Artscape

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

George Shangrow
Photo by John Cornicello

A Seattle musical institution and its volunteer performers find strength in the memory of the group's founder, a man whose creative energy remains an inspiration to move forward following his death earlier this year.

Chris Bennion / ACT

There's about 180 roles in Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker. There’s also some engaging props like a Christmas tree that grows right before your eyes, and one enormous rat with a twitching tale.

But the snow scene – the first time Clara dances with her Nutcracker-turned Prince is the sight to behold.

The couple dance in the moonlight, surrounded by ballerina snowflakes dressed in pale blue skirts. A dusting of snow falls throughout the scene.

Courtesy of MOHAI

I’m one of those people who carries a bulging, heavy handbag, crammed with so much stuff that I can’t always find my cellphone. But heavy or not, it’s my attempt at making a fashon statement. It’s the color of a tangerine.

Walk into the galleries at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)and it’s impossible not to size up your purse.

Over here, from the '30s, a bag made out of Bakelite is the color of butterscotch. And from the 1990s, stylish Prada and Kate Spade bags.

There’s a century’s worth of purses, made out of sealskin, clam shells, cantaloupe seeds, even cigarette wrappers and aluminum can tabs. Purses meant to be worn under clothes or proudly shown off.

And purses from the turn of the century that weren’t even meant for one’s arm.

Courtesy MTV

If you ask anyone outside the Northwest what the region is known for, they will likely say coffee and grunge music. People here still love their lattes, but the new web-series from MTV and local filmmaker Lynn Shelton shows us how the music scene has grown far beyond the sounds of of Nirvana’s Teen Spirit.

Seattle Jazz Ed Advanced Ensemble
Charla Bear

Seattle public schools have some of the best jazz programs in the country.  Student ensembles dominate at national competitions and perform all over the world.  But many kids don’t get to participate because the bands only exist in a few schools.  Now a new program aims to give every middle and high school student in the area an opportunity to learn from renowned jazz teachers. 

Gary Davis/KPLU

In a time when films like Jackass 3-D and the Saw horror sequels are tops at the box office, some young Seattle filmmakers are winning awards for bucking popular trends.  A Ballard High School program is turning out talented film students whose work is inspired by an ancient model.  

Steven Miller photograph

 A new exhibit at Seattle's Frye Art Museum is full of items rich in double meaning. Like a large wax chair full of hundreds of arrows. Or a jar full of medicinal leeches. 

And then there's a stunner of a dress that stops you as soon as you walk in through the door. "You'll see a really beautiful dress, with wide wide sides. And it looks very sheer. It's organza," says Frye deputy director Robin Held. 

"Now the surface of the dress looks like it's covered in bugs."

It's actually covered with more than 2,500 black bows. But it doesn't stop there.

In addition to chamber music, the Olympic Music Festival offers patrons a chance
Florangela Davila / KPLU

It's 24 hours before performance time out here on the Olympic Peninusula, so while the grounds are getting soaked by sprinklers, I walk into a barn being bathed in Mozart.

A string quartet rehearses -- A pair of violinists, a cellist, a violist - all focused on perfecting music written for an intimate setting.

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AP

If you love jazz, then you know it's often a family affair. Here's one example: the Heath Brothers Quartet performed this weekend at Jazz Port Townsend, with Jimmy Heath on tenor saxophone and Tootie Heath on drums. Along with their late brother Percy, the Heaths are just one of the great sibling stories in jazz. In this week's installment of our Artscape series, KPLU's Kirsten Kendrick and Nick Morrison discuss more musical families as part of a list that Nick prepared for NPR.

Images from refugee camps
Souchinda Viradet Khampradith, Chakrya Lim, Choy Vong and Sam Ung / Courtesy Photo

On April 30th, 1975, the Vietnam War ended. But that was only the beginning for millions of Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians, as they desperately found ways to leave their war torn countries. An account of refugees' struggles and hardships is now on exhibit at Seattle's Wing Luke Museum. This is the story of two refugees who came here to start a new life.

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Kate Whoriskey
Chad Batka / Courtesy Photo

For the first time in her theatrical career, Kate Whoriskey can contemplate decorating an office. Because now she actually has one.

"I'm trying to work on posters and I'm hoping to do something with the ceiling. Because it's a little bit barren," she says.

Except for an orchid and a couple of stuffed animals for her 21- month-old son Rory, there isn't much else personalizing her new space. But she's still transitioning - from New York theater freelancer to artistic director at Seattle's Intiman Theatre.

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Bret Walker
Cass Walker / Courtesy Photo

The photos stand in a homey, makeshift gallery. On the floor of a garage in Clyde Hill. Owner Cass Walker has moved the cars out of the way to make room for her series of large mostly black- and-white images that tell the story of her older brother Bret.

View the full story, along with images and audio.

Liam Moriarty / KPLU

For most of his career, Edmonds artist Michael Reagan drew life-like portraits of the rich and famous; movie stars, sports figures, six presidents, the Pope. But several years ago, he started drawing pictures of American soldiers killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and offering them free to the families.

The artist - who's also a Vietnam vet -- feels this gift to the loved ones left behind is a kind of healing, not only for the families, but for himself.

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