Artscape

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

Photo by Alan Abastro

It used to be that aspiring opera singers would live with their voice teachers and practice every day. That was in the 1800s.

Nowadays, the typical track is college followed by graduate school and then professional training at a major opera company.  That’s where Seattle Opera and its Young Artists Program come in.

William Gottlieb / Library of Congress via Flickr

KPLU's Nick Morrison is glad the word "robust" is coming back into common parlance. He says that's the perfect word to describe the Texas Tenor saxophone sound. He's compiled a list of five titans of Texas Tenor.

Carolee Schneemann

There are some works of art that can make people really uncomfortable.

Artist Carolee Schneemann is a master at pushing the edges of decorum. She’s also one of the first people in the early 1960’s to ever be called a performance artist.

photo by Ed Lee

Long before “grunge,” Seattle was home to big band musicians, immigrant choral groups and a seafood restaurant owner who sang folk songs about clams.

Those are only some of the stories  in Kurt Armbruster's new book, "Before Seattle Rocked: A City and Its Music" (University of Washington Press).

Photo by Steve Korn

The year 1994 might not seem that long ago to you. But in the world of modern dance, it's ancient history.

Or at least history, the year in which Bebe Miller choreographed her funky, athletic "Cantos Gordos."

From the Paul G. Allen Family Collection. Photo by Brady Harvey

What is it about horror films that makes our skin crawl?

EMP Museum's new  "Can't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film" exhibit dissects the horror flick, ripping apart the hair-raising soundtrack and giving us an up-close view of various movie props: from the gory to the just plain eerie.

Photo by Angela Sterling

Stephen Manes has been a TV writer, a children's author and a personal technology columnist for national publications. He's also co-authored a book about Bill Gates.

But he was a total outsider when it came to ballet.

He'd been a patron of Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet. But it wasn't until a behind-the-scenes tour of the company for donors got him thinking: How much do pointe shoes cost? What's it take to mount a season? What's it like to be an artistic director, a dancer, a dance student, a stager, a costumer or a member of the orchestra?

Scott Maddock

Twenty years ago, a group of like-minded theater folk felt there was something missing in Seattle. There wasn't a lab where actors could take classes and try out new things.

"In New York, people work all the time," says Robin Lynn Smith. "In Los Angeles, you study when you’re not working. Here we wanted to have an opportunity for people to have that option to keep challenging themselves to go further. And then for creating work, we needed a place for experimentation."

Can something be so terrible it’s actually good? Professor Fred Hopkins thinks so.

By day, Hopkins is a lawyer who helps people get out of paying big fines for traffic infractions. But in his spare time he is the enthusiastic host of Movie Marvels, a show that runs once a week on Seattle’s Community College TV channel.

Photo by Florangela Davila

What if your neighbors turned their house into a public art gallery?

That’s what a few artists are doing in Seattle. There's a house in Ravenna, a house in the Central Area and a studio on Capitol Hill that are all transformed into temporary art venues for an art-craving public.

In Seattle’s South Park neighborhood, Alex Lopez has carved out a reputation as the go-to-guy for making unique piñatas.

Case in point: a 26-foot-long, 7-feet-tall, 6-feet-wide pinata in the shape of a bridge. It dumped 450 pounds of candy.

Florangela Davila / KPLU

A busy street with lots of cars, bikes and people rushing from one place to another. Except for that one person over there with a camera ... and that one over there.

They're students with Seattle's Youth in Focus (YIF) program who are documenting the area around Second Avenue and Cherry in downtown Seattle.

Courtesy of Seattle Opera

You don't expect to find a banjo in the orchestra pit at Seattle Opera. But there it is, getting warmed up by John Patrick Lowrie, a half-hour before showtime for "Porgy and Bess."

From the first day of rehearsal, Lowrie made an impression upon the orchestra.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Native Americans have struggled to hang onto their cultures for decades. On August 20th, a local tribe will have a new resource to help.

The Tulalips are opening a cultural center on their reservation. It not only shares history the way the tribe sees it, but bridges the past with modern-day life.

Photofest

When "West Side Story" opened in 1957 on Broadway, the audience's reaction was silence. Followed by applause.

"No Broadway musical ended with these deaths and this very sad young woman walking off the stage with her head bowed. That was just, 'Whoa!'" author Misha Berson explained.

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