Arts

Arts and culture

Neil Giardino

Most people see the lion dance, at most, once a year on Lunar New Year. But for the dancers, the art is no occasional matter. Whether they practice the Chinese style or another version of the popular Asian dance, they practice year-round to perfect their moves for their annual performances.

Carlo Allegri / Invision/AP Photo

Seattle’s Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have seven shots at a Grammy Award on Sunday. The hip-hop duo is nominated for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album and Best Music Video.

Local pop music critic and writer Gene Stout says that’s an impressive list of nominations.

“A lot of people think of Macklemore and Lewis as an overnight success, but they’re not,” Stout said. “Macklemore’s been at it for 10 years. Certainly what they’ve done with two chart hits is extraordinary. And for a duo, it hasn’t really happened since the ‘90s.”

5th Avenue Theatre

"Oliver!" tells the story of a young orphan's misadventures in London, from the workhouse to a den of thieves and, finally, to a family that loves him. The musical, on stage now at the 5th Avenue Theatre, is based on the novel "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens.

Albert Evans, artistic and music associate at the 5th Avenue Theatre, who says the character of Oliver was one of many Dickens created and used over the years to call attention to societal ills, and to portray London as he saw it.


Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

The city-operated Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) will soon be its own self-sustaining nonprofit organization.

Under a five-year plan, Seattle plans to hire a transition coordinator, help LHPAI secure nonprofit status and gradually decrease its financial investment in one of its oldest cultural institutions.

Roosevelt High School senior John Otten discovered the trumpet as a fourth grader.

"I thought, 'It’s only three valves. It wouldn’t be that hard. I bet I could do it,”’ he said.

Turned out, it was hard; he couldn’t even get a sound out that first month.

Fast forward eight years, and Otten is headed to the Grammys as the only student from the Pacific Northwest selected for the Grammy Band Jazz Session program.

American Booksellers Association

Head to an independent bookstore on Saturday, and you might find a local author working behind the counter.

One thousand authors at some 400 bookstores will be participating in a one-day national program called “Indies First”, which aims to draw shoppers to independent bookstores on Small Business Saturday.

Florangela Davila

Meet Nathan Cummings, a senior at Mercer Island High School and one of five chosen National Student Poets.

"It's like a crazy fever dream," said Cummings of having been awarded the highest recognition of its kind for young literary minds. 

 The awards are part of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. They're administered by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Cummings flew to Washington, D.C. last month for the ceremony where he met Joyce Carol Oates and Michelle Obama.

The film scene in the Northwest has become more prominent over the years thanks, in part, to the Northwest Film Forum. The small art house theater in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood is an incubator for local talent that is getting noticed nationally. Many of these artists got their work in front of an audience for the first time at the Film Forum's annual Local Sightings Festival, which takes place over the next week. 

A campaign is under way to earn Seattle the distinction of being an international “city of literature.”

The man behind the effort is Seattle author Ryan Boudinot.

“I’m just a guy who wants cool things to happen in his city, who loves books and loves reading, and loves talking to writers and learning about new voices," he said. 

Kelly O.

What do you want to be wearing in your final moments? That's the question Seattle artist Mark Mitchell has been wondering about. And he has answered it in the form of burial clothing he has created for a new show at the Frye Museum.

"I’ve not had the luxury of not thinking about death a lot," he says. "I’ve had HIV disease well over 20 years. And I’ve lost many friends." 

In his 51 years on earth, Mitchell has been to a lot of funerals. There was the one for his father.

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Flenniken.

Washington state’s poet laureate Kathleen Flenniken has been awarded the Washington Book Award.

Flenniken’s new work of poetry, titled “Plume,” recounts her childhood in the nuclear-company town of Richland.

AP/FBI File / FBI

A new exhibit at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma explores the mystery and the legacy of D.B. Cooper, the infamous skyjacker who jumped out of a plane with $200,000 in cash more than four decades ago.

Courtesy of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

Two chimpanzees living in the Northwest are competing in a national art contest. The chimps and their caretakers are trying to win a $10,000 first prize for their respective sanctuaries.

It's not quite a film festival. But a new series of films will play for free in Tacoma next month as a way to spark cultural conversations.

The "Film Forum: Advancing Cultural Dialogue" is sponsored in part by The Sundance Institute.

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.

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