Arts

Arts and culture

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.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

All around us, people are quietly taking care of disabled relatives, day in and day out. The stress, sacrifice and rewards of that life are the focus of a new documentary called "Undersung," which is a collaboration of retired University of Washington poet Heather McHugh and filmmaker Adam Larsen. The film premieres this Sunday at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver, B.C.

Courtesy ACT Theatre

Seattle actress Keiko Green left New York City a few years ago, frustrated with the theater scene and intent on taking her career in a different direction. Instead she found the Emerald City’s openness to new material a boon to her ambitions as an all-around theater artist.

“Seattle is a place that’s really thirsty for new voices right now,” she says. “And as a person that’s not only into performing, but also creating work, I think that it’s been an incredible place for me to grow as an artist here.”

Hamilton, the Broadway musical about "the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America" has made history, after being nominated for a record 16 Tony Awards. The nominees were announced today.

Honey, I shrunk the queso.

It's two weeks before opening night and the cast is rehearsing for already sold out performances in a building on the Yale campus in downtown New Haven, Conn. The play is called, Voices From the Long War. And its cast is as unlikely as one could imagine — veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and refugees from those countries.

They're bringing their own personal experiences from during and after the war to life on the stage. They hope through these stories to dispel some misconceptions about who they are.

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