With Capitol Hill movie theaters looking like increasingly endangered beasts, an alternative film festival returns to the area and across the city this weekend. The annual Couch Fest is part of a worldwide celebration of film and “awkwardly awesome,” organizers say.
“It takes a little getting used to, walking into a stranger’s home and sitting on their couch but once you relax a little and start talking to other attendees, you are going to have a great time and meet some really cool people,” Ryan Davis told CHS.
For $10, you can select from more than 40 international films on couches across the city Saturday — including three in the triangle between Madison and Union. There’s also a special brunch kick-off event that morning.
In its sixth year, the festival is an opportunity to connect with neighbors and enjoy excellent film. “There is always this talk of a ‘Seattle freeze’ where strangers don’t talk to each other. Couch Fest breaks through the ice of Seattle,” said festival host’s Erin Knobler. You can learn more at couchfestfilms.com/seattle.
Meanwhile, the weekend also brings the 2014 edition of the Holiday Hotspot complete with ‘Alternative’ Santas, SASG pop-up tree lot and Cal Anderson lights.
More Capitol Hill weekend fun, below. Something to add? Let us know on the CHS Calendar.
Seattle-based choreographer Donald Byrd works at the forefront of contemporary performance. For four decades, he has created innovative and startling dance theater works that explore the extraordinary capacities of dancers’ bodies, the complexities of Africanist aesthetics, and the ways that theatrical dance can open audiences toward social change. Presenting selected works from across his prodigious career, Byrd’s first solo museum exhibition reflects Americans’ ongoing struggles to care for our complex diversity. The show centers the artist’s firm belief in an America that is to be: one that is “multi-racial in every aspect.” For Byrd, the future of performance will include “a full spectrum of who lives in America on the stage…a reflection of our world.”
More than any other statesman of contemporary dance, Byrd concerns himself with the terms of social encounters that produce racialized and gendered subjects. His works test suppositions: he wonders on public stages about the conditions of gender and misogyny, race relations, eternal warfare, sexual identity, and the price of obsession. Working across multiple genres—in Hollywood, on Broadway, in opera, and with major ballet and modern dance companies—Byrd always moves toward the most difficult questions, boldly, forcefully, and thoughtfully. In so doing, he presses us all to understand the potential of dance as an act of defiance, as a demonstration of expertise, and as a meditation on what else could be.
The America That Is To Be incorporates archival performance footage and ephemera from various stages of Byrd’s forty-plus years of creativity with in-gallery dance performances. The exhibition traces his beginnings at California Institute of Arts, where his dance work took on a punk-inspired aesthetic, to his early works with his first dance company Donald Byrd/The Group (active from 1978–2002), through crucial collaborations with groups including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and his work since 2002 as Artistic Director of Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater. Reflecting the way Byrd’s vision has evolved into its full expression across a remarkable array of dance-theater works, The America That Is To Be demonstrates the passionate affirmation of a mature artist’s belief in dance to inspire social transformations; to dance toward social justice.
Donald Byrd (American, b. 1949, New London, North Carolina) is a Tony-nominated (The Color Purple) and Bessie Award-winning (The Minstrel Show) choreographer. He has been the Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle since December 2002. Formerly, he was Artistic Director of Donald Byrd/The Group, a critically acclaimed contemporary dance company, founded in Los Angeles and later based in New York, that toured both nationally and internationally. He has created dance works for many leading companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and Dance Theater of Harlem, among others, and worked extensively in theater and opera.
His many awards, prizes, and fellowships include Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Cornish College of the Arts; Masters of Choreography Award, The Kennedy Center; Fellow at The American Academy of Jerusalem; James Baldwin Fellow of United States Artists; Resident Fellow of The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center; Fellow at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, Harvard University; and the Mayor’s Arts Award for his sustained contributions to the City of Seattle.
Donald Byrd received the 2016 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award, which is funded by the Raynier Institute & Foundation through the Frye Art Museum | Artist Trust Consortium. The award supports and advances the creative work of outstanding artists living and working in Washington State and culminates in a presentation at the Frye Art Museum.
Clothing is both a highly personal and socially constructed system of communication: a signifying point of contact between individual identities and collective attitudes, customs, and trends. Dress Codes brings together the work of two artists who perform acts of translation in relation to clothing’s form and ornamentation, pressing images of historical garments—and the values encoded within them—through the interpretive interface of the grid. Though they begin from different types of source material and seek divergent ends, Ellen Lesperance and Diane Simpson both employ the gridded instructional diagram as a means for transformation across time and dimension. In the process, they return the grid, an idealized format associated with Modernist abstraction, to the practical ethos of the applied arts and domestic craft, connecting the everyday language of dress to wide-ranging cultural and political histories.
Lesperance creates gouache paintings based on the attire of women activists using American Symbolcraft, the visual shorthand of knitting patterns, in which the color of each stitch is shown as a single cell within the matrix of specialized graph paper. Working from footage and photographs of protest movements—most notably the Greenham Common Peace Camp that mounted anti-nuclear-armament demonstrations in Berkshire, UK from 1981 to 2000—the artist carefully translates activists’ (often homemade) clothing into the flattened space of hand-ruled paper, extrapolating to fill in areas that are invisible within the source images. The paintings function as standalone artworks and also as directions for re-making the pictured garments, as homage to the original wearers, a record of their ideological symbology, and stimulus to likeminded action in the present.
Simpson’s sculptural work begins with illustrations found in antique clothing catalogues, window dressing manuals, and histories of dress. Submitting pliable articles like collars, cuffs, aprons, and bonnets to the rigid constraints of a two-dimensional diagram—modeled on axonometric projection employed in architectural drawings, which integrates multiple viewpoints into a single image—the artist renders their forms in a foreshortened perspective that she then maintains when constructing three-dimensional versions. The resulting angular distortions—coupled with dramatic shifts in scale and materiality—both estrange and magnify the garments’ relationship to the body, underscoring their sociological significance as imposed expressions of gender norms, class status, and morality.
Through the process of encoding structure into schematics, both Lesperance and Simpson transform their source material into something new, embedding their own perspective in translations of the past. Dress Codes brings their work into conversation for the first time, highlighting their body- and craft-adjacent use of the grid as a feminist alternative to patriarchal representational traditions of painting and sculpture.
Ellen Lesperance (American, b. 1971, Minneapolis, Minnesota) lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been exhibited nationally at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; The New Museum, New York; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; the Drawing Center, New York; and Seattle Art Museum, Washington and internationally at the Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm and the Tate St. Ives, England. She has received grants and awards from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Art Matters, Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Ford Family Foundation.
Diane Simpson (American, b. 1935, Joliet, Illinois) lives and works in Chicago. Recent one and two-person exhibitions of her work have been held at Herald Street, London; Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago; JTT, New York; NYU Broadway Windows, New York; Silberkuppe, Berlin; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. She has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions, including The Jewish Museum, New York; The Hessel Museum at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.; the Art Institute of Chicago; White Columns, New York; and CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco, and will participate in the 2019 Whitney Biennial.
A Partnership for Youth exhibition, Frame of Mind: Storytelling Through Animationshowcases the results of an eight-week workshop for teens led by teaching artists from Reel Grrls, during which students develop, animate, and edit their own stop-motion film projects.
Pierre Leguillon’s artwork-as-exhibition Arbus Bonus calls attention to the major role famed twentieth-century photographer Diane Arbus’s work has played in defining the image of American postwar popular culture. Bringing together every published magazine spread that features her photography, Leguillon’s project considers the ways in which cultural histories are assembled and disseminated, and proposes more inclusive counter-narratives.
Toyin Ojih Odutola’s drawings, paintings, and prints question physical and sociopolitical identities as they pertain to skin color. This suite of three lithographs, recently acquired for the Frye Art Museum’s collection, demonstrates Odutola’s signature approach to portraiture, in which the sitter is seen obliquely or from multiple, unusual angles within one composition.
Bringing together varied depictions of women from the Frye Art Museum’s collection, Unsettling Femininity examines historical conventions of representation during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the deeply entrenched beliefs and power structures they reflect.
Stop by for our Public Tastings each Friday. Reservations recommended: stumptowntastings.eventbrite.com
Come by Goethe Pop Up Seattle Monday-Friday from 1-7 pm to get a glimpse of life during the GDR with the exhibition “Totally East”.
2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Totally East is an exhibition that powerfully portrays everyday life in the GDR. Harald Hauswald’s photos hint at stories of loneliness, authority, and rebellion along with moments of endearment and serenity.
Harald Hauswald, born in 1954 in Radebeul, completed his training in photography in Dresden and moved to East Berlin in 1977, where he became a founding member of the renowned OSTKREUZ photographer agency. In the eighties, he walked the city’s streets and pointed his camera at what someone with a less discerning eye would probably pass by: lonely and elderly people, couples in love, dissidents of the punk movements, soccer hooligans, and young people in churches, standing up for peace and environmental protection.
The exhibition at the Goethe Pop Up comprises of 20 exhibition panels with a wide selection of Hauswald’s known and less known photographs accompanied by texts from Stefan Wolle, Head of Research at the GDR Museum in Berlin, who, like the photographer, grew up in the GDR. Each panel is equipped with QR codes that link to short video interviews with the photographer who reports on the historical context of the respective photograph.
Join the Ritual owners and their many creative colleagues for this private, singular evening of art, divination, fashion, wine, and community. Featuring appointment slots with some of the most experienced psychic readers in Seattle and one of the most comprehensive shows that AxeHaka has done in Seattle yet. This is the perfect way to spend an early October evening, but be warned – if you have plans afterwards, you might draw an inordinate amount of attention to your new black ensemble and uncanny knowledge of the future.
- Tea leaf readings with bi-lingual medium Marisi Sojit
- Bone readings with powerful psychic medium The Scarlet Crow
- Tarot readings with Ritual proprietress Sarah Randall Williams
- Multi-media horror/doll art and curios by AxeHaka
- Complimentary wine/drinks/snacks
- 25% off all Ritual goods