GATHER at Tacoma Art Museum 27 Years of Hilltop Artists

The newest exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum is a collection of work from 21 alums of the Hilltop Artists program. On exhibit March 26 through September 4, 2022, GATHER: 27 Years of Hilltop Artists features over 30 pieces of art in a variety of media.

Challenging the status quo by questioning who an authentic artist is and who has value in museum spaces, GATHER primarily features artists of color. It also highlights the outcomes and reach of the Hilltop Artists program while shining a light on opportunity gaps faced by these artists, many of whom have not yet been included in exhibitions on this scale.

According to TAM’s executive director, David F. Setford, “This is an inspiring exhibit with an outburst of passion by artists we haven’t heard much about before now.”

Artists like David Rios are featured with his work Ofrenda, a spectacular display of orange blown glass flowers mixed with elements of a traditional ofrenda including salt, conchas bread and personal images. “I grew up in a Mexican American home where an ofrenda was part of life following the passing of a loved one. This display reflects that part my life,” said Rios prior to the opening of the exhibit at Tacoma Art Museum.

Other works in the exhibit, curated by Trenton Quiocho, Hilltop Artists alum (2008) and current Teaching Artist and Hot Shop Manager, include more glass works, but also paintings, sculptures and even a melted fax machine that is surprisingly gorgeous, by artist Zane Scott.

Co-founded by Dale Chihuly and Kathy Kaperick in 1994, Hilltop Artists was developed as a community organization that provided a creative space for “at risk” youth from the Hilltop neighborhood to assist well-known artists in producing their works.

Exhibiting Artists in GATHER are Douglas Jan Burgess II, Nancy Burgess, Candida Delgadillo, Edelmira Jimenez Gallegos, Daria Hembree, Jessica Hogan, Dani Kaes, Cassandra Kuring, Emily Martin, Jason McDonald, Shayne Nutter, Trenton Quiocho, David Rios, Luis Sanchez, Samantha Scalise, Evan Schauss, Zane Scott, Ellye Sevier, Jesse Sorgenfrei, Tony Sorgenfrei, Jack Spitzer, Edgar Valentine, Keiko Wesley and Jacob Willcox.

For Additional Information
Hilltop Artists: hilltopartists.org
Tacoma Arts Museum: tacomaartmuseum.org

LYNN CASTLE

Winners of Reel Life 96 Revealed

During a gala and screening event held on Saturday, March 19 at the McGavick Conference Center in Lakewood, winners of the first annual Lakewood Film Festival were announced. Reel Life 96 was a fun, short film competition for filmmakers of all ages and experience levels.

Participants wrote, shot, and edited five-minute films in just 96 hours.

A number of films were selected to honor the recently celebrated 25th anniversary of the City of Lakewood in 1996. The event kicked off on February 10 at 5pm when 38 entrants received their starting email that contained the three elements every film would need to incorporate into their story. The story had to show a dance (action), a lit candle (prop) and a line of dialogue “sometimes you have to be happy for what you don’t get.”

Following the screening of each film throughout the six-hour festival, an awards ceremony recognized thirteen award categories and eleven different teams of filmmakers. Categories ranged from Best Use of Elements (Blind Duet by Oly Film) to Best Actor (Kevin Leung for Reverse by Empower Films) and Best Actress (Sheila Luong for Reverse, also by Empower Films). Reverse continued the sweep by being selected for the Audience Choice Award.

Linda McDermott, Director of Reel Life 96 and Chair of the Lakewood Arts Commission, recently laid out the reasons for the festival this way.

“The thing about Reel Life 96 is that it is not just a great community event that brings people together from different backgrounds and experiences to tell their stories, it is the place where some filmmakers will find their inspiration to begin a lifelong career in filmmaking, that may one day propel them to the heights of their profession. Everyone gets their start somewhere in life and we would like to do our part to grow independent filmmaking in the South Sound. Films have the ability to inspire us, to connect us with characters outside our own experience, to make us laugh and to make us cry; Reel Life 96 is where audiences and filmmakers meet to share the joy of film.”

Reel Life 96 was made possible through the generous support of Twin Star Credit Union, the Lakewood Community Foundation Fund, and NWEtch.

For Additional Information
Reel Life 96
cityoflakewood.us/film96

LYNN CASTLE

Harlequin’s Hedwig will punk rock you!

Harlequin Productions presents Hedwig and the Angry Inch by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, June 24 – July 30 at the State Theater. Artistic Director Aaron Lamb will direct. Honoring Olympia’s status as a punk rock center, every weekend will feature a different local band opening the show with a 45-minute set.
 
The place: The State Theater. The time: The early-mid 90s. The opening act: local bands including Sugar and the Spitfires, Keven James HoffmanGolden Ruins, and Smelly Cat. The Berlin Wall is down. Gender is a construct. Just try and tear her down. This is Hedwig in punk rock Olympia, WA.
 
Brilliantly innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the landmark musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask that is “groundbreaking and undoubtedly ahead of its time” (Entertainment Weekly). This genre-bending, fourth wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances, tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage. Winner of four 2014 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, Hedwig will take you by storm!
 
Since its howling debut at the Jane Street Theatre in 1998, Hedwig has received countless conceptual reimagining’s. Harlequin’s production aims to take the show back to its roots. Set in the “early-mid 90s”, director Aaron Lamb’s staging recalls the era when the Capitol Theater’s backstage (one block from the State Theater) was a center for the riot girl movement and hosted international punk rock music festivals. Bringing in local bands to open the show is a part of this vision.
 
Lamb was there for the show’s first off-Broadway run, though he didn’t know it at the time. As he recalls, “I was a young, arrogant actor in NYC in 1998, in town for auditions. I found a room from the back of the Village Voice. It was the Jane Street Hotel in the middle of the Meatpacking District. Every night for two weeks, I came back to an obnoxious band playing very loudly in the basement of this dirty, rat-infested hole. I walked by every night with my nose in the air. That was the original production.”
 
With the passage of 30 years of relative global stability, the edge and danger of the period just after the fall of the Berlin Wall seems far away. Or does it? The war in Ukraine and rising violence in our own country are bringing back glimpses of that darker, more dangerous time when punk rock served as an outlet for global tensions and fear.  
 
Says Lamb, “The more I delve into Hedwig’s story, the more I see that she was ahead of her time in 1998, and she may once again be ahead of her time today.”

Tickets are available online at harlequinproductions.org

The Happiest Song at Tacoma Little Theatre

Tacoma Little Theatre in partnership with University of Washington-Tacoma and Toy Boat Theatre, present The Happiest Song Plays Last, by Quiara Alegría Hudes, and directed by Marilyn Bennett. 

In a barrio living room in North Philly, an activist-turned-music-professor moonlights as the local soup kitchen queen, cooking free rice and beans for any hungry neighbor. Halfway around the world, her cousin relives his military trauma on the set of a docudrama that’s filming in Jordan. With the Egyptian revolution booming in the distance, these two young adults try to sing a defiant song of legacy and love in the face of local and global unrest.

Tacoma Little Theatre’s production of The Happiest Song Plays Last features Maria-Tania Bandes B. Weingarden as Yaz, Katie Jones as Shar, Jesús Villegas as Agustin, Wade Hicks as Lefty, Terence Mejos as Elliot, and Shailendra P. Jain as Ali.  Live on-stage music will be provided by Anand Landon and Storm Tucker.    

The Happiest Song Plays Last will run Friday, April 29, 2022, through Sunday, May 15, 2022.  Friday and Saturday showings are at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm.  The Happiest Song Plays Last is recommended for ages 12 and up.  There will be an ASL interpreted performance on Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 2:00pm. 

Tickets may be purchased online at www.tacomalittletheatre.com, or by calling our Box Office at (253) 272-2281.  TLT currently requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination at the door for all audience members and masks will also be required while inside the building.  For our most up-to-date COVID-19 protocols please visit www.tacomalittletheatre.com/covid.

GATHER at Tacoma Art Museum

The newest exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum is a collection of work from 21 alums of the Hilltop Artists program.  On exhibit March 26 through September 4, 2022, GATHER: 27 Years of Hilltop Artists features over 30 pieces of art  in a variety of media.

Challenging the status quo by questioning who an authentic artist is and who has value in museum spaces, GATHER primarily features artists of color.  It also highlights the outcomes and reach of the Hilltop Artists program while shining a light on opportunity gaps faced by these artists, many of whom have not yet been included in exhibitions on this scale.

According to TAM’s executive director, David F. Setford, “This is an inspiring exhibit with an outburst of passion by artists we haven’t heard much about before now.”

Artists like David Rios are featured with his work Ofrenda, a spectacular display of orange blown glass flowers mixed with elements of a traditional ofrenda including salt, conchas bread and personal images.  “I grew up in a Mexican American home where an ofrenda was part of life following the passing of a loved one.  This display reflects that part my life,” said Rios prior to the opening of the exhibit at Tacoma Art Museum.

Other works in the exhibit, curated by Trenton Quiocho, Hilltop Artists alum (2008) and current Teaching Artist and Hot Shop Manager, include more glass works, but also paintings, sculptures and even a melted fax machine that is surprisingly gorgeous, by artist Zane Scott.

Co-founded by Dale Chihuly and Kathy Kaperick in 1994, Hilltop Artists was developed as a community organization that provided a creative space for “at risk” youth from the Hilltop neighborhood to assist well-known artists in producing their works.

Exhibiting Artists in GATHER are Douglas Jan Burgess II, Nancy Burgess, Candida Delgadillo, Edelmira Jimenez Gallegos, Daria Hembree, Jessica Hogan, Dani Kaes, Cassandra Kuring, Emily Martin, Jason McDonald, Shayne Nutter, Trenton Quiocho, David Rios, Luis Sanchez, Samantha Scalise, Evan Schauss, Zane Scott, Ellye Sevier, Jesse Sorgenfrei, Tony Sorgenfrei, Jack Spitzer, Edgar Valentine, Keiko Wesley and Jacob Willcox.

Grand Glass Gathering in May

Glass art is intricately interwoven into the fibers of Tacoma. From the nationally recognized Hilltop Artists youth program, to a multitude of individual artists working in garage-based hot shops, to museum exhibitions of glass art featuring internationally famous artists, Tacoma’s connection to glass only grows stronger every year.

The City of Destiny will be the host of the 2022 Glass Art Society (GAS) Conference this May in celebration of the organization’s 50th anniversary. Tacoma is a glass capital of the world on par with previous host cities such as Seto, Japan, Murano, Italy and Samland, Sweden.

Each year, the GAS Conference features approximately 100 presenters from various stages of career development and involvement in the glass community to showcase their expertise, talent, research, and more. From emerging artists to established professionals, the presenters make up a diverse and engaging group of artists, educators, curators, researchers, and administrators.

For the region’s youngest glass artists, Hilltop Artists, this is an amazing opportunity to learn from established artists from around the globe as well as share their skills and talents.

“Hilltop Artists’ students and staff are excited to have the GAS conference here in Tacoma,” stated Dr. Kimberly Keith, Executive Director, Hilltop Artists. “We are working on an exhibition called Gather: 27 Years of Hilltop Artists with the Tacoma Art Museum—our organization has a long history of developing local talent through our glassmaking programs and we want the world to know about what we do. Students can join our programs as young as twelve years old and many stay with us for eight or more years. They become studio assistants and established artists, and they contribute a tremendous amount of diversity to the field.

“Our partnerships with Pilchuck Glass School, Crafting the Future, and the Museum of Glass here in Tacoma expand the skills and experiences of our students by providing access to a wide variety of teaching artists and hot shops. Our students are the future of glassmaking and I’m glad our GAS peers will have an opportunity to see and appreciate what we can do.”

Tickets to attend the GAS conference start at $485, and you will be able to enjoy special exhibitions and events at the Museum of Glass and Tacoma Art Museum with regular admission more details available at Tacoma 2022 – Glass Art Society

HILLARY RYAN

Indigenous Performance Productions receives $100,000 grant     

Indigenous Performance Productions is pleased to announce they have been recommended to receive an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. Indigenous Performance Productions is recommended to receive $100,000 and may use this funding to save jobs and to fund operations and facilities, health and safety supplies, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. In total, the NEA will award grants totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC.

“Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations, such as Indigenous Performance Productions rebuild and reopen,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial in helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire, as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.”

“We are humbled by this investment in our organization and give thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts for their belief in the power and transformation that storytelling can foment. This award marks a transformational moment for Indigenous Performance Productions and will increase our ability to remove barriers for and create sustainability for Indigenous performing artists nationwide and help to make the south Salish Sea a center for the development of new performances,” said Andre Bouchard, Executive Creative Producer and Founder of indigenous Performance Productions. “We give thanks to our supporters in the south Salish Sea and beyond, our partner artists and the venues across the country who have invested in our organization and our artist’s growth over the last six years.”

Indigenous Performance Production plans to use funds in support of their vision of creating equity and opportunity for Indigenous performance artists through live and virtual performance opportunities that amplify the Indigenous experience and perspective. In pursuit of this vision, Indigenous Performance Productions will allocate NEA grant funds towards increasing organizational capacity as to expand the community of Indigenous artists they serve as well as providing artists with enhanced opportunities for live and virtual performance and community outreach engagements. 

Performance engagements will include nation-wide opportunities across partnering venues as well as fullscale productions that bring together seminal Indigenous artists around themes of social significance to Indigenous communities.Indigenous Performance Productions will launch three new full-scale Indigenous productions with the help of the NEA grant include: Julia Keefe’s Native American Big Band (premiering May 20, 2022); ); the Native American Comedy Project (final name TBD, premiering November 5, 2022), and The Aunties, a storytelling project celebrating Native matriarchs (premiering November 18, 2022.) Through the support of the NEA grant, Indigenous Performance Productions expects to increase its impact and influence throughout Indigenous and BIPOC communities while creating enduring partnerships with allies within our communities.

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021 when the NEA was provided $135 million for the arts sector. The funding for organizations is the third installment providing more than $57.7 million for arts organizations. For more information on the NEA’s American Rescue Plan grants, including the full list of arts

organizations funded in this announcement, visit   www.arts.gov/COVID-19/the-american-rescue-planFor upcoming performances visit: www.indigenousperformance.org

America’s Car Museum Features The James Hetfield Collection

When the doors of LeMay – America’s Car Museum opened on Thursday, Jan. 20, visitors got a brush with greatness: 10 otherworldly, custom-built hot rods of rock-star proportions from an exhibition titled Reclaimed Rust: The James Hetfield Collection. On public display for just the second time ever, Reclaimed Rust is the product of decades of design and building collaboration between rock music icon James Hetfield and some of the best-known custom car builders in the world, including Rick Dore (Rick Dore Kustoms), Scott Mugford (Blue Collar Customs) and Marcel De Lay (Marcel’s Custom Metal).

Consisting of vehicles designed and custom-built by and for Hetfield, Reclaimed Rust pushes the limits of automotive design with billowing fenders, removed pillars, chopped tops, shaved handles and sinewy silhouettes that the original manufacturers could never have envisioned.

“The sleek lines and one-of-a-kind designs in Reclaimed Rust could stand on their own celebrity,” said David Madeira, Vice Chairman and CEO of America’s Automotive Trust. “However, anyone who sees this exhibition will feel the creative horsepower of James Hetfield and his team in these cars. In any art, whether it’s music, visual or automotive design, you can tell when an artist sees the potential of their tools and materials, rather than limitations.”

The collection includes vehicles that live up to their heavy-hitting names such as Skyscraper (a 1953 Buick Skylark), VooDoo Priest (a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr), Slow Burn (a 1936 Auburn 852 Boattail Speedster), Crimson Ghost (a 1937 Ford Coupe), the Dead Kennedy (a 1963 Lincoln Continental built by Hetfield himself) and the Black Pearl and Aquarius (both special constructions hand built from a drawing).

The collection is owned by and was first displayed at the Petersen Automotive Museum in 2020. It is on display at LeMay – America’s Car Museum now through Jan. 31, 2023.
For more information about this exhibition and LeMay – America’s Car Museum, visit
www.americascarmuseum.org.

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Imagine Van Gogh: Coming to the Tacoma Armory

In 2008, Annabelle Mauger crafted her very first immersive Van Gogh exhibition and, in the last few years, the finalized project has become an incredible hit. Imagine Van Gogh, the Original Exhibition in Image Totale© sold over 500,000 tickets across Canada in 2020 alone. The exhibit will be presenting stunning renditions of Van Gogh’s classic artwork in over 200 of his paintings brought to life in a breathtaking immersive experience. Mauger and Julien Baron, renowned for their work at Cathédrale d’Images in Les Baux-de-Provence, France, are no strangers to the immersive art world — in fact, they are pioneers of the medium. Since 2016, the duo have developed and expanded Image Totale© to create a truly emotionally cathartic experience for visitors.

In order to create such a unique exhibition, Mauger and Baron used warping techniques to adapt the surface to the projected image, releasing the art being trapped inside of the canvas. “The choice of images, the way they are positioned, their rhythm and their association with the music all compose this original creation conceived by Annabelle Mauger and developed with Julien Baron.”

Online reservations for Imagine Van Gogh are encouraged, as admission is based on timed-entry and tickets are sure to sell out quickly! Each ticket is valid for one person, with no re-entry permitted and they are nonrefundable. The exhibition opens on Saturday, March 5th, and runs through Saturday, April 16th at the Tacoma Armory.

For ticket information visit: tacoma.imagine-vangogh.com

Danny Vernon – Elvis Illusionist

Call them what you will … Illusionist, Impersonator or Tribute Performer … many of us love hearing a great Elvis song that brings the King of Rock ‘n Roll to life. If you are one of us, your chance to see an award-winning local Elvis performer is coming up Wednesday, December 22nd and Thursday, December 23rd at the Muckelshoot Casino in Auburn.

For more than three decades, Danny Vernon has been performing his Elvis show honed by listening and singing along to records purchased by his Dad.  “Dad would buy the sound track soon after seeing the movies in the 60’s,” said Vernon. “I do those songs really well, so I enjoy performing them,” he added.

Vernon is known for his high energy Elvis Tribute shows that focus on connecting with his audience while performing three distinct areas of Elvis’ career. From Hillbilly cat of the 50’s, to the sleek 60’s movie years and then of course onto the sexy 70’s jumpsuit era, each show highlights the voice, look and passion of the musical icon known as Elvis.

Vernon strives to celebrate Elvis not to pretend to be him. “I know people like the show to be as authentic as possible, so I try not to lose my own personality in it,” he said recently.

Tickets for the 8 o’clock shows at the Muckelshoot can be secured by contacting the Muckelshoot via phone at (800) 804-4944 or on-line at https://muckelshootcasino.com/entertainment/elvis-danny-vernon

Don’t miss your chance to celebrate the holidays in true Elvis style with Danny Vernon’s Elvis Tribute shows.

For more general information about Danny Vernon and his performances around the Puget Sound, visit his website at https://www.dannyvernon.com/shows