weyerhaeuser, Jr. at the Museum,” said Dr. Weyerhaeuser in a press release.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Weyerhaeuser at the helm of the Museum’s Board,” declared Susan Warner, executive director of Museum of Glass. “As we embrace the next decade of growth and change at the Museum her expertise in board leadership will be vital.” Read more »


Lemolo, MLKBallet and Barefoot Collective in The Kaleidoscope Dance at Urban Grace this Saturday

Lemolo – Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox – play live with contemporary dance this Saturday at Urban Grace. Photo: Genevieve Pearson.
Lemolo – Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox – play live with contemporary dance this Saturday at Urban Grace. Photo: Genevieve Pearson.

New choreography meets live music this Saturday as indie rock female duo Lemolo collaborates with two Tacoma contemporary dance companies – MLKBallet and The Barefoot Collective – in the warm acoustics of Urban Grace Church. The collaboration is not the first such collaboration; MLK’s Move show once featured Vicci Martinez playing a couple of numbers before she got famous, and TBC is known for including a couple of live musicians in their dance shows, from solo viola to jazz combo. But “The Kaleidoscope Dance” is entirely live from beginning to end, and sets some of Tacoma’s best choreographers to the rock duo’s 2012 debut album “The Kaleidoscope,” played in its entirety.

Lemolo, made up of Port Orchard gals Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox, has wowed the Seattle area scene over the last year.  They’ve been called everything from “heavenly and haunting” (City Arts Magazine) to “fragile yet strong” (Seattlepi.com), layering high ethereal voices over guitar riffs and sparse drums. Read more »


Critic’s Picks: Costa Rica oils in Puyallup, Aussie glass at Museum of Glass, native Northwest art at Washington State History Museum and Korean art at Tacoma Community College

Imaginary birds and more at Puyallup’s City Gallery

Puyallup oil painter Bonnie Miller shows abstract and figurative work at Puyallup’s Valley Arts United City Hall Gallery in “Farther: New Explorations in Imaginary Worlds.” The vividly-colored paintings include a series of imaginary birds inspired by a recent trip to Costa Rica. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday through Aug. 23. Free. Puyallup City Hall 5th floor, 333 S. Meridian Ave., Puyallup. bonniemillerart.wix.com, valleyartsunited.org

Aussie artist visits Museum of Glass

Australian artist Gabriella Bisetto will be the visiting artist at the Museum of Glass’ Hot this weekend. Lecturer at the University of South Australia, Bisetto’s work ranges from conceptual installations to delicately curved blown glass shapes. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today and June 29, noon-5 p.m. June 30 with concluding lecture 4 p.m. June 30. $12 adults/$10 seniors, students, military/$5 ages 6-12/free for under-6. Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St., Tacoma. 866-4-MUSEUM, museumofglass.org

“In the Spirit” at Washington State History Museum Read more »


Artist Ricco diStefano kicks off LeMay Marymount summer arts program with exhibit

Artist Ricco diStefano. Photo courtesy LeMay foundation.
Artist Ricco diStefano. Photo courtesy LeMay foundation.

The LeMay Family Collection Foundation has announced an expanded summer fine arts program at its Marymount campus, kicked off this weekend with the opening of an exhibition of work by Northwest painter Ricco diStefano. The opening preview will be from 5-7 p.m. this Saturday, including an artist reception.

From the press release: “The June 29 event represents a major public exhibition designed to raise awareness (and funds) for an increasingly rich and diverse fine arts program that includes a growing number of fine painting, sculpture and historic offerings ranging from classic Americana and iconic statuary installations to new works by local and world masters.”

Based on Tiger Mountain, Spokane-born artist di Stefano is influenced both by his forested studio and his training in graphic design and illustration, creating Northwest-based landscapes in a vivid, unique style. Exhibits include a recent co-exhibition with Northwest glass legend Dale Chihuly.

A portion of all sales from work at the preview will go to the foundation.

5-7 p.m. June 29. Free. LeMay Marymount Event Center, 325 152nd St. E., Tacoma. lemaymarymount.org Read more »


A banquet of tapestry on Tacoma’s hilltop: locals at Brick House Gallery, international work at the library’s Handforth Gallery

Cecilia Blomberg, "Birches." Photo courtesy Brick House Gallery.
Cecilia Blomberg, “Birches.” Photo courtesy Brick House Gallery.

There’s a banquet of tapestry on show right now in upper downtown Tacoma, both local and international, as the Tapestry Artists of Puget Sound and the American Tapestry Alliance annual shows coincide at Brick House Gallery and the Handforth  Gallery, just two blocks apart, and with a joint reception this Saturday afternoon.

It’s a smart time to check out both shows, which offer a wealth of tapestry in two and three dimensions, a myriad of fibers and a range of genres. The Handforth, located in the Tacoma Public Library main branch, has pretty broad opening hours, but Brick House is on third Thursdays and by appointment only. Since you can easily stroll down the hill from one to the other, the joint opening makes a golden opportunity to see both, and compare.

Left to right: Cecilia Blomberg, Margo Macdonald and Mary Lane collaboratively weave a tapestry. Photo courtesy Margo Macdonald.
Left to right: Cecilia Blomberg, Margo Macdonald and Mary Lane collaboratively weave a tapestry. Photo courtesy Margo Macdonald.

At Brick House there’s a chance to go deep into the art of several local tapestry artists in “TAPS: Contained.” Three of the biggest hitters are Cecilia Blomberg, Mary Lane and Margo Macdonald, and in fact one of the best works in the show is by all three: “Labyrinth,” tucked away in a side room, was woven by the three women side by side, with Macdonald in the center linking Blomberg’s and Lane’s very different styles. A tan labyrinth pattern floats abstractly over ripples of chartreuse, purple and teal – a mental labyrinth in an imagined forest. (The three women have also co-woven three works hanging near the elevators at Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center.)

Blomberg, Macdonald and Lane, "Labyrinth." Photo courtesy Brick House Gallery.
Blomberg, Macdonald and Lane, “Labyrinth.” Photo courtesy Brick House Gallery.

Also collaborative is the signature work “Contained” – a delightful pattern of color fields that in fact represent Tacoma’s shipping containers. Some are pure color – gold, ochre, red – others are patterned, one’s labeled ‘Hanjin.’ They’re lengthwise, end-on, a Tetris of industrial shape and color, juxtaposing a gritty subject with a soft, clean medium.

Blomberg, Lane and Macdonald each have other work in the show. The most striking is Blomberg’s “Birch Rolls,” nine pale white cotton strips some six inches wide and ten feet high, drifting down from the ceiling like skinny birch trunks and blowing slightly in curator Peter MacDonald’s fan breeze. He’s placed the right in front of the window, with lilacs offering a green background outside, and the effect is gorgeous – soft fiber creating its own space in nature. The rolls appear also at the Handforth, where Blomberg has rolled them up for a completely different effect – the detail of the gray-flecked weaving now transformed, the edges becoming a textured side themselves. Read more »


Normanna Male Chorus of Tacoma hosts the 104th annual Sangerfest of all-male Norwegian choruses at Pacific Lutheran University

There aren’t too many musical traditions around here that go back 104 years, but the Sangerfest is one of them. An annual get-together of Norwegian male choirs from up and down the West Coast, the Sangerfest has been going since 1903 (with a few breaks) and this year the Normanna Male Chorus of Tacoma is the host choir, with a public choral concert this Friday at Pacific Lutheran University.

“The tradition of male chorus singing is very strong in Norway,” explains NMC director Jon Malmin. “Most villages have a chorus. And when the immigrants came over here they wanted to keep up that tradition.”

And they have. The 29-member Normanna Male Chorus is celebrating 125 years, having begun in 1888 as a Parkland chorus that later merged with a Tacoma chorus. And while the tradition used to be more widespread – at one point there were over 30 Norwegian male choruses in the region, Malmin says – there are still 11 Pacific Coast Norwegian Singers Association choruses, from Bellingham to San Diego, who’ll meet this week at PLU to sing and have fun. Read more »


Instagram your close-ups of the gritty city in Tacoma Art Museum’s #253 StreetArt Photo Contest

Think you take pretty good photos? Then get up real close to Tacoma’s gritty streets and enter some of your shots via Instagram in the Tacoma Art Museum’s #253 StreetArt Photo Contest. You might even win a museum membership for the year.

Inspired by Eric Carle, who, aside from his winsome tissue-paper collages of rubber ducks and brown bears for kids likes to shoot extreme close-ups of streetscapes, the contest is open to anyone with a photo device and internet access. Like Carle, cruise your neighborhood and find the abstract beauty in parking lot lines, drain grates, sidewalk cracks

Read more »