In case you missed it: this year’s Shark Week’s already over. Can’t get enough? Head over to Elliott Bay Books on Saturday, where ocean conservationist, filmmaker and writer William McKeever will screen his film “Emperors of the Deep” and talk about his book of the same name. McKeever will discuss sharks’ role in balancing marine ecosystems (and perhaps Donald Trump’s “excessive fears” for the animals), plus his reasons for calling these predators “the Ocean’s Most Mysterious, Most Misunderstood, and Most Important Guardians.”
And for those terrified by sharks but not scared by the demanding modernism of James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake”: At Gallery 1412, Seattle composer Neal Kosaly-Meyer will continue his multiple-performance project of reciting chapters of the book by memory.
For more things to do, including a jam-packed Art Walk, take a look at the list below or head over to the CHS Calendar for more events.
THURSDAY, August 8: This month’s Capitol Hill Art Walk will bring arts and fashion to the streets. Or one street, to be precise: 11th Ave between Pike and Pine in front of Vermillion, where the fifth edition of the public arts/fashion collaboration festival Imminent Mode will take place. Local artist duos pair up to create “wearable art” and a gallery installation based on this year’s theme, the future. The fashion show starts at 8 PM, afterparty at Vermillion. Head over to The Mercury @ Machinewerks for the afterparty and $2 vodka well specials.
Nearby, the artists and curators at Blue Cone Studios honor the art of tattooing by showcasing non-human-skin artworks by local tattoo artists (though you’ll probably see some skin artistry as well). Another highlight is the wondrous collection of collages by Seattle artist Jane Windsor at Ghost Gallery, partly inspired by the artist’s personal experiences with growing up during the “Satanic Panic.”
At the Goethe Pop-Up space at Chophouse Row, Anna Mlasowsky will talk about her work during the opening of her new exhibition. In “When you see me, cry,” the German-born artist turns to a local tradition of inscribing the date into so-called “hunger stones,” large boulders emerging from the riverbeds during droughts.
And, last but not least: Over at Joe Bar, it’s just a “Total Shig Show.”
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FRIDAY, August 9: A new “creepy comedy” by Kelleen Conway Blanchard and directed by Catherine Blake Smith, The Neverborn takes the stage at E Pike’s Annex Theatre through August. It plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM until August 31st. Annex Theatre, 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, August 10: It’s that time of the year again. On Saturday, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Seattle Quake Rugby will face off at Cal Anderson Park for a game of next-level kickball during Jockstraps & Glitter. For $5-$20 fees, spectators can make the competition even more exciting by “paying” the players to remove clothing, switch teams or sunscreen up some rugby thighs (consensually, the organizers note). The money will go to the AMP AIDS Memorial Pathway and the Sisters’ general fund (used to donate to other charities around Seattle). As the organizers note: “There will be big balls, there will be glitter, and for a price you can see the players in their underwear!” Plus: beats by house DJ Mr. Linden. Cal Anderson, 1 PM
SATURDAY, August 10: Musician Joe Waine didn’t really want to name his new Seattle music festival Wainestock, he says. He wanted to name it after his best friend, Koji. But, Waine said, “I was pressured into using this name – it’s a joke on the made-up festival Waynestock from Wayne’s World.” Wainestock is now in its second year, the name and the concept are still the same: friends, great local bands, and hopefully some sun, all together in Volunteer Park for a summer afternoon. This year, there are over ten bands on the pop-rock infused line-up, including Bread Pilot, Chanel Beads, Pleasures and Flying Fish Cove. The event’s free. “I really dig the free vibe,” Waine said, “though asking for donations from people that can afford it, I like performers to get paid a bit. ♥️” Volunteer Park Amphitheater, 4-10 PM
SUNDAY, August 11: It’s a remarkable first for The Compline Choir at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle. For 63 years, Compline’s hugely popular Sunday night prayer service has been sung by men. Now, for the first time at the Cathedral, the Compline service will be sung by women. A new Women’s Compline Choir of Saint Mark’s Cathedral was assembled for the occasion. While the men are away on a pilgrimage to visit and sing in historical cathedrals in England, the women will be stepping into the limelight and sing the Compline services of August 11, 18 and 25th. The services will include world premieres of new works commissioned for the occasion. Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, 9:30 PM
Optimism Brewing celebrates summer with a Sol Connection party and new beer release event. The Broadway at Union brewery is donating profits from a Charity Raffle and a portion of Optimism’s special beer sales to benefit Planned Parenthood. There will also be live music and, yes, a “soft serve station.” Optimism Brewing, 12-9 PM
Find the softer side of your flow practice with Slow Flow in The SweatBox Loft. In Slow Flow, we’ll intentionally weave together traditional postures. This class will be unheated and very beginner friendly (aka- no Chaturangas!) Slow your practice down and build your alignment, balance, and focus. Come and expand your strength and flexibility- physically AND mentally. Appropriate for all levels. 80 degrees. This class takes place in The SweatBox Loft and pre-registration is encouraged. Please pre- register and use code 9642 and follow signs to get to The SweatBox Loft space for this class.
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.