Anastacia-Reneés (Don’t be Absurd) Alice in Parts opens this weekend at the Frye Art Museum.
Anastacia-Reneé's (Don’t be Absurd) Alice in Parts opens this weekend at the Frye Art Museum. Courtesy of Darya Husak and the Frye Art Museum
Office of Arts and Culture director Randy Engstrom is out of here: But not before having a virtual farewell party. This Friday, you can tune in on YouTube or Facebook Live to join hosts Priya Frank and Hollis Wong-Wear as they send off the outgoing director. Ahamefule J. Oluo and the cast of Susan, Residency alum Sharmaine, and Cipher Goings of Northwest Tap Connection will give performances. You can expect farewell remarks from Vivian Phillips, Dr. Quinton Morris, and Tony Mestres. No word on if Engstrom himself will spin some tunes, but I wouldn't rule it out.

EJ Koh's The Magical Language of Others won a 2021 Pacific Northwest Book Award: Check out Stranger writer Rich Smith's 2019 profile of Koh here.

Seattle artist Casey Curran's kinetic jewelry was featured in Paris Fashion Week: I gasped when I saw pictures of Curran's fluttering headpiece on an Iris van Herpen model strutting down the Parisian runway. The wearable sculpture made her look like a fearsome deity, wrapped in delicate clothing. Curran is currently building a show at MadArt, Parable of Gravity, about growth and decay which opens on February 11; you can also swing by to watch him build it live time. It's an absolute imperative that you check it out.

Artists making art right now is truly a blessing: Seattle poet, playwright, performer, and artist Anastacia-Reneé will present (Don't be Absurd) Alice in Parts at the Frye Art Museum, running from January 30 to April 25. Grounded in the Black feminist and womanist tradition, Anastacia-Reneé explores gentrification and its detrimental effects on the body in the show, through the eyes of her character Alice Metropolis. The immersive installation allows viewers to walk through Alice's home, which we can't quite do just yet due to COVID restrictions. Instead, the Frye will host a virtual celebration and special performance this Saturday from 5-6:30pm. Viewers can expect a virtual tour of the show and a choreopoem inspired by Alice, read by seven artists and poets.

ICYMI, the Seattle Rep has plans: A little over a week ago, the theater announced three new commission projects that will oversee the development of more than 20 news plays from now until 2030. Artistic director Braden Abraham told the Seattle Times that the pandemic shutdown is the "right time" to embark on such a large project. "These commissions are that investment in the future and also a way to meet artists where they’re at right now. They can write. We can’t produce, but they can start creating.” Here are the deets on the three commission projects via the Times' Crystal Paul:

  • Through the 20×30 project, the Rep will commission 20 new works by playwrights by the year 2030, centered around the theme “Reimagining Life in the Anthropocene.” (“Anthropocene” is a term describing our current age as one in which humans are the biggest influence on climate and the environment.)
  • New Directions commissions new works by theater directors — another first for the theater.
  • Though Seattle Rep’s Public Works program — in which the theater partners with community organizations to get people from various walks of life involved in creating a play — has existed for several years now, it’s relied on existing plays. This time, it’s commissioning a new one from Seattle-based playwright Cheryl L. West.

  • Sundance is upon us: You may still have a (very small) chance to snag some (last minute) tickets!!! Chase and I wrote a round-up of just some of the films we're most looking forward to here. There aren't trailers for the films yet, but I liked this "Meet the Artist" video featuring Siân Heder, the director of CODA, which looks phenomenal:

    Seattle film festivals, we haven't forgotten about you: The 16th Annual Children's Film Festival Seattle presented by Northwest Film Forum is going down from February 18-28. With a theme of "Love & Light," the festival will go completely virtual with a sliding scale, pay-what-you-can model. As a REMINDER in case you FORGOT, the Seattle International Film Festival is still planning to push forward this year, virtually happening from April 8 to April 18.

    Blue Moon Tavern has its moment in the sun: What I wouldn't give to drunkenly shuffle into one of Blue Moon's tiny bathroom stalls and go pee while waiting for my friend's band to go on stage. A holy experience. Well, PBS recognizes the U District dive bar's importance too, dedicating part of an American Portrait episode to the efforts to save the tavern from extinction. You can watch the full episode here and chip into Blue Moon's GoFundMe here.

    Good job reading, everyone: For the first time, King County Library System surpassed over 7 million digital checkouts in one year in 2020. Up 30% from the year previous, ranking KCLS number two in the country behind the Los Angeles Public Library and number three in the world. With the way this year is going, I humbly predict we'll get to 8 million digital checkouts in 2021.

    Do you know about the Seattle Department of Design? I discovered them via sticker. The designers behind the newsletter/Instagram/merch store are total civic design nerds, going back through the city's archives to unearth cool graphics and ad campaigns. It appeals to the smooth, slick part of my brain that loves smooth, slick designs. Their latest merch release drops next Monday.