#SAMRemix returns this Friday! Snag my discount code.

One of my very favorite events of the year, #SAMRemix, returns this Friday night. Only once a year, this special late night extravaganza happens at Olympic Sculpture Park! Dance to DJs and live bands, interact with a shadow installation, enjoy awesome art activities, and so much more.

Seriously, crafting among friends and strangers with a drink in hand might be one of the most fun things you do this year.

My friend Jon is going to be one of the guest tweeters during the event. Read his thoughtful pre-event blog post, here.

Tickets are $25 for adults but you can use code twitterremix0821 to save $5 per ticket. OR become a SAM member and tickets are only $12!

On Twitter or Instagram (or share public posts on Facebook)? Use hashtag #SAMRemix in your posts. Already have tickets? RSVP to the Facebook event page and invite friends. See you there!

Photos below from 2014 #SAMRemix at Olympic Sculpture Park. Photos by Robert Wade.

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Fun, Frolic and Fearless Feats! “Pippin” at The Paramount through August 23rd

Guest blogger: Jeanne Deller

Pippin’s flamboyant actors perform at The Paramount Theatre in downtown Seattle through Sunday, August 23rd, captivating and beguiling audiences with their acrobatic prowess and not so subtle naughty humor. The magnitude and aplomb with which Gabrielle McClinton (Lead Player) mentors Brian Flores (Pippin) through his many quests for fulfillment is astounding. Ms. McClinton oozes brilliance through her deliverance in every move, song, and dance.

This Pippin revival was nominated for the most Tony Awards in 2013, earning well­ deserved awards for composer Stephen Schwartz for his awesome music and lyrics and Diane Paulus for her outstanding direction.

Pippin__215 The Cast of the National Touring Production of PIPPIN. Credit Terry ShapiroPhoto by Terry Shapiro

Fun, frolic, and fearless feats await you. Pippin’s one of a kind theatre experience encompasses multi­-faceted talents with exemplary vocals. My personal favorites: “On the Right Track,” sung by Gabrielle and Brian. and “Extraordinary” by Brian and The Players.

Tickets, here.

Pippin 3__1143 The Cast of the National Touring Production of PIPPIN. Credit Terry Shapiro

Photo by Terry Shapiro

Photo by Joan Marcus

“The Spaniards” visit Seattle

One of my best friends has been living in Madrid for a couple years and brought her boyfriend Julio (who is from Spain) back home to Washington this summer. Julio’s sister and brother in law were also able to visit Seattle for a busy weekend. Here’s Molly’s post featuring some highlights of their July adventures. 

Guest blogger, Molly Fortin:

Discovering Seattle Cuisine

What does a Spaniard want to eat in America? Burgers. What else? Burgers. In search for the best burger in Seattle, Keridwyn steered us to Uneeda Burger in Fremont. We loved the Philly Smash and the caramelized onion & blue cheese burger. We also indulged in a less gourmet burger experience, making a late-night stop at Dick’s Drive-in, a surprisingly big hit with the Spaniards.

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Molly, Keridwyn, Brandon and Julio at Uneeda Burger in Fremont

Showing my city to newcomers made me realize how much I look forward to eating Asian food in Seattle – we just don’t have the same variety in Madrid. New discoveries this trip: the steamy hand-rolled soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung in University Village and the barbecued spam musubi at Marination Ma Kai on the other end of the water taxi in West Seattle (hold on to your earrings! It turns out the water taxi is an oversized jet ski!).

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Enjoying dumplings, green beans, and more at Din Tai Fung in U Village

Activities: Between Eating Burgers

Did you know you that the EMP Museum isn’t just about music anymore? I was pleasantly surprised to be transported into the worlds of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror with the elaborate exhibits displaying Paul Allen’s movie memorabilia. My novio is a total friki (“nerd” in Madrid-speak), so he loved seeing the Terminator T-800 robot and the Dr. Who Dalek. I kept my cool until I saw the Back to the Future II hoverboards. We all had fun taking a quiz to discover our fantasy character archetypes and admiring Game of Thrones and Princess Bride costumes up close.

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Tyrion Lannister costume from Game of Thrones at EMP Museum

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Julio runs from a Dalek at the EMP Museum

My friend Alejandro is an engineer who has worked for the enemy (Airbus), so he couldn’t leave Seattle without visiting the Museum of Flight. I’ve been there several times, most recently in 2013, but I was amazed to see how much it has expanded and changed. The highlights for me this trip were the space exhibits, with Apollo and Space Station training modules, and touring the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. My brother-in-law Richard worked for years on the 787 flight controls – I finally got to see the results of all that labor! It’s a truly giant, futuristic-feeling airplane. No more old-fashioned window shades: an electric gel between the window panes can be adjusted by each passenger to the desired level of shade.

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Maria plays pilot at the Museum of Flight

Our trip coincided with Seattle Art Museum‘s Disguise: Masks and Global African Art. The exhibit features modern Africans creating bold new multimedia art, as well as a display of more traditional masks. One of the scariest masks, “Ancient One,” has enormous fangs and claws jutting out at all angles from the face. Worn by a mediator in disputes, it served as a reminder not to solve problems like wild animals.

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Photo of “Gela Mask (The Ancient One)” by @instaleahweinstein on Instagram

I’m so glad that we stopped by the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, too, to see the animated mural and 3D soundscape of Chiho Aoshima. Alive with the groaning and tinkling sounds of nervous swaying skyscrapers, flying fairies of progress, and a flatulent volcano goddess, it illustrates the cycle of death and rebirth in a mesmerizing way.

“City Glow” by Chiho Aoshima 

The same day, we zipped up to the 73rd floor of the Columbia Tower to the Sky View Observatory and were struck by the similarities of the Seattle vistas to Aoshima’s mural: the same lakes, skyscrapers and volcanoes, abuzz with airplanes and incoming weather fronts. Unlike the animated mural, which leaves everything up to interpretation, the Sky View Observatory walls are covered with informational displays that give meaning to each view angle. Each time I started to explain a key Seattle feature to my friends, I realized that there was a supporting display with facts and figures illustrating exactly that, from the floating bridges to the Ballard Locks and the sports stadiums. As a foreign language teacher, I seriously appreciate the visual aids! :)

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Photo via @skyviewobservatory on Instagram

Culture Shock

On this trip, I had the chance to see Seattle with Spanish eyes – or more aptly, with a Spanish nose. The most impressive thing for my boyfriend Julio is how “it smells like good food, everywhere, all the time!” He is also blown away by the size of the trees in city parks like Volunteer Park, and especially our “discarded” driftwood trees on the beach in Edmonds. After living in Europe for two years, I’m also shocked by the size of the cars in Seattle – and the distances that people leave between parked monsters.

If you ask Julio what the best part about Seattle is, it’s an easy answer: the burgers.

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Of course no visit to Seattle is complete without a stop at Pike Place Market! 

Yup, that’s me in City Arts Magazine for Goodwill!

I’ve had fun this month hearing from friends that they spotted me in the Goodwill ad in City Arts Magazine (a free arts publication in Seattle):

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Thanks to my friend Joey at City Arts for thinking of me for this modeling gig! Did you know that Goodwill is a non-profit and proceeds from items sold in their stores benefit free job training and education for those in need? All the more reason to shop and donate to Goodwill over other (for-profit) used shops. Last year, Goodwill helped over 9,200 people!

Review: Hopelessly Devoted to Grease! At The 5th Avenue through August 2nd.

Guest reviewer: Billie Puyear

I remember my first introduction to the music of Grease was in sophomore year of high school. One of the popular girls asked me (ME!) to come over to her house and we were going to dye our hair together! I still have to most vivid memory of singing “Greased Lightnin” into hair brushes in her bathroom mirror thinking “this is the funniest thing I have ever done!”

So when I put on my petticoat and saddle shoes and headed to The 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of Grease last Thursday, let’s just say I had some elevated expectations. I am happy to say that the old gang at Rydell High did not disappoint. Setting the stage for this evening of awesome were The Dusty 45s. Their performance was amazing and may or may not have contained a flaming trumpet! (and the show is just getting started? I’m in!)

The Dusty 45s transition seamlessly into a show filled with all those hair brush and car trip ballads that we know and love.

As a perk, there are songs performed that I knew from the album that were never in the movie. It felt like when you found the hidden track at the end of your CD for the first time, but you already knew all the words!

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Listening to the stage versions of songs that I had heard only in the film was a totally different experience as well. Solea Preiffer (Sandy) delivers a performance of “Hopelessly Devoted to You” that is filled with such heartbreak, it was like I was hearing it for the first time. Also Bryan Gula’s (Danny) rendition of “Alone at a Drive-In Movie” is both funny and sincere. The entire cast is able to take the characters that we have all known and loved for years and manage to make them their own, adding their own twist on beloved classics I was singing along to (singing mostly in my head, but I won’t lie, I couldn’t help myself a few times).

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It was fantastic to learn of The 5th Avenue’s commitment to arts education and that many in the cast had been affected by the outreach and programming such as Adventure Musical Theatre and The Rising Star Project. Who doesn’t love a happy ending.

If you’re anything like me (and if so we should totally hang out), you will thoroughly enjoy this production of Grease. It is the perfect blend of nostalgia, talented performers and good old fashioned fun. Grease runs July 9 – August 2, so polish off those dancing shoes, buy your tickets and get ready to hand jive at the high school hop!

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Photos: Greased Lightnin by Mark Kitaoka. Sandy and Danny and The Company of Grease by Tracy Martin.

A 12 year old and her Oma review the musical “Wicked”

My 12 year old niece and my mom saw Wicked for the first time last week and loved it (of course)! Here are their delightful reviews. Wicked plays The Paramount Theatre in downtown Seattle now through August 2nd.

Wicked review by Nara Deller, age 12: 

Before Dorothy, before Toto, when the tin man and the scarecrow were still human…

Wicked is the story of how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good came to be. It’s about the witches of Oz, an unlikely friendship, and different paths you choose in life. The curtain draws you in with an amazing map of Oz. The amazing sets, brilliant costumes, and powerful music (songs like Popular, Defying Gravity, and For Good) set the stage for all the talented performers! Glinda (Alyssa Fox) was very funny, she got everyone laughing, and Elphaba (Carrie St. Louis) was outstanding in her emerald role.

Great cast. Powerful music. Loud. Amazing sets. Hilarious Dialogue.

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Wicked review by Jeanne Deller, Nara’s Oma:

Venturing about town on our way to Wicked at the Paramount Theatre, my granddaughter and I discovered multitudes of like-minded musical theatre aficionados thrilled to be welcoming this rollicking show back to Seattle.

This avant-garde, heart-warming portrayal of hard-won, most-unlikely friendships takes us to the Land of Oz, pre-Dorothy, with familiar characters peppered throughout. Stephen Schwartz’s music and lyrics bring wickedly funny and daring escapades to light in introducing villains and heroes alike.

Elphaba (Alyssa Fox) and Glinda (Carrie St.Louis) are outstanding in their respective roles as bad witch and good witch. Glinda’s over-the-top self-absorption keeps the crowd laughing – her character even more lively and animated than when the show began its blockbuster Broadway run 12 years ago.

Brilliant casting, superb staging, incredible costuming – all intermingled with high-flying monkeys and more. Wicked continues to impact audiences around the world in the most positive way – forever changing lives “For Good!” Grab your friends, significant other, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews (recommended for ages 8 and up) and join all those Seattleites out there who are basking in Wicked’s glow.  Choral numbers “Popular” and “For Good” are alone worth the price of admission. You have through August 2nd to catch this dynamite show and join in the rousing, standing ovation with the drop of the curtain on the final act.

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Buy your tickets to Wicked now (or learn about their day-of $25 ticket lottery).

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Photos by Joan Marcus.

Anne of Green Gables, Mini Golf, SAM’s Disguise, and Orange is the New Cat.

Some highlights from June:

Delightful conversation over happy hour with some gals! Boom Noodle is back on the hill so Alida, Erin and I made our way there to check out their happy hour offerings, most of which we enjoyed (the rice cakes were strange, but everything else was fine and low priced). Erin, Nora and I savored the deliciousness that is Barrio, and Alida and I caught up over guacamole and the salsa bar at La Cocina Oaxaqueña.

Rachel introduced me to a tiny secret beach and hand shaven noodles from Seven Star Pepper. Already craving more (noodles and beach time).

I got to check out Lanen’s gorgeous house and back yard and finally meet her cute pup, Falcor, a king charles spaniel.  She caught up over pizza, salad and wine at Tutta Bella before seeing wacky performance at the Seattle International Dance Festival.

Erin, Paul, Somer, James and others joined in the celebrations of Conor’s first birthday with a pool party at Kate and Julian’s. Watermelon season has arrived!

Kathryn and I relived many moments of our childhood as we rewatched Anne of Green Gables on DVD (thanks to ebay).

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“Puffed Sleeves!”

I treated myself to a trip to Minneapolis to visit Erin M. I met up with my childhood best friend Rebecca and got to meet her little girl at mini-golf at The Walker, followed by some glorious poolside time with Erin (thanks, Chris!).

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Such fun to connect with my best friend from childhood and meet her sweet little girl! 

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Getting frank with my hostess, Erin! 

I checked out the new “Disguise: Masks & Global African Art” at Seattle Art Museum.  I had a blast at Night of Disguise with Levy, Jessica, Brandon, and Nora. Don’t miss this exhibition – it’s incredible. Saya Woolfalk’s room is stunning, I could spend hours in there. After the Disguise party, we watched Levy perform in Unexpected Productions’ Theatresports, just down the street in Pike Place Market.

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Photos are allowed in #SAMDisguise! The room featuring the work of artist Saya Woolfalk.

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My look for our evening out at “Night of Disguise”

Brandon and I enjoyed celebrating with Jonathan and Oryx at their wedding party, connecting with old friends and making some new ones. Yup, actual conversation at a dance party. It really makes a difference when party throwers know how to play their speakers at a level that fits the venue and crowd.

Father’s Day gave us the opportunity for a fun, laid back BBQ on the roof with my mom and dad and bro. Brandon and I introduced them to card game Red7 – one of my new favorites.

We had an awesome trip to San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma! Erin, Paul, Brian, Morgan, Brandon, and I goofed around in perfect pool and hot tub weather, enjoyed a great wine tasting at Homewood Winery in Sonoma, a delicious lunch at the awesomely designed Fremont Diner (fried chicken sliders and mac n cheese – yum!) and revisited Sonoma Plaza (shaved ice for the win!) and Roche Winery (Chardonnays I actually like). Brian and Morgan introduced us to the game Camel Up. I’m not sure I have the strategy down yet, but I still enjoy playing!

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Sign in The Fremont Diner outdoor patio in Sonoma

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We had an excellent, relaxed wine tasting experience at Homewood Wines in Sonoma

TV shows & movies I enjoyed:

Orange is the New Black Season 3 (great writing and characters!) For those of you who are already fans, I share this gem:

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Artwork by KittyCassandra 

Re-watching Dollhouse – love that show! Eliza Dushku and Enver Gjokaj are awesome to watch.

Rewatched part of “The Fall.” Such an epic film. I need to go back and watch the whole thing again soon.

Books I read:

The Willpower Instinct – great book with so many useful tools to help with willpower

The Language of Flowers – lovely story that was fun to get lost in (thanks for the recommendation, Athena!)