Conversations, the Summer Ahead, and a Few Good Plugs.

The conversations always go on holiday for the summer. They’ll be back in September. It has been a good year, with discussions ranging into theater, trash, exclusion and inclusion, the art of intoxication, the future of this city, and conversation itself. I’m looking forward to more great encounters in the fall.

For now, I want to leave you with some words about a few of the things in Seattle that are exciting me this summer.

First is the long-awaited opening of the KeseyPollock show on June 29. After raising a record $45,000 on Kickstarter (video at http://www.keseypollock.com/work.html), these two artists have been working 70/80-hour weeks for months, striving to finish what has become a massive project. They’ve been casting people in wax and various other meltable substances, painting the figures, and then melting them and capturing the melt in photographs, video, and drawings. They’re not making portraits; I was cast late this winter, and the figure they created was someone I didn’t recognize. It was, well…, maybe you’ll just need to show up and see. I watched my figure being melted, but I haven’t yet seen the video documentation of that. I’m very much looking forward to it.

The opening promises to be the art party of the summer, complete with Peruvian cebiche bar. Basic facts: June 29, 5:30, 2231 First Avenue in Belltown. “All are welcome.” The show runs June 30 to July 14. See http://www.keseypollock.com for more information. And go.

Also that night is Chocolatada, a big fundraiser for the much valued and wonderful Backbone Campaign, the political theater and activism group originally conceived in 2004 to give some backbone to the Democrats, as I recall. It’s “a night of chocolate, wine, fingerfood, & fun,” with much music, aerial performers, and more. Sounds excellent. That happens from 7 to 10 at Om Culture, on the north side of Lake Union. Maybe after a stop in Belltown…. For more info, see http://www.backbonecampaign.org/2011-12-13-18-50-10/archive.html

Longtime readers of these notes know that I love circus, especially circus that bends the limits and strives toward creating something completely new. In Seattle, the best practitioner of such things is the Acrobatic Conundrum (https://www.facebook.com/Acrobatic.Conundrum), which fuses acrobatics, aerial performance, dance, and theater. In July, with “The Way Out,” Conundrum artistic director Terry Crane and managing director Joselynn Engstrom join forces with choreographer Elizabeth Rose, who has also worked to fuse dance and aerial in such projects as TickTock and Physical Graffiti.

The show happens weekends in July at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center on Delridge in West Seattle. Info and tickets: http://www.strangertickets.com/location/7922198/youngstown-cultural-arts-center. Here is a video pulled from past work: http://vimeo.com/63982163. Here is a wonderful piece that the group put together as part of a video contest sponsored by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XxQohrH8IMI. They didn’t win, but were runners up, and the video has had almost 25,000 views. I’m pleased to note that both Elizabeth and Terry are alums of this conversation series, as is Macklemore, for that matter.

This Saturday afternoon, I’ll be emceeing one of the stations of the Solstice Parade in Fremont (http://fremontartscouncil.org/). I’ll be in front of Wright Brothers Cycle Works (http://www.wrightbrotherscycleworks.com/). Do come by if you’re around. This is the parade’s 25th birthday, and there are some changes in the works. For the first time in 25 years, the parade is starting at 3 pm rather than noon. I’m guessing that a lot of people may still show up very early, so it makes sense to do the same. Fear not: for those so inclined, the parade will now feature beer gardens right on the route. One will be in the parking lot next to Roxy’s; the other in the lot in front of Makerhaus, where Evo used to be, near the beginning of the parade. And you can dash around the corner to check out the fair and the art cars http://www.seattleartcars.org/.

But the most amazing new development is that the Parade and Honk Fest West (http://honkfestwest.com/) have joined forces, so that the streets will be filled with wild and wonderful street bands, before the parade, in the parade, and afterward, at the big party at Gasworks.

Intiman’s delightful summer theater festival is back, with four plays: Dario Fo’s great “We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!,” a production of Lysistrata, an inspiring and heart warming musical about the nation’s first openly transgendered mayor (in Silverton, Oregon), and “Trouble in Mind,” telling the story of an integrated theater company on Broadway in 1957. http://www.intiman.org/plays-events/festival/ . For those that need to, check out the pay what you can previews.

Smoke Farm’s LoFi Arts festival is coming on August 24. It promises to be fabulous. I’ll be looking forward to seeing the amazing collaboration between Sari Breznau and Bret Fetzer, among many other performances and installations. Walk the fields and encounter art and music scattered about. I’ll be telling a few stories at the festival, fantastic stories but still grounded in the flora, fauna, and history of the place. For tickets: http://www.strangertickets.com/events/7919960/lofi-arts-festival-must-be-present-to-win

There’s so much more. Just looking around, next week starting June 27, there’s an art show at Seattle Central Community College “Leaves from a Different Tree. Curated by the inestimable Alan Lau, it features works by Lucia Enriquez, Kanetaka Ikeda, and Mark Takamichi Miller. http://seattlecentral.edu/artgallery/2013-leaves/2013-leaves.php. And this Friday night is clothing designer Michael Cepress’s big “American Dreaming” showcase: http://michaelcepress.com/3641/michael-cepress-2013-collection-showcase-american-dreaming/

And so it goes, and goes. Seattle is a vital city.

I hope you have a wonderful summer. 

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