After a year's hiatus, Issaquah's Village Theatre is returning to the Everett Performing Arts Center in 1998-99 with a full season of shows. Village producer Robb Hunt couldn't be more pleased. He ought to be: This time he's not only presenting shows, he's running the place. Well, booking the place. Running the place is Lanie McMullin, formerly honcho of Auburn's performing arts center and the King County Arts Commission. But Hunt will be responsible for operating and renting out the 514-seat facility, as well as presenting three-week runs of the Village's five-show season, while the building's former lease-holder, Everett Performing Arts, turns its attention to serving as promoter and fund raiser for the arts generally in Snohomish County.
See end of article for related links.
The additional performances added to each run make Village contracts the longest in the Puget Sound area—13 weeks including rehearsal and performances—which isn't a pure blessing for artists with day jobs and families, still the main source of Village talent despite the theater's new professional contract with Actors Equity. With the first show of the Village's 20th-anniversary season (Carnival, the stage adaptation of Bob Merrill's delicate film musical Lili) not opening until late September, Hunt is spending a lot of his time up north, recruiting a management team, but his ambitions continue to grow apace: He's already agreed to produce a Christmas show for the new Kirkland Performing Arts Center, which opened its doors to the public just this week.
Along with three resident overachievers receiving MacArthur "genius awards" last week was an honorary Seattleite grantee: Mary Zimmerman, creator of the Seattle Rep's wildly popular visual-theater piece The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, also scored a $240,000 MacArthur. This is probably good news for fans hereabouts. Rep artistic director Sharon Ott has recruited Zimmerman as an affiliate artist and has been talking to the Chicago-based Zimmerman about possible future collaborations. Though having an additional $48,000 a year to spare could make her services pricier, the reverse is more likely true. When superclown Bill Irwin got his award, it made him more willing rather than less to develop work at the Rep, though commercial producers might have offered him much more. Artists! Go figure...
Street of affordable art
Belltown's First Friday gallery walk was everything Pioneer Square's First Thursdays aren't: fun, young, and affordable. To the bang of bongo drums hundreds of twenty- and thirtysomethings streamed through the new galleries and shops along the east side of Second Avenue between Lenora and Virginia streets. Kirsten Anderson of Roq LaRue gets credit for curating the most impressive show on the block: work by three local cartoonists (Jeremy Eaton, Jim Blanchard, and veteran iconoclast Jim Woodring) charged with more crazy images than Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And many of the pieces cost less than your weekly grocery bill.
Also check out Vital 5 (a multimedia gallery-cum-movie-set) and Junkyard Dogs: "everything you want" from secondhand Jesus nightlights to trays decorated with Fantasia-like mushrooms. Above all, don't delay: Seattle's new instant gallery neighborhood gets torn down in October to make room for condos—whose buyers surely won't be eking out a living from the arts.
Hard-driving director of Seattle's Museum of History & Industry Michael Herschenson turned in his resignation to the MOHAI board last week. Art Town hears the board overruled Herschenson's desire to oversee planning and development for the campaign to build a downtown location for the 84-year-old institution, planning instead to appoint an outsider to the glamour job. Realizing that would leave him with the thankless task of finding the cash to keep the present MOHAI running while his board's fund-raising efforts were focused on raising capital for the new building, Herschenson bailed. Herschenson plans to stay in the museum business where his professional roots are, "whether in Seattle or somewhere else." In any case, he remains on salary at MOHAI until August 31 as "consulting director." His successor, interim director Sonia Ralph, may need some consulting; she only joined the organization in February as "director of external affairs."
Here's to you, Jean-Marie
News reached town belatedly last week of the death of Jean-Marie Kinney. One of Seattle's most admired performers of the 1970s and '80s, Kinney worked the gamut from established Intiman to struggling Empty Space. Long absent from our stages, she's still remembered by old-time fans, still missed by her former colleagues. In the evanescent craft of theater, that's not a bad rep to go out with.
Related Links and information:
Mary Zimmerman and Leonardo
Jim Woodring page
Info on Jim Woodring