Fall Conversations: What’s Coming Up?

We’re back, almost. I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer. But now the days are starting to get a little shorter, and it’s nearly time for gathering in a bar on a dark rainy night to puzzle through the mysteries of life.

I’ve been looking at topics for conversations in the fall. I’ve come up with a few; I hope you like them. The dates are fixed; the topics may change as we get into the fall. The location is Vermillion, a wine bar and art gallery at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle (http://www.vermillionseattle.com/). The time is 7 pm.

September: Art of the Idea (September 14)

We’ll start off this year with a look at concept-driven art, conceptual art, the art of the idea. The point is to get some sort of a handle on what roles that ideas play in making art. We’ll look at the subject from various angles, how ideas inform art, how thematic concepts engage with craft and aesthetics. I’m thinking about exploring several disciplines, including dance, poetry, and visual art.

Currently I have as guests choreographer and dancer Amy O’Neal (http://www.locustsucka.com/) and writer Summer Robinson, the proprietor of the estimable indie bookstore Pilot Books (http://www.pilotbooksseattle.com/wordpress/). I’m looking for others, including a visual artist and a curator.

October: Circus, Part III (October 19)

This will be the third conversation on circus. In 2005 we had a conversation of local circus veterans, and then in 2008 a confab of some very talented clowns. This time I’m hoping to gather some of the younger performers, to see where they’re headed as the arts of circus blend with those of dance, theater, and performance.

November: The Street (November 16)

I like to do something with an explicit political focus for November of an election year. This year I’ve been thinking about the street. We’ve had a number of conversations on community and neighborhoods, on activism and political action. But a lot of community and politics, and art and culture, for that matter, happen inside, whether in living rooms, studios, offices, board rooms, or community centers.

What about the culture of the street, the culture of informal spaces, front porches, a park, the street? Street art, street theater, street organizing; does Seattle have a street?

December: Food, Part III (Tuesday, Dec 14)

We’ll finish up the year with discussion of food. The scheduling in the middle of feasting/gluttony season is only part of the reason for the timing on this one. I wanted to fit with artist Sarah Kavage’s schedule. She’ll be just back from doing her hugely ambitious Industrial Harvest project in Chicago (http://www.industrialharvest.com) and I’m looking forward to hearing what she has to say. Also on the guest list is someone from the amazing FEEST project at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (probably Randy Engstrom, unless he’s out of town): http://feestseattle.wordpress.com/.

January: Making Sense of the Handbasket (January, not yet scheduled)

Here’s another stab at a making some sense of where we are and where we’re going. Everywhere we look, it seems like the world is on the verge of collapse. The oceans are filling up with plastic. Or are they? Species are dying off at unprecedented rates. Or are they?

I’m hoping to gather a land-use expert, an oceanographer, a climatologist, and a poet (earth, water, air, and fire, for those keeping track) to try to make some sense of what’s happening out there.

And to quote some men’s room graffiti from a long time ago, “If you’re going to hell in a handbag, at least make sure it’s a Louis Vuitton.”

February: Style (February, not yet scheduled)

Which leads me to a conversation on style. We’ll inject a bit of color into what will probably be a long, damp, February evening. I’ve been thinking of a conversation on fashion for some time now, but style may be more interesting. Style is the way we make ourselves in the world. How does that work?

And as always, the story continues at “Ship—a weekly adventure serial, a space opera, a romance, a small diversion in trying times,” (http://jcpboylan.wordpress.com/). Check it out.

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