Arts

Arts and culture

Keyboardist and composer Bernie Worrell, who helped shape the sound of the band Parliament-Funkadelic and influenced countless artists across a wide range of genres, died Friday at 72.

Worrell announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

It's a big weekend for the Seattle Men’s and Women’s choruses, performing Friday for President Barack Obama, and tonight and tomorrow for the public, at McCaw Hall in Seattle, in a musical farewell to their retiring director. Over 35 years, Dennis Coleman has been in front of not only the two choruses, but also some of the biggest changes in LGBT history.

This story begins in 1981.

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You might know Mandy Patinkin as CIA operative Saul Berenson on the Showtime television drama “Homeland.” Or maybe you know him as Inigo Montoya from the film “The Princess Bride.” But Patinkin’s career began on stage. He won a Tony for the role of Che in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Evita.” And he’s been a frequent presence on stage in the years since. 

Courtosey of Hachette Book Group

 

Seattle-based writer Lindy West writes a lot about culture and feminism. She’s called out comedians for telling rape jokes. She’s shouted her abortion and she’s faced down many, many internet trolls. She’s written and thought a lot about her body. She went from feeling ashamed of being heavy – she usually uses the term fat – to accepting who she is, without hesitation.

In August of 2015, I wrote a list of five fictional TV shows representing some of the ideas networks seem to return to over and over (and over) again. One of the entries read like this:

Summer is always a weird time for the TV industry.

These days, in a #PeakTV world where hundreds of scripted shows air every year, there is no downtime. Which means viewers will see a dizzying number of new and returning TV shows this summer on broadcast, cable and online — close to 100 series, by my count.

When Chaz Van Queen decided to take on the stage name Chazmere, he had a certain kind of duality in mind. "It felt direct, it felt strong, it felt confident — but it also was smooth at times," he says. "Cashmere is very durable and strong, but it's also smooth to touch and feels nice on the skin."

That spirit carries over into his latest album, simply called Chazmere, on which tales of skateboarding in project hallways as a kid show two sides of his upbringing in the Bronx.

One of the first people you meet when you walk through the door of the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City is Elizabeth Reed. She's part of a battalion of part-time workers who meet, greet and seat audience members at Broadway's 40 theaters.

"What we really try and do is enhance the patron's experience, from the moment that they walk in the door, to the end of that performance," Reed says.

It started on the subway, on her school commute. She was flashed, groped, and, once, ejaculated on. "I invested in a pair of headphones," she reports, "so I wouldn't listen to the things men say to 12-year-old girls on the subway."

The most compelling science fiction is the sort which holds weight beyond its sheer inventiveness or even its ingenuity. It takes more. The best in the genre have always functioned like corner prophets reporting from the fringe. They succeed in showing us, in a vision uniquely their own, what could potentially become of our planet should we continue down a particular path. Which is not to say one shouldn't devour the purely entertaining for its own sake. But surely the most evocative sci-fi is the stuff of warning shots.

Screenwriter John Logan has worked on some big films. From Skyfall to Gladiator, Logan has learned well how the movie business works. So he knew his latest film, Genius, would be a tough sell.

"This movie is the worst Hollywood pitch in the history of the world," he admits.

That's because it's about editing books.

Shalimar the Clown is Salman Rushdie's eighth novel. Published in 2005, it tells the story of a young man who seeks revenge after he's jilted by the love of his life. There's intrigue, violence, and conflict between tradition and modern society — the sort of stuff that makes for grand opera.

Now, Shalimar the Clown is just that. Adapted by composer Jack Perla and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Rajiv Joseph, the opera premieres tonight at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Rushdie says the novel sprang from one tragic image.

Finally! Cease your clamoring, millennials!

Last week, Sony Pictures announced that it had signed action star/sirloin slab Dwayne Johnson to star in a Doc Savage film. Last night came reports that Sacha Baron Cohen has been attached to Warner Bros.' upcoming big screen adaption of classic hero/gadabout/mesmerist Mandrake the Magician.

Khaldiya Jibawi dreams of being a documentary filmmaker.

And she's off to a great start.

The 18-year-old Syrian refugee made her first film in a refugee camp in Jordan, and it's been shown at Sundance, SXSW and the Cannes Film Festival, to name a few. This weekend, her documentary shows at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

In the late 1980s, Moby was drawn to what he calls "the dirty mecca" of New York City. As a DJ and electronic musician, he was a staple of the rave scene: massive crowds dancing until dawn, probably under the influence of a substance or two, all moving as one to his songs.

Artist Georgia O'Keeffe didn't spend her entire career painting large, lavish flowers.

The curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., says that comes as a surprise to many people. Now, the museum has purchased The Barns, Lake George, a rarely seen 1926 abstract painting that makes the point and helps the institution tell more of her story.

A new oil painting has just arrived in what may be the world's most clandestine art gallery — the fine arts collection at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency.

This commissioned work isn't your typical still life; the tableau is a busy clutter of gear — photos, blueprints, weapons and ammunition.

Emilio Navaira, a legend in the Tejano music scene, has died at 53.

Navaira was found unconscious at his home on Monday night, according to police in New Braunfels, Texas. Police say he appears to have died of natural causes.

South Korean author Han Kang was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for fiction for her dark novel The Vegetarian at a London ceremony on Monday.

The novel, Han's first to be translated into English, is about a woman who decides to stop eating meat and wants to become a tree. Her decision has devastating consequences and raises concerns among family members that she is mentally ill.

Everett Public Library / Flickr

If you mention anarchists, people these days probably think of May Day protests, but anarchism has deep roots here. On Saturday, folk singer John O’Connor will tell the story of the anarchist labor union Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies, and perform songs from that time. 

Keo Motsepe has made Dancing With The Stars history in many ways.

In 2014, he became the first black dancing professional on the show (they're the ones who teach the "stars" how to cha-cha-cha) and the first from South Africa.

"Everybody's gotta have a little place for their stuff. That's all life is about. Trying to find a place for your stuff." — George Carlin

It's one of his most famous routines and, like all great comedy, contains more than a grain of truth.

Since he died eight years ago, the keeper of George Carlin's "stuff" has been his daughter, writer and performer Kelly Carlin. She says he kept everything: Scrapbooks. Arrest records. The pink slip to his first car, a Dodge Dart. VHS tapes.

Composer Joseph Bertolozzi's latest musical project turned the Eiffel Tower into a giant percussion instrument. From the basement to the summit, the Paris monument's girders, railings, and rivets were banged, tapped, strummed and thumped. And then, those 10,000 samples were layered into one composition, called Tower Music.

On this Mother's Day, here's a bit of wisdom: "Having a child is usually just a long patience."

Those words are spoken by a nurse in the new novel Eleven Hours. Her name is Franckline and she works in a hospital maternity ward. That long patience she's talking about is the patience a woman needs when she's in labor — the patience to ride through hours of pain and worry.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Growing up in Seattle in the 1930s, it was Bonnie Buckingham’s brothers who played the guitar. But Bonnie coveted it, and would take any opportunity to get her hands on the instrument. Soon, she says, “they couldn’t get it away from me.” So began the musical life of the woman who would become known as Bonnie Guitar.

Bonnie showed herself to be a prodigy and, in spite of having hardly any female role models, she busied herself playing local gigs and slowly getting better and better. 

If you haven't heard of the Marvel superhero Black Panther, that's going to change very soon.

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