UPDATE: Green Stage’s free Backyard Bard returns to Rodgers Park this Sunday

Backyard Bard

UPDATE: GreenStage will not be on Queen Anne on Sunday. Their website had last year’s info on it (hence, Sunday, August 24th as the date). Thanks to a reader who commented about the date, we contacted GreenStage and confirmed there are no performances tomorrow.

For the past two years, Green Stage has brought Shakespeare in the park to Queen Anne’s Rodgers Park via its Backyard Bard performances. And, they’re coming back this Sunday – these free plays are the thing! Four actors take on the task of bringing Shakespeare’s tales to life in performances that run an hour each and are free and open to all.

The smaller venues and shorter productions provide a great introduction to Shakespeare, highlighting the “best parts of the larger play and bringing the story vibrantly to life in more intimate venues with verve and brevity.” Plus, they’re as family-friendly as possible, and “most times, the naughty bits go right over the kid’s heads” per Green Stage.

Actors Gavin McLean, Jennifer Crooks, Tyler Dobies, and Laura Lee Caudill play all of the characters in both plays, with on-the-spot costume and scenery changes adding to the fun of the production. Ken Holmes directs the Backyard Bard productions of Pericles and Twelfth Night, both of which will be performed at Rodgers Park on Sunday, August 24th, starting at 3pm. Both shows include shipwrecks, so the troupe posed for a photo in a pirate ship in Ken’s backyard. Quite fitting for the Backyard Bard season!

Green Stage troupe

Photo courtesy of Green Stage

Here are short synopses of the two plays, so you can be ready to follow the fast-paced action:

Twelfth Night – Sunday, August 24th, 3pm
One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies and our original Backyard Bard play, Twelfth Night features a love quadrangle and some very trying houseguests who show no intention of leaving! Twins Viola and Sebastian are separated in a shipwreck. Viola, disguised as the boy Cesario, is the intermediary as Duke Orsino attempts to woo the wealthy countess Olivia. Of course, Olivia falls for Cesario, and Sebastian’s unexpected arrival on the scene leads to some hilarious complications. Will everyone end up with a spouse? Will it be the one they expect?

Pericles – Sunday, August 24th, 4:30pm
Pericles is a risk-taker. He realizes that whatever answer he gives to a riddle will get him killed. So begins an epic journey of ambitious risks, great rewards, and big falls for the Prince of Tyre. Pericles marries, has a daughter, and is separated from both along the way; shipwrecks always seem to happen at the darndest times. All three of them lead strange, marvelous lives and travel convoluted pathways to the end, when they’re miraculously reunited.

Green Stage sets up on the south side of Rodgers Park, in the open space near the southeast playground. Bring your low-backed chairs, blankets, and picnics to the park. All are welcome to attend the free performances!

Sherman Alexie visits Queen Anne Book Company to read from his new children’s book

QABC SignIt seems like it’s time to make Sherman Alexie an honorary Queen Anne resident, as he sure loves our local independent bookseller, Queen Anne Book Company. We’re lucky to have a bookstore that brings in such talent, whether it’s being a bookseller for a day, launching the annual Indies First, or swinging by to read from his latest book.

Alexie will be at Queen Anne Book Company this Sunday, August 14th, from 3pm to 6pm. His latest book, “Thunder Boy Jr.” is Alexie’s first children’s picture book, and he’s ready to share it with Queen Anne youngsters in a special Children’s Reading event.

If you’re not familiar with the book, here’s the description from Queen Anne Book Company:

Alexie Thunder Boy“Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that’s all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn’t mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he’s done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.”

Make plans to take the kids to Queen Anne Book Company, 1811 Queen Anne Ave N, this Sunday for a special Sherman Alexie event, our honorary Queen Anne resident!

PNB & SAM partner to bring free Sculptured Dance to Olympic Sculpture Park

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 2.12.21 PMThe free summer arts and music events continue with Sculptured Dance a special “first of its kind” collaboration between Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) and the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). This Thursday, August 11th, various artworks at the Olympic Sculpture park become a stage for two hours only, 6pm-8pm. PNB commissioned works from five local choreographers for the special evening, and the performances are free and open to all.

The five new works will be performed in, on, and around Olympic Sculpture Park sculptures, by dancers from PNB, PNB School, Spectrum Dance Theatre, and Whim W’Him. The genesis for the works is a “conversation with sculptures on-site at the park” that features five dances created by Donald Byrd, Kiyon Gaines, Ezra Thomson, Kate Wallich and Olivier Wevers.

The evening of dance + art is part of The Wallace Foundation’s “Building Audiences for Sustainability” initiative. According to PNB Director Peter Boal:

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 2.12.07 PM“Since the opening of the Olympic Sculpture Park, I’ve wanted to program dance in and around the art… The site is naturally conducive to movement as viewers are lured from one sculpture to the next. Adding dance into the mix seems a perfect fit…. 

Bringing dance to the Olympic Sculpture Park offers the brilliant backdrop of great art as inspiration for dance. Add in the cross-pollination of unfamiliar pairings between three different dance companies and five innovative local choreographers, throw in a little unpredictable weather and an occasional train whistle, and you get something completely thrilling and fresh. There are elements we can’t control and the randomness becomes exciting. No curtain time, no seat assignments, just art, dance and you.”

The free, one-time-only performance takes place this Thursday, August 11th from 6pm-8pm at SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Avenue. You may bring chairs, but keep in mind that the performances will take place at various locations in the park, so make sure they’re portable. All are welcome to enjoy a summer evening with art and dance!


Visual arts and classical music come together at Fountainhead Gallery in August

Transcendence green

Kaz Poznanski, White Wash

A new exhibit, Transcendence: Here and Now, opens at Fountainhead Gallery this Thursday, August 4th and runs through August 27th.

It features not only stunning landscape paintings, but also live musical performances to celebrate the visual and performing arts.

Transcendance trees

Michael Ferguson, Kachess Ridge

The cooperative exhibit features five painters and three classical musicians from five different countries – Russia, Poland, Romania, Canada and the US – making for a global perspective on transcendence via landscapes, seascapes, and music.

Over thirty works of art by Michael Ferguson, Patricia Johnston, Kaz Poznanski, Claudiu Presecan, and Vasily Reshchuk will be on display at Fountainhead.

Transcendence fall

Vasily Reshchuk, Autumn Lace

Dazzling imagery will be accompanied by two live concerts, a free one at the opening reception and a paid, ticketed concert to close out the month-long event. Plus, the gallery has also lined up award-winning young pianists to perform throughout the month.

In addition to these live performances, you may also be lucky enough to stumble upon an impromptu piano concert.

Transcendence sea

Patricia Johnston, Northern Light 2

Fountainhead has partnered with Steinway & Sons for the month for a grand piano that’ll take center stage at the gallery for the duration of the exhibit – and some of those spur-of-the-moment interludes may be by your own Queen Anne neighbors. Fountainhead welcomes local pianists to drop by the gallery and try out the grand piano Thursday through Sunday 11am to 6 pm.

Opening Reception: Free, Saturday, August 6th, 4pm-8pm
4pm: Free opening reception and Queen Anne Art Walk
5:30pm: Free RSVP private concert, Oana Rusu Tomai, pianist and Mikhail Shmidt, violinist
6:15 to 8:00 pm Reception with visual and performing artists
To RSVP: contact Laura at 206.285.4467 or Sue at 206.227.8162 or email fountainheadpresents@gmail.com

Closing Concert & Reception: Saturday, August 27, 6pm-8pm
6pm to 7 pm: Concert with Oana Rusu Tomai on piano and Marcy Stonikas, soprano soloist
7pm to 8 pm: Reception with visual and performing artists
Tickets: tickets for this event will be available at konnectclub.com in August (not posted yet)

Fountainhead Gallery is located at the corner of W McGraw St & 7th Ave W. Stop by 625 W McGraw St in August for both art and live music – and if you’re a pianist, flex your fingers and get ready to perform!

New & Amazing at EMP: Star Trek and World of Wearables

EMP GornSometimes, playing tourist in your own city is a worthwhile endeavor. Being a huge Star Trek fan, the minute EMP Museum announced that it would host the special Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds exhibit, I put it on my wish-list. This week, I finally got a chance to visit EMP and it was well worth the trip for a fan, or, as usual, anyone who has the opportunity to visit this gem at the Seattle Center.

As mentioned, I’m a fan, so Star Trek was well worth the extra $5 per person admission. Everything in the exhibit is authentic, with over 100 artifacts and props spanning the Star Trek television series, spin-offs, and films. That means set pieces like the navigation console, which is on display for the first time to the public (see, told you I was a fan). Plus, costumes, props, and the Enterprise models from Star Trek: The Next Generation:

EMP Bridge and Next Generation

EMP Enterprise

EMP DataWhen you purchase your EMP ticket (or, snag one from Seattle Public Library) and pay the extra $5, you also get access to the entire EMP Museum. That means another visit to the history of Nirvana, We Are 12 (Go Hawks!), and the science fiction, horror, and fantasy exhibits. All worth seeing.

WOW wooden dressAnd, that brings us to the new World of Wearables exhibit. It had just opened when I made it to EMP earlier this week, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. But, I can assure you, it is stunning.

If you are a Star Trek fan, and only go to EMP for your Star Trek fix, do not pass up the top floor of EMP. Do not pass go, head straight upstairs to an amazing display of wearable art, much of which takes its cue from science fiction, fantasy, and more:

WOW runway


In closing, if you are a Star Trek fan, know one, or have out-of-town guests, get to EMP and experience the magic of the series that spawned films and a philosophy that still resonates today. Plus, you can crawl through a Jeffries tube, experience the transporter, and get your photo op in a Borg regeneration chamber.

EMP GreedoAnd, don’t forget the other ongoing exhibits – the Science Fiction one includes Greedo from Star Wars (among a slew of other cool TV and film props and costumes) – and don’t miss the World of Wearables on the top level. You won’t regret it!

Memorial Day weekend brings Northwest Folklife back to the Seattle Center

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 7.31.42 PMA reminder to those who’ve lived here for a while and a heads up to newcomers: Northwest Folklife Festival is this weekend, and that’ll bring crowds, traffic, and festival-ness to our neighborhood.

Folklife runs from Friday, May 27th to Monday, May 30th at the Seattle Center. Festival hours are 11am to 10pm, except for Monday, when the event closes up at 9pm.

Folklife celebrates a wide range of arts and cultural activities, with performances that include dancing, poetry readings, films, storytelling, musical acts, and more. Last year, Folklife featured 133 community showcases, 5,000 performers on 25 stages, 160 street performers, 90 hours of participatory dance, a Kid’s Discovery Zone, and roughly 235,000 attendees. You can get the full schedule of events for this year’s Folklife Festival here.

The City estimates that Folklife will bring 60,000 people to our neighborhood each day. Plan ahead, secure your parking spot, and be patient with the influx of people and traffic that comes along with them.


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