Artscape

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

The Academy Awards are coming up this Sunday. There are many wonderful films that don’t get an Oscar. And there are lots of not-so-great movies that win the coveted award.  Seattle’s “20-20” awards look back at past Oscar winners and how they’ve stood the test of time.

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.

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.

From the beginning of time when single-celled organisms were the only life on earth, to the multiverse where people can exist in parallel realities, to a dying woman who relives her romantic past through a photograph that freezes with the end of time – those are some of the plots for an upcoming showcase of Seattle-area playwrights.

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.

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."

"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.

Rachel Solomon

Jenny Solomon has an entire room in her house dedicated to arts and crafts. She usually has 10 projects going on at the same time, and right now, she’s knitting a balloon animal, beading jewelry and learning to draw.

Solomon is wearing a necklace and bracelet she made, too. And in the free time she has left over, she plays the harp, a hobby she picked up from her childhood.

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.

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.

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.

Katherine Banwell / KPLU

Eerie sounds from vegetables and sculptures that look like happy caterpillars. Those are some of the "promising objects" you'll find in an exhibit of the same name. The show is at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and features the art of Alison MacTaggart.

MacTaggart likes creating art that has a familiar aspect to it but something unfamiliar as well. The results are quirky sculptures that are cheerful and noisy. They encourage all sorts of communication and show visitors her sense of humor.

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."

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.

Seattle Art Museum

Seattle is home to one of the most extensive collections of Asian art in North America. It lives at the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. But over the next several weeks the collection’s best pieces are on display at the Seattle Art Museum in downtown.

The exhibit is called Luminous: The Art of Asia. It features ancient Buddhas, delicate pottery, and a new modern work which ties everything together and transports you to a different place.

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