Love's Labor Won

Not all union news is bad! Village Theatre, whose recent production of West Side Story drew wildly positive responses, is celebrating the first year of its three-year contract with the American Federation of Musicians Local 76-493. This contract took effect last August, and calls for a wage increase of 25 percent over three years, employer-provided pension contributions, flexible hiring procedures, and incentives for not using substitute musicians. Both sides of the table have praised the contract. BRET FETZER


No Free Lunch

In Arts News' investigation into The New York Times' Arts & Leisure Weekend has changed Seattle for the better. On the advice of a concerned reader, we looked into the fact that only one Seattle-area museum was featuring free-admission days in honor of theTimes' 150th-anniversary celebration. The Times confirmed the tip: The only local museum that participated, along with other venerable and cutting-edge institutions all over the country and Europe, was the Burke. (And who, aside from school groups, goes there?)

In Arts News called SAM, the Henry, and BAM--and none of them had heard anything about it. But the happy result of our labors is that all three are now participating.

Move over Woodward and Bernstein! Look for the NYT@150 pass in The New York Times Magazine on September 9. Now get out there and see some art. EMILY HALL


Transitions

Tacoma continues to steal talent from Seattle, with its latest theft being Rock Hushka, who will join the curatorial team of the Tacoma Art Museum. Hushka has worked for SAM, the Henry Art Gallery, and a local private collector. He joins Greg Bell and TAM's curatorial advisory committee, which includes Sheryl Conkleton (formerly of the Henry), Michael Klein (of the Microsoft Collection), and Kathy Cottong (director of the Arts Club in Chicago). Meanwhile, Seattle strikes back with the move of Cara Baldridge, public relations coordinator, from TAM to SAM. Perhaps they'll pass each other on the highway.... Clearly on a hiring spree, SAM has also added Yukiko Shirahara to its staff as the John A. McCone Associate Curator of Asian Art. She'll start in January 2002. EMILY HALL


Off the Boards

Patrons of On the Boards may be experiencing déjà vu. Last Friday, Mark Murphy resigned from his position as artistic director. The same thing happened in April of 1999, and the situation is almost identical: The announcement was unexpected and at a time when the organization is healthy both artistically and financially. In a phone conversation, Murphy declined to say anything more than, "Given that there are differences between the board and me, this seems to be the best choice." The abruptness of the decision suggests that it's unlikely to be Murphy's first choice. As in 1999, these "differences" are not described in the official statements, and all parties involved seem disinclined to discuss them.

What differs is that these differences now seem truly unresolvable, and Murphy expressed no interest in fighting the situation. In order for the organization to move forward, these unnamed disagreements demand that someone go--and, given the legal structure of a nonprofit, the board prevails. The immediate response of the artistic community is largely one of depression. The board may believe it is acting in the organization's best interests, but the damage it has done to OTB's relationship with the artistic community may be more severe than it understands. BRET FETZER


We Miss Her Already

We were stunned and sorry to hear of the death, from cancer, of Patricia Ryan, former owner of the Two Bells Tavern and tireless arts advocate. It's hardly the least of her accomplishments that she turned the Two Bells into a haven for artists--for conversation, inspiration, and potato salad. Pay your respects. EMILY HALL

artsnews@thestranger.com

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