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.

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Artscape
4:58 am
Mon March 19, 2012

In Victoria B.C. artist Bill Blair creates whimsical, kitschy art

Artist Bill Blair with one of his one-of-a-kind paint-by-numbers guitar shrines at home in Victoria, B.C.
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.

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Artscape
5:55 am
Mon March 12, 2012

A wedding and chaos behind the scenes? A musical at Village Theatre

"It Shoulda Been You" tells the story of a Catholic groom and a Jewish bride. Pictured here is the "bride" and her family: Leslie Law (Judy Steinberg), Mara Solar (Rebecca Steinberg), John Dewar (Murray Steinberg), Kat Ramsburg (Jenny Steinberg)
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.

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Artscape
5:00 am
Mon February 27, 2012

'Listen, Whitey!' book/CD looks back at Black Power music

Huey Newtown, co-founder of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, holds a record by Bob Dylan in an undated photo. The Panthers were big Dylan fans, author Pat Thomas notes in "Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power, 1965 to 1975."
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.

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Artscape
8:27 am
Sun February 12, 2012

At the Frye Art Museum, a very quiet, very human work of art

Susie J. Lee. Still Lives: Exposure, 2010. HD video portrait in framed, matted LED monitor. Courtesy of the artist and Lawrimore Project.
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.

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Artscape
8:55 am
Sun February 5, 2012

A mini-opera about the Everett Massacre of 1916

A "Wobbly," or member of the Industrial Workers of the World, circa 1914
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.

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Artscape
9:52 am
Sun January 22, 2012

The majestic, four-legged performers of 'Cavalia'

"Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse" combines equestrian and performing arts as well as live music and more than 40 horses.
Courtesy of "Cavalia"

There’s a village of white tents that look like a castle rising from Redmond’s Marymoor Park. It's home to both arena and stables for dozens of horses, the stars of "Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Man And Horse," which has been billed as "equestrian ballet."

Created in part by one of the people behind Cirque du Soleil, the show is a spectacle featuring acrobats, aerialists, musicians and, of course, riders. But these are riders who do stunts like ride standing up (picture "watersking" on a pair of horses galloping in a circle) or riding while doing the splits.

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Artscape
7:19 am
Sun January 15, 2012

At the Seattle Rep, a personal play by a priest about family

Tyler Pierce (as Bill Cain) and Linda Gehringer (as Mary Cain) star in the world premiere of Cain’s "How to Write a New Book for the Bible" at Seattle Repertory Theatre.
Photo courtesy of kevinberne.com

The latest play at Seattle Repertory Theatre is called "How To Write A New Book For The Bible." It's about a priest who comes home to take care of his dying mother.

It’s a true story, written by Jesuit priest and playwright Bill Cain.

Which partly explains the play's title. Cain says the play "is about sifting through the presence of God in the reality of family."

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Artscape
8:55 am
Sun January 8, 2012

More than Bing Crosby: Spokane's punk rock scene exposed in film

"I wonder what Bing (Crosby) would think about this film. He was a pretty hep cat so he might dig it."

Thirty years ago, Spokane was home to a small, passionate group of punk rockers. Artist David Halsell was part of that scene. (Studded leather jacket. Mohawk. Member of a band that threw up on people).

Now he and several other ex-punk rockers have made a documentary based on interviews with 30 musicians about that alternative music scene in their hometown.

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Artscape
8:54 am
Sun December 25, 2011

Empress hotel adds artist-in-residence to luxury accommodations

"Pastry Chefs," an oil painting in a series of work by Judy McLaren, the artist-in-residence at the Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria, B.C.

The Fairmont Empress in Victoria, B.C., has all the features you’d expect to find in a fancy hotel: luxurious accommodations, fine dining and a spa.

But the city's landmark hotel also has its very own "artist-in-residence." She's painter Judy McLaren, who typically paints commissioned portraits, scenes of the sea as well as landscapes.

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Artscape
8:16 am
Sun December 18, 2011

At the Seattle Art Museum, listening to old records is the show

Installation shot of Theaster Gates: The Listening Room at Seattle Art Museum. Courtesy of the artist and Seattle Art Museum.
Photo by Robert Wade

The newest show at the Seattle Art Museum features thousands of records, a DJ booth made out of an old church pew and a hands-on record player.

The installation is called "The Listening Room" and it's the latest work by Theaster Gates.

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Artscape
8:28 am
Sun December 11, 2011

Gingerbread Village is a sugary work of art

The Gare du Palais in Quebec as a gingerbread house, one of six molasses marvels on display at the 19th Annual Gingerbread Village at the Seattle Sheraton.
Florangela Davila

Forget about sugarplums dancing in his head. Architect Eric Drivdahl is drooling over cookie staircases, pretzel fences and a giant Rice Crispy treat mountain covered in 100 pounds of white chocolate.

"Look at this whole building, it's made out of candy," he says.

He's in the lobby of the Seattle Sheraton hotel, the site of the annual Gingerbread Village. This year's theme is "Holiday Express," with all six gingerbread marvels replicating world-famous train stations.

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Artscape
8:51 am
Sun November 27, 2011

zoe | juniper is wild, theatrical dance

Raja Kelly in Seattle-based dance company zoe|juniper's "A Crack in Everything."
Photo by Christopher Duggan

Here’s what a performance by  zoe|juniper won't look like:

"Predictable and controlled," says company dancer Christiana Axelsen.

"Having the music play. Having everyone dance. Having the lights go on and then having the lights go out," says sound designer Matt Starritt.

"I wouldn’t expect it to be simple. I wouldn’t expect to see anything I’ve seen before," says dancer and company manager Raja Kelly.

Critics have described the Seattle-based company as "visually arresting" and "a feast for the senses."

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Artscape
7:51 am
Sun November 20, 2011

Old-time radio drama fires up the imagination

Gerwin Sturm/Flickr

"You're in a dark room you've never been in before. And it's very late at night."

Larry Albert is casting a spell. Cue up the sound of a creaking building and suddenly, you're transported to a slightly terrifying place.

Albert is one of the behind-the-scenes talents of Jim French's "Imagination Theater," which produces old-time radio dramas.

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Other News
12:54 pm
Mon November 14, 2011

Seattle Rep goes to the dogs

Clouseau, a schnauzer from Sammamish, was among 100 dogs in attendance at "Dogs Night Out" Sunday at The Seattle Rep.
Florangela Davila KPLU

Last night’s crowd at Seattle Repertory Theatre was anything but ordinary at a first-of-its kind, tail-wagging cultural event.

There was the "welcome" message, for example, as the audience arrived at the theater doors.

"We have a little pee patch there in case your doggie should desire to go to the bathroom," said an usher to patrons filing in.

Yes, a “pee” patch. Treats and plenty of head rubs were also on hand for 100 dogs attending the theater with their humans in tow.

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Artscape
8:18 am
Sun November 6, 2011

At Seattle Opera, grooming the next generation of stars

Sarah Larsen (as Charlotte) and Andrew Stenson (as Werther) in Jules Massenet's "Werther." The Seattle Opera Young Artists production is currently playing throughout the Northwest.
Photo by Alan Abastro

It used to be that aspiring opera singers would live with their voice teachers and practice every day. That was in the 1800s.

Nowadays, the typical track is college followed by graduate school and then professional training at a major opera company.  That’s where Seattle Opera and its Young Artists Program come in.

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