Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Baker’s latest drama ‘John’ weaves life’s challenging realities with a heap of mysticism (at ArtsWest now through April 7)

Review by Jeanne Kinley Deller:

Early arrival at the ArtsWest theatre provides audiences an opportunity to reminisce in the museum-like staging, filled with an excess of “tchotchkes.” Eccentricity abounds throughout “John,” in tandem with the set which is overrun with dolls, stuffed animals, knick-knacks, and out of season Christmas decorations.

Welcome to the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a bed and breakfast where Paris and Eiffel Towers are prized table decor. When the young couple, Jenny Chung (Mi Kang) and Elias Schreiber-Hoffman (Sean Lally), enter into the picture as weekend guests, they experience their surroundings taking on a life of their own, sometimes bigger than the conflicted couple’s relationship.

In conjunction with Jenny and Elias’ obscure courtship, the bed and breakfast proprietor Mertis Katherine Graven (the gifted Marianne Owen) keeps her guests wondering about her lack of connection with reality. Mertis’ long-time friend Genevieve Marduk (Suzy Hunt, brilliant in her portrayal, as always) eventually arrives on the scene like a breath of fresh air in her surprisingly forthright manner and honesty. The blind Genevieve’s announcement that she “went crazy,” and that her husband John “took possession” of her soul is, at least, a desire to speak her truth in the midst of overwhelming deception and chaos.

You’ll want to catch “John” at ArtsWest to demystify the title, interesting in the fact that no one named John ever surfaces in this three-hour, two-intermission play. Now on stage, “John” plays now through April 7, 2019 at West Seattle’s delightfully intimate theatre. Tickets here.

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ArtsWest presents JOHN

Photo by John McLellan

Time Magazine – 10 Best Shows of 2015

Nominated for 6 Drama Desk Awards

Nominated for 5 Lucille Lortel Awards

“Annie Baker’s John is so good on so many levels that it casts a unique and brilliant light.” – The New Yorker

“Baker does not merely tell a scary story. She shows them, piling up like ghosts of amputated limbs from the war wounded, and makes them riveting, unpredictable, altogether human theater.” – Newsday

 

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#SAMRemix returns to Seattle Art Museum March 29. There really is no party like an after-hours museum party!

Those of you who have been to a past #SAMRemix event probably already have your tickets for March 29th at Seattle Art Museum.

For those of you who haven’t been, here are a few reasons why to get your tickets now. There’s a reason this party always sells out. (Seriously, the event page will get flooded with “needing 2 tickets!” comments days before the event from people who waited too long.)

You can dance under the art. The gorgeous, massive, intricate art of “Middle Fork” by John Grade. That’s right – there’s a DJ’ed party under this beast.

#SAMRemix is a great opportunity to see the most current exhibitions at Seattle Art Museum. I’m particularly excited that the “Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer” exhibition is on now. It’s sexy and vibrant from what I can see from photos and I’m ready to get close to it. Video preview of “Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer“:

You can trust the #SAMRemix curators. The programming (live performances, art tours, craft projects, and more) are always fresh and fun, drawing from some of the best talent Seattle has to offer. Grab a cocktail from one of the bars, stroll through the galleries, and participate in a group art-making activity.

Brandon and I are going – see you there? (If you’re looking for me, I’ll be on the dance floor dancing to the tunes of DJ Riz, crafting, or soaking in one of my all-time favorite works of art: “Lessons from the Institute of Empathy.”

– Keridwyn

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In their own words:

“SAM Remix returns for creative late-night performances, art making, live music, and tours produced by the region’s best artists and creatives. Now celebrating more than 10 years and taking inspiration from the many exhibitions on view on at SAM, including Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer, this edition of Remix explores how we find commonality through our complex personal identities. Celebrate unifying gestures, symbols, and movements that cross genres, connect people, and strengthen our communities.”

Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/292060888132964/.

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Photos/Images via fb.com/seattleartmuseum

THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT
Dance to mixes by DJ Riz.
Make art with local artists Fox Spears and Philippe Hyojung Kim.
Watch dance performances in the galleries inspired by “Like A Hammer.”

TAKE MY FAVORITE THINGS TOURS WITH
Visual artist Anthony White.
Boxing instructor Oliver Silen.
Art and music critic Jasmyne Keimig.
Interdisciplinary arts professor Naomi Macalalad Bragin.

Review: A spine-tingling gothic ghost story, The Woman in Black runs now through March 24 at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Review by Tony Bohn:

A good old fashioned ghost story is what you are in for at Seattle Repertory Theatre’s current production of The Woman in Black. This is a stage adaption of Susan Hill’s original 1983 novel by the same name. The show is the second longest running play on London’s West End and the story has also been adapted to television, radio, and film.

Set in Britain sometime around the earlier part of the 1900s, the story takes the audience through the spooky events surrounding the death and funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow. Arthur Kipps, a retired solicitor, is sent to the woman’s creepy old house on an island with a causeway (surrounded by marshes) that is covered by the ocean daily when the tide comes in. What happened to Arthur there impacted him so much that he writes a play to get his story out to the public and he hires an actor to help him develop his show and rehearse his play. Arthur and the hired actor play all the roles throughout the play and the ghost story is told as they rehash the events that occurred to Arthur.

The script, costuming and set do a fantastic job of evoking the time period and describing the scene and events that occurred. The house, the marshes, the island, the ocean, the graveyard, the theater, and even the weather all seem like characters in their own right. The acting is solid and the two actors do a brilliant job of playing all the roles in the show and help the audience to be pulled into the creepy and unsettling story as the play progresses. While I wouldn’t call the show full on horror (it’s still family-friendly and there are certainly a lot of comedic moments written into the script), there are plenty of cool visual and sound effects as well as quite a few jump-scares that will have you on the edge of your seat.

The Woman in Black runs now until March 24, 2019 at Seattle Repertory Theatre in Seattle Center. More information and tickets here.

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Photo by Roger Mastroianni

One of Seattle’s BEST food & drink events returns this weekend with FOUR special Seattle Wine & Food Experience opportunities

The Seattle Wine and Food Experience offers FOUR events this February (one of these experiences is already sold out). There’s something for just about everyone.

Events include:

THURSDAY FEB 21: Comfort at SODO Park

FRIDAY FEB 21: Pop! Bubbles & Seafood at The Sanctuary  (Sold out!)

SATURDAY FEB 22: The Grand Tasting at Bell Harbor (VIP tickets are sold out but General Admission are still available)

SUNDAY FEB 23: Sunday Supper at Block 41 (NEW this year!)

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Details:

COMFORT

I’ll be heading to Comfort on Thursday on a friend-date with my pal Paul Levy (yes, contrary to When Harry Met Sally beliefs, men and women CAN be friends).  I’ve been to the venue, SODO Park, for a wedding before and am exciting to see what they do with the gorgeous space for Comfort! From the menu online, the dishes I’m most excited to try are: Tulalip Casino’s Mom’s After School Grilled Cheese, Mountaineering Club’s cucumber dish, Catina Lena’s Beef Kimchi Quesadillas. and Smith Brother’s Milk and Cookie station (seriously how cute is this photo?!) For drinks, I’m excited to sip 2 Towns Ciderhouse Pineapple Cider and Made Marion Blackberry Hard Cider, Finn River’s Black Currant Cider, Perihelion Brewery’s Lost in Space Sour Cherry Ale, and Woodinville Whiskeys.

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POP! BUBBLES & SEAFOOD

This event was truly delightful last year and I’m excited to learn more about sparkling wine and champagne with my friend Joy. The venue is awesome – if you haven’t been to The Sanctuary in downtown Seattle yet and have tickets for this event (or can buy some off someone – this particular event is now sold out), you are in for a treat! I love seeing how creative restaurants get with seafood offerings. I’m most excited to try: Eat Good Group’s “Pine Cured Steelhead Crudo with Wild Mushroom, Tempura, Elderberries and Cocoa,” Ivar’s “Smoked Coho salmon, goat cheese mousse,
roasted Anjou pears, Belgium endive spear” and Salty’s “Beet Cured Ora King Salmon Crudo, Fried Caper Aioli, Fennel, Red Onion and Cucumber, Charred Lemon Vinaigrette, Warm Baguette.” I don’t have enough insight on bubbly wine to know which wineries I should be most excited for – feel free to let me know on my facebook post!

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THE GRAND TASTING

The Grand Tasting is a jaw-dropping good time. I’ll be working with some of my inspiring clients this Saturday, so won’t have a chance to make The Grand Tasting this year but YOU should go. It’s one of the most fun food & drink events that the city offers – there is a joy and laughter in the air throughout this event due to the creative displays and layout, an immense amount of food and drinks to experience, and the playful sense of exploration you get to enjoy as you delight your tastebuds. #SWFE Grand Tasting last year was one of the most memorable food/drink event I have ever experienced, and that’s saying a lot!

Check out Seattle Mag’s awesome guide with tips and tricks to make the most out of this event here. “More than 200 vendors will be clamoring to share their food and drink with you—your challenge will be making the most out of this festival of wine and local eats. Fear not: we wouldn’t leave you unprepared in the face of such a momentous occasion. Take a peek at our step-by-step game plan designed to help you maximize your experience. You may not have known it at the time but mapping out your trip to Disneyland was just training for Seattle Wine and Food Experience” – Seattle Mag

Check out photos from 2018’s Grand Tasting here.

SUNDAY SUPPER

This event is brand new to #SWFE this year! I’m so thrilled to be attending this event with my husband this coming Sunday. I haven’t been to Block 41 yet but will be sure to report back! I’ve had great food from Spinasse and Mamnoon in the past so am excited to see what they bring to the table along side chefs from General Harvest Restaurants, Sawyer, Ciudad, and Eden Hill.

Here’s the scoop:

“A curated list of Seattle’s best chefs will come together to create a once in a lifetime dinner experience, with each chef serving up an inspired course as part of an epic immersive meal.”

  • 5:00 pm: Doors open for cocktail hour – Enjoy cocktails, bubbly and appetizers as guests arrive
  • 5:45 pm: Dinner seating begins upstairs
  • 6:00 pm: Sunday Supper kicks off with a beautiful six-course meal and wine pairings
  • 8:00 pm: Chefs’ After Party! Join us downstairs after supper for an after-hours bash complete with late night snacks, entertainment and desserts by Tulalip Resort Casino’s Nikol Nakamura and Salt & Straw

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I’m hydrating NOW in preparation for this weekend of delicious fun! Thanks to #SWFE for hosting these events! I look forward to sharing photos and reviews of my favorite bites and sips during and after the fun.

What are YOU most excited for during the weekend of Seattle Wine & Food Experience? #SFWE

Tickets here.

RSVP and invite friends on the Facebook Event Pages.

Check out photos from last year’s events here.

Photos via Seattle Wine & Food Experience.

#SWFE

 

Experience the wines of the Walla Walla region at McCaw Hall on February 25

Wine tasting events can be one of the most fun ways to connect with a date or a friend. You don’t have to be an expert wine taster to enjoy sipping different varietals and you’ll leave with some new favorites in mind!

Taking a trip to Walla Walla specifically for wine tasting is a fun experience in itself, but if your February is as busy as mine has been, you’ll be excited to hear that you don’t have to go far at all to taste a wide range of wines from Walla Walla.

Tickets are available now for the Walla Walla Wine Tasting at McCaw Hall in Seattle Center on February 25 from 5:30pm to 8pm! Get your tickets here.

In addition to discovering wineries I’m not familiar with, I’m excited to specifically experience pours from  Dusted Valley (so good!) and Seven Hills winery.

My suggestions for a attending a wine-tasting event:

  • bring a water bottle – stay hydrated!
  • have your phone charged – take photos of labels you like the most
  • when sipping your wine when you talk to the winery folks at a particular booth, stand a bit to the side so they can answer questions while they pour wine for the next person in line
  • have a bit of food before your go – this event is just light hors d’oevres

Here’s a list of everyone who will be there:

Connect with 50 Walla Walla Valley wineries and winemakers and sample, side-by-side, the wine crafted from the unique growing sites of the Walla Walla Valley AVA and surrounding areas.

 

Participating Wineries

Abeja
Adamant Cellars
ALUVÉ
áMaurice Cellars
Amavi Cellars
Armstrong Family Winery
Balboa Winery
Bledsoe Family Winery
Brook & Bull Cellars and Vital Winery
Browne Family Vineyards
Cadaretta
Caprio Cellars
College Cellars of Walla Walla
DAMA Wines
Dunham Cellars
Dusted Valley
Elephant Seven
Eternal Wines and Drink Washington State
FIGGINS
Five Star Cellars
Forgeron Cellars
Foundry Vineyards
Gifford Hirlinger
Kontos Cellars
Lagana Cellars
L’Ecole N° 41
Locati Cellars
Maison Bleue Winery
Northstar Winery
Otis Kenyon Wine
Pepper Bridge Winery
REININGER Winery
Rôtie Cellars
Seven Hills Winery
Sinclair Estate Vineyards
Sleight of Hand Cellars
Solemn Cellars
Spring Valley Vineyard
Tamarack Cellars
Tempus Cellars
Tertulia Cellars
The Walls
Three Rivers Winery
Tranche
Trust Cellars
Walla Walla Vintners
Watermill Winery
Woodward Canyon
Zerba Cellars

Tickets here. 

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RSVP to the Facebook event page here.

Special thanks to the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance for hosting me at this event. I look forward to discovering new-to-me wines! 

 

The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance is a nonprofit wine industry membership organization whose primary mission is to build an internationally acclaimed Walla Walla Valley wine brand among consumers, media, and trade by providing marketing programs on behalf of member wineries, vineyards, and partners. The Wine Alliance functions as the leading informational resource for consumers, media and trade interested in learning more about the Valley’s wine industry.

 

 

Review: Rock of Ages rock-concert-comedy-musical hits all the right notes (now through 2/24 at 5th Avenue Theatre)

Review by Keridwyn Deller:
If you like music from 80s bands such as Styx, Whitesnake, Poison, Foreigner, Joan Jett, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, and more, get your tickets to what will likely be one of your favorite musical productions: Rock of Ages at The 5th Avenue Theatre.

The cast of this rock-concert-comedy-musical is stunning and brings the show to life like no other production of this show I’ve seen. Sherrie is played by Diana Huey who makes hitting those notes seem easy (you may recognize her from her performance as The Little Mermaid – she’s fantastic) – Huey makes the character very likable (which isn’t always the case in how this role has been performed in other productions).

Her love interest is played by Galen Disston (from Seattle band Pickwick – now I get what all the buzz about this musician is about! Wow!  Music fans of Starship/Jefferson Starship will recognize musician Mickey Thomas in the role of Dennis. Great casting all around. The whole ensemble truly rocks.

So does the lighting and set (the set has some fantastic built-in surprises, wait for it!). And the costumes and wigs deserve their own applause: so often this type of show will feature costumes/wigs that are cartoonish – not the case here. Look for some fun details in the costumes which will delight true 80s fans (thanks to my theatre date Joy for pointing some of them out to me!).

The star of the show is Dane Stokinger who just NAILS the role of the narrator Lonny. He OWNS it. You can feel the audience get a little bit of giddy anticipation each time he came back on stage, which, lucky for us, is often. There is a balance, flow, and connection in the cast that makes the show work so well – you get the feeling that everyone truly has fun working together to create this piece of pure entertainment. Special shout outs to Brandon O’Neill for being the rock star you love to hate, Nik Hagen for bringing the charm, and Trina Mills for being so much fun to watch in every number she’s in.

My only question is: why didn’t a kiss (only a hug?) didn’t happen between two characters like it has in other productions?!

Treat yourself. Use code DOWNTOWN for performances on 2/13 and 2/14 and get a huge discount on tickets ($20 each for great seats!)

Show runs now through February 24, 2019. Tickets and info here.

Rock of Ages at The 5th Avenue hits all the right notes and will have you smiling for days.

Can I go back again before it closes? Really, I want to. This particular production has claimed a spot in my Top-10 shows I’ve seen live (and that’s saying a lot).

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Photos by Tracy Martin

Giveaway! Enter to win two tickets to “Restaurant After Hours” at Seattle Aquarium

“Eat. Meet. Repeat.” The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is bringing back one of their most popular networking & food events this month and now is your chance to enter to win two tickets to the event!
Network with other Seattle-area folks and enjoy bites from local businesses including Mt. Townsend Creamery, Honest Biscuit, The Confectional, Ivar’s, and much more. Plus, this event takes place in a dynamic venue: the Seattle Aquarium. This 2019 event is Wednesday, February 27 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. You can snag early-bird priced tickets now (price goes up on February 20).
Want to enter to win two tickets?
You can enter on Facebook and Instagram! <— Check out these links to enter.
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Giveaway ends 2/11/19 at 11:59pm Pacific Time. Giveaway is not sponsored by Facebook or Instagram.