Florangela Davila

Lead Artscape Reporter

Florangela Davila  has been a journalist since 1992. For 14 years she worked at The Seattle Times where she covered both news and features. She's been freelancing for KPLU since 2008, reporting and producing as well as helping coordinate the station's "Looking Back to Look Forward" documentary project. She's also a lecturer in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Florangela received her B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and her Master's in Journalism from Columbia University. She's been both an arts consumer and an arts practitioner for as long as she can remember.

Florangela Davila

How to describe your typical Benaroya Hall crowd? Folks attending the Seattle Symphony. Folks who sip white wine and wear pants—long ones. 

But this week, it's mostly guys—a lot of guys—downing energy drinks and walking around with felted toy collectibles that are packing Benaroya. through the weekend. These are serious gamers, and they're here through the weekend.

Florangela Davila

A state senator who drove efforts to make gay marriage legal in Washington state was leading in early returns in Seattle's mayoral primary.

Ed Murray had 30 percent of the vote released Tuesday night. Incumbent Mike McGinn, fighting to avoid becoming the second straight mayor ousted by city voters before the general election, had 27 percent.

It’s been the go-to music store in Seattle since the 1870s. But Sherman Clay is packing up its grand pianos and shutting down its iconic downtown store on Fourth Avenue.

In the 1980s, anyone in search of a used or new Steinway grand piano could turn to the  Seattle store as well as some 60 other Sherman Clay stores around the country. 


Meet the "parklet," a little patch of public space about to take root in three Seattle neighborhoods.

"We want people to be out enjoying the sun and having lunch outside," said Don Blakeney, executive director of the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area, a group hoping to fund a parklet in the neighborhood.

The city is granting permits for the parklets, but private businesses are responsible for building and maintaining these micro public spaces. These would be temporary spaces, but they could last a few years. 

Courtesy of Mary Martin

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.  

Talk to a candidate long enough and she’ll start repeating herself because she's staying on message, or because it's who she really is.

Like when Mary Martin talks about an upcoming trip to Egypt.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Seattle city leaders are considering an ordinance that would fine public pot smokers about $100 each.

City leaders agree that while the state works to figure out how to regulate marijuana, it’s important for citizens to remember there are still laws governing its use.

Florangela Davila

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.

Martin Family Photos via AP Photos

Hundreds of people are expected to gather at the federal courthouse in downtown Seattle Saturday as part of a Justice for Trayvon Martin National Day of Action.

The noon vigil will include Martin's cousin, Cedric Martin of Tacoma. It's being held as part of the Rev. Al Sharpton's nationwide Justice for Trayvon Martin Day, which is expected to include 100 cities across the country.

Florangela Davila

There’s something about art that has the power to heal, for both those performing it and those watching it.

That is precisely why Seattle’s Freehold Theatre Lab teaches creative writing to the women locked up in the Washington Corrections Center for Women at Purdy. The program helps the inmates weave their past and dreams into stories they perform on stage.

Prison isn’t exactly the most natural space for theater, says inmate Amanda Songer.

Josh Marshall / Josh Marshall Photography

Each year, 50 teens  from all over the country fly into Seattle to participate in a fast-and-furious film challenge. They have to produce short films in 36 hours, or "on the fly." Which is why the program is called "SuperFly."

Most of the participants are Native Americans, creating Native-themed films out on location on an Indian reservation.

Seattle filmmaker Tracy Rector and her Longhouse Media company launched the workshop 8 years ago.

Seattle Art Museum

If you’re a Seattle arts and culture lover, you owe a lot to a man named Bagley Wright.

The Space Needle, Benaroya Hall, Seattle Repertory Theater — Wright helped build or create all of them.

Then there’s the art he’s given to the city.

Barbara Kinney / for KPLU

On December 9, 2012, same-sex marriage became legal in Washington State, one of the first states to do so by popular vote. Wedding ceremonies began at 12:01 a.m. that day.

KPLU's Florangela Davila and photographer Barbara Kinney take a look at what unfolded during the first eight hours at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle.

Andry Laurence

Seattle Repertory Theatre opens its season Wednesday with a world premiere play about a group of African American workers known as the Pullman porters.

"Pullman Porter Blues" looks at three generations in one family of porters. The Pullman porters were former slaves who worked on a luxurious fleet of sleeper cars beginning in the late 19th century. Their descendants worked the trains up until the 1960s.

Chris Bennion

After running out of money and shutting down last year, Intiman Theatre is back with a groundbreaking summer festival.

"Groundbreaking" because the theater has a new repertory format: a cast of 17 actors -- Intiman's Class of 2012 -- staffing all four summer productions.

For audiences, that means a chance to see an actor stretch in various roles: "Romeo and Juliet" one day; a drag queen take on Helen Keller the next.

Dean Wong

An old five-and dime store that helped Seattle's Japanese community rebuild itself after World War II is being celebrated in a new way: in a permanent exhibit by the Wing Luke Museum in a local gift shop/art gallery.

The exhibit features a variety of old store merchandise from a business that lasted 96 years. There's also an assortment of personal items from two generations of the Japanese-American Murakami family.

A new exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum invites us to experience Australia like we never have before: through the eyes of Aboriginal artists whose culture is considered to be one of the oldest in the world.

More than 100 paintings, sculptures and photographs are featured in this first-of-its kind show on the West Coast. The exhibit is called "Ancestral Modern," a title that relates to the fact that Aboriginal culture is at least 50,000 years old but the artwork on display is no more than 40 years old.

Jessica Martin

On stage at ACT Theater is a play about two inmates and their different outlooks on life. One man is on Death Row and has found God. The other is facing attempted murder charges and has lost faith.

The play is called "Jesus Hopped the A Train." It was written by Stephen Adly Guirgis and world premiered in New York in 2000.

Now it's in Seattle, in a production by a Seattle company called Azeotrope that thrives on material that's edgy and provocative.

Siamak Poursabahian

Where do gestures come from? Is it nature or nuture...or just from our own imagination?

Khambatta Dance Company explores these questions in performances this week at the Seattle International Dance Festival/Beyond the Threshold. In a work called "India Calling," the Seattle-based company looks at the gestures we've inherited from our parents.

The piece, for five dancers who wear red costumes, includes live monologues and videotaped interviews of people telling stories about gestures.

Mark Kitaoka

Teatro Zinzanni, which has been around since 1998, serves up a different kind of dinner theater. Acrobatics as an appetizer. A contortionist with your crudite.

Housed in a red-and-yellow antique mirrored spiegeltent, Zinzanni delivers shows served alongside a five-course meal. The waiters dance. The audience participates. The concept started in Seattle and it was so successful, Zinzanni now also has shows at a venue in San Francisco.

But the show now playing is a first for the venue and it's also more personal for the star performers.

Sean Porter

The film "Eden" tells the story of human trafficking through the tale of a Korean American teen in New Mexico. It's part horror film and part survivor's tale and it's based on a true story.

It's Seattle director Megan Griffith's third feature film.  And it's a project she was drawn to because of the actual narrative:

Elise Bakketun

"Madama Butterfly” is a story about love, heartbreak and sacrifice and it’s beloved by opera fans worldwide.

It’s the current production at Seattle Opera. The cast features superstar soprano Patricia Racette, who has played the role at least 100 times, including at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Photo by Florangela Davila

The most prestigious high school jazz band competition begins today in New York City.  And among the 15 finalists are three local competitors: Roosevelt, Mountlake Terrace and newcomer Ballard High School.

"I think we surprised a lot of people," says Ballard's jazz band director Michael James, about being a finalist in the Essentially Ellington jazz band competition. "But I knew if we were able to get into this festival it would put us on people's radar and say, 'Hey, what's going on at Ballard?'"

Pamela M. Campi Photography

Three months after a sell-out run, “Spring Awakening” is back in a production at  Seattle’s Balagan Theatre.

“The Art of Racing in the Rain” tells the story of a wannabe race car driver living in Seattle. The story, though, is told through the eyes, ears and nose of a unique narrator: an especially philosophical dog.

Photo by Lindsay Thomas

The ballet “Apollo” features four dancers in a story about the Greek god of music and three muses.

It was a signature role for Peter Boal when he was a dancer with New York City Ballet.

Now he's staging the ballet at Pacific Northwest Ballet, the first time since taking over as artistic director in 2005. And Boal is teaching the ballet to four male dancers who'll be dancing the role for the first time.

He says he's been waiting all these years for the right time as well as the right dancers.

Photo by Florangela Davila

There's the type of art that hangs in museums, roped off to the public and well-guarded.

Then there's the kind of art that someone like Bill Blair of Victoria, B.C. creates. Art that's whimsical, kitschy, and suitable for places as distinguished as your home Tiki bar.

Exhibit A: His series of photomontages about fish, created after he became fixated with salmon puns.

"There was everything like 'Salmon-40-salmon,' a giant salmon with a nose cone of a Boeing 747.

Photo by Erinn Hale / Courtesy of Village Theatre

"It Shoulda Been You," the new musical at Issaquah’s Village Theater, is for anyone who has been part of a wedding. There's joy as well as bickering; second-guessing and sometimes, suffering.

The bride’s Jewish. The groom’s Catholic. The parents don’t like each other and wish their children were marrying someone else. And an ex-boyfriend also shows up.

The musical is the first collaboration by composer Barbara Anselmi and lyricist and librettist Brian Hargrove.

courtesy of the publisher

There's a new book and CD that looks back at the potent soundtrack of the Black Power Movement. Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power, 1965-1975 (Fantagraphics) is the first book by Bay Area-transplant and Seattle author Pat Thomas.

"It's a book about how the music inspired the movement and the movement inspired the music," he said.

Photo by Ryan K. Adams

What does 30 minutes in a person's life look like?

Artist Susie Lee asked and answered that question while spending time at the Washington Care Center, a long-term nursing facility and rehab unit.

What she created is a series of  highly-composed video portraits that are sometimes so quiet, you think they're still photos. The videos are silent. They last 30 minutes long -- real-time; there is no editing. And they feel so intimate, it can make viewers uncomfortable to watch.

Photo by Bain News Service / Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

The bloodiest event in Pacific Northwest labor history, the event that left 7 people dead and many more seriously injured, is the subject of a new mini-opera by Wayne Horvitz and Robin Holcomb at Seattle's ACT Theatre.

Called "Smokestack Arias," the work tells the story of the events of Nov. 5, 1916 when two boatloads of Industrial Workers of the World -- "Wobblies" -- arrived from Seattle to Everett.