Artscape

KPLU's weekly feature about art in the Pacific Northwest.  Available online every Sunday and played on-air on Monday mornings and afternoons.

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.

A political tale of the little guy going up against the establishment that happened in Seattle more than a decade ago is now on the big screen in movie theaters.

The film Grassroots tells the mostly true story about former monorail champion Grant Cogswell running against incumbent Richard McIver for a seat on the Seattle City Council in 2001.

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.

Katherine Banwell / KPLU

The new LeMay Car Museum in Tacoma is a dream come true for car lovers. But it’s also worth a visit if you’re into art. The color and shape of the vehicles is a feast for the eyes, and there’s art history too, if you consider such things as hood ornaments and how they’ve changed over time.

Listen to this week’s Artscape by clicking the listen button above to get the full picture.

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.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

A tiny space with big ideas. This is the motto of the Telephone Room in Tacoma. It claims to be one of the smallest places in the world where artists display their work.

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.

1928 Model T Fords, top hats, and thousands of people spilling out onto 9th and Pike. It's the opening of Seattle's Paramount Theatre (originally called the Seattle Theatre). Now that rich history is archived in the new, fourth-floor Paramount library. 

Right now the Tacoma Art Museum is the only place on the West Coast where you can see the controversial exhibit, Hide-Seek, Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.

The show covers nearly 150 years of art from the gay and lesbian perspective. It also explores the theory that the gay and straight worlds intermingled more freely before World War II.

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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